Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Must See French Film -La Ronde

La Ronde (Roundabout) is a 1950 movie, directed by Max Ophüls based on Schnitzler's 1897play of the same name.

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards; for Best Writing and Best Art Direction (Jean d'Eaubonne)

It tells a series of stories about love affairs or illicit meetings involving une prostituée, un soldat, une femme de chambre, le fils de son employeur, une femme mariée, son mari, une jeune fille, un poète, une actrice et un comte. At the end of each encounter, one of the partners forms a liaison with another person, and so on.

une prostituée (oon prah stee too ee) -a prostitute
un soldat (uhn sohl dah) -a soldier
une femme de chambre (oon fehm deh shahm bruh) -a chambermaid
le fils de son employeur (leh feea deh sohn ahm plwoy yurr) -her employer's son
une femme mariée (oon fehm mah ree ay) -a married woman
son mari (sohn mah ree) -her husband
une jeune fille (oon zhuhn feel) -a young woman
un poète (uhn poh eht)
un comte (oon ahk treece) -an actress
et un comte (aht uhn kahmt) -and a count

Monday, December 28, 2009

How To Type French Accents

A few people have asked how I type the French Accents. I know there's a way of doing it in Word & other programs, but I found the easiest way is to go to, where it's easy to type in the word or phrase you need, then copy & paste it into whatever you need it for, whether it's a document or Email etc. There are a few online like this, but I find it to be the easiest.
Hope that helps.

Children's Word of the Day - Fence

Monday, December 21, 2009

REVIEW: 'Hergé: The Man Who Created Tintin' by Pierre Assouline

December 12, 2009 | 5:58 pm

Charles Solomon has a review of Pierre Assouline's new biography of Hergé in the Los Angeles Times today, here's an excerpt.


With his plus-four knickers, button nose and "squiff" hairdo, Tintin ranks as one of the most recognizable and best-loved characters in comics. However, his creator, Georges "Hergé" Remi(1907-83), remains "an elusive figure," as Pierre Assouline notes in this unsatisfying biography: "Most people expect his life to be as straightforward as the lines in his drawings. But it was full of complexity and contradiction, conflicts and paradoxes, of jagged peaks and crevasses."

The basic outline of Remi's career has been reported many times: Born into a stuffy, middle-class family in Brussels, he got his big break when Catholic priest and editor Norbert Wallez put him in charge of a children's supplement for the newspaper Le Vigntième Siècle ("The 20th Century") in 1928. He had adopted the nom de plume Hergé (the French pronunciation of his initials, reversed) four years earlier.

Herge bookIn 1929, Hergé introduced a comic strip about a boy reporter and his fox terrier, Tintin and Snowy, in the supplement Le Petit Vigntième ("The Little 20th") -- and scored an immediate success. The cartoonist presented Tintin's adventures in weekly installments, which he later reworked into books. Hergé's work has influenced a generation of cartoonists, as well as pop artists Andy Warhol andRoy Lichtenstein.

The resourceful Tintin displays all the virtues traditionally ascribed to a Boy Scout, but as Assouline observes, Hergé was a mass of contradictions. A conservative Catholic and patriotic Belgian, he worked for the collaborationist newspaper Le Soir during the Nazi occupation when Le Vigntième was shut down. A generous friend, he nevertheless refused to share royalties or credit with his assistants. Hergé, who professed to value loyalty, left his first wife, Germaine, for the younger artist Fanny Vlamynck in 1956 -- although he didn't divorce Germaine and marry Fanny until 1977.

Assouline devotes more space to Hergé's work during the Occupation than do most popular studies. Many of the Le Soir writers were later tried and given prison sentences. Hergé wasn't prosecuted, although he was blacklisted. Assouline suggests that Hergé never grasped the moral failure of working for the collaborationist press.

Children's Word of the Day - Furniture

Thursday, December 17, 2009

24 Hours of Le Mans

The 24 Hours of Le Mans (24 Heures du Mans) is the world's oldest sports car race inendurance racing, held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, Sarthe, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance, it is organised by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) and runs on a circuit containing closed public roads that are meant not only to test a car and driver's ability to be quick, but also to last over a 24 hour period.

At a time when Grand Prix racing was occurring throughout Europe, Le Mans was envisioned as a different test from motorsports. Instead of focusing on the ability of a car company to build the fastest machines of the time, the 24 Hours of Le Mans would instead concentrate on the ability of manufacturers to build sporty yet reliable cars. This would drive innovation in not only reliable but also fuel-efficient vehicles, since the nature of endurance racing requires as little time to be spent in the pits as possible.

At the same time, due to the design of Le Mans, a drive would be created for better aerodynamics and stability of cars at high speeds. While this was shared with Grand Prix racing, few tracks in Europe featured straights the length of the Mulsanne. The fact that the road is public and therefore not maintained to the same quality as some permanent racing circuits also puts more of a strain on parts, causing more emphasis on reliability.

Beginning in the late 1970s, the demand for fuel economy from around the world led the race to adopt a fuel economy formula known as Group C in which competitors were given a set amount of fuel, from which they had to design an engine. Although Group C was abandoned when teams were able to master the fuel formulas, fuel economy would still be important to some teams as alternative fuel sources would appear in the early 21st century, attempting to overcome time spent during pit stops.

These technological innovations have had a trickle-down effect, with technology used at Le Mans finding its way into production cars several years later. This has also led to faster and more exotic supercars due to manufacturers wishing to develop faster road cars for the purposes of developing them into even faster GT cars.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Briançon (Latin: Brigantium) is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in theProvence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in south-eastern France. It is the sub-prefecture of the department.

At 1,350 metres it is the second highest city in Europe after Davos. It is built on a plateau nucleated around confluence of the Durance and the Guisane.

The historical centre is a strongly fortified town, built by Vauban to defend the region fromAustrians in the 17th century. Its streets are very steep and narrow, though picturesque. Briançon lies at the foot of the descent from the Col de Montgenèvre, giving access to Turin, so a great number of other fortifications have been constructed on the heights around it, especially towards the east. The Fort Janus is no less than 4,000 ft (1,200 m). above the town.

The parish church, with its two towers, was built 1703-1726, and occupies a very conspicuous position.

The Pont d'Asfeld, east of the town, was built in 1734, and forms an arch of 131 ft (40 m). span, thrown at a height of 184 ft (56 m). across the Durance.

The modern town extends in the plain at the southwest foot of the plateau on which the old town is built and forms the suburb of Ste Catherine.

Briançon is located close to the Parc National des Ecrins.

On 8 July 2008, several buildings of Briançon were classified by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, as part of the "Fortifications of Vauban" group. These buildings are: the city walls, Redoute des Salettes, Fort des Trois-Têtes, Fort du Randouillet, ouvrage de la communication Y and the Asfeld Bridge. Along with Briançon, 11 other sites of fortified buildings in France were classified. Among them is theplace-forte of Mont-Dauphin, also in the Hautes-Alpes department. These pieces of art were designed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban(1633-1707), a military engineer of King Louis XIV.

Briançon has often been a start or a finish of Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Dauphiné Libéré

Briançon has featured regularly as a stage start or finish in the Tour de France and is thus a popular base for cyclists. Since 1947, the town has been the start point for a stage of the tour 22 times, and has also been the stage finish 22 times.

In 2007, the town was the finish of the 159.5 km (99.1 mi) stage 9 on 17 July from Val-d'Isère crossing the Col de l'Iseran, the Col du Télégrapheand the Col du Galibier with a 37 km (23 mi) downhill finish in Briançon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Must See French Film - Molière

Molière is a film by French director Laurent Tirard. It stars Romain Duris as the eponymous playwright. It was released in Europe in January 2007 and in the United States in July 2007.

Tirard both directed the movie and co-wrote the screenplay with Grégoire Vigneron.

The film focuses on several months of Molière's early life that are unknown to scholars. It begins in 1658, when the French actor and playwright returns to Paris with his theatrical troupe to perform in the theater the king has given him. Most of the film is in the form of a flashback to 1645. Following an unsuccessful run as a tragic actor, Molière is released from debtor's prison by Monsieur Jourdain (Fabrice Luchini), a wealthy commoner with social pretensions, who agrees to pay the young actor's debts if Molière teaches him to act.

