Since today is Mardi Grás, I thought it would be fitting to take a moment away from talking about Italian to remind you that you already speak a foreign language — several, in fact! But today, we're talking about French.

You've probably heard the name "Fat Tuesday" a thousand times before, but never realized that Mardi means "Tuesday", and Grás means "fat". So Mardi Grás literally means "fat Tuesday".

And where on earth is Mardi Grás celebrated better than in the French Quarter of New Orleans? The French Quarter is well known as le Vieux Carré, or "the old town square".

If you've ever been to the Vieux Carré, you've probably visited Café du Monde (The Cafe of the World) for beignets, which sounds really fancy, but is really just the French word for "fritter".

The word café also means "coffee", and there are plenty of places in New Orleans to start your day with a cup of café au lait (coffee with milk). And if fritters aren't your thing, maybe you would prefer some crêpes (pancakes). Bon appétit!

Of course we all know Mardi Grás best for the parade, the masques (masks), the plumes (feathers), and the perles (beads). And while you might not have known all of these words, I think you can easily look at them and see their meanings:

parader = the verb means "to strut about"
masques = even sounds like "masks"
plumes = even in english it means "feathers"
perles = looks and sounds like "perls"



So look at how much French you already know! Now it's time to get out to New Orleans and laissez les bons temps rouler, or "let the good times roll!"

 

 

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