Summer, Travelling

French for beginners

SNC10257After merely 12 hours drive, we arrived on Ile de Re. Ah, Fance, finally France! The food, the weather, the language and: the misunderstandings. I love it!

Mme Cartau welcomed us at the apartment and was cheerfully greeted by Big M. ‘What a lucky lady you are, with such a name.’ Questioning expression on Mme’s face. ‘Named after a desert. Mrs Cake!’ Well, that would have been GATEAU. And no, Mme Cartau was not impressed.

Nevertheless, and for sure used to oh so funny foreigners abusing her name and her language, Mme showed big M around, while I was trying to wind down little L and get her to sleep. ‘Mme showed me where to put the garbage, they have a rommpommebelle here.’ ‘A what?’ I forced the words out, trying hard not to splutter all of my drink. ‘A rommpommebelle’ big M answered, not without being proud of his newly gained vocabulary. Apparently, Mme had mixed a little English with a little French and a lot of accent. Et voila: a room for garbage à la française.

Fortunately, little L and Big M were travelling with Met Mum, whose French wasn’t only fluent, but also deeply asleep. ‘Is the poubelle included?’ I asked the waitress at the restaurant. The poor girl looked at me, startled. ‘Quoi?’ I was thinking hard. Poubelle… Ouch! I had just asked the girl if she had included the rubbish in the bill. Must have been big M and his garbage room, getting me all confused. ‘Pourboire, I meant pourboire!’

Photo033I finished my champagne and caught site of the fabric that was covering the buffet table. ‘La mer est bleue’ was written in dark blue letters on the white-waxed tablecloth. I chuckled. Translated through German into English (and ignoring a missing e on mer), it said ‘Mummy is drunk’. How did they know?Photo034

Met Mum is lost on vacation and kindly asks to excuse missing comments and the usual visits, as le weee-feee is not included in our humble accomodation.


  1. I love it! Drink up and cheers! I just hit the wrong lowest number and had to re-type. How embarrassing!

  2. Bound to be lots of funny language misinterpretations (and scowly looks) while vacationing in France! Have a lovely time.

  3. I need that table cloth! I’m not a Mum but I need it anyway! Enjoy your holiday

  4. Oh oh oh. Such envy I have! The Ile de Re is one of my favourite French holiday spots ever. Actually, never mind the holiday. One of my favourite French spots ever. So so divine. I filmed a holiday show there for Channel 4 many many moons ago and have loved it ever since. Only been back a few times but intend to go camping there with the fam next summer. Oops, mustn’t tell everyone…

  5. I took French in high school so that I could be in the same class with a girl that I liked. She dropped out of the class and I was stuck taking French for the year.

  6. How very fitting is the table cloth! That really does sum me up on a holiday! I know where I’d rather be at this moment in time whilst its pouring down outside. For anyone who doesn’t have the talent of speaking a fluent language, I just thought I’d pass on my most treasured companion and saviour which I use when we go to faraway shores (or a short skip over the channel). There’s no need to learn the language, oh no, just find a picture in the book and point to it!!

  7. Aww, very very cute! Can’t wait to hear more on your holiday! Hope you have a ton of fun 😉

  8. Ooh you sophisticat on Ile de Re, or sophistichat (that sounds terrible in franglais!)
    how I would love to be there or go there. I have only just finished looking at websites for places to stay in that part of the world. Have a fabulous time ma petite choufleur.

  9. Salut les filles (and Turf Dad)!
    I am back on the isle anglais. Zee time was lovely indeed. Feels good to be home. And to have internet again. I missed you all 🙂

    Kissing the air beneath your ears,
    Met Mum

  10. PS: Hi Liz, thanks for stopping by! I tried to leave a comment on your page, but none of the links are ‘clickable’, neither in Safari nor in Firefox. ? 🙁 ?

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