Posts from the ‘Culture’ category

La Vie en Rose Song Translation

Whenever I hear this song, cliché though it may be, I always feel a deep longing to be in Paris. One day I was singing along to it as it played in one of my favorite movies, and I realized I wasn’t 100% sure of all the words in the verses – the way they are either condensed or drawn out in the melody. So I looked up the lyrics.

After having taken a French translation course last year, I thought it would be fun to come up with my own English translation for it as well. What follows is not word for word, but a very close rendition of how we would say the same ideas in English. I also made a free printable version of it for you. I hope you enjoy it!

La Vie en Rose (français)

Des yeux qui font baisser les miens
Un rire qui se perd sur sa bouche
Voilà le portrait sans retouche
De l’homme auquel j’appartiens

Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Il me parle tout bas
Je vois la vie en rose

Il me dit des mots d’amour
Des mots de tous les jours
Et ça me fait quelque chose

Il est entré dans mon cœur
Une part de bonheur
Dont je connais la cause

C’est lui pour moi, moi pour lui dans la vie
Il me l’a dit, l’a juré pour la vie

Et dès que je l’aperçois
Alors je sens en moi
Mon cœur qui bat

Des nuits d’amour à ne plus en finir
Un grand bonheur qui prend sa place
Des ennuis, des chagrins, s’effacent
Heureux, heureux à en mourir

Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Il me parle tout bas
Je vois la vie en rose

Il me dit des mots d’amour
Des mots de tous les jours
Et ça me fait quelque chose

Il est entré dans mon cœur
Une part de bonheur
Dont je connais la cause

C’est toi pour moi, moi pour toi dans la vie
Il me l’a dit, l’a juré pour la vie

Et dès que je t’aperçois
Alors je sens dans moi

La Vie en Rose (English)

A look in his eyes I can’t meet with mine
A laugh that gets lost on his lips
That’s the unaltered picture
Of the man I belong to

When he takes me in his arms
He speaks to me so softly
Life looks rosy to me

He whispers sweet nothings
Everyday words
And it does something to me

There’s a little bit of happiness in my heart
And I know the cause of it
It’s him for me, me for him, forever
He told me so, swore it forever

And as soon as I see him
I feel within me
My beating heart

Nights of neverending love
Bring great happiness to me
Troubles and regrets are erased
Happy, I’m so happy I could die

When he takes me in his arms
He speaks to me so softly
Life looks rosy to me

He whispers sweet nothings
Everyday words
And it does something to me

There’s a little bit of happiness
in my heart
And I know the cause of it

It’s you for me, me for you, forever
He told me, swore it forever

And as soon as I see you
I feel within me
My beating heart

Written by Edith Gassion, Louis Guglielmli
Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Beuscher Arpege

Free Printable Version:


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Petit à petit – French proverb

“Little by little, the bird builds its nest.”

Whenever I feel overwhelmed, this reminds me to take one small step at a time!

Petit = little (adjective) à = at, to, by (preposition)
l’oiseau = bird (masculine noun) fais = from verb faire, to do or to make
son = his/her (possessive pronoun) nid = nest (masculine noun)

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Project: Build a French City

At our homeschool co-op, I taught a class called “Bon Voyage” with travel-themed vocabulary and culture lessons: famous monuments, shopping, transportation, and directions on a map.

One of the most charming aspects of French life is the variety of small specialty shops found in each town, from small villages to large metropolitan cities.  Despite the noise of the bustling, modern world, wandering the streets in France can feel like traveling back in time. Popping in and out of little mom-and-pop shops, exchanging greetings of “Bonjour Madame, Bonjour Monsieur!” is so vastly different from shopping at Wal-mart!

French shops - la crèmerie

One of my faves – fresh cream ladled into cups, yogurt in glass jars, and dozens of fragrant cheeses.

(Hmmmm… I wonder if somewhere in France there is an opposite of me, someone who thinks French shopping is old-fashioned and yearns to shop at Wal-mart? Would they take pictures of giant cola and chip displays, like I take photos of pastries in bakery windows? Surely not!)

Before classes began, I found several long, rectangular boxes and spray-painted them a creamy stucco color, to represent the limestone of Parisian buildings.  I spray painted the box flaps a textured slate-gray color for the roofs. Each student was given a stiff cardboard panel, about 14″ tall by 11″ wide, to fit the outside dimensions of my boxes.

I wanted to make wrought-iron balconies from pipe cleaners or wire, but it was time-consuming and didn’t look right in the end. I tried finding a window graphic of balconies to cut and paste, but no luck. Another mom found an arched window graphic, so we printed several sheets of windows and cut them out. This gave everyone’s panel a unified look.

Balconies in Paris 1

As my students learned the names of French specialty shops, each chose their favorite and created a representation of it on their cardboard panel.  Every week we added buildings, streets, shops, and monuments to build our city.

The streets were spaced wide enough for them to walk through, so we could practice giving/receiving directions to tournez à gauche (turn left), tournez à droite (turn right), or continuez tout droit (go straight) until they arrived at their assigned destination.  This is what I love about homeschooling: learning “off the page,” i.e., learning by doing. No boring workbook pages!

Once all the storefront panels were finished, we attached them to the large boxes I’d painted, and arranged them into market streets, like this one:

rue Montorgueil – one of my favorite market streets in Paris

Student ages ranged from 7 to 17 years old, and I was amazed to see their creativity!  Below are some photos from our Open House, where we had to fit everything on tabletops along with displays from other classes.  For some reason, I didn’t get photos of it on the floor in the classroom, probably because we were always busy trying to make progress in a 45-minute class held only once a week!

La pâtisserie, the pastry shop

This student amazed me by sculpting her own pastries and cakes for her window!  She covered the cardboard in scrapbook paper, made an awning, and cut an opening for the door.

La boucherie, the butcher shop

This student cut out the butcher and meat display, then added foam spacers for a 3D effect (hard to tell from photo but a great effect). His awning is bordered with a ribbon, and the door and windows have real wood frames.

 

La boutique de fleuriste, the florist shop

Two girls worked on this shop. In another co-op class, they were learning paper quilling, so they made all the flowers from paper and sculpted little clay pots for them! Floral fabric for the awning.

La poste – the post office

French mailboxes and mail trucks are all yellow, as opposed to blue in the U.S. and red in the U.K. Isn’t that interesting?

Le café

This one has tables outside, with a chalkboard menu, and a white poodle! The French love to take their dogs with them everywhere, even to restaurants.

Le parc – the park

Every town has its green spaces, some with ponds and water features. This lady is having a pique-nique with a baguette.

La boulangerie – the bakery

More 3-D bread in the window. Awnings are an essential feature of French shops.

Le musée – the museum

The girl who made this one took time to paint the inside, cut out fancy windows, and fill it with paintings and adorable hand-made sculptures. Love it!

For the open house, I added photos and labels so observers could see what we’d been learning about in class.

We also created a roundabout with a model of the Arc de Triomphe, from a free online printable. Since then, I’ve found a nicer color version here.

These are grouped close together on tables, but during class they were spaced far enough to walk through. See the tiny airplanes at the airport? We also had a zoo with animals, hotels, and little cars and buses, all made by the students.  Voilà!  Everything you need for a successful city!

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French words used in English

One of the most convincing reasons I know for learning French is to help with English vocabulary and spelling.  That’s right, I said English!  Did you know nearly one third to one half (depending whom you ask!) of the English language is made up of French words? We can attribute this fact to the Norman invasion of England, back in 1066.

Read any great book of literature, and you’re likely to come across several French words or phrases, such as raison d’être, nouveau riche, or savoir faire. Your understanding and comprehension is much greater if you’re familiar with these words. As well, many spelling rules, or exceptions to rules, have to do with French phonograms, like words ending in “-tion.”

Here’s a lesson I created to help whet your appetite for learning more French.  It’s called 13 Everyday English Words that are Actually French. Continue reading…

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Galette des Rois – Kings’ Cake Recipe

Epiphany, also known as the Day of Kings or Twelfth Night, occurs January 6th and marks the date on which the Three Wise Men visited baby Jesus.

La galette des rois usually includes a lucky charm, or fève, hidden inside the cake. It can be an almond, a large bean, or a tiny figurine made especially for this purpose.

The bakery version comes complete with a gold paper crown and a fève (lucky charm) hidden inside, which could be anything from a religious figure to an everyday object to a popular film or cartoon character. Some enterprising bakeries even lure customers with the promise of a very valuable prize, hidden in one of their cakes.In many French homes, it is tradition for the youngest child of the family to hide under the table as la galette des rois is cut, then he/she will name a family member to receive each piece. Whoever finds the fève is crowned king or queen for the day and is given a crown to wear.

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Boeuf Bourguignon – Burgundy Beef Recipe

Julia Child’s classic recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon, straight from her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I have made only very minor adaptations for the sake of convenience.

After you’ve fried the bacon, pat the beef dry with a paper towel, then brown it in the bacon drippings. Do this in several batches, so you don’t crowd the pan. Prepare the veggies.

The meat is browned on all sides, but not cooked yet. Remove and set aside, so we can cook the veggies. You can’t see it, but the beef is resting on a bed of cooked bacon.

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Tea Time in England

We only had 1.5 days to spend in London before heading to France, but a real English tea was high on the priority list. After spending all night on the plane, then all day at Lego Land, we were exhausted and in need of a break.

