A while ago, Camden from Baguettes and Bicyclettes tagged me to do the Francophile Tag. She’s an American expat who works as an English lecturer at a university in the south of France; I’ve been following her adventures for a while on her blog and YouTube channel, and she’s a great resource for teaching and all things French. Definitely check her out!
The word “francophile” means to be a lover of France and all that encompasses it, including the French language, food, culture, etc. Here are some questions related to my history of discovering and learning about France, and I’ll answer them as best as I can. Alors, c’est parti!
My name’s Rebecca, and I’m an American who lived and worked abroad in France for four years as an English teacher. I spent my first two years teaching middle school and high school level in Normandy, and the last two years teaching university students in the Lyon region. I’ve since returned to the United States where I’ve made a career change to civil service work (i.e. government).
How did you discover French language and culture?
I discovered the French language when I was in high school, where I took French as my foreign language. I soon became fascinated by its distinctive linguistic structure, including its verb conjugations. The rest of it– food, culture, history– followed afterwards!
How long have you studied French and what is your level of fluency?
You could say that I’m still “studying” French, or rather I still try to keep up my knowledge and comprehension of the language on my own (via blog writing, YouTube videos, and podcasts). Formal education-wise, I had about eight years of classes, beginning in my first year of high school to the end of college (where I minored in French).
Fluency-wise, I’m a self-prescribed B2 (intermediate-advanced) in French. I never took a formal test to evaluate my level, but I did take a practice one some time ago. Some of my French friends tell me I’m more than B2, but I don’t know about that…I can read and understand conversations more-or-less, as well as contribute to said-conversations with fairly-complex ideas.
At the same time, it’s been over a year since I left France, and my French has deteriorated a bit due to lack of use– I do my best to keep it up, and I hope to do so in the long-term!
Have you ever lived in or visited France or any francophone countries?
Yes! I visited France for the first time when I was 13, to the city of Nice (and a day trip to Èze). I returned for a summer study abroad in Paris during my third year of college, then spent four years working in France after I graduated.
Francophone countries I’ve been to include Canada (specifically Montréal/Québec), Saint Martin in the Caribbean (i.e. a DOMTOM of France), Belgium (specifically Brussels), Switzerland (specifically Geneva and Lausanne), and Morocco. It’s been really fascinating visiting each place and hearing the different accents and dialects in the French language (PS Swiss French is my favorite). 😀
What’s your favorite French food/drink?
That’s a hard question. Let’s break it down into several categories:
Favorite savory French food(s): galette saucisse from Brittany, croque madame from Paris, and bouillabaisse from Marseille.
Favorite French cheese(s): Camembert (Normandy), Saint-Nectaire (Auvergne), Reblochon (Savoy), and Comté (Franche-Comté). Generally, I’m a fan of soft/semi-soft, mild cheeses.
Favorite sweet French food(s): tarte aux framboises, torsade au chocolat, and galette des rois.
Favorite French drink(s): I namely like French wine. Here are my favorites based on the type:
- Red wine: Beaumes de Venise (Rhône)
- Rosé: Cabernet d’Anjou (Loire Valley)
- White wine: Riesling (Alsace)
What’s your favorite region of France?
I like many aspects of each region I’ve been to or lived in. But I’ll say my favorite is the southwest of France, particularly in and around Toulouse. This region, called Occitanie, is warm and laid-back, with some of the friendliest French I’ve ever met. It’s a beautiful part of the country, with both the city and countryside to enjoy, especially in the summer months.
What’s your favorite French word?
It would have to be “choucroute” (sauerkraut). I get a big kick out of saying the word, as it combines the soft “c” with the hard “c,” as well as the guttural “r” sound in between. Makes me smile whenever I say it!
Which is better: French cities or French countryside?
I used to stick only to French cities during my travels, as I consider myself a “city break” kind of gal. But in my last year of France, I spent a couple of weeks exploring the southwest and south of France, and I fell in love with the countryside. It was a huge difference from the busy city life, and I really enjoyed slowing down and taking my time exploring the fields and villages on hikes.
On a scale of 1-10, how much of a Francophile are you?
I would honestly rate myself a 6 or 7. It’s interesting, because I would’ve rated myself higher when I was younger, back when I was a lot more passionate about the French language and the country itself. Ironically, I lost a bit of the passion living in France, partly due to the struggles I had integrating into society, as well as merely changing interests. This isn’t to say that I’m no longer a Francophile, though– I still very much love hearing and speaking the language, and I do hope to return to France some day for a visit (and to eat/drink all the good food and wine!). Once a Francophile…always a Francophile!
Thanks for reading! I’m tagging Rosie from La Grenouille Anglaise to do this next.
FRANCOPHILE TAG QUESTIONS :
- Introduce yourself
- How did you discover French language and culture?
- How long have you studied French and what is your level of fluency?
- Have you ever lived in or visited France or any francophone countries?
- What’s your favorite French food/drink?
- What’s your favorite region of France?
- What’s your favorite french word?
- Which is better: French cities or French countryside?
- On a scale of 1-10, how much of a francophile are you?
À bientôt, mes ami.es!