lundi 17 décembre 2012

Solidays - Qui Sait? - Anggun, Peter Gabriel, etc

A long time ago I downloaded lots of French songs into my iPod. I cannot remember where I got them from or why I chose them but this song just popped into my head. It's rather catchy but I never knew the background behind it..

In 2000, Solidarité SIDA (AIDS) obtained approval from the National Ministries of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Education. The action of youth prevention intensified. In addition, the album and the single Solidays "Qui Sait?" ("Who knows?") (featuring Anggun, Patrick Bruel, Stephan Eicher, Faudel, Peter Gabriel, Lââm, Lokua Kanza, Youssou N'Dour, Nourith, Axelle Red and Zucchero) sold 140,000 copies.

Solidays - Qui Sait?

Qui sait ? Qui sait ?
J'aurai peut-être un jour besoin de ça
D'une main douce et puissante.

Qui sait ? Qui sait ?
D'un chemin plus sûr où poser mes pas
Pour une guerre non violente.

[Stéphan Eicher]
Tout seul
J'n'irai pas plus haut, peut-être plus bas
Peut-être plus bas ?

[Patrick Bruel]
Qui sait ? Qui sait ?
J'aurai san doute un jour besoin de toi, de toi
Si je ne suis plus le même.

[Axelle Red]
Qui sait ? Qui sait ?
On se dit toujours "qui vivra verra", et moi
J'aimerais voir comme on s'aime.

[Lokua Kanza & Youssou N'Dour]
Que donner c'est recevoir en plus fort
Si je me fais attendre.

[Zucchero & Peter Gabriel]
Que toutes les vies se valent encore
Les petites et les grandes.

[Patrick Bruel & Lààm]
Qui sait ? Qui sait ?
J'aurai peut-être un jour besoin de secours, un jour
Où je n'aurai plus personne.

[Axelle Red & Faudel]
Qui sait ? Qui sait ?
Une douce phrase dans un matin sourd, qui court
Un petit feu pour les hommes.

[Peter Gabriel]
Who knows, one day ?
I will need your smile to call in my name, my baby
If I can't see any rainbow.

[Patrick Bruel, Anggun & Lààm]
Qui sait ? Qui sait ?
L'aube d'un regard qui ne juge pas, non pas
Mais qui partage les peines ?

[Nourith & Lokua Kanza]
Que donner c'est recevoir du soleil
Sans qu'on ne le demande.

[Zucchero & Patrick Bruel]
Que toutes les vies se valent pareil
Les petites et les grandes.

[Youssou N'Dour]....
[Axelle Red] Qui sait ?

[Stéphan Eicher]
Oh, qui sait ? Qui sait ?
J'aurai peut-être un jour besoin de ça.

Oh, qui sait ? Qui sait ?
J'aurai peut-être un jour besoin de ça.

[Peter Gabriel - anglais]
Who knows, one day ?
I'll need to know you'll always be there.

[Zucchero - italien]
Chissà ? Chissà ?
Un dia io vo bisogno di te.

(Qui sait? Qui sait?
Un jour j'ai besoin de toi)

[Patrick Bruel]
Qui sait ? Qui sait ?
Un chemin plus sûr où poser mes pas.

Qui sait ? Qui sait ?
Qui sait ce qu'on sera ?

[Peter Gabriel]
Who knows, who knows ?

(Qui sait, qui sait ce qu'on sera...)

English Translation

Who knows? Who knows?
I may need it one day
From a soft and powerful hand

Who knows? Who knows?
From a safer path where to place my steps
For a non-violent war.

[Stephan Eicher]
All alone
I will not go higher, maybe lower
Maybe lower?

[Patrick Bruel]
Who knows? Who knows?
I may no doubt need you one day, you
If I am no longer the same.

[Axelle Red]
Who knows? Who knows?
We always say, "Wait and see", and I
I would like to see as we love.

[Lokua Kanza & Youssou N'Dour]
Teach me
That giving is receiving stronger
If I wait.

[Zucchero & Peter Gabriel]
Remind me
That all lives are worth more
Small and large.

[Patrick Bruel & LAAM]
Who knows? Who knows?
I may need help one day, one day
I will no longer need anyone.

[Axelle Red & Faudel]
Who knows? Who knows?
A soft word in a deaf morning, which runs
A small flame for men.

[Peter Gabriel]
Who knows, one day?
I will need to call your smile in my name, my baby
If I can not see any rainbow.

[Patrick Bruel, Anggun & LAAM]
Who knows? Who knows?
The dawn of a look that does not judge, no
But who shares the pain?

[Nourith & Lokua Kanza]
Teach me
That giving is receiving from the sun
Without being asked to do so.

[Zucchero & Patrick Bruel]
Remind me me
That all lives are worth the same
Small and large.

[Youssou N'Dour]....
[Axelle Red] Who knows?

[Stephan Eicher]
Oh, who knows? Who knows?
I may need it one day.

Oh, who knows? Who knows?
I may need it one day.

[Peter Gabriel]
Who knows, one day?
I'll need to know you'll always be there.

[Zucchero - in Italian]
Who knows? Who knows?
One day I do need you.

