Samedi, défi #6 | Une semaine, 7 défis

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Aujourd’hui, c’est la Chandeleur, le défi est donc de faire des crêpes !

La Chandeleur est une ancienne fête païenne et latine qui est devenue ensuite une fête religieuse chrétienne. La tradition de cuisiner des crêpes ce jour-là est attribuée au pape Gélase Ier. Les crêpes, par leur forme ronde et dorée, rappelleraient le disque solaire, évoquant le retour du printemps après l’hiver sombre et froid. 

Une tradition datant de la fin du ve siècle consiste à faire sauter les crêpes de la main droite en tenant une pièce dans la main gauche afin de connaître la prospérité pendant toute l’année. 

Voici une trés bonne recette ! 


Today, it's the Chandeleur, so the challenge is to make crêpes!

La Chandeleur is an ancient pagan and Latin festival that later became a Christian religious festival. The custom of cooking crêpes on that day is attributed to Pope Gelasius I. The crêpes, by their round and golden shape, would recall the solar disc, evoking the return of spring after the dark and cold winter. 

A tradition dating back to the end of the 5th century is to toss the pancakes with the right hand while holding a coin in the left hand in order to enjoy prosperity all year round. 

Here is a great recipe !


Hoy en día, es la Candelería, así que el desafío es preparar y comer crêpes!

La Candelería es una fiesta antigua pagana y latina que más tarde se convirtió en una fiesta religiosa cristiana. La tradición de cocinar crêpes este día es atribuída al Papa Gelasio I. Los crêpes, por su forma redonda y dorada, recordaban el disco solar, evocando el regreso de la primavera después del oscuro y frío invierno. 

Una tradición que se remonta al fin del siglo V es hacer saltar el crêpe y darle la vuelta con la mano derecha mientras se sostiene una moneda en la mano izquierda para disfrutar de la prosperidad durante todo el año. 

Aquí hay una buen receta !




A Day in Paris

A friend of mine is going to Paris for a few days in June and asked me if I could give her some recommendations. Giving some recommendations to go to Paris is an absolute delight.

When I was in my teens, I was lucky to visit Paris often. My cousin, who was studying at L’Ecole de Beaux-Arts, took me around beautiful places and was my personal tour guide in the galleries. Today, I continue to visit Paris regularly. There is always a museum, a restaurant, a pâtisserie to discover. When I am at home, Paris is never far away thanks to books, music and films. 

Last October, I visited the Musée de l'Orangerie which was closed in 2000 for renovation until 2006. It was completely restructured and the result is fantastic. It is the home of Monet's famous water lilies but also the home of the Paul Guillaume collection.

Before your go to the City of Lights, make sure you whet your appetite and set your mood! 

Read La cantatrice chauve and La leçon - translated as The Bald Soprano or The Bald Prima Donna - written by Ionesco. It has been showing everyday in a little theatre in Paris and that is how you are going to finish your day. So, it is best to know the story before getting there especially if you are still learning French.

La cantatrice chauve is an absurd play. There is no plot, the characters are zany and the conversations are disjointed. You will die of laughter.

Watch Amélie, Paris Je t’aime, La môme, An American in Paris, un monstre à Paris or Midnight in Paris.

Listen to :  ‘Le Poinçonneur des Lilas’ by Serge Gainsbourg; ’Sous le ciel de Paris’ by Edith Piaf ou Zaz; Ménilmontant by Charles Trenet. 

Finally, why not taking a few online French lessons to impress and boost your confidence when talking to French people ? 

You are now in Paris. 

1) Your first stop is at Musée Zadkine. Ossip Zadkine, a Russian sculptor and his wife, the painter Valentine Prax, lived and worked in this haven of peace between 1928 and 1967. 

Rebecca ou La Grande porteuse d'eau by Ossip Zadkine (1927)

2) Walk through the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg. The gardens were inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence and were created in 1612. 

For a small fee, children (big or small) can rent a toy sailboat from this man and sail it in the grand basin.

3) At lunchtime, go to La cuisine de Philippe and enjoy a beautiful meal. Why not try his wonderful soufflés…. one for a starter (emmental or mushroom) or/and one for a dessert (rhubarb, caramel or pistachio) ?  

4) Visit the amazing Église Saint-Sulpice which is the second largest church in the city after Notre-Dame. There, you will be able to admire one of the most beautiful pipe organs and the magnificent Delacroix paintings that have been refurbished in November 2016. 

The famous pipe organ was constructed by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1862.

5) Indulge yourself with something sweet at la pâtisserie Michalak. Their millefeuille vanille tonka caramel looks delicious! Which treat will you choose ? 

6) You are now close to Saint Germain des prés. Let’s go shopping Rue de Rennes, rue de Sèvres and Boulevard Saint Germain. 

7) Earlier on, you discovered the beautiful paintings by Delacroix. You are now going to visit the museum dedicated to him and his art : the Musée Eugène Delacroix. This was his last home. He moved there in 1857 to be closer to Saint Supplice and accomplish his work. 

The beautiful house of Delacroix and its garden.

8) Before your play starts at the theatre, what about wandering on the Île de la Cité. 

It is 7 p.m., you are at le théâtre de la Huchette. I guarantee you that you will have a fantastic time. Both La cantatrice chauve and La leçon are wonderful plays. 

Finish your day at la crêperie de la petite bouclerie, 33 Rue de la Harpe. They offer lovely galettes and crêpes. If you are very hungry, go to le Petit châtelet, 39 Rue de la Bûcherie. 

5 Illustration blogs that will help you improve your French reading skills

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Reading authentic material - i.e. texts that have been written for native speakers  - is an excellent way of improving your reading skills. In a previous post I wrote about reading French novels but If you find it too daunting or if you struggle to find time to read a novel, there are many other enjoyable alternatives online that will allow you to progress. 

Illustration blogs may be exactly what you need.  The blog posts are short and full of humour. They are up to date, give you an understanding of the way your French contemporaries communicate and provide an insight into the culture you are studying. 

Here is a list of 5 illustration blogs that describe our society with a great sense of humour : 

1. À boire et à manger

In his blog about gastronomy, Guillaume Long illustrates recipes, anecdotes, portraits and tips.   

2. L’actu en patates

Martin Vidberg illustrates in his very own way daily news.  

3. Prézizidentielle

The illustrator Lisa Mandel and the political scientist Julie Pagis are following the French presidential campaign from an off the wall observation point : a primary school in a Parisian suburb. They tell us what the children perceive from the presidential campaign. 

4. Une année au lycée 

Fabrice Erre is a History and Geography teacher and a cartoonist. In his blog, he draws with humour the daily life of a teacher who works in a Senior High School. 

5. 100 bulles et un match 

Two childhood friends illustrate the world of sport.