Archive for January, 2014

French Food Your Kids Will Love

Posted on January 22nd, 2014 by Jonah Arellano in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I’m a mom, I get it. No matter where you go there’s always the fear of an impending tantrum. If you have an upcoming trip to France, you might be worried that the unfamiliar food might not be to the liking of your little one. Not to worry, even the pickiest palettes won’t find fault with these French favorites.

french parenting snack timeCroque Monsieur: Does your child eat toasty, warm ham and cheese sandwiches? If yes, then they’ll love the French equivalent. Often made with gruyere cheese, these babies are a good way to introduce your child to complex flavors in a familiar dish.

Crepes:  Who doesn’t like crepes? If you aren’t familiar with this anything goes meal, a crepe is basically a thin pancake that can be filled with sweet or savory add-ins and eaten for any meal, including dessert. To insure your child eats their fill, give them a sense of control over their meal and let them pick what goes inside the crepe.

Steak Frites: If you’re little dinosaur is a carnivore—mine is roaring and knocking down building block towers behind me as I write—then this dish is sure to please. Steak with French-style fries and mayonnaise for dipping, what’s not to love? Start it off with a salad for a more complete meal.

Gougères: If you’re looking for a snack that satisfies, then gougères are for you. Basically savory, cheesy pastry puffs, a few of these will definitely get your kiddo to the next meal drama free. Another point in favor of this pastry is that it’s small enough for little hands to hold.

fondueFondue: I don’t think I’ve ever met a child that didn’t like to dip their food into yummy sauces. Fondue is a great meal option because it’s also fun; while the kids entertain themselves with skewering and dipping their food, you can enjoy a meal minus the “I’m bored” fussiness to which we’ve all become accustomed. Just be careful, that cheese is hot.

Omelet: If you’re a fan of Julia Child then you’ve probably seen her whip up a few of these on her old show. Usually not as jam-packed as omelets in other countries, French omelets are usually just herbaceous and cheesy, letting the eggs speak for themselves.

The last thing you want to worry about on your foray into France is whether or not you’ll be able to convince your picky eater to gobble up whatever French goodies you plan on enjoying. Rest assured, you child will be saying bon appétit in no time. If you want to be able to say more than that, take a look at the French classes we offer.

How to Barter in France

Posted on January 8th, 2014 by Jonah Arellano in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I’m shy, but I also love a good bargain. If there’s a deal to be had at a flea market you can bet I’ll get over my stranger anxiety long enough to haggle the price. Whether you’ve just moved to France and need to find some inexpensive furniture or you’re visiting and trying to stock up the crisper drawer of your in-room hotel refrigerator, there’s always a deal to be had, you just need to know where to look.

Where to Haggle and Barter

You never want to try and negotiate a better price at the kind of place where the items are new and the prices are set, unless you want the cashier to chase you out of the store. It just isn’t done. There are, however, times when this kind of behavior is acceptable. You generally want whip out your bargaining skills if you’re buying anything used, in bulk, or you know the seller needs to get rid of their merchandise.

flea marketBuying Used

If you find yourself in the unique position of having a new home to furnish and not much money to do it with, then your best bet is to buy used furniture. Depending on the area you live in, chances are good that you can find yourself at a local flea market or brocante by asking one of your new neighbors or consulting a thorough guide book.

A few tips for bargaining at flea markets:

  • Greet the seller. Generally speaking you should do this anyway since it’s a necessary social interaction in France, but you should be doubly sure to be polite since you want this person to do you a favor.
  •  Dress down. Somehow I don’t think the shopkeeper will believe you need the deal if you go dressed in your Sunday best. Keep your look casual without seeming like a hoodlum. Remember, you want this person to like you.
  •  Keep small change on you. Saying something like “But can’t you take a little off the price I only have X amount” only works if you actually have that amount and don’t need change. Also, people are more willing to part with things if they see the money that might be theirs, so keep your opening bid in hand and add to it if you’re willing to.

