Monday, 16 August 2010

The French Suburbs

In less than 3 weeks, I am moving to Paris to be an au pair for the year. I'm going to be living in the western suburbs. I thought I would start a blog to help me record and remember my experiences, so bear with me while I learn the art of 'blogging'.

Having not spoken French since I learned it at GCSE 6 years ago, I am - understandably I think - a little nervous. But I keep being reassured by everyone that I will 'pick it up in no time'. I hope they are right. I can't remember much from my GCSE years, but the two phrases that have stuck with me and I have used to amuse my family ever since are oui c'est vrai - yes that's right, and l'année dernière je suis allé en France avec mes amis - last year I went to France with my friends. Unfortunately I'm not sure how useful I'm going to find these so I better get learning.

Last night, to help me on my way to improving and understanding French, my sister made us watch 'La Haine', a French film about 3 friends - a Jew, an Arab and an African - who live in the French suburbs, the banlieues. It's about the riots and the relationship the banlieues residents have with the police and the terrible corruption there is in the French police. I've been hearing a lot about this film from my French studying friends who are fascinated by the French slang used in it. A couple of examples of the slang which I find amusing are Ta mère elle suce des schtroumpfs which means your mother sucks smurfs, and in another scene an old man emerges from a toilet declaring Ça fait vraiment du bien de chier un coup - that feels good to have a shit! A long departure from the romantic language most people associate with French! I think it will be a long long time before I will be able to understand, let alone speak French like in 'La Haine'.

There is also a great scene where a DJ pumps out a remix of 'Sound of the Police' with 'Je ne regrette rien' across the estate:

For those who have seen 'La Haine', don't worry, the suburbs I'll be in are nothing like the suburbs in 'La Haine'. It's a pretty respectable area, I should be safe.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, loving your blog and I love everything about France. This seems like such an amazing adventure and I sure will be following your blog to find out how it goes. I done french up to A-levels and we also had to watch La Haine. It's an eye-opener, for sure! I've also been to Sacre Coeur and the views are soo gorgeous. I wish I was there now!!! Good luck!