Sunday, 29 June 2014

Did you know that there is a French drama show next Tuesday in Bristol?

Audrey, our French drama teacher, once again, has prepared a group of students to perform a show which they have written themselves.
You will go to the doctor's ( vous irez chez le docteur) speaking half French and half English, then to the chemist's ( à la pharmacie, ou, chez le pharmacien). Someone wakes up with a Bristolian accent and must get cured! An old lady goes to see a paediatrician... ( un pédiatre) and somebody else has become amnesic ( amnésique).
Lots of fun and laughters are guaranteed. Come and join the fun, upstairs at The Hen & Chicken, the entrance fee is only £2! For more info...

If you would like to see some videos of previous shows, click on the link below:

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Molitor: suite...

Simon Fry gives us some more information about (la piscine) Molitor in Paris:
A new book tells the colourful story of one of the world’s most famous swimming pools.
‘Molitor Les Piscines et la Patinoire’ records the opening in 1929 of Paris’s Piscine Molitor, which featured among numerous amenities indoor and outdoor pools, the latter also operating as a wintertime ice rink ( une patinoire).

The book has been written by 87-year-old Claude Weill; a Parisian all his life, he first swam at Piscine Molitor in 1933 and has lived opposite it for the last 30 years. He attended the complex’s gymnasium up to three times weekly until its closure in 1989; since extensively demolished and rebuilt, Mr Weill and his wife were the first customers to book into the new Molitor’s hotel, staying on its first night, May 19.
The book explains how architect Robert Mallet-Stevens recommended Lucien Pollet to design Piscine Molitor. Mallet-Stevens had designed the house of Louis Barillet, a famed, contemporary stained glass artist, who was himself responsible for the art deco glasswork adorning the complex.
(Pollet designed other Parisian pools, such as Piscine Pontoise, a few hundred metres from Notre Dame, which opened in 1934.)

Fascinating photos and illustrations are dotted throughout, showing sunbathers relaxing on sand on a ‘beach’ beside the outdoor pool, motor-powered prototype snowmobiles, en masse synchronised swimming and a pulley system used to help handicapped children swim.
Coverage is given to Piscine Molitor’s 25 years of abandonment, when graffiti artists covered its surfaces with their work, a French music outfit staged a rave, 50 years of the Mini were celebrated in 2009 and Nike took over the site during the 2010 French Open.
The book has a cover price of 20 euros.
For more information:

Our French Summer intensive courses are now full, but start thinking about September and read about our regular French classes: For more info...


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Have you heard of La piscine Molitor in Paris?

La piscine ( swimming pool) Molitor in Paris has a very interesting history which Simon Fry has written about just for us.
Simon Fry is a Bristol-based freelance journalist who has written for the BBC, The Independent, Metro, FourFourTwo, Rugby World, Blue Wings (the in-flight magazine of Finnair, the Finnish national airline,)
Venue, Folio and the Edinburgh Evening News. One of his first commissions was to review Coldplay in Paris in 2000 for the Bristol Evening Post. Website:

Making Merry at Molitor
Simon Fry

Swimmers are once again able to crawl and butterfly al fresco in Paris’s stylish sixteenth arrondissement following the opening of Molitor on May 19.
An 80 million euro project has seen the rebuilding of the former Piscine Molitor complex, which was opened in 1929 by Olympic gold medallist Johnny Weissmuller, following 25 years of abandonment after closure in 1989.
Weissmuller was accompanied by fellow American Olympian Aileen Riggin at the opening, and remained as lifeguard and swimming instructor for the complex’s first season before beginning a film career as Tarzan in 1932.
Another Hollywood connection came in 2012, with the filming of the novel Life of Pi. The story’s main protagonist is named Piscine Molitor Patel by his father, who wishes for his son to have a soul as clean as the waters in the complex’s indoor and outdoor pools.
Sometimes the water in its outdoor pool was frozen! Starting two years after opening, a machine was brought in at wintertime to convert the pool into an ice-rink. This used ammonia, and the practice

was discontinued in 1978 on the grounds of health and safety.
Doubtless the temperature was warmer in 1946 when Piscine Molitor was the location of the launch of the modern bikini, modelled by Michele Bernardini, a 19-year-old nude dancer from the Casino de Paris.  
The complex’s quarter-century in the wilderness saw graffiti artists ‘tag’ its exterior; when these were painted over, they broke in to paint extensively on pools and interior walls.
After almost complete demolition and reconstruction, the new Molitor (‘Piscine’ having been dropped) features the same indoor and outdoor pools, reproduced in exacting detail, plus 124-room hotel, spa, restaurant and bar.

As in its previous life, Molitor will resound to juvenile joy, with local schoolchildren using its indoor pool for three mornings weekly.
Simon Fry Piscines et Patinoire in Paris

Merci Simon!
There are one or two places left in the July French intensive courses in Bristol so you can still join, for more info...

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Did you know that there will be a guided walk in French, in Bristol, next Thursday?

Anne, blue badge guide and French tutor with Alliance Française de Bristol, is doing a guided walk ( une visite guidée) on 12th June, starting in front of the Hippodrome and taking students through the old centre of Bristol.
Anne has been doing guided walks around Bristol for Alliance Française students and anyone interested for the last few years and they are always very popular. Here is what Sarah has to say:
« J'ai assisté à trois des visites guidées d'Alliance Française, et elles m'ont beaucoup plu. Anne explique l'histoire et l'architecture de Bristol d'une manière si vivante, et interactive, et on apprend beaucoup de vocabulaire.   Je les recommande chaleureusement!”
The walk will start on the big public open space in front of the Hippodrome where the river Frome ( la rivière) used to run and is now covered. There will be a stop by the statue of Neptune, the walk will take students to Castle Green near the floating harbour ( le pont flottant), with its ruins ( ses ruines) of the castle ( le château) and of two churches ( deux églises). And plenty more......

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

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Some unusual comparisons!

Martine's Tuesday morning French class has been looking at some of these idiomatic expressions in the magazine Bien Dire. For instance:
C'est bête comme chou, meaning that it is very easy.
C'est évident comme le nez au milieu de la figure, for something which is really obvious.
Martine asked her students to use some of them to make up a story. See below what Robin came up with:

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 ! 

You may find some more comparisons if you go to the magazine Bien Dire website.
We still have a few places on our Summer intensive courses, why not contact us to see if you can join a class and learn some amusing phrases too. For more info...