Category Archives: Uncategorized

Things for sale!

A few hours ago we made all advertising in our classified section totally FREE OF CHARGE!

Since then new ads have been appearing, so if you want to buy an antique table (very nice), a sideboard, a windsurfer, a video projector (just the thing for showing the Olympics or the next World Cup), or a portable stage (who on earth….?) then take a look by clicking on our “Classified Ads” tag at the top of the page.

Let’s see what you’ve got!

  • Chez Nous Gets a Little Je Ne Sais Quoi!

    Many Frogsiders are already letting one or more French properties as holiday gîtes.  It has not been an easy couple of years – bookings have been harder to come by and if you have targeted the UK market with prices in Sterling, even a fully booked gite has taken 20-30% less in Euros than it did before.  So those of us with holiday properties have all the more reason to look for the most cost-effective way to advertise them.

    It’s therefore not a bad moment for Chez Nous the French book-direct specialist, to unveil its new directory website.  This new site, it is claimed, offers new and existing property owners even more control and flexibility when letting their French holiday home.

    With 25 years’ experience in the French holiday letting market, Chez Nous has grown to become one of the most trusted names in the business, currently advertising over 4,200 privately owned properties.  The website offering owners more control  is not the only improvement they claim – a dedicated support team to help maximise bookings is also promised by the company.

    With an increasing number of people choosing to holiday within Europe this year – whether to cut costs dramatically, reduce their carbon footprint or because they don’t have to rely on flying to get there – it may be that popular destinations like France will see some benefits.

    So, if you are lucky enough to have already invested in a second property in the country, why not earn some easy additional income each year and let it as a holiday home?

    A brand new advertiser console has been developed for owners to build their advert, change it at any time and quickly update their availability calendar and prices.  There is also a great new search tool, making it even easier for customers to find their perfect property and book it direct with the owner.

    In a recent survey comparison of the Chez Nous site to other popular holiday letting sites, the Chez Nous site was named as their clear favourite* due to the simple and helpful set-up that the site offered.

    Simon Law, Property Director at Holiday Cottages Group, owners of Chez Nous, said: “Choosing a specialist book-direct company, such as Chez Nous, to let your holiday property brings the second home owner unparalleled service.”

    “Not only do owners have total freedom and control over how they want to advertise their property, they also benefit from a support team offering unrivalled knowledge of the French holiday market plus an extensive marketing campaign to help drive bookings.  It’s the most cost-effective way to let a holiday property.”

    Chez Nous client John Lewis added: “The promotion of our property through the website has been a tremendous success – we’re currently totally booked up for the rest of the year, and have been consistently busy since letting our property through Chez Nous.”

    “The support we get is extremely helpful – as we are fairly new to the holiday letting business, we’ve really appreciated all the good advice we’ve been given. We have a great relationship with the team, whilst always maintaining complete control over the property ourselves – it’s a perfect partnership.”

    With advertising on the site starting at £179 it might be worth visiting Chez Nous at www.cheznous.com, calling 0845 268 8545 or emailing advertise@cheznous.co.uk for more information.

    *Research conducted in February 2010 by an independent market researcher to monitor how members of the public searched and responded to www.cheznous.com compared to holiday rentals and holiday lettings websites. 83% of those surveyed preferred using www.cheznous.com .
  • Grumpy Old Woman

    The volcano is once again on the boil, interrupting the travel plans of UK residents and so soon after the last disruption. I am sure we would say it was an evil plot if this ash was coming from The Middle East or even Russia. I am old enough to remember when we blamed almost everything on the “Ruskies” including the weather. It is only now with “viral rumour mongering” that we allot poor weather to those of us who want to get around in our cars.  My reply is “why not” I believe that the motor car was invented for the betterment of our lives and I for one will continue to drive everywhere.

    To be honest I am fed up with the holier than though attitude insinuated on us car drivers by people clogging up the road with bikes. When I lived in London I could see some merit in going to work by pedal power and I was grateful for the extra space this afforded the rest of us on the trains and tube. However now I live in the country I am irritated by bike riders who mosey around with no other aim than to get a bit of exercise. If they would buy an electric or hybrid car I am sure that they could address the balance of their carbon foot print. This would make our roads far safer because I always seem to meet these people on a sharp bend or narrow lane.

