Around France

I’m Not Learning French

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Speak frenchLearning to speak French is becoming an issue for me. Try as I may, it is a bit of a pain. Perhaps it’s because my brain is full trying to deal with learning how to deal with everyday life.

I want to learn French. I really do. However, there are challenges everyday that seem to take up my learning time.

Like bedding.

Bedding is something I can’t seem to understand. Before in one of the blogs, I mentioned how confusing it is to choose a bed size. There are more configurations and iterations that you want to know. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out, I mess up.

For example, I’m trying to fix up the second bedroom for my first guest from the US. The daughter of one of my very dear friends is studying in Europe and she’s making a special visit to see me in Uzes! She’ll be here next week.

2013-11-02 10.37.21

New friends from Australia, with Nandine, at the Saturday Market

Yesterday I drove my new friends from Australia to the train station in Nimes. They have a vacation home here and were heading back to Australia by train with an overnight in Paris. The large Carrefour store is in Nimes, plus a few other stores I’ve wanted to check out. So taking my friends to the train station was a perfect excuse for a shopping trip.


Yes, I know I’m picky. Finding the right sized linen for a bed seems to me to be important. I should have thought about that when I purchased the two 80x200cm beds instead of 90×190. Who knew there are no linens to fit. The guy that sold them to me certainly must not have known I’d have these problems. Or maybe he did. I couldn’t understand everything he was telling me in French.

Fitted sheet: Housse

The Conforama store I shopped in yesterday had a bedding section that seemed to answer my prayers.  Good thing because the Castorama store was a bust. (“Rama” is a popular store name, apparently)

Conforama had fitted sheets for 80x200cm beds! See for yourself. The package says: 2 x 80×200. 2013-11-08 19.19.07There’s even an illustration of two beds.  Voila! I was beginning to figure it out. Since the beds are meant to be pulled together to make a queen-sized bed, they must sell the sheets together.

I could hardly wait to get home to make up the beds.

Not so fast. 

The fitted sheets were sewn together in a section down the middle to fit the queen bed!  Now what to do?

I cut the housse in half! 2013-11-08 12.13.57

So what if there are raw edges. My guest will never know!

Duvet: Couette

Never learned French, never owned a duvet. Two pitfalls for living in France.

Duvets have never been my thing. To me, here’s something untidy about a bed that’s not tightly put together. Therefore, the joy of stuffing a duvet into it’s cover is an art I never mastered. Like learning to speak French.

Here duvets are the norm. Top sheets are not. So to make up a bed properly in France, I had to convert.

Duvet cover: Housse de couette

Like other bed linens, the couette and the housse de couette come in a gazillion sizes and permutations. 2013-11-08 11.43.22Amazingly, I chose the correct size for the two guest room beds.

2013-11-08 11.47.33Slipping the couette into the housse de couette was a breeze. Especially because there’s a tiny slit in the top to the housee de couette. It allows you to stick you hand in to grab the end of the couette. Perhaps the American version of duvets have a similar design. If not, the French have something on us.

Oreiller vs. Traversin

If the elementary French is boring you, I apologize. These simple lessons are for those like me who don’t know French and for those who are easily confused.

2013-11-08 11.59.35OK. Another head-scratcher. An “oreiller” is an ordinary pillow. Easy enough even though they are all shapes and sizes. It’s the an odd-shaped “pillow” named “traversin” that’s a puzzlement. I’ve seen similar in the States, but they’re everywhere here. The most common size is like the big one shown in this picture. The smaller ones I bought from the same man that sold me the beds. Maybe when he told me I wouldn’t find sheets for the 80cm beds he also mentioned the same problem for a small-sized traversin.

The large one you can decorate quite nicely with ribbons and bows on the ends.

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The smaller ones you hide under a stack of pillows so the edges don’t show. Yes, I cut a large traversin cover (taie) in half.

The finished guest room

Stay tuned: Unveiling the guest room and more…

5 replies »

  1. Ho Ha! Aint life great? No worries about deadlines, product launches, etc. Now concentrate on the important things in life…getting through every day with aplomb, grace, dignity, (great fashion, of course) and a large dose of humor! Can’t wait for the next chapter!

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