Students often ask me: “What French book do you recommend for an intermediate student eager to improve while learning about French culture?”
Romain Gary (you can hear his gorgeous voice at the bottom of this blog post) is one of the greatest French writers of the 20th century and a personal favorite. I love his books and I love the man. Throughout his life he built himself quite the résumé… He was:
– A writer who received the Prix Goncourt… twice! The Prix Goncourt is a highly distinguished French literary prize that can only be won once in a life time. So how did Gary win it twice? He did so with yet another pseudonym! Indeed, Roman Kacew was born in Vilnius Lithuania in 1914, but his Jewish Russian mother who had tremendous ambition for her son and boundless love & admiration for France, decided he should invent un nom de plume français so he could become the next Victor Hugo and honor French literature for the centuries to come. That’s why the world knows him as Romain Gary (which means burn in the imperative form in Russian) … and Émile Ajar. However, we only found out he was also Émile Ajar after his death, which allowed him to win the Prix Goncourt once as Romain Gary in 1956 with Les racines du ciel (the very first environmental novel), and a second time as Émile Ajar (the mysterious writer who didn’t appear in the media for obvious reasons!) in 1975 with La vie devant soi.
But let’s continue with Romain Gary’s impressive résumé… he was also:
– A World War II aviator and hero who joined the French résistance in 1940. He was decorated for his bravery and received many medals including Compagnon de la Libération and commander of the Légion d’honneur. And yes, that’s him on the Promesse de l’aube book cover above, looking ridiculously hot in his WW2 leather uniform.
– A diplomat in Bulgaria and Switzerland, the secretary of the French Delegation to the United Nations, and the French Consul General in Los Angeles, where he became acquainted with Hollywood. Oh yes, he was also a film director.
For those of you who love French New Wave cinema and have seen Breathless with Jean-Paul Belmondo & the American actress Jean Seberg, did you know that she & Romain Gary were married from 1962 to 1970? Look at them two together in the picture above… such an attractive couple!
And last but not least, Romain Gary, who died in 1980, just made it to the highly prestigious Pléiade collection (like a Michelin 3 star reward, only for authors, thinkers, philosophers, poets) so it gave me the desire to rediscover him. I have started with these 5 books (picture above) and of course I have fallen in love with him, all over again.
BONUS: I have done some exploration for you on French radios & Youtube and have found two little gems you will love!
1- Short program on my beloved France Culture, which will allow you to listen and read at the same time! Just click on the picture below for the page to open.
2- Short video in French with French subtitles answering the question “Être français, c’est quoi?” = What does being French mean? Let’s see how many celebrities you can spot, and yes, Gary is in there too!
If you want to hear more of him, just do a search in Youtube with his name. The beauty with modern artists is that you can see them in video, but mostly for me, hear their voices.
Hope you fall in love with Romain Gary as much as I have, and please share this blog post with French literature lovers!
FRENCH IMMERSION COURSE – WEEKEND IN LONDON AUGUST 2019
Our July French Immersion Course in France is sold out so why don’t you join us in London this August? Above is a short testimonial video by Richard to give you an idea of what to expect!
FRENCH IMMERSION COURSE – WEEKEND IN SEATTLE MARCH 2020
Join us in Seattle in March 2020! Demi attended a French immersion Weekend Course in Seattle this year and she’s sharing her experience with you on this short video!
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.
2019 July 8 to 14: SOLD OUT
2019 August 3 & 4: This French Immersion Course is designed for intermediate level students.
2019 August 1 & 4:11This French Immersion Course is designed for beginner level students.
2020 March 7 & 8: This French Immersion Course is designed for intermediate level students.
2020 March 14 & 15: This French Immersion Course is designed for beginner level students.
If you’re unsure about your level, contact me to schedule a free Skype call
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!
WANT TO TAKE YOUR FRENCH TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
RECEIVE VIRGINIE’S FREE COURSE to Help You Become a little bit French in 3 Steps.
Learn French Online with Virginie via the French Truly Online School
Watch Testimonials from Virginie’s Happy Students!
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
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!
Whichever you pick, FOCUS at $10, HORIZON at $15, or IMMERSION at $99, you will always be free to either upgrade or downgrade, stay or leave.
Not a membership kind of person? Don’t worry! Every course can still be bought separately at the normal price and be yours for ever. Whichever format you choose, 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.