[Patrick Bruel]
Who knows? Who knows?
A safer path where to place my steps

Who knows? Who knows?
Who knows what will?

[Peter Gabriel]
Who knows, who knows?

(Who knows, who knows what we will be...?)

dimanche 16 décembre 2012

Michelle Phan and Dominique Capraro

At the time of posting this blogpost about Michelle in Paris making her Lancôme video... I knew the guy was her boyfriend but it was only recently that I found out he is Swiss.
Well it turns out that he is in fact a model, a former Mr Swiss candidate, from the canton of Valais.
A truly international relationship, Michelle an American with Vietnamese roots and Dominique, a Swiss with Swiss/Italian/Austrian roots, they met in Paris and now Dominique moved to Los Angeles to be with Michelle.
Some stats about him ;)
Some info about their relationship (in English)
Some info about their relationship (in French).
Dominique Capraro falls for Michelle
They met by chance in Paris. Two years later, the candidate for Mr Switzerland starts dating the famous American blogger.
Dominique Capraro and between Michelle Phan are madly in love!
"Yes, we are a couple." Dominique Capraro, 24, confirms that his friendship with Michelle Phan, 25 years, recently turned into love. Their story is like a fairytale.
Two years ago, the Valaisian model met this American blogger (known for her makeup advice videos viewed by millions of users) in a Parisian cafe. There was a connection and they kept in touch.
February 14... "Our first meeting took place on Valentine's Day of 2011, in New York," recalls Dominique. Program: romantic dinner and stroll around the Big Apple. As friends.
Last January their relationship went to the next level. Michelle invited her friend to shoot an ad in Paris. The video - Uploaded on February 14! - Has already reached over 2 million views to date.
During filming, Capraro and Phan spent several days together and fell for each other.
"It sounds so cheesy, I can only smile," laughs the candidate for Mr Switzerland 2011. Michelle cannot explain this flash of lightening: "The stars have gathered. Fate brought us together. Paris brought us together."
Dominique has now moved to Los Angeles with his sweetheart to try a career in cinema.

mardi 11 décembre 2012

Un Dia Sin Ti by Roxette

Came across this nice song "Un día sin ti" by Roxette (yeah I know it's old but I love it) and I didn't even know they sang in Spanish. I think it's beautiful. I've posted Italian songs here before so why not a Spanish one? The lyrics are pretty simple too. Note that the English lyrics are translated from the Spanish, which are not entirely the same as the original "Spending my time" lyrics.


Un día sin ti
¿Qué hora es?,
bienvenida la mañana.
Tan sola yo y el cielo tan azul.
En mi café, en mi radio y en mi tele
siempre estás tú.

Para empezar me levanto de la cama
y voy vistiéndome así como así.
Gracias a Dios tú no puedes verme
llorando por ti.

Un día sin ti
es una eternidad, es un adiós
que duele por dos.
Sólo esperar, la soledad.
Un día sin ti.

Busco tu voz y el teléfono me lleva
al puerto gris de tu contestador.
Ayúdame, yo no sé como pasarme
un día sin ti.

Un día sin ti
es una eternidad, es un adiós
que duele por dos.
Sólo esperar, la soledad.

Un día sin ti
es una eternidad, es un adiós
que duele por dos.
Es una pena.
Un día sin ti.

No tengo amigos
ni otra cosa que hacer
sólo pienso fuertemente en ti…Oh…
me niego a ser tu amor
a cambio de un día sin ti.

Un día sin ti, sin ti
es una eternidad, es un adiós
que duele por dos.
Sólo esperar
un día sin ti.

Un día sin ti, sin ti
es una eternidad, es un adiós
que duele por dos.
Es una pena
un día sin ti


A day without you
What time is it?
Welcome morning.
I'm so lonely and the sky is so blue.
In my coffee, on my radio and my TV
There's always you.

To start I get out of bed
I get dressed and I like that.
Thank God you cannot see me
crying for you.

A day without you
is an eternity, it's a goodbye
that hurts twice.
Just wait, loneliness.
A day without you.

Seeking your voice and the phone takes me
to the voicemail on your answering machine.
Help me, I don't know how to spend
a day without you.

A day without you
is an eternity, it's a goodbye
that hurts twice.
Just wait, loneliness.

A day without you
is an eternity, it's a goodbye
that hurts twice.
It's a shame.
A day without you.

I have no friends
or anything else to do
I only think of you ... Oh strongly ...
I refuse to be your love
in exchange for one day without you.

A day without you, without you
is an eternity, it's a goodbye
that hurts twice.
Just wait
a day without you.

A day without you, without you
is an eternity, it's a goodbye
that hurts twice.
It's a shame
a day without you


Un jour san toi
Quelle heure est-il?
Bienvenue au matin.
Je suis si seul et le ciel est si bleu.
Dans mon café, sur ma radio et ma télé
C'est toujours toi.

Pour commencer je sors du lit
je m'habille et j'aime ça.
Je remercie Dieu que tu ne peux pas me voir
pleurent pour toi.

Un jour sans toi
c'est une éternité, c'est un au revoir
ça fait mal deux fois.
Attends la solitude.
Un jour sans toi.