Jourdain, already a married man with two daughters, hopes to use this talent to ingratiate himself with Célimène (Ludivine Sagnier), a recently widowed beauty and with whom he has become obsessed, by performing a short play he has written for the occasion. Molière, however, who has been presented to the family and staff of Monsieur Jourdain as Tartuffe, a priest who is supposedly to serve as tutor for the Jourdains' younger daughter, proceeds to fall in love with Jourdain's neglected wife, Elmire (Laura Morante). Sub-plots involve the love life of the Jourdains' older daughter, and the intrigues of the penniless and cynical aristocrat Dorante (Edouard Baer) at the expense of the gullible Jourdain.

The story is mostly fictional,and overall has the feeling of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors but many scenes follow actual scenes and text in Molière's plays (including Tartuffe, Le Misanthrope, and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, whose principal character is also named Jourdain), in a manner that implies that these "actual" events in his life inspired the plays of his maturity. This is a recurrent plot device in the film, since Célimène is the main character's love interest in Le Misanthrope.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lesson # 125 Holiday Expressions

Here are some holiday expression you might want to use during December:
Joyeux Noël (zhoy yoo noh ell) -Merry Christmas
Bonne Année (bohn ah nay) -Happy New Year
Joyeuses Fêtes (zhoy yooze feht) -Happy Holidays
Joyeux Hannukah (zhoy yoo hah noo kah) Happy Hannukah
Joyeux Kwanzaa (zhoy yoo kwahn zah) Happy Kwanzaa)
Meilleurs Vœux (may year vuh*) Best Wishes

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day - I Trust My Brother

Je fais confiance à mon frère. (zhuh fay kohn fee ahnce ah mohn frehr) -I trust my brother

Repeat this phrase all day long till you know it by heart.

Vocabulary word of the day:

insulte (een suhlt) -insult
c'était une insulte

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Song From "Paris 36"

Song from the movie "Paris 36".
Paris Paris sung by Nora Arnezeder

Moi dès que je suis loin de paname
J'ai les poumons tout essoufflés
J'ai le coeur bouffés par plein de larmes
et le corps comme tout exilé

Le plus loin qu'sois aller c'est la Marne
C'était pour suivre un petit beguin
Moi dès qu'il n'ya plus de vacarme
J'm'ennuie l'silence ne m'vaut rien

Paris, Paris
T'es ma seule famille
Paris, Paris
Y'a qu'chez toi qu'mon coeur brille
Si j'te revois pas dès d'main
Paris, je vais mourir
De microbes chagrin

(Pont Musical)

Paris, Paris
tout l'temps
Tu m'entortilles
Paris, Paris
Je rêve qu'tu m'déshabilles
Si j'te r'vois pas dès d'main
Paris, je vais mourrir
De microbes chagrin

Ce qu'il fait bon a chaques terrasses
Boul'vard Nouvelle Italiens
Là où nous les ptits mecs quand on passe
Nous boivent comme panachés urbain

Dans ma petite chambre au 6éme
J'attends qu'on vienne me dorloter
Dis Paris c'est toujours toi que j'aime
Mais qui va te remplacer

Paris, Paris
T'es ma seule famille
Paris, Paris

Y'a qu'chez toi qu'mon coeur brille
Si j'te revois pas dès d'main
Paris, je vais mourir
De microbes chagrin

Paris, Paris
tout l'temps
Tu m'entortilles
Paris, Paris
Je rêve qu'tu m'déshabille
Si j'te r'vois pas dès d'main
Paris, je vais mourir
De microbes chagrin

Friday, November 27, 2009

Must See French Film - Paris 36

A man is charged with murder. He is Pigoil, the aging stage manager at Chansonia, a music hall in a Paris faubourg. His confession is a long flashback to New Year's Eve, 1935, when he discovers his wife is unfaithful and Galapiat, the local mobster, closes the music hall. Over the next few months, Pigoil loses custody of his beloved son, Jo-Jo, and must find work. Pigoil and his pals take over the Chansonia as a co-op; Galapiat is momentarily benign. Their star is the young Douce, a girl from near Lille for whom Galapiat lusts. She in turn falls in love with Milou, a local Red. There are ups and downs, but mostly ups - but what about Jo-Jo and what about the murder?Paris 36 Masterprint

Saturday, November 14, 2009

France Goes Ahead, Makes Clint Eastwood's Day

Clint Eastwood always could command an audience. Now he has the title to prove it.

