French for Travelers 2016 Wednesday, Feb 3 2016 

Bonjour! This little French word is quite possibly one of the most important a traveler can use while in France. Why so? Well, it means ‘hello’ so saying it at appropriate times is a practical necessity. But the real importance of ‘bonjour’ has much more to do with politesse (politeness) and courtoisie (courtesy), two critical aspects of French culture.

Along with having a few French phrases handy, knowing the French habits of politeness and respect go a long way to avoiding any ‘faux pas’ when traveling in France. Just for fun, check your French culture knowledge with this short travel quiz below:

When saying goodbye to someone in France, you can say:

a)      Bonsoir

b)      Au revoir

c)      A bientôt

d)     All of the above

When served bread at a French restaurant, you should:

a)      Put it on the edge of your plate

b)      Eat it directly from the bread basket

c)      Place it on the table next to your plate

d)     None of the above

When invited for an aperitif at a French person’s home, you should:

a)      Stay for half an hour

b)      Arrive late and stay for 20 minutes

c)      Stay for an hour or so

d)     Stay until the family starts to sit down for dinner

When interacting with a French waiter at a restaurant or café, you can:

a) Call him over with a loud “Garçon!”

b) Address him as “Monsieur”

c) Address him by his first name as noted on his name tag

d) All of the above

If you’re intrigued by the French politeness associated with ‘bonjour’ as well as the answers to the little quiz above, I’ll be talking about it all in depth along with French etiquette, attitudes and much more in my annual “French for Travelers” seminar coming up at SMU in mid-February. For the ninth year in a row, we’ll explore how making an effort with the language in France goes a LONG way to a great travel experience there, even though many French speak a bit of English these days.

In this special mini-intensive course, I will also teach essential phrases for a variety of situations (including restaurants – how to order, what to order, what NOT to order – tête de veau, anyone??), French customs and vocabulary for a variety of contexts (table manners, shopping, hotels, museums, how to ask for gift wrapping!), indispensable pronunciation tips, and a long list of French travel essentials. Real life stories and anecdotes about travel in France and interacting with the French make this a lively and fun class. You will also walk away with specific tips and strategies about traveling well in France (by train, Metro, air) and also the confidence to really enjoy your time there.

If you already have some French, this course complements previous study of the language, though no prior knowledge of French is required. The class includes six hours of rich instruction plus comprehensive handouts so you will walk away with a great toolkit and guide to take on your next trip to France. Please note that this class is conducted primarily in English with lots of good practice in French. You can bring your France travel questions too! Advance registration is required through SMU’s Continuing Studies Program(Please note that this is the only time in 2016 this course will be offered – just in time for the spring, summer and fall travel season!)

“French for Travelers 2016″

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – February 16, 17, 18, 2016

SMU Continuing Studies – Main campus location

For registration information and to contact SMU, please click here

What does one say to call over this busy French waiter??

For those who live outside of Texas and might like to take this course via webinar (online seminar) format, we are exploring this option. Please let us know of your interest in the comment section below. Merci beaucoup!

Paris Art Happenings This Spring and Summer Tuesday, Apr 26 2011 

It’s travel season and one of the biggest draws when visiting Paris is, of course, art. I have put together a short list of some of the big exhibitions going on in the City of Light now through mid-summer.

When planning your travel to France, keep in mind that the main cultural calendars for art, music and dance around the country begin in September and run through June or early July. This means that many of the most prominent art exhibitions wrap up before the French go on summer vacation in August. A few shows do continue into August and September since people like art all year round.

But there’s plenty to see now culture-wise so if you’ve got a Paris visit planned, check out what artistic goodies are on view through the summer with the selected art guide below:

Around the time of the Impressionists

Manet, the Man who Invented Modernity  / Manet, Inventeur du Moderne at the Musée d’Orsay
Even though the Musée d’Orsay is undergoing partial renovation, notably of its Impressionist galleries, this temple of 19th century art of still open for visitors. it is hosting the first exhibit in nearly 20 years dedicated to Edouard Manet. It focuses on the historical influences of the time and illuminates the artist who has had a profound impact modern art.
Through July 3, 2011
Musée d’Orsay, 1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris 7th
Métro: Solférino
Admission: €10 

Musee dorsay compressed

The Caillebotte Brothers’ Private World, Painter and Photographer / Dans l’Intimité des Frères Caillebotte, Peintre et Photographe at the Musée Jacquemart-André
This jewelbox of a decorative arts museum hosts small, well-curated exhibitions. Now through July 11, the Jacquemart-André museum is the first in the world to showcase an encounter between Gustave Caillebotte’s Impressionist paintings of Paris and his brother Martial Caillebotte’s photographs of the same images. The exhibition is a mesmerizing tribute to the two artists and their ability to capture Paris at a time of intense change.
Through July 11, 2011
Location: Musée Jacquemart-André, 158 blvd Haussmann, Paris 8th
Métro: Saint Augustin, Miromesnil or Saint Philippe du Roule
Admission: €10

