How to say Jack-o-Lantern in French | le vocabulaire d’Halloween

French Halloween Vocabulary

L’Halloween s’en vient à grands pas. Préparez-vous avec un peu de pratique du vocabulaire d’Halloween 🙂 Et, avant que j’oublie, a jack-o-lantern est une citrouille-lanterne. Joyeux Halloween, mes amis !


Halloween is fast approaching! Get ready with a bit of Halloween vocabulary practice 🙂 And, before I forget, a jack-o-lantern is une citrouille-lanterne in French. Happy Halloween, friends!

Notes for the list below:

*I’ve heard this offered as a suggestion, but some Quebecois have told me they simply said “trick or treat” growing up.

**I love how this translates to just squishing two words together. I’d be curious to hear from anyone who celebrates All Saints of La Toussaint.


Quels mots nous manquent ? Écrivez-moi un message ou laissez un commentaire et j’ajouterai votre mot à la liste.

What words are we missing? Write me a message or leave a comment and I’ll add your word to the list.

5 Francophone Songs I Can’t Get Out of My Head (and don’t want to!)

As I mosey around the beautiful country of Argentina, I’m trying to listen to a mix of Spanish and French language songs. I’m not about to let those French words slip away. Here are five of my favorites as of late.

Les Hay Babies | Fil de Téléphone

Sticks in my head. And keeps me happy while it’s there. I’m hoping that some of their cool rubs off on me by listening to them.

Les Colocs | Juste Une P’tite Nuite

Okay, it’s a bit of an oldie, but I love the harmonica. I must keep practicing.

Stromae | Papaoutai

We are late to the game on this guy, but finally got around to listening and watching his videos. Even the husband requests this song. And I might try copying the dance moves.

Lisa LeBlanc | Aujourd’hui, ma vie c’est d’la marde

This has also been on my iPod for a good, long time. Somehow, even though it’s a song about how life’s a bit, ahem, $hitty, I always have fun singing along.

And finally…

Karim Ouellett | Marie-Jo

Here’s another one that even the husband-who-doesn’t-understand-French likes to listen to. Also, Karim Ouellet was the first Francophone artist I saw in concert, so I have a soft spot.

That’s what I’m listening to lately. I’m not exactly on the bleeding edge of music, but when I find something I like, I like to put it on repeat and let those words sink into my vocabulary while singing along.

French speakers and learners, what else should I be listening to?

Bonjour d’Argentine, mes amis !

quilmes ruins, argentina

Want more Francophone songs/artists? Check out my post about 5 Quebec women singers who I like better than Celine Dion.

A Bastille Day Celebration

I have a confession. Before moving to Québec, I wasn’t all that into French (actually from France) culture. And then when I moved to Québec, I was swept away in the deep currents of their very own culture, so I didn’t really make a concerted effort to delve into French culture.

I still heavily favor Québec over France when choosing musical artists, television shows, etc. (it’s what I know best between the two), but after having a couple adorable, lovely French conversation partners, I became intrigued bit by bit. Annabelle fed me my first salade de chevre chaud; Aurélie cooked French onion soup from scratch for all of her friends at her birthday bash. It’s hard to resist charming ladies feeding me traditional French food. Thus…

I jumped on the French bandwagon.

This month, I’m signed up for Coursera’s free French Revolution course (probably won’t actually finish the writing submission, but am watching video lectures and reading). Couple that with the fact that my older sister has her own madeleine pan and developed une recette de coq au vin à la Shannon (my sister’s name), and the result is the two of us planning our at-home mini-Bastille Day celebration.

We celebrated a few days early since I’ll be skipping town again this evening and we couldn’t squeeze it into our busy family schedules. Works out, though, because now I can share the photos on actual Bastille Day!

bastille day at home bread

Note the beautiful roses from our parents’ rose bushes. Lovely!

