Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I  made a mistake in the Occupations posts. The title should have read "Les Proffesions", not :Le Proffessions". It is plural so it should begin with "Les". Thanks Auri for catching that mistake. I will change it. -Roy

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quick Phrase of the Day - I Am Running To The Butchers

J'accours à la boucherie (zhah koorz ah lah boo shehr ree) -I am running/hurrying to the butchers.

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

Vocabulary breakdown:

J'accours (zhah koor) -I am hurrying to
à la boucherie (ah lah boo shehr ree) -to the butchers

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cinéma Au Clair De Lune

Each summer in the month of August, Cinéma au clair de lune (see nay mah oh kleer deh loon -Movies by the light of the moon)sets up its giant screen in famous parts of the capital… and invites the public to enjoy outdoor movies, moonlight cinema with great classic films of the past and present that have Paris either as their subject or setting.
This year, this itinerant and free cinema festival is participating in the European Cultural Season in France and is inviting the public for the first time to discover a dozen or so European capitals.
Famous film directors such as Luigi Comencini, Milos Forman, Pedro Almodovar, Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, etc. will plunge spectators in to the heart of the cities of Rome, Madrid, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Prague, Vienna… Not to be missed!
Cinéma au Clair de Lune invites visitors to combine the discovery of Paris with the love of cinema and outdoor movies. For seven years, a venue has been chosen for spectators to come and see it through the eyes of a filmmaker. Free screenings of films are shown, both past and present masterpieces, most of them with Paris featured as the subject or background. And so, if Paris were Europe, each of its districts becomes a European country, like a piece in a puzzle, a mosaic of communities.

This is a great experince that should not be missed. When I lived in San Diego, every summer they would show films at night on the wall of the art museum. People would bring their blankets & wine & cheese, and watch great films under the stars. This is a trend that seems to be happening in more & more cities all over the world.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lesson #168 "Last"

dernier, dernière (durr nee ay, durr nee ehr) -last

Je n’ai pas aimé le dernier film (zhuh nay pahz ehm ay leh durr nee ay feelm) -I didn't like the last film

Quand l'avez-vous vu pour la dernière fois (kahn lah vay voo pohr lah durr nee ehr fwah) -When did you last see him

C'est se que tu as dis la dernière fois (say seh keh too ah dee lah durr nee ehr fwah) -That's the last thing I needed

Elle est arrivée la dernière (ell eht ah ree vay lah durr nee ehr) -She was the last to arrive

à la dernière minute (ah lah durr nee ehr mee noot) -at the last minute

Jolly Roger

The name "Jolly Roger" is thought to have come from joli rouge (pretty red), a wry French description of the bloody banner flown by early privateers. The flags were meant to strike mortal terror in the hearts of the pirate's intended victims. They often featured skeletons, daggers, cuttlasses, or bleeding hearts on white, red, or black fields. The skull and crossbones motif first appeared around 1700 when French pirate Emanuel Wynne hoisted his fearful ensign in the Caribbean -- embellished with an hourglass to show his prey that their time was running out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Must See French Film -Bande à Part

Bande à Part is a 1964 film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It is released as Band of Outsiders in North America; its French title derives from the phrase faire bande à part, which means "to do something apart from the group." The film belongs to the French New Wave movement. Godard described it as "Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka".

Odile (Anna Karina) meets would-be criminals Arthur (Claude Brasseur) and Franz (Sami Frey) in an English language class. At some point, she tells Franz that there is a large amount of d'argent stashed in the villa where she lives with her Aunt Victoria and a certain Mr. Stoltz in Joinville près de Paris; and Franz and Arthur persuade her to assist them in staging a robbery in her own maison.

Meanwhile, both Franz and Arthur try to seduce Odile, with Arthur being the more successful.

