French Language Blog

Travelling in French – Le Nouvel An en Belgique ! Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Culture, Vocabulary

Over New Year’s I visited Belgium with some friends. Along the way we used nearly every moyen de transport (transportation method) à part un avion et un bateau (besides a boat and a plane).

The trip started early and when the day was over we had used un train, un métro, un autocar, et une voiture (a train, a subway, an intercity bus, and a car). It was a long day filled with lots of sitting and figuring out how to buy the right billets (tickets), and, more importantly, figuring out how to find nos sièges (our seats).

The day started with le premier train à Paris (the earliest train to Paris). After getting nos billets, we had to remember to les composter (validate them). Whenever you use la SNCF (the French national train company, la société nationale des chemins de fer français), you have to have your ticket stamped by le composteur before you board le train. This assures that you’re not reusing un ancien billet.

Once in Paris, we had to figure out how to get from la gare ferroviaire (the train station) to la gare routière (the bus station), and that meant navigating le métro (with some fun around Paris of course). After we found nos sièges it was just a matter of waiting plus de six heures (more than six hours) while l’autocar made its way from Paris to Bruxelles.

Fatigués après une journée sur la route (tired after a day on the road), there was still one last métro to navigate before we were at our temporary home.

Once we were settled into un appartement à Bruxelles (an appartment in Brussels) we had access to une voiture and used it to travel to la ville de Bruges in Northern Belgium. C’est-à-dire (in other words) more time sur la route.

During our stay, we had plenty of time to profiter des frites et de la bière belges (enjoy Belgian fries and beer). Bruxelles is also known as le capital d’Europe (the capital of Europe) and spent time visiting many of the famous sites for l’Union européenne all over the city.

Après le nouvel an et quelques jours à Bruxelles (after New Year’s and a few days in Brussels), it was time to come back to France. We had seen many statues and monuments, including le Manneken-Pis (the peeing boy statue), but were tired and ready to go home.

We piled into la voiture and got ready for the long trip. Along the way one of the big differences between the two countries was how les autoroutes (highways) are free en Belgique, but not in France! We had to go through many péages (toll booths) while making our way home.

I made a short video of le voyage! Regardez-la (watch it) to get a taste of our trip to Belgium!

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. Ian Tarrant:

    I loved the video of the trip!