Archive for August, 2012

The CAF: Cheque annuel de formation


The first time I heard about the CAF (Chèque annuel de formation) I had already been living in Switzerland for 3 years. I thought it was such a shame I hadn’t learned about it before as it can come really handy for those expats and trailing spouses thinking about developing new professional skills or improving their French. In brief, the Chèque Annuel de Formation, is a financial subsidy of 750CHF per year (for […]

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The French Village of Pérouges

My galette au sucre nearly all gone !

We came across the French village of Pérouges on our way to Lyon a couple of years ago: the children needed to stretch their legs and I could definitely do with some delicious French pastries ! Perched on a gentle hill overlooking the meadows and fields along the Ain River, this beautifully preserved medieval village is probably one of the most charming villages in France. So much so that it’s been the location of many historical movies […]

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Swiss School


Moving to a different country is daunting enough for anyone. Thinking about enrolling your children into a local school system you’re not familiar with is definitely one of the hardest things for any expat parents. As a family, we opted for private international schools for our children, so I don’t have direct personal experience of the Swiss school system. However, since I was asked to write a brief article about it, I […]

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A Bit of Downton, Swiss Style


I confess I do have a soft spot for costume drama and, yes, I did look forward to my Sunday nights in the company of Downton, so when I drove past the Botanical Gardens last week and saw a billboard for “Rousseau, une promenade”, I was lured.   The show is in French, so I might need to bring my pocket dictionary with me, but the idea of strolling through the Geneva’s Botanical Gardens […]

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Pardon my French !


Is the French language so rude that it should come with an apology ? Should expats expect to hear a lot of swearwords in their everyday life in France ? French language is appreciated by foreigners. Many English people told me how they assimilate the sound of French to poetry, but then why do anglophones say ‘Excuse my French’ when using a curse word ? Looking back I found that in […]

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As Easy as Tu or Vous


The use of ‘tu’ and ‘vous’ adds to the difficulty of the French language. Being a foreigner, you will be forgiven for a ‘faux pas’ and admired for getting it right. In order to use ‘tu’ and ‘vous’ at the right time you have to rely on the social context. ‘Vous’ is always used reciprocally in a professional context: whether you are a customer or a professional person, you’ll both address each other […]

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