Sunday, 11 September 2016

Sunday, 4 September 2016

This blog has moved

Dear faithful readers, this blog has moved to our new website:
http://afbristol.org.uk/blog/
Please continue to read us there.
Merci!
Alliance Française de Bristol

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Hazel wrote what she thought of the novel La liste de mes envies

Une critique de La liste de mes envies de Grégoire Delacourt
J’aime bien la lecture et La liste de mes envies est facile à lire et, aussi, l’histoire pousse à la reflexion. C’est un bon exemple de ce genre de roman populaire, bien écrit et divertissant.
Il y a ceux qui disent que ce roman est un conte de fées et ils ont raison mais je ne pense pas que c’est une histoire qui finit bien.
Le roman est fondé sur un tissu de mensonges qui présentent des questions contemporaines- l’obsession de faire bonne figure et de posséder des objets matériels.
C’est un roman des illusions, de perte et ça tourne à la chimère que rien n’est comme il semble.
Les personnages principaux ne sont pas attrayants, leur vie est circonscrite. Ce sont les victimes d’illusions. Le message de la narratrice est un peu désagréable- faites attention à vos souhaits, soyez heureux avec les choses que vous avez mais, si vous vous risquez à entrer dans un terrain inconnu et efrayant, il faut que vous soyez dur et impitoyable- il n’y a pas de place pour la culpabilité et la faiblesse.
La liste de mes envies n’est pas un roman agréable mais il retient l’attention du lecteur et pose des questions inconfortables.
Grégoire Delacourt sait bien raconter les histoires. Je le recommande.
Hazel

Unfortunately Hazel passed away this Summer and I wanted to publish this post in her memory.
She was a dynamic lady, who loved books and always had interesting comments to make about the novel we were reading in the French class. She had a great sense of humour and was a fantastic story teller in French as well as in English. All the students in the group she was in terribly missed her when she was taken ill.
Thank you, Hazel for all you brought to us. The photo below is taken on a boat going off to visit Les Calanques de Marseille.


For more info...


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Have you read mon enfant de Berlin by Anne Wiazemsky?

Martine' s French tuition groups on Tuesday evenings and Friday mornings read it last term.
Anne Wiazemsky is François Mauriac' s granddaughter, she was an actress between 1966 and 1988, married Jean-Luc Godart in 1967 and played in several of his films, among which La Chinoise. She turned to writing at the end of the 80ies and has won several prizes like Le grand prix du roman de l'Académie française pour Une poignée de gens in 1998.
She wrote Mon enfant de Berlin in 2009 in which she tells the story of her mother, Claire Mauriac from 1944 to 1947.
Claire was an ambulance driver with the French Red cross in the 2nd part of the 2nd World War and was sent to Berlin at the end of the war to help repatriate the French men who had been war prisoners.
This is where she met Wia, who became her husband, Anne was their first child, born in Berlin she is therefore Mon enfant de Berlin ( my child from Berlin).
Thanks to her mother's diary, letters and friends' accounts, Anne relates her mother's life, feelings and emotions, her courage while doing her job and the passion which brought together her parents.


What did Martine' s students think of it?
"Nous avons aimé ce livre car nous avons découvert une histoire d'amour mais surtout, nous avons appris beaucoup de choses sur la fin de la guerre en France et sur les prisonniers, par exemple les Malgré-nous qui étaient les Alsaciens et les Lorrains qui avaient dû faire la guerre avec les Allemands. Nous avons fait des exposés sur plusieurs sujets liés à cette époque comme Le service du travail obligatoire, le rôle de Jean Moulin dans la résistance, la division de Berlin et bien d'autres choses encore." Groupe du vendredi matin
" C'était très intéressant de découvrir la vie d'Anne quand elle était à Paris, chez ses parents, de voir leur style de vie et sa relation avec sa mère, avec qui elle se comportait souvent comme une petite fille et et avec son père qui avait l'air de lui faire peur mais qu'elle semblait admirer beaucoup." Groupe du mardi soir
Both groups highly recommend this book.

If you would like to learn French but also read novels in French and discover French life and culture through this media, come to enrol either with Alliance Française de Bath or de Bristol. For more info...

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Troisième week-end pare-choc contre pare-choc sur les routes de France: what does this mean?

Bumper against bumper: this was the head lines on the magazine L'Express yesterday and below, finds the beginning of the article:

"Lyon - "Bouché de chez bouché !": après les deux grands chassés-croisés de l'été, le trafic était encore dense samedi, classé "rouge", avec 430 kilomètres de bouchons à 11H00 sur les routes de France, le pic de trafic du week-end du 15 août étant attendu à la mi-journée" 
 

Bouché de chez bouché, this expression where the same adjective is repeated twice with de chez in the middle has become popular in the last 10 to 15 years, it is only to emphasize the adjective. In this case, it means that the roads are really, really blocked up. 
You  can say cher de chez cher, for instance, meaning that it is really expensive.
Les chassés-croisés is used when one group of holiday makers is coming back from holiday while another one is going on holiday, so they pass each other on the roads.
Classé rouge is a classification explaining that the traffic is really heavy. We have classé vert, classé orange, classé rouge et classé noir. Classé vert means that the traffic is light and classé noir indicates that it is absolutely terrible!!!
430 kilomètres de bouchons: 430 km of traffic jams!
Le pic de trafic is the worst of the traffic, which was expected at lunchtime.
So what do you need to remember from all that?...... If you are going on holiday in France in the Summer, avoid the end and beginning of July and August and also the weekends in the middle of each of these months!! Or else be prepared to sit in queues......
You would like to know more about our quirky habits?  Join our French classes starting soon. For more info...

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Les JO de Rio!

Les JO are les Jeux Olympiques. You may know that François Hollande has flown over to Rio to support the French athletes. In 2012, the French delegation won 34 medals ( a récolté 34 médailles), 11 gold ( 11 médailles d'or), 11 silver ( 11 médailles d'argent) and 12 bronze ( 12 médailles de bronze).
This was not as good as in Pekin were 41 medals were won, so the French really want to do better than in London.
So, who to look for among the French athletes? Here are a few:
Tony Parker, basketteur, est le meneur ( point guard), he is a legend, with him, the French team won the European cup in 2014.
Louisa Necib, footballeuse, unfortunately, the French team has never yet managed to reach the podium.
Charline Picon, véliplanchiste ( wind surfer) was world champion in 2014.


Renaud Lavillerie, perchiste ( pole vaulter) won a gold medal in London.
Florent Manaudou, nageur ( swimmer) won a gold in London, in free style ( nage libre).
Teddy Riner, judoka, has been world champion 8 times.


Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, cycliste, ex world champion on the road ( sur route) and mountain biking ( VTT: vélo tout terrain).
Bonne chance à eux et à tous les autres!! ( good luck to them and to all the others!)

Alliance Française de Bristol et Bath does not offer any very demanding sport but ........ we do have un tournoi de boules ou de pétanque on 15th September! For more info...

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Alliance Française de Bristol et Bath would like to express its sympathy to St-Etienne-du-Rouvray,

this small town in Normandy where the priest Jacques Hamel was murdered on 26th July. All over France today, religious services have taken place in his memory bringing together people of all faiths or with no religious faith.
As you may know France is what we call un état laïque ( a secular state) since the law in 1905 which separated l'église et l'état ( the church and the state). Every religious faith is allowed and respected but only outside any public building, like schools, hospitals, government buildings etc... as the state is neutral.
Jasques Hamel was murdered on Ste Anne's day. As you may know the French calendar has a saint for every day of the year and Christians celebrate the saint day of every member of the family, so if someone is called Françoise, on 9th March people will say to her: Bonne fête Françoise! and may give her a present.

For Christians, Sainte Anne is particularly important as she was the mother of the Virgin Mary. She is  Hannah for the Muslims, meaning kind and sympathetic.
She is the patronne of clercs, matrones and widows.
In France the first sanctuary dedicated to her, in the 11th century, was the ancient cathedral of Apt in le département du Vaucluse.


Sainte Anne has become the patron saint of Brittany, so many pilgrimages take place every year, the most important is Sainte Anne d'Auray.
Auray is an attractive harbour in South Brittany in le département du Morbihan, a nice place to visit.


If you would like to find out more about French culture or French places to visit or learn French whatever your level, our French classes will resume in September, for more info...

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Did you know that le Tour de France finished a stage ( une étape) in Megève last Thursday?

It was a time trial ( une course contre la montre) which Christopher Froome won. But do you know Megève?


It is in the Alps in Haute Savoie, it became popular in the early 1920 ies thanks to the Rothschild family who wanted a posh ski resort (une station de ski ) in France rather than in Switzerland. La baronne de Rothschild had some smart hotels built, these soon attracted aristocrats, kings like Albert 1er de Belgique and queens. It is now known internationaly ( a une renommée internationale).
It hosts numerous festivals and competitions in Winter such as polo playing on snow or snow golf competitions,  and in Summer, a jazz festival called Jazz Contest, also a classical music festival, Les Estivales de Megève and plenty more.
There are numerous outdoor activities as well as ski-ing, you can do some tree climbing circuits ( de l' accrobranche), gliding ( du parapente), follow a fitness trail ( un parcours santé) some Summer sledging ( de la luge d'été) and so much more.


So if you have no plans yet for this Summer or next Winter and you feel like mixing with VIPs, you know where to go!!!
But first of all, you'll need to improve your French, so do look at all the language courses and activities which we offer, for more info...


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Nice: nous sommes unis!

At Alliance Française de Bristol et Bath, we have all been appalled by the tragedy which took place in Nice on 14th July. We want to offer our most sincere condolences to all the people who have lost  dear ones and we very much hope that all the injured will recover soon. We want to show our solidarity with all the people who were on La Promenade des Anglais last Thursday.
We also would like to share with you some nice memories of Nice as Martine went to Nice with her Tuesday evening French class a few years ago.
They stayed in a small hotel near La Promenade des Anglais, had lunch at one of the numerous cafés on La Promenade, it was bathing in sunshine although it was in January.


They walked up to le Château which is a park on a hill with a wonderful view over la Baie des Anges on one side and the old port on the other, very close to le vieux-Nice. Le Vieux-Nice is the main tourist area with lots of delightful cafés and restaurants, Martine and her students had an evening meal there and tasted the delicious beignets de fleurs de courgettes ( savoury dough made with courgette flowers).

 

They went to the famous Nice market and bought and ate la socca which is like a pancake made with flour and chickpeas.
There are numerous museums in Nice and they spent some time at le musée Matisse at the top of Cimiez, one of the old areas of Nice. On the way they walked past l'hôtel Regina which was built in 1986 and was inaugurated by Queen Victoria who loved Nice. It had 400 bedrooms all eventually converted into flats where Matisse lived for a time.
The stay was short but full of exciting discoveries and friendly encounters, we must not forget that Nice is about that too.
We are in Bristol and Bath this Summer so you can contact us anytime, for more info...http://afbristol.org.uk/

Sunday, 10 July 2016

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Who among us hasn't imagined what they would do with the winnings (la cagnotte)?

This unusual book is perfect for the seaside (la plage).

It's the story of Jocelyne, who is married with a man called Jocelyn. She is more or less happy. She runs a haberdashery shop (une mercerie) in Arras. She also writes a blog about haberdashery, called Ten Gold Fingers (Dix Doigts d'Or). Her two best friends, twins (les jumelles) run a hairdressing salon (un salon de coiffure) and one day, they convince Jocelyne to play the lottery (le Loto).

 


It would spoil the book to tell you what happens next, but we'll tell you this; it's probably not what you are expecting!

Students in Audrey's class (one of our teachers) have studied the book this year, and then they all watched the film.

If you would like to join our classes, don't forget to look on our website for our September French courses and French events this Autumn, for more info...

For interesting articles and news, follow our Facebook page. Bonnes vacances!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Did you know what Les perles du bac are?

Une perle when it is not a pearl is a really stupid mistake. Every year des perles are collected from exam papers like the baccalauréat or le bac. They are published in newspapers and on the Internet. Here are a few found in L'Internaute:
Pour moi, Anatole France, c'était un arrêt de bus. ( For me, Anatole France - famous writer- was a bus stop- you may have noticed in France that we like giving names of famous people to streets, metro stations, bus stops, schools etc....)


Un homme heureux et libre, ça serait d'avoir fini les épreuves du bac. ( A happy and free man, this would be to have finished the bac exams- this was the answer to this deeply philosophical question: what does it mean to be a  happy and free man? )
De nombreux conflits ont éclaté dans le Sahara afin de récupérer tout le sable qui est présent ( many conflicts in the Sahara are taking place in order to collect all the sand which is there)
De toute façon, Madame Bovary n'a jamais rien compris aux mecs. ( In any case Madame Bovary has never understood anything about blokes.)
Les Américains sont les premiers touristes à avoir profité des plages de Normandie ( The Americans are the first tourists to have enjoyed the Normandy beaches)
Le triangle est un rectangle avec un côté en moins. ( A triangle is a rectangle with one less corner)


Etre cultivé signifie qu'on s'intéresse à des choses qui ne sont pas forcément intéressantes. ( To be cultured means that you are interested in things which are not necessarily interesting)
De Gaulle est mort à la fin de sa vie. ( De Gaulle died at the end of his life)

If you are interested in  French culture or in the French language, and it is interesting, I can assure you! Just go to our website, for more info...

