Last minute fathers day gifts with a French twist

Last Minute Gifts For Fathers Day With A French Twist

Last minute fathers day gifts with a French twist

Ditch that boring tie and breath new life into fathers day gifts by giving him a gift with a French twist.

Fathers Day, called “la fête des pères” in French, is celebrated on the third Sunday in June like it is in the US and many other countries around the world. And like many countries around the world, Dad’s always seem to get the same type of gift. A tie, black socks, beer of the month club.

This year, try giving him a gift with a French twist. Any gift. It just has to have a French flair to it. Here are a few gift ideas for you to consider.

Greatest Dad T’shirt

What dad hasn’t received a “Best Dad Ever T-Shirt?” But has he gotten one written in French?

Mens Gift- Best Dad ever written in French tshirt - Happy Fathers day & bday

Give him a Tie

Instead of giving him the A-typical tie for fathers day or his birthday, give him this awesome wooden moustache bow tie. If he’s not into moustaches than what about this wood bow tie made with real oak?Wooden moustache bow tie

Alcohol related gifts

It’s no secret the French love wine. Check out this fun handlebar mustache corkscrew & bottle opener which plays up the French moustache and wine stereotype perfectly.HANDLEBAR Mustache Corkscrew & Bottle Opener

In our house, we never know what to do with all the corkscrews. Now you can save the corkscrews from your favourite wine bottles in this decorative iron Mustache Bottle Cork Holder.

Iron Mustache Bottle Cork Holder

If your dad is more of a wine and cheese guy, check out this wine and cheese picnic backpack for 2. Not only great for picnics but also for the beach. Yes, French people do bring wine to the beach. Plus it’s insulated.

Wine and cheese picnic backpack for 2


These unbreakable silicone wine glasses would be perfect to bring to the beach and on camping trips.
Unbreakable silicone wine glassesJust pop these FREEZE Cooling Wine Glasses in the freezer, then on a hot day, pour your favourite white or rose wine into them and you’re dad will be sipping on perfectly chilled wine. While indispensable for wine and beer in warmer weather, the Freeze is great to have on hand for any drink all year long.FREEZE Cooling Wine Glasses

A new wallet

Instead of getting him a standard bill fold, buy him a European style wallet with a coin pocket and built in money clip.  If you’re not familiar with European wallets, they are taller than an American and Canadian sized wallet because some of the Euro bills are taller than American bills. For example, a 50 Euro bill is 77 mm high and the 100 Euro bill is 82 mm while American bills are only 66 mm’s high. European wallet have to accommodate for the larger bill sizes. The coin purse is convenient too carry spare change but also to carry the one and two euro coin pieces. European style wallet with money clip and coin pocket


Forget boring old black socks. Give him one of these fun Republic of France Socks or these French flag socks.

Fun Republic of France SocksFrench flag socks

Beach and Camping

A large French flag towel for the beach and bath makes the perfect gift for your beach loving dads.

French flag towel for the beach and bath.


Dad’s love maps. Dad’s love coffee. If your dad also loves France or Paris than check out this cute Paris Metro Map Coffee Mug.


Kick up your dad’s steak knife collection with this 6 Piece steak knife set and wooden case  from the world famous French company, Laguiole. These will really impress him.

6 Piece Laguiole steak steak knife set with wooden case

Barbecue Grilling Stuff

If your dad is into grilling, he probably already has a bunch of grilling utensils but he probably doesn’t have a cookbook full of  simple, sophisticated French Bistro recipes for the grill.

BBQ Bistro: Simple, Sophisticated French Recipes for Your Grill

Virtual fathers day card in French

Last but not least, if you want to send your dad card, send him a virtual fathers day card in French. Here’s a cute site that I like to use. Instead of an inanimate card, you can choose short video clips which you can customise. Everything is in French bu you should be able to figure out what everything means.

How To create the perfect attention grabbing French CV

Want To Find A Job In France? How To Make A Resume/Cv The French Way

How To create the perfect attention grabbing French CV

A lot of people who dream of working in France mistakenly assume they can apply for jobs using their existing resume, whether it be an American resume, British CV, or some other country’s. Unfortunately, most countries, including France, have different expectations as to what a proper resume / CV looks like. Ignoring these differences could land your resume in the trash. Fortunately for you, it’s not that hard to make a CV that conforms to French hiring managers expectations once you know how.

How to create the perfect French Resume / CV

DON’T CALL IT A RESUME IN FRANCE: Throughout this article, I use the term “French resume” and “CV” interchangeably but the correct term used in France is just “CV”. -pronounced [SEY-VEY]. It’s short for curriculum vitae, a Latin word that means  “the course of my life”.

Before I created my resume for the French job market, I did what most people do. I researched the hell out of the subject.

I read countless articles written by French experts, recruiters and hiring managers, visited dozens of French employment forums, analyzed way too many resume’s created by French people and even asked my friends living in France how they created their CV.

The bad news is, there is no magic formula, no holy grail CV recipe that if used will land  you any job you set your sights on all of the time.

The good news is, even though there are differing opinions from the so-called experts of what constitutes a great CV, I learned that there are standard rules, guidelines and best practices you can use that will satisfy the expectations of most employers and industries in France. You just need to know when and how to use them to your advantage.

By the end of this article,  you’ll have a better understanding of CV best practices in France and you”ll be able to create your own CV so you can start applying for jobs in France.

How To create the perfect attention grabbing French CV

20 things French hiring managers may expect to see on your CV

When to include them and how to include them correctly .

The first thing you should be aware of is that there are about 20 different things you need to consider including on your resume.

Each of the 20 things can be rolled up into one of the 9 possible sections listed below depending on how you format your CV.

  • 1st section: Headline (this is not your name )
  • 2nd section: Personal details & Civil Status– (Beyond your name, you may have to include things you would never see on an resume from your home country)
  • 3rd section: Contact Information – (How to properly include your address and phone number).
  • 4th section: Your Work Experience – (Keep it short and sweet).
  • 5th section: Your Education & Training – (Degrees are different in France, how you should demonstrate your education)
  • 6th section: Skills & competenciess (A useful and powerful thing).
  • 7th section: Languages skills- ( You’re not French. That’s OK. Here is how to demonstrate your language skills on your CV to your advantage.)
  • 8th section: Computer / Software Skills
  • 9th section: Hobbies & Interests– (This can really set you apart if used correctly)

Not all of the 20 things listed in this article are obligatory however they may still be expected. While other things are expected but for various reasons, you may not want to include them. You’ll need to know when to include them and how to include them so that you present yourself in the best possible way to French hiring managers.

1st. SECTION: The headline at the top of your CV is the most important part of your CV

You have 7 seconds to convince a hiring manager to read your CV. A great headline which consists of a headline title and headline summary not only improves readability, it immediately grabs the hiring manager’s attention and entices them to read the rest of your CV.

If you’re like most, you probably skim and glance through headlines. If one grabs your attention you maybe read the first paragraph. If that first paragraph peaks your interest, you keep reading. If it doesn’t, au-revoir.

When it comes to your CV, recruiters and hiring managers think and act much the same way.

Studies prove that the average employer, who may have to quickly wade through hundreds of CV’s, will spend as few as 7 to 10 seconds scanning your resume before they decide if they want to keep reading or not.

That’s why you need to include a great headline which consists of 2 things, an attention grabbing CV title and an enticing CV summary at the top of your CV where recruiters look first.

Together the Title and Summary tell the hiring manager who you are in terms of the position you are applying for and what you can do for the company. 

Let’s explore how to incorporate these two things in your CV.

A great CV headline title and summary has the potential to grab employers attention and entice them to read your CV

1- Resume Title (Le Titre)

A CV title or headline title as some people like to call it is NOT your name nor is it the words “curriculum vitae”. It’s simply a job title- either the title of the job you are targeting or a more general job title like “sales & marketing professional”.

It may seem silly to put a job title at the head of your CV but it has several advantages.

When a busy manager or recruiter sees the job title, he doesn’t have to guess which job you are interested in. He or she can mentally assign you to a potential vacancy quickly. And if for whatever reason your resume gets circulated around the company, no explanation is necessary because it states right at the top of your CV, clear as day the job you are interested in.

For Example: If you apply for a job advertised as “IT specialist”, the title at the top of your CV could read “IT specialist”.  If the type of work you do spans different but related fields or you plan on posting your CV to a job board, you can use a less specific / more general job title like “Human Resource Manager & Generalist”,  “Sales and Marketing professional” or “Web Marketing professional”.

Below is a screenshot of a few CV’s that use a title to announce the job they are targeting. Notice how it grabs your attention. You know immediately who this person is in terms of their experience.

resume title or headline title for CV

You might be interested in this: Why and how to write an attention grabbing CV title here. 

2- Resume summary aka resume hook phrase (accroche)

Remember you only have a few seconds to make it abundantly clear “what you can do for the company and what your value is”. By including a CV summary – a short, snappy introduction that highlights and summarizes your experience and best skills as they relate to the potential job, employer or industry, you are essentially telling them what they want to know.  

Now that you’ve got their attention with a CV title, you need to entice them to keep reading. At this point the recruiter has no idea if you are qualified for the job or what skills and experiences you have so most recruiters will begin skimming your CV for keywords and past job titles before they decide to put your CV in the maybe pile or the “no thank you pile”.

You can help the recruiter see your true potential in under 10 seconds by including a resume summary directly under the CV title.

Not to be confused with the outdated ” objective statement” which is about  “what YOU want from the company”, a resume summary is about “what you can do for them”. 

The key to a well written summary is to sell yourself and impress them in as few words as possible- 2 phrases or less.  It should shout “Hey, I’m the person you’re looking for”. 

If they like what they read, then like the newspaper example above, they will keep reading your CV which is exactly what you want.

One last thing. Hiring managers are busy people. The last thing they want is to be bogged down trying to decipher your fancy business jargon so make sure your summary is short, easy to read and focused on the particular needs of employers in your industry or targeted job. Obviously make sure the skills and experience you include on your CV support y our CV summary.

Here are a few ideas of what you can include in your resume summary.

  • The number of years of experience you have in the field.
  • Special skills you that make you uniquely qualified.
  • Any certifications or education you’ve obtained.
  • Some sort of display of your passion for this line of work.
  • The specific industry or topic of your expertise.
  • The keywords an employer might search for when trying to locate a candidate for a particular job.

Resource: If you need help crafting a memorable headline, you can read these articles at  and . Here is another article that offers tips on how to write a great CV headline.

Examples of  CV’s with a title and summary. 

Communication & Marketing Manager

More than 8 years experience in media planning, buying and strategies. Curious and passionate about web-marketing, and always up to date with the latest digital innovations.

The above example was taken from the French CV in the screenshot below.

Example of a French CV Headline title and subheading meant to hook employers into reading the rest of your CV

 More example found around the web

Senior IT project/ Program manager
10 + years of on-budge project deliver including large-scale and global projects

Senior Accountant
 CPA certification and 25 years of experience

Senior Technology Manager
Extensive expertise in R&D, Product Development & Quality Control

2nd SECTION: Personal Details (États Civil)

Normally located at or near the top of your CV is your name.  The French take it a step further and include some additional details, very personal details that you would never see on a North American résumé or CV such as:

-Marital status
-Number of children and their ages
-Work permit (if you have one)

Some French experts say certain personal details, which could be used to discriminate against you should never be included while others say they should. Still others say you should only include them if they will improve your chances of getting an interview.

You’ll have to decide which personal details you are willing to divulge based on your unique set of circumstances but keep in mind that if you don’t include certain personal details on your CV, you may still be asked in an interview.

Below is an explanation of how and when to include your personal details on a CV in France. 

3- Photo (une photo)

Should you include a photo on your CV? It’s a question that gets asked a lot even by people in France and the answer is it depends.

It’s still common practice to include a professional looking photo on a CV in France and most if not all recruiters actually prefer that you do but it’s not always necessary.

So when should you include a photo on your CV?