A la recherche de ta voix et le téléphone me mène
à la messagerie vocale sur ton répondeur.
Aide-moi, je ne sais pas comment passer
un jour sans toi.

Un jour sans toi ...
c'est une éternité,
c'est un au revoir
ça fait mal deux fois.
Attends la solitude.
Un jour sans toi.

Un jour sans toi ...
c'est une éternité,
c'est un au revoir
ça fait mal deux fois.
C'est une honte.

Un jour sans toi.

Je n'ai pas d'amis
ou quelque chose d'autre à faire
il suffit de penser fortement à toi ...
Oh ... Je refuse d'être ton amour
en échange d'un jour sans toi.

Un jour sans toi ...

Un jour sans toi,
c'est une éternité,
au revoir
Ça fait mal deux fois.
Attends la solitude.

Un jour sans toi.
c'est une éternité,
c'est un au revoir
Ça fait mal deux fois.

C'est une honte.
Un jour sans toi.

Un jour sans toi ...
Un jour sans toi, sans toi
C'est une honte

dimanche 2 décembre 2012

Un Plan Parfaît avec Diane Kruger et Dany Boon

Continued from this post. So I finally went to see the film Un Plan Parfaît (A Perfect Plan).

It was a pleasant film, full of laughs and filmed in many interesting places. There was, however, too much CGI (computer graphics), it was too "Hollywoodesque" and unrealistic and the ending was totally predictable. It was definitely more like a Hollywood film than a French film. However for a bit of fluffy fun, it was well worth it to watch.

The two main stars Diane Kruger and Dany Boon are wonderful in this film and you can see in their interview (below) just how well they get along. They seem to be lovely people as well as actors.

I'm quite impressed with myself as I hadn't seen a French film in the cinema since last year (!!) and as all French films are UNsubtitled... I used to have difficulty with this but for the first time ever I understand nearly everything in the film. There were only 2 things I missed when they spoke too quickly (I knew I had missed something when the audience laughed and I missed what they were laughing about).. so I'm very happy that before I could understand maybe only 70% of a French film without subtitles and now I can understand around 95% of it. The problem is not so much vocabulary anymore it's just with the speed with which they speak. :D

dimanche 11 novembre 2012

French as spoken by non-native speakers

Something I noticed while doing all these tests for French proficiency is that after a certain level for the listening tests, they give you extracts that are NOT read by native speakers and/or with background noise. I think this really tests your listening skills because if everything was read by a native speaker, slowly and clearly with no background noise then 1) it would be too easy and 2) it would not be realistic as there is lots of background noise in every day life!

One of the hardest things I found at the start was making and receiving telephone calls because the line would undoubtedly be somewhat noisy and writing down telephone numbers was always hard...

Anyway I'm getting off the point I wanted to make.

I was looking at a trailer for Un Plan Parfaît and discovered that Diane Kruger speaks fluent French! She sounds like a native speaker to my ears. I did a bit of research and found out she went to Paris when she was 15 which I guess is still young enough to pick up a native accent. Of course she also speaks fluent German and English.

 J.K. Rowling (of Harry Potter fame) also speaks French. Here she is with President Nicolas Sarkozy (although she is reading and not speaking). She has an accent so I think it's good to watch this video for French listening practice.

jeudi 18 octobre 2012

Michelle Phan in Paris with Lancome

For those that don't know, Michelle Phan is the biggest make-up artist superstar on YouTube. I found out about her some time ago and who hasn't heard of her now? I don't watch her videos regularly just when I'm either looking for make-up tips or when I'm bored.

Lately her videos have been getting more and more sophisticated with their editing and music, etc. I stumbled upon this one made a few months back and Wow! I am seriously impressed. It looks like a very professional short film or ad (for Lancôme, which she promotes). I'm blown away with the video's direction, editing, soft dreamy romantic colours, and the music. And of course the hot guy who happens to be her real life boyfriend! ;)

Take a look for yourself.

Pour ceux qui ne savent pas, Michelle Phan est une maquilleuse superstar sur YouTube. Je l'ai trouvé sur ce site il y a longtemps et qui n'a pas entendu parler d'elle ? Je ne regarde pas souvent ses vidéos, à moins que je ne veuille trouver des astuces de maquillage ou je suis un peu ennuyée.

Dernièrement, ses vidéos deviennent de plus en plus sophistiqués avec leur réalisation et montage. J'ai tombé sur ce vidéo qui a été créée il y a quelques mois et Ouah ! Je suis impressionnée. C'est comme un film professional ou un publicité (pour Lancôme, une marque qu'elle promeut). Je suis soufflée par la réalisation, le montage, les couleurs romantiques et la musique. Et bien sûr le gars chaud qui est son copain en vrai. ;)

Allez. Venez la regarder.


jeudi 4 octobre 2012

On va sortir

Came across this funny video which could be (but it's not) an ad for the meet up website (OVS) 

I just put it here because 1) it's funny and 2) it's good French listening practice! :)


mardi 4 septembre 2012

Why are French and European notebooks gridded?