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Did you know that Alliance Française de Bristol is running a wine workshop in French next Tuesday?

Ludovic, sommelier at the  one Michelin star restaurant Wilks in Bristol, will be helping students to choose a wine according to the dishes to be eaten: accorder les mets et les vins.
Did you know that with un Vouvray, you can eat du foie gras or for those who don't like it or who are anti, you can have thin slices of smoked salmon  ( de fines tranches de saumon fumé)?


What would you choose with un vin doux naturel? Would you think of dark chocolate ( du chocolat noir) or cherries ( des cerises)?


I won't reveal all the secrets......... students will be eating and trying out wines, all organic and purchased at Vinetrail in Bristol. They will be discussing the tastes and combinations with plenty of suggestions from Ludovic.
I will be shopping and cooking on Tuesday!!
If this French wine tasting workshop tempts you ( vous met l'eau à la bouche), you may like to know that Ludovic will be running a similar one on Tuesday, 19th July. For more info...

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Idioms, idioms and more idioms!

As you know languages are full of idioms and the French language is no exception, here is a story with lots of idioms written by Robin, in one of Martine's French tuition classes:

LE COMBAT IDIOMATIQUE
A – J’ai entendu dire que tu as trouvé une nouvelle amie.
B – Oui, elle est jolie comme un cœur.  Elle est blonde comme les blés et, en outre, elle est gaie comme un pinson.  Vraiment, j’ai eu de la chance de la trouver.
A – Mais, c’est une vraie perle !  Est-ce que c’est la vérité – je sais bien que tu peux mentir comme tu respires…
B – Tu es quelle sorte d’ami ?
A – Est-ce que c’est la nouvelle nénette dans le service comptabilité ? 
B – Oui, c’est évident que tu l’as aperçue.
A – C’était impossible de ne pas la remarquer, elle est maquillée comme une voiture volée.
B – La vie va mieux avec un peu de couleur, non ?  Regardes-toi toi-même ; tu es ennuyeux comme la pluie !
A – Mais cette fille est bête comme ses pieds (et sa taille est 48 !)   On dit qu’elle fume comme un pompier et elle boit comme un trou.
B – Ah je comprends ce qu’il y a ici, c’est simple comme bonjour : tu es jaloux !
A – Moi !  Je ne lui ferais même pas de l’œil si elle était riche comme Crésus !
B – Non, non, non, certainement, tu es jaloux ; c’est gros comme une maison.  Et elle n’est pas bête, elle est très perspicace, elle m’a dit que je suis beau comme un dieu.  Voilà !  

 
For fun, see if you can translate the following properly:
jolie comme un cœur: pretty like a heart??
maquillée comme une voiture volée: made up like a stolen car???
bête comme ses pieds: as silly as his/her feet???
boire comme un trou: to drink like a hole??
simple comme bonjour: as simple as saying good morning?


Don't forget our French intensive classes are running in July too in Bath and in Bristol. For more info...

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Euro 2016 is here!

It is the 15th edition starting at Le stade de France in St Denis, near Paris, on 10th June to finish on 10th July.


The opening match ( le match d'ouverture) is between la France et la Roumanie at le stade de France like for the final match ( le match de clôture).
24 teams (24 équipes) are playing this time with countries which have never played before in this competition, like l'Islande, l'Albanie, la Slovaquie, le Pays de Galles ( Wales) and l'Irlande du nord.
Some countries did not qualify like les Pays Bas et la Grèce for instance when, in fact, they had done well in previous years.

The competition is made of five rounds:
  1. Le 1er tour : 1st round
  2. les huitièmes de finale: the round of 16
  3. les quarts de finale: the quarter finals
  4. les demi-finales: the semi finals
  5. la finale: the final
The matches are taking place all over France, from Lille to Bordeaux to Marseille and St Etienne to name just a few.
Some "fans zones" on big squares ( des grandes places) have giant screens ( des écrans géants)  broadcasting the matches live ( en direct), they should attract big crowds.
To all lovers of football: Have fun! Amusez-vous bien!


 Don't let this stop you from joining our French intensive courses, for more info...

Since I wrote the blog on Friday, some violent incidents have taken place between supporters and some are now in hospital, I wish them a good recovery and hope that the violence will stop.
Souhaitons un Euro 2016 où seul l'esprit de compétition est en jeu!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Did you know that there are big floods in and around Paris?

They started in the middle of the week between Orléans and Paris and now they are moving into Normandy.
The Seine is flooding, we say La Seine est en crue (la crue comes from the verb croître which means to grow), Vigiecrues which is a body part of the ministry of the environment is checking the situation and issuing warnings to the population.
At present, many museums in Paris near the Seine like le Louvre, le musée d'Orsay, le petit et le grand Palais, la bibliothèque Mitterrand, are closed and their artefacts have been moved to safe areas.
It is now likely that the flooding is moving West of Paris, Vigicrues has issued a warning about Rouen right to the estuary of the Seine for today onwards.
Of course the situation in Paris is attracting a lot of onlookers especially at le pont de l'Alma where the statue of le zouave has been the marker for floods since it was erected in 1856.
Why is there un zouave on le pont de l'Alma? Le zouave was a fighter in the Crimean war in the middle of the 19th century, the 3rd regiment of les zouaves took the enemies' canons, so the statue was in commemoration of this victory which took place near the town of Alma.
The various levels of the Seine during floods have been recorded with photos of le zouave with water at different levels of its body. The water is usually below its feet ( ses pieds).


But in 1910, the Seine reached its shoulders ( ses épaules) at 8.62m, in 1955 it reached its waist ( sa taille)  at 7.12m, at the moment the water comes to its thighs ( ses cuisses) at 6.09m.


It is important to note that Météo France measures the level of la Seine at le pont d'Austerlitz where it is more reliable, but this bridge does not attract many tourists, it is much more exciting to take photos of le zouave!


 Let's hope that la décrue will come soon ( la décrue from the verb décroître meaning reducing) so that life will get back to normal.

If you wish to find out about life in France, develop your vocabulary, you can join our intensive courses either with Alliance Française de Bath or Alliance Française de Bristol, for more info...

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Here is an unusual but efficient recipe!

