Octobre 6, 2017. Un Autre Faux Pas. Ah…We Don’t, A Cultural Disconnect. And An Ultra Training Update – D.C. Heat and Humidity In Octobre.

Bonjour mes amis.  Comment ça va?  Moi? Ça va très bien.  J’aime octobre!  Mais – je n’aime pas les jours courts!  Toutefois, les feuilles sont belles à l’automne.

La Porte –


Faux-pas –

There was the time in France when being introduced to a man that I kissed him on each cheek.  Because, isn’t that what you do in France when you meet people?

Apparently,  I should have just shaken his hand as he was just an acquaintance.  I guess there are actual rules around the whole cheek kissing thing.

And then there was the time I misspronouced le boeuf (the beef) in the fancy restaurant by saying la bouffe (a causal term for food – like how we would use grub or chow).

Ah the looks of horror and French BOFs I received from those at the table.  Made me laugh out loud.  I still think it’s pretty funny.  And I’m sure I still mispronounce le boeuf as la bouffe. 

Ah…We Don’t –

But my all time favorite cultural disconnect is when I sneezed in France and no-one blessed me.

Emotionally scarred I proceeded to ask ma belle mère how to say “bless you” in French and she replied, “we don’t.”

EYES wide “huh?”  I said at first as the English words, “we don’t” didnt register and as my brain tried to translate “we don’t” into English.  Then I realized she said “we don’t.” in English, and I gasped!  “Ok, that’s wierd,” I thought.

What she actually meant was – the French don’t say it everytime someone sneezes, comme les américains.

The French do have words for this situation, apparently they just don’t use them as often as we do here in the states. That’s her story and she’s sticking with it.  Love her!

So for the record when someone sneezes in France you can respond with:

À tes souhaits / Informal for bless you.

À vos souhaits / Formal for bless you.

However, in our family we simply respond with the ever loving words “we don’t.”

We are a simple people.

For the record, the  next time I met the casual French acquaintance I offered my hand as he swooped in for the cheek-to-cheek.  You can’t fool me twice – monsieur.

But actually now, that I know him isn’t the cheek kiss acceptable?  Je ne sais pas? Et je ne comprends pas le culture françaises. Mais j’adore le français.

Ultra Training Update –

So far so good!  I’m not going to set any land speed records, but I’m holding my own in my quest to conquer the 50 miler in Novemeber.

Lots of fall races!  This past weekend I traveled to Washington D.C. to run the Army Ten-Miler and it was…WHOA…HUMID.  I felt like I was flying but was actually a minute per mile slower than my normal ten mile pace.

The race was actually downgraded to a recreational run due to the heat and humidity.  So odd for October.  This downgrade helped to relieve some of my personal disappointment – but I still felt I could have pushed a little harder or maybe have trained a little harder.

The knee tried to fall apart about mile 8 but I must have forgotten about it because at mile 10 it was fine.  The knee strap to stabilize the knee cap must be working.

This race puts it all into perspective  – when you see the wounded warrior marching on…on prosthetic legs.  

So many emotions…


Next weekend I run with 12 other people, a 200 mile relay race through Kentucky’s beautiful Bourbon Country.  I’ll cover about 17 of the 200 miles over a 24 hour period.  Hoping to streghthen my body and prepare it well as I continue my quest to conquer the 50 miler.

À Plus Tard







Author: suzlearnsfrench

My name is Suz and I'm addicted to France and all things French. I can't speak French, but I'm working on it. I've been working on it for 33 years. I'm married to a man who is half French and our running joke is "my next husband will be full French." However, I'm never giving this one up.

13 thoughts on “Octobre 6, 2017. Un Autre Faux Pas. Ah…We Don’t, A Cultural Disconnect. And An Ultra Training Update – D.C. Heat and Humidity In Octobre.”

