Sunday, 21 August 2016

Have you read mon enfant de Berlin by Anne Wiazemsky?

Martine' s French tuition groups on Tuesday evenings and Friday mornings read it last term.
Anne Wiazemsky is François Mauriac' s granddaughter, she was an actress between 1966 and 1988, married Jean-Luc Godart in 1967 and played in several of his films, among which La Chinoise. She turned to writing at the end of the 80ies and has won several prizes like Le grand prix du roman de l'Académie française pour Une poignée de gens in 1998.
She wrote Mon enfant de Berlin in 2009 in which she tells the story of her mother, Claire Mauriac from 1944 to 1947.
Claire was an ambulance driver with the French Red cross in the 2nd part of the 2nd World War and was sent to Berlin at the end of the war to help repatriate the French men who had been war prisoners.
This is where she met Wia, who became her husband, Anne was their first child, born in Berlin she is therefore Mon enfant de Berlin ( my child from Berlin).
Thanks to her mother's diary, letters and friends' accounts, Anne relates her mother's life, feelings and emotions, her courage while doing her job and the passion which brought together her parents.

What did Martine' s students think of it?
"Nous avons aimé ce livre car nous avons découvert une histoire d'amour mais surtout, nous avons appris beaucoup de choses sur la fin de la guerre en France et sur les prisonniers, par exemple les Malgré-nous qui étaient les Alsaciens et les Lorrains qui avaient dû faire la guerre avec les Allemands. Nous avons fait des exposés sur plusieurs sujets liés à cette époque comme Le service du travail obligatoire, le rôle de Jean Moulin dans la résistance, la division de Berlin et bien d'autres choses encore." Groupe du vendredi matin
" C'était très intéressant de découvrir la vie d'Anne quand elle était à Paris, chez ses parents, de voir leur style de vie et sa relation avec sa mère, avec qui elle se comportait souvent comme une petite fille et et avec son père qui avait l'air de lui faire peur mais qu'elle semblait admirer beaucoup." Groupe du mardi soir
Both groups highly recommend this book.

If you would like to learn French but also read novels in French and discover French life and culture through this media, come to enrol either with Alliance Française de Bath or de Bristol. For more info...

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Troisième week-end pare-choc contre pare-choc sur les routes de France: what does this mean?

Bumper against bumper: this was the head lines on the magazine L'Express yesterday and below, finds the beginning of the article:

"Lyon - "Bouché de chez bouché !": après les deux grands chassés-croisés de l'été, le trafic était encore dense samedi, classé "rouge", avec 430 kilomètres de bouchons à 11H00 sur les routes de France, le pic de trafic du week-end du 15 août étant attendu à la mi-journée" 
Bouché de chez bouché, this expression where the same adjective is repeated twice with de chez in the middle has become popular in the last 10 to 15 years, it is only to emphasize the adjective. In this case, it means that the roads are really, really blocked up. 
You  can say cher de chez cher, for instance, meaning that it is really expensive.
Les chassés-croisés is used when one group of holiday makers is coming back from holiday while another one is going on holiday, so they pass each other on the roads.
Classé rouge is a classification explaining that the traffic is really heavy. We have classé vert, classé orange, classé rouge et classé noir. Classé vert means that the traffic is light and classé noir indicates that it is absolutely terrible!!!
430 kilomètres de bouchons: 430 km of traffic jams!
Le pic de trafic is the worst of the traffic, which was expected at lunchtime.
So what do you need to remember from all that?...... If you are going on holiday in France in the Summer, avoid the end and beginning of July and August and also the weekends in the middle of each of these months!! Or else be prepared to sit in queues......
You would like to know more about our quirky habits?  Join our French classes starting soon. For more info...

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Les JO de Rio!

Les JO are les Jeux Olympiques. You may know that François Hollande has flown over to Rio to support the French athletes. In 2012, the French delegation won 34 medals ( a récolté 34 médailles), 11 gold ( 11 médailles d'or), 11 silver ( 11 médailles d'argent) and 12 bronze ( 12 médailles de bronze).
This was not as good as in Pekin were 41 medals were won, so the French really want to do better than in London.
So, who to look for among the French athletes? Here are a few:
Tony Parker, basketteur, est le meneur ( point guard), he is a legend, with him, the French team won the European cup in 2014.
Louisa Necib, footballeuse, unfortunately, the French team has never yet managed to reach the podium.
Charline Picon, véliplanchiste ( wind surfer) was world champion in 2014.

Renaud Lavillerie, perchiste ( pole vaulter) won a gold medal in London.
Florent Manaudou, nageur ( swimmer) won a gold in London, in free style ( nage libre).
Teddy Riner, judoka, has been world champion 8 times.

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, cycliste, ex world champion on the road ( sur route) and mountain biking ( VTT: vélo tout terrain).
Bonne chance à eux et à tous les autres!! ( good luck to them and to all the others!)

Alliance Française de Bristol et Bath does not offer any very demanding sport but ........ we do have un tournoi de boules ou de pétanque on 15th September! For more info...

