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French Culture – Oh what a year! Posted by on Dec 31, 2019 in Culture, Language, Music, Politics, Vocabulary

It is once again New Year’s Eve, and around the world people are greeting un nouvel an even as they look back at the year (et toute une décennie !and a whole decade) that is coming to an end. And what a year it was!

Les Français dans les rues

As far back as La Révolution de 1789, the French have been taking to the streets to protest against what they don’t like. This year saw on-going demonstrations from les gilets jaunes (protests that actually started back in November of 2018, but saw weekly demonstrations that disrupted life around la capitale and throughout France) and is ending on a whole new mouvement (with no end in sight) thanks to protests over the planned retirement plan reforms in France. Ce samedi (le 28 décembre) (This past Saturday) was the 24th day of strikes and the 59th Saturday in a row of yellow vest protests)!

Des hauts et des bas

It was a year that started with highs and lows. We celebrated the 90th birthday of the famous Belgian reporter, Tintin. And we lost a great musical artist, Michel Legrand.

Notre-Dame en feu

Tragically, this was also the year that the world almost lost one of the most famous churches and for the first time in over 200 years, there was no mass held in Notre Dame on Christmas eve. In April, most likely due to une étincelle (a spark) from a worker’s tool, the wooden roof structure known as la fôret (the forest) burned, taking down much of le toit (the roof) and – if not for the heroic efforts of Paris’s finest fire brigades – might have destroyed all of Notre-Dame. And now despite efforts to shore up the building, it seems that the scaffolding that was in place for the work before the fire may be putting the remaining structure at risk, with some now saying there is only a 50% chance of saving the remaining structure.

Les Tops de 2019

My post about Notre-Dame avant le feu turned out to be the most popular post of the past year here on Transparent Language’s French blog.

These four rounded out your favorites:

French Lessons Hiding In Un Café – Coffee Order Mistakes

French Vocabulary – Talking about family

French Language – Gender Neutrality

As Long As Your Arm – Exaggerating In French

Pensée finale 

A last thought as we head into 2020: I came across a lovely quote from Boucar Dioufle “biologiste, océanographe, humoriste, conteur, chroniquer et animateur de télévision québecois d’origine sénégalaise (biologist, oceanographer, humorist, story-teller, chronicler, and Québec tv personality originally from Sengal), who said of his mother:

Elle dit souvent que lorsqu’on partage, on se départ de quelque chose à quoi on tient, alors que donner peut parfois être une simple façon de se débarrasser d’une chose à laquelle on ne tient pas.

She often says that when one shares, you’re giving up some of a thing that is important to you, while when you give something, that can just be a way to get rid of something that you don’t really care about.

La Presse, 21 décembre, 2019

Bonne Année! May your 2020 by full of sharing!

Et n’oubliez pas de nous dire quelles sont vos chansons préférées des années 2010-2019! Vous avez encore le temps! (And don’t forget to let us know what your favorite songs from the last ten years are! You’ve still got time!)

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris