Around France

I’m Not Learning To Speak French


Learning 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 of trying to deal with everyday life.

I want to learn French. I really do. However, there are challenges every day 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. When I think I’ve figured it 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.

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 I’ve wanted to check out a few other stores. So taking my friends to the train station was a perfect excuse for a shopping trip.

Maria and Steve from Australia (with Nandine) in Uzes


Yes, I know I’m picky. Finding the right-sized linen for a bed seems to me to be necessary. I should have considered that when I purchased the two 80x200cm beds instead of 90×190. Who knew there were no linens to fit. The guy who sold them to me did not think 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 answered 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. There’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 hold 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 and never owned a duvet. Two pitfalls for living in France.

Duvets have never been my thing. To me, there’s something untidy about a bed that’s not tightly tucked. Therefore, the joy of stuffing a duvet into its 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. Amazingly, I chose the correct size for the two guest room beds.

Slipping the couette into the housse de couette was a breeze. Mainly because there’s a tiny slit in the top to the housee de couette. It allows you to stick your hand in to grab the end of the couette. Perhaps the American version of Duvets has a similar design. If not, the French have something on us.

Oreiller vs. Traversin

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

OK. Another head-scratcher. An “oreiller” is an ordinary pillow. Easy enough, even though they are all shapes and sizes. It’s the 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 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.


You can decorate the large one nicely with ribbons and bows on the ends.

2013-11-08 11.59.52

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

The finished guest room



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!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.