Champs Élysées Is Not Pronounced “Cham Ee Leh Sai”

After spending four days in Paris, we began to get a pretty good idea how to pronounce certain words in French.

View from the top of the Arc du Triomphe

The golden rule of thumb here is that we should never pronounce French words the same way as they’re written in English.

That’s one reason why I will never be able to date a supermodel. I’m most definitely gonna EPIC FAIL when it comes to pronouncing all those difficult French designer names.

You can’t blame me really.

My English teacher never taught me that Louis Vuitton should be pronounced as “LOO WEE VOO TONG”, not “Loo Wiss Vooi Teng”.

Givenchy is pronounced “ZHEE VON SHAY”, not “Give Wen Qi.

And of course, Yves Saint Laurent is pronounced “EVE SANG LONG”.

Most definitely NOT “Yes, Santa Lao Ren”!

Anyway, we ate at a Chinese dim sum restaurant in Paris one day and to our pleasant surprise, the Chinese immigrants here actually speak very fluent French!

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If those PRCs can speak French, then it shouldn’t be too difficult that a native Chinese speaker like me to speak French too, right?

Translation: “Many commented lesbians baguettes have standards”

I did a bit of reading, and apparently A LOT of French words sound awfully similar in Chinese. Seriously!

Lemme give you a few examples.

“Bonjour” is good morning in French.
In Chinese, it’s ??.

“Bon Soiree” is good evening in French.
In Chinese, it is ??.

“Bon Apetit” is have a nice meal in French.
In Chinese, it is ????.

See? It’s not that difficult to master French after all. If the Chinese can speak it, so can we.

We just have to observe a few rules when we’re speaking the language.

Kenny: How do you pronounce that word? ‘Crime’?
Dawn: No, I think it’s pronounced ‘creamy’.

In general, “ch-“ in French is pronounced as “sh-“, “g-“ in French is pronounced “zh-“, and the “s” at the end of every word is not pronounced at all.

Kinda like French chicks, really.

Their ass at the end also not pronounced at all!

There’s a famous shopping avenue in Paris called Champs Élysées.

For the whole four days we were in Paris, I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce those words.

Among other atrocities, I have pronounced it “Champs Ee Lee See”, “Chomp Eh Lai Sees”, but the worst thing I did was calling it “Cham Ee Leh Sai”, which sounds like some disgusting toilet mixture in Hokkien.

The correct pronounciation of Champs Élysées is actually “SHAM ZAY LEE ZAY”

To give credit where credit is due, it is indeed the most beautiful shopping avenue I have seen anywhere in the world. Bar none.

Many cities around the world have attempted to duplicate the romance, beauty and liveliness of Champs Élysées on their shopping street. Many have failed.

Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur, Orchard Road in Singapore, Nanjing Lu in Shanghai, Swanston Street in Melbourne are all wonderful shoping streets in equally great cities. But none of them even came close to the original and best.

The crown jewel of Champs Élysées is Napoleon’s massive and monolithic Arc du Triomphe.

Another thing equally massive and monolithic on the Champs Élysées is the flagship store of Louis Vuitton.

It is so big, it’s absolutely mind-boggling. We’re talking about a six-storey high building stocking everything LV in the largest Louis Vuitton boutique in the world.

This must be what the tai tais and Datins imagined HEAVEN to look like.

Even more mind-boggling are the prices of the goods inside.

Why the hell would anyone wanna spend 170 Euros (RM850) on a small plastic keychain just because it has the words “Louis Vuitton” on it? It baffles me.

The SAD thing is? Everyone around me were pulling out their credit cards like crazy to buy.

There’s even a freaking queue at the cashier terminal.

It was almost like a supermarket

The even SADDER thing is that I thought Louis Vuitton has some of the ugliest bags in the world.

Hasn’t anyone gotten sick of the ubiquitious brown-coloured LV monogram handbag already? Why would anyone still wanna buy something so overrated and overpriced?

The cheapest handbag I saw in there must be about 600 Euros (RM3,000) and to be honest, it didn’t look any different than a RM150 imitation you could get in Petaling Street.

If you’re a tai tai already living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, surely you can still pull off a fake handbag that costs 5% the price of the original and nobody is gonna question ya.

If you’re an auntie who is so thrifty that you steal the spoons and forks from MAS planes, then even if you’re carrying a real RM3,000 LV bag, people are still gonna think that it’s a fake.

But you wanna know what is the SADDEST thing?