This morning, French President Nicolas Sarkozy not only welcomed the Oscar winner into the French Legion of Honor, but elevated him to a ranking normally out of bounds for foreigners—that of commander.

The honor is one of the nation's highest and is reserved for those who have made great cultural contributions to the country, a point not lost on Eastwood, who referred to France as his "second home" and to Sarkozy, jokingly, as "my president."

"This is a wonderful honor," he said. "It is just a great pleasure for me. I really love France. I love movies, and I love the appreciation that the French people have for movies."

The 79-year-old doesn't plan on wasting any time in seeing how much leeway his hard-earned credential can give him.

"As a commander of the arts and letters, I think I will go out on the streets of France today and throw my weight around," he said.

Clearly, he feels lucky. Vive la punk!

Children's Word of the Day - Snowball

Friday, November 13, 2009

French Film for People Who Hate Subtitles

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a 2006 film directed by Tom Tykwer, based on the novel Perfume by Patrick Süskind.

Set in 18th century France, the film tells the story of an olfactory genius, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) and his homicidal quest for the perfect scent.

The film begins with the sentencing of Grenouille, a notorious murderer. Between the reading of the sentence and the execution, the story of his life is told in flashback, beginning with his abandonment at birth in a French fish market. Raised in an orphanage, Grenouille grows into a strangely detached boy with a superhuman sense of smell. After growing to maturity as a tanner'sapprentice, he makes his first delivery to Paris, where he revels in the new odors. He focuses on a girl selling plums (Karoline Herfurth) and startles her with his behavior. To prevent her from crying out, he covers the girl's mouth and unintentionally suffocates her. After realising that she is dead, he strips her body naked and smells her until the scent fades. Afterwards, Grenouille becomes haunted by the desire to preserve scents forever.

After making a delivery to a perfume shop, Grenouille amazes the owner, Giuseppe Baldini (Dustin Hoffman), with his ability to create fragrances. He revitalises the perfumer's career with new formulas, demanding only that Baldini teach him how to convert scents into perfume. Baldini explains that all perfumes are harmonies of twelve individual scents, and may contain a theoretical thirteenth scent. He also tells a story about a perfume discovered in an Egyptian tomb that was so perfect that it affected the entire world the moment the bottle was opened. However, when Grenouille discovers that Baldini's method will not capture all scents, he becomes depressed and leaves to learn superior methods in Grasse. En route to Grasse, Grenouille realises that he has no scent of his own, and is therefore a cipher. He decides that creating the perfect smell will prove his worth.

Grenouille stands alone amongst the orgy his perfume has created.

Grenouille finds work in Grasse assisting with perfumes. After some experimenting, he succeeds in preserving the scent of a woman by cutting her hair, covering her in animal fat, and then distilling the fat. To force the woman to undergo the procedure, however, he must kill her. Grenouille embarks on a killing spree, murdering beautifulvirgins and capturing their scents. He dumps the girls' naked corpses around the city, creating an uproar that threatens to tear the city apart. Nearing completion, Grenouille selects a beautiful young lady, Laura (Rachel Hurd-Wood), for his thirteenth scent, the lynchpin of his perfect perfume. Laura's wealthy father, Antoine Richis (Alan Rickman) realises the danger and attempts to flee the city with his daughter. Grenouille tracks her scent to a roadside inn and sneaks into her room that night. The next morning, Richis discovers Laura lying dead in her bed.

Soldiers capture Grenouille moments after he finishes preparing his perfume. On the day of his execution, he applies a drop of the perfume to himself. The executioner and the crowd in attendance are overwhelmed by the beauty of the perfume. They declare Grenouille innocent before falling into an orgy. Walking out of Grasse unscathed, Grenouille has enough perfume to rule the world, but has discovered that it will not allow him to love or be loved like a normal person. He returns to the Parisian fish market where he was born and empties his perfume bottle over his head. Overcome by the scent, the nearby crowd devours him. The next morning, one final drop of perfume falls from the open bottle.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Claude Levi-Strauss dies at 100; French philosopher's ideas transformed anthropology

Claude Levi-Strauss, the French philosopher widely considered the father of modern anthropology because of his then-revolutionary conclusion that so-called primitive societies did not differ greatly intellectually from modern ones, died Friday at his home in Paris from natural causes. He was 100.