The Menu

  • Snacking: Whole wheat baguettes (that bread challenge last year has really come in handy!)
  • Soup: Soupe à l’oignon (French Onion Soup)
  • Salad: Salade de chevre chaud (Goat cheese salad)
  • Entree: Coq au vin (Shannon’s own version, which varies from the traditional recipes in a couple ways) served with rice
  • Dessert(s): Chocolate pots de crème, whole wheat madeleines, and macarons that I bought and carried in tow from Montreal

The only thing that wasn’t made from scratch were the macarons. I don’t have the patience to learn how to make them. It was my parents’ first time having them, so I thought the sacrificed space in my carry-on was worth it.

I won’t say that Shannon and I worked seamlessly together in the kitchen.


There was a serious hitch when we discovered that there was no corkscrew to be found and the wine (essential for two of the recipes…I mean coq au vin without the vin?!) remained unopened. We tried to hillbilly it open with large screws and other strange things from the toolbox before a nearby relative in possession of a corkscrew answered her phone and saved the day. We sent a macaron in exchange.


However, overall, things went well. We planned the menu at a distance, had lots of giggles, and put on a pretty decent spread. We get to cook together so rarely these days, that it wouldn’t really have mattered if the food burned, spilled, or lacked salt. There is just something awesome about cooking real food with family. Bonus points if I have an excuse to badger them with French words.

bastille day french onion soup

salade de chevre chaud bastille day

coq au vin bastille day menu

coq au vin bastille day menu

Filling the pots de crème.

pouring pots de creme bastille day menu

Les pots before they’ve set.

pots de creme bastille day menu

french desserts bastille day

Happy Bastille Day, all you revolutionaries!


Like This? Watch That! | A Quick Guide to Quebec Television

blog reading, at computer

blog reading, at computerAhh, the hours I’ve spent watching television in Quebec.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for such a long time. When I first learned that I was moving to Quebec (and then still when I got here obviously), I wanted to know what local shows would be good to watch. While I might not have been understanding anything more complicated than Bananas in Pyjamas, I still wanted a show that I could get invested in. Something that seemed interesting to watch. I got to googling and found a list of the “most-watched shows” in Quebec. This gave me a list with a couple of the regular morning talk shows, mixed in with some really outdated examples. I’m sure there probably are newer and more helpful lists out there, but what I really wanted, was for someone to say, “Oh, you like watching Orange is the New Black? Then you will love Unité 9.” This list, to the best of my television-watching abilities, is that list.

Many Quebecois television shows have English shows that bear a resemblance. No, there are not exact equivalents. Sometimes, I really thought a Quebec show deserved to be mentioned, but the English-speaking equivalent is a bit of stretch. I’m not trying to say they are the same or had the same influence. I’m just trying to say that if you liked one, you might like the other. It’s a good place to start if you’re trying to find a show that interests you.

Another thing that I feel ought to be mentioned is that Quebecois television is not only different because it’s in French. Many of your favorite English dramas can be found dubbed over in French. This is great from time to time. I’ve certainly watched a few 2-4pm Lifetime movies on Channel 5 between classes. You’ll still pick up some vocabulary and expressions, but you’ll miss out on some of the cultural aspects that shows made in Quebec will provide. Oh, yeah, you’re more likely to hear the “f-word,” which isn’t really considered that strong in French.

One last point. I am not claiming this list is exhaustive. It isn’t. It couldn’t be. This list is a result of the knowledge I’ve picked up in the last year and a half. I’m sharing it in hopes that it will help someone else out. If anyone has suggestions to add, please feel free to send my way. I’ll edit as suggestions come in.

FInally, my code for recommendations:

  • *I watched it often and enjoyed it
  • **I loved it and highly, highly recommend it
  • ***It was a guilty pleasure. Therefore, I liked it, but don’t you dare judge me.