Crooked House Tea Room in Windsor England

The Crooked House tea room in Windsor, England (2011)

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Cooking Class in Paris

On my 2008 trip to Paris, I took a cooking class at A World in a Pan. The most exciting part for me was that it took place in the chef’s own kitchen at her apartment, located in the 16th arrondissement, directly above a restaurant.

Chef Laura Neulat spoke English well, and we chatted easily in her living room, until the other participants arrived. Incredibly, they were three American ladies from Kansas City, where I lived at the time, and they were also staying at my same hotel (the one with the teeny, tiny elevator)! Quelle coïncidence!

Our luncheon was a typical 3-course French menu: cheese souflée, chicken in mushroom sauce, and a simple apple tart. We began making it in reverse order, dessert first, since it took the longest to cook.

la tarte aux pommes – apple tart

 

The petite kitchen was surprisingly functional! I took mental notes (and a few discreet photos) of her essential tools and how she maximized her small space for efficiency. At her direction, we crowded around a little table and began peeling, slicing, and grating. It was tight, but cozy. Chef Laura bustled back and forth between the stove and our table, giving excellent tips and instructions. I kept peeking out the window through the wrought iron balcony, feeling delighted with the experience of being in a real French person’s home!

Next we began the chicken recipe. Chef Laura explained how she purchased only the freshest produce and free-range chicken from the market, and the best cheese and cream from the fromagerie. She was very much into organic food and clean eating, as most French people seem to be. They love knowing the story of where their food comes from.

Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons - Chicken in Mushroom Sauce

Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons – Chicken in Mushroom Sauce

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Panic in a Petite Paris Elevator

I have recurring nightmares about getting stuck in elevators and/or twisting and turning wildly through convoluted elevator tubes, through a bizarre skyscraper, the likes of which you’d only find in a Dr. Seuss book. I’m sure there’s some embarrassing, Freudian dream interpretation for all this, but I’d rather not think about what it might be.

Having just conquered the daunting, double-decker elevator of the Eiffel Tower, you’d think a tiny elevator would be no problem. You’d be wrong! On top of elevator-phobia, I have claustrophobia as well!

So you can imagine my dismay when I was greeted with a diminutive see-through iron cage, only slightly larger than the pink plastic one on Barbie’s Dream House.

stairs spiraling around a narrow elevator cage

It was my first trip to Paris, my group tour had just ended, and now I was traveling all by myself, seriously lacking in travel-smarts. I’d just checked in to my hotel, a quaint old building in the 7th arrondissement, near the Eiffel Tower.

Huge, old-fashioned metal key in hand, I followed an honest-to-goodness French maid, in full uniform, complete with starched white apron and hat, toward the center of the hotel. She stopped next to the stairs and a narrow elevator, and opened the swing-out door for me. Continue reading…

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Soufflé au Fromage – Cheese Soufflé Recipe

For your next cooking project, why not try a soufflé? It’s really not as hard as you may expect, and the kids will love seeing how tall it “grows.” The word soufflé means blown or puffed, and it comes from the verb souffler, to blow. Making a soufflé is like watching a balloon inflate, but without the worry of it popping unexpectedly!

There are all kinds of savory soufflés, made with salmon or other seafood, spinach, or cheese. These are eaten as an entrée (appetizer) or as a light lunch or dinner, with a salad. You can also make a chocolate soufflé for dessert.

The three basic steps of making a soufflé are:

  1. Make a simple white sauce with butter, flour, and milk; add cheese or other flavoring.
  2. Separate some eggs and beat the egg whites until tall and fluffy.
  3. Mix the two parts together gently and bake it until puffy and golden brown.

Doesn’t that sound pretty easy? This is another one of the recipes I learned from the cooking class I took in Paris.

I had always wanted to make this, but I had heard it was really tricky to keep them from falling. It’s really not – you just have to be ready to eat it as soon as it comes out of the oven. In other words, “You wait for the soufflé, the soufflé doesn’t wait for you!”

 

Et voilà! A lovely first course for a meal.

Bon appétit!

Soufflé au Fromage - Cheese Soufflé Recipe
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ lb emmental cheese (or good Swiss cheese)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche (or sour cream)
  • nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Grate the cheese and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan; whisk in the flour until smooth.
  4. Stir in the milk slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Remove from heat and let cool (do not add cheese yet).
  5. Separate the eggs; beat the egg whites and salt in a mixer or bowl until firm.
  6. Add the cheese, egg yolks, and crème fraîche to the white sauce; stir until blended.
  7. Add ⅓ of the egg whites to the cheese mixture; fold in until combined. Gently fold in remaining whites.
  8. Butter and flour small ramekins or ovenproof dishes; fill ¾ full with cheese mixture.
  9. Place ramekins in a large ovenproof pan; pour boiling water into pan to reach halfway up the sides of ramekins.
  10. Bake 10 minutes until golden brown. Season to taste.

 

 

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