Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day - It's Raining Hard

avez-vous bien dormi? (ah vay voo bee yehn dohr mee) -Did you sleep well?

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

Vocabulary word of the day:
pleut (ploo) raining
il pleut à verse (eel ploo ah vehrz) -It's raining hard

Children's Word of the Day - Celery

Kids, when you eat a piece of celery, say "le céleri"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Marie-Christine Barrault - French Actress

Marie-Christine Barrault (born 21 March 1944) is a French actress, who has appeared in 45 films and numerous television productions.

Born in Paris, she got her start on television, in L'Œuvre, in 1967 and in the series Que ferait donc Faber? Her film debut was in 1969 in My Night at Maud's (Ma nuit chez Maud) in 1969.

In 1970 Barrault was featured along with Pierre Richard in a comedy film Le Distrait(Absent-minded).

In 1975 she starred in Cousin, cousine, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Children's Word of the Day - Pumpkin

Kids, when you see a pumpkin, point to it and say, "un citrouille"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Claude Monet's Garden at Giverny

Claude Monet's garden at Giverny

There are two parts in Monet's garden: a flower garden called Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road. The two parts of Monet's garden contrast and complement one another.

When Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883 the piece of land sloping gently down from the house to the road was planted with an orchard and enclosed by high stone walls.

A central alley bordered with pines separated it into two parts. Monet had the pines cut down, keeping only the two yews closest to the house to please Alice.

From this Clos Normand of about one hectare, Monet made a garden full of perspectives, symmetries and colours.

The land is divided into flowerbeds where flower clumps of different heights create volume. Fruit trees or ornamental trees dominate the climbing roses, the long -stemmed hollyhocks and the coloured banks of annuals. Monet mixed the simplest flowers (daisies and poppies) with the most rare varieties.

The central alley is covered over by iron arches on which climbing roses grow. Other rose trees cover the balustrade along the house. At the end of the summer nasturtiums invade the soil in the central alley.

Claude Monet did not like organized nor constrained gardens. He married flowers according to their colours and left them to grow rather freely.

Open daily
From April 1st to November 1st
From 9.30 AM to 6.00 PM

Closed exceptionally on Monday April 27th, 2009.
Last entrance at 5.30 p.m.

Tickets are on sale at Giverny Individual Entrance
at the following rates:

  • Normal fare and seniors: 6,00 euros
  • Disabled: 3,00 euros
  • Children under 7 y.o.: free of charge
  • Children under 12 y.o.: 3.50 euros
  • Students: 4.50 euros

Children's Word of the Day - Wave

Kids, when you see an ocean wave, point to it and say "la vague"

Hmmm... Never Knew This Was A French Film

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Places To See in Paris - Musée de la Curiosité et de la Magie

Musée de la Curiosité et de la Magie

Who amongst you i brave enough to stick their hand in the mouth of a lion and see if it is an illusion? You can do it here in this easy to miss small museum. Bonafide magicians escort you through the vaulted rooms containing trick mirrors, talking genies, and a history of illusion in general. live magic shows are performed daily.
Musée de la Curiosité et de la MagieMusée de la Curiosité et de la Magie

Antiques linked to magic, optical illusions, automatons, interactive games for children. Demonstration of magic tricks.

Practical Information

AccessM° St-Paul (ligne 1) Bus 67, 69, 76, 86, 87
Address11, rue Saint-Paul, 75004
CityParis (France)
Phone33(0)1 42 72 13 26
Fax33(0)1 45 36 01 48
AdmissionWednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 2.00 p.m to 7.00 p.m
Closed in July and in August
Full rate7 €
Reduced rate5 €

Alberto Contador - Wins Tour de France

Lance Armstrong’s children were dressed in yellow. He was not.

When the seven-time Tour de France champion returned to the Tour podium Sunday, his family was there. His fans were there. And so was rival and teammate Alberto Contador—wearing the coveted yellow jersey.

Four years after his seventh Tour win, Armstrong capped his return with an impressive third-place finish.

Contador won the Tour for a second time Sunday, and Mark Cavendish of Britain collected his sixth stage win of this year’s Tour in a sprint after the 101.9-mile course ride from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to the Champs-Elysees.

