I’m proud to say that I’ve been happily collaborating with FRANCE Magazine for several years now and so, soon after I moved to Chartres last October 2020, I decided to suggest an article about my wonderful new home I’ve been so eager to share avec tout le monde! L’article sortira en juillet 2021 and even though it’s already écrit, bien sûr je ne peux pas encore le partager avec vous. However, what I can do now is share a sneak peek! Et un sneak peek en français! Let me explain.
I thought that asking some famous Chartrains (this is what people who live in Chartres are called – un homme chartrain, une femme chartraine) about their favorite thing, their most memorable event, their most precious memory, etc. would be especially intéressant pour notre article instead of limiting myself to my own perspective. J’ai donc posé cette question à quatre personnes : un Américain, Michael, et trois Français, Élodie, Olivier, et Olivier. And no it’s not a typo, I really interviewed two different Olivier ha! I translated the three French interviews into English for the readers of FRANCE Magazine and because of this it’s ok for me to share their original French versions with you now since they won’t appear on the magazine. Un bon exercice pour vous, n’est-ce pas? Learning about Chartres while working on your French!
And to ease you into this exercise, commençons avec Michael qui lui a répondu en anglais puisqu’il est Américain. See how nice I am with you?
J’ai rencontré my now friend Michael Brooks the very weekend I signed le contrat de vente pour mon appartement. Nous sommes allés boire une coupe de Champagne au Café Serpente (avant le confinement) situé juste en face de la cathédrale. That’s when I found out he had moved from Seattle to Chartres in 2017 and had bought a 13th century building just round the corner! And even though I was born and raised in France, I also lived in Seattle before moving to France in 2017, comme lui! Uncanny, n’est-ce pas? I thought you’d be curious to know what Michael appreciated the most here in his new French town, so I asked him, et voici sa réponse :
Michael Brooks : “One reason Chartres is great is the labyrinth of the cathedral and its amazing energy. A circular pattern in stone on the floor of the nave, 12 meters across, it is a walking meditation. Walking the labyrinth was a life-changing experience for me in 2002; just after, I left my corporate job and launched a travel company. That first time, I kept thinking, “it’s not about the destination; it’s about the path.” Then . . . “no, it’s not about the path; it’s about how you walk the path.” People come from all over the world to experience the labyrinth, and I think that’s part of the reason it can be so powerful. Chartres became a destination for pilgrims and travelers in 876, when the grandson of Charlemagne gave to the cathedral the birthing veil of the Virgin Mary. It (miraculously) survived the great fire of 1194 and is on display today. Chartres is a stop on the famous pilgrimage of Compostela. In my mind, this creates a contrast with Notre-Dame in Paris, which feels to me empty and cold. Notre-Dame de Chartres feels energetic and inviting. In Paris, tourists go inside, walk around, look up, take pictures, and leave. In Chartres, people bring their hopes, their passions, their deepest dreams, their most authentic selves. It’s been that way for centuries, and that energy makes the space unique today. I feel fortunate, grateful, to live a short walk to the cathedral, to the labyrinth.”
Apparemment, la chanteur Sting is also very fond of le labyrinthe! Lisez et écoutez cette interview and find out why Stings says “I carry Chartres on my back”!
Because of the closed international borders I have been unable to host my French Immersion Courses ici en France which has been très frustrant for so many different reasons, one of them being I so want to share my beloved & magical Chartres avec vous! However, Président Macron has announced borders were now opening to fully vaccinated people so I will be sending you more info in the next few days about TWO NEW OPENINGS : FALL 2021 + SPRING 2022 woohoo! As always my French Immersion Courses will contain theory in the morning adapted to our afternoon and evening practice, in other words, meeting amazing entrepreneur, talented, and creative Chartrains and sharing wonderful adventures with them! Without further ado, laissez-moi vous en présenter trois :
1- Élodie Vally who at the young age of 38 owns the oldest stained glass company here in France called la Maison Lorin, which was created in 1863 in the quaint Basse Ville quarter along the river l’Eure.
2- Olivier L’Hostis le directeur de la librairie called L’Esperluète located in a stunning Renaissance building in the heart of the historical center. Attention, “librairie” is a false friend… it’s not a library, but a book store!
3- Olivier Brelot who moved from Alsace in 1993 and bought his charming restaurant gastronomique called L’Estocade in 2000. Ses clients peuvent apprécier la superbe vue sur le fleuve, le joli petit pont en pierre, et la cathédrale.
They too answered my question “What do you love the most à Chartres?” Et voici leurs réponses :
Élodie Vally : “La ville de Chartres est en moi depuis toujours. J’y suis née et je ne l’ai jamais vraiment quittée. Je me suis passionnée très vite pour l’art du vitrail dont elle est la capitale. Elle abrite le seul atelier de peintre verrier protégé au titre des monuments historiques en France, et l’un des plus anciens ateliers de vitrail au monde : la Maison Lorin. L’âme de ce lieu m’habite depuis que j’ai franchi son magnifique portail en bois, il y a plus de 17 ans. Ce lieu est actif depuis le Moyen Âge, tannerie de la ville puis atelier de vitrail. Il a vu se succéder des milliers de chantiers de création, des centaines d’artisans y ont laissé une partie de leur âme. Il porte en ses murs une partie de l’histoire de la ville. Il porte aussi une partie de mon histoire. Le rire de mes enfants, les mots sages de mes anciens patrons, les joies partagées avec les membres de mon équipe, mais aussi les larmes des moments difficiles et les angoisses passagères. C’est mon foyer, mon château de conte de fée, une part de mon être.”
Olivier L’Hostis : “Chartres est une ville chargée d’histoire et, autour de la cathédrale, on pense d’abord au Moyen Âge. Mais il y a une portion de rue extraordinaire, où l’on passe nécessairement lorsque l’on vient en visite, depuis la gare vers la cathédrale. Cette portion de rue que l’on ne remarque pas va de la préfecture historique, rue Collin d’Harleville, jusqu’à la place Jean Moulin. Elle s’arrête au restaurant le Molière. L’une des extrémités, la préfecture, est le lieu du premier acte de la résistance en 1940, par Jean Moulin ; à l’autre extrémité, c’est l’ancien hôtel particulier de l’homme qui a inspiré à Molière le personnage d’Arpagon, l’Avare. Entre les 2, Robert Capa a pris l’une de ses photos les plus célèbres, celle de la tondue de Chartres. Lieu de la langue française, lieu de faits glorieux et moins glorieux de la seconde guerre mondiale, on y marche dans les pas de l’histoire. Au coin de la place Jean Moulin et de la rue Ste Même, il y a le Bon Coin. Un petit lieu de restauration où les visiteurs d’un jour peuvent s’arrêter pour se restaurer. Mais c’est peut-être aussi d’une autre restauration qu’il s’agit : si on y mange des crêpes bretonnes et des gâteaux faits maison, l’établissement est tenu par un allemand, Gerd, qui a adopté la France. C’est ainsi un lieu de restauration des relations franco-allemandes, un lieu qui a vu l’histoire, un bon lieu.”
Olivier Brelot : “Mon coup de coeur est « Chartres en Lumières » un événement instauré en 2003 et qui se déroule tous les ans à partir du mois d’avril jusqu’à la fin de l’année. Cette manifestation est une mise en lumière de l’architecture locale (édifices, monuments, lavoirs, ponts, etc.) reconnue comme la plus grande valorisation du patrimoine au monde. Idéal pour flâner dans les quartiers historiques de Chartres en famille, entre amis, ou en amoureux. La scénographie est renouvelée chaque année et projetée sur : la Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres classée au Patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO est mise en beauté sur les deux portails, la médiathèque, le théâtre, la collégiale Saint André, l’église Saint Pierre entre autres, font partie des principaux sites. Un ensemble qui met notre ville de Chartres sous les projecteurs et qui la rend célèbre bien au delà de nos frontières. Laissez-vous tenter par cette destination dépaysante à seulement une heure de Paris et tombez à votre tour sous le charme de la capitale de la Beauce : Chartres vous attend et vous souhaite la bienvenue.”
Unlike my four friends mentioned above who have lived here for much longer than I have, I am just at the beginning of my Chartres experience, I still have so much to learn, to explore, so many wonderful connections to make, so many friends to meet, projets to create. One of these projets is you, me, and a little group of Francophiles exploring la belle Chartres ensemble! My French Immersion Courses are one of the aspects I love the most about my business. I have a feeling that because of Covid, they are going to be even more meaningful and deep and explosively fun than they’ve been so far! This is what the last one looked like!
Alors, je vous dis à très bientôt à Chartres! And if you want to see the translations for the three French articles, look out for this coming July FRANCE Magazine!
Learn French online with Virginie
Join French Truly’s online immersion course and online school, either by buying the French online course(s) of your choice or by becoming a monthly member. See more details about the membership at the bottom of this page.
Each French online course is packed with video & audio files along with written material, to make it as fun, easy, and user friendly as possible for you! Come and learn French online with me!
In this course, you will find 15 videos (+ 10 bonus ones) to help & accompany you every step of the way through the course + for each word, each sentence, each expression, each conjugated verb, I have created an audio file of my voice, slow and slightly faster speed. Your French language learning experience has never been so easy, fun, and fruitful. You can learn French online and benefit from the flexibility working at your own pace offers, while having me with you the whole time.
Did you know…
You can converse (speak + understand) in French with only 600 WORDS?
The average French person only uses between 300 & 3,000 WORDS?
This means that if you can master a relatively short list of words, you’ll be able to express yourself like the average French person! Plus you’re much more likely to understand the French when they talk back to you!
This course will teach you…
1- How to speak French
2- How to pronounce French
3- How to make French sentences
4- How to conjugate all the most common French verbs
5- How to polish your results
6- How to self evaluate your French
More info HERE
- It should take you about 30 hours to complete this course, which is made up of 10 lessons
- This course is designed for a beginner / intermediate level. If you are intermediate but feel like you could really reinforce your foundations, you will love it.
- You can join whenever, either by buying the course or by becoming a monthly member giving you access to my French online courses from $10 / month. See more details about the membership at the bottom of this page
In this course you will find 11 videos + 150 audio files + 92 pages PDF format to help & accompany you every step of the way throughout the course. In some parts of the videos, my face will appear close up and profile so you can easily see how I make these sounds with my mouth. The 150 audio files are composed of the 100 most popular French words and the 50 most common French phrases. They are recordings of my voice, speaking slowly enough so you can easily grasp every syllable. Your French language learning experience has never been so easy, fun, and fruitful. You can learn French online and benefit from the flexibility working at your own pace offers, while having me with you the whole time.
NB: if you are the proud owner of my previous French online course 600 WORDS, don’t worry, this is not a repeat as we are now exploring 1 letter words and up, whereas in 600 WORDS we began at 4 letter words and up.
Combine knowledge with confidence…
For you to be able to have a pleasant and efficient conversation with a French person, one thing is key… can you guess what it is? Confidence! How well do you think you will communicate in French if you don’t feel confident about your accent? If you are scared that people won’t understand you? Or even worse if you think someone might make fun of you? Without a minimum of confidence there is no room for communication. Yet if you feel confident, you can afford to make a few mistakes here and there because people will still understand you. What prevents a conversation from happening isn’t just a lack of knowledge, it’s also a lack of confidence. You need to have both to make it work, not to mention, to make it fun!
This course will teach you…
1- How to pronounce every letter of the alphabet
2- How to pronounce every digraph & trigraph
3- How to make every French sentence flow
4- How to pronounce the 100 most popular French words
5- How to pronounce the 50 most popular French phrases
6- How to avoid the pronunciation mistakes everyone makes
More info HERE
- It should take you about 20 to 2 hours to complete this course, which is made up of 11 lessons
- This course is designed for a beginner level. If you are intermediate but lack confidence when it comes to talking and feel like you could really benefit from focusing on pronunciation, you will love it.
- You can join whenever, either by buying the course or by becoming a monthly member giving you access to my French online courses from $10 / month. See more details about the membership below
In the FRENCH DICTÉES online course you will find 20 videos + 10 audio files to help & accompany you every step of the way throughout the course. Why 20 videos? Because there are 10 dictées in total, each focusing on one particular topic, and for each dictée I have prepared 2 videos. Let’s say the video focuses on both French past tenses called imparfait & passé composé. The first video will go though the grammar, the conjugation, and all the tips on these two past tenses to help you understand and remember how and when to use them. The second video will be the actual dictée, a short story written by me, describing everyday life situations conveniently packed with imparfait and passé composé verbs! Boom! Efficient! The dictée will also be read by me, slowly first and then a little faster, with a close up on my face so you can more easily recognize the words and copy the shapes I make to improve your own pronunciation.
Become a French language expert
How do you become an expert at anything? By focusing on one thing at a time.
I’ve made sure to categorize and isolate either a verb tense, a verb group, a grammar or vocabulary topic per dictée, so you can effectively focus and interiorize concepts separately, which makes it a lot easier to remember them.
Here’s what you’re going to learn
What grammar & conjugation points will each dictée focus on?
Dictée # 1: Present tense
Dictée # 2: Past tenses – imparfait & passé composé
Dictée # 3: Future tenses – futur proche & futur simple
Dictée # 4: Conditional, imparfait, asking questions
Dictée # 5: Imperative form
Dictée # 6: First group verbs all tenses
Dictée # 7: Second group verbs all tenses
Dictée # 8: Third group verbs all tenses
Dictée # 9: Numbers
Dictée # 10: Prepositions
Each dictée is a short story written by me about practical everyday life situations. This means that not only do you get to work on conjugation & grammar drills, but you also improve your conversational skills at the same time: a magic combination for your next trip to France!
Grow your confidence talking about practical everyday topics
The dictées will refer to common topics that you are very likely to hear or very likely to use to express yourself such as:
-Traveling to France
-Everyday life routines
-How to express your ideas, opinions, and dreams
Two videos per dictée
First video: key grammar and conjugation reminders explained very clearly so you feel prepared and confident entering each dictée.
Second video: the actual dictée. I’ve made sure to categorize and isolate either a verb tense, a verb group, a grammar or vocabulary topic, so you can effectively focus and interiorize concepts separately, which makes it a lot easier to remember them.
And for you challenge lovers over-achievers?
Yes I have prepared something just for you! I have also made 10 audio files, 1 per dictée, so that if you wish to, if you want it extra difficult, if you want to test yourself more deeply, you can solely rely on sound. Indeed there are many occasions in life where we hear a language but we don’t see it: speaking to someone on the phone or listening to the radio for instance.
20 videos? 10 audio files? What else?
This new FRENCH DICTÉES online course also comes with written files with both the French text along with the English translation, so that you can evaluate yourself when you’re done taking notes.
To summarize, you’ll be able to use video, audio, and written material.
Dictées worked for me, they’ll work for you!
Let me tell you, I LOVE dictées because THEY WORK. And clearly you realize this too and that is smart of you. So now let’s see how something as simple as a dictée can truly help you become a little bit French! Your French language learning experience has never been so easy, fun, and fruitful. You can learn French online and benefit from the flexibility working at your own pace offers, while having me with you the whole time.
Become a monthly member!
My goal is to transform your French language learning experience. This is why I’ve decided to offer you a new way to learn French online and gain access to the French Truly Online School! Actually, more than 1 new way, you’ll have 3 plans to choose from so come and learn French online with me!