Malheureusement, Arthur's uncle somehow learns of their plot and wants to commit the robbery himself. This forces Franz, Arthur, and Odile to rush into the robbery faster than they would have liked. Moreover, by this temps, Mr. Stoltz has grown suspicious of Odile's behavior, has hidden his argent, and has changed the locks on all les portes. Shot in 25 days on a budget of $120,000, Band à part is a New Wave classic

To me the the scene I liked the most was the dance scene. The scene is one of Godard's simplest and most enjoyable moments of pure cinema (and was shot in one take). Uma Thurman’s dance in the 1950’s retro diner scene in Pulp Fiction is a direct homage to the dance scene in Band à part.

d'argent (dar zhahn) -some money près de Paris (preh deh pah ree) -near Paris

maison (may zhahn) -home malheureusement (mahl lure rooz eh mahn) -unfortunately

temps (tahmp) -time argent (ahr zahn) -money les portes (lay port) the doors

Monday, June 14, 2010

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker (June 3, 1906 – April 12,1975) was an American expatriate entertainer and actress. She became a French citizen in 1937. Most noted as a singer, Baker also was a celebrated dancer in her early career. She was given the nicknames the "Bronze Venus" or the "Black Pearl", as well as the "Créole Goddess" in anglophone nations. In France, she has always been known as "La Baker". She scored her greatest song hit, "J'ai deux amours" in 1931 and became a muse for contemporary authors, painters, designers, and sculptors including Langston Hughes,Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, and Christian Dior.

Baker was the first African American female to star in a major motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer. She is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States (she was offered the leadership of the movement by Coretta Scott King in 1968 following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assasination, but turned it down) and for being an inspiration to generations of African-American female entertainers and others.

Baker was so well known and popular with the French that even the Nazis, who occupied France during World War II, were hesitant to cause her harm. In turn, this allowed Baker to show her loyalty to her adopted country by participating in the Underground, smuggling intelligence to the resistance in Portugal coded within her sheet music. After the war, for her underground activity, Baker was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Légion d'Honneur by General Charles de Gaulle, and also the Rosette of the Résistance.

Josephine Baker "Quand je pense à ça"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lesson #167 -Where Are You From?

D’où venez-vous (doo veh nay voo) -Where do you come from?
Je viens de... (zhuh vee ehn deh) -I'm from...
D’où êtes-vous? (doo eht voo) -Where are you from?
Je suis de... (zhuh swee deh) -I'm from...
Où êtes-vous né? (ooh eht voo nay) -Where were you born?
Je suis né à... (zhuh swee nay ah) -I was born in
Où habitez-vous? (ooh ah bee tay voo) -Where do you live?
J'habite à... (zhah beet ah) -I live in...

Friday, June 11, 2010

C. Auguste Dupin -Fictional French Detective

C. Auguste Dupin is a fictional French detective created by Edgar Allan Poe. Dupin made his first appearance in Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", It is considered to be the first detective story. He reappears in "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt" and "The Purloined Letter"). Dupin is not a professional detective and his motivations for solving the mysteries throughout the three stories change. Dupin combines his considerable intellect with creative imagination, even putting himself in the mind of the criminal. His talents are strong enough that he appears able to read the mind of his companion, the unnamed narrator of all three stories.

Poe created the Dupin character before the word detective had been coined. It is unclear what inspired him but the character's name seems to imply "duping", or deception. The character laid the groundwork for fictitious detectives to come, including Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stated that he indeed use this as an inspiration), Hercule Poirot, and established most of the common elements of the detective fiction genre.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Must See French Film - Diva

I recently watched this film for the 1st time in years. I had originally seen this when I was going to art school in NYC, & this was the 1st foreign film I had ever seen in a movie theatre. Thus started my interest in Foreign films, & being in NYC, theres are many theatres to see them. That is one of the few things I miss about not living in NY anymore.

Diva is a 1981 film directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix, adapted from a novel of the same name by Daniel Odier (under the pseudonym Delacorta). It is one of the first French films to let go of the realist, harsh mood of 1970s French cinema and return to a colourful, melodic style, called "Cinema du look". The film made a muted debut in France in 1981, but had success in the United States the next year. The film became a cult classic and was internationally acclaimed.


Jules, a young postman, is obsessed by Cynthia Hawkins, a beautiful and celebrated opera singer who has never consented to have her performances recorded. He attends her performance, secretly and illegally records it, and steals a gown from her dressing room.

Unknowingly, Jules also comes into possession of another important tape: the testimony of a prostitute, exposing Saporta, a high-ranking policeman, as the boss of various rackets. The prostitute drops the recording in the bag of the postman's moped moments before she is murdered.

In danger from Saporta's enforcers as well as from Taiwanese gangsters seeking the Hawkins tape, Jules seeks refuge with his new friends, the mysterious bohemian Serge Gorodish and his young muse Alba.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Do French Fries Have Anything To Do With France?

Although French fries are quite common in restaurants in France, where they are called pommes frites (pohm freet), the origin of the term here in America is still something of a debate. In cooking terminology, frenching means to cut food in lengthwise strips. You're familiar with French-cut green beans? French fries are the same thing, only with potatoes. This is one school of thought.
The other opinion is that Thomas Jefferson brought the fried potato to America after coming across the dish in Paris. While there is no dispute that the French fry is an American invention, those that hold with this opinion believe that the French fry was named after the country where Jefferson found fried potatoes. (courtesy of

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Head to Montmartre, it is a hill of 130 metres high and is where the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur is situated. This area was also home to many famous artists, such as Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Edgar Degas. Take a walk to The Artists' Square (Place de Tertre in Montmartre) where artists gather to paint and display their works for sale. The many painters of Place du Tertre are always ready to sketch out your face. They remind us of the many pennyless artists, who lived a Bohemian life in late 19th century / early 20th century Montmartre.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle

A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle
This is a wonderfully written book that anyone who is thinking of moving or visiting France should read. It is the author's chronicle of how he chucked he normal life & moved to the south of France with his wife. He describes month by month of the things he encountered owning a cottage in France, the french people, shopkeepers, and the locals he met with everyday. A must read for anyone who loves France.

Be sure to rent the dvd of the PBS series version of the book, it also was very enjoyable, and a good way of hearing french spoken, as the husband doesn't speak much, so he is constantly trying to communicate with the french locals.

Also good books by Mayle about France:

Hotel Pastis

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Serge Gainsbourg -French Singer

Serge Gainsbourg was a French poet,singer-songwriter, actor and director. Gainsbourg's varied musical style and individuality made him difficult to categorize. His legacy has been firmly established, and he is often regarded as one of the world's most influential musicians.

Many of his songs contained themes with a morbid or sexual twist in them. An early success, "Le Poinçonneur des Lilas", describes the day in the life of a Paris Métro ticket man whose job it is to stamp holes in passengers' tickets. Gainsbourg describes this chore as so monotonous that the man eventually thinks of putting a hole into his own head and being buried in another.

Gainsbourg died on 2 March 1991 of a heart attack. He was buried inMontparnasse Cemetery, in Paris. His funeral brought Paris to a standstill, and French President François Mitterrand said of him, "He was our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire... He elevated the song to the level of art." His home at the well-known address 5bis rue de Verneuil is still covered in graffiti and poems.

Since his death, Gainsbourg's music has reached legendary stature in France. His lyrical brilliance in French has left an extraordinary legacy. His music, always progressive, covered many styles: jazz, ballads, mambo, lounge, reggae, pop (including adult contemporary pop, kitsch pop, yé-yé pop, '80s pop, pop-art pop, prog pop, space-age pop, psychedelic pop, and erotic pop), disco, calypso, Africana, bossa nova, and rock and roll. He has gained a following in the English-speaking world with many non-mainstream artists finding his arrangements highly influential.

Serge Gainsbourg -Le Poinçonneur Des Lilas

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Traffic Signs

Toulouse-Lautrec - French Post Impressionist Painter

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French post impressionist painter, lithographer, and illustrator, who documented the bohemian nightlife of late-19th-century Paris.

Toulouse-Lautrec was born in Albi into one of the oldest aristocratic families. Henri was weak and often sick. By the time he was 10 he had begun to draw and paint. At 12 young Toulouse-Lautrec broke his left leg and at 14 his right leg. The bones failed to heal properly, and his legs stopped growing. He reached young adulthood with a body trunk of normal size but with abnormally short legs. During his convalescence, his mother encouraged him to paint. He subsequently studied with French academic painters L. J. F. Bonnat and Fernand Cormon.

Toulouse-Lautrec, many of whose works are in the museum that bears his name in Albi, was a prolific creator. His oeuvre includes great numbers of paintings, drawings, etchings, lithographs,
and posters, as well as illustrations for various contemporary newspapers. He incorporated into his own highly individual method elements of the styles of various contemporary artists, especially French painters Edgar Degas and Paul Gauguin.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Johnny Hallyday -Laura

Johnny Halliday is my favorite French Singer. So from temps en temps, I will be posting sa musique ici.

temps en temps (tahmp deh tahmp) -time to time
sa musique ici (tah mew zeek ee see) -his music here