 In her Tuesday evening French tuition class, Martine asked her students to write about their jobs in the form of a recipe as they had been working on the use of the imperative and the vocabulary of the workplace. Here is Kathy' s recipe:

Un Nouveau Projet de Construction                                             
1.    Trouvez soigneusement un terrain à développer.
2.    Identifiez les contraintes qui influent sur la construction.
3.    Donnez des instructions comme il faut, aux architectes, aux écologistes, aux archéologistes et aux ingénieurs.
4.    Prenez en considération les points de vue des voisins inquièts ou hostiles.
5.    Négociez le permis de construire de la mairie par des discours convaincants.
6.    Faites un appel d’offres pour le travail.
7.    Sous-traitez du travail, au maître d’oeuvre et à l’entrepreneur.
8.    Admirez votre beau bâtiment nouveau.

La Sauce
•    Une grande cuillerée de créativité
•    Une cuiller à dessert de détermination.
•    Une bonne pincée d’ humilité
•    Une tasse de patience.
•    Faites bouillir à la pointe de la réalisation.



Dégustez dans un délai viable – réaliste, avec une bonne assise financière, et avec des effets salutaires pour la communauté.  

What about you trying something like that, or just coming to learn French whatever your level! You could join one of our French intensive courses, either with Alliance Française de Bath or Alliance Française de Bristol. For more info...

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Did you know that the Cannes Festival is finishing today?

Le Festival de Cannes which was called until 2002 Le Festival International du Film drew, yet again, lots of stars who climbed the famous stairs ( les marches ) on the red carpet ( le tapis rouge).
The festival started in 1946 and La Palme d'Or was introduced in 1955. The design is taken from Cannes coat of arms ( les armoiries )

 
and is also a reminder of the palm trees ( les palmiers sur la Croisette ) where all the starlets ( les starlettes ) congregate in the hope of finding fame!

Several French films or French Canadian were in the competition this year with great casts ( la distribution), like Ma loute by Bruno Dumont with Fabrice Luchini and Juliette Binoche, Juste la fin du monde by Xavier Dolan ( French Canadian) with Nathalie Baye, Marion Cotillard and Vincent Cassel, and one of the last films which was shown was Elle by Paul Verhoeven with Isabelle Huppert. Michèle, played by Isabelle Huppert, is a strong minded career woman ( une femme d'affaires inflexible) who is attacked at home ( agressée chez elle), this event changes her life ( cet évènement fait basculer sa vie), here is the trailer ( la bande annonce):
http://www.festival-cannes.com/fr/films/elle

Our cineclubs with Alliance Française de Bristol et Bath will resume in October 2016 but in the meantime you can join one of our French intensive classes. For more info...

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Did you know you can see a photo exhibition in Bristol thanks to la Fondation Alliance Française ?

The exhibition will be shown for a few months but here is an invitation at:
Millennium Square Big Screen
on Thursday 19th May 6-7pm
Free

Berlingots and photos with Alliance Française de Bristol





Come and discover competition winning photos from all around the world on the theme “Climate, state of emergency” ( climat: Etat d'urgence). The competition was organised by Alliance Française Foundation in partnership with Yann Arthus Bertrand. Keep an eye out for them on the Big Screen on Millennium Square in Bristol where they will be on display for a few months; better still, join us for the "vernissage" (that's French for exhibition preview) and enjoy some French bonbons called berlingots. You'll even be able to speak a bit of French if you want to! And if you decide you would like a bit of practice before the summer, talk to us about our intensive courses starting soon.
For more info...


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Do you know French idioms?

Martine's French class certainly do, Maureen wrote a little story using quite a few:
jolie comme un cœur: as pretty as a picture
connaître un endroit comme sa poche: to know somewhere like the back of one's hand
gai comme un pinson: as happy as a lark


fumer comme un pompier: to smoke like a chimney
boire comme un trou: to drink like a fish
être riche comme Crésus: to be as rich as Midas

Here is Maureen's story:
La vie en rose
Marie-Claire est une jeune fille jolie comme un cœur. Elle a vingt-trois ans, elle est belle, avec les cheveux comme les blés. Bien sûr, elle est belle, mais, la pauvre, elle est seule. Elle habite avec ses parents dans un petit village, il ne s’y passe pas grand-chose, et elle s’ennuie. Elle veut trouver un ami. Que faire ?
Eh bien, il y a une solution. Sa tante Julie habite à Paris. Elle connaît la capitale comme sa poche. Elle est assez jeune. Elle va souvent chez les Parisiens, dont les portes lui sont toujours ouvertes. Julie est gaie comme un pinson. « Oui, ma chérie viens ici. Nous pouvons sortir ensemble, pour passer du bon temps. » Elles vont aux soirées, dans les boîtes de nuit, mais sans succès.
Alors, un soir, les deux femmes vont chez une connaissance de Julie. Là, Marie-Claire rencontre un jeune homme, Jean. Il est bel homme, aimable et gentil. Les deux jeunes se parlent toute la soirée. Elle l’aime beaucoup, mais, malheureusement, il fume comme un pompier et il boit comme un trou. Mais, tant pis ! Elle peut supporter ses imperfections, spécialement quand Julie lui dit que Jean est riche comme Crésus ! Un avenir tout en rose.  Qu’est-ce qu’on peut demander après ça ?

You can learn to write stories in French too if you wish: why not join a French intensive course with Alliance Française de Bristol or de Bath. For more info...

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Did you know that there is a bookclub in Bath next Thursday?

This time, Véronique, French teacher with the Alliance Française de Bath, has chosen Au bonheur des dames by Emile Zola.
The book was published in 1883 and is part of the great saga of the Rougon-Macquart which takes us through the 2nd Empire with Napoleon the 3rd and the beginnings of the 3rd Republic.
Each novel depicts the lives and customs of a specific layer of society ( usually  with a strong criticism of that part of society) with one main character who is a member of the Rougon-Macquart family and who becomes the thread of the story.
Au bonheur des dames takes place in the second part of the 1860ies when Haussman had transformed Paris and the first department stores appeared.
Zola took his inspiration from two business men who created Les grands magasins du Louvre.


Au bonheur des dames is a very successfull department store, run by Octave Mouret, an ambitious and handsome man who understands women and their desires. They are queens in his store but at the same time become slaves to their desires. Zola's descriptions of clothes and surroundings are lavish and beautiful.
The novel is built on several layers, one of them is a love story with Octave, the seductor, falling in love with Denise, one of the shop assistants, who becomes a very able business woman. The two of them get married but they are not only husband and wife, they build a strong partnership based on respect which makes their story very modern.