Well if you’re photogenic, have a flattering, professional looking photo of yourself and feel confident that including your photo could improve your chances of getting called in for an interview than yes, I think you should include one.

If for whatever reason, you don’t want to include a photo, it may be fine for some situations to exclude it but this is where things get a little tricky.

For instance, employers hiring for customer facing positions such as sales reps or sales clerks will probably want to see a photo of you to make sure you are “well-groomed or presentable” in their eyes.

Whereas, if you are applying for an accountant position or some other position where you won’t see customers or clients, less weight may be put on the fact that you didn’t include a photo. But it depends on the person looking at your CV.

A friend of mine told me he knew a Blond hair, blue-eyed guy whose name sounded phonetically too close to a terrorists name so a recruiter suggested that he include a photo of himself so no one would discriminate against him based purely on his name.

If you look too old or look too young for the position you are applying for or if the employer doesn’t like a certain race they could discriminate against you. It’s hard to know but it can and does happen in France.

Ultimately you have to think strategically and perhaps create a version of your CV with and without a photo and test to see which one gets more call backs.

One thing is for sure. If you do include a photo, make sure it’s a flattering, high quality head shot about the size of a passport photo. No blurry vacation photos with the person standing next to you cropped out. Try to use natural lighting with a neutral background. It’s ok to smile but don’t overdo it and ladies take it easy on the jewellery. Source

4- First name + FAMILY NAME (prénom et nom)

Don’t use an extra-large font for your name. You don’t want to draw attention away from the headline of your CV. 

In France it’s common to write your last name before your first name in formal situations, on forms, legal documents and some people even do so on their CV.

If you have a name which makes it hard to differentiate between your first and last name like Martin, Simon and Andre or have a foreign name which might be difficult for French people to decipher, write your family name in ALL CAPS, and first name in lower letters.

Example: I could write my name as Annie ANDRÉ or ANDRÉ Annie and a French hiring manager would look at either combination and understand André is my family name because it is in all caps.

how to include your name on your French CV

5-Age: (Âge)

Most recruiters expect and want to see your age on your CV and many French people do include it but……

If you think you might be discriminated against because you are too old or too young for the job you are applying for, consider omitting your age. However, some recruiters say it’s futile to exclude your age because if an employer really wants to know how old you are, and they usually do, they’ll try to deduce your age based on the year you graduated or by looking through your work experience section.

Why not test out the waters and create one CV with your age and one without and see if one fares better than the other.

6- Marital Status: married or single (Situation Familiale: marie(é) or célibataire)

Just skip it

It used to be second nature to include your marital status on your CV in France but these days it’s more or less rare. Those that do include their marital status tend to be younger, under 25 and single which can work to your advantage in certain situations.

7- Number of children and their ages: (Nombres d’enfants et leurs âges)

You may be discriminated against if you include the number of children you have on your CV. 

There was once a time in France when people regularly included on their CV the ages and number of children they had but today it’s almost never included.  Probably because employers discriminated against women fearing they would miss work due to a sick child.

8- Driver’s license: (Permit)

For some it may be necessary to prove you have reliable transportation to get to work. 

permis B on a French CV

In France, it’s not uncommon for people under 25 to indicate whether or not they have a drivers permit called a “permis B”. Some people even go so far as to indicate they own a car ” voiture personnelle “.

If you live in a more rural area of France where a car is necessary to get to work it may be a good idea to indicate this however If you are applying for a job in Paris and live in Paris, you have access to the metro and won’t need to indicate if you have a permit to drive or not.

Obviously, if you don’t yet live in France, you won’t have a French drivers permit. Either way, you won’t be penalized if you leave this off your CV so just omit it.

9-Nationality (Nationalité)

The general consensus is, if you’re not French, you should include your nationality.

It can be to your advantage to include your nationality, especially in cases when your native language skills are essential job requirements.

  • If you have dual nationality, include them also.
  • if you are authorized to work in France, simply state “Authorized to work in France (“autorisé à travailler en France) next to or under your nationality.

If you’re not authorized to work in France, you won’t get as many responses from employers because of all the red tape a company has to go through to hire non EU and non French citizens who don’t already have the right to work in France. They not only have to sponsor your work visa but they usually have to attest that no French person is available for the job. Your chances of getting sponsored to work for a company increase depending on the industry.

3rd SECTION: Contact information

( Coordonnées) or (Contact)

It’s very important that you include all your contact information correctly but if you don’t live in France, you’ll have some challenges in terms of how you list your address and phone number on your CV. You may also need to include links to some of your social media accounts or websites if they are pertinent to the job you are applying to.

There are 5 different contact details which you’ll need to consider including and they are:

-Telephone Number
-Website links such as to your portfolio, blog or online resume.
-Social media links

10- Address: (Adresse)

Always include your full address no abbreviations. If you live outside of France, here is what you should put in he address field on your CV. 

Employers like it when a potential candidate lives nearby for obvious reasons but if you don’t live in France you should let the hiring manager know that you don’t live locally but are willing to relocate.

Here are a couple of examples of what you could put in lieu of your actual address.

  • If you have firm plans to move to Paris, you can say “Relocating to Paris in March 2018” (“en cours de mobilité à Paris Mars 2018”)
  • If you are open to relocate to a certain area such as Aquitaine, you could say “Open to relocation to Aquitaine” (“souhait de mobilité en région Aquitaine”)

Make sure to use your cover letter, which is called “une lettre de motivation” to explain in more detail your situation.

You can of course always include your foreign address and if you do make sure you use your full address (no abbreviations).

11- Telephone : (Télephone)

If you live outside of France, be sure to prefix your phone number with your country code.

Include the best pone number where a recruiter can contact you.  I suggest a cell phone number rather than a landline.  If you’re located outside of France, make sure you include your country code with a (+)  followed by your phone number.

For example the country code for Canada and the US is 1 so if your phone number was 415-867-5309 you would put +1 in front of the number like this:

(+1) 415-867-5309 or this +1 415-867-5309

12- email : (émail)

Always include a professional email address. 

In this day and age, it’s pretty much a give-in that you need to include an email address on your CV. Just make sure to use a professional looking one. and are NOT PROFESSIONAL looking.

13- Website address / Portfolio  / blog : (liens de site)

Only include links to your website, portfolio or blog if it’s pertinent to the job you are targeting. 

If you have an online version of your resume, you can list that address.

14- Social media links : (Liens sociaux)

Think twice before including your social media links, it could hurt your chances.

Include links to your social media accounts if you think it’s applicable. LinkedIn, YouTube etc. Never include Facebook or social media if you think employers won’t like what they see. For instance did you know you could tank your job search by posting too many selfies because you might look like a narcissist 

4th SECTION: Professional experience: The meat and potatoes of your CV:

Unless you are a new graduate, your professional experience is going to be the meat and potatoes of your CV and you will list this section towards the top of your CV before your education.

Be careful to list the most recent jobs and exclude the ones that are too old, or don’t demonstrate your ability to do the job you are applying to, especially if you think it will help keep your resume to 1 page.

If you don’t have enough professional experience, add your internships, volunteer work, student organizations, military service or awards.

Below are things for you to consider when writing this section of your CV.

15- Professional Experience:

(Expérience Professionnels)

Job Description / Your role

When describing your duties for each of your previous companies, don’t list every single duty and skill you learned at each job. The hiring manager is only interested in the duties that demonstrate you are well suited to do the job you are applying for.

Write a phrase or two describing your job role and keep sentence structure short and concise. Use industry standard keywords when you can, the hiring managers will be looking for those and if your CV lands in a searchable database, it will help your CV pop up on more searches.

In some cases you may be able to exclude your job description all together.

If you held the same position or performed the same duties from job to job, why bother writing out the same thing under each job?

Instead use the “skills & competencies” section  to highlight your, and group your competencies and domain skills. Doing so no only makes i easier for hiring managers to digest your CV in one sitting, it also helps keep your CV to one page which hiring managers love.

In some cases you may need to write a more elaborate job description.

On the other hand, if your experience matches the position you are applying for and you want to call attention to it, you can opt to write out your tasks, achievements or responsibilities in more detail.

Don’t forget to include other pertinent information such as industry, company name, city, country and dates.

  • Industry or Short description of the company: If the company where you worked is not well-known, you can describe what it does or simply state the industry of the company.
  • Company Names: You can make the company name a hotlink so hiring managers who view a digital version of your CV can quickly jump to the company website.
  • Your job Title: Use industry standard job titles instead of creative titles made up by companies like database Analyst instead of Database Monkey. This is important if your resume is put into a database. Searches will be made using standard job titles not made up ones.
  • Dates of your employment: You can simply list the month and year for both start and end date like this – (Juin 2012- Juin 2017).
  • City and country: If you have held jobs in other countries, i.e. not in France, you should include the city and country and don’t use abbreviations.

France does not use the same date format as the US. If you want to put the complete date for anything make sure you use this format- DD/MM/YEAR.

5th SECTION: What’s your education and training worth in France?

Do you know what a BAC, BTS or a License is? Probably not because the education system in France is very different from the Anglo-Saxon systems. French recruiters may be equally clueless about the degree, diploma or training you received in your home country. 

16- Education or Training (Formation)

In order to make your level of education clear to French employers, you need to find the closest French equivalent degree or training to yours and list that on your CV along with the original name of your degree.

It can be confusing to find the equivalent French degree, so I created a chart comparing a few degrees from several English-speaking countries. Use it as a guide not as gospel. In other words do your own research because there is a lot of gray area.


If I have a 4 year bachelors degree from UC Santa Cruz and graduated in 2001, I could write my education like this on my CV:

License en Economie- (BAC + 4),
2001,  University of California Santa Cruz
Californie, Etats-Unis
Bachelors Degree in Economics

  • License en Economie-  “Un License’’ which takes 3 years to earn in France is the equivalent to a bachelor’s degree earned in 4 years from Canada or the US. Unlike North American University students, French students spend all 3 years focused on their major while in North America, students usually spend the first 2 doing general studies followed by 2 years of major study.
  • BAC: is short for Baccalauréat, the name of a French high school diploma. : There are so many different programs after secondary school in France, it is helpful to call out the number of years of higher education you hold.  A “BAC +4” tells the hiring manager that I have 4 years of higher education (after high school).
  • Bachelors Degree in Economics- I included the name of my degree in English. If you received your degree in Spain, use the Spanish name, etc.  

6th SECTION: Summarizing your domain skills and competencies

Although not required, most recruiters agree that including a skills section on your CV can be powerful because it can help employers QUICKLY ascertain your domain skills and competencies which can give you a leg up over other applicants.

17- Skills & Competencies: (Compétances)

This isn’t a dumping ground for every skill you’ve ever learned at every job. Employers only want to see those core skills and competencies as they relate to the job you are applying for.

If you have a lot of different skills, I suggest organizing them into domain groups or categories which will make it easier for employers to skim your skills.

For example “Sales”,  “Marketing,” “Writing,”. Under each domain heading, you would then list the skills associated with it.

cometences cv example

7th SECTION: Languages

Your applying for a job in France and you’re not French. Of course you should state your French language level.

The language section is usually towards the bottom of the CV however if language skills are an important requirements of the job, consider calling attention to it by mentioning it in your title or resume summary at the top of your CV or pushing the language skills section up higher on your resume.

18- Languages: (Langues)

Be sure to also indicate your native language and any other languages you speak along with the level at which you speak. 

When you describe the level at which you speak -try to be as specific as possible and never EXAGGERATE your language skills because it’s just too easy to verify.

You can use the CEFR system or self evaluate your language skills.

a- Use CEFR system (CECRL)

If you have taken a French test like the DELF, DILF, DALF, TCF or the TEF, than you know that student language level results are divided into six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. This system is called CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference). 

Using the standardized CEFR system will make it immediately understood at what level you speak. Don’t forget to include your mother tongue and state that it is your native language.

b- Self evaluate

If you have not taken an official French language assessment test, you can self evaluate your French language level by guessing or take one of the many Free online French tests which will give you a ball park of your language proficiency.