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Alliance Française de Bristol et Bath would like to express its sympathy to St-Etienne-du-Rouvray,

this small town in Normandy where the priest Jacques Hamel was murdered on 26th July. All over France today, religious services have taken place in his memory bringing together people of all faiths or with no religious faith.
As you may know France is what we call un état laïque ( a secular state) since the law in 1905 which separated l'église et l'état ( the church and the state). Every religious faith is allowed and respected but only outside any public building, like schools, hospitals, government buildings etc... as the state is neutral.
Jasques Hamel was murdered on Ste Anne's day. As you may know the French calendar has a saint for every day of the year and Christians celebrate the saint day of every member of the family, so if someone is called Françoise, on 9th March people will say to her: Bonne fête Françoise! and may give her a present.

For Christians, Sainte Anne is particularly important as she was the mother of the Virgin Mary. She is  Hannah for the Muslims, meaning kind and sympathetic.
She is the patronne of clercs, matrones and widows.
In France the first sanctuary dedicated to her, in the 11th century, was the ancient cathedral of Apt in le département du Vaucluse.

Sainte Anne has become the patron saint of Brittany, so many pilgrimages take place every year, the most important is Sainte Anne d'Auray.
Auray is an attractive harbour in South Brittany in le département du Morbihan, a nice place to visit.

If you would like to find out more about French culture or French places to visit or learn French whatever your level, our French classes will resume in September, for more info...

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Did you know that le Tour de France finished a stage ( une étape) in Megève last Thursday?

It was a time trial ( une course contre la montre) which Christopher Froome won. But do you know Megève?

It is in the Alps in Haute Savoie, it became popular in the early 1920 ies thanks to the Rothschild family who wanted a posh ski resort (une station de ski ) in France rather than in Switzerland. La baronne de Rothschild had some smart hotels built, these soon attracted aristocrats, kings like Albert 1er de Belgique and queens. It is now known internationaly ( a une renommée internationale).
It hosts numerous festivals and competitions in Winter such as polo playing on snow or snow golf competitions,  and in Summer, a jazz festival called Jazz Contest, also a classical music festival, Les Estivales de Megève and plenty more.
There are numerous outdoor activities as well as ski-ing, you can do some tree climbing circuits ( de l' accrobranche), gliding ( du parapente), follow a fitness trail ( un parcours santé) some Summer sledging ( de la luge d'été) and so much more.

So if you have no plans yet for this Summer or next Winter and you feel like mixing with VIPs, you know where to go!!!
But first of all, you'll need to improve your French, so do look at all the language courses and activities which we offer, for more info...

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Nice: nous sommes unis!

At Alliance Française de Bristol et Bath, we have all been appalled by the tragedy which took place in Nice on 14th July. We want to offer our most sincere condolences to all the people who have lost  dear ones and we very much hope that all the injured will recover soon. We want to show our solidarity with all the people who were on La Promenade des Anglais last Thursday.
We also would like to share with you some nice memories of Nice as Martine went to Nice with her Tuesday evening French class a few years ago.
They stayed in a small hotel near La Promenade des Anglais, had lunch at one of the numerous cafés on La Promenade, it was bathing in sunshine although it was in January.

They walked up to le Château which is a park on a hill with a wonderful view over la Baie des Anges on one side and the old port on the other, very close to le vieux-Nice. Le Vieux-Nice is the main tourist area with lots of delightful cafés and restaurants, Martine and her students had an evening meal there and tasted the delicious beignets de fleurs de courgettes ( savoury dough made with courgette flowers). 

They went to the famous Nice market and bought and ate la socca which is like a pancake made with flour and chickpeas.
There are numerous museums in Nice and they spent some time at le musée Matisse at the top of Cimiez, one of the old areas of Nice. On the way they walked past l'hôtel Regina which was built in 1986 and was inaugurated by Queen Victoria who loved Nice. It had 400 bedrooms all eventually converted into flats where Matisse lived for a time.
The stay was short but full of exciting discoveries and friendly encounters, we must not forget that Nice is about that too.
We are in Bristol and Bath this Summer so you can contact us anytime, for more info...

Sunday, 10 July 2016

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Who among us hasn't imagined what they would do with the winnings (la cagnotte)?

This unusual book is perfect for the seaside (la plage).

It's the story of Jocelyne, who is married with a man called Jocelyn. She is more or less happy. She runs a haberdashery shop (une mercerie) in Arras. She also writes a blog about haberdashery, called Ten Gold Fingers (Dix Doigts d'Or). Her two best friends, twins (les jumelles) run a hairdressing salon (un salon de coiffure) and one day, they convince Jocelyne to play the lottery (le Loto).


It would spoil the book to tell you what happens next, but we'll tell you this; it's probably not what you are expecting!

Students in Audrey's class (one of our teachers) have studied the book this year, and then they all watched the film.

If you would like to join our classes, don't forget to look on our website for our September French courses and French events this Autumn, for more info...

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