Friday, 26 November 2010

Spanish Conversation Course Paris

I've been receiving emails for a year now asking me when I'm going to organise a Spanish conversation course in Paris. After the success of the French conversation course, I've finally yielded. The first conversation group will meet on 5th December 2010 in a cafe in central Paris. For more information and to sign up see our Meetup site.

http://www.meetup.com/groupe-de-conversation-en-espagnol-paris/

Hasta pronto

Sunday, 20 June 2010

LetThemTalk on Australian TV

Last Sunday Australian TV came to film a French course at LetThemTalk Paris. Channel 9's Getaway travel programme came along with their presenter Natalie Gruzelski.

The filming took about 2 hours. We were lucky to have a group of students and our French teacher Hakim present to help out.

I'm not sure when the show will come out but I was told "in a few months".

Next Level of Dishonesty

While strolling aimlessly through the Marais the other day I came across the Next Level Gallery. On closer inspection I was surprised to find out the proprietor was none other than a former student of mine, Isabelle Mesnil. Normally, when I bump into old students in the street I warmly greet them with a bisous and a chat however, she came to my English classes several times and each time told me she'd pay me "next time" finally she stopped turning up and didn't reply to my mail or phone calls. I wondered whether I should go in and demand the outstanding sum or at least utter a mild rebuke but I'm not one to hold a grudge so I walked on. Though I made a mental note to buy the overpriced art for my bare walls from one of the many other galleries in the Marais.

On the very same day another student baked a cake for the students in the class and yet another brought some cherries from her garden. So I'm glad to say that the overwhelming majority of my students are extremely kind and I can't complain about that.


Sunday, 13 December 2009

Menu For Hope 2009



Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising campaign raising money for the UN World Food Programme with projects in over 75 countries helping local people in communities facing malnutrition to become self-reliant on food. Find out more information about Menu For Hope on David Lebovitz's website. Alternatively read the article on Chez Pim's food blog

LetThemTalk are offering 2 bid items for this year's menu for hope. You can bid for one or 2 sets of 5 "Cafe Conversation" French conversation courses in Paris, these are French courses that take place every Sunday afternoon in a cafe in central Paris. More details here. In order to bid for these or any other of the items on the auction please follow the instructions below and make your bids by 25th December 2009:

To Donate and Enter the Menu for Hope Raffle

Here's what you need to do:

1. Choose a bid item or bid items of your choice from our Menu for Hope main bid item list.

2. Go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation.

3. Please specify which bid item you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per bid item, and please use the bid item code.
Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a bid item of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02 - 2xEU01, 3xEU02.
4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Swine Flu Fears at the Workplace


Swine Flu Fears at the Workplace
Originally uploaded by malias.

Sometimes well meaning advice can backfire. Recently posters have been appearing in offices all over France admonishing workers not to do la bise, the ritual kissing greeting performed each time you meet a friend or an acquaintance, or even to shake hands. It's feared that virtually any kind of pyshical contact with a fellow human being will aid the spread of swine flu.

Instead, workers are urged to offer hand gestures from a safe distance. The peace sign, the two finger victory sign or the thumbs up. In an admittedly unscientific survey I've found that not a single person is taking these warnings seriously. In fact they consider them ridiculous. It clearly isn't working. Time to rethink strategy.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Merde Sable


Merde Sable
Originally uploaded by malias.

Spotted in the Paris Metro this is the worst marketing blunder I've seen in a long time. An ad for "La Mer de Sable" (the sea of sand), or is it "La Merde Sable" - shit sand? Not something you'd take your kids too. Make up your own mind http://www.merdesable.fr

Monday, 29 June 2009

France to cut restaurant prices from July 1st (maybe)


kitchen
Originally uploaded by malias.

From July 1st 2009 TVA (VAT) in restaurants in France will drop from 19.6% to as low as 5.5%. The cut was agreed with EU finance ministers back in April in order to kick start trade in the sluggish restaurant industry.