Over nearly 3,500 kilometers and 21 stages of racing over three weeks, Contador repelled many challenges in the mountains, excelled in the two time-trials—winning a pivotal race against the clock in the 18th stage—and won the first Alpine stage.

Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, Contador’s biggest rival among title contenders in the mountains, was second overall.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day - Haven't You Anything Else

Vous n'avez rien d'autre (voo nah vay ree yehn doh truh) -Haven't you anything else?

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

Vocabulary word of the day:
propre (proh pruh) -clean, neat
l'hotel est très propre

Children's Word of the Day -Computer

Kids, when you use a computer, say "un ordinateur"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Marie Laforêt -French Singer & Actress

Her career began accidentally in 1959 when she replaced her sister at the last minute in a French radio talent contest Naissance d'une étoile (birth of a star) and won. Director Louis Malle then cast the young starlet in the film he was shooting at the time, Liberté, a project he finally abandoned, making Laforêt's first appearance on screen opposite actor Alain Delon in René Clément's 1960 drama Plein Soleil.

After this film she became very popular and interpreted many roles in the 1960s. She married director Jean-Gabriel Albicocco, who cast her in some of his own works, including La Fille aux Yeux d'Or (The Girl with the Golden Eyes), based on the Balzac story, which would become her nickname.

In her second film, Saint Tropez Blues, accompanied by a young Jacques Higelin at the guitar, she sang the title song and immediately started releasing singles, her first hit being 1963's Les Vendanges de l'Amour. Her songs offered a more mature, poetic, tender alternative to the light, teenage yé-yé tunes charting in France at the time. Her melodies borrowed more from exotic folk music, especially South American and Eastern European, than from contemporary American and British pop acts. Laforêt worked with many important French composers, musicians and lyricists, such as André Popp and Pierre Cour, who provided her with a panoply of colorful, sophisticated orchestral arrangements, featuring dozens of musical instruments and creating a variety of sounds, sometimes almost Medieval,Renaissance or Baroque, other times quite modern and innovative.

At the end of the 1960s, Marie had become a rather distinctive figure in the French pop scene. Her music stood out, perhaps too much for her new label CBS Records, which expected of her more upbeat, simpler songs. She was interested in making more personal records, but finally gave in. Although her most financially successful singles (Viens, Viens, a cover of a British hit, and Il a neigé sur Yesterday, a ballad about the break-up of the Beatles) were released in the 1970s, Marie progressively lost interest in her singing career, moving toGeneva, Switzerland in 1978, where she opened an art gallery and abandoned music more or less altogether.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Panthéon

The Panthéon is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris, France. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve, but after many changes now combines liturgical functions with its role as a famous burial place. It is an early example of Neoclassicism, with a façade modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, surmounted by a dome that owes some of its character to Bramante's "Tempietto". Located in the 5th arrondissement on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Panthéon looks out over all of Paris. Its architect, Jacques-Germain Soufflot, had the intention of combining the lightness and brightness of the gothic cathedral with classical principles. Soufflot died before his work was achieved, and his plans were not entirely followed. The transparency he had planned for his masterpiece was not attained. Nevertheless, it is one of the most important architectural achievements of its time and the first great neoclassical monument.
King Louis XV vowed in 1744 that if he recovered from an illness he would replace the ruined church of Sainte-Geneviève with an edifice worthy of the patron saint of Paris. The Marquis of Marigny was entrusted with the work. He had sponsored the architect Soufflot, whom he chose for the construction of the new Église Sainte-Geneviève (today the "Panthéon"), a major work in the neoclassical style. The overall design was that of a Greek cross with massive portico of Corinthian columns. Its ambitious lines called for a vast building 110 meters long by 84 meters wide, and 83 meters high. No less vast was its crypt.
From 1906 to 1922 this was the site of the famous sculpture The Thinker.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Answer To Yesterday's Word Puzzle

Jean-Honoré Fragonard -French Painter

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (5 April 1732 – 22 August 1806) was a French painter and printmaker whose late Rococo manner was distinguished by remarkable facility, exub
erance, and hedonism. One of the most prolific artists active in the last decades of the Ancien Régime, Fragonard produced more than 550 paintings (not counting drawings and etchings), of which only five are dated. Among his most popular works are genre paintings conveying an atmosphere of intimacy and veiled eroticism.
"The Swing"

Quick Phrase of the Day - What Are You Reading?

qu'est-ce que tu lis? (kess keh too lee) -What are you reading?

