Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bonne année!

Bonne année, tout le monde!

There hasn't been an update for a long time, but I've been pretty busy with the holidays (which included making a six-course French meal for my in-laws). Next time I'll share with you the delicious French food I've been making lately, but now I want to talk about a wonderful little movie my husband took me to last night that made me miss Paris again.

Have you seen Hugo yet? I adored it! Everything about the film is so French, which is impressive for an American film. Most American films set in France have a semblance of French culture, but you can feel the American-ness poking through. Despite the British accents and the happy ending, the whole film felt incredibly French. It even had secondary plots that didn't have much to do with the main plots, but added beautifully to the story. Every word on the screen was in French. Even the book the children read was in French. (My husband laughed at me for leaning forward to read the book.) In lots of American films, the words would have been in English so the audience could read along with the characters.

I loved the colors of the film--bright blues and reds and golds, even though most of the movie to place in a dull train station. I also thought the actors and costumes fit perfectly. Christopher Lee even tried to add a little French accent to his voice. The soundtrack was superb, with traditional accordion music through most of the film. The film also tied to French history, as one of the main characters is a real French film maker from the early 1900s.

I would definitely pay to see this movie again and I want it in my DVD library (preferably with a French language track, though most movies sold in the U.S. only come with Spanish language tracks...)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Being French

Have you ever looked back in your family history to see if you have French blood? I did before I went on study abroad to France and it made my experience abroad even more meaningful. It made me feel a little bit French. Walking through the medieval streets and seeing the great historic sights, I felt more attached. These things I saw weren't just part of textbook history. They were part of my history.

I remember sitting through college courses trying to memorize important figures in French history. Upon further exploring up and down my family tree, I found out that one of my ancestors was Phillipe le Bon, Duc de Bourgogne! (For those who don't know who that was, he was a major figure in the Hundred Years War.) From, there, my line connected back to people like Charlemagne! I also found out that my husband and I share a common ancestor who came to the U.S. from Bretagne in the 1600s. That was a little weird...

I found my French ancestry through It's an awesome website that connects more than a hundred years of genealogy work. The site is run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but anybody can sign up for an account and it's completely free!

So, go find your French ancestors! Finding your connection to France makes studying its language and culture that much more amazing!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Food Network Canada

Did you know that Food Network Canada has a show that is strictly French cooking? Totally unfair, although I guess it makes sense. I guess we in the States have Ina, but while she loves French cooking, she's definitely not strictly French. She kind of does everything. And her stuff isn't always as simple as the kind of French cooking I like. (I like the stuff I can find in my local Smith's...which doesn't have the widest selection of French cooking ingredients, but I've learned how to improvise.)

Here's the link to the French cook's bio: She's a journalist/PR representative turned cook! I'd love to do that. Unfortunately culinary school is so expensive. So I just learn what I can from French cooking blogs. :)

Here are a few of my favorites:

I absolutely adore the ganache tarts from Tartelette. To die for!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Feeling French

That first post was kind of lame... I was trying to figure something out. For some reason, the background isn't showing up right and I'm not really sure how to fix that. I guess I'll fiddle with it some more.

Here's a little about who I am and my purpose in creating this blog. First, my background in French. I started learning French in second grade when my family moved to Australia. You're probably wondering, "Why French in Australia?" I'm not really sure. I guess they just try to bring their kids up to be cultured. I think it's a good idea... But more on that later.

After moving back to the States, I had a little hiatus from learning French. Granted, I'm pretty sure the only things I picked up from my second-grade French classes were "le chat noir," "Père Noël," and that my name was pronounced "Rah-SHELL." But I still loved it. From then on, so many of my childhood games (I'd call them "house," but they were always much more complicated) were set in France. All the stories this young, aspiring author wrote were set in France, too. 

When I started middle school, our school didn't have many elective options. While all my friends were clamoring to get into Home Ec. or Spanish, I gleefully enrolled in the petite French 1 class. From there, it took off. The more I heard and attempted to speak this beautiful new language (well, new to me), the more I loved it and the culture it came from. I found myself in AP French my senior year of high school organizing parties for the elitist AP French Club that my class invented. We thought we were so cool wandering the halls with our matching T-shirts speaking our limited French to each other. All the other AP language teachers complained... But our French teacher loved it. What

In college I minored in French and spent a term on study abroad in France right before I got married. Now I miss it so much and try everything I can to recreate the magical tastes, sights, sounds and feelings of being there. I'm not sure when I'll get to go back, seeing as Mr. Hawks doesn't exactly like to travel.... But I'm still dreaming. :)

One of my biggest worries upon graduating from college was losing my French. I only know a few Francophones, and I don't speak with them too often. One way I found to keep up my French comprehension is listening to French radio. Here's an awesome website that has tons of online radio stations: I've been listening to the regional radio stations. They're interesting, because you get everything from Delilah-esque shows and random/unknown American music to football matches. It brings to mind the crazy taxi rides we took with the radio blaring. Sigh.... Good times. :)

Then there's always the movie thing, changing your language track to French. I've had a hard time finding movies that have French language tracks lately, which is frustrating. All the Disney movies (which in my opinion are the best to watch in a different language) only come with Spanish tracks in the U.S. They'll say they have French on the cardboard box around the DVD box, but when you look at the actual box it says that the French versions are only sold in Canada. Lame. 

A lot of older movies, however, have French tracks. Paris When It Sizzles is a fun one in French. And Ever After is amazing in French. Sometimes other languages sound funny, because they don't use similar expression when they say things, but the voices in Ever After have a lot of expression. And it's fairly easy to understand. Plus, it has a little bit of French history, which is cool if you've been to the Val de Loire and seen all the castles Fronçois Ier built because he's in the movie! When I was in France, we visited Amboise, the castle where Leonardo Da Vinci spent most of his time in France and where he's buried, so it's fun to watch that movie and think that I'd been to the real castle. (They don't use the real one in the movie.) I'm pretty sure we went back to the hotel and watched that movie after visiting Amboise.

Well, that's all for today. A bientôt!
My blog where I'll put all my French ramblings...