One thing I quickly noticed in France (and indeed anyone coming from a non-European country into continental Europe would notice) is that the school exercise books/notebooks were all gridded. It was impossible to find an A4 notebook that was simply ruled horizontally.

However, when I moved to Switzerland I discovered they were much easier to find. In fact, you can find both types easily.

... which begs the question: Why are notebooks in grid format instead of simply line ruled?

I couldn't really find a great deal of information. I found this post which wasn't exactly that helpful.

I found this too. Is it called a computation notebook?

A Computation notebook is a paper book that has special ruled lines of columns and rows for capturing information. This type of notebook has the appearance of graph paper and is typically used in engineering, math, and science.
The computation notebook is used in most colleges and universities in classes on multiple subjects. The format of this notebook makes delineation between topics easy to read and understand. Most math professors require their students to use a graphic format notebook to define math problems.
Many math algorithms and functions require a grid layout to plot the conditions or coordinates of an expression. A computation notebook includes a grid layout throughout the pages. This format provides a guide for documenting extensive mathematical problems. By using the grids as guidelines the problems are represented in clearly organized manner....
Finally, what spurred this post.. watch this video at point 5:05 when this French girl talks about this very issue! The fact that UNgridded notebooks are so hard to find in France.

Btw I try to listen to random stuff on Youtube to improve my French listening comprehension. It's hard to find someone who is interesting to listen to and talks for a while on a topic that isn't too boring... well obviously her channel is about makeup... but she talks soooooo fast it sure is good practice! ;)

If anybody knows the answer, please leave a comment. Thanks! :)

A lined notebook - un cahier ligné
A grid notebook - un cahier carreaux

(image from here)

lundi 3 septembre 2012

Le passé simple et...

My friend posted this... Love it!!

A l'école, on apprend le passé simple,
mais rien sur le future compliqué. 

Translation for those who don't get it or don't know French:
At school we learn (about) the simple past (tense),
but nothing about the complicated future....

Hahaha... maybe it works better in French!

mercredi 8 août 2012

Why I don't like the Longchamp Le Pliage handbag

Pourquoi je n'aime pas trop les sacs à main Longchamp le pliage...

Sac Longchamp Le pliage - Noël 2011 - Bonhomme de neige (€235)

Sac Longchamp Le pliage - Noël 2011 -
Manège enchanté (€290)
This is a post that's been in my head for months, no, years... Ever since I moved to France I started to notice that almost every woman between the age of 15-65 seems to have one of these bags! ARGH. Not just in France, but all over Europe and I'm sure in Australia and the USA too.

You know those people that succumb to peer pressure and buy something because all their friends have one or because the media says you have to have one? Well I am the total opposite of this! When everybody has something it makes me want the item LESS, not more. Call me strange but that's just the way it is. Why wouldn't you want something rare, special and unique rather than something that the whole world has?

So, first things first... Longchamp translated literally means 'long field' and 'pliage' actually means 'folding' in French, so 'Le Pliage' means 'the folding' or rather, 'the folding bag' as bag is implied.

Longchamp designed an ingenious way to fold the handbag into a neat little pocket (with only the leather handles sticking out), a design that's been copied over and over again by other bag manufacturers. I even saw a copy in Migros (a supermarket!)

There are a few reasons I don't like this bag:

  1. Everybody has one and I don't want to be like everyone.
  2. It's way overpriced for what it is, especially since they are now made in China and Tunisia where labour is cheaper. Of course it's saving a lot of money for them, but does it save us (the customers) money? Nooooooo.
  3. There are no compartments inside. You need something like a Tintamar (another French invention that's been overcopied) to organise the inside of your bag. But even worse than that, there are no zippered compartments or pockets outside.
  4. The short handles look cuter but are an absolute PITA when you need to be hands free (if you have a child, if you are on a bus, if you are just busy, etc). Meanwhile the long handles are more user-friendly but on the smaller-sized bags just look plain weird.
  5. Sure the handles and the flap is leather but the rest of the bag is just nylon. Why people pay so much for a nylon bag is beyond me.

I do confess, however, that during a moment of weakness, I almost succumbed to this invisible peer pressure (I say invisible because only one of my female friends owns one of these bags)... I was doing some research and wanted to get one of the adorable limited edition Longchamp Le pliage Christmas 2011 editions.... (and now you realise how belated this post is... oops!)

(pics above)

As you can see, they are pretty cute but when I realised:
  1. They cost way over 300 Australian or US dollars and only the handle and flap is leather.
  2. They are pretty tiny (21x21cm with a 14cm wide base), way too small for me.
  3. The handles are way too short and it's impossible to get anything in/out of the bag if both handles are hanging on your arm.
  4. The fabrics and trims are way too delicate and not really suitable for every day use (IMHO) and would get worn and dirty easily, making your new and beautiful bag be not so new and beautiful.

I decided not to get one.

I'll stick to my trusty Lancaster handbag that I got in a nice handbag boutique in Nantes for only around 60€ which has plenty of pockets both inside and out, and after almost 2 years it still looks brand new! AND it has leather handles too (which are much better quality and are not 'hollow'). I often bring an SLR camera in it and it's strong enough for that too. Not a single seam, stud, etc has popped. Plus the fabric is waterproof and much more hardwearing than Longchamp's nylon. I've noticed, too, that they have an updated, similar design n the stores. However, there are some cost cutting aspects in the design (that's another rant for another day how in the world of fashion you keep on getting less and less and paying more and more).

