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French properties and Real Estate for sale by owner in France
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French real estate for sale: Riverside House With Mooring.  bedroom Town House in Lot, Midi-Pyrenees. Riverside House With Mooring
French real estate for sale: Prades Sur Vernazobre. Five bedroom Country House in Herault, Languedoc-Roussillon. Prades Sur Vernazobre
French real estate for sale: Farmhouse With Pyrenees View. Numerous bedroom Farm House in Haute-Garonne, Midi-Pyrenees. Farmhouse With Pyrenees View
French real estate for sale: House In Bordeaux. Five bedroom Town House in Gironde, Aquitaine. House In Bordeaux
French real estate for sale: Elegant Townhouse Businesspotential. Four bedroom Town House in Gers, Midi-Pyrenees. Elegant Townhouse Businesspotential
French real estate for sale: Manor House Dating From 1912. Numerous bedroom Villa in Haute-Vienne, Limousin. Manor House Dating From 1912
French real estate for sale: Lovingly Restored Quercy Farmhouse. Five bedroom Farm House in Lot, Aquitaine. Lovingly Restored Quercy Farmhouse
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By B A Boyle


For many newcomers to France, one of the greatest challenges is actually to make sense of the French language which we studied years ago in school. 

If you’re lucky you may still remember a little vocabulary or how to conjugate verbs, the exceptions and the rules.  Nevertheless, beware. french learned at school has its limitations.  It’s most unlikely that you will be able to impress anyone by asking “Where is the station?”  “I’d like to book a room with a shower” or even “How do I get to the
Eiffel Tower

So, soon after we moved here, we came to rely on two very good pieces of advice:

  1. If you can’t make yourself understood, try saying it in a different way.
  2. Learn how to ask politely for the French person  to speak a little slower/clearer  for example “doucement, S’il vous plait” (literally, softly please)

Let me give you an example.  Our first summer here and we’re living in a quiet little French village.  We’re ready to receive our first visitors, daughter, son-in law, & two young children;  a family more used to seaside than countryside holidays.  How do we keep the little ones entertained.  The supermarket is full of little plastic paddling pools.  We buy two.  One for water and one for sand.   Water, we have plenty of but we need to visit the DIY store in search of sand.  

If I ever knew  the French word for sand I’d surely forgotten it long ago. We find a helpful assistant but make no headway.  Even after playing the usual charade-like game, we  still cannot make ourselves understood.  I sense increasing frustration all round.  Then I remember the first piece of useful advice.  “Find another way to say the same thing”.  Sure enough, somewhere safely stored in my head was the French word for beach, so we ask for a sack of beach.  Although this brings howls of laughter from everyone within earshot – triumph for us – we get the sand.


We are now prepared for our visitors but the tap in the bathroom has started to drip, drip and drip.  Happily our DIY skills extend as far as replacing a tap washer.  Back to the DIY store.  Sadly, not only do I not know the French word for washer I cannot think of any sensible word as an alternative. 

The assistant, helpful as ever, is determined not to be beaten this time by a simple thing like language but after a barrage of totally incomprehensible conversation  I try the second piece of advice.  “Doucement, s’il vous plait”  Ah, ah, the relief on his face shows us that at last we have made ourselves understood.  “Un moment” he says and disappears. True to his word, a moment later he is back,  “Voila, deux ciment”  and from his laden trolley he produces two sacks of cement! 


On our next visit to the DIY store we ignore the useful advice and take a dictionary instead.

About the Author

Barbara & Kevan Boyle have owned several properties in France over a period of nearly 20 years.

With a total population of 1,308,878 the french region of Auvergne covers some 26,013 km² making a population density of 50 /km².

To the right of Limousin and very similar in climate and scenery typified by the numerous lakes, rivers and forrests, Auvergne is becoming more popular with Britsh buyers as prices in other french regions increase faster than here.
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