alliance francaise – dijon

Quelque temps dernier, j’ai decide que c’etait nécessaire que je teste ma desire a apprendre le francais. Apres trois plus ans et beaucoup des conversations avec mes amis en quebec et france il est le temps que je commet.

Il y a près de dix ou douze ans, j’ai essayé l’alliance française à Vancouver. C’est une bonne école, mais les étudiants (à cette époque) parlaient anglais lorsque ils avaient des problèmes. Il n’y avait pas de pression pour apprendre le français.

Donc, ici on parle en français, si vous avez un problème, vous essayez de trouver la réponse en français. Les étudiants sont internationaux, une seule personne que je connais ici parle anglais, tous les autres sont: allemand, espagnol, mexicain, etc. Mes deux professeurs semblent avoir une grande patience 🙂 

L’école est petite et située en face d’un immense lycée que j’ai vu. Notre classes changer en taille, quelque fois nous somme deux, les autre fois nous avons six ou plus. Chaque lecons est deux heurs longe. Vendredi c’est l’enfer car j’ai trois cours, ou six heures d’écriture, de grammaire et de conversation , a le fin de jour je besoin un bier (1664 blonde).

quelques observations

Dijon est une ville jeune, car l’université et le lycée sont presque au centre-ville. Parfois, je pense que tout le monde a moins de vingt ans. Mais ce n’est pas vrai, je suis là!

La ville est charmante, très propre et les infrastructures sont bonnes. Ici, les gens utilisent les transports publics, le centre-ville est vivant avec de magasins, de marchés et de services publics. Bien sûr, c’est touristique, mais en ce moment un peu tranquille.

Les gens sont très gentils, j’ai parlé à plus de gens ici que dans d’autres régions de France. Mais aujourd’hui, j’ai parlé en anglais avec des suisses (allemands), mais nous avons essayé de parler un peu le français.

Le pays est très hiérarchisé, mais la plupart des gens s’adaptent aux étrangers. vous essayez de parler français.

Et le meilleur! les enfants et les adolescents sont polis. Toujours ils disent: bonjour, au revoir et merci même les uns aux autres. Ils mangent aussi la nourriture que les enfants canadiens n’essayent jamais.

une promenade et une conversation

Une promenade dans le matin. Le mardi est le jour de marché, beaucoupe de les rues sont calme, mais près le marché des halles, c’est un histoire different. Il y a beacoup des tables avec les livres vielle, quelque peintures et photographie artistique, vetements, quelque vieille mais mais la plupart sont nouvelles, je pense que vous trouvez tout ce que tu veux.

Les Halles est un marché plus grande, ici vous pouvez trouve les produits de france. Je vu beaucoup de charcuterie, étals de frais légumes, fruits, olives, et fromage. Aujourd’hui j’ai acheté un peu de pâte et une quiche pour le déjeuner.   

Trop de photos de la vieille ville à poster maintenant. Cette ville pour moi est plus charmant, plus histoire ancien, plus beau, je pense que d’autres villes françaises. Je serai partage les images plus tard.

Cet après midi je vais à l’école ou j’ai un conversation française pendant deux heurs, sans anglais.  Depuis que j’arrive en france je crois que c’est possible que j’ai parle moins dix phrases en anglais.

un mois à Dijon et quelques jours à Paris

I’m not trying to impress, only to practice a little while taking an immersion course in Dijon, France.  If you speak/write french you will find many errors both with spelling and basic grammar.  I’m subscribing to a school of thought which advocates living and speaking the language as opposed to following the traditional grammatical rules, and does not require repetitive drills. The the main objective is to aquire enough skill to have an intelligent (not academic) conversation.  You can read about UCLA’s linguistic expert Stephen Krashen here Je suis désolé si vous trouvez beaucoupe des erreurs avec: l’orthographe, la conjugaison, la grammaire. C’est un exercice pour moi, Je m’essaie à apprendre le langue. Mais, vous êtes invités à suivre si vous le souhaitez. Pendant deux ou trois ans j’ai essaye a apprend la française. C’est difficile, leçons en ligne, beaucoup des livres, et nombreuse de YouTube vidéo. Mais, mon succès était minime.  Lorsque j’ai découvert les sites pour le échange de conversation chose améliore, un peu avec l’aide du mes nouveaux amis ! Maintenant je peux parler avec peuple en france et québec .  Quatre person habite en France au Paris, Lyon et La Rochelle, et un ami à Montréal (il est originate de france). Je parle avec chaque personne pendant une heure ou plus chaque semaine. 

