Friday, April 30, 2010

Colette -Famous French Author

Colette was the pen name of the French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (January 28, 1873 –August 3, 1954). She is best known, at least in the English-speaking world, for her novel Gigi, which provided the plot for a Lerner & Loewe musical film and stage musical.

Colette was born in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, Yonne, in the Burgundy Region of France, the daughter of Jules-Joseph Colette and Adèle Eugénie Sidonie Landoy ("Sido"). In 1893 she marriedHenri Gauthier-Villars, a famous wit known as "Willy", who was 15 years her senior.

Her first books, the Claudine series, were published under the pen name of her husband, "Willy", writer, music critic, "literary charlatan and degenerate",[1]. Claudine still has the power to charm; in belle epoque France it was downright shocking, much to Willy's satisfaction and profit.

In 1906 she left the unfaithful Gauthier-Villars, living for a time at the home of the American writer and salonist Natalie Barney. The two had a short affair, and remained friends until Colette's death.[2]

Colette took up work in the music halls of Paris, under the wing of Mathilde de Morny, the Marquise de Belbeuf, known as Missy, with whom she became roman.tically involved. In 1907, the two performed together in a pantomime entitled Rêve d'Égypte at the Moulin Rouge. Their onstage kiss nearly caused a riot, which the police were called in to suppress. As a result of this scandal, further performances of Rêve d'Égypte were banned and Colette and de Morny were no longer able to openly live together, though their relationship continued a total of five years.

She published around 50 novels in total, many with autobiographical elements. Her themes can be roughly divided into idyllic natural tales or dark struggles in relationships and love. All her novels were marked by clever observation and dialogue with an intimate, explicit style. Her most popular novel, Gigi, was made into a Broadway play and a highly successful Hollywood motion picture, Gigi, starring Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan and Leslie Caron.

A controversial figure throughout her life, Colette flaunted her lesbian affairs, and collaborated with the Vichy regime during World War II - while at the same time aiding her Jewish friends, including hiding her husband in her attic all through the war. She was a member of the Belgian Royal Academy (1935), president of the Académie Goncourt (1949) (and the first woman to be admitted into it, in 1945), and a Chevalier (1920) and a Grand Officier (1953) of the Légion d'honneur.

When she died in Paris on August 3, 1954, she was given a state funeral, although she was refused Roman Catholic rites because of her divorce. Colette is interred in Le Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Gigi Trailer

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Numbers 21-25

21- vingt et un (vahn tay uhn), 22- vingt deux (vahn doo), 23- vingt trois (vahn twah), 24- vingt quatre (vahn kah truh), 25- vingt cinq (vahn sank)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Palace of Fontainebleau

The Palace of Fontainebleau, located 34.5 miles from the center of Paris, is one of the largest French royal châteaux. The palace as it is today is the work of many French monarchs. The building is arranged around a series of courtyards. The city of Fontainebleau has grown up around the remainder of the Forest of Fontainebleau, a former royal hunting park.

The Fontainebleau forest outside of the castle is one of the largest French forests with its 25 000 hectares, 50 km (about 35 miles) south of Paris by the A6 freeway, is a favorite of Parisian alpinists, who can train there on weekends. Its rocky hills (above) make it the perfect training ground before going for real to the Alps in the summer. The Fontainebleau forest is as well a favorite destination for everyone wanting to escape the hustle of Paris for a day. The beautiful old oak and pine trees, the Seine river near-by make it one of the most beautiful French forests. The Fontainebleau forest and castle are a very pleasant combination, if you want to take a rest from Paris for a day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kyo - French Rock Band

Since attending collège in Yvelines, the two brothers, Fabien and Florian Dubos, and two friends Nicolas Chassagne and Benoît Poher, discovered they had the same passion for bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden. In 1997, they met their manager, who convinced them of their potential, and obtained a contract with Sony for the group. They have since released three albums and one DVD entitled Kyosphere. After the recent success of their album Le Chemin selling 1.5 million copies, the group went to a house in Brittany, where they worked on their new album 300 Lésions which went Gold in 4 days with sales reaching upwards of 500,000 copies. "Le Chemin" was used as the ending of the second episode of the anime OVA Strait Jacket.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Carmen - French Opera

The opera premiered at the Opéra Comique of Paris on March 3, 1875, but the opening run was a failure, the work being denounced by the majority of critics. Shortly after the composer's death only three months later, the production in Vienna (October 1875) began its path to worldwide popularity.

Bizet’s final opera not only transformed the opera-comique genre that had been static for half a century, it virtually killed it. Within a few years, the traditional distinction between opera and opera-comique (light-hearted, bourgeois and conversational with spoken dialogue) disappeared beyond recovery.