  1. NYPD Blue, The Wire–>19-2** This has also been remade into an English language version. I’m partial to the French, because I got to know the characters. This series is very, very well-made and widely acclaimed.
  2. Friday Night Lights–>Les Béliers I didn’t actually watch this, so can’t recommend it, but if you want to follow a football team, this is for you.
  3. How I Met Your Mother–>Tu m’aimes-tu ?** There’s only one season, sadly. This rivals the top spot as my favorite Quebecois series. How I met your mother might not exactly be a drama, but both follow 20 and 30-somethings in a quest for love.
  4. Gray’s Anatomy–>Trauma, Médecins de Combat Attractive doctors saving lives. La Presse has an article discussing the Trauma’s exportation to the US.
  5. Orange is the New Black–> Unité 9** The Quebec series began before the Netflix series, actually. Both feature women inmates. I really enjoyed the first season of this. Season 2 was less intriguing, but I still made a point to catch up on every episode.
  6. Sex and the City–>La Galère*** There’s a lot less Manhattan and a lot less glam here. That said, you’ve still got a neurotic writer who is constantly surrounded with her three best gal pals.
  7. Law & Order–>Toute La Verité Get your legal drama fix here.

Food on TV

  1. Top Chef–>Les Chefs
  2. Come Dine With Me–> Un Souper Presque Parfait*** People (usually with a wide range of personalities) cook or each other and invite them over to their homes. Each person rates the others’ meals.
  3. PBS’s Test Kitchen–>L’Epicerie** Very useful, practical cooking knowledge in most cases.
  4. Parts Unknown, but with a less caustic host–>À la Di Stasio** The likeable host tours Montreal, Quebec and the planet while eating great food.
  5. Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri, etc.–>Ricardo* Ricardo is the chef to know. My students and friends always mention his recipes and cookbook. His program follows the typical invite-a-guest-to-cook-a-nice-meal-with-you-in-a-neat-half-hour pattern.


  1. The Simpsons–>The Simpsons** The premises of the episodes will be the same, as well as the jokes that translate. But they do a great job of adding in regional jokes and references. (The characters can be difficult to understand for newbies).
  2. SNL–>SNL Quebec SNL Quebec is just starting. Last I knew, it was produced on a monthly basis as a trial. The show format was exactly the same, and the sketches were of a similar style. Expect to hear anglophone accents exaggerated. (I would maybe find it funny if the anglophone accent wasn’t actually easier to understand for me).
  3. Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report–>Infoman* THe host reports the news of the week in a satirical fashion. Many of my students really enjoyed this as well.
  4. The Middle, Everybody Loves Raymond–>Les Parents** Witty family show for all ages.
  5. Portlandia–>Les Bobos** Sooo good. This might be favorite of all of them. And I probably only caught 2/3 of the jokes (they speak quickly for me). Portlandia’s humor and themes meet Montreal’s Plateau residents.
  6. If SNL happened once a year–>Bye Bye** The New Year’s Eve program with great comedy sketches.
  7. Fargo (the TV Series), Dexter–>Série Noire* Even the husband, who couldn’t understand more than a few words, liked this show. I guess he could just sense the clever, dark humor. Where you think the show won’t go, it goes.
  8. Modern Family–>La Vie Parfaite A quirky sitcom about a blended family.

Reality TV

  1. Shark Tank–>Dans L’Oeil du Dragon Almost exactly the same concept.
  2. Mythbusters–>Les Stupéfiants Almost exactly the same concept.
  3. Who Do You Think You Are–>Qui êtes-vous ?* You get to learn about celebrities and the history of Quebec at the same time. Well done equivalent.
  4. My Strange Addiction–>Les Accros I can’t watch this stuff. Gives me the willies.
  5. Judge Judy–>L’Arbitre Exactly the same premise. And the same type of sass you expect.
  6. Real World meets Survivor–>Occupation Double I have never actually watched it, but people make references to it from time to time.

News and Documentaries

  1. Frontline–>Enquête** Take the time to look at a few news stories a bit more in-depth than the nightly news can.
  2. General Nightly News–>Téléjournal This is as you’d expect.

Home and Lifestyle Shows

  1. Design on a Dime–>Decore Ta Vie This is an old standby. Everyone I’ve asked here seems to know it.
  2. Cribs–>Design V.I.P.* Okay, not exactly the same thing. But there is a focus on interior design and you get to see parts of celebrity homes. With Design V.I.P., there is renovation on one part of a celebrity’s home.
  3. What Not to Wear–>Notre garde-robe des rêves

Children’s and Teens’ Shows

  1. Sesame Street–>Passe-Partout People actually asked me if I was from Quebec because I made mention of this childhood staple (surely, it wasn’t because of my accent).
  2. Saved by the Bell–>Watatatow Okay, this one is probably a stretch. But how I feel about Saved by the Bell defining my generation is how many people of my age feel about this show.
  3. I’m brainstorming to add more here…

Games Shows

  1. Cash Cab–>Taxi Payant 
  2. Family Feud–>La Guerre des Clans*** I never watched Family Feud. I have no idea why I always seemed to end up watching La Guerre des Clans here.
  3. Match Game–>L’Union fait de la Force Good for learning vocabulary along the way.

Talk Television

  1. Good Morning America/The Today Show–>Alors, On Jase ! or
  2. Jimmy Fallon/David Letterman–>En Mode Salvail* or Penelope McQuade
  3. Hardball (but not all politics)/Bill Maher–>Tout le Monde en Parle The name of this show is fitting. Everyone really does seem to be talking about it. The host, Guy A. LePage, hosts guests to discuss a wide range of timely topics (not just politics). This could be celebrities or people in the middle of their fifteen minutes of fame.


Le Vocabulaire de Hockey

vocabulairedehockeyIt’s been a good long while since I’ve written anything in French, so I thought I’d better take a stab at it and flex the puny French writing muscles that I might still have. This time, I’m diving in with a short write-up and vocab list about, you guessed it, hockey.


Je vous l’avoue, je connais presque rien du hockey. La plupart que je connais viennent directement du film « Jeu de puissance », que j’ai regardé il y a des ans. Pour  ces qui viennent des États-Unis, je veux dire le film « The Mighty Ducks ».  J’adore la culture québécoise, c’est vrai, mais le hockey, ça ne m’intéressait pas. J’essaie de lire des livres d’ici (ok, ouais, souvent des livres pour la jeunesse), manger des produits d’ici et écouter les films et séries d’ici.  Mais jusqu’à cette semaine, j’avais évité le hockey. C’était la seule chose que je n’arrivais pas à comprendre. C’était bien comme ça.

Mais, nous nous trouvons en pleine série éliminatoire ici au Québec. Les Canadiens jouent contre les Rangers du New York. Mardi soir, en fin, j’ai regardé mon premier match de hockey. Je suis allée au bar afin de m’entourer des amis qui savent plus que moi sur le sujet. Ce match a été le cinquième de la finale de l’Est.  Le Canadien a gagné, mais il suive le Ranger 2 à 3. L’ambiance était électrique, mais pour moi, c’était plus amusant de regarder les partisans que le match soi-même.

Même si je suis un peu perdu avec les règles et les noms des joueurs,  j’ai beaucoup appris quand même. Par exemple, savez-vous que les Canadiens ont deux surnoms ?

Oui, Les Habs (pour habitants) et Le Tricolore.


En plus d’apprendre les surnoms de l’équipe, j’ai dû apprendre les expressions de hockey en français et en anglais pour comprendre ce que se passait autour de moi. Puisque j’ai été obligée de faire un effort, j’ai pensé vous gagner le temps et partager ma liste des expressions J La voilà !

french english hockey vocab list

En ce qui concerne ma grammaire et le hockey, je suis toujours un peu confuse si je devrais dire « Les Canadiens » ou « Le Canadien ». Par exemple, j’ai lu un article de Radio-Canada dans lequel j’ai trouvé la phrase suivante :

Le gardien du Canadien s’est remis d’un début de match couci-couça et a sauvé les meubles en troisième période.

Il y a plus qu’un Canadien ! Je ne comprends pas. Si quelqu’un peut me l’expliquer, je serai très reconnaissante.

Si vous voulez apprendre plus sur le vocabulaire de hockey, voici quelques articles et liens que j’ai trouvé intéressants :

J’espère que ma liste va vous aider et bonne chance à eux qui appuient un équipe.


As always, if anyone has corrections, additions or questions (or suggested words), send my way 🙂

Le Vocabulaire de la Ferme | Vocabulary and Resources for French Learners


In the past two months, I’ve been on two farm tours (Lufa Farms here and Ferme le Crépuscule here). And then I explained to conversations partners and co-workers what I’d been up to. There were quite a few words that I felt comfortable using, such as ferme, pesticides, chevalbiologique, boucherie, and champs. Easy peasy.


But then there were some words that I needed to review. For example, for an entire day I went around talking about the poulains that lived in the poulailler, or the foals that lived in the chicken coop. Thankfully, Alex helped me out and corrected me.  I haven’t actually had to use the word poulailler for over a year, since a friend invited me to her in-laws’ place about an hour and a half from Montreal. I decided it might be time for me to beef up (pun intended, as usual) and review my farm-related vocab a bit, especially since I’ll be spending my July at my parents’ farm, the beginning of August at my in-laws’ ranch, and a bit of time this fall visiting agricultural sites and farms. Here’s the list I’ve been quizzing myself on.

French Farm Vocabulary

french farm vocab

Also, be sure to remember that it’s agricole, not agricultural. This one I remember, because my students always try getting away with using the agricole in English.

More Farm Resources in French

If you’re looking to review a bit more or see some of these things in context, check out some of the links below.

1. I love using the Ikonet Visual Dictionary. Here’s a screenshot of the images it provides. There is also audio provided.

Taken from
Taken from

2. If we were sticking around Montreal, I would check out Montreal’s Portes Ouvertes Sur les Fermes du Québec in September. The website’s got a nice video to watch for a bit of listening practice. (She speaks nice and slowly!)

3. Also, for a quick read and a lovely group of photos on Daylesford Farm in England, take a quick look at this Papilles et Pupilles blog recap.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Bon pratique, mes amis !

Le Vocabulaire de Pain : For French Learners

vocab francais de pain

In recent months, I find myself immersed in recipes and YouTube video tutorials about bread. And you might have heard that the French are serious about their bread. Perfect, right? I can browse recipes and still practice a bit. Since I am long overdue when it comes to forcing myself to commit the gender of these words to memory, I thought I’d take the time to look them up and create a new vocab list. By the way, we’re all going to ignore the fact that I’m still fine tuning my pronunciation of pain with my French teacher.

pumpernickel bread
a loaf of my pumpernickel

The good news about for any bread enthusiasts is that you will have already heard a good portion of these words. Many baking words are borrowed from French, of course. Baguette, levain, boule, you get the idea.

  • le pain : the bread
  • la levure :  the yeast
  • la farine : the flour
  • le sel : salt
  • le seigle : the rye
  • le blé (blé entier) : the wheat (whole wheat)
  • le grain : the grain
  • la graine : the seed
  • l’eau tiède : the lukewarm water
  • le levain : the wild yeast (sourdough)
  • le pain au levain : the sourdough bread
  • l’éponge : the sponge
  • pétrir : to knead
  • gonfler : to inflate (rise)
  • la miche (de pain) : the loaf
  • une miche campagnarde : a country loaf
  • une baguette : well, come on, do you really need a translation?!
  • la brioche : the brioche (a sweet bun)
  • une machine à pain : a bread machine (for you cheaters!….jk, someday I will own one, too!)

If anyone finds anything that needs to be corrected, I’m all ears.

Happy baking!

unbaked pretzels
my first homemade pretzel attempt
everything bagel and cup of coffee
home-baked everything bagels