The Statue of Liberty in France

The Statue of Liberty, whose full name is Liberty Enlightening the World, was one of the greatest gifts ever given. The original was given by the people of France to the United States in 1886 and was installed in New York's harbor but did you know there are lots of Lady Libertys in France today? There are at least 25 in France and even more throughout the world.

In Paris alone there are quite a few. The one you need to know about is the one on the Allée des Cygnes which was a gift from the American community of Paris to Paris to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. On her tablet is the date July 14, 1789, as well as July 4, 1776. Then there's the one in the Luxembourg Gardens, inside a private lobby on rue du Cirque, there is one on the roof of a peniche near the Eiffel Tower and one in the Musée d'Orsay. Yet another is very tiny and hard to see; it is incrusted in the torso of César's Cenataure (place Michel Debré Paris 6th) near his l…

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A Passion for Complication

A slightly adapted excerpt from Demystifying the French: How to Love Them and Make them Love You, published by Winged Words Publishing, 2019. Copyright Janet Hulstrand, all rights reserved.

It’s best, whenever possible, to give the merchant exact change when buying something in France. “I do not know why, but I do know that French people really, really, really want you to give them exact change if you possibly can. They just do,” I tell my students.

This can lead to a confusing situation for Anglophones, because the word for “change” in French is monnaie. So if a French person looks at the money you have given them and says “Vous n’avez pas de monnaie?” you might understandably be confused. After all, haven’t you just given them monnaie?

But no, you see, you have not. You have given them argent, which means, literally “silver,” and is the word used for money. Or you have given them espèce, which means “cash”: but you have not given them exact c…

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Expat memoirs

Thinking of moving to France or just want a laugh? Expat memoirs are good for both. Learn from those who have gone before you and have lived through the trials and jubilations of expat life in France. You can learn from their mistakes and enjoy their anecdotes "right from the horse's mouth". Or just commiserate! There are a lot of  English-speaking expats living in France, and many have written memoirs. Doing this is easier than ever now with self-publishing options. The currently trending expat memoir has been around for a long time though beginning it's upward climb as a genre with the still wonderful A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle published in 1989. French License by Joe Start Another book about adapting to life in France, but this time from the perspective of the Paris suburbs and through the trial of getting a driver's license. In fact the whole book is one long road trip. We are so relieved when after 262 pages, 10 years or mille bornes Joe finally gets his French li…
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French money: New Euro banknotes

French money: New 5 Euro notes 5 Euro notes have always been floppy and very worn, rather like dishrags. They are rather scarce too. Maybe that will all change with the introduction of a redsigned bill. This month the new € 5, the first of the new "Europa" series, was simultaneously released in all the countries that use the Euro. Have you seen it yet? It took us 3 weeks before we saw the first crisp new bill. Why make a new bill? To keep ahead of conterfeiters! The Euro notes are some of the most secure bills around, but after 10 years of circulation it was time for an update. Here's what's new. Security features have been improved and make notes more safe. The security features built into all new notes are easy to check with the method of "touch, look, tilt". Look for the new watermark and hologram showing a portrait of Europa, the character from Greek mythology who gave her name to the new series of banknotes. Tilt to see the large new number 5 change color from emerald …
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