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A shopping and a geography lesson about France Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 in Business, Geography, Grammar, Vocabulary

One of my favorite adventures of Asterix and Obelix is Le Tour de Gaule (Around France)* In an attempt to show up the local Roman soldiers, our intrepid heroes attempt to complete a trip around France bringing back the regional specialties from the different cities they visit. If they were to  undertake the task today, the duo might do some of their shopping at Leclerc.

E.Leclerc is a cooperative representing almost 700 stores around Europe. In France, E.Leclerc is one of the largest grocery chains controlling close to 20% of the market. They are also – if these two ads are to be believed – le moins cher. (the least expensive)**

Qui est le moins cher ? à Lille, à Chambéry, à Ussel . . .
 

Et à Chambéry ? C’est qui le moins cher ? And in Chambery? Who is least expensive?
C’est Leclerc ! Moins cher que Carrefour et Super U, par exemple. It’s Leclerc! Cheaper than Carrefour and Super U, for example.
Mais moi je fais mes courses à . . . But I shop in . . .
A Lille. In Lille.
A Lille ? In Lille ?
Leclerc est moins cher que Carrefour, Cora, Auchan . . . Leclerc less expensive than Carrefour, Cora, Auchan . . .
Oui mais à Tours c’est qui le moins cher ? Yes but in Tours, who is the least expensive?
Si vous êtes à Tours, Leclerc est moins cher que Auchan et Super U. If you are in Tours, Leclerc is less expensive than Auchan and Super U.
Par exemple. For example.
Et à Ussel ? [Ussel ! Ussel !] At in Ussel ?
A Ussel ? Leclerc est moins cher que Intermarché et Carrefour Market, entre autres. In Ussel ? Leclerc is less expensive than Intermarché and Carrefour Market, among others.
[Ussel !]  
Et chez vous ? C’est qui le moins cher ? And where you live? Who is the least expensive?
Vérifiez le en téléchargeant l’appli quiestlemoinscher Verify it (find out) by downloading the app quiestlemoinscher (whoistheleastexpensive)
Leclerc. Leclerc.
 
Qui est le moins cher ? à Marseille, à Nanterre, à Montluçon . . .
 

On a les chiffres***. A Marseille Leclerc est moins cher qu’Hyper Casino. Par exemple. We have the numbers (the data). In Marseille Leclerc is less expensive than Hyper Casino. For example.
C’est moi qui (le) dis ! I say that !
D’accord mais nous on fait nos courses à Nanterre. Ok, but we shop in Nanterre.
A Nanterre ? In Nanterre ?
A Nanterre Leclerc est moins cher que Intermarché. In Nanterre Leclerc is less expensive than Intermarché.
C’est ça. That’s right (what he said)
Mais nous on est à Montluçon. But we’re in Montluçon.
A Montluçon ! In Montluçon !
Montluçon ? Montluçon ?
A Montluçon Leclerc est moins cher que Auchan et Intermarché. In Montluçon  Leclerc is less expensive than Auchan and Intermarché.
Et bah voilà ! There you have it !
Oui mais a Montluçon d’accord, mais a . .. Yes but in Montluçon  ok, but in . . .
A Château-Thierry ? ‘ttendez ! In Château-Thierry? Hold please!
A Château-Thierry ? Leclerc est moins cher que Super U par exemple. In Château-Thierry? Leclerc is less expensive than Super U for example.
M’voilà par exemple. There for example.
Et chez vous ? C’est qui le moins cher ? And where you live? Who is the least expensive?
Vérifiez le en téléchargeant l’appli quiestlemoinscher Verify it (find out) by downloading the app quiestlemoinscher (whoistheleastexpensive)
Leclerc. Leclerc.

 

* It’s a play on “le Tour de France”, the famous cycling race around France. Gaule (or Gaul) is, of course, the ancient name for what we now call France. The usage also shows up in Jules Verne’s Le Tour du monde en 80 jours (Around the world in 80 days).
**
The word ‘cher’ means ‘expensive’ or ‘dear’. Like any adjective, ‘cher’ needs to agree with the noun (or nouns) being modified. The feminine form is ‘chère‘, and the plurals are ‘chers’ and ‘chères’. Conveniently (or perhaps not, since it won’t help you identify the gender and number of the noun in a spoken sentence!) all four forms are pronounced the same way.
*** Do you know the difference between ‘chiffre’, ‘nombre’, and ‘numero’? ‘Un chiffre’ is the number equivalent of a letter. It is literally the thing you write. In English we would say ‘digit’. ‘Les chiffres sont 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, et 9.’ Un nombre’ (‘number’) is made up of two or more ‘chiffres’.  20, 999, 4,000 are ‘nombres’. ‘Un numero‘ is a specific numerical designation like ‘un numero de telephone’ (‘a telephone number), ‘un numero de chambre’ (‘hotel room number’), or ‘le numero de rue’ (‘the street number [for a house or building]).

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris