Je suis rentrée à Paris le 2 janvier après avoir passé Noël dans le sud (at least compared to Paris!) de la France avec mes adorables toutous (do you know this word? It’s the French cute way of saying “chien”, like “doggy” for dog”). Anyway, depuis ce fameux jeudi 2 janvier ça n’arrête pas! It hasn’t stopped! Qu’on ne vienne pas me dire que je ne profite pas des richesses de Paris! Chaque jour est une aventure! And of course, the strikes make everything even more… adventurous. No comment. This is not going to be a political blog post.
So, on top of mon travail pour French Truly, mes étudiants, et mes cours de philo (exams are approaching faster than I’d like them to) je me suis totalement laissée aller, laissée porter par l’incroyable richesse culturelle de Paris:
– J’ai assisté à deux conférences de philosophie de Charles Pépin (oui, oui, j’y vais tous les lundis. I might have a new song title “Monday, nerdy Monday”) with the following thèmes:
Thème 1: Suffit-il d’être un homme pour être digne?
Thème 2: Une expérience de l’éternité est-elle possible?
I was going to tell you more about these conferences because they were truly wonderful, but then, something happened…
– J’ai trouvé une prof de latin privée qui habite près de chez moi à Paris et que je vois maintenant tous les lundis soirs… here comes that tune again… Monday, nerdy Monday… I only had two classes with her so far and I’m already complètement charmée! Et en plus, elle est italienne! If you’ve been following me for some time, you know my complete adoration for this bellissima lingua, so you won’t be surprised qu’une des premières choses que je lui ai demandée was: “Licia (c’est son nom) s’il te plaît peux-tu me parler seulement en italien?
Et voilà! D’une pierre deux coups! Vous connaissez cette expressions? En anglais c’est “Kill two birds with one stone” except the French expression is much better because it leaves it up with your imagination what two things you hit with your one stone. Why on Earth would I want to kill a bird?Je n’ai aucune envie de tuer un ou deux oiseaux! Je ne peux même pas écraser un insecte! Enfin, je digresse. Licia est professeur de latin et de grec ancien et se spécialise dans la traduction de textes latins médiévaux. In other words, elle est très cool. Elle a la classe. Et moi je pratique both mon latin et mon italien en un seul cours. Le bonheur, quoi.
I was going to tell you more about this last class because it was truly wonderful, but then, something happened…
– I was invited à deux déjeuners dans deux endroits créatifs qui me tiennent à coeur. Un, les Grands Voisins dans le 14ème arrondissement de Paris, que vous connaissez déjà car j’en ai parlé à deux reprises dans mon blog: So You Think You Know Paris by Heart? et Three Months in Paris, Overwhelming in the Best Possible Way. Un, les Cinq Toits dans le 16ème arrondissement de Paris, que vous ne connaissez pas encore, where I met so many interesting entrepreneurs, artists, artisans, non-profit organizations, etc. And thanks to the lovely grève (cough cough) it took me two hours to walk there BUT it turned out to be a very pleasant experience as I pretty much walked the whole way there along la Seine… si romantique!
I was going to tell you more about these lunches because they were truly wonderful, but then, something happened…
– Remember Flora from Parisolidari-thé who I mentioned in my blog post from three weeks ago: Make New Parisian Friends? The company she founded in 2015 organizes treasure hunts in each arrondissement de Paris. Chaque jeu de piste (that’s how we say treasure hunt en français) est axé sur la solidarité, la communauté, l’artisanat et l’entrepreneuriat local. Quel merveilleux concept! And because I love it so much, I decided to include it to my French Immersion Course à Paris this coming September (by the way there’s only 1 spot left so if you want it now is the time to sign up… by clicking here!) and also decided to attend every single jeu de piste in the meantime. Le premier auquel j’ai assisté avant Noël 2019 s’est déroulé dans le 15ème arrondissement, et le deuxième, dans le vingtième arrondissement samedi dernier. C’était génial! My team was great, we met so many lovely, caring, and generous Parisiens, we learned so much, and we discovered areas of the twentieth arrondissement we didn’t even know existed such as this delightful little cobblestone rue Saint Blaise:
I was going to tell you more about these jeux de piste because they were truly wonderful, but then, something happened…
-When ma maman came to visit me en novembre dernier pour son anniversaire, I had bought us tickets pour une présentation donnée par l’association Des Mots et Des Arts à propos de l’écrivain George Sand. Don’t be fooled by her nom, George Sand était une femme! The lecture took place à Saint-Germain-des-Prés (très chic) et both ma maman et moi l’avons beaucoup appréciée! That’s how and when I discovered Des Mots et Des Arts qui sont responsables de nombreux événements culturels et artistiques passionnants à Paris. Évidemment, I immediately signed up to receive their newsletter. Ce week-end, j’ai reçu un email à propos d’une série hebdomadaire de cours d’Histoire de l’Art de la Renaissance donnée au Louvre. How cool is that!?
So, bien sûr, I signed up! And I got a friend to sign up too so the both of us will attend notre premier cours ce soir!
I will for sure share more about this course with you soon, but in the meantime, let me tell you what happened…
Something happened two days ago as I was going back home on the métro (oui, oui, some lines do run at rush hour traffic these days! Quel luxe!) Je regardais mes emails, paisiblement faisant le tri entre ceux à lire maintenant, ceux à garder pour plus tard, et ceux à effacer. And there, I almost did something very stupid. J’ai failli faire une grosse bêtise. J’ai failli effacer cet email:
You know how on an iPhone if you want to delete an email, you simply swipe to the left? I was half way there, mon doigt était au milieu de mon écran when I saw some crucial piece of information and heard a loud voice dans ma tête: Wait a minute! Cet email est différent, isn’t it?
Let me backtrack for a minute. For years I have been following this tv program called La Grande Librairie and, let me just tell you right now, I love it. C’est une émission de télévision qui, comme son nom l’indique, promotes literature, poetry, philosophy, science, basically anything good in a book form. Et c’est une émission très populaire en France! Let’s just say that if the wonderful présentateur François Busnel invites you to talk about your book, you’re guaranteed every bookstore will want to carry your work.
J’aime les livres passionnément, j’aime la littérature, j’aime la philosophie que j’étudie à l’université depuis quatre ans, j’aime la poésie, j’aime les librairies, j’aime l’émission La Grande Librairie, and last but not least, j’aime François Busnel. But wait. I’m getting ahead of myself.
J’ai beaucoup de rêves. One of these dreams is being a writer. For years I’ve been religiously watching La Grande Librairie, and, sometimes, I imagine myself there, sitting on a couch in front of François Busnel, his eyes looking into mine, his questions addressed to me, my answers addressed to him. Fantasy Land, here comes Virginiiiiiie!!!! Quand j’ai décidé de quitter mon petit village Pélussin pour me lancer dans la grande aventure parisienne, une des premières choses à laquelle j’ai pensé: Must attend La Grande Librairie. For the sake of the experience of course mais aussi comme exercice de visualisation. To really picture myself there. To feel myself one step closer to my dream. So one of the first things I did when I moved to Paris last August was to find out how to be part of this tv program. Turns out there wasn’t anything available for God knows how long, and even though I had only picked that particular program on the casting website, I kept receiving emails from them to attend programs I had zero interest in. Et maintenant vous comprenez mon presque automatique swipe to the left, pour effacer yet another one of these useless casting emails.
Et puis, j’ai vu deux mots dans le titre qui m’ont mis la puce à l’oreille. And now we’re back to: Wait a minute! Cet email est différent, isn’t it? Mon Dieu, cet email était très différent, tout à fait différent, complètement différent! Cet email était une invitation à La Grande Librairie… le lendemain! Oh boy. How do you reorganize your entire day to make this work? C’est très simple. You just do. So I just did. Et je peux vous dire que maintenant que je suis rentrée chez moi après avoir assisté à l’émission, je ne regrette absolument pas. Comment décrire cette expérience? À la fois complètement magique et irréelle, mais aussi un peu frustrante.
Magique, parce que c’est comme se retrouver plongée dans les coulisses d’un grand spectacle à l’organisation quasi militaire. Impressionnant!
Irréelle, because I’ve been seeing this set for years through my computer screen and suddenly I’m there, in the middle of it.
Frustrante, parce que je ne voulais pas être dans le public, je voulais être l’invitée de François Busnel, my super duper crush boy. Il est cultivé, intelligent, beau, charismatique, charmant, délicat, élégant, poli, humble, passionné and therefore passionnant. His voice is sublime. And sexy. He serves the higher purpose of littérature and he does it well. Bref, I like him. A lot.
The person in charge of sitting people of le public (the audience) decided to put me right in the front, right in the middle, and right behind the main guest François Cheng, membre de l’Académie française! In other words, my face will be there for the whole program when it’s aired on January 29th. Oh la la, so much pressure!!! “Don’t scratch your nose Virginie! Don’t play with your hair! Sit up! And for heaven’s sake, stop looking at François Busnel like you’re about to jump on the set to kiss his whole face!”
L’invité principal, François Cheng, est un homme profond et passionnant né en Chine en 1929. ll est arrivé en France à l’âge de 19 ans parce que son père devait participer à la création de l’Unesco à Paris. François ne parlait alors pas un mot de français. Et puis il est tombé amoureux de la culture et de la langue françaises. Il est tombé amoureux de la littérature et de la poésie françaises. I will share the link when it’s out so you can hear him describe the various French steps of his fascinating erudite and spiritual life. Les deux François talked mostly about Faith, Joy, Beauty, Poetry, and the French word “sens” which means three different things: sensation, direction, signification. Exactement le genre de questions que je me pose à longueur de journées, sans jamais pouvoir trouver de réponses of course… c’est mon côté Socrate. François Cheng lui avait des réponses que j’ai trouvées émouvantes, touchantes, justes. Mais vous verrez bientôt par vous-mêmes!
En fait, regarder La Grande Librairie serait certainement un excellent exercice pour parfaire votre maîtrise de la belle langue française. Et avec tous ces écrivains de talent, you are in good hands.
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Learn French online with Virginie
Join French Truly’s 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!
FRENCH IMMERSION COURSE – WEEKEND IN SEATTLE MARCH 2020
SEATTLE – US
2020 March 7 & 8: This French Immersion Course is designed for intermediate level students – SOLD OUT
2020 March 14 & 15: This French Immersion Course is designed for beginner level students – SOLD OUT
2020 March 21 & 22: This French Immersion Course is designed for intermediate level students – 5 SPOTS left
If you’re unsure about your level, contact me to schedule a free Skype call
FRENCH IMMERSION COURSE – WEEK IN PÉLUSSIN APRIL & JULY 2020
PÉLUSSIN – FRANCE
2020 April 6 to 12: This French Immersion Course is designed for intermediate level students – SOLD OUT
2020 July 20 to 26: This French Immersion Course is designed for intermediate level students – SOLD OUT
If you’re unsure about your level, contact me to schedule a free Skype call
FRENCH IMMERSION COURSE – WEEK IN PARIS SEPTEMBER 2020
PARIS – FRANCE
2020 September 14 to 20: This French Immersion Course is designed for intermediate level students – 1 SPOT LEFT
If you’re unsure about your level, contact me to schedule a free Skype call
100% French Experience
What inspired me to create this French Immersion Course? C’est très simple: how best to improve your French conversation skills than by being in France, surrounded with French culture and French people who will ONLY speak French to you? Yet so many times I have heard visitors express their disappointment at not really being given the chance to practice their French. Why? Because more & more French people, especially in big cities, speak English fairly well and are just so excited to practice their new skills with you! This ends up being nice and comfortable for you but not so satisfying or helpful for improving your French speaking ability! So to fix this and make sure you have the most enjoyable, and at the same time profitable, French learning experience, I decided to create the perfect environment for you by organizing this hands-on French Immersion Course.
Daily French Classes & Activities
This is the reason why I have created this 7 DAY FULL FRENCH IMMERSION COURSE for you, filled with daily classes & enriching adventures with French people who will only speak French with you. No English! It’s amazing how much you can learn and retain in such a conducive atmosphere in as little as 7 days. Mornings will be dedicated to French language classes and afternoons will be filled with interesting activities such as: visiting local artists or entrepreneurs workshops, meeting with local wine makers and farmers, guided hike in nature, cooking class, painting class, cinema, & museum… all in French!