Since the 1880s it has been one of the world's most performed operas and a staple of the operatic repertoire. Carmen appears as number four on Opera America's list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America.

The story is set in Seville, Spain, circa 1830, and concerns the eponymous Carmen, a beautiful Gypsy with a fiery temper. Free with her love, she woos the corporal Don José, an inexperienced soldier. Their relationship leads to his rejection of his former love, mutiny against his superior, and joining a gang of smugglers. His jealousy when she turns from him to the bullfighter Escamillo leads him to murder Carmen.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dans La Cuisine - In The Kitchen

Pierre Bonnard -French Painter

Pierre Bonnard (3 October 1867 – 23 January 1947) was a French painter and printmaker. Bonnard was born in Fontenay-aux-Roses. He led a happy and careless youth as the son of a prominent official of the French Ministry of War. At the insistence of his father, Bonnard studied law, graduating and practising as a barrister briefly. However, he had also attended art classes on the side, and soon decided to become an artist.

In 1891 he met Toulouse-Lautrec and began showing his work at the annual exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants.

Bonnard is known for his intense use of color, especially via areas built with small brushmarks and close values. His often complex compositions—typically of sunlit interiors of rooms and gardens

populated with friends and familymembers are both narrative and autobiographical. His wife Marthe was an ever-present subject over the course of several decades. She is seen seated at the kitchen table, with the remnants of a meal; or nude, as in a series of paintings where she reclines in the bathtub. He also painted several self

portraits, landscapes , and many still lifes which usually

depict flowers and fruit.

The Dining Room In The Country (1913)

Children's Word of the Day -House

Kids, every time you see a house, point to it and say "La maison" (lah may zone)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Quick Phrase of the Day- You Buy The Paper Plates

Vous achetez les assiettes en carton (vooz ah shah tay layz ah see eht ahn kahr tohn) -You buy the paper plates.

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

Vocabulary breakdown:
Vous achetez (vooz ah shah tay) -you buy
les assiettes (layz ah see eht) -the plates
assiettes en carton (ah see eht ahn kahr tohn) -paper plates

Friday, April 23, 2010

Prête-moi Ta Main -Must See French Comedy

Prête-moi Ta Main (2006)

English title: "I Do. Or How To Get Married & Stay Single"
Very funny comedy starring Alian Chabrat as a 42 year old single man whose mother & 5 sisters decide he should get married. They set him up with numerous dates. Problem is, he doesn't really want to get married. So to get them off his back he devises a plan to hire a woman to play his girlfriend, plan a wedding then have the girl desert him at the alter, figuring his being depressed will stop the women in his family from trying to fix him up. So he hires his friend's sister (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg) to play his his fiance. Things don't go as he plans when he's spotted kissing another woman, so his family thinks she deserted him because he was cheating on her. They convince him to beg the woman's forgiveness & get her back. Things get more complicated when he starts to have feelings for her.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Christelle Daunay -French Marathoner

Christelle Daunay (born 5 December 1974) is a French long distance coureuse who specializes inroad running. Elle is the current French marathon record holder. Elle represented France at the 2008 Summer Olympics and has competed a numéro of times in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. Elle has had top-trois finishes in the New York Marathon, Paris Marathon and the Course Paris-Versailles

Christelle Daunay started athletics at the age of 11. Elle a couru track races between 3,000 metres10,000 metres, cross country competitions, the half marathon and marathon. and

Since 2005 she has been affiliated to the SCO Sainte-Marguerite (Marseille) ("Sports and Cultural Society of Sainte-Marguerite (Marseille)"). In February 2006 she put sa carrière as a physiotherapist on hold in order to prepare full-time for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

With her time of 2 hours 28 minutes and 24 seconds on 27 January 2008 at the Osaka Marathon (10th place), she not only beat the previous French record established by Chantal Dällenbach, but also qualified for the marathon in the 2008 Olympics. This was her deuxième major marathon, her first being the Paris Marathon in 2007 where she came third with a time of 2:28:54.

She came in 20th in the women's marathon at the Olympic Games 2008, with a time of 2:31:48.

