Paris in the Spring for me?

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Paris in the Spring for me?

Postby Scenario Thinker » Sun Dec 24, 2006 4:14 pm

Just as I was all ready to start taking another rote math class \"just for fun\" this January, I had a change of idea. My platonic woman friend from work invited me to go with her college alumni group which is going to Paris this May. Right away when she asked, I was intrigued and interested by the idea. So, it's been in the back of my mind since. I've never even been to Europe, and Paris would be near the top of my list, if not the top. Since I've been away from the day to day work-a-day world for several days now, I all of a sudden came up with this idea ... how about I see if there's a French class I could take this winter. I know I don't HAVE to take a French class to go to France, but that's me, I like to really prepare for my endeavors! :) So, I take a look at the community college (where I'd be taking the math class) and lo and behold, there's a beginning conversational French class offered and it ends over a week before my trip! So, I signed up for it! There's no conflict with the math class, but I would be going to classes 4 nights a week if I stayed in both. I'll give it time to think about doing all that. Realistically, I know the class won't make me even close to fluent in French, but I thought it might give me at least a leg up on what I know now which is bonjour, oui, and merci :) Anyhow, anyone have any thoughts, ideas, advice about France, Paris, the French language, or anything else related? Merci
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Postby Day Owl » Sun Dec 24, 2006 7:52 pm

I've never studied French but have traveled in Quebec and France, picking up just barely enough of the language to enable me to order a small breakfast, apologize for bumping into people, and go through a one-way door (so marked) without getting hurt. I'm sure the class will give you all those skills and more (larger breakfast, and even lunch and dinner) -- so go for it!
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Postby scottjs » Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:53 pm

I have spent time in Paris and just loved it. I wish I could have spoken the language, but I got along pretty well without it. I have been drunk in Paris and what a great place for that. I have been to the Moulin Rouge and the red light district--no further comment. I have been to the Louve and saw the Mona Lisa!!! How can I sum it all up? I don't care if you have to walk across the Atlantic----go to Paris. Fall in love with a person or with the city. Travel is a great thing I think. I wish you well.
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Postby sgoldie » Sun Dec 24, 2006 11:07 pm

What a wonderful thing to do, going to Paris. I think it's a great idea to take the French classes. I had four years of it in high school and was actually able to practice the numbers with my grandmother who, although she grew up in the US, went to a French grade school here with others whose families had come from French Canada. They may include facts and information about Paris that will be helpful as they did with the classes I took along with the language instruction. Time flies quickly and I doubt you'll ever regret the trip. Don't know if I'll ever make it but wishing you the best of times.
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Postby jk » Sun Dec 24, 2006 11:15 pm

I went to Paris several years ago and loved it. I speak French fairly well (I studied it for eight years) and found that it helped a lot. People there almost all know English but they really appreciate it if an American makes an effort to communicate in their language. Even if all you say is a few simple sentences it will make a big difference - you tried. Have a wonderful time!
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Re: Paris in the Spring for me?

Postby MyPasswordIsInvalid » Tue Dec 26, 2006 3:43 pm

Scenario Thinker wrote:... Realistically, I know the class won't make me even close to fluent in French, but I thought it might give me at least a leg up on what I know now which is bonjour, oui, and merci :)... Merci
If you can get your hands on the FRENCH IN ACTION tapes or DVDs, you might learn enough to be "fluent" in an everyday kind of way. There are 52 half-hour lessons and only the first one is in English, everything else is in French and it works!! You will learn "real" French. This course developed by Pierre Capretz at Yale is unlike the usual language classes. Even if you take a convention language class, these tapes will give you a new way of looking at things. It was a realistic look at French/Parisian [upper] middle-class life in 1987 and probably is fairly accurate today. There are many fans of FRENCH IN ACTION, including me. http://www.fancyrobot.com/2003/03/french_in_actio.html
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Postby velvet » Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:12 pm

