Our Frenchie Valentines!

This year, for Valentine’s day, I wanted to do something a little bit different on the blog to celebrate l’amour in the city of lights. After a bit of brainstorming, I decided that I wanted to interview some of my fellow expats about their French partners. The results are sweet, funny and really give an insight into what it’s like to be in a multilingual relationship!

Let’s start with Emily from The Glittering Unknown! 

Your names: Emily and Didier
Where you met: In front of the Coolin, a now-closed bar in the Marche Saint Germain
Dealing with bilingual madness: Since March 2015

1. What’s the best thing about dating a French person?

Living abroad is hard, so it’s nice to feel like you have a native in your corner to support you through the craziness of the French systems. I liked that he was very direct about the fact that he liked me and straight up asked me to be his girlfriend, which is very French. Plus getting to explore the south of France while visiting his family isn’t too bad either!

2. What’s the biggest cultural difference or hurdle you’ve come across in your relationship?

Honestly, the fact that I’m not French or European has probably been the hardest thing- dealing with visa problems, work restrictions, and the fact that both of our families want us to live in our respective countries (and bring the other one with us). Culturally it hasn’t been so hard, as I lived here for over six months before meeting him, but we’re both close with our families and it’s odd for me to think that they’ll likely never have a relationship (his only speaks French, mine only English). Oh, and having to have a master’s to find a job! People tend to highlight the best parts about being abroad for love, but the truth is it’s really tough and it takes a lot of work!

3. Have you ever had any funny misunderstandings due to a language barrier?

I wish we had a good story for this question! Mainly we just annoy each other by correcting the other- he critiques my pronunciation of anything with a “u” in French, and I chide him for pronoucing “h” in English words when there shouldn’t be one. But we communicate mainly in English, and his is so good that I don’t have much cause for complaint!

4. What are your plans this Valentine’s Day? Do you celebrate it?

We’re generally fairly low key as a couple, so we don’t make a big deal out of stuff like this. We’ll probably go to dinner somewhere at some point during the week and he does get me flowers, but that’s about it. To me, the holiday feels less commercialized here than in the US, and there’s less societal pressure for a grand romantic gesture. I just like an excuse to spend a little quality time with my person.

Your names: Charles and Nigel
Where you met: On an app (but very quickly met in person as Nigel really disliked apps!)
Dealing with bilingual madness: Since 2010 and getting married in 2018!

What’s the best thing about dating a French person?

French people love to talk (as do Irish people) but are far more philosophical and so the chats can be complex but very interesting. I would never say that Charles is a good example of a typical French man (no smoking, no wine, no cheese) but can be very deep philosophically and crippled with a social conscience. Also the French have a love for the good things, some can take this for snobby-ness but really it’s wonderful to take pleasure in what is good and not have to feel guilty about it (a very Irish thing).

2. What’s the biggest cultural difference or hurdle you’ve come across in your relationship?

For me the, at the outset, a challenge was how serious things are considered. Irish people can be flippant, more interested in having the craic then giving weighty topics their due worth. The deep examination of things and the sensitivity that is needed to be so explorative can be taxing on a Irish propensity to constantly take the piss. I have however over time become more thoughtful and considerate while Chalro has become more light and fun. It’s couple development I suppose.

3. Have you ever had any funny misunderstandings due to a language barrier?

Our first date Charles said he was a lunatic because he changed his mind. Lunatic does not mean the same thing in English! Also the time Chalro asked why is Bob short for Robert when Bobbert should be the natural long form. Adorbs.

4. What are your plans this Valentine’s Day? Do you celebrate it?

We have no plans for Valentine’s day, I abhor the commercialisation of people’s private lives in order to push commercial interests. We are also broke after two weeks in France. We probably will do something for our non-anniversary at the end of the month.

Your names: Molly & Francois
Where you met: Over two gorgeous tarte au citron (the best I’ve ever tasted) and two massive slices of cheesecake (purely because he wanted my opinion).
Dealing with bilingual madness since: January 2016

1. What’s the best thing about dating a French person?

So many things! Of course there’s the killer accent, the attentiveness, kindness (I could keep going but he’s going to read this and I don’t want his head to get too big) but for us it’s been a mutual love of really good food which is one of the many things I love about the French culture.

2. What’s the biggest cultural difference or hurdle you’ve come across in your relationship?

We talk in this weird mix of English and French. Francois is practically fluent in English after living in the UK for 3 years but I really like it when he speaks to me in French. I’ll usually respond in English and we’ll kinda flip  back and forth. Sometimes there are just certain things that don’t compute for either of us, and when that happens it’s usually not that important! I think what has helped us out too is that we have both lived in other countries- so we are both more conscious and open to different cultures.

3. Have you ever had any funny misunderstandings due to a language barrier?

I was over at Francois’ having apero with him and his French friends. This usually means sparkling wine so I thought I’d make a great contribution to the conversation and say ‘Avec Francois il y a toujours les bulles!’ My thought here was that I was saying, with Francois there’s always bubbles- like champagne! Well my pronunciation wasn’t top notch on the last word and his friend absolutely heard balls … not bubbles and Francois thought I was saying something in slang that meant I was always frustrated with him. Whoops!

4. What are your plans this Valentine’s Day? Do you celebrate it?

We go more the route that love should be celebrated every day. I do enjoy making themed bake treats though so I definitely see something sweet and heart shaped in our future.

Check out more about Molly and her amazing baking skills over on her site Toffee Bits and Chocolate Chips

Thank you to the wonderful couples who took part and Happy Valentine’s Day to all my readers from me and my Frenchie valentine!


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