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French Etymology: Gaulish Edition Posted by on Apr 23, 2018

Last week, we went over the interesting history of the Battle of Alésia and the downfall of Vercingétorix and the Gauls. (Interesting fact: Did you know that the Gauls kept their birth names secret? They believed that if someone knew their real name, it diminished their power. Vercingétorix is an honoary title that most likely…

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Visiting Ancient France: The Battle of Alesia Posted by on Apr 21, 2018

One of the most important ancient battles that occurred during the Gallic Wars took place in Alésia, France. Known in French as le siège d’Alésia, this battle pitted Roman forces, led by Julius Caesar, against the Gauls (the Celtic tribe that inhabited the region from 5th century BCE to the 5th century CE), led by the…

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La Couronne: The Oldest Restaurant in France? Posted by on Apr 9, 2018

France is known for having many of the oldest restaurants in the world. Why is this? Because the first modern restaurant was established in Paris in 1765. Run by Monsieur Boulanger (which literally translates to Mr. Baker), this restaurant served just one dish: sheep’s feet in a white wine sauce. On the eve of the…

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Strange French Sites: Who Was Nicholas Flamel? Posted by on Apr 5, 2018

If you happen to be in Paris, you might want to check out the oldest stone home in the city. Located at 51, rue de Montmerencey, it dates to 1407. But that’s not the only special thing about this house: it was built by Nicholas Flamel, the most famous French alchemist of all time. For…

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Travel in France: A Palace Made of Pebbles? Posted by on Mar 26, 2018

There are lots of famous sites in France, from the iconic French Riviera to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. But there are also some interesting attractions off the beaten path … like a gigantic palace made almost entirely of pebbles in Hauterives, France. Known as Le Palais idéal, or the Ideal Palace, this strange…

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French Pronunciation and…Squirrels? Posted by on Mar 19, 2018

We all know that French pronunciation can be difficult (but not impossible!) for English speakers to master. The French “r” is particularly difficult, for example. But, according to legend, there is one word that the French themselves used during World War II to discover non-French spies…écureuil, which means “squirrel.” The word écureuil (nm) rhymes with the…

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French Nursery Rhymes: Au Clair de la lune Posted by on Mar 16, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a nursery rhyme with an interesting origin. That comptine, as nursery rhymes are known in French, might not have been as familiar to English speakers as the one I’m writing about today. The melody of “Au Clair de la lune” is probably familiar to most people around the world…

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