 Here is what the publisher of Le livre de poche has to say:
Octave Mouret affole les femmes de désir. Son grand magasin parisien, Au Bonheur des Dames, est un paradis pour les sens. Les tissus s’amoncellent, éblouissants, délicats. Tout ce qu’une femme peut acheter en 1883, Octave Mouret le vend, avec des techniques révolutionnaires. Le succès est immense. Mais ce bazar est une catastrophe pour le quartier, les petits commerces meurent, les spéculations immobilières se multiplient. Et le personnel connaît une vie d’enfer. Denise échoue de Valognes dans cette fournaise, démunie mais tenace.
Zola fait de la jeune fille et de son puissant patron amoureux d’elle le symbole du modernisme et des crises qu’il suscite. Personne ne pourra plus entrer dans un grand magasin sans ressentir ce que Zola raconte avec génie : les fourmillements de la vie.



It is not too late to join the French bookclub, for more info...

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Films and more films this week!

Alliance Française de Bath is running its cineclub next Friday. They are showing Quai d'Orsay by Bertrand Tavernier with Thierry Lhermite as Alexandre Taillard de Worms, French minister of Foreign Affairs ( ministre des Affaires Etrangères), who tends to create chaos around him. Raphaël Personnaz plays Arthur, who has just graduated from the prestigious National School of Administration ( l'ENA, l'Ecole Nationale d'Administration). Arthur has now joined the ministry of Foreign Affairs as a speech writer, he has to cope with unhelpful, ambitious colleagues ( des collègues ambitieux et peu serviables) and his boss, Thierry Lhermite who keeps changing his mind! ( qui change d'avis constamment).
A lively and enjoyable comedy: For more info... 


The Watershed in Bristol is showing Dheepan for another week. It is a drama by French film director Jacques Audiard ( Un prophète; De rouille et d'os). Dheepan is a young Sri Lankan Tamil warrior ( un guerrier tamil) who flees his war ravaged country (qui fuit son pays ravagé par la guerre) by pretending to be the husband and the father of two other refugees. The three of them arrive in France. This film depicts the lives of immigrants as well as being a thriller.
It won La Palme d'Or in Cannes in 2015.


Students studying French at Alliance Française de Bristol et Bath can buy tickets for any French films showing at the Watershed at a reduced rate thanks to a password which they can get from their French tutor.
Don't miss our French intensive courses for Bath and Bristol starting soon, for more info for Bath and Bristol ...

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Did you know we're having a talk with photos on la Provence, in Bristol, next Saturday?

Joël Binet will take us through a journey in Provence discovering how writers, painters, musicians and singers were inspired by this beautiful region.
The list is long with Nîmes born Alphonse Daudet and Les lettres de mon moulin, which he actually wrote in Clamart, a suburb South West of Paris, with Frédéric Mistral who said " le provençal est la première langue littéraire de l'Europe civilisée." ( Provençal is the first literary language of civilised Europe). We can't not mention Jean Giono and his poetical novels about Provençal peasants like Provence nor forget Marcel Pagnol with his plays and novels, La femme du boulanger, Le château de ma mère and so many more.
We have to take a trip to St Paul de Vence where Matisse, Chagall, Prévert, Montand, Signoret and lots of others  spent so  much time.


Of course we can't leave out Picasso who bought le château de Vauvenargues in 1958  where he died in 1973:



And Bécaud with his famous song Les marchés de Provence, which you can listen to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InS3uEcLfbc


 There are still some places for the talk on Saturday, do come along: for more info...

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Did you know that the next French drama workshops are starting in Bristol soon?

Have you been coming to our own French drama shows over the last few years? If not, you might have missed the time Gérard Depardieu was tried ( a été traduit devant un tribunal) to see whether he could remain French,


or the time Antoine and Cléopâtre disclosed ( ont exposé) their marital problems to the public!
We have had celebrities such as Géneral de Gaulle talking to us about his love of cheese ( son amour du fromage), or Marie Curie sharing her recipe ( qui a partagé sa recette)  for radioactive jelly (please don’t try this at home).


More recently, Johnny Hallyday gave a great-if short-performance and Edith Piaf rose from her ashes ( est renée de ses cendres). Hercule Poirot and Sherlock had an argument about bribes ( se sont disputés au sujet des pots-de- vin), and inspecteur Gadget saved the day ( a sauvé la situation).


It is always fun for our students to let their creative juices flow in French, and a great way to practise the language.

Join the fun, for more info...

You can also watch a  whole lot of videos of the French drama shows on the Alliance Française de Bristol et Bath Youtube page, for more info...

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Friday was the 1st April, le jour des poissons d'avril!

Why is 1st April, April's fools day?
In France we are not absolutely sure as there are several explanations but the most popular one takes it back to the 16th century when le roi Charles IX decided that the year should not start on 1st April anymore but on 1st January and presents would be given then. To make it confusing some people carried on giving presents on 1st April, little by little these presents became jokes ( des blagues) or tricks ( des canulars).
Why Poisson d'avril?
The 1st April often came at the end of lent when presents of food were given, as Christians could not eat meat during lent, fish were offered. As the years went by, pretend fish became fashionable to trick people.
So now, when a joke is made on 1st April, we say Poisson d'avril to the person who was tricked. We also try to stick a paper fish in people 's back without them noticing:


La RATP, la régie autonome des transports parisiens ( buses, tube and RER in Paris) changed the names of 13 metro stations last Friday for their Poisson d'avril, here they are:
Poisson d'avril du métro : les explications de la RATP

"Pyrénées" devient "Alpes" : "Dans un souci d'équilibre dans la promotion des chaines de montagne française , et après  plus de 80 ans de promotion des Pyrénées, ouverture aujourd'hui de la station Alpes sur la ligne 11".

"Alexandre Dumas" devient "Les Trois Mousquetaires", "en raison de problèmes de droits d'auteur".

"Télégraphe" devient "#Tweet", "dans un souci de modernisation, et pour appuyer sa volonté d'être leader de la ville intelligente"





"Château d'Eau" devient "Château de sable", "pour  prolonger Paris-Plage toute l'année".

"Cadet" devient "Rousselle", "afin d'évoquer l'univers de l'enfance".

"Crimée" devient "Châtiment", "en hommage au roman de Fiodor Dostoïevski".

"Monceau" devient "Ma pelle" : "Pour rendre hommage à nos ingénieurs. En effet, il s'agit de la seule creusée à la pelle".

"Saint-Jacques" devient "Coquille", "pour  soutenir la filière de la pêche".

"Parmentier" devient "Pomme de Terre", "dans un souci de clarté et de simplification".

"Opéra" devient "Apéro" : "Pour une ville plus festive, la station Opéra se nomme désormais Apéro #Parisestunefête".

"Quatre septembre" devient "1er avril" : "Pour coller au mieux à l'actu, la station Quatre Septembre changera de nom chaque jour".

