UK Office: 0044 (0)1440 820 358

Clé France

The French Property Network

Jan 31

The French University System

In honour of the start of a new semester, I thought it might be useful to introduce readers to the French university system and, later, to French vocabulary used often in the academic setting. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up using this new vocabulary while registering for classes in France!

In France, degrees are divided up into License, Master, and Doctorat levels. The License level is equivalent to a Bachelor’s program, although it typically takes three years of study instead of the four in the United States. The Master level is a two-year graduate program.

However, students still get credit for passing just the first year of courses in many cases (which is called un Master 1).

The Doctorat level (equivalent to a doctorate degree) is an additional three years of—typically, largely independent—study (and terminating with a work of original research, or dissertation, known as une thèse).

French Uni

Most universities in France are public. These schools are referred to informally as la fac. Prices for these schools are typically heavily subsidised by the French government and students typically pay only several hundred euros in fees per year. Private schools are more expensive, of course.

Then, there are also les grandes écoles. These schools are highly competitive and elite; typically students can only be accepted into these schools if they pass rigorous entrance exams. Although there is no real equivalent of these schools in the UK or the United States, they might be compared to ivy league schools. Les grandes écoles are also typically more expensive than la fac. 

The French university schedule is very similar to other universities across Europe and the US. However, universities typically start a bit later in France than in the United States, with fall semesters beginning often in late September or early October and spring semesters extending until July.

University students have many advantages in France, from access to cheap movie tickets, subway and train tickets, museum passes, and even special restaurants that cater to university students and only cost several euros for full meals. Students in big cities like Paris also have access to student housing for discounted rates.

International students who are interested in studying in France can check out the government website at Campus France for more information about applying for student visas and universities.

Cle France LOGO

Cle Mortgages

Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

Add CommentViews: 1405
Jan 31

Buying A Glass In French

Buying A Glass In French – Oh, Don’t Forget The Drink!

Firstly - Don’t be afraid of making mistakes when you speak French!

Not knowing how to say simple words like mattress or shorts have put me in some strange situations, but if I had been too afraid to speak, I would never have learned les nouveaux mots (the new words) at all!

Between looking at someone dans les yeux (in the eyes) and learning the importance of l’eau (water), I’ve learned a lot au café. 

Another fun experience learning new words au café happened when I was out with mon ami (my friend) and wanted to buy them a drink as a friendly gesture. I wasn’t sûr à cent percent (one hundred percent sure) and ended up thinking in English as I smiled at mon ami...

Buying a Glass in French 

Je t’achète un verre ! 

D’accord… pourquoi ? 

Tu es mon ami, donc je veux t’acheter un verre ! 

Pourquoi pas ! 

I’ll buy you a glass! 

Okay… why? 

You are my friend, so I want to buy you a glass! 

Why not! 

Mon ami was nice enough to play along even if he didn’t really understand what I wanted to say. When le barman (the bartender) came over and I placed an order, mon ami immediately understood what I originally tried to say. 

Aaah ! Tu voulais dire que tu veux me payer un verre ! 

Aaah! You wanted to say that you want to buy me a glass! 

It was my turn to be confused because it sounded like he pretty much said exactly the same thing, only using the word payer (to pay) instead of acheter (to buy). 

Alors, c’est quoi la différence entre ce que tu viens de dire et ce que j’ai dit ? 

Si tu dis que tu vas m’acheter un verre, ça veut dire que tu vas vraiment m’acheter un verre et pas la boisson ! 

So, what’s the difference between what you just said and what I said? 

If you say that you’re buying me a glass, that means you are going to really buy me a glass and not the drink! 

I quickly understood my mistake and realised how funny my original statement must have sounded to mon ami.

The difference between payer un verre and acheter un verre has since stuck with me, but that wasn’t the last time a small error made my French sound strange.

Cle France LOGO

Cle Mortgages

Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

Add CommentViews: 1398
Jan 31

Breakfast in France in French

A Little French Breakfast Vocabulary To Start The Day

Le petit déjeuner (breakfast) is the first meal of the day and while la cuisine (the food) and the time may vary from place to place, everywhere in the world has some kind of breakfast.