OOooooooh so many good things to recommend for you! Ok, #1, and this is absolutely important, get \"France: culture shock!\" they do a culture shock series, and this was soooooooo excellent. It taught me what was often misunderstood by americans, and how to understand french culture. I think it was in that book that they explained that france is like going to go visit your great-great aunt - you behave a bit more quietly, a bit more politely, and remember, France is ever so much older than our youngster country. I found this utterly helpful, had some useful phrases that I brought along with me on my trip, and extra bonus - i didnt misread the politeness cues, I was treated respectfully, and I did not get offended by anything in France. I really like the dk travel books. I found the information really handy. I knew I didnt have enough time to see all of the Louvre, so I read the Paris dk book, found the wing that had the art most interesting to me, and when I got to the museum, I knew exactly where I was going. I expect you might personally find these books mindblowingly wonderful - they give cross sections of architecture, tell how the buildings were built, and explain all sorts of information about them. Excellent armchair traveling and preparing for a trip! I found Rick Steve's France to be really handy, and incidentally I saw a lot of tourists carrying this around. Great if you want to know public transportation, and hotel recommendations, and all that. I found it very useful. He also has a ton of ideas on how to do really cheap travel. As well as useful information on everything you will want to see. I think the conversational french class will at least give you a bit to say, and knowing you have a trip immediately following, you'll be far more motivated to learn and apply yourself. :) go for it. And it is true, if you speak french, you will be more respected, and treated better in France.
I see that they are happy, not because they got luckier than all the rest of us when they found each other, but because they passionately desire and believe in their happiness.- Susan Page Destination, Determination, Deliberation! - Twycross, HP&TH-BP
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Postby velvet » Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:29 pm

OHHH! I nearly forgot. My Belgian friend/hostess on my first trip to Paris recommended I go to the Musee Picasso - she said it was not only the art but how it was displayed that was really remarkable. I was not a huge picasso fan, but I thought what she said was so intriguing, I would try it out. Wow. I really loved it. In fact, a friend of mine was living in Paris for a year or two, and just before he moved back home, I told him about this musee and recommended he go see it. He said he wasnt a big picasso fan, and I said, I know, I wasnt either, but go anyway. He Loved it, too. So I highly recommend you go! I feel like I really appreciate Picasso's art so much more now, and I was really delighted with the Musee Picasso in Antibes (the French Riviera) as well, on my next trip to France. velvet
I see that they are happy, not because they got luckier than all the rest of us when they found each other, but because they passionately desire and believe in their happiness.- Susan Page Destination, Determination, Deliberation! - Twycross, HP&TH-BP
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Postby scottjs » Wed Dec 27, 2006 11:13 am

I just watched The Devil Wears Parada!! A little bit of which takes place in Paris. Such a beautiful city!!! Now I want to go again.
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Postby AVATC » Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:31 am

Paris is my favorite city. We spent a magical week there last year for my birthday. Get reservations NOW for one of the restaurants in the Eiffel Tower!!! Trust me, it's an experience you won't want to miss, and you need to make reservations months in advance. On my birthday, we had dinner in the Altitude 95 Restaurant on the first level, which is less formal and pricey than the ultra formal and expensive Jules Verne Restaurant on the second level. We had a leisurely, romantic dinner of fine French cuisine, watching the sun set over the Seine, all the while attended by a super attentive wait staff. It was truly the most memorable meal of my life! The other must-do, off-the-beaten path thing that I recommend is the city tour on Segways. You see a lot of the city, and it sure beats walking! :) We also took a day trip out to Normandy. Our hotel arranged it for us after we got there, so this is not something that you have to decide in advance. The bus picked us up at the hotel across from the Louvre and took us out to the museum, landing beaches and American Cemetery. It was a must-do thing for us, and the tour was very reasonable for a 12-hour day trip. You can do sooo much in such a wonderland like Paris! I would just pick a few must-do things so you don't wear yourself out. For us, the must-dos were:
  • Dinner in the Eiffel Tower and a trip to the top
  • Visit to the Louvre
  • Visit to Versailles
  • Visit to Normandy
  • Segway tour
  • Stop by the Harley-Davidson dealer so my husband could get the requisite t-shirt and pin
  • Stop by the Hard Rock Cafe so I could get the requisite t-shirt
  • Stop in the Camac Harp showroom (where a very nice young man showed me all kinds of things about caring for my Camac Clio harp)
  • Visit to the Music Museum
As long as you greet the French people with a smile and a polite \"Bonjour, M--\", we found that small show of respect for them and their culture was all we needed. They were always warm and gracious to us everywhere we went. We made other attempts at speaking French, but we knew (and still know) very little French. They usually knew English and were always helpful to us. You are going to have so much FUN in such a beautiful and charming city! You must tell us about it when you return!
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Postby AVATC » Thu Dec 28, 2006 7:41 am