"Joinville-le-Pont" devient "Joinville-le-Pont Pon ! Pon !", afin de rendre hommage à  2017 à Bourvil et à sa chanson de 1951.


Just to let you know, we still have places in our French drama workshops starting on Tuesday, 19th April, do join! For more info...

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Time to do some gardening!

The weather was so fantastic in Bristol on good Friday ( le vendredi saint)  that a lot of us spent most of the day doing some gardening ( faire du jardinage).
Pat, one of Martine's students in her Tuesday night French class, who is a landscape gardener ( une architecte paysagiste) wrote a recipe ( une recette) to describe her job, here it is:

Ma Compote de Jardinage 
Ingrédients
1. Une variété de jardins
2. Des clientes sympa
3. Un bon bulletin météorologique
4. Une sélection de plantes
5. Des matériaux organiques
6. Un soupçon d'engrais
7. Un peu de pluie fraîche

Mélanger tous les ingrédients avec l'aide de:-
Le sécateur
Le deplantoir


La petite fourche

Pour le coulis
Les gants solides
Les brodequins imperméables


Les vêtements imperméables
Les lunettes de soleil


Bon appétit!


JOYEUSES PAQUES!!!

Don't forget, if you want to have a lot of fun while learning French you can join our French drama workshops starting on 19th April in Bristol, for more info...
 



Sunday, 20 March 2016

Did you know that des régions in France are given new names?

France is divided into many different layers, so much so that it is called le mille feuilles, for those of you who like going into French pâtisseries, you will know this delicious looking cake which is made of lots of layers of puff pastry with crème pâtissière in between and lots of icing sugar.
To come back to France and its layers and to keep it simple, let's just mention la commune, le département et la région, leaving out le canton for instance. 
Les régions appeared in 1982, there were 22 of them in Metropolitan France including Corsica and five overseas like La Guadeloupe and Mayotte.


François Hollande government decided to reduce the number of regions from 22 to 13. Some of the regions have stayed the same whereas some others have been amalgamated, for these, new names have to be chosen by 1st July.
It is not an easy process as there are quite different opinions, here is what the cartoonist Bidu suggests:

Here is where we are up to now:

What do you prefer???
Simplication can be tempting!!!!
Don't forget that our next French drama workshop, in Bristol, is starting soon, for more info...




Sunday, 13 March 2016

Did you know that this week is La semaine de la Francophonie?

What is la Francophonie/ francophonie?
The word appeared for the first time (pour la première fois) around 1880 when a French geographer used it to refer to people speaking French and to countries where French was spoken.
There are two words:
La francophonie, with a small f ( un f minuscule), for French speaking people.
La Francophonie, with a big F ( un f majuscule), to talk about the organisation linking all the countries where French is spoken.
In 2014, there were 274 million people speaking French on 5 continents.


Since 1970, l' Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie ( OIF) works towards encouraging the use of the French language and the cooperation between 80 state members.
There is une Charte de la Francophonie stating the aims of the organisation.
All the state leaders meet every two years at a summit: le Sommet de la Francophonie.


TV5 Monde and all the branches of Alliance Française spread French language and culture all over the world.
Every year in March, there is la semaine de la Francophonie, this year it is between the 12th and 20th March where there are a host of French events all over the world. There is a common thread for all the countries which is Dis-moi dix mots ( tell me 10 words), 10 words are chosen every year with the aim of making us all discover the variety and wealth of the French language according to the different francophone countries.
Here are the words for this year:


Have fun understanding them! Talking of fun, you can have a really good time joining the French drama classes starting soon in Bristol. For more info...

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Did you know that there will be a talk on Pierre Soulages in Bath next Saturday?

Pierre Soulages, painter and engraver ( peintre et graveur), now well in his nineties has a museum named after him in Rodez, Aveyron where he was born.
Julie, who is an historian of French art ( spécialiste en histoire de l'art), will talk, in French,  about his work and show lots of photos of his paintings. 
Pierre Soulages discovered Cézanne and Picasso in Le Louvre in the 40ies ( dans les années quarante), their works were a revelation to him and made him decide to go back to Rodez to paint. This is when he started on his abstract paintings dominated by black.
Since then he has been playing on the reflection of light  on black surfaces, this gives his work a gleaming quality. Pierre Soulages says:
" I don't work with black, I work with the light that reflects it."
His style is referred to as "noir-lumière" or " outre-noir" ( beyond black).
He believes in the primal instinct to create and in the spiritual power of lines and movement.


If you would like to find out more about his work and see some of it, well, if you can't go to Le musée Soulages in Rodez which has the biggest collection in the world of his paintings, come to Bath next Saturday: For more info...

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Our French Songs Evening

As promised, please find below the list of songs Peter, Jonathan and Audrey performed on Friday night:
Padam - Edith Piaf
La bohème - Charles Aznavour
Nous deux - Léo Ferré
Les vieux amants - Jacques Brel
Avec le temps - Léo Ferré

Jack the accordeon player performed:
La Nonchalante   https://youtu.be/-KjaiWI8WPI
Le Temps des Puces   https://youtu.be/gFFTagKKR0A
Bath and Bristol French Sessions (French/Breton traditional tunes and dancing)  www.bathfrenchsession.wordpress.com

Madame ma voisine - Anne Sylvestre
Au clair de la lune - Traditionnel
Que serais-je sans toi? - Jean Ferrat
La mer - Charles Trenet
Les feuilles - Yves Montand

Ce n'est rien - Julien Clerc
La mauvaise réputation - Georges Brassens
Les bourgeois - Jacques Brel
Le tourbillon de la vie - Jeanne Moreau
L'orage - Georges Brassens
Armstrong - Claude Nougaro
Lily - Pierre Perret
Amsterdam - Jacques Brel
Tes parents - Vincent Delerm
It is not because you are - Renaud

Y'a d'la rumba dans l'air - Alain Souchon

A big thanks from Peter, Jonathan and Audrey to all the singers in the audience, we thought you were brilliant!

To join us for more French themed activities, check our website.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Do you know what l'année bissextile is?

It is the year when there are 29 days in February ( 29 jours en février) like this year. Tomorrow, we gain an extra day. But whose idea was it?
It seems that Julius Caesar ( Jules César) followed the advice of the Egyptian astronomer ( l'astronome égyptien), Sosigènes ( Sosigène) who had explained that the year had 365.25 days. Julius Ceasar decided to have 365 days in the year, divided into 12 months, with one extra day every 4 years. This extra day was fixed after the 6th day before the March calends (les calendes de mars).


