Cultural content of the lessons

Let's not only learn French,
let's learn in French!

It is very important to study the culture of a country and not just its language. 

However, not everybody wishes to study the culture of the country (although the language itself always includes a cultural aspect, so culture is never completely absent from a lesson).

Some people love to study grammar and have a passion for that subject, and in that case I am more than happy to propose lessons based on grammar only. 

Some people want to have lessons based on the structure of the language only, working for example with the "direct method", and do not wish to work from authentic documents at all. That's perfectly fine with me too.

And some other people want to learn to communicate more than analyse the language. They also want to study culture, and study it with authentic documents. They also want the grammar, the vocabulary, etc... they are going to study to be based on this authentic document. 

These people are most likely to want to include culture in their language journey.

Now, did you know that you can learn a language by (nearly) just plunging into the culture of the country that speaks this language? Or let's rather say the cultures of the countries, as there are many countries that speak French as their official language? 

Although it is still necessary to work in a direct way on the language itself, especially at the beginner's level, you will then have the impression to learn in French rather than learn French. 

Cultural subjects we can use for our French lessons. 

You can ask to work on any subject you are interested in, such as:

(by alphabetical order)
- animals, 
- antiques,
- architecture,
- art in general,
- chess, 
- cinema, 
- crafts in general,
- ecology, 
- history,
- knitting, 
- music, 
- oceans, 
- painting,
- philosophy, 
- sciences (astronomy, Earth sciences, geography, oceanography, paleonthology, archaeology...),
- sewing,
- sports, 
- technologies,
- travel, 
- your country and traditions (I'd love to know more about them)... 

The list of fascinating subjects is endless!

For people who do not have any particular preference of subject, I then propose a choice of five subjects: Paris, France, other European countries that speak French, that is to say Francophonie in Europe, and Francophonie in the rest of the world, and European Union.

If you wish to study several, or all, of these subjects, that's perfectly fine! 

About the subjects mentioned above.

Paris is an extraordinary city.

Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, and the Mayor has promised to make this event unforgettable. It will be a fantastic opportunity for many people to go and visit France's capital, see how beautiful it is, and maybe attend an Olympic event.
It is also a great opportunity for us to work, now and until August 2024, and if you wish to do so, on the themes of sports in general, the Olympic games in general, and the Paris 2024 Olympic games in particular. 

Concerning Paris, some people think we must not romanticise this city and teach what they call "stereotypes", the "postcard" type in other words. According to them, you must avoid to show the beauty of this city and focus more on its problems, which they consider more "authentic".

According to me, by trying to avoid clichés, they just fall into another cliché which consists in forgetting completely that, in spite of its everyday problems, a city (and a whole country too) can be and can remain truly magic, at least if you know where, and what, to look at. 

This is why I do not wish to restrict my teaching to a limited and fragmented understanding of the reality of France and France's capital, not restrict our view to one aspect only of life in France but on the contrary go deeper into a global (and much richer) understanding of the country and its culture. 

Without falling into the caricature of course, we can nevertheless say that postcards do refer to a reality, even if it is only part of a more global and general reality, so why not look at them too?
We have eyes, eyes love beauty (otherwise art would not even exist) so why refuse to see? 

I was born and raised, I have studied, and I have lived all my life in Paris, until my British husband and I moved to the UK, so I know my city very well. 
That allows me not only to give advice to people who are learning French with the objective of settling in Paris, but also to work with you about all aspects of this fabulous city. 

Paris is absolutely amazing, and the city's history, from the very first people who lived in what was then called Lutèce to the contemporary Paris, is fascinating. I personally am totally passionate about the history of Paris, not just by its beauty and its museums. I love to share that passion with you.

The Alexandre III bridge in Paris.

The Roman arenas of Lutèce. Rue Monge, 75005 Paris.

France is such a beautiful and interesting country too!

Have you already visited France? Not yet? Then we can visit the whole of France and study its cultures (I insist on the "s" at the end of the word "culture") together! 

Geography, history, archeology, traditions, arts and literature, museums, monuments, music and music festivals, gastronomy, fashion... 

Talking about the culture of France is also talking about the mentalities in the country,  and its values.