She came 3rd in the 2009 Marathon de Paris setting a new French national record of 2:25:43, beating her previous record time set in 2008. In 2009 Daunay entered in her first New York Marathon. She came third with a time of 2:29:16. She further improved her French record at the 2010 Paris Marathon, in which she ran a time of 2:24:22 for second place. of times in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. She has had top-three finishes in the New York Marathon, Paris Marathon and the Course Paris-Versailles.

coureuse (kore rooz) -female runner elle (ell) -she
numéro (noo may roh) -number trois (twah) -three
Elle a couru (ell ah koo roo) -she ran sa carrière (sah kah ree ehr) -her career
deuxième (dooz ee ehm) -second

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jean Dubuffet -French Artist

Jean Philippe Arthur Dubuffet (July 31, 1901 - May 12, 1985) was one of the most
famous French peintre and sculptors of the second half of the 20th siècle.
Dubuffet was born in Le Havre. He moved to Paris in 1918 to study painting at theAcadémie Julian, but after six mois he left the Académie to study independently. In 1924, doubting the value of art, he stopped painting and took over his father's business selling vin. He took up painting again in the 1930s, but again stopped, only turning to art for good in 1942. Many of Dubuffet's works are painted in oil paint using an impasto thickened by materials such as sand, tar and straw,
giving the work an unusually textured surface. From 1962 he produced a series of works in which he limited himself to the colours red, white, black, and blue. Towards la fin of the 1960s he turned increasingly to sculpture, producing works in polystyrene which he then painted avec vinyl paint.

peintre (pahn truh) -painter
siècle (see eh

six mois
(seece mwah) -six months
(vahn) -wine
la fin
(lah feen) -the end
(ah vehk) -with

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Babar the Elephant

Babar the Elephant is a very popular French children's fictional character who first appeared in L'Histoire de Babar by Jean de Brunhoff in 1931, and enjoyed immediate success. English language versions, entitledThe Story of Babar, appeared in 1933 in Britain and the United States. The story is based on a tale that Brunhoff's wife, Cecile, had invented for their children. It tells of a young elephant called Babar who leaves the jungle, visits a big city, and returns to bring the benefits of civilization to his fellow elephants.

Jean de Brunhoff published 6 more stories before his premature death in 1937 at the age of 37. His sonLaurent de Brunhoff was also a talented writer and illustrator and he carried on the series from 1946 withBabar et Le Coquin d'Arthur and many more.

An animated TV series was produced by Nelvana Limited and Clifford Ross Company, and originally ran from January 3, 1989 to June 5, 1991. There were 78 episodes.

Story synopsis

After Babar witnesses the slaughter of his beloved mother, he flees from the jungle and finds his way toParis where he is befriended by the Old Lady. Babar eventually returns to the Elephant realm following the death of the previous King, who had eaten some poisonous mushrooms. Babar is crowned king, marries his 3rd cousin twice removed Celeste, and founds the city of Celesteville. Babar, who likes to wear a bright green suit, introduces a very French form of western civilization to the elephants, and causes them to dress in western attire.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Must Read - Chasing Cézanne

Chasing Cézanne by Peter Mayle (author of "A Year In

Photographer Andre Kelly is on assignment in the South of France when he decides to spend son jour libre in Cap Ferrat visiting some former clients, the Denoyers. As he arrives, he witnesses Claude, the Denoyers' hired man, loading a precious Cezanne into the back of a beat-up plumber's van. Deciding that quelque chose is amiss, Andre photographs the event and thus becomes involved in a wild escapade to track down la peinture. When he explains the situation to Lucy, his agent and soon-to-be love interest, they decide that they need some expert help and call in Cyrus, a wealthy art dealer, qui smells a scam. Add in a scoundrelly art dealer and his daffy lover, an art forger, and a former French Legionnaire, and the trail to the lost Cezanne becomes a comedy of errors. Along the way, there are vibrant descriptions of Paris, Provence, Cap Ferrat, and of course mouth-watering French meals and vin. Part travelog and part art mystère caper, this new tale from Mayle, the author who put Provence sur la carte, is a thoroughly enjoyable romp through the international art world. Recommended for all fiction collections.

son jour libre (sohn zhoor lee bruh) -his free day quelque chose (kell kuh shoze) -something
la peinture (lah pehn chure) -the painting qui (kee) -who vin (van) -wine
mystère (miss stehr) -mystery

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Numbers 16-20

More numbers: seize (sehz) -16, dix-sept (deeze set) -17, dix-huit (deeze wheat)-18, dix-neuf (deexe nuhf) -19, vingt (van) -20

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chocolate Milk

Children's Song - À La Claire Fontaine

A very pretty french children's song that is used in the film "The Painted Veil" Sad Video though.

À la claire fontaine, M'en allant promener, J'ai
trouvé l'eau si belle, Que je m'y suis baigné. Refrain: il y a
longtemps que je t'aime. Jamais je ne t'oublierai. Sous les ffeuilles
d'un chêne, Je me suis fait sécher, Sur la plus haute branche, Un
rossignol chantait. Refrain Chante rossignol, chante, Toi qui as le cœur
gai, Tu as le cœur à rire, Moi je l'ai à pleurer. Refrain J'ai perdu
mon amie, sans l'avoir mérité, Pour un bouquet de roses, Que je lui
refusai. Refrain Je voudrais que la rose, Fût encore au rosier, Et que
ma douce amie, Fût encore a m'aimer.