Where to test your language skills online for Free

Bonjour de France is a good place to test your French language skills but other ones exist too. Like this one I found at French Exams.

How to demonstrate your language level on a Frenc CV

(Below is a text version of the cheat sheet above with French translation in parenthesis)

  • A1  = Elementary– (Scolaire), (Élémentaire): You’re a step up from beginner. You can form simple phrases and write a post-card.
  • A2  = Basic knowledge – (Notions), (Niveau basique) : With a little effort you can understand single phrases and frequently used phrases in everyday life.
  • B1  = Intermediate –  (Bonne notions) or (Bonnes connaissances) : You can speak and understand familiar topics easily but may get perplexed beyond simple ones. Level needed to attain if you were to go to a French university.
  • B2  = Advanced Intermediate – ( Moyens), (Interméiaire):
  • C1  = Fluent – (Courant )- You can express yourself and your ideas easily.
  • C2  = Bilingual, trilingual- ( Bilingue),  (Trilingue) : You have mastered the language, you’re bilingual and can speak near or at the skill level of a native speaker.
  • Mother tongue or Native language –  (Langue maternelle) or (natif): Use this to refer to your native language(s).

Here is an example of how you can describe your language level on your CV.

Anglais: Langue Maternelle
Français: Courant (niveau C1)
Allemagne: Scolaire (niveau A1)

8th SECTION: Computer & Software skills

In this day and age, it can be important to show you have certain software and computer skills. No need to list everything, just the skills that are important for the job you are applying for. And don’t forget to mention the Microsoft office suite or any other program known by the company or the industry like SAP or Oracle for example.

19- Computer skills / Software (Informatique ) /  ( Logiciels)

In addition to listing the software and computer skills that relate to the job you are applying for, you can also demonstrate your level of expertise either through written words or visually.LOGICIEL-RATINGS

Using visuals looks great but is not appropriate for all industries. For example a graphic artist might be able to get away with visually showing his or her skill using pretty graphics but an accountant might not.

Another thing to note is that some companies might have an internal database that scans resumes for keywords. Showing your skill level visually will not be scannable so make sure you also have an all text version of your CV on hand.


Photoshop, Powerpoint, Excel


Photoshop: Expert
Powerpoint: Good knowledge
PackOffice:  Proficient

French vocabulary to describe your skills

  • Beginner – Connaissance or Connaissances de base
  • Good knowledge – Bonnes connaissances
  • ProficientMaîtrise or Très bonnes connaissances
  • Expert– Expert

9th SECTION: Hobbies and Interests

French employers won’t care if you exclude this section from your CV however including it can work to your advantage and set you apart from the other candidates if you know how to do it strategically

20- Hobbies/interests (Centres d’intérêts)

It may seem irrelevant and unprofessional to include your hobbies and interests on your CV, especially if you are from North America but in France it’s not seen as something silly. Most job seekers in France actually do include this section on their CV and you should to if you can.

Although French employers won’t care if you exclude this section, including your extracurricular activities might be the thing which will catch employers’ attention, help you stand out from other candidates and land you an interview.

When, what and how to include hobbies and interests on your CV

First of all, the hobbies and interests section is not a catch all category where you dump any and all of your hobbies like yachting and pressing flowers. What use would that information be to a hiring manager?

Think strategically-do a little research and emphasize those hobbies and interests outside of work that have enabled you to develop useful skills in life that also align with the job you are targeting, a specific industry or particular company’s work culture.

What your hobbies and interests might say about you.

Not all will apply. Certain hobbies and interests will demonstrate different qualities and strengths which might match the qualities needed to perform a certain job or work in a certain industry.

For example, if an advertised job states that they are looking for someone who is “an outgoing team player”, you would not list stamp collecting as your hobby which is more of an individualistic and introverted hobby but instead you might list any team sports you participate in.

There are too many examples of hobbies that you could include on your CV but here is a short list of what certain hobbies and interests might say about you.

  • show you are a team player
    • Team Sports (Basketball) – You excel at teamwork and have leadership skills.
  • Show you are fit and enjoy challenges
    • Individual sports: Marathon running
  • show you have an interest in a particular industry
    • Music: if you are applying to work in a music store
    • Drawing: if you are applying for a graphic art position
  • show you are a risk taker (not a great if you have a desk job)
    • Extreme sports: Motocross
  • Show you are tech or computer savvy (not great for social jobs)
    • Tech hobbies: computing
  • Show you’re an analytical thinker, strategic or a problem solver
    • Puzzles: Crosswords
    • Games: Chess
  • Show you connect and communicate well with others
    • Social hobbies: Mentoring
  • Show you are multicultural or can work in an international environment
    • Travelling: To a specific country
    • Learning languages: Any language

Try to list a range of hobbies and interests.

You should also try to provide a range of activities that show you have a variety of traits. If you do, you’ll show that you are flexible enough to be comfortable in different situations and you’ll be more relatable to a range of different people.

Don’t mention these hobbies and interests.

Don’t mention any religious affiliations or political affiliations unless they will help you get the job. Don’t mention expensive hobbies like yachting. Don’t mention any controversial associations like being a member of a pro abortion or pro gun group.

Organizing, translating and formatting your CV the French way

You now know all the parts of a CV for the French job market however there are a few things you need to know before you start writing it.

How many pages should your French CV be?

It’s a question that gets asked all the time and something you should keep in mind as you create your CV.  The general consensus is a French CV should usually be 1 page and never ever be more than 2 pages. Not even if you’re the CEO of a company with 40 years experience.

  • 1 PAGE If you’re a recent grade, have little to no work experience or are an entry-level candidate: you resume should be one page.
  • 2 PAGES: Even if you have years of experience you should shoot for 1 page but if you must, don’t exceed 2 pages.

How to organise the sections of your French CV

Remember when I said the 20 things which you can include on your CV could be included in one of the 9 section. Well you don’t actually need to include all 9 sections- some can be combined. CV langues et informatique

For example:  “Language skills” and “Computer skills ” could be combined into one section and you could rename it “Language and Computer skills”. (see screenshot above).

Work history should always be its own section.

Whether you combine sections or not is up to you. A lot will depend on the design, the structure and format you decide to use.

What goes where?

After your personal details, contact info and headline, you should organize each section by order of importance in terms of how they support your career objectives and your experience -with the most important and most supportive items towards the top.

If you are a new graduate with little to no work experience than lead with your education.

If you are a seasoned bilingual financial analyst applying for a similar job in France than lead with your work experience followed by your languages.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Do you need to translate your resume to French?

If you don’t speak much French, you’ll mostly likely find yourself restricted to searching for jobs posted in English. By all means apply to those jobs posted in English using an English version of your CV. Just make sure your CV conforms to French best practices (which I covered in this article).

But even if you only plan on applying to jobs in France which are posted in English, be prepared o have your CV translated to French in case any of the companies you apply to ask for a French version of your CV. This might happen if the hiring manager wants to show your CV to other decision makers in the company who don’t speak English or prefer to read in French.

If you speak or read passable French, you’ll open yourself up to many more job opportunities because you’ll be able to apply for jobs which are posted in French. In this case, you will definitely need to submit a translated version of your CV to job which are posted in French.

How to save your French CV so it prints properly on French printers

It’s essential that you create and save your CV so that it prints correctly onto A4 size paper which is the standard letter size in France and most of Europe. If you don’t, and you send them your CV saved as an 8.5 x 11 document, the words on your CV may run off the sides or print to the very edges. A4 paper is not as wide as US letter size. (see images below for a side by side comparison of the two).


Format: PDF or Word?

In France, both PDF and Word formats are accepted for submission of a CV but pay attention to the job post to see if they specify any preferences.

I prefer to send PDF’s if the ad has no specifications because what you see is what you get whereas word docs have the potential to look different on different computers.

What to name your CV file

Don’t forget to name your CV document something useful and clear so that recruiters will recognize it by its name on their hard drive.

Instead of “resume.pdf” or “annie.pdf”, name your CV something more meaningful like:

  • Name of target position: “CV-Annie-Andre-Traffic-Manager.pdf”
  • Job number :“CV-Annie-Andre-13245.doc”


Check out this infographic: I like visual aids so I created this Infographic using Pépé Le Pew’s CV as an example. It summarizes some of the finer points in this article.

Infographic Tips to help you create the perfect attention grabbing French CV

Bon Chance mes amis and happy job hunting.

Top Candy From French Supermarkets To Buy As Souvenirs & Gifts

Top 7 candy souvenirs & gifts you can buy in French supermarkets or online

Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive souvenir from your trip to France, a compact gift that will fit in your luggage or you simply want to buy your friend something sweet from France- candy is a tasty treat that checks all the boxes and will please just about anyone. Here are 7 French favourites which you can buy in any French supermarket or online- perfect for any age and all tastes.

Buying souvenirs and gifts from your travels can be tricky. Even buying a simple souvenir t-shirt involves knowing what size is for who and which colour and design is best.  Touristy gifts can be fun reminders of your travels but let’s face it-once the novelty of that miniature Eiffel tower or shot glass wears off, those souvenirs often get thrown out or left at the bottom of the junk drawer.

Sweet Treats have mass appeal but…..

French treats and confections on the other hand, make thoughtful gifts that you can give to just about anybody and I guarantee it won’t get wasted or thrown out. But not all French treats are well suited for transport in your luggage.

Chocolate melts, famous French macaroons are delicate and pain au chocolate is just not practical to bring back. Even if you did manage to transport them back, would the person you give them to even appreciate the trouble you went through or the taste of those sweet French confections?

Supermarket candy from a foreign country is a great alternative

Pre-packaged candy found in grocery stores are compact and won’t break which makes them great gifts to bring back from your travels. Best of all, candy from the grocery store is usually very affordable so you can afford to bring back something for everyone. You might think supermarket candy is not sophisticated enough or gift worthy but candy from another country, even if only from a foreign grocery store has it’s appeal. Even the average French person purchases their candy at supermarkets.

If you’re not travelling to France but still like the idea of giving candy to that French loving Francophile in your life, you can also buy most of these online and have them shipped directly to your home. I’ve included links to where you can buy them online.

Which supermarket candy should you buy?

Of the hundreds of types of candy you might see in the candy aisle of French food stores, you’ll see familiar brands such as Snickers, Kit Kat and Skittles. Don’t get those- you can get those anywhere. Instead, I’ve put together a list of candies that are 1- French favorites, 2- have a wider appeal: meaning, you could buy one type and give it to your little niece or to your aunty, 3- are inexpensive, 4- fairly durable and easily transportable thanks to it’s packaging and 5) are not readily available in your home country except at a premium price. (this last one assumes you are not from Europe)

1- Les Fraises Tagada (By Haribo)- Strawberry Tagada


If you can bring back just one type of candy from France, LET IT BE a bag one of the most well-known and recognized candy in France: Strawberry flavoured “TAGADA”.

Say the word “TAGADA” in France and 9 out of 10 people will instantly know you are referring to the cute little red dome-shaped candy called “Les Tagada”- a candy created in 1969 by Haribo.

Over 35% of annual candy sales in France is spent on Haribo candy. Just walk down the candy aisle of any grocery store and you’ll always see a multitude of candy produced by Haribo to choose from. It’s no wonder roughly 38 millions pieces of candy made by Haribo are consumed EACH DAY in France.

The French prefer jellied or gummy candy

Although the Haribo brand is not a French brand, there is a French division that oversees candy produced and sold in France and that division created Tagada specifically for the French market and French taste buds. Even the name “TAGADA” is geared towards the French market-which is an old French expression that implies joy or happiness-similar to WHOPP-DEE-DOO or YIP-PEEEEEE.

Supposedly, the candy got it’s iconic name when a Haribo sales manager in France went to a cabaret and heard a song with the phrase “Youpla boum tagada tsoin tsoin” The song that he heard may have been a song by French singer Maurice Chevalier called prosper.

tagada-candy-recipe-bookIf you’re still not convinced that Tagada is popular in France, you have only to look at all books and websites that reference this cult candy. You’ll also find hundreds of dessert recipes online which call for the use of Tagada as one of the ingredients.

tagadas-cake-recipephoto and recipe for this strawberry Tagada cake can be found here (in French)

What does it taste like?

Slightly smaller than a ping-pong and shaped like a cute little red dome, it has a soft marshmallow interior dusted in strawberry flavoured sugar on the outside.  Tagada can be found in other countries such as Germany but they taste slightly different. For instance the Tagada sold in Germany is not as soft as the ones sold in France because the French prefer them softer.  Many brands have tried to create their own version of “les Fraises Tagada” but nothing compares to the original.

2-L’Ours D’Or (By Haribo) –  Golden Bears


Sure you can buy gummi bears anywhere but If you want the original gummi bear than you need to try Haribo Golden Bears.

Make sure you tell the story of how the gummy bear was invented.

Back In 1920, Hans Riegel, a German entrepreneur founded the confectionary company HARIBO in Bonn Germany. 2 years later he invented the first gummy bear which he called “dancing bear”. His inspiration for the now iconic bear shape came to him while watching the trained bears he saw at festivals, annual markets and other celebrations in 19th century Germany.  Later when he began mass producing the fruit gum bears for Europe, he made them smaller and re-branded them as Golden Bears, known in France as “L’Ours D’Or”.

HARIBO is a contraction of the inventors name and city  HAns RIegel BOnn.


What does it taste like?

A tasty gummi bear what else? There are several fruit flavours including: green apple, lemon, orange, raspberry, strawberry and pineapple.

3- Chamallows ( By Haribo)

pronounced [SHAW-MAAH-LOW]


Chamallows is a marshmallow candy produced by Haribo for the French market and like Tagada, it’s a candy which every French person knows by sight and name. The name Chamallows is so engrained in the French culture that it is used interchangeably with the French word for marshmallow which is “gimauvre”- similar to how you might use the brand name “ Kleenex” instead of the word tissue.


What does it taste like?

Chamallows are sold in packages mixed with two colours- pink and white which both taste the same. They are very similar to the classic white marshmallow found throughout North America but they don’t quite taste the same and they are less airy in my opinion.

Packing for transport

This is the only candy on the list which runs the risk of getting squished so you may want to throw this in your carry on bag or purse.

4- Dragibus (by Haribo)

pronounced [DRAH-ZsHYEE-BUS]Haribo Candy Dragibus bag

Another French favourite is Dragibus by Haribo– a chewy marble sized fruity candy that come in packages with seven colours: black, green, red, yellow, orange, blue and pink.

What does it taste like?

haribo candy dragibus2

These chewy jewels contain no gelatin and stick to your teeth as you chew them. There is a  lot of debate over whether the colours correspond to the taste. Some say red is strawberry while others say all the colours taste the same. According to the Haribo website, yes there are different flavours however they don’t correspond to the colours. In other words, you could get a red one that tastes like strawberry or a blue one that tastes like strawberry. Each one is supposed to be a surprise.

Packing for transport

These are fairly rugged candies and travel well.

5-Car en Sac


Some people hate them but if you or someone you know loves liquorice, than these tiny multicoloured pill shaped candies called “Car En Sac” might be the perfect thing to bring back from France.  They come in packages with blue, white, red and green and have a chewy liquorice center (not as chewy as gummy bears) and a semi hard sugar coated exterior making them pretty durable and perfect to throw in your luggage.

Haribo Candy Carensac bag

Packing for transport

Car en Sac candy is a rugged candy which will travel well.

6- Carambar


Carambar, short for “CARAMel en BARre”, is a cult classic in France. It’s one of those nostalgic candies that make many French people reminisce about their childhood.  Created in 1954 by Delespaul-Havez, a French company located in Lille France. Rumour has it that the first Carambar was created by accident when one of the factory machines malfunctioned.

Each 8 Centimetres chewy  bar comes individually wrapped in a yellow and red wrapper and is famous for it’s jokes written on the inside wrapper. There are even whole websites dedicated to Carambar jokes:

What does it taste like?

Although Carambar looks a lot like a Tootsie Roll, Carmbars’ have a more caramel and chocolate taste to them and a softer consistency in my opinion.

Packing for transport

These comes in small bags of 320 grams. The candy itself is pretty hard and won’t melt in hot temperatures but will get slightly soft.


7- Chupa Chups


If you’re not into marshmallows, don’t like gummy or chewy candy than a hard candy like a lollipop might be your best bet. One brand that stands out is Chupa Chups which happens to be the world leader in lollipops. Chupa Chups are instantly recognizable by its famous daisy logo which was created by none other than Salvador Dali. Dali even suggested to Enric Bernat, the Spanish inventor of the Chupa Chups loli, to print the logo on top of the wrapper so that it was always visible.

The name of the brand comes from the Spanish verb chupar, meaning “to suck”.


What does it taste like?

More than four billion Chupa Chups are produced every year in more than 50 flavours tailored to the tastes of more than 160 countries.

Try the crème brulé, banana milk and caramel flavours but orange and apple are by far the most popular.

Supermarkets in France

There are loads of other candies you can purchase at French supermarkets. In fact, there are loads of other supermarket goodies you can buy and bring home as souvenirs or gifts. More on that in another post.

Supermarkets are fairly easy to find in France which makes them a convenient place to buy some pretty interesting but inexpensive gifts, even at the last-minute. Here are the names of a few of the major supermarkets.

MonoPrix [pronounced: MOE-NO-PREE] (Mono prix are usually located in cities or bigger towns. They will can carry food and household items including clothing.)

Intermarché [pronounced: INTER-MAR-SHAY]

Carrefour [pronounced: CAR-FOOR] (Carrefours can be huge and can carry food as well as clothes, paint, school supplies and more).

LIDL [pronounced: LI-DUHL]  (This is a kind of discount grocery store and are usually pretty small.

LECLERC [pronounced: LUH-CLAIR]


Hyper-U [pronounced: EE-PAIR-U]

Auchan [pronounced: OH-SHYAN]

Hip co-working work spaces in Paris that have everything you need and more

7 Hip Coworking Work Spaces In Paris Where You Can Get Some Serious Work Done


There are hundreds of coworking spaces in Paris but not all are created equal. Some are bare bones and depressing while others are hip, vibrant and offer additional amenities beyond basic WI-FI and printers. Those are the ones we care about. Whether you are a man or woman, artist or developer, ecologist, journalist, consultant or one-man startup, here are 7 collaborative workspaces with a little “je ne sais quoi”.

If you’re in Paris and need to find a place with WiFi where you can get a little work done, sometimes popping into a McDonald’s, Starbucks or similar will do.

The problem is those places are often loud, crowded, distracting- not a very peaceful or conducive environment to get some serious work done. If you need privacy, access to a printer, phones or other things usually available in an office, public places like McDonald’s or Starbucks just won’t do at all.

Instead head over to one of the many hip coworking spaces in Paris equipped with everything you’ll need to get down to business including coffee, snacks, desks, wi-fi, printers and more depending on which one you visit. Some even have lockers and cafeterias.

Not only can working in a co-working space help you be more productive but it can also help you increase your network according to the “2nd global coworking survey” conducted by Deskmag where over 1500 people from 52 countries were surveyed.

Here are 7 extremely cool coworking workspaces you can rent by the hour, day, week,  month or longer.

A coworking space is defined as a workspace where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting


Is a co-working arts and crafts studio in Paris for budding designers and technology enthusiasts.

Draft is a coworking arts and crafts studio in Paris for budding designers and technology enthusiasts.

If you’re looking for a place that allows you to do more than type away on the computer, you’ve found it with Draft. You’ll pay € 15 and have access to the main coworking space for the entire day.

If however you are a budding architect, designer, crafter or creator and want to create a prototype for a client or for yourself, you can have access to their on site equipment at very affordable rates. The fees depend on the equipment you use. For example it’s €12 / hr to use the sewing machine and 3D Printer and €30 for the laser cutter. The carpentry workshop cost €65 / hour but considering you have access to saws, drills, sanders, dremmels and more, it’s still a great deal.

Draft Coworking website

Address:12, Esplanade Nathalie Sarraute, 18e Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm; Sat 2pm-8pm Transport:

Nearest Metro station: La Chapelle or Marx Dormoy

Price: €8 for a half day, €15 for a whole day and €120 for a book of 10 passes.


Is a trendy co-working office space in Paris which you rent by the month in the hip Canal Saint-Martin neighbourhood.

LE LAWOMATIC: is a trendy co-working office space in Paris which you rent by the month in the hip Canal Saint-Martin neighbourhood

For those nomadic workers who are spending more than a month in Paris, you can rent space at Le Lawomatic for an entire month. The founders of the space wanted a trendy co-working space where traveling professionals could find plenty of amenities. There’s high-speed connection as well as 24 hour access and a shared meeting room. There’s even a small cafeteria on location.

Le Lawomatic coworking website

Address:20 rue Jean Moinon,10e Paris

Opening hours: 24 hour access 7 days a week

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Belleville or Colonel Fabien

Price: €370 per month


Is a peaceful pay by the hour co-working cafe space in Paris with plenty of snacks and hot drinks.

HUBSY: is a peaceful pay by the hour co-working cafe space in Paris with plenty of snacks and hot drinks

This coworking café space has soothing music as well as a cosy feel. It’s a coworking space with all the usual amenities and more- including wireless connections, plugs, printers and meeting rooms. Upstairs there’s also a small library for patrons. You can pay €5 / hour or a flat fee of €20 for five hours or more for the entire day. Everyone using the coworking cafe space is encouraged to help themselves to fresh coffee brewed in France, tea and various snacks like cookies, apples or cereal. There are plenty of great views at Hubsy too which is located directly across from the famous museum of Arts et Métier in the 3rd arrondisement.

Hubsy café coworking space website

Address: 41 rue Reaumur, 3e Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Sun 8am-11pm

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Arts et Métiers or Réaumur-Sébastopol

Price: €5 / hr and then €2 for each additional 1/2 hour after that. After 5 hours you pay a flat €20. Rent an entire month for €250.


Is a great co-working space in Paris for someone who needs to be more professional or needs the quiet.

BLUE OFFICE: is great co-working space in Paris for someone who needs to be more professional or needs the quiet.

If you need a professional space for a day with everything you could ever need or want in an office Blue office might be for you. There are 5 co-working space across Paris to choose from. They have wireless connectivity, lockers, a small cafeteria, parking, telephones, printers and private meeting rooms for teleconferencing. This is  They are a bit more expensive than others on the list at €25 per day, but you also get separate parking spaces. Blue Office is located on 19 Rue de Vienne in Paris.

Blue office coworking website


1. MAISONS-LAFFITTE: rue 78600, 44 Rue Jean Mermoz, 78600 Maisons-Laffitte

2. MONTIGNY-LE- BRETONNEUX: 6 Avenue Gustave Eiffel, 78180 Montigny-le-Bretonneux

3. MASSY: 1 Rue Galvani, 91300 Massy

4. ALFORTVILLE: rue 94140, 5 Rue Charles de Gaulle, 94140 Alfortville

5. NOISY-LE-GRAND: 32 Avenue du Pavé Neuf, 93160 Noisy-le-Grand

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m. 7:30 p.m.

Price: €25 / day,


Is co-working space in Paris for students and professionals who need coffee while they work but don’t want to go to a noisy, crowded Starbucks.

L’ANTICAFE: is a co-working space in Paris for students and professionals who need coffee while they work but don’t want to go to a noisy, crowded Starbucks.

There are 6 Anticafe locations, four of which are located in Paris, one in Rome and one in Aix-En-Provence. Customers pay €5 per hour or pay a €24 flat fee for anything over 5 hours. Each Anticafé has everything you need to get your work done- Wi-Fi, plenty of tables, plugs, printers, whiteboards as well as coffee, drinks and snacks which are included in your hourly fee.

Anticafé coworking space website

Address: 4 locations in Paris

Louvre Anticafé: 10 rue de Richelieu 75001 Paris

Olympiade Anticafé: 59 rue Nationale 75013 Paris

Bobourg Anticafé: 79 rue Quincampoix 75003 Paris

République Anticafé: 6 rue du Château d’Eau 75010 Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-11pm; Sat-Sun 10am-00am.

Price: €5 / hr or  €24 flat fee for 5 plus hours. Book an entire month for €240.


Is a co-working cafe in a converted chapel.

L’ARCHIPEL CAFE: Is a co-working cafe in a converted chapel

In what was formerly a chapel and convent, the L’ Archipel Cafe is now a coworking and event space. Along with the cafe, there are workshops, visiting food trucks and a huge book swap event. For those who need a quick nap, there are even hammocks in the alcoves. All the profits from the cafe go to charity too. The cafe is only open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the week. There are events at the cafe for those who are interested.

Address: 26 bis Rue de Saint Petersbourg 8e Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-10pm; Sat-Sun 11am-6 pm.

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Place du Clichy or Europe.

7. La Mutinerie:

Is a dedicated co-working space in Paris where young freelancers can collaborate and be more productive and a place where you can host your next workshop.

La Mutinerie: Is a dedicated co-working space in Paris where young freelancers can collaborate and be more productive and a place where you can host your next workshop

‘La Mutinerie’ is was created by a group of young freelancers fed up with the solitude of working from home. Their goal was to create a co-working environment that would improve your productivity and be a space where you could collaborate with other like-minded individuals. Like most co-working  work spaces, it has all the usual amenities including WI-FI, a scanner, a printer and even has lockers and private areas to make phone calls so you don’t disturb other people trying to work. If you need a place to host an even, conference or workshop, you can do that here too. Located on the Rue de Meaux in the 19th arrondissement, subscriptions range from €30-€390 for the month.

Mutinerie coworking website

Address:29 rue de Meaux 19e Paris

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Bolivar or Colonel Fabien sira cha

Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Price: €25 for a day pass or €225 for 10 passes
Monthly memberships:  – €290 / month for full time access, €180 for 10 days access / month, €95 for 5 days access per month.


Thanks to for co-creating this guest post with me here at

Photo sourced from the respective co-working websites. Feature Photo source via StockUnlimited

In France Mushroom Foraging Can Get You Killed In More Ways Than One


Besides mushroom poisoning, there are more dangers and challenges to mushroom hunting than you think. Learn what they are, which tools you can legally use and which wild mushrooms are the most sought after among French mushroom foragers.

The 3 dangers, trials and tribulations of mushroom hunting in France:

For generations, French people both young and old have been venturing out to their secret spot in the hills, armed with nothing more than hand-held wicker baskets, knives and maybe a flash-light to light the way.

They happily wake up in the wee hours of the morning when it’s still dark outside, to dig in the dirt, turn over old leaves and look between trees and bushes in search of their wild mushroom stash for the year. Foraging usually lasts a whole day and can go on for several days.

Most will find a few edible mushrooms while others will take home a few kilos.

Mushroom hunting also known as mushroom foraging is called “la chasse aux champignons” or “la cueillette de champignons” in French. It’s taken very seriously and is practically a national past time in France.

As picturesque and quaint as mushroom foraging sounds, there are certain dangers and things you need to know before you decide to go mushroom foraging in France.

1. You can get poisoned or die

The first and most obvious danger about mushroom hunting is that you can accidentally pick a poisonous mushroom and die.

Of the 3,000 plus varieties of mushrooms that can be found in France, only a few are edible. The rests are either poisonous and can kill you or make you extremely ill. Poisonous or not, this doesn’t stop the French from taking to the hills to gather mushrooms.

Every year there are over 1,000 cases of mushroom poisoning and 30 to 40 deaths in France.

The deadliest mushroom you need to recognize

The death cap mushroom is also a deadly and poisonous mushroom

If there is just one mushroom you should commit to memory and avoid like the plage it is the “Death Cap” mushroom which has an equally scary name in French. It’s called “le calice de la mort” which means chalice of death.

The death cap is quite possibly the deadliest of all poisonous mushrooms and accounts for 90% of all mushroom poisonings. One single death cap mushroom, can kill an adult.

Other poisonous mushrooms found in France that can kill you include the following:

****These mushrooms may be found on other continents also.

  • Amanita verna, commonly known as the Fool’s mushroom.
  • Amanita virosa, commonly known as the European destroying angel.
  • Cortinarius orellanus, commonly known in English as Fool’s webcap
  • Entoloma lividum, commonly known in English as the livid pinkgill, leaden entoloma, and lead poisoner.
  • Omphalotus olearius, commonly known as the jack-o’-lantern mushroom and to the untrained eye looks a lot like a chanterelle

andre leaning over a poisonous mushroom which gives you hallucinations

A cute little mushroom which will make you hallucinate (get high)

When we went mushroom foraging near a friend’s house in the woods above the city of Cannes, we found a cute little unassuming red mushroom covered with white spots that reminded me of gnomes and fairies.

I wanted to pick it but my friend said that it was a hallucinate. It’s called the fly agaric or fly amanita and some people purposely search for them and eat them just to experience its hallucination powers.

We didn’t pick one but opted to take pictures of ourselves standing over them just so we could prove we saw one up close.

What to do if you think you’ve been poisoned

Symptoms can appear up to 12 hours after you’ve consumed your mushrooms and can last for weeks. If you think you might be poisoned from a wild mushroom, you should seek medical help right away. Go straight to the emergency room, call the nearest antipoison centre or dial 15 (in France). If not treated you could actually DIE!!!!!!

Symptoms of poisoning: The first symptoms of mushroom poisoning are stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea which may last for up to two days followed by an easing of symptoms for 2 or 3 days until the terminal phase which lasts 3 to 5 days. During the last terminal phase, stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea return – accompanied by jaundice. Coma and or death follows one or two weeks after eating the poisonous death cap mushroom. Death is caused by liver failure, often accompanied by kidney failure. (via source)

Get a book to help you identify edible mushrooms and avoid poisonous ones

It’s wise not to pick or eat a wild mushroom if you can’t identify it and there are countless mushroom foraging books to help you identify poisonous mushrooms from edible ones.

Here is a mushroom picking book which is particularly good: Mushrooming without Fear: The Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Safe and Delicious Mushrooms. It tells you all you need to get started in mushroom foraging and contains colour photographs of the mushrooms with an identification checklist. It goes further into the subject of foraging and talks about mushroom season, handling, storing, and cooking wild mushrooms.

Which edible wild mushrooms should you hunt for in France?

Depending on the region you are in, variety of mushroom will vary. Some favorite edible mushrooms among French mushroom foragers include:

Pied de mouton = which translates to Sheep foot because it kind of looks like a sheep’s foot.
Sanguins = which translates to blood or bloody because the mushroom has a slight reddish tint to it.
Girolles Cèpes = otherwise known in English as Porcini mushrooms
Morilles= called morel mushrooms in English
Chanterelles = same name in English
Oronges= commonly known in English as Caesar’s mushroom and named so because it was a favorite of early rulers of the Roman empire.
Coprin = Shaggy ink cap because it looks like it has ink dripping from its cap.
Pleurote = Oyster mushrooms
Truffle=  Infamously tasty and wildy expensive, finding truffles is like finding gold to a mushroom hunter and just as rare because finding truffles usually involves a trained pig or dog who can smell truffles which are hidden underground and only grow under certain conditions.

pig-truffler: wild mushroom picking

A truffler and his truffle sniffing cochon via Wikipedia

How to ensure the mushrooms you picked are not poisonous

For anyone who wants to make sure that they have not picked poisonous mushrooms, you can take your mushroom haul to one of the local pharmacies in France. All French pharmacists are supposed to be trained experts in identifying deadly and poisonous mushrooms.

2. You might get shot while mushroom foraging

Mushroom picking can be dangerous because it often coincides with hunting season on the same terrain

Not to scare you but another danger for mushroom pickers is that mushroom season can overlap with hunting season and both can share the same type of terrain (via source) .

Every year there are accidental shootings resulting in injury and death. Many are just taking a walk in the forest but at least one or two unlucky mushroom gathers get shot by hunters each year too.

3. You can get thrown in jail or receive a fine of up to 45,0000 Euros

you can get fined heavily or go to jail if you tresspass or pick more than 5KG

For those who still want to forage for wild edible mushrooms despite the risk of getting shot or poisoned, there is always the wrath of the gouvernement if you are not careful.

Where and how many wild mushrooms you are allowed to pick

Picking of wild mushrooms is tolerated in most public forest and national parcs however there are certain rules that you need to adhere to.

According to the French forest code R163-5 e, if you are caught picking more than 5 KG of mushrooms on public forest property, you could face up to 3 years in prison and up to 45,000 Euros in fines.   (source via forest privée Français)

The same is true if you are caught foraging mushrooms on someone else’s property without their permission.

Don’t assume it’s ok to pick mushroom on someone’s property just because there is no fence or signs saying foraging is not permitted. You should always ask the property owners for permission.

There have been reported cases of property owners going a little too far and assaulting trespassers.

Things you need to forage for wild edible mushrooms.

If you’re still up to mushroom foraging despite the dangers and the rules or you know someone who wants to get started mushroom foraging, here are some of the things you’ll need to consider bringing and using.

A wicker basket to gather the mushrooms


Mushrooms should be carried in a wicker basket “panier d’osier”, so that the spores can fall out and new mushrooms can grow for future foragers.

There is something enchanting and old world about picking wild mushrooms in the forest with a charming wicker basket in hand- (called a “panier d’osier” in French).

A mushroom knife

a mushroom knife is a must for mushroom foragingA sharp knife with a curved blade is a must for mushroom hunting especially since it’s frowned upon to use tools of any kind (except for a knife) are when foraging for mushrooms.

Opinel and Laguiole are two French companies which make knives specifically for mushroom hunting.

Opinel no 8 mushroom knife looks similar to a pocket knife because the blade folds into the handle and fits nicely in your pocket. What sets it apart from an ordinary pocket knife is that it has a thin, sharp curved blade with a serrated back which makes it easier to remove the mushroom cuticle (the outer most layer of the skin). It has a beech wood handle with a boar hair brush for easy removal of soil.

Laguiole’s multi-function mushroom knife has 2 blades- a long one and shorter curved one, a corkscrew, bottle and can opener and small brush to remove soil from harvested mushrooms.

Clothing and shoes to protect yourself

mushroom-hunting-woodsClothing is just as important as having a good knife because many of the places you will go to forage for mushrooms are areas where walking through dense ground cover will expose your skin to branches that can poke you, shrubs and thorns that can scratch and scrape you and wet ground that can soak and chill you to the bone.

I suggest wearing long pants such as jeans and a long sleeve shirt. I would also bring some gloves which you can use to push away grass and shrubs as you search for your mushrooms which can keep your hands dry and warm if it is cold or wet. And please don’t forget that you should wear boots or shoes that will keep your feet dry.

A walking stick or wooden staff

a walking staff or stick is useful when mushroom foraging

Mushrooms are often hidden under shrubs, dead leaves, in dense grass and other hidden places so it’s helpful to have a walking staff or stick to gently spread everything that covers the mushrooms without damaging them during your mushroom hunt.

Forget about wild mushroom foraging and just buy your mushrooms


If you’re not up to the challenge of getting poisoned, shot at, chased off someones property or put in jail, than just do what a lot of French people do. Buy your wild mushrooms at the nearest French market or grocery store.  You’ll pay a pretty penny (centime) but it’s worth it.

See also: Sauteed mushrooms with parsley and garlic over pasta

Watch this short video showing what it’s like to forage for mushrooms in France

It will give you an idea of what it’s like to forage for mushrooms in France. They never reveal in the video where they went to forage. It’s a secret and they are taunting the audience with their bountiful pickings. Damn them!!

French tattoos: french pigeon with Eiffel tower

25 Fabulous French Tattoos: ideas for men and women

Known as a country that produces superior wine, wonderful art and mouth-watering food; when it comes to French-themed tattoo inspiration, you‘ll never be short of ideas!

Tattoos that make you think of France

When you think of France what comes to mind?  The Eiffel tower?  A French baguette? Perhaps something less obvious like a sprig of lavender or a painting by Dégas?

Whatever images your mind conjures up when you think of France, they can easily be captured in a French inspired tattoo- and why not? France has been the most popular tourist destination in the world for over 25 years. So whether you’re a Francophile in search of immortalizing your love of France or simply like the look of an Eiffel tower tattoo, here are 25 tremendous French tattoos to inspire you.

1. Map of France Tattoo

Happy Bastille Day!

A post shared by nikki (@nicklesg) on

A cartographers dream tattoo if (s)he loved France. A tattoo of the map of France is not only a fun way to show your love for the country but also your wanderlust heart. It’s not overly obvious like a tattoo of the Eiffel tower- most non Europeans might not even recognize the famous hexagon shape which all Children in France learn at a very young age. But that’s OK because it’s a great conversation starter.

2. French Flag Tattoo

A photo posted by J Eden Storms (@j_ed3n_art79) on

As one of the most recognizable flags on earth, no one will have to guess which country this blue, white and red striped flag belongs to. The number of designs that can be dreamed up to make your ink look individual and distinct are endless.

3. Swallow tattoo

French inspired sparrow tattoo

Although swallow tattoos were originally made popular by British sailors of the past, thanks to famous French fashion designers like Coco Chanel who use the swallow in their designs and the fact that the swallow symbolizes travel, a tattoo of a swallow is perfect for anyone who loves France as well as travelling. Be careful when getting a swallow tattoo because it is often confused with the sparrow.

Coco Chanel French sparrow tattooCoco Chanel  swallow necklace Tattoo Photo source

4 .French perfume tattoo

French inspired Coco Chanel no 5 perfume tattoophoto source of chanel no 5 tattoo via Nyki Bell

Chanel No 5, Guerlain Shalimar, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne- are just some of the classical French Perfumes that have long been synonymous with wealth, class and of course, elegance! A tattoo of your favorite French perfume or even a generic photo of a perfume bottle is a classy way to elevate your tattoo style.

A photo posted by Dany Linhares (@dany_linhares) on

5. French Lavender Sprig Tattoo

Provence France is known for many things but most recognizable might just be the colour, the texture and the scent of it’s world famous lavender fields.

6. Lily Of The Valley Flower Tattoo: “Muguet”

Lily of the Valley flowers, known as muguet in France, have a very special place in French culture. You’ll find it in everything from perfumes to teas. It has long been customary to offer a sprig or bouquet of Lily of the Valley to friends and loved ones on the 1st of May to celebrate the arrival of spring and the good weather that goes with it.

See also: Why you shouldn’t go to France in May: 6 French holidays explained

7. French Fleur De Lis Tattoo

Fleur de lis, simply means”flower of the lily” and is a lily composed of three petals bound together near their bases. This classical French emblem was first used by French monarchs on their shields. English kings later used the symbol on their coats of arms to emphasize their claims to the throne of France.

8. French coq tattoo aka Gallic Rooster tattoo

Classic French rooster tattoo coq gaulois- gallic rooster tattooCoq tattoo photo source via David Hale

“Le Coq Gaulois” or the “Gallic rooster” is one of the most widely recognized and identifiable symbols of France. It has been used intermittently since medieval times on French engravings and coins and has become the hallmark of French country design. French brands which incorporate the coq in their logo include sports brand giant “le coq sportif” and “Pathé” cinemas in France.

9. French Poodle tattoo

Despite it’s name, French poodles are technically not a French breed however the French were responsible for helping in the development of the breed an boosting their popularity which may be why most people associate them with France.

10. French Bull Dog tattoo

What could be more French than a cute or scary French bulldog tattoo- called a “Bouledogue Français” in French.

11. French painting tattoo

Edgar Dégas and other tattoos inspired from famous French painters

Edgar Dégas ballerina tattoo photo source via Angie Leaf

If you’re into art from Famous French painters like Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall and countless others, there are literally thousands upon thousands of tattoo ideas out there waiting to be discovered. Just crack open an art book for inspiration.

12. Tattoos of famous cartoons and comics in France

Tattoos of famous cartoons in FranceAsterix tattoo photo source from LTW tattoo studio

If you’re into comics and cartoons, you have quite a few to choose from. There’s Astérix et Obilix, Les Aventures de Tintin, Lucky Luke and Les Daltons to name a few. Although many of the classic French cartoons are from Belgium cartoonist, they are nevertheless extremely popular in France and recognizable by all French people. Bet you didn’t know that the Smurfs was also a Belgium creation by the Belgian cartoonist Peyou. They’re called “Les Schtroumpfs” in French.

French Landmarks

France is filled with famous buildings and beautiful structures – all good artists should be able to draw any of these magnificent monuments onto your body in any style and size of your choosing.

13. Paris city skyline tattoo

Paris city skyline tattooParis city skyline tattoo photo source via

Home is where your ink is. If your love for Paris goes beyond any one thing or you just can’t get enough of Paris then a Paris skyline tattoo is an unmistakable way to say it.

14. Eiffel Tower tattoo

Eiffel tower wrist tattooEiffel tower wrist tattoo photo source via Travel Each Day

A photo posted by martin acosta (@grafotats) on

15.Notre Dame church tattoo

Tattoos for budding French chefs

Forget the stuffy clean cut image you have of French chefs. Yes they exist but these days there’s a new breed of tattoo wearing chefs. Tattoos have become a sort of status symbol, almost standard attire in professional kitchens. Just take a look at the famous French chef Ludo Lefebre who is covered in meaningful tattoos- like little badges of memory.

16. Butchers cut tattoo: beef, chicken or pork

A quaint way to express your inner chef is to dawn an antique looking butchers cut tattoo. Take your pick, beef, chicken or pork.

Classic beef cut tattoo idea like the great French chefs

photo source of beef cut tattoo: Juanita Mac Photographer

17. Chef Knife

If you’re a home chefs with mad chopping skills, a knife tattoo might be for you. One popular motif is to tattoo the French culinary phrase “Mise en place”- which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.”  In a professional and even a home kitchen, it’s the preparation of dishes and ingredients before the beginning of service.

French food and wine tattoos

France is the founding country of dozens of famous foods, and is known globally for its production of the perfect wines, brilliant cheeses and scrumptious breakfast pastries. If you’re a foodie then the possibilities are endless when it comes to French cuisine-inspired ink.

18. French macarons

French macaron tattoo

Photo source of French Macaron from The traveling McMahans

The French macaron, not to be confused with coconut macaroons are the delight of France. This sweet meringue-based confection is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling in every flavor you can think of. The color of the macaron always matches the filling- Brown ones are usually chocolate or coffee, red ones are strawberry, blue ones are blueberry and so on. Get a tat in every flavor and in full color to show your love of French confectionery.

19.Red Wine or Champagne tattoo

No explanation needed here. The French consume more wine per capita than any other nation of people- possible designs are endless. Just take a look in a wine magazine for inspiration. If you have a favorite bottle of wine or champagne, why not get a tattoo of that?

A photo posted by Matt King (@tattmattoo) on

20. Croissant Tattoos

A photo posted by Dane Tattoo (@danetattoo) on

21. French baguette tattoo

22. French Cheese

The French produce over 450 different types of cheeses. Pick one- anyone for your next tattoo.

A photo posted by Jade Ellen (@jadee.ellen) on

23. Yummy escargot tattoo (snails)

A pervasive cliché is that the French eat snails called escargot in French. Who doesn’t love escargot floating in butter and garlic?

See also: Weird French foods 

French Inventions

A little-known fact about the French is that they’re responsible for many important inventions and technological advances, including (but not limited to): The hot air balloon, the bicycle and the submarine!

24. French HotAir Ballon & Submarine Tattoo:

A photo posted by sarah-k (@sarahktattoo) on

Two French brothers were the first to successfully attempt the first manned hot-air balloon ascent in 1783.

 Although the French didn’t actually invent the submarine, the French Navy did create the first non human powered sub in 1863 called le Plongeur meaning “the diver”.

25. Bicycle tattoo:

A photo posted by on

Invented in 1864 by Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement. What’s more French than a bicycle with a little basket? Not your style? What about a tour de France bike tattoo.

And Much More

French pigeon tattoo with Eiffel tower and baguette

French smoking pigeon with Eiffel tower, wine and bagueette tattoo: created by Shaw Hebrank

The more you delve into French culture, the greater the chance of exposing even more fabulous tattoo ideas. If you’re still short of ideas after looking through the article above, then other French tattoo inspiration is never far away, with books, magazines and French-themed websites available in the thousands just waiting to light your imagination.

Remember though – tattoos are for life. Make sure you’re certain that you want something inked onto your body forever and make sure you take care of your new tattoo as best as possible to ensure it looks beautiful for as long as you live.


Thanks to Authority Tattoo for co-authoring this post with me here at How to live in France
25 reasons why everyone should travel more or live abroad at least once in their lives

25 Reasons You Should Live Abroad At Least Once In Your Life (Or Travel More)

25 Excellent reasons why everyone should live abroad atleast once in their lives

If you want to travel more, live abroad or do a gap year overseas but you’re not sure  it’s the right move for you, here are 25 fabulous reasons why you should just do it.

25 ways which travelling and living abroad will affect you

I think everyone should try to live abroad at least once in their lives. If living abroad is not in the cards for you than travelling for an extended period of time beyond the two-week vacation is a really close second. Heard of slow travelling?

Our lives are defined by experiences. The greater the number of experiences, the better our lives become. Travel is one of many ways you can get the most variety in your life experiences and suck the marrow out of life.

I was fortunate enough to have been born into a multicultural family who also did a lot of travelling. I also left home at 18 to live in Japan for over 3 years where I taught English and did various jobs including modeling and hostesssing. Now as a wife and mother of 3, I’m living in France with my family.

Needless to say, I love travelling and recommend it for what ails you. I could probably think of hundreds of reasons why everyone should make travel a priority and try to live abroad at least once in their lives. But let’s first start with these 25 reasons which I think might resonate with you the most.

1- Slow travel and living abroad is less stressful than a vacation

Slow travel and living abroad is less stressful than a vacationI used to get so stressed out during our families 2 week annual vacation because it felt like a race to jam everything there was to do into those 2 weeks no matter what the cost. The kids were cranky, I was cranky and we fed on each others crankiness.

Living abroad or slow travelling can remove or reduce that stressful element of travel by allowing you take your time- if you have children than this will reduce a considerable amount of stress.

2-Living abroad is not as expensive as you think

Living abroad is not as expensive as you thinkLiving abroad is cheaper than you think and costs a whole hell of a lot less than your average annual vacation. When you travel for extended periods of time or live abroad, you get to rent a house ( cheaper than a hotel room), cook at home because you have a kitchen, do things during off-peak travel and do the lesser known non touristy things that are way cooler in my book and cost less.

See also: How much does it cost to live in France for one year

3-Travelling and living abroad encourages you to live your life to the fullest

Travelling and living abroad encourages you to live your life to the fullestYou know how you go on vacation and try to cram in as much as you can because you only have 7 days to do it all and you don’t know if you’ll ever be back? Living abroad is kind of like that but less manic and rushed.

Suddenly, because of time restraints and the newness of the place you are in, your eyes are open to all that life has to offer. You’re more inclined to take advantage of it all. Too bad most of us don’t feel so inclined when we return home.

Living abroad also means you can’t live on autopilot anymore simply because everything is so different, foreign and new. As a result, you need to make more conscious and deliberate choices about your life and your daily routine. It can be a bit stressfull to step out of your routine and comfort zone but shaking things up has it’s rewards. It gives you new experiences and can help you grow as a person. You might even learn something about yourself.

4- You’ll get to view your culture from another countries perspective

traveling has taught me that McDonalds is ruining the world and the American image

Living abroad gives you another cultures perspective about your home country. For instance, if you’re American, you may be surprised to learn that many people in France would love to live in America. You may also be surprised to learn how your home country is negatively viewed abroad. Did you know that most of the world thinks all Americans love McDonald’s and are obese?

