French Language Blog

Musings of an ex-expat Posted by on Mar 22, 2016 in Culture

Bonjour et bienvenue!

My host mother and I at Versailles, 1985

My host mother and I at Versailles, 1985

Permettez moi de me présenter. Je m’appelle Tim Hildreth et je suis désormais bloggeur pour Transparent Language! (Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tim Hildreth and starting today, I’m a new blogger here with Transparent Language.)

I’m sure you can guess from my name, I’m not French. But I am a long-time student of French, and more importantly, I’m a long-time lover of all things French. Over the years, I’ve shared my passion as a tutor, as a teacher, and now I’m excited to have an opportunity to share with you some of the things about French, France, and French culture that I find most fun and fascinating.


My son and I, Chams de Mars, 1995

My son and I, Champs de Mars, 1995

How did I get here? Well, like many folks, I started learning French as a kid in school. To be honest, I wasn’t initially all that good at it! I even dropped out of French in high school to take Spanish! Despite that, somehow when I was heading into my junior year, I was selected by a great organization called Youth For Understanding to spend the following year in France, living with a French family and studying at the local French ‘lycée’ (high school)

To say that the experience changed my life would be an understatement. I lived with a wonderful family during that year and I was fortunate to be able to travel and see different parts of the country, to meet amazing people (many of whom I still consider family), to discover new foods, and a whole world of art, culture, history, music, film, and more. It didn’t take long before I fell head over heels in love with pretty much all of it. And that first trip led to many more, including a semester back in Paris during my college years, a year living in France after college, and more work and personal trips than I can count.

Me at the Pont Alexandre III, 2012, with the Grand Palais in the background

Me at the Pont Alexandre III, 2012, with the Grand Palais in the background

And while I eventually ended up back in New Hampshire where I came from, my heart has always been split between here and there. And it informed my early career (when I actually worked for Transparent Language helping design some of their early products), a side journey into teaching (when I spent two years as the part-time 7th grade French teacher for my local school), and many of my hobbies (I’m an avid reader, movie-watcher, and music lover and many of my go-to books, films, and favorite musical artists are French).

There’s an old French expression “Un homme qui parle deux langues, en vaut deux.”. [(A man/person who speaks two languages, is worth twice as much (literally “worth two people)]. It’s always been a favorite of mine and I hope that through my posts I’ll be able to help introduce you to ideas, resources, and more that make it, if not easier, at least more fun, to learn French so that, if you’re not already, you too can be a person who speaks two languages.

J’espère que nous allons devenir de bons amis! I hope we’ll get to be good friends.

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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. Dyanne Gérard:

    Lovely to read your blog. I almost. .well, did, have misty eyes as I, like you and so many others, just adore France. I lived in Paris for 6.5 years and loved every minute of it. I’ve been back in Sydney, Australia for almost 3 years and miss Paris every day so can relate well to your blog. I’ve been back once only but going to visit again in a couple of months time. Good luck with your blog, Cheers Dyanne

    • Tim Hildreth:

      @Dyanne Gérard Merci, Dyanne. I’m envious of your extended stay! And for your current home city. Sydney is another great world destination. I hope you have a lovely time on your trip to France in a few months.

  2. Beth:

    Trés cool, Merci Mille fois !

  3. Letha:

    Thank you for sharing! Letha et Hailey.

  4. Natasha:

    Love it!

  5. Angie Quantrell:

    Ah, moi aussi, j’adore Paris et France! Love it!

  6. Samantha Moffatt:

    HI-MY HISTORY IS similar to yours–early living with a family in France and study there, then many return trips, some of several months in length, lifelong friends in all parts of the country and a lifelong attachment to this beautiful and soulful place–then there’s the language: I have taught it in public and private, elementary and high schools, and now I teach privately to a group of retired adults in the community, most who, like me, have a history with France and want to improve the communication part…a signficant part of each class is used to sing French songs: folk sons, Chanson, newer pop songs, childrens’ rounds…(I am a professional musician who performs French Cafe Music with a trio)..I am hoping that my love of singing in French will transfer to others, not just listeners, but also people like my students who want to get deeper into the poetry and linguistic beauty of the language!
    ANyway, just a little intro, keep up the good work, Samantha

  7. Nancy:

    C’est une bonne chose que vous faites. J’adore la Franece et j’attendes avec impatience le récit de
    vos aventures dan l’hexagone!

  8. Kyle:

    It’s such a wonderful experience to live in another country and learn it’s culture. Beautifully written.

  9. John Bauer:

    Bienvenue Tim ! J’ai hâte de lire tes articles !