BTW, Paris is an expensive city, and one way to economize is to take the train as often as possible. We figured out in advance how many rides we thought we'd would take on the excellent Paris Metro and bought passes at the station. I used the terrific computer system on their web site to plot our transportation routes before I left home. This site was extremely helpful in helping us get to some of our more obscure locations like the harp showroom and Harley dealer. With our print-outs in hand, we always knew exactly where we were going!
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Postby scottjs » Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:43 pm

AVATC!! Do you play harp?? I am impressed. There is a music store in San Francisco that cells some interesting harps and lots of exotic instruments!!! I love the place!!! I just play guitar but love looking at all sorts of other musical instruments!!
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Re: Paris in the Spring for me?

Postby pattyn » Thu Dec 28, 2006 10:53 pm

Scenario Thinker wrote:Realistically, I know the class won't make me even close to fluent in French, but I thought it might give me at least a leg up on what I know now which is bonjour, oui, and merci :)
What a great idea! It will turn a short vacation into a multi-month adventure, and you'll get more out of your time there with even a basic vocabulary. Enjoy!
- Patty Newbold
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Marriage Education Author/Speaker - assumelove.com - enjoybeingmarried.com
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Postby AVATC » Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:37 am

For anyone who is interested or just wants to get in the mood to visit Paris, you can take a look at Drew's pictures from our Paris vacation on his web site at this link: www.DrewCommins.com/paris/ You can see the smaller thumbnail at the bottom. Scoll in the bottom frame until you see a picture you want to enlarge. Click on it to make it the larger picture in the center. The pictures are organized by the first 2-3 letters as follows: AP various shots around Paris (most of the city was gorgeous, but AP01 was the house of deceased French pop singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg right down the street from the hotel) ET Eiffel Tower (We ate a sumptuous and totally unforgettable dinner at Altitude 95 on the first level of the Eiffel Tower on my birthday. ET38 is a really unusual view of the tower as Drew hung his camera over the side from the top floor observation deck!) FLT flight (mostly Zurich alps and airport, but FLT01 is an extremely happy girl about to depart Atlanta to Paris!) LV Louvre (LV49 is the room where they assemble and paint everything they purchased at Hobby Lobby :)) MM Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur is an amazing basilica on a hill with grand view of the city -- yes, we walked up ALL the steps to get there! -- we loved the artists' market and shops behind the basilica. If you want to buy art, though, you also can get beautiful oil paintings for low prices from dealers along the river.) NM Normandy (when you see some of those cliffs, you think that the Allies must have been smoking crack to come up with the plan to attack there. The German cemetery has the black crosses in rows of 5. The American cemetery has 9300+ soldiers buried in it.) ST Segway tour (naturally, the worst weather occurred the day we had scheduled the Segway tour, and the tours are rain or shine) VS Versailles (if you were freezing and starving in Paris and saw how your king and queen lived at Versailles, a revolution might have entered your mind!) Also, some of you with time on your hands this week may like to read how that 2005 trip to Paris and some of these pictures became the decorating theme and artwork for my recording studio with this essay on my blog. After our cruise a couple of months ago, we flew home through Paris and stayed overnight there. I was so thrilled to be there even for the night. All of this talk of Paris and makes me want to be there again! PS. to Scott -- Yes, I do play the harp although my practice time has fallen off significantly since my voice-over work has picked up!
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Postby scottjs » Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:40 pm

Karen, I am over come by how good those photographs are!!! You and your husband have a whole lot of talent. Great job!!! I have been to a few of the places in Paris. Never been to Normandy though. Just amazing that D-Day was there. I almost have tears in my eyes!! That photography!!! Just amzing.
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