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

Vocaulary word of the day:
la pluie (lah ploo ee) -the rain
Aimes-tu la pluie? (aim too lah ploo ee) -Do you like the rain?

Children's Word of the Day- Starfish

Kids, when you see a starfish, say "l’étoile de mer"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Word Puzzle

French Film To See -Last Year at Marienbad

L'Année dernière à Marienbad (translated as Last Year in Marienbad in the UK and Last Year at Marienbad in North America) is a 1961 French movie directed by Alain Resnais, starring Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoëff. The screenplay is by Alain Robbe-Grillet. It is great example of surrealism in film.

The film is set at an elite social gathering at un chateau. A man approaches a woman and asks "Didn't we meet at Marienbad last year?" The woman is non-committal and demure. "Didn't you say you would leave votre mari and we would run away together?" he asks. Again, she says "No," but they continue to talk as if they perhaps had indeed made plans. When un deuxième homme, who may be A's husband, approaches, la conversation ends somewhat awkwardly and the characters move on.

As the film progresses, the relationship of the characters and the sequence of events are not made clear. Instead images and events such as the conversation above are repeated several times, but in different places in the chateau and its grounds. Several sequences involve les hommes at the chateau passing the time with various games (such as Nim and target shooting). There are numerous tracking shots of the chateau's corridors, with ambiguous voiceovers.

The film is famous for its enigmatic narrative structure, in which la vérité and fiction are difficult to distinguish, and the exact temporal and spatial relationship of the events is open to question. The dream-like nature of the film has fascinated and baffled audiences and critics, some hailing it as a masterpiece, others finding it to be incomprehensible.

I personally found it had a creepiness to it, largely in part from the eerie background organ music (reminded me of "Carnival Of Souls"). Many scenes had a salvador dali feel to it.

un chateau (uhn shah toh) -a castle

votre mari (voh truh mah ree) -your husband

la conversation (lah kahn vehr say shee yohn) -the conversation

un deuxième homme (uhn duh zee ehm ohm) -a second man

les hommes (layz ohm) -the men

la vérité (lah vay ree tay) -the truth

Last Year at Marienbad (1961) re-release trailer with subtitles

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day - We Are Going To Our Favorite Restaurant...

Nous allons à notre restaurant favori ce soir (nooz ah lohn ah noh truh rehss toh rahnt fay vohr ee seh swah) -we are going to our favorite restaurant tonight.

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

Vocabulary word of the day:
patron/patronne (pah trohn) male boss/female boss
il est mon patron (eel ay mohn pah trohn) -he is my boss
elle est ma patronne (ell ay mah pah trohn) -she is my boss

Children's Word of the Day -Marshmellow

Kids, when you have some marshmellows say "guimauve"

Quick Phrase of the Day -And What Else Is New?

et quoi d'autre de neuf (ay kwah doh truh deh nuhf) -and what else is new?

repeat this phrase all day long til you know it by heart.

vocabulary word of the day:
un dossier (uhn doh see yay) -a report, a file
Où est le dossier (ooh est leh doh see yay) -where is the file?

Children's Word of the Day - Refrigerator

Kids, when you go to the refrigerator, point to it and say "un frigo"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pierre Arditi -French Actor

Pierre Arditi (born 1 December 1944) is an award-winning French film and stage actor. He is the brother of French actress Catherine Arditi.

He has often played romantic, womanizing roles, similar to those played by Marcello Mastroianni.

In 1987 he won a César Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his role in Mélo, and in 1994, a César Award for Best Actor for his role in Smoking/No Smoking.

