Les vacances en France

on Tuesday, 06 July 2010. Posted in N21 Experts

Deborah Cheney reminds us that it is never too soon to introduce a child to a second language, they are like sponges and absorb it very quickly!

If you’re going to France with younger children this summer then why not introduce them to the French language and culture by teaching them a few simple words and phrases?

My friend tried this out with her two children (aged 4 and 6) when they holidayed in South West France last year and was surprised and delighted at the results.  They quickly gained in confidence and were soon able to ask for items such as bread (une baguette) and ice cream (une glace) in the local shops, as well as saying hello (bonjour) and thank you (merci) to the French locals.  They even made friends with some of the French children on the beach.  When they returned home the children enrolled with Ecole Nicole and have really enjoyed learning the language; they can’t wait to put it into practice when they go on holiday this summer and hope to make even more friends!

For the journey
Before you travel show them where you live and where you will be going to in France.  My children are always impressed by how big France is when compared with the UK, and that it borders many other European countries such as Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium. 

If you are travelling by car, create your own map for each child, which shows the route and has places of interest highlighted.  For example it’s always good to know that you’ve reached the halfway point, it might stop those “are we nearly there yet?” questions.  Last year our route took us through Champagne, Burgundy (Bourgogne), Beaujolais and the Rhone valley, so we were able to show the kids the vineyards where some of the wine that mum and dad enjoy ay the weekends comes from.  

When you get there
Teach your child some of the words and phrases below, and encourage them to try these out on holiday.  Phonetics included in brackets. 
Hello    Bonjour (Boh-shoor)
Please    S’il vous plait (seel voo pleh)
Thank you   Merci (mair-see)
Good bye   Au revoir (oh r’vwah)
My name is    Je m’appelle (sh’map-el)
I live in (London)  J’habite (Londres)
I would like    Je voudrais (sh’vood-reh)
I am thirsty   J’ai soif (shay swaf)
I am hungry   J’ai faim (shay fah)
Yes/No    Oui/non (Wee, Noh)
Mum/Dad   Maman/Papa (Ma-moh/Pa-pah)
Tell them the French names of shops and other places of interest
Bakery     La boulangerie (la boosh-ree)
Butcher’s   La boucherie (la Boosh-ree)
Beach    La plage (la plaj)
Supermarket   Le supermarche (luh sewpair-marshai)
Market    Le marche  (luh marshai)
Castle     Le château (Luh sha-to)
Chemist’s   La pharmacie (La farmassee)

Ecole Nicole offers French and Spanish courses for both children and adults; enroll with us and next time you go on holiday you will see what a difference our classes make.  Children aged between 3 to 11 years old can sign up for a free, no obligation trial lesson and adults receive a 10% discount off the price of their first four lessons, please quote Ref N21 when booking. 

Some Useful websites for children's language learning resources:


Bonnes Vacances

Deborah Cheney
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Deborah Cheney reminds us that it is never too soon to introduce a child to a second language, they are like sponges and absorb it very quickly!

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