  1. This one is good! I taught to my mother to say “vesels” – “bless you” cause it feels good. But here in Latvia – we don’t as well :D. And I would take whole “la bouffe” I’m so hungry right now! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just clicked over to your blog from another one where you commented. I’m a French learner and runner too, although of shorter distances!

    Living in the French-speaking part Switzerland, the kiss thing gets me every time … as does the tu/vous distinction. I can’t count how many people I’ve insulted, either by being too informal too quickly or by staying too formal too long. Also, here, when someone sneezes, we say, “Santé.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bonjour ! Thank you so much for stopping by. Santé – this I will use!

      I’m looking forward to getting back to the shorter distance…

      And I’m also looking forward to reading more of your blog – what an interesting life you’ve had thus far.

      I hope to really focus on my French this winter – once the 50 miler is checked off.

      Please stop back by – I’d love to have you comment as needed on my French.



  3. Just popped over from Susan’s French Oasis blog – you had me grin widely with your ‘faux pas’. Bienvenue dans le monde des ‘vrai français’…. I’m a Swiss German spoken gal, my Hero Husband is Swiss French (Vaudois, ça s’appelle, car c’est le canton de Vaud en Suisse) and we BOTH can never pass for French people here in France although we both speak ‘some sort of French’. Don’t let anything get at you, be yourself in all things – stay unique and special, you truly are!! I could tell you of my/our faux pas all day long but won’t do it. It’s only funny when you do it right away…. Love and greetings, and happy running! (I probably haven’t been running 50miles in my whole life, or not multiple times, in any way…. 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Guten tag! Such cool backgrounds you both have. We lived in Germany in the 80’s and 90’s. J’aimé l’Allemagne! My daughters were actually born there. I guess I just love Europe. I miss it. Although I love the states as well. If the ocean were smaller – it would be ideal.



  4. Suz,
    Although I was born both New Zealander and Dutch National, Dutch is my second language and French my third, therefore I have made more than my fair share of mistakes over the years.
    Add to that, if you are tired, you start to get mixed language sentences, or weirder, if we have been in France and speaking French, when we come back we can’t string a Dutch OR English sentence together so the first person to speak Dutch to us usually gets startled by a French or messy, mixed half French half Dutch reply!

    I messed up the expression ” À tes souhaits” in a different way when I first heard it (not having seen it written at the time) so went around saying “artist’s way”(In ENGLISH!!!) with a heavy French accent so that I would remember it.

    Amazingly the normally critical French friends I said it to didn’t bat an eye, so either I was doing something right or it was too cringe worthy to talk about. Now that I know better I don’t dare ask! Let’s just say that “blunt” is a polite word to use for the ‘tips” that friends in rural France give to my language skills and cultural “faux pas”!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bonjour

      I’m just jealous you speak 3 languages ! I can’t get my mind around 2 let alone 3.

      You have quite the unique nationality mix – NZ and Dutch. Both so cool. NZ, I imagine is beautiful. And of course the Netherlands – I imagine fields of spectacular tulips.

      Oh the bluntness of the French – you have to love it. I miss it! I would love to be there now :). You’re so blessed to live in Europe.

      Back in the early 80’s my husband spent time supporitng the Nijmegen marches as a medic – have you heard of these? And if so, are they still popular ?



  5. Just subbed. Not because I’m a runner, far from it – too lazy! But I so enjoyed the ‘faux pas’ of yourself and your pals here…. And I’m the first one to commit them on a daily basis, being married to a French spoken Swiss doesn’t help much in France…. We frequently are asked Where the heck do you come from? THIS isn’t French…. Plus ça change….!
    Have fun, continue to learn, it keeps the grey cells alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bonjour et ça va?

      It’s funny that you are asked “where you are from.”

      I’ll sure your French is great – I’m sure it’s better than mine (LOL or MDR). My half French husband understands French but is slow to speak due to lack of practice.

      The dialects are so different region to region. Even the French Canadians in Quebec speak and sound different. I heard they hardly use the vous anymore and simply use the tu form. That would make things easier.

      À bientôt



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s