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.
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.
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.
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. Let?s talk about all this. C?est parti!
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.
The transfer of Brazilian footballer, Neymar, smashed all records in terms of the colossal sums of money involved. Are such sporting investments really justified? Let?s talk about that.
Our lesson this time was inspired by a recent article entitled ?Have smartphones destroyed a generation?? A provocative title indeed, but one that got us thinking. C?est parti!
Our lesson this time - for Advanced learners ? focuses on the stunning rise to the French presidency of the youthful Emmanuel Macron at just 39 years of age. How, exactly, did he manage to pull off such a victory? Let?s discuss.
A listener wondered if we could do a lesson on the basis of a traffic accident. So that?s what we?ve done : we?ve simulated a discussion on the basis of a minor accident that did actually occur recently at our end. Let?s start with a conversation: then we?ll look closely at the vocabulary.
The withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Accord on climate change caused consternation worldwide, not least as almost all countries signed up to its terms in 2016. Let?s talk about the decision of the U.S. administration to withdraw. We?ll discover how to make use of a whole range of interesting vocabulary. C?est parti!
In some countries, particularly the U.S., a university education has become so expensive that some wonder if it is even worth going to college at all, any more. Let?s start with a conversation. Then we?ll come back and look more closely at some key vocabulary.
It?s holiday season, a time of year when we might discuss a film or TV series we?ve seen. That?s the subject of our conversation this time. First, let?s talk about a French production called ?Spiral?.
The coral reefs of the world?s oceans are in mortal danger but, as is often the case with environmental concerns, few people seem to appreciate that the dangers are imminent. That is the focus of our lesson this time.
Digital tablets in the classroom were recently described as a 60 billion dollar hoax. Despite these strong words, it seems we?re on an inexorable drive to place a screen in front of every child in the classroom. But to whose benefit ? That?s the subject of our conversation in this lesson.
This lesson is inspired by our having heard about Norway in Michael Moore?s latest satirical documentary. Now, no country is perfect but Norway certainly seems to have a lot going for it. Let?s start with a conversation.
The title of this Advanced lesson may be controversial. After all, it is a fact that tens of thousands of people ? some of whom have been lifted out of abject poverty ? work in call centres around the world. However, questions one might ask are: what kind of work do call centre workers actually do? What kind of career prospects can workers realistically expect from such work? Béatrix talks of her friend?s experience in one such call centre. Let?s listen.
A listener asked about ?tu? and ?vous?. In English, we simply use the pronoun ?you? but, in French, things are more complicated. In this conversation, we talk about when to use ?tu? and ?vous?? and how to ?make the switch? between the two when our relationships have evolved over time. Let?s listen.
A listener asked said he had recently been in France and had heard a few slang words used frequently. In this lesson, our dialogue makes use of a variety of slang words, some of which are very common. Let?s listen.
This time, our lesson centres on the social tensions in France, arising from the proposed introduction of new work laws. The main protagonists are, on the one hand, the CGT - a very powerful union - and, on the other, the government which insists that there is no alternative to the new measures it is proposing.
He was the world?s most famous boxer. But, to many, he represented much more than a particular sport. In this lesson, let?s talk about Mohammed Ali.
AirBnB has rocked the hospitality industry. For holiday-makers it has proved a boon but hoteliers are up in arms. On the other hand, hoteliers are up in arms, citing 'wild-west' practices and a lack of regulation, not to mention depleted rental accommodation, as property owners turn to this new rental model instead of committing to longer-term tenants. We discuss the service provided by AirBnB in this lesson.
What exactly does the word ?education? mean to you ? Sur le chemin de l?école is a provocative and inspiring documentary from Pascal Plisson. It depicts vividly the insatiable thirst for learning of children in some of the world?s most remote corners. Let?s listen to a dialogue.
This Advanced lesson (all in French) arises from a recent documentary relating to so-called 'superfoods'. Do humble foods like broccoli and quinoa deserve such an impressive label? Let's hear a conversation about them. C'est parti!
Several listeners have asked about the expression 'quand même'. In fact, it is extremely common in French and has a wide variety of meanings. A minor change in intonation can sometimes alter its meaning. Let's hear this expression used in various situations.
This Advanced lesson focuses on the plight of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean, from North Africa to the European mainland, often with disastrous consequences.
"Still Alice", the story of a university professor afflicted with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, won an Oscar for Julianne Moore in the starring role. This film is the focus of our attention in this Advanced lesson, entirely in French. If you've been making progress with our Intermediate lessons, this lesson is for you.
The attacks on the Charlie Hebdo headquarters raised many questions. How far does freedom of speech go? Can we simply say whatever we like, whenever we wish? Let's hear a conversation, to start...
This second part of our two-part lesson focuses on other skiing activities including 'snowboarding' and, of course, the very important social aspect of a skiing trip. Let's listen.
One of our listeners asked for a lesson that would include skiing-related vocabulary. In this two-part lesson, Bertrand plays the role of an experienced skiier while I'm a beginner. I'll soon be joining my friend, Damien for a week in the Alps. Let's listen...
In this lesson, we take a look at some essential tourist vocabulary that just about everybody needs on a holiday to France. Our conversation is a typical one where a family arrives on the terrasse of a café. It?s very warm and everybody is thirsty. Let?s see how the conversation unfolds with the waitress?
Little did we know when we were preparing this lesson in recent days that the situation in Ukraine would become even more fragile with the shooting down of a civilian airliner. Bertrand gives his views on why the impasse with Russia is so volatile. Let's listen first; then we'll look closely at the key vocabulary...
The focus of our lesson this time is something which could be described as a modern-day disorder, afflicting a huge number of people. We're not talking about a physical disorder, per se... more of a social one. Béatrix and I are having a coffee but Béatrix is getting frustrated at my inattention. Let's listen...
Our lesson this time focuses on a concert Béatrix attended, a classical concert. Bertrand wonders what makes the difference between a concerto on the one hand and a symphony on the other. Béatrix gives him a very basic music lesson. Let's listen. Then we'll come back and take a closer look at the key vocabulary.
Our lesson this time centres around a film called "Dallas Buyers' Club", the story of a Texan cowboy who contracted AIDS at a time when most people had not yet heard of the disease. Let's listen. Then we'll take a closer look at the key vocabulary.
If ever the term 'great statesman' were relevant, it could surely be attributed to Nelson Mandela. In our conversation this time, Bertrand puts some questions to Béatrix to discover why, exactly, Mandela became such an icon. Let's listen.
Our conversation this time focuses on working conditions as Qatar develops its infrastructure for the football World Cup in 2022. The tournament is some years away but the controversies surrounding the plight of workers is current, and real. Let?s listen to a conversation between Béatrix and Rémy.
Just recently, Edward Snowden was living a normal life. Now, however, he is a hunted man with a future that is very uncertain. Once he revealed that U.S. authorities were monitoring the daily communications of ordinary citizens, his life effectively changed forever. In this lesson, Zoë and Jules discuss the Snowden affair. Let's listen.
Florida was home to a recent winner of the Powerball jackpot of around 400 million dollars. As always, there was a media frenzy. In this lesson, Lucien and Zara discuss lotteries in general. Zara thinks they?re scandalous. Lucien, on the other hand, thinks that Zara needs to lighten up. Let?s listen...
Today, several hundred million people around the world are ?tweeting?. In this lesson, let?s hear a conversation between Bertrand and Amandine. Bertrand is a regular Twitter user, but Amandine is not. Let?s listen...
This lesson, which we recorded some time ago, focuses on the situation in Mali. In our role-play, Brendan asks Simone to shed some light on the military intervention of France in one of its former colonies. Let's listen. Then we'll come back and discuss some key vocabulary.
One of our listeners, a doctor working in a French-speaking community in New York, suggested that we devote a lesson to a dialogue between a doctor and a patient. That's the subject of this lesson. The patient, Mr Gauthier, has just come into the doctor's clinic, which is where the conversation takes place...
More than a few people seem to suffer from the modern-day 'affliction' of almost constant texting. That's the topic of conversation in this lesson. Alain and Thérèse are out for dinner but they have not yet said a word to each other. Let's listen.
We've all been there, in an auditorium, a church, a meeting where a phone has gone off. But few interruptions are as dramatic as a recent one in New York. Let's hear what happened, exactly.
Two men are at the forefront of the race to become the next president of the French republic. As is the case with all political battles, things often take an ugly twist on the campaign trail. Let?s find out more.
Facebook is about to float on the stock market. In the business community, it has been one of the most talked-about events of recent years with its massive valuation. Can it possibly be as valuable as people are suggesting?? Let?s hear a dialogue between Geneviève and Bertrand. As someone with an interest in the stock market, Bertrand has strong views on the whole subject of the Facebook flotation.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula changed dramatically in December 2011 with the death of Kim Jong Il. Our conversation in this lesson focuses on the harsh communist regime of North Korea, long dominated by the 'personality cult' of its 'Dear Leader'.
The very existence of the monarchy is something which arouses strong feelings. Some think it is an institution to be cherished, others think it is an absurdity. Arnaud, sees it from two points of view. Against the backdrop of the recent marriage of William and Kate, let's listen to a role-play, quite a long one this time, between Arnaud and Yasmin...
Paris boasts some wonderful sites for visitors but, surely, the Château of Versailles is the jewel in its crown. Even for visitors who don't get to see inside the castle, the majestic gardens won't disappoint. Let's hear a conversation - quite a long one this time - between Philippe and Céline. Céline has just returned from a trip to Paris...
In this era of information technology, we?ll need to know some basic internet-related expressions. Those will be the basis of this Beginner lesson. Let?s first listen to a short role-play between Jeanne and Gérard. Jeanne is looking for some information.
Europe is in crisis. The euro, too, is going through a turbulent phase. But are those who are predicting the end of the "European Project" simply being pessimistic? Let's analyse a discussion on the matter. C'est parti!