Paris at the Time of the Impressionists / Paris aux Temps des Impressionnistes at the Hotel de Ville
One of the best kept art secrets in Paris is the free exhibitions at the Paris Town Hall. You have to enter on the back (east) side of the building and sometimes endure long lines but their art exhibitions are worth it. Currently, you can take in views of Paris as it changed dramatically between 1850 and 1914. Works by Impressionist artists including Degas, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Caillebotte, Pissarro, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Signac, Bonnard and Vuillard are included—these paintings are all on loan from the nearby Musée d’Orsay which is partially closed for renovation.
Through July 30, 2011
Location: Hôtel de Ville, 5 rue Lobau, Paris 4th
Métro: Hôtel de Ville
Admission: Free

Odilon Redon, Prince du Rêve 1840–1916 at the Grand Palais
Redon was a contemporary of the Impressionists but painted in a dreamlike and surrealist manner. This show of about 270 works traces the evolution of his painting from dark tones and subjects to color and light.
Through June 20, 2011
Location: Grand Palais, Paris 8th
Métro: Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau
Admission: €11

Earlier Art

Nature and the Ideal / Landscape Painting in 17th Century Rome / Nature et Idéal: Le Paysage à Rome, 1600–1650 at the Grand Palais
If you are into landscape painting, then you won’t want to miss this intriguing exhibition which catalogues the rise of landscape painting in early 17th-century Rome. It was during this time that nature became a subject in its own right. Light and atmosphere figure heavily in these lovely works by Carracci, Lorrain, Poussin, Rubens and others.
Through June 6, 2011
Location: Grand Palais, Paris 8th
Métro: Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau
Admission: €11

Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus / Rembrandt et la figure du Christ at the Louvre Museum
The artistic genius of Rembrandt is evident in this exhibition devoted to portrayals of Christ.  Discarding formulaic images of the Son of God, Rembrandt explores Christ the man rising above the theological quarrels and dissensions of his day.
Through July 18, 2011
Location: Louvre Museum, Paris 8th
Admission: €11

Cranach and His Time / Cranach et Son Temps at the Musée du Luxembourg
The Musée du Luxembourg in the Luxembourg Gardens of Paris features 16th century and modern art on an alternating basis. Currently, the paintings, drawings and engravings by Lucas Cranach, one of the greatest artists of the German Renaissance, are featured. Cranach is one of the most original and talented artists of the 16th century and this exhibition of his refined and elegant art is a must-see.
Through May 23, 2011
Location: Musée du Luxembourg, 19 rue de Vaugirard, Paris 6th
Métro: Odéon
Admission: €11

The Sword: Uses, Myths and Symbolism / L’Epée: Usages, Mythes et Symboles at the Cluny Museum
This exhibition celebrates the sword as a weapon, fashion accessory and confirmation of power. It includes arms belonging to Joan of Arc and other powerful French historical figures.
Through September 26, 2011
Location: Musée de Cluny, 6 pl Paul Painlevé, Paris 5th
Métro: Cluny
Admission: €8.50

“Fashion” and Fashion

Women in the East as Seen by Christian Lacroix/ L’Orient des femmes vu par Christian Lacroix at the Musée du quai Branly
Famous couture designer Christian Lacroix is no stranger to the museum scene. After wonderful exhibitions of his fashion collections at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and the Musée Réattu in Arles, Provence, in the last few years, Lacroix has selected an amazing collection of traditional costumes and accessories from the Near East for display at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.
Through May 15, 2011
Musée du quai Branly, 37, quai Branly , Paris 7th
Admission: 8, 5 €


Madame Grès, la Couture à l’Oeuvre at the Musée Bourdelle
For those really interested in true fashion, the Musée Galliera, the city’s fashion museum that is currently closed for renovation, has organized an exhibit of haute couture by Germaine Krebs (1903–1993), known as Madame Grès. The first retrospective ever dedicated to Madame Grès, it highlights her motto and raison d’être: « Je voulais être sculpteur. Pour moi, c’est la même chose de travailler le tissu ou la pierre » (“I wanted to be a sculpteur. For me, it’s the same to find my expression in fabric or in stone”).
Through July 24, 2011
Location: Musée Bourdelle, 16 rue Antoine Bourdelle, Paris 15th
Métro: Falguière
Admission: €7