French Class

Below: a typical bergère-style fromage

Avant d'entrer en classe À la bibliothèque Ca y est! des saucisses!
Qu'est-ce qui est arivee? Vous n'avez pas de chance aujourd'hui!
Que faites vous le dimanche? Il n'y a presque plus d'essence!
Bonjour, monsieur, pouvez-vous nous aidez? J'ai bien reçu la lettre
RAYMOND DUFUR! Rendez votre devoir! Le voyage c'est bien pasée?
Vous desirez, mademoiselle? Three Last Songs

Below: a typical French cow that produces chocolate milk

Choco Milk Cow

Paul Martin's record player is still dead to this day

le pick-up ne marche pas

Typical denizen of a typical French museum

Mona Moaning

Even in France, some are dealt a good hand and some are not

The Deck of Cards

Icons of France. Jeanne LeBlanc, la bergère, Eiffel, la frontière…

La France

Bad Seeds and Sailor Cannibalism: Three Last Songs

Go for it!

Avant d'entrer en classe

Jeanne Leblanc sees a new boy in the hall and asks her friend, Étienne, to introduce them. The new boy is Paul Martin. It's such a major surprise to find out that all three of these students are taking beginning French, as they seem to speak so well.

Listen and repeat:

À la bibliothèque

Paul Martin has become totally disorganized! He has no paper for class, because he forgot to bring his new notebook. To top it all off, he can't find the library. Perhaps he had a fall recently and hit his head. It was very fortunate that Étienne brought some paper to loan Paul.

Listen and repeat:

Ca y est! des saucisses!

Jeanne Leblanc has had a bad day with everything going wrong, and the last thing she wanted was some French-style wurst from Provence for lunch. No French fries just wrecked everything, she didn't even want her chocolate milk!

Listen and repeat:


Qu'est-ce qui est arivee?

During a ski trip to the famed Matterhorn, visible from the French class window, Étienne falls, breaks his leg, may have had even more wrong with him, and stayed immobile in the snow until Paul Martin happened to come by. Paul, never one to handle a trauma well, panicked and obviously didn't know what to say or do. Étienne ended the conversation by suggesting Paul go get a doctor!

Listen and repeat:

Vous n'avez pas de chance aujourd'hui!

It was a sad day, indeed, when Paul Martin's record player gave up the ghost. Desperate for entertainment, with no other prospects, the boys decided to call Michelle and play some cards.

Why they chose not to phone Jeanne Leblanc will probably remain a mystery of the ages. Perhaps they only had chocolate milk and sausages for party fare.

Listen and repeat:

Que faites vous le dimanche?

What do you do on Sunday? Do your relatives always visit? Do the older men in the family always talk politics? Is your mother a good cook? If so, you live exactly like this mid-20th century French boy.

Listen and repeat:

Il n'y a presque plus d'essence!

Taking a drive was a nice idea, but without gas and with no money for gas, it becomes problematic, at least until you are able to sap some francs from hapless friends. Perhaps if they didn't spend so much on gasoline, they could fix their damned record player.

Listen and repeat:

Bonjour, monsieur, pouvez-vous nous aidez?

Trying desperately to get to the soccer match, which is about to start, Paul and Ètienne are riddled with anxiety upon experiencing a flat tire. A stranger they ask for help prefers instead to lecture them about the youth of today.

Listen and repeat:

J'ai bien reçu la lettre

Deciding on a vacation away from the Matterhorn this year, Paul Martin sent Étienne a letter and later gloated in person about how great his vacation had been. This was the final travel or motoring story of French I.

Listen and repeat:

RAYMOND DUFUR! Rendez votre devoir!

When Raymond Dufur was promised a low grade because he didn't hand in his homework on time, he began to whine and plead. The teacher liked that, but was not swayed. The homework may have gotten finished if he just hadn't played cards all night long with Michelle and the French Class Gang.

Listen and repeat:

Le voyage c'est bien pasée?

After being stuck at the German border in the days of Pre-Eurozone, a discussion between René LeVert and his friend, Charles LeJaune ensues about the meaning of life. Meanwhile, René hit upon all the German women he could find.

Listen and repeat:

Vous desirez, mademoiselle?

Wanting everything or nothing, or everything for nothing, shopping is always a real chore for Jeanne Leblanc. The final conversation in these lessons before beginning Song Time is a lesson in consumption (or rather the potential to consume), a universal pastime that knows no language borders.

Listen and repeat:

Three Last Songs

Once conversation skills are honed, it is time to learn how to sing. Music is very important, and it gives one a chance not only to better hear difficult French vowels, but also the rare experience of adding sounds and syllables when the music makes such possible, by calling upon some of the many amazing silent letters from French words' spellings. These songs teach us about shepherdesses with their cheese, the desire of cheese-craving cats, sailor cannibalism, and the clear moon on a dead candle night. "Il était un petit navire" is particularly poignant.

Listen and sing; Il était une bergère:

Listen and sing; "Au claire de lune"

Wikipedia: The song is now considered a lullaby for children but carries a double entendre throughout (the dead candle, the need to light up the flame, the God of Love, etc.) that becomes clear with its conclusion.

Listen and sing; "Il était un petit navire"

Wikipedia: The song tells the story of a young shipwrecked sailor who is about to be eaten by the other sailors. They discuss how to cook the man and what sauce to use. He then prays to the Virgin Mary and is saved by a miracle.

This song might refer to the famous wreck of the Medusa, immortalized in the painting The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault.


Rev. 2015