English translation:
Athe clear fountain, While I
was strolling by, I found the water so nice, That I went in to bathe.
Chorus: So long I've been loving you. I will never forget you. Under an
oak tree, I dried myself, On the highest branch, A nightingale was
singing. Chorus Sing nightingale sing, Your heart is so happy, Your
heart feels like laughing, Mine feels like weeping. Chorus I lost my
beloved, Without deserving it, For a bunch of roses, That I denied her.
Chorus I wanted the rose, To be still on the bush, And my sweet beloved,
To be still loving me. Chorus

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Numbers 11 - 15

onze (ownz) -11, douze (dooz) -12, treize (trehz) -13, quatorze (kahtorz) -14, quinze (kanz) -15

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Must See French Film -Man On The Train

This article contains french words we have previously learned in other lessons. The translations are printed at the end of this article for review.

L'homme du train (The Man on the Train) is a 2002 French crime-drama film, directed by Patrice Leconte, starring Jean Rochefort and Johnny Hallyday. It is also known as Man on the Train in the United States.
The Plot:
Un homme, Milan (played by Johnny Hallyday) steps off un train, into a small French village. As he waits for le jour when he will rob the town banque, he runs into an old retired poetry teacher named M. Manesquier (Jean Rochefort). Les deux hommes strike up a strange friendship and explore la rue not taken, each wanting to live the other's life.

film (feelm) -film, movie
un homme (uhn ohm) -a man
un train (uhn trahn) -a train
le jour (leh zhoor) -the day
banque (bahnk) -bank
les deux hommes (lay duhz ohm) -the two men
la rue (lah roo) -the street

Clocks & Watches

Monday, April 5, 2010

France Gall -French Singer

France Gall (born Isabelle Genevieve Marie Anne Gall on October 9, 1947 in Paris) is a popular French yé-yé singer.

The first airplay of France's first single "Ne sois pas si bête" ("Don't Be So Stupid"), occurred on her 16th birthday. It was released in November and became a hit. Serge Gainsbourg, whose career was faltering, was asked by her manager to write songs for Gall. Gainsbourg's "N'écoute pas les idoles" ("Don't listen to the idols") became Gall's second single; it reached the top of the French charts in March 1964.

In addition to songs written by her father, Gall's success in the 1960s was built on songs written by some of the biggest names among French composers and lyricists: Gérard Bourgeois, Jean-Pierre Bourtayre, Vline Buggy Pierre Cour, Joe Dassin, Jacques Datin, Pierre Delanoë, Jean Dréjac, Alain Goraguer, Hubert Giraud, Georges Liferman, Guy Magenta, Eddy Marnay, Jean-Michel Rivat, Jean-Max Rivière, Frank Thomas, Maurice Vidalin, André Popp, Gilles Thibaut, and Jean Wiener.

The yé-yé movement had its origins in the radio programme "Salut les copains", created by Lucien Morisse and hosted by Daniel Philippacci, which was first aired in December 1959. This program became an immediate success and one of its sections ("le chouchou de la semaine" / "this week's sweetheart") turned to be the starting point for most yé-yé singers. Any song that was presented as a chouchou went straight to the first places in the charts.
Yé-yé music was new in a number of ways: first, it was the only musical movement so far to be spear-headed by females; second, it was a mostly European thing (although it grew very popular in Japan and there is even a Japanese version of the 1965 Eurovision-winning song "Poupée de cire, poupée de son" composed by Serge Gainsbourg and performed by France Gall). Yé-yé girls were young (France herself was only 16 when she released her first album, 18 when she won the Eurovision song contest for Luxembourg) and innocent (most of their songs talked of finding the first love, such as Francoise Hardy's "Tous les garcons et les filles"

france gall - laisse tomber les filles

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Days of the Week Review

lundi (luhn dee) - Monday
mardi (mare dee) - Tuesday
mercredi (mare kreh dee) - Wednesday
jeudi (zhuh dee) - Thursday
vendredi (vahn dreh dee) - Friday
samedi (sam dee) - Saturday
dimanche (dee mahnsh) - Sunday

Musical Moment - "On My Own"

One of the most beautiful songs from "Les Miserables"

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Parents

Claude Monet -French Artist

Claude Monet, born Oscar Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926)was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant).

Friday, April 2, 2010