Although his work has primarily been in French film and theater, Arditi is known in the Anglophoneworld as the French voice of Christopher Reeve. Arditi dubbed Christopher Reeve on the French-language version of the three first Superman movies by Richard Donner and Richard Lester (See the French Wikipedia article on Pierre Arditi for more information). Because of the added footage in the DVD Special Edition of Donner's Superman, the movie had to be re-dubbed with a different voice actor, much to the chagrin of the generation of moviegoers who had grown up with the original soundtrack and identified Superman's voice with Arditi's. He also provided the French voice for Reeve in the comedy/whodunit Deathtrap. Finally, he was the voice of the documentary serieUntamed Africa, written and produced by Frederic Lepage.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day - I Like This Artisit's Work

j'aime l’œuvre de cet artiste (zhehm loo vruh deh seht ahr teest) -I like this artist's work

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

Vocabulary word of the day:
le grenier (leh greh nee ay) -the attic
Ma maison a un grand grenier (mah may zohn ah uhn grahn greh nee ay) -My house has a big attic

Children's Word of the Day -Bench

Kids, when see a bench, say "un banc"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day

Okay since it a holiday, we are skipping any lessons today. Everyone (kids too) wish everyone you know "Joyeux Quatorze Juillet" today (July 14th).

Regular postings wil continue tomorrow.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Must See French Film - Purple Noon

Purple Noon (French: Plein Soleil, aka Full Sun or Blazing Sun) is a 1960 film directed byRené Clément, based on The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, and starring Alain Delon in his first major movie.

Purple Noon was lauded by critics and made Delon a star. In 1962, Clément and Paul Gégauff won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Foreign Film Screenplay. It enjoys a loyal cult following even today, with many fans including film director Martin Scorsese.

The movie has been cited as similar to Highsmith's novel in tone, style, and especially in the characterization of Tom Ripley. Out of all the actors who have played Ripley in movie adaptations of books in Highsmith's "Ripliad" series, many critics, including Highsmith herself, have called Delon's characterization the closest to her personal vision of the character: a charismatic sociopath who lies, murders, and manipulates without a shred of remorse.

This is a terrific version of the book, with a better slam bang ending then the American version starring Matt Damon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day - This Car Runs Well

cette voiture marche bien (seht vwah chure marsh bee yehn) - This car runs well.

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

Vocabulary word of the day:
visage (vee sahz) - face
je ne peux pas voir son visage (zhuh neh poo pah vwahr sohn vee sazh) -I can't see his face

Children's Word of the Day - Pail

Kids, when you see a pail, point to it and say, "un seau"

Answer to Yesterday's Jumble

Friday, July 10, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day - They Are On The Train

ils sont dans le train (eel sohnt dahns leh trahn) -They are on the train

Repeat this phrase all day long til you know it by heart

Vocabulary word of the day:
le passé (leh pah say) -the past
au cours d'histoire, on étudie le passé (oh koor deece twah ahn ay too dee leh pah say) -In history class we study the past

Children's Word of the Day - Ruler

Kids, when you use a ruler say, "une règle"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day - He Appeared Out Of Nowhere

il est apparu de nulle part (eel eht ah pah roo deh nuhl pahr) -He appeared out of nowhere

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

Vocabulary word of the day:
peau (poh) -skin
Sa peau est toute rouge après tout ce soleil (sah poh ay toot roozh ah preh too seh soh lay) - His skin is so red from too much sun

Children's Word of the Day -Curly Hair

Kids, when you see someone with curly hair, say "cheveux bouclés"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Must See French Thriller - Tell No One

Tell No One (French: Ne le dis à personne) is a 2006 French thriller film directed by Guillaume Canet and based on the novel of the same name by Harlan Coben. It was written by Guillame Canet and Philippe Lefèbvre and stars François Cluzet.
Alex Beck (François Cluzet) is a doctor who has slowly been putting his life back together after his wife Margot (Marie-Josée Croze) was murdered by a serial killer. Eight years on, Alex is doing well enough until he finds himself implicated in the murder of two people, with plenty of evidence pointing to him as the killer even though he knows nothing of the crimes. The same day, Alex receives an e-mail that appears to be from Margot, which includes a link to a live surveillance video clip that features his late wife looking alive and well. The message warns Alex that they are both being watched, and he struggles to stay one step ahead of the law even as a gang of strong-arm men intimidate Alex's friends into telling whatever they might know about him. Alex's sister Anne (Marina Hands) persuades her well-to-do wife Hélène (Kristin Scott Thomas) to hire a respected attorney, Élisabeth Feldman (Nathalie Baye), to handle Alex's case. When a warrant is issued for Alex's arrest, he goes on the run while he and his lawyer struggle to find out the truth about the murder as well as Margot's reappearance.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day -The Fuses Have Blown