In theory this cut should be passed on directly to the consumers whether cafes and restaurants do this in practice remains to be seen.

Certainly there is a feeling that restaurant prices in Paris are too high maybe this cut will start bringing customers back to the tables.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Alcohol Ban on the Pont des Arts


No Alcohol on the Pont des Arts
Originally uploaded by malias.

One of the great pleasures of living in Paris is the tradition of picnicing in lovely surrondings whether it be the Parc de Vincennes or the Canal St Martin or, my personal favourite spot The Pont des Arts.

I organised a picnic recently on a fine spring evening on this delightful old bridge. No sooner had we placed our baguettes on the passerelle, unwrapped the Camembert and uncorked a couple of bottles of Bordeaux than we were approached by two uniformed policeman (see photo of them harrassing some other tourists). "Parlez vous français?" they enquired solemnly. When they discovered that we could indeed muster up a few coherent sentences in their gallic tongue they proceeded to inform us that alcohol is now banned on the Pont des Arts.

That's outrageous! We protested. A French picnic without wine is like having a Ferrari that only goes up to third gear. It's just not the same! After our protests we became rather violent, we threw one of the policeman in the river and tied up the other one against the fence.

Ok, the last bit's not true but nevertherless I cannot see any harm in enjoying a little wine with a picnic. If someone is acting drunk and disorderly that's another story and there are laws that deal with that but a sip of vin rouge? S'il vous plait! So Please Mr Policeman give us back our wine.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Tefl Courses in France


Jon Davies
Originally uploaded by malias.

If you've recently lost your job as a result of the financial crisis or you are fed up with your current position and are looking for a new direction, then you might like to consider English language teaching (TEFL) as an option. It's a challenging career and one in which you can work almost anywhere in the world.

For those wishing to embark on such a career it's advisable to get yourself a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) first. These are intensive four week courses providing you with theory and great deal of classroom practice to prepare you for life as a TEFL teacher.

If you're interesested in getting your TEFL certificate in France then I would highly recommend studying at a new school just opening up in Toulouse Tefltoulouse. The Director of TEFL Toulouse is Jonathan Davies a friendly Brit with many years of teacher training experience in Spain and France before opening up his own training school in Toulouse.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Cafe Conversation - Au Pere Tranquille



Here we have a video of Au Pere Tranquille 75011 Paris. We held our first Cafe Conversation French group here on the first floor. It's a great location especially on the first floor however I must admit it was a little bit nosier than anticipated so perhaps not a perfect location to study.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Cafe Lou Pascalou 75020 Menilmontant Paris

Here is a short video I took at my local cafe the Lou Pascalou (14 rue des Panoyaux 75020 Paris, Metro Menilmontant 9am - 1am daily). It's trendy and yet doesn't compromise it's old fashioned French style. Prices are reasonable and there is a large terrace outside.

The young man sharing a beer with me is another exiled Brit called James

Cheers!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Paris to introduce Chevalib city horse rental programme!


The Tower and the Horse by moonsoleil

While the G20 discusses climate change at their London summit. The mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë has stolen their thunder by announcing a new horse rental programme that is hoped will eventually replace cars in the French capital.

From 1st April 2010 Paris will introduce Chevalib which is similar to the Velib bicycle rental programme except that it will run with horses! You will be able to rent a horse for as little as one Euro for half an hour at one of the many planned horse stations situated throughout Paris. Once you’ve finished with the animal you can hand it back it at another terminal.

This scheme will work on several levels. Firstly, it will reduce reliance on the motor car thus cutting pollution and climate emissions, secondly the manure produced by the animal will be sent to farms and applied to crops in place of artificial fertilizer and thirdly once the animal has gone beyond its use for carrying people it can be killed and eaten!

Because of the harshness of the urban terrain a more sturdy type of horse is being imported from the Isles of San Seriffe.

This is an amazing new scheme let’s hope that other cities around the world join soon. It may not be suitable to every place in the world but as they say, it’s horses for courses.