Category Archives: Top tips

Keeping Your Ear to the Ground in Rural France

  A reader recently bemoaned the fact that they had not heard in advance about an event on which I reported. I sympathise. Keeping up with what’s going on is not easy and, dare I say it, the French aren’t … Continue reading

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Ten things to do in 2011

  I don’t do New Year’s resolutions: they only get broken. The loftier the aspirations, the more disappointing it is when you fail to achieve them. I did manage to stay teetotal for the whole of January one year, but … Continue reading

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Which is the best region in France to live in?

  I should point out that this post was written in October 2010 and things might well have changed a bit since then. For up-to-date info I suggest you go to the Provemploi website. The answer is Rhône-Alpes, closely followed … Continue reading

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The top ten Maigret novels

  ‘What on earth has Georges Simenon’s Maigret got to do with living in southwest France?’ you might ask. And you’d be absolutely right. Very little, is the answer, at least on the face of it. However, I’ve often said … Continue reading

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Eat well in France – 10 top tips

Although noted for its cuisine, you don’t always eat well in France. A writer’s lot in France provides 10 top tips for enjoying a restaurant meal. Continue reading

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How to garden in France: which plants do well?

A writer’s lot in France suggests a selection of plants and shrubs that tolerate drought and frost conditions in southwest France. Continue reading

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How to garden in France: getting started

Gardening in southwest France is not always easy, says A writer’s lot in France, but following a few simple rules will help you create the garden you want. Continue reading

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Websites about living in France that I like

This post lists some websites that include networks, forums and practical information about France for expats or those thinking of moving abroad. Some are specifically aimed at Brits, others are aimed at expats generally.

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French novels – 10 of the best, nos. 6-10

A selection of the top 10 French novels, by A writer’s lot in France. Continue reading

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French novels – 10 of the best, nos. 1 to 5

And now for something completely different.  A personal selection of the top 10 French novels, the ones I keep coming back to.  Numbers 1 to 5 are in this post.  For Numbers 6-10, click here. See also my post about French … Continue reading

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Buying a house in France: ten top tips

We leave our brains behind when we look at property in France, but a few tips will help you avoid making expensive mistakes, says A writer’s lot in France Continue reading

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Surviving in France: 10 top tips

Living in France is very different from spending a couple of weeks on holiday here. Here are some commonsense tips to help you get the most out of living in France. Continue reading

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French social customs 7: tu or vous?

Another knotty problem in my French social customs series [for the others, see Customs in Topics in the right-hand sidebar].

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French social customs 6: greetings in French

For my other posts about French customs, please see Customs under Topics in the right-hand sidebar.  In theory it’s simple: to say hello it’s bonjour all day and bonsoir in the evening.  To say good-bye it’s au revoir at any time of … Continue reading

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French social customs 5: Monsieur, Madame or first names?

For my other posts about French customs, please see Customs under Topics in the right-hand sidebar.  The French are more formal than the Americans or the English and are sticklers for politeness.  Many an unsuspecting foreigner has got stuck in the swamp … Continue reading

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French social customs 4: table manners part 2

People in France eat out a lot (although somewhat less during the present crise).  On Sundays, you will often see whole families from grandparents down to babies tucking into a five-course meal.  This is the reason why French children are … Continue reading

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Language mistakes: 5 things to avoid saying in French

Translating literally from English to French is always dangerous.  Many French words change their meaning depending on how they are used or which verbs they are used with.  Also, hundreds of English and French words look similar but mean different … Continue reading

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French social customs 2: apéritifs

Apertifs are among the most enjoyable French social occasions. Here are some tips for how to conduct yourself when you’re invited. Continue reading

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French social customs 1: kissing

For my other posts about French social customs, please look in Customs under Topics in the right-hand sidebar. The issues of whom to kiss, when to kiss and how to kiss are a potential social minefield.  Here are some tips.

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