paris > amsterdam > vancouver

thursday, october 30, 2008

we leave bern on a cold snowy morning. our train is right on time…you expect this in switzerland!

we have a compartment to ourselves and one other traveler, a young french engineer returning from a business trip. he is quite chatty and remarkably cynical for such a young man (he’s 31) but not without humour and the 5 hour trip passes quickly. the first half is quite beautiful as it has snowed heavily and outside is a winter wonderland.

getting into paris is like coming home. it is so familiar and the hotel palym is perfect. we’ve stayed here before and it’s in a great location for travelers. our room has a fantastic view of the gare de lyon and the rooftops of paris. we have most of the afternoon to do as we please, me to shop and rick for one last nostalgic visit to notre dame. yes blair!

supper is at a small family run restaurant specializing in northern french cuisine, basic hearty fare, perfect for a cold night.

we crash early after preparing our luggage for the final leg.

friday, october 31, 2008.

morning comes too soon, we have our last breakfast of croissants and head for the airport bus and the flight to amsterdam.

the time for connecting flights in amsterdam is less than we expect and soon we’re in a line-up waiting to clear security…no time for last minute shopping.

one god awful long flight 10 hours to be exact in crowded conditions, 3 movies, food and drink (and unlike the trip over, very pleasant stewards.) a quick taxi ride home after a very fast trip through customs.



photos courtesy of flickr members

(i’m saving the lost luggage for another day…always take your carry on with you!)

good night! good bye.

addendum: the carry on was returned on sunday night – minus the camera, other gifts and a few books. we’re sad at what we’ve lost. the items we’re stolen from the bag at charles de gaulle airport as the security tape on the bags is all air france which was the connector we took to amsterdam.


rive gauche

our last day in paris 😦 and laundry day :((

we both had places we wanted to visit and generally just stroll through the left bank. we had one definite destination which was saint severin church near the sorbonne. it is notable for its age and contrast of modern and ancienne. i went back to take some pictures and rick for his first visit.

rick started the day by taking a stroll down the tuileries and i a walk on the left bank of the seine including the outdoor museum and sculpture garden east of notre dame. of course i took tons of shots of the very modern art mostly from the 60’s and 70’s. i also tried to get a visit to the arab institute but was turned away as only vip’s were getting in at the time i was there! the building is quite unique as it is wired to control it’s environment, however my visit coincided with early morning so nothing too significant was visible.

before going to saint severin, we headed off for a restaurant that rick had tried before but, the street eluded us…until after we ate! we dined at a pleasant restaurant on a plaza in front of the sorbonne, surrounded by students, teachers accompanied by the play of fountains and falling autumn leaves (somehow apropos).

following lunch i headed home to do some packing and study before my last class. i need another suitcase – we both need another suitcase!

rick toured the quay of the left bank along with a final visit to notre dame.

we’re each on our own for supper as i have to dash to class.

bonsoir – au revoir from france – guten tag germany.


it’s an odd day. a little bit of this and little bit of that.

we started out around 9 a.m. with a plan to do a little shopping, starting with galleries lafayette which is an incredibly large store made up of at least 4 buildings that we could see, maybe more. then on to rue de rivoli where there are many stores including bhv, samaritain and others. rick ends up with a new jacket and … a scarf! and i get a new pullover … and scarf number 5 or 6?

we take a stroll through les halles, now a modern shopping centre but historically the market centre of paris. nearby is a huge old church, saint-eustace which i’d visited before but was new to rick. it has a remarkable high ceiling and beautiful windows and paintings. it is surrounded by many pieces of modern art and the promenade or gardens of les halles. next to it is the bourse de commerce a circular building from the 1700’s.

