France Virtuelle

France Virtuelle September 2022 – La Rentrée

Bonjour!  I have definitely been easing into La Rentrée, but I think I’m finally back into the full swing of things.  Anyone else feeling this way?  Is it because summer just won’t quit this year? 

This month’s France Virtuelle selection is a little bit back-to-school, a little bit monumental, and a little bit chill.  I hope you enjoy! 

Back to School Time

I was the kid that was excited to get back to learning every Fall, even if I wasn’t a huge fan of the school system itself.  So I am excited by even thinking about acquiring information and knowledge, in whatever form it may come to me.  One of my biggest learning projects lately has been attempting to learn French.  Emphasis on attempting. 😐

And I know that most tourists yearn to speak at least a little French when they are in Paris.  We want to be polite, we want to participate in the culture we’re visiting, and we want to make sure that we’re getting the pastry we actually want!

To help you get ready for your next trip, here is an hour long French lesson from the folks over at Rick Steves’ Travel Talks.  What I really like about this one is that the instructor is American and utilizes direct cultural ties to help bridge the gap between the languages.  Plus you get a lot of basics in one place, which is weirdly hard to do on the YouTubes.  Bon chance, mes amis!

What will you do with your basic French? Is asking for the bathroom or the correct menu item more important for you? I think it has to do with the urgency of the situation for me!

Heritage Days

As mentioned in a previous post, the annual Heritage Days event was held over the weekend of September 17 and 18.  This is the one time per year the people of France get to access some of the most private and privileged spaces in the country.  And one of the most popular is naturally the Élysée Palace, or the French White House.  You have to reserve a ticket and stand in a long line but if you are lucky, you get to experience the heart of French presidential politics. 

The intrepid fellow at Art Vision TV made it through the gauntlet and was able to take video of his tour of the Élysée.  It is so cool to get to wander around the building and see spaces we are not usually allowed to see.  One of the things that stands out the most for me is the dichotomy between the prosaic office furniture, power cables, and other 21st century work accoutrement against the gorgeous 18th and 19th century interiors.  And, frankly, the guide looks like a French Stanley Tucci in The Devil Wears Prada

This is a real time walking tour, so there are pauses for commentary from Stanley Tucci the guide. The commentary is almost impossible to hear, so just take in all the cool spaces.

Time To Chill With Napoleon

I’ve been researching Napoleon for an upcoming podcast episode (coming soon!), so the algorithm delivered this gem into my feed this week.  It is a concert of Polish artist Hania Rani performing her beautiful music (a mix of mellow electronica and modern singer/songwriter) (yes I’m dating myself by using “electronica”) inside the courtyard of Les Invalides.  Her stage and the crowd are being sternly watched over by the imposing statue of Napoleon.  Do we think he liked the music?  And how often do you get a chance to be interviewed (at the end) under a portrait of Louis XIV?!  This is a new professional goal.


I recently discovered the Les Frenchies YouTube channel and they are a lot of fun.  They are a mature couple—a French husband whose accent deserves its own analysis (he lived in the US for many years) and an American wife—who give their opinions and ideas on different aspects of Parisian and French life.  In this video, they also rope in his French brother to explore some of the classic French desserts. 

Do not watch this hungry. 

I don’t recommend trying all 12 in one day. Pace yourself, people.

One Last Assignment

A little more Rick Steves.  He was in France this month and one of his adventures was stumbling on to the Château de Cormatin in Burgundy.  It is rather rare to stumble upon a château in Colorado…but not impossible. Here’s just one of them.  #RobberBaronLife. 

I really want to check out de Cormatin and see all of the curiosities! An armadillo?!

Learning French Through La Rentrée

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases of these items.

Even for adult language learners, children’s books are a great way to immerse yourself in the language. And you get to enjoy a picture book—in the name of education, of course! 😏

Here are two cute books about La Rentrée, in French:

Dure Rentrée Pour Achille (Achille Series): Achille the grizzly bear goes to school and he and his classmates learn about accepting others as they are, even when they are giant (but adorable) grizzly bears! Available in paperback [affiliate link].

La Rentree Des Animaux: Another back to school animal story. This one is more of a traditional children’s book, with different tableaus for each animal type. Available in hardback [affiliate link].

Which was your favorite in this edition of France Virtuelle?  Was it the pastries?  It was probably the pastries.  😉  Let me know below!

À bientôt!


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