We are happy to introduce a new post series that aims at helping you discover the culture of the language you are currently learning, while improving your written and oral comprehension as well as your vocabulary.
Each of these posts will include a book, a song, a movie, a podcast and a website in a specific language. This first entry is dedicated to French. Here are our recommendations!
- Book : La première gorgée de bière et autres plaisirs minuscules – Philippe Delerm
In this short book (93 pages), Philippe Delerm dedicates a couple of pages each to 34 simple pleasures of life including – as the title suggests – the first sip of beer. Each text is written in a very poetic way and is sure to make your heart melt a little. Its aim is to remind you that even the most mundane aspects of life can (and should) be enjoyed and that you should make time to acknowledge that.
The texts are easy to read and shouldn’t be too hard to understand even if you haven’t been learning French for very long, so dive in!
- Song: Carla Bruni – Quelqu’un m’a dit
Carla Bruni released her debut album in 2002, six years before she married former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. This album is named after what was to become her biggest hit, ‘Quelqu’un m’a dit’. The song was part of the (500) Days Of Summer soundtrack in 2009, which popularized it among the English-speaking audience.
Its lyrics use simple vocabulary and have no hidden meaning so most French learners should understand the song’s message. Moreover, Carla Bruni sings slowly and has perfect elocution, so this song is perfect to help you improve your listening comprehension skills. And why not try singing along to work on your pronunciation? You can hear the song right here.
- Movie: Les Chansons d’Amour – Christophe Honoré
If you are learning French, chances are you are fascinated by Paris and its lifestyle. If that’s your case, Les Chansons d’Amour is an absolute must-watch! This 2007 musical movie provides a perfect depiction of what life in Paris is like, and by that we mean the actual life of Parisians, not the cliché lifestyle that is often portrayed in foreign films. It tells the moving story of a young couple who are attempting to welcome a third person into their relationship before an accident tears them apart.
Even though the movie’s plot might seem somewhat sad, we can assure you that there is a lot of beauty and optimism in it, so don’t worry and enjoy its catchy songs and interesting characters!
- Podcasts: France Info
France Info is one of the main radio stations dedicated to the news in France. You can listen to all of their shows online by following this link. Pick a show which is dedicated to the topic you wish to know more about (politics, literature, music etc.) and start listening!
While these podcasts are particularly suitable for the most advanced learners among you, do not hesitate to give a few shows a listen to train your ears and improve your listening comprehension. Moreover, these podcasts are a wonderful way to keep up with current affairs.
- Website: Konbini
Konbini is one of the biggest French online magazines and is dedicated to lifestyle and pop culture topics such as music, urban arts, design trends, movies etc. They now have English (UK + US) and Spanish (Mexico) versions, but don’t cheat and make sure you stay on the French one!
Reading Konbini’s articles is perfect if you know all about current trends and what young creative French people are interested in and talk about – bookmark this and you’ll be able to impress everyone during your next French vacation.