As a language trainer, I endeavor to immerse my students in the culture of the target language whenever possible. Sometimes, my mind is brimming with ideas, much like the internet itself. Vocabulary, stories, idioms, tongue twisters... my beloved students have been learning a lot with me. So let's put all of this into practice, shall we?!
I posed the following question to my students:
"Hello! As your immersion teacher in France, I recently stumbled upon an intriguing internet page featuring an A-Z list about a region in the world. This led me to wonder, 'What would be your A-Z about France?'
Do not confine yourself to just one thing for most of the letters! (This article is quite lengthy.) I hope you will enjoy it. You might say... C’est toute une histoire, in French."😊
To facilitate their start, I shared my personal A-Z of France, taking them on a tour of my favorite French region, Jura, where I currently reside. I will write in simple French and provide an English translation.
A as Apéro
The aperitif is a ritual that marks the separation between work and relaxation. For the French, it signifies well-being and leisure. It's a moment of sharing where improvisation and spontaneity take place.
The word "apéritif" comes from the Latin "apertivus," itself derived from "aperire," which means "to open." The aperitif has been known since ancient times, notably in Egypt, Greece, and among the Romans. At the end of the day, the Egyptians would gather to eat dried fruits, dates, and so on.
In France, the aperitif or pre-dinner drink is by definition the moment before dinner when one enjoys a glass of an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage and something to nibble on. It's a snack that can precede the meal, a convivial moment where people gather to consume food and drink while conversing and socializing, not necessarily with the intention of having a meal afterward. It's therefore a light meal that can also be referred to as a "dinner aperitif" if it entirely replaces the meal.
More and more French people are coming together for a dinner aperitif because during the aperitif, freedom is key—everyone tastes what they want, moves from one food item to another, tries new and playful products. Tasty recipes, original aperitif breads such as rustic grissini or crisps, crunchy vegetables, antipasti, cold cuts, not forgetting, of course, vegetable- or fish-based spreads like a good tapenade or a fish-based spread which are highly successful and in high demand. Also, gourmet products with truffle for a more sophisticated aperitif are very trendy. A truffle and artichoke cream would fit perfectly into a dinner aperitif.
However, the habit of saying "cheers" when clinking glasses originated later. It comes from the British who were in China and brought back a derivative of "tsing tsing," which means "salute."
B as Beaufort – Boulangerie – Baguette – Basque – Breton – Bourguignon – Braderie - Bourgogne
C as Charal - Charles Aznavour - Château Chinon - Conquaillote -
Charal is the first French meat brand born in 1986 from a desire to simplify consumption and preserve the quality of fresh meats by offering consumers a new way to preserve beef thanks to the invention of the Hebdopack."
100% of Charal's ranges are therefore guaranteed of French origin and certified according to the French Beef Label (VBF). In fact, the brand did not wait for the enthusiasm for 'Made in France' to guarantee 100% French meat."
Charles Aznavour is one of the most well-known French singers outside the French-speaking world, described as 'the deity of French pop.'"
D as Dole - Doubs
Dole is the Former capital of "La Franche Comté". From the 15th century, the city housed the Parliament and the University. Becoming the shining capital of "La Franche Comté under Burgundian domination and later under the Habsburgs, it never ceased to attract the covetousness of the kings of France. After the city was plundered by the troops of the French king Louis XI in 1479, Dole slowly recovered.
The 16th century was a period of intense reconstruction that saw the city adorned with orderly facades, inspired by Italy, and abundant decorations of polychrome stones. The new collegiate church and its emblematic bell tower were the main works of the Dole Renaissance, symbolizing both resistance to French attacks and the fight against the Protestant Reformation."
E as Eglise - Espelette
F as Foie gras – Fondue – Franc-Comtois
G as Gaulois
H as Hysope
I as Il
J as Joux - Jura
K as Kiffer - Kermesse
L as Lons – Loye
M as MacVin – Morteau
N as Nature
O as Occitan
P as Pôchouse
The pôchouse, or pauchouse (sometimes spelled 'pochouse' or 'pochouze'), is a traditional recipe in Burgundian and Franche-Comté cuisine, made with river fish cut into pieces and cooked with a white wine sauce."
"It is originally prepared from a mix of four freshwater fish, including two lean-fleshed fish: pike and perch, and two fatty-fleshed fish: eel and tench, but other combinations are possible depending on availability (such as carp, zander, trout, or salmon).
It is served with a white wine sauce (generally made with Bourgogne Aligoté), accompanied by steamed potatoes, bacon, and croutons."
Q as Quinoa
S as Soupe
T as Trail - TER Bourgogne Franche Comté
V as Vallée des Anges
Located at the border of the Jura region and Burgundy, at the foot of the granitic massif of La Serre, the valley owes its name to a very ancient legend. It's a forgotten land away from major traffic routes that had preserved the purity of its origins and traditions. It's a land of infinite solitude where life flowed unchanged for centuries following the rhythms of seasons and agricultural work in a rustic setting, offering a sense of solitude and tranquility.
In this land, sometimes ravaged by major barbarian invasions, the Franks, patient forest clearers, settled and created villages, giving them poetic names in their language, all ending with the suffix "ANGE."
Mallange, this is where the legend of the War of the Angels was born. In that era, the evil angels, banished from paradise by the Archangel Saint Michael, descended to Earth and arrived at Mallange. They sought to establish their kingdom there since there was no longer any place for them in heaven. Satan decided to build a castle there. But the Archangel Saint Michael came to battle them. The demons were defeated and vanished forever from that region.
W as Wagon
X as ex
Y as Youpi
Z as zombie
Here my student Tracey's admirable List :
A is Agneau - j’aime cette viande a Pâques - Auvergne Rhône Alpes
B is Bozel la village ou nous habitons aux Alpes - Beaufort je suis allée la en été - Bioderma
C is croque madame - Cremant - Courchevel - Chanel - Camille Charriere
D is Darbello le bar au Praz ou où j’ai rencontré mon mari
E is Emily in Paris 🤣 - Embryolisse
F is faire du ski - frites
G is Gruyère - Ginette
H is hiver ma saison préférée
I is Isobel Marant
J is Jeanne Damas
K is Kir Royale
L is Latifa est ma professeure de français - Les Menuires - La Roche Posay - Leonce Chenal
M is Madeleine la montagne a 2000 mètres et aussi Les petites gâteaux - moules - Madame Chic
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse la meilleure huile corporelle au monde - Noel - neige
O is Orelle (Vallée d’Orelle) espace de ski de Les 3 Vallées
P is pain aux almonds - Pralognan La Vanoise
Q is qui - quoi - quel - quelles
R is Roquefort - Reblochon Les savoureux fromages - Refuges de la montagne
S is La Soucoupe mon restaurant favori a la montagne de Courchevel - Savoie (la région)
T is Tour de France, nous l’avons regarde a Courchevel Le Praz vers Méribel en juillet
U is un - une - Usha
V is vin j’aime le boire - Val Thorens
W is le weekend - Wi-Fi (cognates)
Y is yaourt
Z is zoo parce que c’est le mot seule que je sais en français que commence avec la consonne z