French Input

Learn French the natural way: bon voyage !

Coucou les French learners,

To travel is to grow. It is the big adventure. The one which leaves marks in the soul.Marc Thiercelin, Captain Marck.

As the holidays are approaching for many of us, I want to talk to you about voyager, travelling.

These past weeks, I co-created along with one of my amazing French learners an interesting story about a special suitcase. In my French lessons, we have a lot of fun describing a character out of the blue! I always ask my learners to choose between une personne, un animal ou un objet and I find the objects often give birth to the funniest stories! The ideas for the stories all come from the learner, I am the mere facilitator of French input. That way we have a natural conversation in French without any forced output.

Read about the special suitcase here and try to answer the 10 comprehension questions afterwards, I bet you’ll answer them all!

Le Canal des Deux Mers

I do love cycling and there was a time when I only had a bike to go to work and to shops. Living in Germany made cycling life easy though because there are so my cycle paths available!

If you enjoy cycling too, the Canal des Deux Mers is for you. It is an exceptional cycling route through France linking the two seas of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. You can cycle along for almost 800km beside the Canal de Garonne and the Canal du Midi, the latter a World Heritage Site, to explore unforgettable landscapes and sites.

 Read more about it on ZeFrench, a wonderful website full of short articles for French learners.

A holiday shoe: l’espadrille

L’espadrille (not to be confused with the Québécois word which means sport shoe!)  is in fashion and it is the typical summer holiday shoe to me. I remember my uncle always wearing them when he was holidays and it was hot.

The other day, I saw on my Facebook timeline a startup company called La Brousse which is selling unique espadrilles made in the South West of France with fabrics from Uganda, Africa. It is a wonderful project as if it turns out to be a successful business, it will give work to many Ugandan seamstresses!

Have a look at their business and maybe help them grow by ordering a pair. You can then use Google Translate Web to check your comprehension.

Une aventure de Polo en mer

And here is another of Polo’s adventure (but without his friend Marco!). It will help you escape from your daily routine, unless you live on a desert island, of course!

In this story, you will acquire:
Il voit = he sees
Il décide de = he decides to
Il continue de dormir profondément = he continues to sleep deeply
Elle grandit = she grows
Un sac de couchage = a sleeping bag

Happy French acquisition!

A bientôt !

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)

P.P.S. Watch my new story on YouTube, it is also about holidays!


Learn French the natural way: the ball is in your court

Coucou les French learners,

The title of this newsletter “the ball is in your court” is also a French expression: la balle est dans ton camp. And today, I thought I would change from politics and culture and I would talk to you about sport!

« Tout se passe plus dans la tête que dans la raquette. Ce n’est pas tennistiquement que l’on fait une différence, c’est dans la tête, dans l’envie. » Justine Hénin.
“Everything happens more in the heard than in the racket. It is not tennistically that one makes a difference, it is in the head, in the desire.”

Watch Tennis!

The Tennis French Open, also called Roland-Garros is happening now! It is a major tennis tournoi, tournament on terre battue, clay held over two weeks at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris. It is probably along with the Tour de France, the biggest sporting event in France. When I used to live in Paris in my childhood, I remember watching the games on TV. I never got to go to Roland-Garros but I loved watching the games and following the big players. My favorite tennis player was Stefan Edberg but he never won Roland-Garros!

You can read more about this prestigious competition on Notre Coin du FLE à Bueu, which is a blog for French learners.

Remember the May Challenge? If you like to watch tennis, it is a great way to acquire French at the same time!

You can watch a game with French commentators on Eurosport. It is an excellent way to get comprehensible input and even though the words can be a bit technical, most of them come from the English words (since this sport as most sports was invented in England!): un ace, faire le break, la balle de break, la balle de match, un passing shot, un smash, le service, un slice, la volée… Look at the vocabulary related to tennis on Linternaute, another great French website for all sorts of news.

Un coup de soleil

Roland-Garros resonates with spring, blue skies, red clay… If you happen to go there, beware of the sun! This story is about un coup de soleil, literally a knock of sun or sunburn.

As well as the parts of the body, you will also acquire:
il regarde = he looks
il/elle est = s/he is
ils/elles sont = they are

You can then keep on reviewing the body parts playing with the flashcards on Quizlet.

Happy French acquisition!

A bientôt !

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)

P.P.S.Watch my new story on YouTube, it is another Polo’s adventure on a desert island!


French the natural way: attitude is key

La joie s’acquiert. Elle est une attitude de courage. Etre joyeux n’est pas une facilité, c’est une volonté.Gaston Courtois.
“Joy is something you acquire. It is an attitude of courage. To be joyful is not a competence, it is a will.”

Be positive!

It is the end of the May Challenge and many learners have commented on how much fun they have had doing an activity they enjoy in French. From reading Chair de Poule to watching Chef’s Table: France on Netflix, there is joy in doing something pleasurable whilst acquiring French.

Attitude is key to acquire another language. Positive attitude is key. Steve Kaufmann mentions in his blog post about the best way to learn a language: “If you are positive, you are more likely to put in the time needed to succeed. You will also eagerly take in the language without resisting it.

I hope you continue doing things you like to do in French and please do share your experiences!

