French Language Blog

Literary Classics with…Nabilla? Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 in Culture

Sometimes you want nothing more than to curl up with a good book. With the internet, it’s easy to hop on to a site to find suggestions for new things to read. If not, you can choose to read one of the classics. Every language has their own canon of classics. Even if you haven’t read them, you can still probably complete their titles because of their influence on your culture. French reality TV star and auteur (auteure?) Nabilla Benattia was given ce défi (this challenge) on an episode of  L’Œuf ou la Poule ? (The Egg or the Chicken?).

It should be noted that Nabilla isn’t exactly known for her intelligence. She shot to fame with one expression on the show les Anges de la Télé-réalité (The Angels of Reality TV) in 2013. In an episode, Nabilla and 2 others are doing shopping for the house. The other woman puts shampoo in the cart because the other girls at the house didn’t have any. Nabilla wasn’t happy about it because she considered this a personal product and shouldn’t be purchased as something for the house. During filming back at the house, she spit out what has become une phrase culte (a cult phrase): Allô! non, mais allô, quoi ! This uttering became so common that even Ikea and Carrefour used it in their advertisements.

Now that we’ve established Nabilla’s credentials, let’s talk more about the challenge she was given. She was given the first part of the title of 15 books and had to complete the title correctly. Other guests on the show were able to guess how many Nabilla would answer correctly (1 title, between 2 and 5 titles, between 6 and 10 titles, or more than 10 titles). I’m going to give you the same challenge. Most of these novels come from French literature, but there are a few that come from other countries. I’ve listed the titles in English, too, if you want an easier challenge. Answers at the bottom.


  1. Lettres de mon ______ (Letters from My ____) by Daudet
  2. Le Rouge et le ______ (The Red and The ______) by Stendhal
  3. Les Malheurs de ______ (______’s Misfortunes) by la comtesse de Ségur
  4. Les Fleurs du ______ ( The Flowers of ______) by Baudelaire
  5. Le Bourgeois ______ (The Middleclass ______) by Molière
  6. La Gloire ______ (____ Glory) by Pagnol
  7. Le Barbier de ______ (The Barber of _____) by Beaumarchais
  8. Le Lièvre et la ______ (The ____ and the Hare) by de la Fontaine
  9. Crime et _____ (Crime and _____) by Dostoyevsky
  10. Madame ______ (Madame ______) by Flaubert
  11. Le vieil homme et ______ (The Old Man and _____) by Hemingway
  12. Anna ______ (Anna ______) by Tolstoy
  13. 19__ (19__) by Orwell
  14. L’Art de la ______ (The Art of _____) by Sun Tzu
  15. Boule de ______ (Ball of _____) by Maupassant

How did you do? I got 14. Nabilla managed 4, but she was given Le vieil homme et la mer because she said sa mère. Close enough. Check out the video of her playing below.



  1. Moulin (Windmill); 2. Noir (Black); 3. Sophie; 4. Mal (Evil); 5. Gentilhomme (Gentleman); 6. mon Père (My Father’s); 7. Séville (Seville); 8. Tortue (Tortise); 9. Châtiment (Punishment); 10. Bovary; 11. la Mer (the Sea); 12. Karénine (Karenina); 13. 84; 14. la Guerre (War); 15. Suif (Lard)
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About the Author: Josh Dougherty

Just your typical francophile. If you have any topics you'd like me to discuss, feel free to let me know!


  1. Leslie:

    Je la respecte parce qu’elle était de bonne humeur lorsque l’animateur s’était un peu méchamment moqué d’elle.