See also: Do the French eat McDonalds: Fastfood in France.

5- You’ll get a different, broader view of the world

When you live abroad You'll get a different, broader view of the world

You already knew that other countries have different cultures but until you actually experience that other culture first hand, you will never truly understand what that means. Once you do, you may see the world in a whole new light.

6- Travelling is not the cure to your life’s problems. You can’t escape them

Travelling is not the cure to your life's problems. You can't escape them

If you want to move abroad or travel just to escape your problems, you’ll be extremely disappointed because unless you get to the root of your problems and try to solve them, they will follow you to the ends of the earth or be waiting for you once you return home.

7-Travelling makes you appreciate home

traveling makes you appreciate the comforts of home

It’s natural to take things for granted. When we’re at home, we dream of escaping off to some adventure however we often forget to notice the comforts and beauties of home all around us. It’s often not until we are actually away, seeing home from the other side that we begin to appreciate it. Travel can give you that distance you need. You may even begin to appreciate the routine of your life that you thought you wanted to get away from.

8-You may realise you don’t need as much crap as you think you need to be happy

traveling has taught me that You Don’t Need As Much As You Think You Need To Be Happy

Travel inherently opposes materialism and consumerism. Afterall, you can only put so much in your luggage or backpacks.  It can be hard at first to be away from all the stuff you bought and own and you’ll definitely miss certain things from home but after a while you’ll get used to living with less until finally you realize, you don’t need as much crap as you thought you did to be happy. It is actually quite liberating.

9-You learn what is truly important in life and what really makes you happy

You learn what is truly important in life and what really makes you happyJust as living without things makes you realize you don’t need the things you thought you once needed, being away from your life can help you discover what is truly important to you. Maybe climbing that corporate career ladder is not what you wanted after all. Maybe being away from your friends and family makes you realize how important they are to you. Or maybe the time you spend abroad makes you learn something new about yourself that surprises you.

10- You learn to make do with what you have

Traveling and Living Abroad as a a family has taught me: to make Do With What I Have.

You can only pack so much and buy so much when you travel. Same is true if you spend a year abroad someplace.  Who wants to lug around extra stuff or pay expensive fees for shipping things back home. You end up learning to make do with what you have and buying only what your really, truly need.

11)- You’re kids will get to go to school in another country

You're kids will get to go to school in another countryMain streaming your kids in school while living in another country is probably one of the fastest ways for them to adjust to local life. It’s also a wonderful experience for them not to mention a great way for them to make new international friends.

See Also: Preschool in France- what’s it like?

12-You have the chance to learn a language really well or become bilingual

If you live abroad You have the chance to learn a language really well or become bilingual

See also: Will I be bilingual if I live abroad?

13- Travelling as a couple can make or break you- It can test you too

Travelling as a couple can make or break youTravelling long-term as a couple means spending almost everyday all day together.  You need to align your goals, your focus and connect on a daily basis with the other person. All this constant togetherness can lead to some head butting.  You want to see all the museums and the other person wants to lay at the beach all day. You may want to get up early to see the sights while the other person wants to party all night. You want to live abroad while the other person just wants to go back to their small hometown.

14- You’ll learn that you can accomplish more than you think

Living abroad will help you discover that you can accomplish more than you think

 Bodies in motion stay in motion. It’s just the nature of travel-to do and try new things you wouldn’t normally do at home. You might try escargo, train for a marathon or go spelunking in a cave for the first time. All these new experiences stretch and test your limits pushing you further beyond what you thought you could ever accomplish. It’s a snowball effect and you’ll never want to stop because it’s so satisfying.

See also: Spotted Dick: 10 traditional british foods you will either love or hate

15- Getting lost can get you places you didn’t think you would find

You'll get lost when you travel and land in the most wonderful placesWhen you’re in a new place and new surroundings, it’s only natural that you might get lost once in a while. Getting lost is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it can land you somewhere unexpected and wonderful. Just make sure you have GPS to get back **wink wink**

16- Travel or living abroad can recharge your batteries and give you a new lease on life

Travel or living abroad can recharge your batteries and give you a new lease on life

Between your busy work schedule and hectic life, your daily routine can become all-consuming and automatic-a series of unconscious acts that just happen without even thinking. Each new day begins to look like the previous day. That’s a rut isn’t it? A year abroad can give you perspective. It can give you the time you need to recharge your batteries.

17- You learn to appreciate your family more (hopefully)

travelling has taught me more about my family
Two things can happen when you travel with your family. You’ll either learn to appreciate them or they’ll start to annoy you. One of the things I have noticed about living abroad is we tend to spend more time together which is great in many respects but at the same time, spending too much time together can be stressfull too. The important thing is to seek balance between together time and alone time.

18- You may learn it’s ok to question the culture you were brought up in

travelling teaches you that it's ok to question the culture you were brought up in

19- What you thought was an authentic recipe is not really authentic

What you thought was an authentic recipe is not really authenticThat local Chinese joint is probably not serving you up authentic Chinese food. That expensive French restaurant you like to eat at is not really how French people eat in France. Guess what, you’re getting localized versions of food from around the world which is fine. But if you want to try authentic anything, you almost need to go to that country or know someone from that country who can cook it for you.

20- Time is precious: Make the most of your time

Don't wast time. use every moment to do something funWhen travelling or living abroad, every minute counts. You have a sense that your time is limited so naturally you try to make the most of it. Even when you are at a bus stop waiting for the next bus, you can do something together. Break out that hacky sack.

21- Travel can help you be more present and conscious of life as it happens: If you let it

 Travel can help you be more present and conscious of life as it happens: If you let itFor many of us, our routine and our habit is to be off in our heads somewhere- anywhere but where you actually are now. Seldom are we fully here, living in the moment. We’re struggling with something that happened in the past or fearful and anxious about the future. Travelling can inherently help you be more present, in the moment and enjoy life as it is happening if you let it but you still need to take conscious steps to truly enjoy life as it is happening. Learn to live with less, smile more and forgive past hurts,

See also: 10 steps to living in the moment

22- Sometimes you need to see it rather than read or hear about it

A Day at the Berlin Wall near Warschauer Strasse Station: Travel can be educational for you and your kids

(photo source: Catherine on Blake’s shoulders writing on the Berlin Wall :very concerned about the survivors of the Holocaust.)

Some things are worth experiencing first hand, rather than through photos or books. When we stayed in Berlin Germany, the kids saw the remnants of the Berlin wall, contemplated what it was like to live through the holocaust and stood on the same soil where people were shot.  They showed no previous interest in these things prior but being there touchd them in a way and expanded their minds in a way they could not comprehend.

23- You might adopt new customs that you didn’t know you would love

You might adopt new customs that you didn't know you would loveLiving abroad can introduce new ways of doing things which you might not have otherwise tried.  Some of the customs we as a family have adopted while living in France are: eating more like the French in terms of quantity and time schedule. Going more often to the market to get fresh produce because our refrigerator is smaller than the massive American one we had back home. Your experiences will be different of course depending on where you are, how  long you stay and who you travel with.

See also: Why travel with kids

24- You will love living like a local and not a tourist

You will love living like a local and not a tourist

Travelling as a tourist is great but living somewhere like a local is sooooooo sooo sooo much more satisfying. The longer you stay, the more friends you make. The more culturally authentic things you will try to experience beyond what tourists do. You’ll get a sense of the daily rhythms and more.

25- For the stories and the hell of it

travel so you can tell stories and for the hell of it

There are literally thousands of people out there (right now) who are backpacking around the world, living nomadic-ally, taking a family sabbatical abroad or zig zaging the continent in an RV: with and without kids.

They are ordinary people like you who decided to live a little unconventionally. To make it happen, some have saved for years. Others sold their house and their possessions while still others work while on the road or some other combination. You can read about some of them here.

Here are other lessons learned by the following travellers

Ramble Crunch-  15 lessons I’ve learned traveling the world.

Four Jandles  50 lessons learned from travelling the world.

Raising Miro 12 simple principles for a happy life on (or off) the road

Bohemian Travelers:  Travel Lessons: Can You Embrace the Unknown

Edventure Project – American Thanksgiving: 22 things we are thankful for

The Nomadic Family: I Know Nothing (and 99 Other Things The Road Has Taught Me)

Peace On Earth: 5 Life Lessons Learned from Traveling

Travel with Bender: So it’s been 6 Months – You won’t believe what we have learned!

Life Changing Year: Life Lessons From The Road – A Little Bit Of Planning Goes A Loooong Way!

Living Outside of the Box: 6 Life Lessons From the Road (why 6? I have no idea!)

A King’s Life: Two things I know for sure

Flashpacker Family: Lessons From the Road of Life

Family on Bikes: Complaining won’t change a gosh-darn thing

Family Travel Bucket List: 3 Things We’ve Learned While Living Outside of the USA

Grow in Grace Life: By Any Road..Lessons from the Journey

Our Travel Lifestyle: Travel: Teaching us about ourselves

9 fabulous reasons why France is the number one travel destination in the world

9 Spectacular Reasons Why France Is The Worlds Most Popular Tourist Destination In The world

9 fabulous reasons why France is the number one travel destination in the world

According to United Nations World Tourism Organization, France has been the worlds most popular tourist destination for over 25 years. Let’s explore some of the things that make France so popular with tourists.

The reasons for France’s popularity are varied. Many people visit France simply because they consider it to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Other people visit France for the numerous tourist attractions, cities of cultural interest such as Paris and Strasbourg, the spectacular beaches, the French Alps, the language, the food and so much more. It’s no wonder France has held the number one position for 25 years. Let’s take a closer look at 9 absolutely wonderful things in France that attract part of the 86 million visitors each year.

1. Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris is the number one attraction in France and EuropeSince 1992, Disneyland Paris, originally called Euro Disney resort has been drawing crowds from all over the world. Currently it is the number one tourist attraction in all of France and Europe, even beating out the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. It is also the 16th most popular tourist attraction in the world.  14.8 million people visited Disney Paris in 2015 according to their annual report.

2.The Eiffel Tower

Eiffel tower was build in 1889to be the entrance to the worlds fairOriginally constructed as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, today it is what people think of first when they think of France. Measuring 321 metres tall, the equivalent to 81 stories, the Eiffel tower serves not only as a national monument and major tourist attraction but also as an observation and radio broadcast tower.

It is the second most visited attraction in France after Disneyland Paris but as far as monuments go, it is the most visited-paid monument in the world. In 2015, almost 7 million people ascended this French treasure. Some by elevator others climbed the 1664 steps by foot from bottom to top. (source)

3. The Louvre and art

Louvre in Paris

The Louvre has a long and sorted history. The Louvre which we know today is not only one of the largest museums in the world, housing over 460,000 pieces of art and artifacts, it’s also one of the most visited galleries on the planet. in 2014 alone it received over 9.3 million visitors.

Initially built as a fortress in the late 12th century, it was converted to the the main residence for French kings in the 16th century. Then in 1682, Louis XIV relocated the imperial home to Versailles, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection. 100 years later during the French revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation’s masterpieces to the masses.

Some of the more notable treasures housed at the Louvre include La Jaconde known in English as The Mona Lisa. Winged Victory of Samothrace, Vénus de Milo, Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People,  Great Sphinx of Tanis , Aphrodite of Milos and the list goes on.

4. Palace Versailles The kings palace

palace of versailles in France draws hoards of tourists every yearTransformed from a humble hunting lodge by Louis XIV into the now familiar Versailles Palace which epitomizes royal elegance. Every year over 3 million people travel to Versailles to see how former French royalty lived. Everywhere you look is an amazing delight. It’s embellished by generations of lavish gardes, landscape, architecture, sculptures, decorations, art and more! Some of the more popular things to see at the palace include the State Apartments, the incredible Hall of Mirrors, the Versailles Gardens and The Trianons.