Cannes Film Festival

The winner is a Swedish film! The Palme d’Or has gone to Ruben Östlund’s The Square, which is apparently a long film about an ambitious art gallery director who suffers a kind of suppressed breakdown when his phone is stolen and subtly displaces his malaise out into the “community” of the gallery itself, with its curators, sponsors, artists and visitors. Did I mention that the films selected and awarded were kind of weird?!

One film I would like to see though is the Prix du Jury which was given to Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Loveless, a Russian film about a divorcing Russian couple who have to work together when their 12-year-old son goes missing. It doesn’t sound very joyful but it is said to be very good and I kind of like the darkness and craziness of Russian films.

You can watch who won in a one minute twenty report with or without French and English subtitles on Ilini’s website. This site is awesome to acquire French naturally. You have access to short videos with interactive subtitles and an integrated dictionary and the videos are about all sorts of different topics from culture to politics to entertainment.

You can also read and hear about the dispute between Netflix and the Festival on Mary Glasgow’s website. You can select the level of the reading which I think is great!

La surprise

Finally, here is my newest story based on Anne Matava’s hilarious scripts. It is about l’amitié, friendship.

You will acquire:
Ouvre = open
Ferme = close
Elle donne = she gives
Elle crie = she shouts
Qu’est-ce que c’est ? = what is it?

Happy French acquisition!

A bientôt !

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)


French the natural way: discover amazing art work

Nous avons toute la vie pour nous amuser et toute la mort pour nous reposer. ” Georges Moustaki.
“We have the whole of life to have fun and the whole of death to rest.”

Un très long week-end !

French people are on holiday today because it is le Jeudi de l’Ascension, Ascension Thursday or Holy Thursday which commemorates the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven.

Therefore, the French being the French, they also do not work on Friday! They call it faire le pont, literally to do the bridge which connects to the weekend. That way they have a very long weekend!

This is one of my favorite bridge in Paris because I used to live very nearby when I was a child and teenager. Le Pont Alexandre Alexandre III is a majestuous bridge which symbolizes the Franco-Russian friendship. What is your favorite bridge?

Gustave Doré, the Master of Imagination

I don’t know about you but I really enjoy art and paintings.

This glorious  portray of Jesus’ entry into the celestial sphere was painted by Gustave Doré in 1879. He was named The Master of Imagination in an exhibition at le Musée d’Orsay, in Paris.

Doré was a premature gifted drawer. At the age of 12, his drawings were already published! Later on, he rented a former gymnasium which he transformed into a studio at 3 Rue Bayard in Paris. He started painting large format works here because he wanted to be recognized as a painter. People in France criticized him but this monumental piece received a more favorable reception in London and then in the United States, where Doré sent a number of his paintings.

For this reason, French collections have a few of Doré’s paintings. The Petit Palais is one of the rare museums which can exhibit to the public some of his gigantic religious paintings.

You can read his full biography in French here. It is advanced but see how much you can understand. You can then use Google Translate Web to check your comprehension.

Marie, l’artiste

And here is a story of a less known artist who happens to want a real giraffe!

You will acquire:
C’est = it is
Elle a = she has
Elle veut = she wants
Il y a = there is / Il n’y pas = there is not
Elle va = she goes

Happy French acquisition!

A bientôt !

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)

P.P.S. Watch my new story on YouTube, it is a longer story with an unexpected ending ;-)


French the natural way: how to access input?

Coucou les French learners,

I have just finished reading this fascinating article by Steve Kaufmann on how learning a new language is a subconscious process. Basically, the author explains how he learned Romanian by first reading a lot about Romania in Romanian! He says: “It was fascinating and allowed me to be immersed in a Romanian environment without leaving home. This is the modern connected world we live in.” After a month of input based study, he then started speaking with online tutors.

You can do the same with French: you can have an enjoyable experience with compelling content, reading, listening and eventually speaking. And this is what the May Challenge is all about!

Get cultural

The Festival de Cannes started on Wednesday!

The 70th annual Cannes Film Festival is currently taking place from 17 to 28 May 2017, in Cannes, France. Spanish film director and screenwriter Pedro Almodóvar is the President of the Jury and beautiful Italian actress Monica Bellucci is hosting the opening and closing ceremonies.

Watch the opening ceremony with or without French and English subtitles on Ilini, a fantastic website with short, real-life videos!

To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of this festival. The films selected have been rather bizarre lately ! One thing that I like though is that the films come from many different countries. This year, for example, there are films from South Korea, Japan, Ukraine, Russia… Films that I would not have seen otherwise! One interesting film is from Director Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled.

Can you recognize the woman on the official poster? She is the famous Italian actress Claudia Cardinale.

Un film français

When I was a child, I used to watch Cartouche starring Claudia Cardinale as French actor, Jean-Paul Belmondo’s lover. This film is kind of the French version of Robin Hood. I used to be fascinated by these two rebels!

Une histoire de cinéma

And here is a comprehensible story about going to the movies.

You will acquire:
Il veut = he wants
Rester à la maison = to stay home
Il a mal au ventre = he has a stomach ache
Il pense = he thinks
Il dit = he says

Happy French acquisition!

A bientôt !

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)

P.P.S. Watch my new story on YouTube, it is a popular French joke ;-)


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