Over Christmas I was on a plane leaving from London. I was travelling by myself as was the girl sitting next to me. I wanted to buy something from the duty free catalogue and so did she. I asked her what she was getting and she told me the Longchamp Pliage. I was a bit confused because she already had one on her, even in the exact same size and style! so I asked her why she was getting a second one (thinking maybe it was for a gift) and she said she wanted it in a different colour! Ha!

Meanwhile, on another flight to/from Asia, I noticed in the duty free catalogue (different airline) that there was also a Longchamp Pliage bag but this was an exclusive "inflight duty free" only design (and only onboard flights going to/from Asia)... oohhhh... the exclusivity. I must admit I was tempted to get it just for bragging rights but again, I did not succumb. Too small. Short handles. Don't want to be a lemming. Pass!

If you insist on getting a Pliage, get it in France, or elsewhere in Europe. Much cheaper than in other countries. And it's not like they are hard to find, sold in practically every department store or handbag store in their myriad of colours.

lundi 6 août 2012

London Olympics 2012 sports French vocabulary

Some sporting vocabulary!

Diving Plongeon
Swimming Natation
Synchronized Swimming Natation synchronisée
Water Polo Water-Polo
Canoe/Kayak (sprint, slalom) Canoë-kayak (course en ligne, slalom)
------ ------
Mountain Biking Cyclisme VTT (Vélo tout terrain)
Road Cycling Cyclisme route
Track Cycling Cyclisme piste
------ ------
Artistic Gymnastics Gymnastique artistique
Rhythmic Gymnastics Gymnastique rhythmique
Trampoline Gymnastics Gymnastique trampoline
------ ------
Beach Volleyball Beach-volley
Indoor Volleyball Volley-ball en salle
------ ------
Equestrian - Dressage Sports équestres - Dressage
Equestrian - Eventing Sports équestres - Concours complet
Equestrian - Jumping Sports équestres - Saut d'obstacles
------ ------
Freestyle Wrestling Lutte libre
Greco-Roman Wrestling Lutte Gréco-romaine
------ ------
Archery Tir à l'arc
Athletics Athlétisime
Badminton Badminton
Basketball Basket-ball
Boxing Boxe
Fencing Escrime
Field Hockey Hockey sur gazon
Football Football
Handball Handball
Judo Judo
Modern pentathlon Pentathlon modern
Rowing Aviron
Sailing Voile
Shooting (air rifle, pistol, skeet, trap) Tir (carabine, pistolet, skeet/tir aux plateaux, trap)
Table Tennis Tennis de table
Taekwondo Taekwondo
Tennis Tennis
Triathlon Triathlon
Weightlifting Halérophilie

So as you can see, many words are the same (some with just a hyphen added) but some are totally different. I learnt a few new words by doing this exercise! :D

dimanche 5 août 2012

Fort Boyard

And so I was introduced to Fort Boyard, apparently THE show to watch over the summer. It's a French series but even popular here in Switzerland, where I live.

I've only watched two episodes so for the purposes of this blogpost, I had to do a bit more research.  Wikipedia tells me that Fort Boyard was first created in 1990 (which makes it seriously old and seriously successful!) and airs year after year. It is always filmed and aired during the summer (for obvious reasons if you know anything about European seasons and weather).

It reminds me of and has elements of tv shows such as: Survivor, Fear Factor, The Mole, Gladiators, and It's a Knockout.

If you're too young you probably won't have heard of It's a Knockout as it's a show I watched during my childhood in the 80s. Surprisingly, a Wikipedia search tells me the show that I watched (Australian version) was based on a British version which first aired in 1966 and that was based on a(nother) French show called Intervilles, created in 1962. Interesting, n'est-ce pas ?

Perhaps I'm seeing a pattern (or rather, a cultural phenomenon) here.... That French people are good at creating and like to watch these wacky tv adventure game shows!

The series is filmed and set on the real Fort Boyard (French link). I created a map (above) to help you get a better idea where it is in France. It is on its own tiny island on the east coast, near the city of La Rochelle. I have been to La Rochelle and Ile de Ré (the larger island to the north of Fort Boyard) and it's just beautiful there.

From what I can tell from the tv series, Fort Boyard  is a beautiful, HUGE old fort (built in 1857), full of nooks and crannies. It is an amazing setting for such a tv show. It seems a bit like the French version of Alcatraz.

The presenter is Olivier Minne

Unlike other game shows (mentioned above) there is only ONE team. Therefore they are not competing against another team and there is none of that nasty backstabbing type stuff that you had with Survivor. The only thing they are racing against is the clock as each challenge has a time limit.

In each team there are 6 people, with 2-4 of each sex.