les fusibles ont grillé (lay few zee bluh zohnt gree yay) -the fuse have blown

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

Vocabulary word of the day:
voie (vwah) -road
c’est une voie privée (seht oon vwah pree vay)

Children's Word of the Day - Fireworks

Kids, when you see fireworks, "c’est une voie privée"

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day - So, What Are We Going To Do

Alors, qu'est'ce qu'on va faire (ah lore kess kahn vah fehr) -So, what are we going to do

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

Vocabulary word of the day:
moutarde (moo tahrd) -mustard
Je voudrais de la moutarde (zhuh voo dray deh lah moo tahrd) -I would like some mustard

Children's Word of the Day -Tongue

Kids, when you stick out your tongue, say "la langue"

Friday, July 3, 2009

Quick Phrase of the Day -I Don't Know Where...

Je ne sais pas où nous allons demain (zhuh neh say pah ooh nooz ah lohns deh mahn) -I don't know where we are going tomorrow.

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

Vocabulary word of the day: modest
modeste (moh dehst) -modest
ne sois pas si modeste (neh swah pah see moh dehst) - Don't be so modest!

Children's word of the Day - Tablespoon
Kids, when you use a tablespoon, say "une cuillère à soupe"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Must See French Film -Fauteuils d'Orchestre

Fauteuils d'orchestre is a French film released in 2006 directed by Danièle Thompson, which she co-scripted with her son, Christopher Thompson. The film was released in the United States as Avenue Montaigne and in the United Kingdom, Australia and English-speaking Canada as Orchestra Seats. Valérie Lemercier was awarded a César Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance. The film also received a shortlist nomination for a Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. The film is dedicated to Suzanne Flon (Madame Roux in the cast), who died after the film was completed.

Jessica has moved from her small Burgundian town of Mâcon to Paris to start a new life, inspired by her grandmother, Madame Roux, who "always loved luxury". In Paris, she initially has trouble finding work, and spends one evening without shelter. She eventually gets a job waitressing in a small café, the Bar des Théâtres, even though the café had never hired female waitstaff, out of tradition. The owner hires Jessica only because he is expecting large crowds soon and needs staff. The café is in an area of Paris close by several artistic venues, including the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and a concert hall, on Avenue Montaigne. One of the backstage staff at the theatre, Claudie (Dani), helps to welcome Jessica to Paris. While working at the café, Jessica meets a number of people all dealing with various life crises or changes:

  • Catherine is an actress who has been pigeonholed by her role in a popular TV soap opera and who yearns to do more artistically rewarding work. She is alternating between her TV soap opera and a production of a Georges Feydeau play, rarely getting time for sleep except in taxicabs. A new opportunity arises when the American film director Brian Sobinski arrives in Paris to cast a new film based on the life of Simone de Beauvoir.
  • Jean-François is a world-renowned pianist who wants nothing more than to share his playing with those who would appreciate it least, and to get away from formal classical music concerts. This disconcerts his wife Valentine, who is also his manager, because of all the advance planning that she has done for his career.
  • Jacques is an art collector who has decided to sell off his collection towards the end of his life. He and his son Frédéric have a somewhat strained relationship, not helped by the fact that Jacques is in a relationship with the much younger Valérie, with whom Frédéric himself once had an affair. Frédéric is also just separated from his wife.

All three face pivotal turning points in their lives on the same night, with Jessica as a thread between all three.

Best scene in the film is when Jean-François is sick of the concert circuit, takes off his tuxedo, tie, & finishes the rest of the concert in his T-shirt.