But where does the word bissextile come from? This extra day in Roman time was called bi-sextilis which means the 2nd 6th day ( le second sixième jour). It is easy to see how bi-sextilis could become bissextile in French.
Cartoonists enjoy playing with this notion of 29 days in February, like Philippe Gelück, the very well-known author of Le chat:


Look out for our next French cineclub coming soon, for more info...

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Did you know that our super dynamic French teacher, Audrey, also sings?

Well she does! She is going to give us an evening of French songs with Peter, ex French lecturer at Bristol University, who also sings and plays the guitar. They will be accompanied by a double bass player.
The show is on Friday, 26th February, upstairs at The Hen & Chicken, for more info...


They will perform songs that all English people know like  Les feuilles mortes by Jacques Prévert, La mer by Charles Trenet, La bohème by Charles Aznavour and plenty more...

Here are the words of one of the songs written and sung by Pierre Perret in 1977, called Lily. It is the story of a young Black girl who arrives to find a new life first in Paris, then in the States and who discovers how hard it is to get a decent job and who is confronted to racism. Pierre Perret is an optimist so the song ends on a note of hope as Lily is bound to find love, have a child and be happy.

On la trouvait plutôt jolie, 
Lily Elle arrivait des Somalies Lily 
Dans un bateau plein d´émigrés 
Qui venaient tous de leur plein gré 
Vider les poubelles à Paris

Elle croyait qu´on était égaux 

Lily Au pays de Voltaire et d´Hugo Lily 
Mais pour Debussy en revanche 
Il faut deux noires pour une blanche 
Ça fait un sacré distinguo

Elle aimait tant la liberté Lily 

Elle rêvait de fraternité Lily 
Un hôtelier rue Secrétan 
Lui a précisé en arrivant 
Qu´on ne recevait que des Blancs 

Elle a déchargé des cageots Lily 
Elle s´est tapé les sales boulots Lily 
Elle crie pour vendre des choux-fleurs 
Dans la rue ses frères de couleur 
L´accompagnent au marteau-piqueur

Et quand on l´appelait Blanche-Neige 

Lily Elle se laissait plus prendre au piège Lily 
Elle trouvait ça très amusant 
Même s´il fallait serrer les dents 
Ils auraient été trop contents

Elle aima un beau blond frisé Lily 

Qui était tout prêt à l´épouser Lily 
Mais la belle-famille lui dit nous 
Ne sommes pas racistes pour deux sous 
Mais on veut pas de ça chez nous 

Elle a essayé l´Amérique Lily 
Ce grand pays démocratique Lily 
Elle aurait pas cru sans le voir 
Que la couleur du désespoir 
Là-bas aussi ce fût le noir

Mais dans un meeting à Memphis Lily 

lle a vu Angela Davis Lily 
Qui lui dit viens ma petite soeur 
En s´unissant on a moins peur 
Des loups qui guettent le trappeur

Et c´est pour conjurer sa peur Lily 

Qu´elle lève aussi un poing rageur 
Lily Au milieu de tous ces gugus 
Qui foutent le feu aux autobus 
Interdits aux gens de couleur 

Mais dans ton combat quotidien 
Lily Tu connaîtras un type bien Lily 
Et l´enfant qui naîtra un jour 
Aura la couleur de l´amour 
Contre laquelle on ne peut rien 

On la trouvait plutôt jolie, Lily 
Elle arrivait des Somalies Lily 
Dans un bateau plein d´émigrés 
Qui venaient tous de leur plein gré 
Vider les poubelles à Paris.

Don't forget that we enrol for French lessons all year round, for more info...

Sunday, 14 February 2016

All you need to know to write a message to your loved one on la St Valentin!

Did you that you can send your message to a newspaper like Libération which publishes all messages in the ad section ( la rubrique des petites annonces).
They are very fair play if you wish to send messages to different boyfriends or girlfriends, they don't put them on the same page! Here is what they say:
" On connaît des amoureux collectionneurs qui adressent leur flamme à plusieurs aimés et aimées. Le record, c'est trois, il faut faire attention, on ne les met pas dans la même page, raconte le service Petites Annonces."


 Now, if you wish to impress next year why not get inspired by 3  messages chosen by LoveInReims  ( very French....) which ran a competition of love messages in 120 characters maximum:

" Tu es la paille dans mon mojito,
La noisette dans le chocolat,
La chantilly sur ma glace."
You are the straw on my mojito, the nut in the chocolate, chantilly cream on my icecream.
Un mojito is a cocktail with rhum, lime and fresh mint leaves.

" Il faut de tout pour faire un monde,
il me faut toi pour faire  le mien."
We need all sorts to make the world, I need you to make mine.

" Si tu me quittes,
 Je pars avec toi quand même,
Je t'aime, mon renard."
If you leave me, I'll follow you anyway, I love you my fox.

Remember, you can still contact either Alliance Française de Bristol or Bath to join a French course, either a short course or a longer course. Our drama courses are starting again soon and plenty more will be coming up, for more info...

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Did you know that l'Alliance Française de Bath has two events this coming week?

Julie, specialist on French art, is giving a series of three talks on Tuesday afternoons in Bath. The talks are  in French, illustrated with photos. The first talk is on wall paintings (les peintures murales), the second one on Roman remnants ( les ruines romaines) and the third one on Romanesque churches (les  églises romanes) with their  tympanums (leurs tympans). For more info…
The French religious architecture of the Middle Ages ( le Moyen Age) is first Romanesque from the 10th to the second part of the 12th century ( du Xème à la deuxième partie du XIIème siècle) and then Gothic ( gothique).
Some famous Romanesque monuments are Chartres cathedral ( la cathédrale de Chartres) with its tympanum:


And the abbaye at the Mont-Saint-Michel ( l’église abbatiale du Mont-Saint-Michel) with its nave ( sa nef):


Next Thursday, Véronique, French tutor in Bath, will be discussing with students Le quatrième mur by Sorg Chalandon.
Sorg Chalandon received Le prix Goncourt des lycéens with this book in 2013. It tells the story of Georges, an extreme left wing militant ( militant d’extrême gauche) who is pro Palestinian. He decides to go to the Lebanon of the 1980ies where war rages ( où la guerre fait rage), to direct Jean Anouilh’s Antigone in Beyrouth to fulfil a promise made to his friend Samuel Akounis, a pacifist Greek Jew ( un juif grec pacifique). The play will gather all the protagonists of the war for a two hour truce ( un répit de deux heures).
For more info…



Sunday, 31 January 2016

Two important events this coming week in Bristol and in Bath:

First of all our show of short sketches and word games is taking place this coming Tuesday in Bristol. Audrey, our French specialist tutor, will show, as usual, that with encouragement, a positive attitude and enthusiasm, students, with an average level of French, can create amusing situations, play on words in French and generally have a good time. We will find out what has happened to our famous detectives like Sherlock Holmes, in a show called: Elémentaire, mon cher.....
Here is a link to a sketch from last year in which Le général de Gaulle gave his favorite recipe in a show called Maître chef: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8eDm3aK7LM 
Do come and join in the fun, for more info... 
 