Despite me thinking that LV is ridiculously overrated and overpriced.

I still ended up buying something from there in the end.

Sorry! I couldn’t help being caught up by the excitement and prestige shopping in a Louis Vuitton store in Champs Élysées. After all, it’s not everyday I get to go to Paris.

I bought an LV brown monogram belt. It costs me 250 Euros (RM1,250) but I got 30 Euros (RM150) back after tax refund.

It is the first time I have ever spent money on a Louis Vuitton product. I had bought it as an encouragement for me to complete the 42km Singapore Marathon I’ll be doing in 5 weeks time.

The belt is still in the box and I haven’t opened it yet. My bet for myself is that if I finished the 42km, only then I’ll open the box and wear the it like a champion belt. But if I didn’t finish, then I guess I’ll have to suck it up and give it away as my punishment.

Even if you have no intention of spending any money there, the Louis Vuitton flagship store is still a worthwhile place to explore. It is a tasteful and well done part shop, part exhibition space befitting of such a global luxury brand.

I spotted this photograph book by Hong Kong superstar actor Chow Yun Fatt on display.

This one is from the set of Curse of The Golden Flower.

Never knew Chow Yun Fatt could handle a camera so well. The actor apparently has a habit of taking his SLR camera around on his film sets. The photographs he took was eventually compiled into a book, then commissioned and published by Louis Vuitton.

On my way out from the LV store, I noticed a huge crowd gathering outside Le Lido across the road.

I went over to have a closer look when I realised it was a red carpet premiere of the movie Righteous Kill. Or in French, “La Loi Et L’Ordre”.

And guess who I spotted there?

The Godfather Al Pacino!

Did I miss something?

I am all for freedom of speech, but since when did it become alright for bloggers to rudely invade people’s privacy and viciously spread it all out online? Is it alright for morally-questionable blogs like The Gutter Post or The Cheongsam Lover to exist? Do people actually enjoy revelling in the misfortune of others? Or am I being old-fashioned here?

91 Replies to “Champs Élysées Is Not Pronounced “Cham Ee Leh Sai””

  1. Wow! You saw Al Pacino!
    And good luck for your marathon. YOU CAN DO IT!! Don’t give away that belt to ANYONE. K?!

  2. HEY , i have been to paris too. the exact shop LV that u went in. it was really amazing how big flagship was. but sadly, it was mostly crowded by tourist. the locals hardly buy LV . so i wonder, why is LV everyone’s favourite… really wonder. i would prefer brands that have really limited quantity. it feels so mng or zara jus that it has high history and high publicity. hermes would be way better than LV. at least not everyone will have the same bag as urs. 😀 no offences LV FANS its jus the fact.

  3. oooooooommmmmmmmgggggggggggg, I wanna to go Paris too. I wanna to learn French too. LV, Arc of Triumph, Al Pacino! Tat is so cool!!!!! But, I will not be able to afford a single thing thre even I hv free ticket!

  4. i envy u kenny …!!!…i so wish i can go paris one day ^^ would love to go LV shop ..lucky me not a LV fans …but i will still purchase LV somewhere in future …keke…
    anyway, is Cheongsamlover suffer from brain damage ???
    i almost crazy reading his blog … i dono this kind of person is exist in malaysia …

  5. kenny your post on Paris is so happy-fy-ing but your short talk is really hampeh-fy-ing. Bloody retard who secretly take photos of strangers. wonder if his real intention isn’t to insult the girls but to drool at them every night like the loser he is. pariah fella.

  6. Paris Home Sweet Home. I’m French living in Singapore. Congrats on your French skills.
    Joyce, I agree, LV in Paris is crouded with tourists…but there is a smaller Vuitton shop not so known of the tourists where the shopping experience is far better 😉 just ask for the adress i’ll be happy to share it.

  7. Kenny,
    That’s still the wrong pronunciation.
    EG, when there is an accent on top of “e”, it’s pronounced “eh”. So for “crimee” (with the accent), it’s definitely not “creamy” as Dawn (ick) thinks. It’s… “cream-eh”.
    Do tell Dawn so she doesn’t embarrass herself again.

  8. Actually, the Cantonese have an unusual pronunciation for Champs Elysees – “Song Toh Lei Sei” which means “So thrilling that you can die”.