It may take a while for some people to wake up, but everyone has une routine du matin (a morning routine) that involves things like l’entaientment matinal (morning exercise), se brosser les dents (brushing your teeth), and of course, le petit déjeuner.

Interestingly, even though it may not look like it, the French petit déjeuner has a similar origin to the English word:

Petit déjeuner - Breakfast 

The word derives from jeuner meaning to fast (as in to not eat for a period of time) and adding the dé- prefix gives it the opposite meaning. That gives déjeuner the definition of ending the fast or breaking the fast, similar to the English term, break-fast. It’s also important to remember that without the petit, the word becomes lunch.

Déjeuner - Lunch

En France, le petit déjeuner features pastries like le croissant, le beignet, la crêpe and of course le pain au chocolat (without getting into the big debate over la chocolatine) and is usually accompanied by un café, but some people prefer du thé (tea), une infusion (herbal tea), or du jus (juice) instead.

No matter what you eat, la routine du matin that goes along with le petit déjeuner can set the mood for the entire day. To get in the French learning mood, try to start saying what you ate for breakfast en français, even if it’s not a French breakfast and you’re a little far from une boulangerie française (a French bakery)...

Cle France Breakfast

Voici un vocabulaire du petit déjeuner :

Breakfast – Le petit déjeuner

Lunch – Le déjeuner

Dinner – Le dîner

Milk – Le lait

Cereal – Les céréales

Coffee – Le café

Tea – Le thé

Herbal Tea – L’infusion

Orange Juice – Le jus d’orange

Bread – Le pain

Toast – Le pain grillé

Jam – La confiture

Pancake – Le pancake

Waffle – La gaufre

Syrup – Le sirop

Bacon – Le bacon

Eggs – Les œufs

Cle France LOGO

Cle Mortgages

Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

Add CommentViews: 1586
Jan 31

What Does a Dog Say in French?

Come Learn the Animal Sounds!

Dogs, turkeys, and lions are all over the world, and they all make the same sounds.

These sounds, though, are portrayed differently in our spoken languages.

Recently I went on a cruise with my friend and her family. At some point, my friend and her brother were teasing their Russian stepmother over something she’d said in the past about what roosters say. She took it in stride and said the Russian animal noise again: кукареку (kukareku). As a French speaker, I know French roosters in the provincial countryside scream "cocorico" in the mornings, so to me it wasn’t so odd.

I later had a (very adult looking) conversation with a French friend discussing a few animal noises and verbs I wasn’t familiar with. Our bleating, screeching, and mooing have produced the following list. Memorise them and take yourself to the nearest French zoo for a fun, animalistic conversation...

Animal Sounds with Cle France

Le chien – dog

Que fait le chien ? Le chien fait ouaf ouaf ! (What does the dog say? The dog says woof woof!)

Verbs for dog sounds: aboyer (bark), grogner (growl), hurler (howl), and japper (yips).

Le chat – cat

Que fait le chat ? Le chat fait miaou ! (What does the cat say? The cat meows!)

Verbs for cat sounds: miauler (meow) and ronronner (purr).

La poule – chicken

Que fait la poule ? La poule fait cotcotcodet ! (The chicken goes bock bock bock!)

Chicks (les poussins) in French say piou-piou.

Verbs for chicken sounds: caqueter (cluck).

Le coq – rooster

Que fait le coq ? Le coq fait cocorico ! (What does a rooster say? The rooster says cock-a-doodle-do!)

Verbs for rooster sounds: chanter (here, to crow)

Le corbeau – crow

Que fait le corbeau ? Le corbeau fait crôa crôa ! (What does the crow say? Caw caw!)

Verbs for crow sounds: croasser (to crow)

Le pigeon – pigeon

Que fait le pigeon ? Le pigeon fait rou rou ! (What doe the pigeon say? Coo coo!)

Verbs for pigeon sounds: roucouler (to coo)

L’oiseau – bird

Que dit l’oiseau ? L’oiseau fait cui cui ! (What does a bird say? Chirp chirp!)

