Le Plateau des Glières

On Friday, David and I drove up to the Plateau des Glières, the famous hiding location of the French Resistance fighters during WWII. There’s a Resistance Monument, a few restaurants, and several hiking trails on the plateau. David had heard about Chez Constance and their delicious meals of beignets, so we decided to head there for lunch.

Mappy.com’s directions lead us to believe it would take 44 minutes to drive there. It took us nearly an hour an a half because there are absolutely no signs for the plateau, except right next to the road that leads up the mountain. We drove through La Clusaz, Grand Bornand, St. Jean de Sixt and Thones (all of which are cute Alpine towns, btw) before we finally found the right road in Petit Bornand. That was actually the easy part.

The road that leads up the mountain is a tiny, although paved, path that only allows for one car at a time. Several of the curves had no guard rails, so I can only imagine how many cars have slid over the edge during the winter. We almost gave up and turned around twice because we didn’t think we were on the right road. Finally, nearly an hour after we were supposed to arrive, we made it to the plateau.

television / la televisione

I just watched the cutest language programs on the local channel here, TV8 Mont-Blanc. They’re part of the Victor Ebner immersion series. I learned how to enroll in a language school in British English and how to describe a hotel room in Italian. Each episode includes Victor, the animated character, answering questions that his teacher asks (the teacher being the booming voice in the background). He has a particular sense of humor and makes some mistakes, such as conjugating verbs incorrectly. In the English episode, he kept talking about the pretty girl who wanted to take a language class and how he wanted to hold her hand and give her a bunch of flowers. I’ve seen the English DVDs at the médiathèque, but I’m not sure if they have the other languages – French, Italian, Spanish, German and even Swiss German!

Right before the language programs, there was an infomercial for Ellezza cream. I had seen this bizarre Spanish infomercial in the US last summer, and I still can’t believe people pay 80 € for a jar of face cream made out of snail slime. That is beyond weird.

But I did discover that certain shows on my Swiss channel can be watched in French or English. Unfortunately, the show earlier today was The Bold & the Beautiful. However, looking through TSR’s site, I also noticed that Switzerland appears to be more up-to-date with their American shows. CSI (Les Experts) is currently in season 7 in the US. The French channel is still showing season 4, while the Swiss channel just started showing season 7!

10:30 AM and I’ve already watched too much TV.

On est allé au Semnoz.


I spent today on a mountain. The weather was gorgeous, so David and I drove up the Semnoz (all the way to the top where there is still snow), and then came back down to have a picnic in the grass. We watched little children play soccer, dogs happily chase after sticks, and les parapentistes glide above us. C’était magnifique.

I was most amused by our choices of sandwiches. David made a typically French one on a baguette, while I stuck to my “American Sandwich” (it says that in English on the bag) sliced bread. I guess I still feel that baguettes are too high class and sophisticated to be treated as lowly sandwich bread.

Plus I learned a new word AND species of animal. Towards the bottom of the mountain, there was a small caged area full of daims. Looking up the French to English translation online only led to looking up the English definition of fallow deer. Apparently they don’t live in Michigan, and actually only in very small parts of the US, so I had never heard of them before.

J’ai passé une bonne journée.

Sous-Titrages

I finally figured out how to turn the subtitles on! It only involved pushing random buttons on the remote for 15 minutes and then pushing 888. How easy. I mean, doesn’t everyone know that 888 means subtitles in France?

I just watched two episodes of Bones and understood almost everything. Je suis contente !

Edit: Apparently it’s 777 for the Swiss channel.

Il est midi.

Every first Wednesday of the month at noon, each French commune plays the evacuation/air raid alarms from WWII. I love the historical significance of it and that the French have not forgotten the war.

But still, it’s a very creepy sound.

CC

Every time I borrow a DVD from the médiathèque, I always check first to see if there are subtitles in French because reading while listening helps increases my comprehension and vocabulary. I know that closed captioning and subtitles are not always exactly what the characters say, but it’s still better than nothing. Especially since I can’t watch my beloved French in Action videos online anymore because they are only available to people who are in North America.

However, I’m having a problem finding DVDs here that include any closed captioning or subtitling at all. The past three movies that I’ve borrowed had none. In the English-speaking world, 6 out of 7 people use closed captioning as a way of learning English as a Second Language, and they have no hearing disabilities whatsoever. I wish France would see the value in closed captioning, for the deaf and hard-of-hearing people, as well as for those of us who are desperately trying to learn French!

Poisson d’avril

A French joke.

Two cats were swimming across the English Channel – an English cat named One two three, and a French cat named Un deux trois. Which cat made it across the Channel first?

The One two three cat won, because the un deux trois cat sank.

Get it? Un deux trois quatre cinq…

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Forget-me-not

It’s strange the words you forget in your own language when living abroad. Usually my memory lapses only last for a minute, but there was one word that I could not remember for the past five months.

I knew it didn’t really exist in France so I never bothered to search for it in the dictionary. I could have searched online or asked one of my American friends, like I did for multiprise. But instead I did nothing but try to remember.

Finally I attempted to explain what it was to David, knowing that he wouldn’t really know anyway. But something strange happened. As I was describing it and complaining that I couldn’t remember it for the past five months, it came to me.

SHINGLES.

Not the disease, the roofing material. But I have no idea why I was trying to remember that word in particular since I rarely have the habit of talking about roofing in English, much less in French (especially since shingles don’t even exist in France!)