Saturday, 29 March 2014

What do you know about le champagne?

Come and join Alliance Française students in Bath to hear what Lionel can teach you about different champagnes and of course, to taste them. Lionel, who used to be a French teacher, is now a specialist on French wines. He has a wonderful selection of private photos on champagnes and lots of anecdotes to share with his audience. Anyone with a good GCSE in the French language and an interest in champagnes is welcome.
For more info... 

Of course drinking champagne is the most important, first of all you have to take the cork ( le bouchon) out:
Sabrer le champagne: pop the cork
Sabler le champagne: to crack open a bottle

You can drink:
Un champagne sec: a dry champagne
Un champagne rosé: a pink champagne
Un champagne brut: a brut champagne
Du champagne frappé: iced champagne
From un seau à champagne: from an iced bucket

You can drink out of:

Une flûte à champagne:     
Une coupe à champagne:
Un verre tulipe:

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Discover a wonderful story written by a student in Martine's Monday evening French tuition group:

Still within the context of La semaine de la langue française et de la francophonie, here is s story about the word: A tire-larigot which we had last week. But this story has a twist to it as it refers to l'OuLiPo ( L'Ouvroir de la Littérature Potentielle), what is this? A group of French writers have given themselves some constraints, some strict rules on how to write and on what to use to stimulate their creativity which they have called l'OuLiPo.

La farce de faire les règles à tire-larigot.

Pour un écrivain qui préfère écrire selon ses envies, la contrainte demandée par L’OuLiPo fait mal.
Le pauvre Tanguy Viel qui ne voulait que d’être accepté par ce groupe, passait ses jours entiers devant son écran, cherchant le bon mot et la construction parfaite pour s’exprimer le mieux.  Il a raté énormément de temps dans la recherche de l’ effet littéraire qui les satisferait.
Tant qu’il fût admiratif de ce groupe tant qu’il ne fît pas de progrès dans son œuvre.
Puis, un jour pluvieux, Viel a aperçu que sa voix littéraire résonne plus belle et claire quand il écrit d’un style parlant, en forme fluide, suivant les pensées du personnage principal.  Ces romans fonctionnent mieux sans la contrainte arbitraire que prône L’OuLiPo.
Dès qu’il a reconnu ce fait, ces esprits ont pris l’essor.
Heureusement qu’il ait passé au travers de son impasse, en franchissant l’angoisse de la page blanche, il s’est mis à écrire des pages à tire-larigot.
La flûte à la main, souriant de toutes ses dents, il s’est dit qu’il ne  se ferait plus jamais des mensonges à tire-larigot qui blessent l’âme creative.
Il est devenu écrivain bien connu et célébré partout dans le monde.


Would you like to find out more about Tanguy Viel? For more info...
He will be coming to speak to Alliance Française de Bristol et Bath in May and we'll all be reading some of his books like Paris-Brest or L'absolue perfection du crime.

Would like to find out more about our French courses and events? For more info...

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Did you know that next week is La semaine de la langue française et de la francophonie?

Every year a whole week is dedicated to the French language in France and in all the countries where French is spoken, for instance in some parts of Africa, in Quebec, in L'Ile de la Réunion in the Indian Ocean and in plenty more. Ten unusual words are chosen to celebrate the French language, here are the words chosen for this year:

charivari: hullabaloo
hurluberlu: cranky
enlivrer: to be drunk from reading
ouf: phew! or mad when the word fou is in verlan, the wrong way round.
timbré: mad
tohu-bohu: confusion
faribole: piece of nonsense
zigzag: same in English
ambiancer: to create a good atmosphere
à tire-larigot: non-stop

In Martine's French class, students wrote some texts using one word out of the 10, here is a short text:

Boire du champagne à tire-larigot
Selon mes envies, je passe mes journées à boire énormément de bonnes flûtes de champagne qui ont l’effet de me rendre saoûle et ainsi, la construction de mes phrases n’est plus compréhensible. Comme je ne peux pas sortir, je dois dire des mensonges à mes amis qui ne seraient pas très admiratifs s’ils savaient ce que je faisais.

Alliance Française de Bristol will be celebrating La semaine de la francophonie with a quiz on Saturday, 22nd March,without drinking à tire-larigot! For more info...

Sunday, 9 March 2014


Photo by K_rho CC BY 2.0

Those of you used to visiting the South of France will be familiar with Occitan. It is the most spoken regional language in France, and you will find speakers in Spain, Italy and Monaco as well. Its literature, poetry and music go back to more than 1000 years when wandering singers (les troubadours) brought it to European courts.
A lot of families will still speak it among themselves and some of its words have spread to French in some regions. You won't find them in the dictionary!

Avoir la cagne: to be very tired, too tired to do anything!
Un fenestrou: a small window
Péguer: to be really sticky
S'espatarer: to slouch or lie down in an undignified fashion
Bader: to look at something gormlessly, possibly with your mouth open!

Do you know any of these phrases? What are your favourite ones?

You can listen to an Occitan song here, sung by the uncle of Audrey, one of our French tutors.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Did you know that the next cineclub in Bristol is on 9th March?

It is organized by Emilie, one of the French tutors in Bristol, and takes place next Sunday at 6.30pm, at The Lansdown in Clifton. Thank you to the owners of the pub who do not charge for the room so..... the entrance is  free!
The film is called Louise Wimmer and is a drama by Cyril Mennegun with Corinne Masiero and Jérôme Kircher.
Louise, as she is turning fifty, has just been through a very painful separation. She lives in her car while trying to find a flat to rent. Between periods of despair and hope, she tries to rebuild her life: very powerful and moving. 

The cineclub is open to all students learning French with Alliance Française de Bristol but also to anyone with an interest in the French language. The film has subtitles in English.
Arrive early to get a drink in the pub before the film starts.