Buying in Bulk

If you’re in the market for more than one of something or you and a friend find yourselves both wanting wares from the same seller, try to get a deal by leveraging your large purchase. Again, you’ll need to figure out when to play the bargain card; this isn’t appropriate at all times, get a feel for the seller first.

flea market fruit Buying at Closeout Prices

If you need produce and plan on consuming it A.S.A.P. then you might want to try heading to the open air market or farmer’s market right before closing time. Truthfully, I do this at my local farmer’s market all the time. This kind of bargaining is beneficial for both the seller and the purchaser; they want to get rid of the stock they know won’t be good enough to sell the next day (or they’re just tired and would rather sell it than pack it up), and you need enough of X fruit or vegetable to complete a dish at a reasonable price. This doesn’t always work but when it does you get a great deal.


A Few Phrases to Remember

  • “Veuillez écrire cela pour moi?” (Please write that down for me): This is a good one in case you don’t quite understand the seller’s price.
  • “Merci beaucoup, mais il est encore trop cher pour moi.” (Thank you very much, but it’s still too expensive for me): playing hard to get is all part of the game.
  • “….” (make an offer then stay silent): Usually the first one to speak loses and sometimes you may even get the seller to lower his own price with a few well-chosen silent moments.

There’s no better way to sway someone with words than to actually speak the same language. There’s also the added benefit that the seller won’t think you’re just another tourist. Make the investment in some language lessons now and reap the benefits later.

5 Best Subjects to Study Abroad in France

Posted on January 1st, 2014 by Jonah Arellano in Uncategorized | No Comments »

The decision to study abroad is different for everyone; some people first decide what they want to study and try to find the best fit for that subject, then there are those romantics who decide the destination first eager to experience adventures in french study abroadtheir chosen land. If France is the place for you then there’s no limit to what you can learn, because—in addition to what you already love about France—they’re very strong academically. If, however, you’re looking to study something that might expand on your French adventure, fear not! I’m here to provide you a list of the best subjects to study abroad if nowhere else but France will do.


1.       Art: With over 100 museums in Paris alone, it’s no wonder people come to the city of lights to study art. If you find yourself tired of the tourist crowds around the Louvre, try checking out the contemporary art scene in the Belleville district, there’s sure to be a gallery that catches your eye.

 french study abroad the louvre

2.       History: If you fancy yourself an old soul maybe history is the right course of study for you. France is rich in both history and beautifully preserved historical landmarks. Interested in the French revolution—or maybe just history of fashion? Visit the Place de la Concorde where the taste maker of her day Marie Antoinette was beheaded along with her husband King Louis XVI. If you prefer your history a bit older than that, head over to the Crypte Archeologique. This underground museum, found underneath Notre Dame Cathedral, houses the ruins of Ancient Gallo-Roman Paris, mostly dating back to the third century BC.


3.       Architecture: Of the many accomplishments of France, the country’s architecture ranks pretty high. With some of the most recognized landmarks in the world (the Eiffel Tower for one), and that rich history I was talking about before, France is a feast for the eyes of the architecturally inclined.

 french kitchen

4.       Food: This subject isn’t as academically inclined as the  other listed, but truthfully, if I were to study abroad in France this is what I’d choose to learn about. Whether you choose to apply for an internship at a restaurant to work your way up the Brigade de cuisine (follow this link for an article I wrote on the inner workings of the French restaurant kitchen) or try your hand at a culinary school, there’s no telling what culinary delights await. Hey, if it was good enough for Julia Child, then studying the culinary arts in France is more than good enough for me! 


5.       French: Obvious isn’t it? If you love the country of France enough to study there, then why not study French? Not only will you be completely immersed in the language and culture, you’ll also be giving yourself future opportunities to visit the country for business purposes.


Whatever your reasons for studying abroad in France, it may be wise to take a few classes in French before your trip. Feel free to visit our Contact Us page for information on language lessons in your area.