back home to do some last minute shopping for baguettes etc., as paris is shut down on sunday. we’re also in need of a rest before heading out this evening for the long overdue visit to the eiffel tower for some night shots and a ride on the seine in one of the many tour boats. only two more full days in paris!

the trocadero is packed with parisiennes and tourists who come to see the eiffel tower lit up. there are hawkers everywhere, concessions stand for candy floss, crepes – sweet or savory and miscellaneous souvenir booths scattered about. people playing music – drums and guitars and generally having a great time.

the boat cruise was packed, unlike our last outing when we were two of the four paying customers. tonight the river was like the streets of paris, packed with boat traffic, all of them full of sightseers, diners and loads of party boats – weddings and the like. it was enjoyable but a bit chilly – also we’d done it before and i’d have liked to go in the day time to get some good shots from the river. the quays and bridges are crowded with folks out for the night, drinking, groups playing music (some with large audiences) and others just enjoying the city.

heading home at 11 p.m. and the metro is as busy as it is during the day. as we walk home from our stop there are parties going on, people sitting at the bistros that dot the street and diners having a late night meal. the sound of a sax drifted down from someone’s apartment as we neared ours – i thought it so parisian and the perfect end to the day.

bonsoir. paris oct 11/08

now you see it, now you don't

get up, brush teeth, get dressed, get out…and its only 5:55 a.m.

we’re on our way to gare de lyon and our first ride on the very fast tgv train to nimes in the languedoc region of southern france. the trip is only 2 hours and 50 minutes to go about 700 kilometres (first class by the way and very comfortable) things zip by so quickly there was no point in trying to get a photo (a relief for you who are following this on flickr.) i did manage to fire off 250 though for the the day 🙂

this was a bit of an indulgence trip. on our last visit all of my photos of nimes and pont du gard were stolen when someone broke into our car and swiped my shoulder bag with the memory card still in it and i was determined to get them back.

the day did not look promising in paris, or nimes when we first arrived — quite a difference from the last time we were there. however, the travel gods were with us yet again and the day warmed up and the skies cleared (see the pictures). we caught a local bus at the train station which dropped us off a kilometre from the site after a rather circuitous journey to drop some of the locals (we think).

after an easy walk we were there and before us, covered in sunshine was pont du gard, an incredible and even beautiful structure of many arches all aglow in amber as the sun bounced off it. 2000 years old, it is the highest aquaduct that the romans ever built. i don’t believe my last pictures were as good or as varied, however, i did take a pass this time on climbing to the top as my right knee is bugging me (advancing years i’m afraid). needless to say i took a shot at every angle i could think of and hope most turned out ok.

rick and i had the foresight to take along a picnic lunch of baguette, jambon, fromage (and wine…of course!) as well as some fresh fruit. we ate on the rocks overlooking the viaduct (can’t think of a better view for lunch)

following our ramble around pont du gard we headed back for the bus and the ride into nimes. while waiting for the bus we met a young polish woman who now works in england and got a bit of an education on the situation in both countries. she was on a spontaneous trip because ryan air an english airline had a 10 pound deal – round trip! with no extra fees to nimes and she’d never been there before and was able to take a few days off work. she says she does this whenever she sees a good deal to a destination she has not visited before.

the five minute tour of nimes. we had about two hours before the train headed back to paris and we tried to cover the high points remembered on our last visit, we did not go inside the coliseum (we’d toured it pretty thoroughly last time here.) nimes is a beautiful small city with a long history of roman occupancy. some of the antiquities are in perfect shape including the coliseum, a temple known as the maison carre and remnants of a temple to diana the huntress and tour magner which we did not have time to climb up to. there are also amazing formal gardens – jardins de la fontaine which have been there since the 1700’s and includes a large canal lined with plane trees and has a gushing fountain at a central intersection. our time in nimes is over and following a stroll through the old section of town we’re back at the station and onto another fast train for paris. i sleep most of the way while rick reads the history of marie antoinette. a late supper at a nice chinese restaurant up the block from us and home to bed.

bon soir

inner child?