Part philosopher, part sociologist and entirely humanist, he studied tribes in Brazil and North America, concluding that virtually all societies shared powerful commonalities of behavior and thought, often expressing them in myths. Towering over the French intellectual scene in the 1960s and 1970s, he founded the school of thought known as structuralism, which holds that common features exist within the enormous varieties of human experience. Those commonalities are rooted partly in nature and partly in the human brain itself.

He concluded that primitive peoples were no less intelligent than "Western" civilizations and that their intelligence could be revealed through their myths and other cultural keystones. Those myths, he argued, all tend to provide answers to such universal questions as "Who are we?" and "How did we come to be in this time and place?"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day - I Hope This Is Of Any Help To You

Just a quick Hello to all the Newcomers

Bonjour tout le monde (bohn zhur too leh mohnd). Hello everyone. I just want to say Bonjour to all the newcomwers.

Thanks for the nice responses to my site. For all you newcomers, the reason for this blog is this:
1. For me to keep studying my French.
2. For you to learn with me at a relaxed & non structured pace. (No grades or report cards :)
3. I will not teach unnecessary phrases or words that you will probably never use if you visit France (such as drain-pipe, soil, grasshopper, oboe, etc). We will only concentrate on words & phrases that we would need if we go on a vacation to France.

I usually will not dwell on grammer, or thousands of verbs and every possible past, present and future combinations that they teach in the books. My purpose is to learn needed words and phrases so we will not stumble around Paris trying to find someone who speaks English. We will not be fluent in french from this site, but we will be able to somewhat communicate to people when we get there. Where I work we have thousands of tourists visit our store, and they do not speak perfect English, but I can understand what they are trying to communicate to me. That is what I want to be able to do if and when I ever go to France.

How to use this site:
Write down or print out each lesson or Phrase Of the Day posts. keep it with you all day. Look at it whenever you can. Keep saying the phrases to yourself (don't worry if people think you are crazy talking to yourself). Keep a notebook or a blank piece of paper so you can repeatedly write the phrases & words over & over. Repetition is the key here. Don't worry if you miss or skip a lesson or phrase. There is no order to the things I post here. It is not like a book where you have to start from page 1. All we are doing here is trying to keep adding to our own vocabulary of the french language. Also, do check the day after a post, as we have a few people from France (most notably our friend Isabelle) who help keep this site accurate, and who also advise us on better ways of saying certain phrases.

As I still consider myself a beginner also, so any comments, or suggestions, or corrections will be greatly appreciated. Email me anytime at even if you want to practice your french writing. We are all here to help each other.

So in the meantime, everyone have fun with this blog, practice the phrases in your head all day long, & enjoy. -Roy

Famous Movie Phrase

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day -Give Me The Heavy Bag

Vincent Van Gogh

As an artist, one of my favorite painters was Van Gogh. I consider my self very lucky in that some of my artwork has actually sold. It is ironic that Van Gogh, now considered one of the greatest artists ever, and who works sell for millions of dollars today, only sold one painting in his lifetime at what would be considered $80 dollars today. Although not a French artist, his works created from 1886-1809 when he lived in France make him a necessary person to include in this blog.

Vincent Willem van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist artist. His paintings and drawings include some of the world's best known, most popular and most expensive pieces.
Van Gogh spent his early adult life working for a firm of art dealers. After a brief spell as a teacher, he became a missionary worker in a very poor mining region. He did not embark upon a career as an artist until 1880. Initially, Van Gogh worked only with sombre colours, until he encountered Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism in Paris. He incorporated their brighter colours and style of painting into a uniquely recognizable style, which was fully developed during the time he spent at Arles, France. He produced more than 2,000 works, including around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches, during the last ten years of his life. Most of his best-known works were produced in the final two years of his life, during which time he cut off part of his left ear following a breakdown in his friendship with Paul Gauguin. After this he suffered recurrent bouts of mental illness, which led to his suicide. (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Children's Word of The Day -Fish