Germany = Christmas

I’m officially on Christmas vacation, except for a few things to grade and absences to count up for my labs. Now I can finally start answering all the e-mails that have been sitting in my Inbox forever. I really want to work on my French tutorials and add a listening section, but Christmas always put me in a “German” mood so I’m concentrating on Deutsch right now. Maybe it’s because Germany actually knows how to do Christmas, unlike France, or perhaps it’s because of Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, that I always associate Germany with Christmas. Plus Christmas trees and markets first originated in Germany and the oldest Christmas carol, Silent Night (Stille Nacht), was originally written in German in Austria.  Even after years of going to Bronner’s in Michigan, I never knew that the chapel outside the store was a replica of the Silent Night Memorial Chapel in Oberndorf, Austria where Stille Nacht was sung for the first time in 1819.

Bronner’s always put me in a good mood, not only because it is year-round Christmas, but also because of its multilingual decorations and signs. Stille Nacht has been translated into 300 languages and all of the versions appear on plaques around the Chapel.  They sell Christmas bulbs with Merry Christmas written on them in 100 languages.  Even the trashcans in the parking lot are multilingual!

Inside Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, Frankenmuth, MI

And their website has a Christmas Wonderland section where people from all over the US and Canada submit pictures of their houses decorated with Christmas lights. They also show the address so you can actually go to the house and see the lights in person (if you live in North America…)

Fahrenheit vs. Celsius

+-*Sometimes I don’t think I will ever get used to non-American measurements. The Metric system and Celsius degrees are much more logical, but it’s not what I spent most of my life using and even after years of living in the country that was the first to adopt the Metric system, I still find it […]

Full Story »

French Christmas Songs

+-*Learn French through Christmas songs! La chanson en cours de FLE has a few listening activities for the first 3 songs if you want to test yourself. Petit Papa Noël Vive le Vent (Jingle Bells) Mon Beau Sapin (Oh Christmas Tree) Douce Nuit (Silent Night) Au Royaume du Bonhomme Hiver (Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland)

Full Story »

Oh Tiny Christmas Tree

+-*Trees here are so oddly-shaped and small, but it smells like pine and that’s good enough for me. That is an elephant ornament as a topper. A teacher at my first lycée back in 2006 gave it to me. And since Chambéry is the elephant city, I think it’s fitting.

Full Story »

Le Marché de Noël à Chambéry

+-*I have to say the marché here is a little depressing. It’s very small and there aren’t many decorations or interesting things to buy. Plus the weather is just awful, so I’m sure that contributed to my dislike of the marché. Shoving your way through the crowd is bad enough when it’s not raining and […]

Full Story »

Le Téléthon 2009 à Annecy

+-*I had completely forgotten that the Téléthon would be in Annecy this year. France2 is showing live video from the lake right now. It is nice to see the pretty buildings and mountains on TV, but I’m still glad to no longer live there.  It is a great place to visit though, especially in the […]

Full Story »

Free Audiobooks in Foreign Languages

+-*Listen, listen, listen! Some of these sites also include the text and translation into English. French: and Italian: Spanish: and German: Dutch: and

Full Story »

World AIDS Day


Full Story »

Goodbye Thanksgiving, Hello Christmas

+-*Thanksgiving came and went, and I did what I do every year in France: put up Christmas decorations and pretend that not celebrating Thanksgiving doesn’t bother me. Now we’re in the “3 weeks left of school before vacation” period and I’m trying to keep busy with planning what to do during my month off between […]

Full Story »

French & France News

+-*Twitter is now available in French! And yes, I recently joined – though I prefer to say to that my website joined since my username is ielanguages. I’ll most likely be posting more website info and language teaching & learning news and links on there, unlike this blog which usually includes personal stuff like missing […]

Full Story »

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.


The 2nd edition of French Language Tutorial is available as a PDF book. It has been updated with much more vocabulary, sample sentences, and cultural information, plus extended vocabulary lists, cross-referenced topics, and an alphabetical index.

Visit the Store to buy the PDF e-book for $14.95 as an instant download or the paperback book for $29.95 + shipping (shipped worldwide by Purchase of the printed book includes the PDF book for free! Thank you for supporting!

French Today - Master the Modern French Language

21st century French audiobooks and audio lessons