Le Grand Départ

*Disclaimer: This has nothing en commun with ‘Le Tour de France’.

Moving day, to quote my responsable, was “un grand jour”: after my delayed flight, following directions for buses/trains from Yahoo answers (avec success), and almost being sat on by a blind woman on the train, c’était certainement un grand jour! I also discovered how the French we learn is never really the sort that is utile en France. No one, when making requests, would use the subjunctive – which we are taught – but at train stations, you might want to know the word for a single ticket (un aller simple, for future reference) – which we aren’t taught. With the help of the Oxford French Dictionary app, j’ai survécu!

My responsable, Laurence (N.B. In an initial email I accidently addressed her as ‘Monsieur’, because mon petit ami has the same name, only to be corrected that it is a female name en France…oh la honte!), met me at the station and took me to the school, where we met Monsieur Marie and picked up the keys to my apartment (beaucoup moins cher qu’à Leeds!). I also met the deputy head (who has a collection of pig figurines) and some other members of staff, one of which said my French was good “pour une anglaise”. Monsieur Marie then showed us to the apartment, where he proceeded to tell me about his son who was “…24ans, sportif, grand…” – apparently it’s complètement normal for people to try and advertise their single children…au secours!

Laurence then took me to her house, in Wihr au val (un petit village just outside Colmar), for tea. I met her family, who were all very nice and tried a local speciality – tarte flambée. It’s like a pizza, with crème fraiche, onions and bacon (on a side note, the French for bacon, le lard, is one of the most unappealing words!). We also had some local wine (I was told you can’t come to the route du vin and not try any!). The GBBO me manque, but her husband told me there is a French equivalent – Le Meilleur Patissier! C’était une bonne soirée!

The following day, après a very late night, I wandered around Colmar. The tourist office was un peu difficile à trouver, but once found had tonnes of leaflets to satisfy my scrapbooking needs, wooo! Armed with un plan de la ville, I spent a few hours wandering around the town. There is a Petite Venise – plus jolie than the one near Paddington in London – and lots of half timbered/painted traditional buildings. The Quai de la poissonnerie is très picturesque, and next to it is the covered market (complete with a stall that sells LOTS of pretzels…I have found my new favourite word – un bretzel!). After a few hours of exploring – and some postcard writing – I headed back to the apartment (not got lost yet, so far so bon). Later that afternoon, the assistante d’allemand arrived: contrary to the belief of the staff, ce n’était pas un garçon! We walked into town and found pizza (how français!) to take home. Then we spent the evening in the flat chatting (there was also a new teacher at the school who was temporarily staying here) before yet another late night…


Above and below: Petite Venise






Above: A stall devoted to pretzels in the covered market!



Today was admin day – I wonder how many arbres were killed to produce the stacks of paper I now possess. That said, Madame Minon was very helpful and I now have all Erasmus+ forms signed! Paperwork complèt, we went upstairs (so many!) and met the other language teachers who were all very friendly (mais ils parlent un peu trop vite!). Monsieur Dubich then took us to the bank to set up an account – why on earth do the French pay a monthly fee for an account when it is free in England?! After that speedy appointment, we went back to the school and had lunch in the canteen with the other teachers. This evening we are off to Laurence’s house pour faire mieux connaissance with the other teachers.

À plus tard…


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