    I suppose I’m feeling a little grumpy today because I am bored senseless by the election campaigns of the main parties. I am sure we are all a bit tired of the news reports appraising us of the latest poll counts and the endless explanations of what could happen if we get a hung parliament. So I can’t understand why the news channels haven’t noticed two very important and historic facts.

    Let’s take Nick Clegg’s rise in popularity, I for one am overcome with happiness. No, not because I am a Liberal I couldn’t care less about him but I am pleased because he did it on his own. I am bursting with pride because his wife refused to be his stooge on the campaign trail. She is an accomplished career woman who has her own life and goals and what’s more she is pursuing them regardless of her husband’s path in life. At last we have a political wife prepared to challenge the old fashioned and out of date expectations of an establishment that still needs change even after decades of so called “equality”.

    The second fact is that the Pound has made a meteoric rise since Gordon has been out of the office and leaving the running of the country to someone else. It seems it doesn’t matter who just as long as it isn’t Mr. Brown. So mate here is my message “on your bike”. Now that is one bloke I’d like to meet on a bend.

    MUSIC TO LEARN FRENCH BY 5

    One of the quintessential sounds of France is that of an accordeon playing the Java. It is a kind of jerky waltz and was a feature of the bals musette, dance sessions in Parisian bars and cafes run by immigrants from the Auvergne and Italy from the 1880s onwards. It was regarded as somewhat immoral, as couples on the crowded floor would dance with their hands on each other’s backs, straying ever lower (cf. le bas de son dos in the last line of the first song).

    My first song, by Claude Nougaro (1929-2004), is about a conflict between the old and the new, the former being the Java and the latter the jazz of the 1960s. Le Jazz et La Java (Sorry about the video!  Last.fm have discontinued full-track streaming.) The song alternates between the two styles of music, with some particularly deft work with the brushes by the jazz drummer.

    Il y a de l’eau dans le gaz: there’s trouble brewing.

    J’écoute béat: I listen open-mouthed / rapt / “sent”.

    V’la = voila.

    Râler: to rattle, usually with reference to drawing one’s last breath.

    Ses p’tit’s fesses en bataille: two cats in a bag?

    Du pareil au même: six of one, half a dozen of the other.

    Se saouler, se noircir: both mean “to get drunk”; a pun (intended?) on the latter, with the reference to Harlem, would be the literal meaning of “to blacken” or “black up”.

    Staying with the Java, my second song is an example by Georges Brassens.  Le Bistro is about an old bistro in a crummy part of Paris  (un coin pourri). The house red (ce petit bleu lourd de menaces) is not for the faint-hearted. The patron is described merely as large and disgusting (un gros dégueulasse) but we get the picture. His wife, on the other hand, serves behind the bar with (quote) all her charms, from top to bottom, in the right place (unquote). Woe betide any besotted customer who steps out of line – the patron is ready with a flic-flac to the face.

    L’est = Il est = Il y a: there is

    Si t’as le bec fin: in this context, if you have a fine nose for wine.

    La fine fleur: the “cream”.

    Viennent en rang commes des harengs: the customers line up (to gawp at the barmaid) like a row of herrings.

    Fontaines Wallace: a reference to drinking fountains donated to Paris by a British millionaire. See Eau de Paris

    Bouge: dump, hovel, low dive, sleazy bar.

    Palace: not a “palace” (palais) but a specific term for a luxury hotel.

    Appas: charms (pun: appât: bait).

    Qui fera…les cornes: who will cuckold…(the patron).

    MUSIC TO LEARN FRENCH BY 4

    Jacques Dutronc (born 1943) began his singing career in the sixties and appeared in some 40 films from the seventies onwards.   Earlier this year he made some comeback appearances in Paris and is currently on tour in Northern France. He is part of a singing dynasty, being the husband of Françoise Hardy, another sixties phenomenon, and father of the jazz singer Thomas Dutronc. A dandy in Ray-bans, who appeared in a three-piece suit when others were into the dishevelled look, he is perhaps best known for Et moi, et moi, et moi. I have not found a site where you can listen to this in full without payment or some kind of sign-up, so have chosen two less well-known songs instead.

    The first is Le Dragueur des Supermarches . In this version Dutronc sings in a joke accent, with exaggerated rolling of the letter “r”, about a young pest at the supermarket who is (a “dragueur”) “on the pull”.

    Sympa’ = Sympathique : pleasant, agreeable.

