Why is it called? Part 3: Foods

Why is it called? Part 3: Foods Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Why are certain mushrooms called champignons de Paris? How do foods get named? There is often a story. Here is a short list of someFrench foods or dishes that are well-known in the Paris area and how they got their names. We invite readers to add their own favorites or ask about other foods for which they would like to know the origin in the comments. Champignons de Paris The first mushrooms in France were grown in 1670 by Jean de La Quintinie, gardener to Louis XIV. (You may still visit the King's garden in Versailles, it's called the Potager du Roi and it is a fascinating history of gardening and early techniques.) Under Napoleon I, mushrooms were grown in Paris in areas protected from sunlight, notably in the catacombs. Later in the XIXth century the majority of former quarries and grottos under Paris, which had the perfect constant temperature of 17°C were used to c…
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Why is it called? Part 2: French place names

Why is it called… Part 2: French place names or toponyms Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Place names are also called toponyms. We've learned Paris was named for the Celtic tribe the Parisii who lived in the area (why the Parisii were called that is still up for discussion), that the Seine was named for the nymph Séquana. Here are some other topoynms from the Paris area. Feel free to add your town in the comments. Versailles: The most likely origin of the name Versailles, first mentioned in 1038 as land belonging to a person named Hughes, comes from the Latin word versare which means to turn over (verser, reverser in French) and probably referred to Hughes’s agricultural efforts of clearing and preparing his land for planting. “Un versailles” or “versail” in old French refers to cleared land. Stains: The name of the town of Stains, a town north of Paris, rings strangely in anglophone ears because we hear a noun that means "a mar…
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Spring Speak Easy

I have a "spring in my step" and want to do a Speak Easy!

Speak Easy puzzles are matching games of French and English idiomatic expressions. It's a great way to learn French or English and put some spring in your language skills. Spring doesn't refer to just a season, it is also a noun, adjective and a verb. There are all kinds of ways to use this word.

Answers - Réponses: 1l; 2o; 3b; 4e; 5u; 6n; 7j; 8p; 9r; 10q; 11m; 12d; 13h; 14s; 15f; 16i; 17t; 18g; 19k; 20c; 21a This Speak Easy Puzzle is available in a collection of 68 puzzles, order on Boutique FUSAC 
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Parisian Bread and Pastry: Historic, lovely, delicious

The idea of Parisian Bread and Pastry is obvious, but these are exceptional and historical. Important for their history and longevity, these Parisian Bread and Pastry places, that one must visit, also have invented their special iconic pastry, loaf or decor.

Stohrer

Nicolas Stohrer, as the story goes, learned his trade as pastry chef in the kitchens of King Stanislas I of Poland who was in exile in the East of France. When the King’s daughter, Marie Leszczynska, married King Louis XV of France, she brought her favorite pâtissier with her to Versailles. Five years later, in 1730, Stohrer opened his own Parisian Bread and Pastry shop on rue Montorgueil where it still is today. The creations at Stohrer are classic, reflecting centuries of French tradition. One of its most celebrated is the Puit d’Amour, or Well of Love, where a base of puff pastry gets topped with bourbon vanilla pastry cream and caramel glaze. “It’s very creamy, very old-fash…

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Ma langue au chat, Tortures et délices d’un anglophone à Paris

Mon petit accent récit extrait de Ma langue au chat, Tortures et délices d'un anglophone à Paris (Seuil/ Points Editions, October 2017) Vous avez un petit accent, me dit-on. Tout le monde a un accent. Mais pas forcément un petit accent. D’ailleurs, s’il était si petit que ça on ne dirait rien du tout. On ne fait pas remarquer à une dame qui se promène avec un chihuahua Vous avez un petit chien, madame. On dit plutôt : Qu’est-ce qu’il est mignon, votre chien. Ou bien : Il me fait les gros yeux, celui-là. Quelque chose comme ça. C’est que le chihuahua a la taille conforme, alors que mon accent est hors norme, il n’a pas grand-chose de mignon, je ne sais pas s’il a des yeux, mais il est assez dur de la feuille. C’est une espèce de créature, de corps étranger enfoui en moi. Normalement, mon accent devrait rapetisser avec le temps à force d’imiter les sonorités françaises, se camoufler comme un phasme contre une branche, complètement disparaître. Mais c’est l’i…
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Why is it called? Part 1: French Pastries and desserts

Why is it called … Part 1: French PASTRIES and DESSERTS Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Why are croissants, pain aux raisins and pains au chocolat called viennoiseries for example? How do things get named? Here is a short list of French pastries and desserts and how they got their names. We invite readers to add their own favorite pastries and desserts to the comments. Viennoiserie A pastry was created in Vienna in celebration of the end of the Turkish siege of 1683 in the shape of the Turkish crescent (croissant). An Austrian army officer named August Zang and his associate Ernest Schwarzer, a nobleman from Vienna opened the Boulangerie Viennoise at 92 rue de Richelieu in Paris in 1838. They were the first to make the pastries which were to become known as viennoiserie. Ironically even though the French name viennoiserie makes a reference to Vienna which is the origin of the pastries, in English these baked delights are called D…
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Learn French! Speak Easy puzzle: Grin and bear it!

Speak Easy puzzle: Grin and bear it! Learn French! Enjoy this Speak Easy puzzle of expressions in English with the words BEAR in them. The word Bear refers not to just the animal, it is also a verb meaning to carry a weight (to bear, past tense bore). Then there is the homonym bare an adjective or verb for being naked. See if you can match the English expressions up with their French equivalent. It's a fun way to learn French and  some new idiomatic expressions to enrich your vocabulary. This Speak Easy puzzle comes from volume 1 of a series of three books of 48 puzzles available on : https://store.fusac.fr or at the FUSAC Book Room (a new place you just have to discover!) 42, rue du Chemin Vert, Boulogne, M° Porte de Saint Cloud Hear the story of how John and Lisa encountered a grizzly bear in Yellowstone Park. Bonus Vocabulary Grizzly is a large North American species of bear also known as a silvertip bear. French = Grizzli Grisly means disgusting and b…
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