Vacationing in France (Intermediate)

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Steve and Jill talk about Steve’s upcoming trip to France.

Steve: Hi, Jill.

Jill: Hello, Steve.

Steve: It’s another beautiful day here.

We’ve having a great September.

I think we had a fair summer.

I’ve heard people complain but I didn’t think it was so bad, did you?

Jill: Certainly not as bad as I think it was in Europe and some other parts of the world.

I heard on the news that actually statistically it was not an abnormally wet summer or cold summer but the weekends were particularly bad.

I think everybody has the weekend…most people have the weekends off so for them it seemed like it was very bad because their days off were not very nice.

Steve: Yeah, I know. I think people are very sensitive to the climate now.

We had a visitor here, Thomas, who is from Germany, was visiting with us and he was commenting on how strange the weather has been in Germany.

Of course, we are very sensitive to, you know, is this part of all the global warming thing.

Statistically, I mean, we always do have variation.

This summer, in my recollection, was not a particularly bad one.

I thought we had a lot of good weather and we’re sure enjoying our good weather here in September and, of course, I’m on my way to Europe so they better get better weather over there before I get there.

Jill: Yeah, so you’re off to France, I believe, tomorrow.

Steve: That’s right.

Tomorrow my wife and I are flying off to Paris.

As soon as we arrive we are going to rent a car and we are going to drive to Le Havre which is in Normandy where we have a very dear friend and lumber customer.

We are going to spend the weekend there.

Jill: Very nice.

And Normandy, so that’s in the northern part and where are you going to go from there?

Steve: Well, we are going to spend the weekend there and then on Monday we are going to drive down to Paris.

I have a couple of meetings.

I am going to meet with an audio book publisher there and talk about how we can carry some of their books.

They are called Livraphone, they are in Paris and how we can sell their books across LingQ so that people can enjoy listening and reading to some of the classics of French literature.

I’m also going to visit…I don’t think it will be that successful but I’m going to visit with Assimil which is a leading producer of language learning material mostly for French speakers learning other languages but they also have Assimil for English speakers and I think for Spanish speakers.

They have a tremendous range; literally any language you can think of.

Their system consists essentially of text and audio with a small amount of grammar which I think is good.

They don’t overdo the grammar and the grammar exercises.

So, if we could sell their product across LingQ that people would be able to download chapter by chapter the Assimil for Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, it doesn’t matter, if they could make the sound and the e-text available across our site – sell it, of course — then our learners could use that to get started in the system.

They would use the Assimil content, they would study with our system and if they wanted to buy the Assimil book for the additional grammar explanations then they would still do so and I think many people would do so.

I’m going to try to persuade Assimil that it’s in their interest to A: sell, you know, chapter by chapter, to offer their system across our system because right now they target primarily French speakers so this should open up a larger market and then many of those people may still buy the book from Assimil so that’s a meeting that I have planned in Paris.

I have one more meeting in Paris, your good friend Marianne.

Jill: Yes, long-time Linguist learner, now LingQ learner, in Melun, I believe, outside of Paris; 40 minutes maybe outside of Paris.

Yeah, she does a lot for us; does French translations and very keen member, LingQ member; very nice lady.

I’m jealous that you get to meet her.

Steve: Well, you know, it’s like so many of our learners.

We speak to them on Skype, we get to know them and, I mean, I think you’ll agree one of the pleasures of being involved with LingQ is the people that we’ve gotten to know in different countries.

It must be something about the LingQ system that we only get nice people.

Jill: Generally.

Steve: Generally.

Jill: Generally.

Steve: Well, no, but overwhelmingly; overwhelmingly. I’ve had many conversations with Marianne.

She works at a school so I’m also going to visit her school and talk to some language teachers there and then I am just going to get to know Marianne a little bit and so that will be fun.

Jill: And then after Paris where are you planning on going?

Steve: From there we are going to join…I will hand my car in; I’ll just have the car for three days…and then I belong to a group of former Canadian diplomats, typically retired diplomats, ex-ambassadors or trade commissioners, who gather once a year to play golf.

In the past we’ve always done it in Canada.

One year it’s in Eastern Canada and one year in Western Canada.

So, for example, one year it was at Mont-Tremblant which is very nice; we played there in September.

We did it in Victoria, British Columbia which is also beautiful.

This year we are doing it in Loire Valley.