Verbs for bird sounds: gazouiller (to chirp)

This is for birds in general.

Le dindon – turkey

Que fait le dindon ? Le dindon fait glou glou ! (What does a turkey say? Gobble gobble!)

Verbs for turkey sounds: glouglouter (to gobble)

Le canard – duck

Que fait le canard ? Le canard fait coin coin ! (What does the duck say? Quack quack!)

Verbs for duck sounds: cancaner (here, to quack)

Le cochon – pig

Que fait le cochon ? Le cochon fait groin groin ! (What does the pig say? Oink oink!)

Verbs for pig sounds: grogner (here, to oink)

La vache – cow

Que fait la vache ? La vache fait meuh ! (What does a cow say? Moo!)

Verbs for cow sounds: mugir (here, to moo)

Le cheval – horse

Que fait le cheval ? Le cheval fait hiiii ! (What does the horse say? Neigh!)

Verbs for horse sounds: hennir (to neigh, winny)

L’âne – donkey

Que fait l’âne ? L’âne fait hi-han ! (What does the donkey say? Hee-haw!)

Verbs for donkey sounds: braire (to bray)

Fun French tip: Have trouble remembering the order of both y and en in a sentence? Remember what the donkey says: y en !

Le lion – lion

Que fait le lion ? Le lion fait raoh ! (What does a lion say? Roar!)

Verbs for lion sounds: rugir (to roar)

La grenouiller – frog

Que fait la grenouille ? La grenouille fait croac croac ! (What does the frog say? Ribbit ribbit!)

Verbs for frog sounds: coasser (here, to ribbit)

So there we have it! You can now speak with animals.

Cle France LOGO

Cle Mortgages

Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

Add CommentViews: 1680
Jul 25

Almost August Already

Almost Août!

Today, as I was standing à la caisse (at the checkout/cashier) to pay for my groceries, la cassière (the cashier) mentioned that she couldn’t believe all the back-to-school ads she saw all over the place. "Summer isn’t over!" she cried. I agreed heartily with her, but then I realised that next week will already be August. How the summer flies! by.

In French, the word for the month of August is Août. This comes from the Latin word augustus, which evolved into the old French aoust. The circonflexe in French typically signals that there was previously an “s” in an earlier version of the word.

Of course, the original root of the word dates back to the Roman Empire, when the emperor Augustus decided to rename the Roman month sextilis after himself! (Of course, changing the names of months or switching up calendars is not rare).

Cle France Blog Pages

A typical scene of a amateur cycle club training in the French countryside.

August is known as le mois de la moisson. What is la moisson? Moisson means “"harvest" and refers to the reaping of crops toward the end of the summer. Take a look at this verse by the Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren in his poem Les Villes tenaculaires (1895):

"Dites! L’ancien labeur pacifique, dans l’août Des seigles mûrs et des avoines rousses, Avec les bras au clair, le front debout Dans l’or des blés qui se retrousse Vers l’horizon torride où le silence bout.”"

(See below for vocabulary words to help you decipher these verses)

But, in French, as in English, there are many derivations of the word août. And typically these derivations are associated with August’s familiar activities—including harvesting produce and taking vacation. For example, l’aoûtat is a kind of harvest mite that eats mature crops (and, thus, appears in August). And the word aoûtien literally means “someone who goes on vacation in August.” Can you think of any derivations of the English word “August” (or for any other months)?

Happy (soon to be early) August to all. Don’t worry, the summer isn’t winding down just yet.

Vocabulary List


des seigles—rye

mûrs—mature or ripe

des avoines—oat

des blés—wheat.

Cle Mortgages

Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.


Add CommentViews: 1227

Quick Search

Minimum Beds/Baths

Price Range

Land in sq metres (1 acre = 4000M2)

Join the Mailing List

Select subscriber list :

NEW On the Market

Property For Sale
Property For Sale Marcey-les-Greves
Property For Sale
Property For Sale Les-Moutiers-en-Cinglais
Property For Sale
Property For Sale Lingreville

Property of the Week

Property of the Week
Country House with Outbuildings

Countryside in Normandy

For Sale at 139,600 €