French Language Blog

A modern family Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Culture, Vocabulary

In just a few days, I’ll be leaving for a family vacation in France. We’re going to visit Paris then head to la Bretagne (the Brittany region) where we will celebrate le mariage (the wedding) of my . . . well, it’s complicated!

Un peu d’histoire* / A little background

When I was 16, I lived in France of a year. I fell in love with the language, country, culture and my host family (ma famille d’accueille). In fact, a number of years later, I married my host sister . . . leading to mes deux belles-filles (my two step-daughters). While we were married, ma femme et moi, nous avons aussi eu notre fils William (my wife and I also had our son William) which means that Anne-Laure (et sa sœur Audrey/and her sister Audrey) is also la soeur de mon fils (my son’s sister).

Many years later, mon ex-femme (my ex-wife) and I are no longer married, but my two step-daughters – even though living back in France – are still very much part of my life and in just a over a week, la plus jeune des deux (the younger/yougest of the two), Anne-Laure, is getting married! So while Anne et sa sœur are very dear to me (and to the rest of my family . . . ma mère, mon père, mes sœurs, mon frère, et mes neveux et nièces! / You can brush up on all your family vocabulary here) knowing just what to call them has always been a little tricky.

Next week I’ll share a post about some of the great things I’m planning to eat while I’m in France (there are all sorts of regional specialities in Bretagne that I’m looking forward to!) and when I return, I’ll lots of strories to share about mes dix jours en France (my 10 days in France).

Speaking of family . . .

Ma tante Rose (my aunt Rose) recently shared some pictures with me that she got from son frère (her brother) of a dîner en plein air (out door diner) in Roberval where he lives. This “gigantesque repas en plein air qui réunit 10 000 convives autour d’une table de plus d’un kilométré de long” (gigantic out door meal at which 10,000 guests gather around a table over one kilometer long) takes place each year  in conjunction with a 32km nage en eau libre (open water swim) in the lac St-Jean (Saint John Lake) le dernier samedi de juillet (the last saturday in July).

* This has always been one of my favorite French words. I love how in one word the French capture both ‘history’ and ‘story’. Un peu d’histoire’ literally means ‘a little bit of history’ whereas ‘une petite histoire’ would be ‘a little story’.

Image Credits:
This weeks images not from ma tante Rose come from, a great source of royalty free, open source images.

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.


  1. Louise Bissonnette:

    Like this article! Have a great trip!

  2. Kathleen Chapin:

    Enjoyed your piece today Tim. Have a fabulous time and I will look forward to the after stories. Love you and have an amazing journey. ❤️

  3. John Bauer:

    Bon voyage ! Enjoy your time in France!