Apparently, before, they were teams of families or friends but now they all seem to be celebrities who play for a charity of their choice. This is the team I watched last night:

Vincent Mc DOOM, animateur et acteur
Patrick PUYDEBAT, comédien et scénariste
Hélène ROLLES, chanteuse et comédienne
Juliette CHAPPEY, comédienne (Les vacances de Ducobu)
François VIETTE, comédien (Les vacances de Ducobu)
Jade HANDI, organisatrice de voyages aventures et aventurière de Koh-Lanta

(more info on the team here)

I thought they did really well compared to the previous team/episode I watched.

Then you have the characters who help or hinder them:

Le Père Fouras (whom I affectionately like to call "the old dude"). His name is based on a coastal port in the region. He's been played by Yann le Gac since 2003.

Passe-Partout. The English translation of passe-partout is passkey, a skeleton key, or a master key, but the literal translation is "goes everywhere". Thus, he is someone who can go anywhere. He is played by André Bouchet (right in photo).

Passe-Muraille. Someone who can go through walls. Played by Anthony Laborde (left in photo).

(they are both featured in the team photo above, wearing blue and white striped French-style shirts).

Much like any tv series, as time goes on, new characters are created and old characters disappear. Admittedly, I've never watched an entire series and I don't pay attention to every little thing (and to be honest I don't understand everything!) so those are the three main characters IMHO.

If you would like to find out more about the characters since 1990 (and can read French) please check out this awesome Fans de Fort Boyard site here, created by some fans of the show.

You can also go to the Wikipedia link to read about the 3 phases and the challenges as I could not begin to describe everything myself given how little I know about the show. Suffice to say, I do find the show very interesting (and I am someone who never watches tv these days).

You have your:
• dare/phobia type tasks which usually involve: heights, depths (water), insects and reptiles, and darkness.
• physical endurance/strength/skill/balance type tasks
• and those mentally challenging tasks, brain teasers, etc.

In that aspect, the show ALSO reminds me of The Amazing Race.

I really like that even though these people are celebrities, they are not arrogant or annoying and attention-seeking like you get on many of the above-mentioned tv game shows. They really come together and cheer each other on and it's great to see the team spirit. I was particularly impressed by the two kids (Juliette and François) last night who had to do balancing act where they were each standing on a tightrope many metres above the ground and had to face each other and walk across it in a synchronized fashion. There were were also funny moments where Vincent (who I assume is a guy, but who dressed in the girls' uniform and acted like a girl) was screaming when the giant bugs fell on him (her) during one of the tasks.. Gosh it was so funny.

Another thing I like about the show is that the whole thing is over by the end of each episode. None of this waiting weeks or months to find out who the winner is at the end. Also, I watched it on the France 2 channel and there were no ads at all - bonus!

All I can say is, if you get the opportunity to watch this, do it! It's good wholesome family fun, perfect for any age and any kind of tv viewer (even those who never watch tv, like me)! :)

Here is a teaser of last night's episode:


dimanche 29 juillet 2012

The French word "pince"

Since talking to French and Swiss people, I've discovered that the word 'pince' (pronounced something like "panse") has a multitude of uses!! Whereas in English we have separate words for all these objects.. the French word 'pince' (feminine) can be used for all of them, usually with a descriptive added to the end.

I had heard of most of these by now (but not all!) that I got from WordReference, my daily French-English language 'bible'

pince = tongs
pince = clamps
~ de crabe = claws (crab)
~ à linge = clothes peg
~ à épiler = tweezers
~ à échardes = tweezers (specifically for removing splinters, surgical/medical tool)
~ à ongles = nail clippers
~ à cheveux = hair clip / bobby pin
~ de séparation = hair clip/pin (hairdressing term)
~ à cravate = tie clip
~ crocodile = crocodile clip
~ à dessin = bulldog clip (see pic above)
~ d'électricien = pliers
~ de plombier = pliers
~ multiprise = adjustable pliers
~ universelle = universal pliers
~ demi-ronde = needle nose pliers
~ à ergot = special pliers
~ à décoffrer = crowbar
~ coupante = wire cutters
~ à glaçons = ice tongs 
~ à sucre = sugar tongs 
~ à escargot = snail tongs
~ à vélo = bicycle clip

So, to summarize, a pince can be anything from: pegs, to clips, to pins, to tongs, to tweezers, to pliers, to clamps, to cutters, and to (crab) claws! Basically anything with two 'prongs' and a pinching action! Afterall, the French verb for to pinch is pincer! Get it?

So there you go!

  (image from

mercredi 2 mai 2012

French people are weird cartoon

Here is a very cute cartoon, created by a (talented) French person herself! :)


dimanche 25 mars 2012

Ca veau le coup !

Ça veau le coup !