…we did it! a day at paris disneyland! a full day!

i have to lead off with an observation that i was somewhat hesitant or maybe just not that motivated to go, but i live with this guy who is a disney admirer (fanatic was on the end of my tongue) so this is his trip and i’m happy to go along.

a short 40 minute train ride and we’re there. the cleanest place on earth and supposedly the happiest. as we walked through the gates my first impulse was to drop some paper and see how long it would take till it was cleaned up, good manners won out, however as the day progressed i found it hard to find any litter and imagine the cleaners swoop in and out without being seen.

rick and and i are 55 and 60 respectively (however i appear much much younger!) and this was the first visit for both of us to any of the disney establishments. i guess we think every kid gets to go at some time or other and the kid in us are late in arriving to say the least.

the place is quite remarkable, a perfect setting of ideals and commercial manipulation laid out to keep you entertained and mostly happy. the music blares continuously (think up with people) and the tempo is evenly paced with lots of opportunities to slow down and absorb the event no matter how short. it felt like fun and we took it all in.

we bought our tickets the day before for 49 euro about 72$ which, in hindsight seems like a good deal as we took in most of the rides except indiana jones which was having mechanical problems and remained closed for the entire day.

i have to say the highlight of the day for both of us was the space mountain ride; for me exhilarating and a scream (or at least a few yahoos) and for rick a bit of agony and total surprise as he was expecting something a bit tamer. the ride has at least three 360 loops and is in complete darkness with illuminated planets and stars and a great optical effect at the end as you speed through a red spiral. it was pretty nauseating but i’d do it again, rick not so much! on a bit slower speed, the two other faves were the river boat ride and the surprisingly mystifying peter pan ride – never never land was never so magical.

we took in some of the kid’s rides but i could not talk rick into going on the flying elephants with me so i took a pass as the wait was too long anyway. we did do the tea cups and felt pretty dizzy at the end. the train around the perimeter is really slow but kinda fun in a geriatric way.

food and just about everything in the place is expensive and something we expected (you’d be better of to pack a picnic and drinks); speaking of drinks, this disneyland is the only one to serve beer and wine on the site…vive le france.

i bought a scarf with a mickey silhouette as a souvenir, rick could not decide and ended up taking a pass even though i thought one of shirts would have been cool to have.

the weather held up and we had mostly cloudy with sunny breaks, however in the last half hour the rains were just beginning as we headed back to the station.

we had a truly fun day, one that i’m sure we’ll be nostalgic about for some time to come — those parts that we enjoyed as though we were much younger, and the amazing effort that goes into making the park such a wonder: the details of design, the coordination of events using technology (i.e. the train and river boat meet at a set time regardless of when you board) and the obvious enjoyment that real kids have while there. did you know that parents fork out 60 euros (90$ canadian) or more to buy their kids costumes to become little princesses and other disney characters (they are cuter the hell, running about all over the place) but who pays that kind of money?

where are all the pictures? in rick’s little camera! i was determined to take some time away from hauling around big bertha and as this was more rick’s day than mine he took on the task of capturing it all, unfortunately we don’t have the cable to transfer from his camera so they will have to wait till we get home. (see note below)

note: 11/10/08 photo problem resolved! fnac (a major photo, book and cd store) carries an adapter that takes virtually every kind of memory card. kaching — i was able to move rick’s photos of disneyland and others as well as saving the data from my super small memory card in the phone too.

bon soir

a day of r and r

not much happened today as i’m determined to take a break from the camera and we are both in need of some down time. it has been pretty exhausting as the paris museum pass requires that you use it on consecutive days. as you can imagine 6 days of major museums is a lot of leg work, head work and navigating. all of it interesting and enjoyable though.

being monday it was laundry day and study day for me as i have class tonight; only three classes left to do. grocery shopping for rick.

otherwise, we didn’t leave the apartment until after lunch and then only to go the gare de lyon to arrange our reservations for a day trip to nimes on thursday and our travel arrangements to germany next week. our stay in paris is almost over and it feels like we just arrived. on the way home rick went ahead while i made a small side trip to the disney store on champs elysees to grab two passes for tuesday’s outing to disneyland paris (you gotta keep peter pan happy – aka rick).

the french class is great fun as the instructor, jean, likes to have us role play and uses a lot of novel approaches to make it sink in. that’s it for today.

bon soir.