This year we are making an exception.

We are actually bringing “da wives”.

Normally, we exclude the wives because this is sort of your male bonding thing, okay.

We sit around and we tell rude jokes.

But this time we figured the wives probably would not sit back and accept the idea that the men were going off to France to play golf and eat nice meals and do all of that kind of thing and drink good wine and that the women would have to stay home.

We’re meeting up in this pub that’s called the Great Canadian Pub in Paris.

We are meeting there at 3 o’clock on the 19th in the afternoon – no, the 18th, actually.

We are all getting in a bus and we’re driving down to wherever the first hotel is.

I tell you, someone else has made all the arrangements and I haven’t even looked at it.

There are meals; there are this…all kinds of things included in it.

I’ve just paid and we are going to show up and just go with the flow.

Jill: Oh, that will be so great.

I know Carmen, your wife, is a very avid golfer.

I think she enjoys golfing more than you do, actually, so she’s probably very excited.

Steve: Oh yeah, she’s very excited.

Some of the ladies coming are also keen golfers; some of whom she knows and some she doesn’t know.

So, she’s going to have a great time and we’re going to eat and so forth and so we’ll spend a week playing golf, visiting Chateau, eating.

We are going to visit the City of Toole which is a very, you know, lovely old town.

Then after that we are going to drive down to a place called Pau which is in the Basque Country in France and there we’ve rented a villa.

It’s a house of some kind; not very big.

It’s 500 Euro per week which is quite reasonable.

I think it has two small bedrooms.

It’s not a very big place.

We’re going to stay there for two weeks.

My older son and his wife and two children are going to come out and visit from London because they live in London, England.

They are going to spend maybe three or four days with us and then we’re just going to visit around.

Pau is near the Spanish border so we can visit around in France.

We can go to the ocean at Biarritz, St.

Jean De-Luz, which are very famous ocean resorts.

We can also drive into Spain.

Pamplona where they run the bulls is not very far away so we’re just going to explore.

Jill: Wow, that sounds so great.

Are you not then going to London this trip?

Steve: No.

We much prefer that they come to visit with us.

I mean London is a spectacular city and there is so much to do but it’s a bit stressful.

Flying into Heathrow they’ve got four or five terminals.

I never know where I’m coming in and where I’m leaving.

You are forever lined up in security and then it takes forever to get in and it takes forever to get out so London is stressful to me.

I mean, you know, they live in a house which by London standards is in a nice area but, I mean, it’s extremely cramped.

If my wife and I go there we’re really on top of my son and his wife and their kids and it’s just…we’re used to having a little more space.

Which, I mean, we love going there but it’s more fun, I think, if they come to Pau and then with the little kids and we can visit around and see things and enjoy, you know, a different experience.

Steve: That’s right, so we’re not going to go to London this time.

Jill: So, you’re gone for five weeks, I think, and you’re spending the whole five weeks in France and maybe a little bit in Spain?

Steve: Exactly.

We do have some other days free in there and so I might travel…when we finish our golfing I might go to Avignon, Aix, and work my way that way to Pau because when I was a university student in France I used to hitchhike around that area and so I like that area.

I’m also going to maybe try and contact…there’s a very big sort of hospitality industry-school, hotel-restaurant-school, at Aix.

I know someone who goes there and, of course, language instruction is a big issue for people in the hospitality industry; the hotel industry and the restaurant industry.

I might just go there and see if we can interest them in LingQ because, again, I think it’s an excellent way for people to learn languages.

I’m going to try to mix a little bit of business but mostly pleasure, absolutely.

Jill: Fabulous! We look forward to hearing all about it when you come back.

Steve: Alright, I will. I am going to try to maintain my blog when I’m over there.

Yeah, it should be fun.

I might even take this little microphone along and interview some people in French and maybe put that up as French content in LingQ.

So, you know, we always say this, I know we have a lot of people who listen to our podcast, the EnglishLingQ podcast, we never get any feedback.

So, you know, LingQ.com, we can come there; thelinguist.com.

I have my blog thelinguist.blogs.com.

We would be very happy to hear how you enjoy these; what kinds of discussions you prefer; free-flowing discussions like this or, you know, slower ones for beginners.

Tell us what you would like to have.

Isn’t that right, Jill?

Jill: Exactly right.

Steve: Okay, thanks for now.

Jill: Bye, bye.

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