  9. Such a huge LV boutique!!
    “Why the hell would anyone wanna spend 170 Euros (RM850) on a small plastic keychain just because it has the words “Louis Vuitton” on it? It baffles me.
    The SAD thing is? Everyone around me were pulling out their credit cards like crazy to buy.”
    Not a sad things… everyone loves LV I guess. When I visited Milan and Italy, the most exciting moment for the visitors there was to buy LV.
    If you don’t buy, you look freak.

  10. Dude, if you dislike LV so much, why did you buy the belt? In classic monogram, no less. They do have less obiang designs, like the checked ones and the plain leather ones. I like LV, but even I refuse to buy the classic monogram. (Really looks auntie lah.)

  11. If you’re a tai tai already living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, surely you can still pull off a fake handbag that costs 5% the price of the original and nobody is gonna question ya.
    If you’re an auntie who is so thrifty that you steal the spoons and forks from MAS planes, then even if you’re carrying a real RM3,000 LV bag, people are still gonna think that it’s a fake.

    I agree wholeheartedly. Though I also don’t really get the big deal about LV, and I’m a girl. *shrugs*
    RM1250 for a BELT?! *jaw drops* I declare Kenny Sia insane. 😛 Just kidding. It’s good to reward yourself, if you feel the gratification of it. 🙂
    I spotted this photograph book by Hong Long superstar actor Chow Yun Fatt on display
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. And oh, just checked out cheongsamlover. I feel sick. Is this how Kelantan looks like?! Oh God this guy better get a life!! So kolot!

  13. I agree about Louis Vuitton being overpriced…and I find their bags so ugly I don’t understand why people like them. Oh, the things a designer label can do to you…

  14. my last trip to paris 3 years ago, i visited every tourist spots except LV’s flagship store – coz i think couldnt afford anything.
    I am visiting Paris again next weekend for a business trip and I will make sure I bring home something! 🙂 never realised it could be so big inside…
    by the way, the cheongsamlover – what a pervert!

  15. The actual pronunciation for the famous shopping district of ‘Champs Elysees’ should be ‘shahn-zay-lee-ZAY’ which ironically sounds like ‘song-ka-lay-sei'(happy until die for women) or ‘shop-ka-lay-sei'(shop until die for men)

  16. write a post about ur short talk kenny!For once stand up if u think u are right!!!And get things straight and right!!

  17. goshhh…. nv expected such blogger like Cheongsamlover to exist! What on earth is he thinking about? He’s purely degrading his own race and damn it! Just feel like giving him 2 tight slap for photographing girls in KB Mall…He sounded like he’s high or sumthing… I hope he rots in hell…

  18. Kenny, in regards to your Short Talk, I know that one of the blogs you’re “lampooning” is mine. If you’re not happy/satisfied with what is written, instead of making indirect insinuations towards such posts/blogs, do feel free to contact me (Or the relevant authors) directly instead. Beating around the bush is childish- I certainly did not do that didn’t I? 😉 I explicitly mentioned which blogger and which blog, not saying things along the lines of “Oh why oh why are Malaysian bloggers so embroiled in scandals lately? Hmm I wonder who and what eh.”

  19. kenny, i noe chinese but i dono wat u meant tat french is similiar to chinese…
    bonjour is goodmorning in french…
    zao an is goodmorning in chinese…
    got same meh??

  20. i’ve been living in paris since 8 years, french is not as easy as u think, paris is not as fancy as u think, and lv is not as popular as u think as well (it’s only pupular among the asians, and u can definitely see the difference between a real one and a fake one seriously, there’s a reason why it’s expensive)… living and being tourist is not the same thing, there’s some essential thing that you couldn’t get by visiting for only 4 days.

  21. btw, i think u tend to sound like an expert in some domain, which makes me a bit uncomfortable, may be u shud go for a lower but deeper profile. it’s the time.

  22. Bonjour, Comment ca va monsieur… “Yves Saint Laurent” pronounce as “eve son lou ron” monsieur. Ha ha… my french lecturer from France ‘Monsieur Rodolph Point’ tought that. As my level three french pronounce so. Merci….

  23. OMFG, Cheongsamlover……
    Kenny, you are not old fashioned, what he is doing is just plain wrong…
    Its so disgusting, get a life..
    When he was saying sexy, i was like “where???” den mentioned bout jeans ketat and shit. My gosh, jeans is pretty decent already!!!

  24. Fuyoh .. Cheongsam Lover … in my own backyard … its taken with Nokia 6600 ~~~ fuyoh .. gotta make some noise dy …

  25. France always looks fantastic.. Daunting.. Feel like going to all the places you mentioned. Yea, and I totally understand why you just HAD to buy something in LV XD

  26. I know I bodoh. PLs Kell me. MY engrish very bed. I nid accitence. I stupid Kelantann boi. Engrish so bad steal wenna comentte here. I knew waat i did was wrong, Cm kelatan and keel me pls. I got no where to run since Mr.Badawi threaten me. Can u help me kell me 1st. I don went a maley guy 2 keell me. Very malu. I no kemaluan. No pantat also.

  27. deng…hate that s2p cheongsam lover…damn tiada otak
    pervert somemore…thank heavens i’m not in kelantan…ppl wear jeans also sexy….wtf!

  28. deng…hate that s2p cheongsam lover…damn tiada otak
    pervert somemore…thank heavens i’m not in kelantan…ppl wear jeans also sexy….wtf!

  29. Hey, Kenny. Thanks for writing something about cheongsamlover. I’m glad that now people are aware of these kind of perverts in the mall and be more careful. Will remember to inform you the next time I come across something like this again. But I hope I don’t have to. Coincidentally, I will be in Singapore in 5 weeks, too. Perhaps I will see you in that race! =) All the best!
    Ps. Paris sounds and looks like a dream.

  30. Speechless & fuming at that cheongsamlover site….wtf is the person behind it thinks IT is doing. How did u come across it anyway?

  31. Hi Kenny how are you doing? Great post on Paris. My brother and his wife went to Paris for their honeymoon and came back empty handed. They only showed us some pics they took there. Hopefully you will keep the LV bag for yourself. I wonder why people will buy some expensive designer handbag when they(the designers) don’t even know where Malaysia is?

  32. Yeah. Paris was indeed good. The arch of triumph. I didn’t get to see it at night. It’s amazingly beautiful in your pictures. I didn’t even get to see Eiffel tower at at close, was seriously a great loss. Oh kenny, do the tower glitter every 10 minutes? When i was there, it worked so. =)

  33. There are more than 100,000 Malaysians with more than USD 10 millions so it is okay for them to pay USD 3,000 for a handbag. After all they will make back that amount in the next hour.As for me I will have to sleep on the street outside Gare Du Nord. It is libre.

  34. i really wish to correct on some of your french over here..lest everyone learns the wrong stuff
    Yves Saint Laurent – eve sang lo-ron (basically you just don’t pronounce the consonant at the back)
    Comment Manier les baguettes standard = how to handle the chopsticks standard.
    Bonjour can be used anytime in the day before the sun sets, not just in the morning.. which means that you can still say Bonjour at 8pm..
    you can just say bonsoir rather than bon soiree for good evening. not many people in france use bon soiree
    crimee is pronounced as cream-may because of the accent aigu, which i’m lazy to add in the accents)
    g is not pronounced as zh, but as “J” instead. and J is pronounced as “G”. i know, ironic as it sounds.. it’s true..
    s is NOT always NOT pronounced, unlike what you’ve mentioned for example for the word “plus”.. sometimes you read as “ploo”, sometimes you read as “ploos”. depends on how you use it in the sentence.
    champs elysees is pronounced as shom-zay-lee-zay, not “sham”.. when the second word starts with a vowel, you need to have conjugation.
    and lastly, please don’t insult louis vuitton.

  35. i am so glad and relieved that the disgustingly disturbing siao blog of that gila “cheongsam lover” guy is suspended. honestly, he is just a pervert!!!

  36. You can do the marathon, u’ve done it before and u can do it again! =) The LV belt shall be yours!
    By the way, i sent you a mail titled “Cockroach in Jogoya Starhill”, hope you spare me a moment and look at it. I took the pictures.

  37. there is misconception about lv . yes it is on the higher end , but definitely it is not the top designer labels on earth … there are a lot more like hermes and BV , which hermes birkin bags are usually custom made upon order , while BV bag itself could cost more than 2K pounds and perhaps much higher than that . in fact, most ppl here know bout damier canvas and monogram only ….. there are a lot other ranges of lv like vernis leather utah leather min lin etc …. so its not the matter of overrated or whatsoever …. its just individual’s preferences and sad to say that most aunties here just know monogram thats all …. when u r in europe …. most foreigners prefer other series than monogram

  38. When I have got nothing to do at night,I would always come back here to read and reminisce my trip as well. I wished I had like you too,bought something for myself from LV as a marked of my successful journey to Paris!

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