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French in your own time. At your own pace.

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Study real-life French that you'll use in real situations…
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Our Blog

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Apr

01

2012

faire bouillir la marmite

'to bring home the bacon'

The verb bouillir means 'to boil' while une marmite is a pot. The expression faire bouillir la marmite is used figuratively in reference to someone who is the breadwinner or who 'brings home the bacon'. Consider some uses of the verb bouillir:… Read More

Mar

18

2012

'Les trop gros bobbies devront se serrer la ceinture'

"'Bobbies' who are too fat are going to have to tighten their belts…"

That's according to a recent article in Le Figaro.… Read More

Feb

29

2012

'Sarkozy – Hollande: duel à couteaux tirés'

L'expression en être à couteaux tirés avec quelqu'un

The presidential campaign is intensifying in France. A headline in one of the broadsheets characterised the battle between front-runners Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande as un duel à couteaux tirés, in other words 'a duel with knives drawn'. Though Mr Hollande is still ahead in the polls, his lead is diminishing.… Read More

Feb

27

2012

Mahler… interrompu!…

If you're a music lover, our next lesson will be of interest to you.

At a recent performance of the New York Philharmonic, concert-goers were dismayed to hear the incongruous and persistent sound of a marimba ring out from the very first row of the auditorium at a key moment.… Read More

Feb

26

2012

"Hollande: 'secourir Edith Bouvier'"

le verbe secourir

This article from Le Figaro focuses attention on the plight of French journalist, Edith Bouvier, seriously wounded in Homs, Syria. For more than a week, bombs have rained down on Homs. One dares not estimate the number of victims beneath the rubble. Survivors lack all necessities: water, electricity and food.… Read More

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Recent Lessons

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Lesson no: 197, Level: Intermediate

Quand ‘l’Afrique’ a gagné la Coupe du Monde!

Our lesson this time goes back to a joke made by chat-show host Trevor Noah last summer, following the World cup. The only thing is, some people didn’t find his joke funny at all, not least the French ambassador in Washington. So what was it all about, again? Let’s start, as usual, with a conversation to put things in context.

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Lesson no: 196, Level: Intermediate

Le Président Macron réinstaurera le Service national

Our conversation this time focuses on President Macron's plan to reintroduce national service in France. Some people are wondering if he is the right man to decide on such matters, given that he himself is the first French president not to have done military service.

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Lesson no: 195, Level: Intermediate

La présidence Trump approche des élections de mi-mandat

The Trump presidency is nearing the mid-term elections in November. Mr Trump – arguably more than any other American president – has polarised opinions. Let’s talk about the first half of his mandate and what has being going on in recent weeks.

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Lesson no: 194, Level: Intermediate

France: la réforme de l’accès à l’université

Traditionally, French high school graduates have been guaranteed public university places, regardless of the grades achieved in their baccalauréat. This, however, has resulted in very high drop-out rates. It is hoped that, from 2018, proposed reforms will result in a more efficient means of access to university.

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Lesson no: 193, Level: Intermediate

Que penses-tu du Brexit?

Britain’s vote to withdraw from the European Union was widely controversial and continues to be so. Brexit – from a French perspective – is at the centre of our conversation this time.

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