You know your French is pretty good when you can understand and get this silly pun :)

vendredi 16 mars 2012

Je te donne - Jean-Jacques Goldman

A nice (old) bi-lingual English/French song

Jean-Jacques Goldman - Je Te Donne

I can give you a voice, bred with rythmn and soul
the heart of a Welsh boy who's lost his home
put it in harmony, let the words ring
carry your thoughts in the song we sing

Je te donne mes notes , je te donne mes mots
quand ta voix les emporte à ton propre tempo
une épaule fragile et solide
à la fois
ce que j'imagine et ce que je crois

Je te donne toutes mes différences,
tous ces défauts qui sont autant de chance
on sera jamais des standards des gens bien comme il faut
je te donne ce que j'ai ce que je vaux

I can give you the force of my ancestral pride
the will to go on when I'm hurt deep inside
whatever the feeling, whatever the way
it helps me to go on from day to day

Je te donne nos doutes et notre indicible espoir
les questions que les routes ont laissées dans l'histoire
nos filles sont brunes et l'on parle un peu fort
et l'humour et l'amour sont nos trésors

Je te donne toutes mes différences,
tous ces défauts qui sont autant de chance
on sera jamais des standards des gens bien comme il faut
je te donne ce que j'ai ce que je vaux

Je te donne, donne, donne ce que je suis

I can give you my voice, bred with rythm and soul,
je te donne mes notes, je te donne ma voix
the songs that I love, and the stories I've told

ce que j'imagine et ce que je crois

I can make you feel good even when I'm down
les raisons qui me portent et ce stupide espoir
my force is a platform that you can climb on
une épaule fragile et forte à la fois
je te donne, je te donne tout ce que je vaux, ce que je suis, mes dons,
mes défauts, mes plus belles chances, mes différences (x 5)

dimanche 11 mars 2012

Paris vs New York - Vahram Muratyan book review

I have a whole heap of overdue book reviews to write up... so stay tuned!

I can never understand those people who say "I hate Facebook" and refuse to use it.. without it I wouldn't be able to find out about new and interesting things, and I wouldn't have found out about this awesome little book.

Perhaps you've seen this awesome image before: Macaron vs Cupcake. I had. Except I never bothered to look into who created it or why/how it was created, etc. Well it's created by the genius that is Vahram Muratyan. The Parisian graphic artist has made an indepth cultural observation and comparison between two great cities, Paris and New York, by way of some simple and gorgeous illustrations.

Look at this image for example. If you were going to compare these two big airports Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and John F Kennedy (JFK) what would you think of drawing? An airport? Some planes taking off? Some people pulling suitcases? He doesn't. That's why I call him a genius. He draws the path of a plane in the shape of a profile of the person the airport was named after. Is that not genius? He makes something complicated (like how would you draw an airport exactly anyway?) simple and easy to understand. And beautiful.

Despite the fact that you can see many of his works on his blog (link below) this was a book I simply had to have, being a lover of Paris and large cities in general, and all things graphical and beautiful. :)

I read it with my Parisian boyfriend this weekend and we tried to work out the meanings and links between the images. Sometimes it's not so obvious as there are abbreviations and slang and you have to know Parisian/French and American culture well. We got all of them except one or two.

As I'm so fascinated, I found some articles about this guy and his book:

* Interview in English
* Another interview in English. Page 1 | Page 2
* Interviews (and videos) in French (also pasted below)

* Buy the book here on Amazon Paris versus New York: A tale of two cities
* Buy the prints (pack of 100 postcards) Paris versus New York Postcard Box: A Tally of Two Cities in 100 Postcards
* Read the blog The blog: Paris vs New York

Disclaimer: I have no connection at all to the author or publisher but love this amazing little book so much I highly recommend you get your own copy to keep! :D

(top picture from here)

French people pronouncing or not pronouncing 'h' at the start of a word

There is a strange phenomenon that happens with French people and the letter 'h'. Since they are used to not pronouncing it at the beginning of a word in their own language, eg hôtel is pronounce otel, they tend to not pronounce it in English either, ie house becomes ouse. OK fair enough, that's understandable...

What is not understandable is, they seem to add on (and pronounce) a mysterious 'h' sound to the start of various words that begin with a vowel. I noticed this ever since I started learning French and having Skype chats with French people over the internet.. then I noticed it when I was teaching English in French, and now, hanging around French or French-speaking people, I notice it more than ever. It is SO weird and cracks me up!

For example, I was having a conversation about fruit and 'happles and bananas' came up.. and I was like WTF is a happle? and we both just laughed like crazy.

But then, English - being the annoying language that it is - trips up these poor Frenchies because then we have words like hour where the 'h' is not pronounced. Frustrating, huh? (and that's huh with an 'h' sound ;) )

That got me onto the topic of the letter 'h'. Is it pronounced 'aitch' or 'haitch'? From what I know, only people from lower class backgrounds pronounce it 'haitch' with a strong 'h' sound at the beginning and there shouldn't be one there. To make sure and to prove my point I did a quick search online and found this article which led me to this hilarious Youtube video. Go, watch it now!

What's coincidental (if you watch the video) is that I also had a conversation today where I said I was SURE it was espresso and not expresso. Of course I was right ;)

Ever since I went to school I've been good at spelling... and now I'm so good at it that I can even correctly spell French words that a French person cannot spell :P and don't get me started when people call macarons macaroons!