    Truand: crook, villain

    Il est un peu Prosper: this expression has defeated me; can any reader/listener elucidate?

    Grandes surfaces: hypermarkets.

    The second is Il Est Cinq Heures Paris s’Eveille, all about delivery vans, street sweepers, tourists rejoining the bus after doing “Paris by Night” and more, as the night ends and the day begins.

    Banlieusards: people from the suburbs, commuters

    Traversins: bolsters, as in bedding

    La Villette: area of abbatoirs and meat markets, now a park and exhibition site.

    Déprimés: depressed

    Brimés: from brimer: to rag, bully, get at. Here (I think) it’s about people having to get up when it’s the last thing they want to do.

    MUSIC TO LEARN FRENCH BY 3

    This time a change from the retro: my two songs are by currently popular artists, part of the “nouvelle scène”.

    Amélie-les-Crayons is the singer in a quirky four-member indie band from Lyons. The “Crayons” apparently feature in the title of one of her favourite songs. In Les Jours de Neige en Ville she sings of the magical change made by a night of snow not only to the cityscape but also to people’s hearts.

    Guillaume Aldebert, who performs just  as “Aldebert”, had a big hit with Carpe Diem, a song of nostalgia for a college crush on a girl from Brittany who had written “Carpe Diem” on her suede pencil case (trousse en daim) in correction fluid after seeing Dead Poets Society on TV. He plucks up courage, anorak, blackheads and all, to approach her, nervous like Cyrano de Bergerac, and all he can find to say is “Could you lend me (ton blanc) your correction fluid please?” Nevertheless they have a date in a Quick (banana milkshakes) and he recalls dreams of the couple they might have become (glittering careers, big house, wonderful kids etc)

    Coeur d’artichaut: fickle heart
    Comédons: blackheads
    Vénusté: beauty, grace, elegance
    Jeter son dévolu sur: to set one’s heart on
    P’tit déj: breakfast

    Downloads can be bought through Last.fm or on Play.com or (be French about it!) Fnac.com

    Growing Old in France

    I know I am preaching to the converted because if you are reading this blog chances are you are familiar with computers and by extension the wonders of the web. I bring up this matter because I live with an elderly mum-in-law; she is 91 and actually great for such an advanced age. She has her own apartment and is totally independent but I can see that many of her age related frustrations could be eased if only she had mastered the art of the computer.
    I am 30 years behind her so I have an interest in solving in advance, the problems that, if I am lucky I will be encountering over the next few decades. I am also haunted by a fear of having to return to the UK so add these together and you will understand why I am constantly looking for aids to growing old happily in our beloved France.
    Take friendship – no problem keep in touch with your old mates by email or better still Skype with a web-cam it is already simple and cheap and no doubt set to be made even more “user friendly”. Then you can make new contacts through Face-book and other networking sites. Actually I joined Facebook a few months ago and as yet I can’t see the point but I am sure I will when it is difficult to get out and socialise.
    Then there is shopping, I have to admit that this one is a breeze if you live in the UK as all the main supermarkets give a home delivery service. When I first came to live in France I was commuting one day a week to London. Each Friday I would give my order to Tesco on-line. I was able to choose a delivery time and day so that when I arrived in my office I had my grocery shopping done and even a sandwich for lunch and a copy of Times on my desk.
    France is a little behind in that field but most villages have weekly deliveries of meat and fish and a daily bread van. I have also noticed vans that deliver locally the company is “Clairevoi” and their vehicle livery claims to deliver groceries to the home so let’s hope the idea catches on and spreads.
    I know you will say that there are just some things from the UK that you can’t live without – no worries I have found a web site called www.britishcornershop.co.uk. I have not yet tried it because I love my excursions to Canterbury but it looks a good bet if one is stuck at home. They have most brand names available, will deliver to France within one week and charge £11.99 for up to 30 kilos.
    For more personal items TV shopping channels can be very useful and they all have web sites. QVC is very competitive in price, has a 30 day money back guarantee and can supply clothing, jewellery, cosmetics, electrical goods and IT equipment. Marks & Spencer do a delivery service (not food) to France for a flat fee of £10 and I understand that the same can be had from Littlewoods.
    Having just received my first pension payment I reflect and think that I am lucky to be approaching my less mobile days secure in the knowledge that having become familiar with a keyboard I can “let my fingers do the walking” now if you can remember that advertising campaign from the early seventies you will already know what I mean.

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