5. The Tour De France

tour de France vintage poster

For over 100 years since 1903, the tour de France has been attracting spectators from around the world. Not only is the Tour de France the globe’s biggest bike race, it’s also the largest sporting even on the planet. For three weeks during part of June and July, people from all over the globe flock to France to watch bicyclists race some 3,200 kilometres (2,000 miles) mostly around France in a collection of phases. In a typical years race, the Tour de France can attract roughly 12 million spectators along the route of the race.

See also: 15 Bizarre Tour De France Facts YOU Didn’t Know But Should

6.French cheese

illustrated map of French cheeses

photoicon.50xpng.pngPhoto source: Vinepair

You’ve heard of Brie, Camembert and Blue cheese? In terms of types of French cheeses, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As master cheese maker, Pierre Androuët once said “Un fromage pour chaque jour“, which simply means “there exists a different cheese for each day.  Officially, France produces roughly 350 to 450 different varieties of cheese. Some say the number is closer to 1,000. Whatever the number, cheese-making in France is an old art: goat cheese goes back to at the very least 500 AD, the blue-veined Roquefort was discussed in documents of an old abbey as very early as 1070, and tough ranch cheeses like Emmental began to show up in the 13th century.

7.The French Alps

French alps tram on Mont Blanc

Europe’s greatest mountain range system is without a doubt the Alps, stretching 1,200 km across eight Alpine countries including France’s French Alps. There is a wide range of winter and summer activities available to visitors in the French Alps which attract roughly 60-80 million visitors each year. Some activities include skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, biking and rock climbing to name a few.

Every year, approximately 30,000 mountain climbers from all over planet set their sites on making the treacherous 2 day, 4,810 metres (15,780 feet) climb up the highest point of the French Alps -Mont Blanc. Climbing Mont Blanc although beautiful is also dangerous claiming the lives of almost 100 people each year making it Europe’s’ deadliest mountain.

For those visitors who would rather not risk their lives, and climber Europe’s most dangerous mountain, there is always the cable car which will take you up to Aiguille du midi where you”ll have a dazzling 360° view over Mont Blanc-the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Every summer an astounding 5,000 people a day take the cable cars.

8. French food and the French mealtime tradition

French gastronomy granted UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2010 In addition to all the attractions, French food is also a major draw for tourists. The French mealtime tradition, (Gastronomic meal of the French) with all its wine pairing, social rituals, the setting of a beautiful table and associated skills and crafts that the French are renowned for was even granted UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2010 when it was added to the representative list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.

9. The French train transportation

French railway considered to be the best in the world makes it easy for tourists

The Gare du Nord railway station in the heart of Paris France handles approximately 190 million passenger per year and is considered to be the busiest station in Europe and the third largest and busiest in the world. With over 29,000 km of railway, visitors to France can easily travel from one end of France to the other quickly without the need for a car making it even more appealing and easy for tourists to visit every corner of France.

This article was co-authored with Linda Evans from and Annie from

Why you should carve turnip jack o lanterns instead of pumpkins for halloween

Don't Carve A Pumpkin For Halloween- Carve A Turnip Jack O'Lantern

Why you should carve turnip jack o lanterns instead of pumpkins for halloween

In remembrance of the original Jack O’lantern, which were NOT carved out of pumpkins, try something so old it’s new. Carve a Turnip Jack O’Lantern for Halloween just like the Irish, Scots and Brits used to before bright orange pumpkins became the norm. Or do as the French do in the Northern parts of France and carve a beet lantern. Read on to learn more about this fun project.

Getting to the root of it. Why carve a turnip?

A few years ago I was searching the internet to see if I could find a pumpkin patch to take my kids to in the south of France. Never found one by the way. They were all located too far from us, mainly outside of Paris. I did however discover something about the tradition of carving pumpkin Jack O’lanterns that was so different, so new to me, I actually didn’t believe it when I first read it.

Original-Irish-JackOlantern** photo-icon.50xpngPhoto source: Irish turnip (rutabaga) lantern on display in Ireland at the National Museum of Ireland- Country life.

The original European Jack-O-lanterns named for the Irish myth , were carved mainly from turnips and other roots such as rutabagas, potatoes or beets and looked truly grotesque and monstrous compared to today’s festive or goofy carved orange pumpkins.

In fact, it wasn’t until the mid 1800’s, when Irish and Scottish immigrants brought their custom of carving lanterns out of roots to the US and Canada where the tradition changed. The newly arrived immigrants discovered North American orange pumpkins were perfect for carving and so began the new custom of carving orange pumpkins which is now popular throughout the world, not just in North America.

The exception is Northern France who carve not turnips and not pumpkins but big sugar beets. 

I decided to give turnip carving a go and created several turnip Jack O’lanterns this Halloween with my daughter. Of course we also carved a pumpkin and made pumpkins seeds.

See also: 10 things you didn’t know about Halloween in France

Advantages of carving  turnip Jack O’lanternsHere is one of the turnips we carve this halloween

To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of faith in carving turnips into Jack O’lanterns. I thought they would be more difficult than carving a pumpkin because I kept reading how the Irish and Scots found  pumpkins easy to carve.

To my surprise, it was just as easy if not easier to carve a turnip. In a matter of 15 minutes, my daughter and I had carved several adorably scary turnip Jack O’lanterns. Something you can’t really do with a pumpkin because you have to first gut the pumpkin and then slowly work your knife through the thick skin of the pumpkin to carve it. Both can be very time consuming.

Here are 9 benefits to carving turnips and roots into Jack O’Lanterns instead of pumpkins.

  1. No scooping out messy seeds, no big pumpkin mess
  2. Turnips are smaller and more portable than pumpkins so you can easily use them as actual Jack O’lanterns or hang them from a tree outside.
  3. Turnips are also cheaper so you can afford to make dozens of carved turnips to display around the house, on your windowsills or outside.
  4. You can easily let your kids do a lot of the work because it’s easier for them to scoop than a big heavy pumpkin.
  5. With its reddish white exterior and root like characteristics, turnips look more interesting than a carved pumpkin. Maybe scarier?
  6. Candles tends to flicker more in a turnip because they are less protected than in a pumpkin which makes the turnip look spookier….. But the candle tends do get blown out more easily as a result. (not a positive)
  7. Unlike pumpkins, turnips and various other roots are fairly easy to find almost everywhere all year round. Even in France.
  8. No waste! After you scoop out the innards of the turnips, you can use the guts to make yummy mashed turnips.
  9. You can carve turnips and roots all year round into different things like votive holders unlike pumpkins which only look appropriate during Halloween. (see photos below)

English Heritage wants you to use turnips due to a possible pumpkin shortage

Why you should carve turnip jack o lanterns instead of pumpkins for halloweenphoto-icon.50xpngPhoto source of English Heritage turnip carver and carved turnips

There have been several attempts to revive this almost forgotten tradition of carving turnip Jack O’lanterns. In 2015, a pumpkin shortage led to the English Heritage calling for Brits to rediscover and bring back the original tradition of turnip carving to address reduced supplies of pumpkins caused by wet weather. English Heritage even installed a number of ghoulishly carved turnips at the Dover Castle to inspire you. I don’t think it’s really caught on yet but time will tell.

Tools you need to carve a turnip or other root

turnip carving tools you will need

how to carve and scoop out guts of a turnip to make a jack o'lantern

photo-icon.50xpng Photo source: Diane Gilleland via Makezine.

The tools you need to cut and carve a turnip are pretty similar to a pumpkin.

  • A knife to cut off the top
  • Something to scoop out the guts- a melon baller scoop works way better than a spoon. The edges on a melon baller are sharper.
  • A smaller blade to carve the details of your scary face onto the turnip.
  • A poking tool might come in handy if you want to poke small holes into the sides of the turnip and run string through the holes so you can hang the turnip from a tree or something.

Turnip and root carving inspiration

When it comes to carving you’re turnip, which actually look terrifying when carved, you are limited only by your imagination. Here a few photos to wet your inspiration.


photo-icon.50xpngPhoto source of English Heritage carved turnips

Hang a bunch of turnip Jack O’lanterns in the yard

turnip-lantern-from Martha Stewart

Turnips don’t weigh very much so they can easily be hung from a tree in the backyard or on your front doorstep. Carry them on your trick or treats too.

Carve your turnip upside down with the root tip still attached
scary turnip jack o'lantern upside down

photo source = Mark god of thunder

Carve a rutabagaugly-carved-turnip jack o'lanterns

photo-icon.50xpngPhoto source Munchies.vice

In addition to turnips, rutabagas were also carved into jack O’lanterns. These guys look even scarier than turnips with their brown skin and extruding roots that remind me of mole hairs.


photo-icon.50xpngphoto source = The invisible underground

Make a simple turnip votive all year round

turnip-votive-Martha stewart

photo-icon.50xpngPhoto source Martha Stewart

For a more elegant turnip that you can use all year round, turn that turnip into a tea light holder to put on the dinner table or coffee table.  Martha Stewart says to use varying sizes for the most interesting display and not to leave lit candles unattended. DUH!


Photo source = Lovely Greens

Head over to Lovely greens to learn how to make these cute carved turnip lanterns.

Carve other roots like potatoes

carve-a potato jack o lantern for halloween

photo-icon.50xpngPhoto source = Odyssey

If turnips are not available or you want to try your hand at carving other roots and vegetable like the Irish, Scots and English used to, just walk into your kitchen and take a look in your vegetable drawer. Pull out a potato, a beet, a butternut squash or a rutabaga and start carving away.

The 2 Beet Lantern carving customs in France

carve a beet for halloween like they do in boulonnais france

photo-icon.50xpngphoto source= ville de Longvilliers

A very small percentage of the French population actually get into the spirit of Halloween let alone carve pumpkins. As I mentioned earlier however, certain parts of Norther France have the tradition of carving not pumpkins, not turnips but beets. And not any old beet you find at the supermarket. They carve huge sugar beets which are much larger than your garden variety that you find at the supermarket.

beets of Boulonnais France for la nuit des grimaçantes betteravesSee also: Why the French hate Halloween and how to celebrate it anyways.

Grimacing Beets of Lorraine “les Betteraves Grimaçantes”

beets of Boulonnais France for la nuit des grimaçantes betteraves

photo-icon.50xpngphoto source: B@ch’ Boetz

The children of Lorraine, a historical region in northeast France which borders Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany have a tradition of carving grimacing beet lanterns “les Betteraves Grimaçantes”. They then place the carved beet lanterns on their windowsill.  This night occurs on the eve of “all Saints day” but is not called Halloween. Instead it is called ” nuit des betteraves grimaçantes or Rommelbootzen” which translates to “The night of the grimacing beets”.


photo-icon.50xpngphoto source = Blog d’air

Decorated Beets of Boulonnais during Christmas

festival de Guénel in France and their carved beets
In Boulonnais, a coastal area in northern France near Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer, there is a carved beet lantern festival called “la fête des guénels”.

A Guénels is a carved beet lantern and is the middle aged phonetic spelling for the word Gai Noel.

festival de Guénel in France and their carved beets The custom of of beet carving in this region is centred around the story of Petit Pierre. There are several versions of this story but the gist of the folklore is that Petit Pierre, a very poor boy wanted to make some money for Christmas. So on the eve of Christmas, he carved a face into a beet and placed a candle in it to use as a lantern to illuminate the dark night so he could go door to door asking the bourgeois boulonnais for money. 

The municipality of Boulogne drops truck loads of huge beets in the street. Kids then go around colleting their beets to carve which they will then use to go door to door asking for treats while singing the traditional song called « Ô Guénel » .

Although it sounds a lot like Halloween and trick-or-treating and perhaps is related to the Celtic tradition, it is actually celebrated for Christmas but only in the Boulonnais area of France which has it’s own unique customs and traditions.

There is also a a festival of carved beets called  “la fête des guénels” with a beet carving contest. After the contest, children parade in the streets « défilé des guénels » asking passer-byers for sweets «les  sucreries» while again singing a traditional song called « Ô Guénel » .

festival de Guénel in France and their carved beets

Happy root carving.

Our carved turnip jack o lanterns

1 2 3 18

Store coming soon Dismiss