In the end it's good to be good at spelling. I grew up in Australia where people seem to be proud of the fact that they are bad at it (which drives me up the wall). But I've always found it easy and been good at it. This skill is rather useful... if only for proving others wrong :P

samedi 10 mars 2012

QI - Mylène Farmer

Q. I. (Quotient Intellectual (I.Q.))
Mylène Farmer

Même si j'en ai vu des culs
C'est son Q.I. qui m'a plu
Je vis le choc de cul...ture
La belle aventure

Even if I saw his butt
It's his IQ that I liked
I live the shock of culture
The beautiful adventure

Même si je suis dans son lit
C'est son Q.I qui me lie
À lui pour la vie entière
Bien que solitaire

Even if I'm in his bed
It's his IQ which binds me
to him for our whole life
Better than being alone

Et moi j'en ai vu des culs
Mais c'est son "Q.I" qui eut
Le dernier mot pour m'avoir
Là, sur le plongeoir

And I, I saw his butt
But it's his IQ which has
the last word to have me
there, on the diving board

Bien sûr j'en ai vu des cons
Mais son Q.I me rend complétement occise de désir
Quitte à en mourir

Of course I've seen idiots
but it's his IQ which makes me competely crazy with desire
Ready to face death

Sa bouche est sanctuaire
La plus sacrée des prières
S'alanguir est pour moi
Le pire des effrois, c'est froid

His mouth is a sanctuary
He most sacred of prayers
His languish is for me
The worst of terrors, it's cold

Sa bouche est sanctuaire
Le plus sacré des mystères
Il est l'ange pour moi
Je lui dis tout bas...

His mouth is a sanctuary
He most sacred of mysteries
He's an angel for me
I whisper to him

Qu'il a les rondeurs d'un "Rodin"
J'aime ! Ça m'incite à...
Il sait la douceur de mes reins
Qui oscillent...
Il sent la tiédeur de mes mains
J'aime ! Ça l'incite à...
Longue est la route de nos plaisirs...
...sémantiques !

that he has curves of a "Rodin"
I love it! It encourages me to...
He knows the softness of my waist
which oscillate
He feels the warmth of my hands
I love it! That encourages him to...
Long is the route of our pleasures...
... semantic!

Même si j'en ai vu des cas
Son Q.I moi, me rend coi...
Devant telle érudition
Langue morte, oh non !

Even if I saw ?
It's his IQ that made me speechless...
In front of such wisdom
Dead tongue, oh no!

Et quand je suis dans son lit
C'est son Q.I qui me lit
La physique des quantas
Quant à moi, je crois que...

And when I'm in his bed
It's his IQ which reads to me
The physique of ?
According to me, I believe that...

Ton Q.I, mon cul est, ton Q.I

Your IQ, my butt is, your IQ
Ce Qu'il Fallait Démontrer (QED in English)

It was a bit hard to translate those lyrics.... and if you watch the music video you'll realise that some of the lyrics are a bit raunchy ;) but I like this song and love the tune but never got aroung to figuring out the lyrics so enjoy!

mercredi 7 mars 2012

20 year old that can speak 11 languages

Alex Rawlings, a 20-year-old student at Oxford University, has won a search to identify the most multilingual student in the U.K.

Rawlings showcased his fluency or near-fluency in 11 languages including English, Greek, German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, Hebrew, Catalan and Italian.

Certainly makes you feel humble and I am totally amazed.
Je me sens humble et je suis étonnée !

vendredi 2 mars 2012

Only Lyon promotional video

Playing on the LY in LYon, here is a new promotional video for this great city! I actually feel sad that most tourists will never visit it. Of course it's not Paris and it's not quite as beautiful but it's just as vibrant and interesting with plenty of beautiful sites to see (especially from the top of the hill), culture, and great food! Check it out.

mercredi 29 février 2012

How to achieve a goal

Go check out my post on how to become fluent in French or how to succeed in any goal :)

Laduree Boxes

If you have been a long-time reader of my blog you'll know that I'm a macaronaholic! The thing is, I liked them more when they weren't so common and every man and his dog didn't start up a macaron shop somewhere (or even in their own kitchen), just like I liked Apple Computers more when everyone didn't have something that is made by Apple.. but I digress.

Luckily for me, even though I don't live in Paris, I have a Ladurée so close to me (within walking distance!). I notice the beautiful and ever-changing window displays and I have been meaning to buy a beautiful keepsake limited-edition gift box for so long but they are only in the stores for about a week or so.. and by the time I actually get around to it they are always already sold out! ARGH.

You can check out their Facebook fanpage for all the latest news... meanwhile here is their latest box by Japanese fashion designer Tsumori Chisato (to be released 1 March):

and here is the previous one they had for Valentine's Day:

Nice, huh? :)

jeudi 23 février 2012

What Parisians say

Ce que disent les Parisiens (What Parisians say)

This video must be going viral because I've seen it pop up in both my Facebook feed and my blog reader feed...

I would say that your French would have to be pretty good to understand everything they say. They speak quite fast and there are a lot of slang and colloquialisms, including some verlan, and there are also various cultural references.

Also, I guess you have to be Parisian or at least French to get all the jokes!  But still, I found it quite funny even though I couldn't understand everything.

lundi 20 février 2012

Via Navigo Paris

Check out this cool new website vianavigo that allows you to search through all the means of public transport in the Ile de France (that is Paris and its surrounding suburbs).

Voilà ! Un nouveau site web qui vous permet de rechercher tous les moyens de transport public (les trains, RER, métro, tram, t-zen, bus) en île de France.

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