French Language Blog

Covid one year later Posted by on Mar 23, 2021 in Culture, News, Vocabulary

Like many, I had hoped that we wouldn’t be talking about Covid anymore. While there are signs of hope, there are concerning signs too especially in Europe. So where is France with Covid one year later?

[CC0] Photo by Elina Sazonova from Pexels

Le bilan

What does the balance sheet look like one year on? As of March 21, 2020, France had reported 4 282 603 cas1cases and 92 305 décès.2deaths The average daily rate of deaths is down significantly from the peak in avril3April 2020 as well as the second wave in novembre4November2020, but still concerning enough that France is headed into …

Un troisième confinement

Since they have not seen the reductions in Covid cases they would like, the government of Emmanuel Macron has instituted a third confinement across 16 departments for four weeks à compter de vendredi 19 mars à minuit5starting at midnight on March 19th.

While outdoor travel is allowed during the day within 10 kilometers of a primary residence, une attestation is still required in some cases … but not in others … leaving the French more than a bit confused. From where I sit, this nouveau confinement seems a bit more like the earlier couvre-feu that allowed people to leave their homes during the day.

You can watch a recording of the presentation in which Premier ministre6Prime Minister Jean Castex announced de nouvelles mesures de confinement7new confinement measures here.

Le ou la Covid bis

Last May Bridgette8who had just joined us here on the French blog! shared a post explaining how the Académie Française had declared that le Covid-19 was actually LA Covid-19. Turns out that not everyone got the memo!

According to a recent poll by IFOP la question de son genre ne semble toujour pas avoir été tranchée9the question of gender is seemingly still not decided. According to a survey of 1,048 people, over 80% of French people still say le Covid … despite the fact that 57% say that “Covid n’est correct qu’au féminin10Covid is only right when it’s feminine!

How to explain this discrepancy? For those who lean masculine, 38% say it is simply because that’s what everyone used when the pandemic started. For those who lean feminine, 26% percent do so because the Academy said so.

Un peu de distraction

Let’s end on a lighter note.

I just finished a wonderful little French série télévisée11television series called Dix pour cent (Call My Agent in English). Originally airing on the French chaine de télévision12tv channel France 2, all four saisons13seasons are available on Netflix. Named for the 10% commission that agents collect from their stars, the show tells the story of 4 agents and their assistants at the fictional agence artistique14talent agency, ASK, in Paris.

If you’re looking for more ways to practice your French skills while enjoying some truly beautiful footage of Paris … and enjoying some truly great guest spots from real French (and one American) movie stars (playing amped up versions of themselves) … this is a great option for you.

One note: the French flies fast and furious in each episode. Be prepared to watch the episodes twice, or to leverage the closed captioning (I recommend trying it with the French closed captions on).

My only regret is that – with just 6 episodes per season – it was over too fast!

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    starting at midnight on March 19th
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    Prime Minister
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    new confinement measures
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    who had just joined us here on the French blog!
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    the question of gender is seemingly still not decided
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    Covid is only right when it’s feminine
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    tv channel
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    talent agency
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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.


  1. Natasja:

    Hello, I just want to say I loved the older format of the newsletters (email) much better. It was very playful and educative to see both EN and FR words in one email. Very easy to read, too. Now in the new format I don’t see the translation anymore… Can you please change this back perhaps? Kind regards, Natasja.

    • Tim Hildreth:

      @Natasja Bonjour Natasja, and thank you for your comments. I’ve gone back and forth on how best to provide content. Sometimes including the translations right in line makes it “too easy” for people who want to try and use context clues and their existing vocabulary to see if they know what the French means before opening up the translation in the footnote link. I’d love to hear what other people think! And in the meantime, I’ll do my best to mix things up so you get a little of what you want as well! Merci, Tim