French Recommendations for the Holidays

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By Mary Clements

The holiday break is here! Here are some of my recommendations for easy ways to engage with French this holidays.

Le Meilleur Patisseur 

Indulge this holidays with some screentime that will also help improve French! Enjoyed by students from grade 2 to adults, Le Meilleur Pâtissier is a French reality baking show and I find it particularly useful in improving French listening comprehension because the dialogue is from everyday people of various ages and backgrounds, they are all from different parts of France and it is very visual. I really like it because there is a wide assortment of accents from different people and often what they are talking about is reflected what they are doing on screen.The contestants also express lots of different emotions with regards to their creations which is visible on their face so there’s lots of information for students to draw from and to infer meaning. The more information students have to go with the listening component, the more this helps them improve and create connections while learning new vocabulary. This will give them confidence when they hear a French speakers who sounds different from their teacher at school or in the world!

Common Concern: My child complains when I put things in French.
Answer: During 12 years of summer camp, during aftercare if it’s been a particularly energetic day, we’ll put on a French obviously. This confuses the children even though they are at French camp and there is always one that will complain… a lot. The magic number to know is 15. They will complain up to 15 minutes and then they will surrender to French sounds going into their ears, so if you can wait out that 15 minutes, you are gold! 

Here is a youtube link to last week’s episode and there’s definitely a Christmas episode coming in the next 2 weeks! Also, the episodes are 2 hours 🙂

Chansons Hivernales, Pierre Lapointe (2020) 

Making cookies? Decorating the tree? Christmas crafts? Here’s your easy soundtrack, Chanson Hivernales by Québec artist Pierre Lapointe. Very easy to listen to, modern and very christmasy.

Beau Dommage (édition 30e anniversaire) [reamastered 2004], Beau Dommage (1974) 

To be fair, this album actually only contains 1 Christmas song on it ( Le 23 décembre) however at camp we’ve had it on in the background many times while crafting at winter camp. It’s good because it doesn’t hit you over the head with Christmas. It kinda reminds me of like how on Joni Mitchell’s album Blue, there’s the song River so I always end up playing the whole album at Christmas, but the whole album definitely isn’t Christmas. Anyways, give this older album a try from Montreal folk, pop, rocky band Beau Dommage!

Find these albums on whatever platform you stream your music 🙂

French Online Winter Camp

Of course my favourite way to engage with French this winter break is going to be camp! I’m greatly looking forward to seeing all of our online winter camp students while we enjoy some time meeting new friends, learning new things and building our confidence together en français! There still a few spots in each session, so register today!