Then, on Friday, 5th February, Alliance Française de Bath is showing a selection of short films from My French Film Festival, in French with English subtitles. 
Cécile and Véronique, two of the French teachers in Bath,will show some of the short films from the selection which includes various topics such as French Kiss, Paris Comedy, Crime scene, Animation and more.
Join in the discussion and vote for your favourite short film.The evening is for all Alliance Française students and anyone interested in the French language and in French films. 
For more info... 
 
 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Did you know that the next French cineclub is next Sunday?

The film is called Welcome by Philippe Lioret with Vincent Lindon, Firat Ayverdi and Audrey Dana.
It is a drama taking place in Calais, Simon ( Vincent Lindon) is a swimming instructor ( maître nageur) at Calais swimming pool ( la piscine de Calais), his wife, Marion ( Audrey Dana) has left him. She is involved with helping the asylum seekers ( les demandeurs d’asile) and seems to despise Simon who shows no involvement.
To impress his wife and to try and win her back ( la reconquérir), Simon takes the risk to help in secret a young Kurd refugee ( un jeune réfugié kurde) who is desperate to learn to swim in order to swim across the Channel ( pour traverser la Manche à la nage). He is determined  to join his young girlfriend who lives in England with her family.


The film is in French with English subtitles.
Come and join our French teachers and students to discover what happens and why it is called Welcome, at The Lansdown pub on Clifton Street, for more info…

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Do you know Le canal St Martin?

It is situated in Paris between the 10th ( le 10ème )and 11th ( le 11 ème) arrondissement and was built in 1822, mainly to bring drinking water ( de l'eau potable)  to the Parisians. It is not very long, only 4.55km, has nine locks ( neuf écluses), two swinging bridges ( 2 ponts tournants), two fixed bridges for cars ( deux ponts fixes pour les voitures) and some pedestrian bridges ( des passerelles pour les piétons).
Le canal St Martin is well-known for its tourist cruises ( ses croisières pour touristes), Parisians like to come for walks and picnics on its banks ( ses berges). As part of  the project " Paris respire" ( Paris breathes) introduced by La mairie de Paris, the roads alongside the canal ( les voies sur berge) are closed to cars ( sont fermées à la circulation) on Sundays ( le dimanche) and bank holidays ( et les jours fériés).
Doesn't it look beautiful???

 

Between January and April 2016, some work ( des travaux) is being done on the canal for its maintenance ( son entretien) and its improvement ( son amélioration). To start with, the canal is being emptied ( est vidé).
And guess what has been found in it? Take a look at these few images:

http://www.paris.fr/actualites/les-poissons-du-canal-saint-martin-font-le-mur-3239#le-chomage-du-canal-en-images_3

Alliance Française Bristol and also Bath are still enrolling students in some French tuition groups as there are a few places available, for more info...

Sunday, 10 January 2016

It was a year ago!

Hommage all this past week to the victims of the dreadful attacks that shook Paris last January. First of all the carnage in the building of Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, 7th January, killing so many of the talented, well-loved cartoonists and journalists as well as policemen, then on Thursday, 8th January, the killing of the policewoman in Montrouge, a suburb of Paris, and on Friday, 9th January, the attack at the supermarket  l'Hyper Cacher leaving ordinary shoppers dead. The three murderers ( the Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly) were all killed by the police on the Friday.
The commerations started last Tuesday where plaques with the names of the victims were unveiled in Paris, culminating today by a ceremony on La place de la République where the big march took place a year ago.
As well as a short speech by François Hollande, there were some readings and some songs like Les prénoms de Paris by Jacques Brel, " ..... C'est Paris la France, c'est Paris l'espoir... " and our French rocker Johnny Hallyday came to sing the song he wrote last year in memory of Sunday, 11th January, 2015 called Un dimanche de janvier.


Here are the words for Un dimanche de janvier:
Des millions de regards
Et de larmes à peine essuyées
Des millions de pas sur les boulevards
Un dimanche de janvier
J’avais ta main petite
Dans la mienne recroquevillée
Nos cœurs battaient
De plus de en plus vite
Ce dimanche de janvier
Là, nous avions marché en silence
Au milieu de la foule immense
Et le vent à notre place
Chantait sans fin sur la place
Pour apaiser la peine
De tout un pays soulevé
Nous étions venus
Sans peur et sans haine
Ce dimanche de janvier
Pour garder en mémoire
Nos héros d’encre et de papier
Nous étions restés debout jusqu’au soir
Ce dimanche de janvier
Là, nous avions marché en silence
Au milieu de la foule immense
Et le vent à notre place
Chantait sans fin sur la place
Mais depuis dans nos villes
Et nos villages fatigués
Ô dis-le moi que nous reste-t-il ?
Du dimanche de janvier
Que reste-t-il
De ce dimanche de janvier ?
Mais que reste-t-il
De ce dimanche de janvier ?
Oh que reste-t-il
De ce dimanche de janvier ?


Click on this link to see a short video of today's commerations.

For more info on our French courses and French events...

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Bonne année et bonne santé pour 2016!

Happy New Year and Good Health! This is what the French tend to say at midnight ( à minuit) on 31st December ( le 31 décembre) drinking a glass of champagne ( un verre de champagne), having spent the evening ( le réveillon) with their friends.


The night of 31st is called le réveillon du jour de l'an or le réveillon de la St Sylvestre. Why la St Sylvestre? Because it is the name of the saint on the French calendar on that day. Who was St Sylvestre? He was a pope between 314 and 355 but he has nothing to do with the new year, apart from the fact that sylvestre comes from the Latin, Silva which means forest. Trees, like the Christmas tree (l'arbre de Noël) are associated with this time of year.
The first day of the year has pagan origins and goes back to Julius Caesar which instaured it, it was then dedicated to Janus, the god with two heads, one looking back and one looking forward. It became officially the 1st of January in France in the 16th century with king Charles IX ( le roi Charles IX).
Now the French president presents his best wishes for the year to come to the French people ( présente ses vœux aux Français) from the Elysée palace ( le palais de l'Elysée).
There are normally some fireworks ( des feux d'artifice) on l'avenue des Champs Elysées where big crowds gather. But this year, because of the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13th November, there were no fireworks, only a show of lights on l'Arc de Triomphe, still a lot of people came.


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