Concerning music, I do not propose to discover only the new generation of singers, but also introduce you to the older ones, even much older ones, singers from, let's say, the 1920s to the 90s, because they are fully part of our patrimony and that it is not at all old fashioned to carry on listening to them. Actually, you can not fully understand France if you do not know them and the beautiful heritage they left us, because the everyday language is sometimes full of references or allusions to the lyrics of some famous old songs, or expressions that these old songs have made more popular. To give just one example, I would quote : "Voir la vie en rose" an expression popularized by Edith Piaf's famous love song. For that reason, it is important to also know these classic songs. 

You will see that we can do some excellent activities based on the beauty of France's landscapes, which can be breathtakingMy favourite landscapes in France are the AlpsAuvergneProvencethe Riviera and its islands of Hyères, and the Atlantic coast.  
Landscapes in other francophone regions and countries are breathtaking too, and I also propose, in my lessons, to discover them.

There are a lot of various activities to do based just on a photograph of landscape, for instance, the most obvious one being, of course, oral or written description. Hover your mouse over this blue frame to discover a few more ideas of activities.

Of course, landscapes are not the only photographs, or more generally images, we can work on during a lesson.

France has many different regions where traditions, food, and even languages (regional languages are called "patois")... are unique. Listen to the language of Bretagne (Brittany) and the language of Corse (Corsica): it is like travelling to two different countries. We do not study the regional patois together, but you are made fully aware, by various activities, that when you visit France, you don't really visit France in fact. You visit a region of France.

Cultural celebrations are very numerous in France. The choice is huge! 
We can celebrate and study events like "Le printemps des poètes", "La nuit européenne des musées", "La fête de la musique", la "fête du cinéma" (with some activities around French cinema and its history), "Le 14 juillet" (called "Bastille day" in English), "Les journées européennes du patrimoine", "les journées nationales de l'architecture" (with some activities around the history of the architectural transformation of Paris, for instance), and even "La fête de la science", as this event is linked to many fantastic museums in France and is an excellent starting point for the learning of vocabulary and other activities.

Regional (instead of national or European) celebrations are also very numerous. We can celebrate "Les médiévales de Provins" (a medieval celebration in June in the town of Provins) and the "fête du Beaujolais Nouveau", in november (with some activities around wine)Many events are celebrating flowers, like the "Corso fleuri", which happens everywhere is France and is a good opportunity to learn more vocabulary, or the "fête du citron" in the southern town of Menton, which is also a good opportunity to learn vocabulary of fruits.
We can also celebrate events like "Le carnaval de Guadeloupe", in the overseas department of Guadeloupe.

Learning French is also about discovering the cultures of other overseas regions, or countries that also speak French as their official language.

First, French is also spoken in the French "Overseas departments and regions, and collectivities" (most of them islands). Some of them are fully integrated into France, some have a certain degree of autonomy.

We can study the cultures of overseas France together, and of other French speking countries that belong to the Francophonie organization. 

We can celebrate the "Journée Internationale de la Francophonie" (International Francophony Day) if we have a lesson booked on the 20th March, as well as "La Semaine de la Langue Française et de la Francophonie" (French Language and Francophony Week), also in March. 

Why is the Journée Internationale de la Francophonie celebrated on the 20th March? Please read this Canadian article to know more. 

You can read more about Francophonie here.

Many different accents.

Each francophone region or country speaks French with their own accent. The vocabulary can also differ from one place to another, a little bit like British English is sometimes different from American English. 

French accents are also different from one place to another in mainland France. It is the same in the UK, in America...

Being born and raised in Paris, I teach French as it is spoken in mainland France, and my accent is a standard and neutral Parisian one, a bit posh but not too much 😉. However, I propose to students who have reached a good level of language (from level B1) optional activities about French language as it is spoken in other regions (of mainland and overseas France) and francophone countries. 

France, Belgium and Luxembourg are francophone countries that belongs to European Union. 

They actually are part of the six original members of European Union with Italy, the Netherlands and (West) Germany. The links between these countries and the rest of European Union are very strong. This is why I believe it is important to consider them, and in particular France, in their European context too, and talk about the history of EU and the role that they played in it, as well. EU is treated in its historical dimension.

The historical relationship between EU and Switzerland, which does not belong to EU, is also studied.

Some other EU countries, like Romania, have a long tradition of integrating French language in their life and culture. As such, Romania is a full member of the International Organization of Francophony

European Union is studied in its historical, and not political or economical, aspect only.

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