La Roche Bernard

Introduction to La Roche-Bernard La Roche-Bernard is a small town in Southern Brittany. It is a very exciting place to visit for many reasons. The town is situated on the River Vilaine, and plays host to a myriad of small boats in its natural harbour. Two superb...

Local Activities

Whatever your interests, the Brittany / Pays de la Loire region of France certainly offers an incredible range of local activities. From walking to sailing or from playing golf to relaxing on one of the many glorious sandy beaches. Do you prefer a self-catering...

La Brière

A 5 minute drive from La Roche Bernard takes you to the Parc Naturel Régional de La Brière. The park includes the largest wetland area in France outside of the Camargue. It covers around 100,000 acres. Its establishment in 1970 aimed to  protect the cultural and...

Markets in France selling food, crafts and antiques

Visiting local food, craft, and antiques markets in France is one of the most pleasurable experiences enjoyed by holidaymakers. This certainly applies to Brittany and the Pays de la Loire regions. Whether you are looking for local Pottery, Speciality salt from the...

Holiday Website Tips (2) – Be easy to contact

Make sure there is a clear and obvious way for people to get in touch with you wherever they are on your website. Failure to do so could result in lots of potential bookings finding their way to somebody else's website. A few simple ideas may make all the difference...
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Nicola Harrington - guest blogger living in France with 7 holiday rental gites

Nicola Harrington

Tu and Vous… the rules

French people talk to one another formally or informally, depending on who they are speaking to. There are, of course, some rules.

  • Always use the ‘tu’ form (informal) when talking to children and members of your family;
  • Use the ‘vous’ form when speaking to people in authority (police, lawyers, teachers etc) and people that you don’t know

…but inevitably there are some grey areas.

Tu and Vous… grey areas

Until a couple of years ago, just to be on the safe side and so as not to offend anyone, I used the ‘vous’ form with everyone. That way I could not offend by being over familiar. But I did offend… one day, a woman whom I know quite well said, ‘Why don’t you always use the ‘tu’ form… aren’t we friends yet?’

So what to do ?… The text books all say that when the time is right the French person will ask if you are happy to use the ‘tu’ form. Pah.. I never had that conversation; it would certainly make things a lot easier if that was the case.

The only way I have managed to navigate my way through this etiquette minefield is to try and avoid using either form until you figure out whether the person with whom you are talking to is addressing you as ‘tu’ or ‘vous’.

This works most of the time… but not all the time.

When talking to other parents at the school gate the ‘tu’ form is used after a relatively short period of time, but when talking to a teacher the “tu’ form is never used. I now have a problem. Iona’s teacher (of six years) is also the parent of two girls that attend the same school. He now teaches at a different school, so when I see him at school functions as a parent do I refer to him in the ‘tu’ or the ‘vous’ form?

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