Stronger thanks to Rhetoric

Stronger thanks to Rhetoric

Podcast “résumé du livre” (20mn)

Carte d’identité de la rhétorique

9 conseils (incluant le plus précieux💎) pour devenir plus fort grâce au langage

Clément Viktorovitch is a famous French Rhetoric teacher at Science-Po Paris. For several years now, he has been going on radio and TV to decrypt public figures’ speeches. His contributions to encourage people, especially young generations, to understand how language works and how important it is in a democracy is amazing!

As soon as he released his book in October 2021, I wanted to read it and here is one sentence to sump it up:

Rhetoric is a power that will empower you, go grab it!

La rhétorique est un pouvoir qui donne du pouvoir tout court alors vous aussi, prenez ce pouvoir !

Viktorovitch’s book is a must-read book for anyone who lives in a French-speaking environment so both French natives like me and French advanced learners should definitely read it!

Knowing the high-quality of Viktorovitch’s content, I really wanted to have an active reading. During all the process, I took notes for myself but also to share here hoping this content can help raise awareness about the importance of langage.

First, you will find below the beginning of the retranscription of my audio, then my interpretation of rhetoric’s ID from the book and finally, 9 tips to become powerful thanks to rhetoric. 😎

Podcast

[A2] Here you should be able to understand / produce a general presentation about something
Le Pouvoir rhétorique de Clément Viktorovitch est paru en automne 2021. Ce livre donne les savoirs de base sur la rhétorique mais aussi bien sûr plein d’exemples concrets. L’auteur, on ne le présente plus : enseignant à Science Po, chercheur, il est surtout connu pour ses interventions dans les médias. 
En décryptant les paroles publiques, il veut rendre accessibles à tous les clefs du langage car si nous sommes en démocratie, dit-il, c’est notre droit. Autrement dit : “la rhétorique est un pouvoir qui donne du pouvoir tout court alors vous aussi, prenez ce pouvoir !”.
[B1 – raconter et structurer] Here you should be able to understand / produce content about different events, well and clearly organized
Il explique que la rhétorique est fondamentalement liée à la démocratie. Pour que le citoyen puisse faire un choix entre plusieurs candidats, il faut qu’il s’appuie sur leurs discours (p14) et qu’il soit aussi à même de s’exprimer à son tour pour prendre part à cette vie démocratique. Pour poursuivre et protéger cet idéal, il ne peut donc y avoir d’autre solution que la transmission de la rhétorique. C’est d’autant plus vrai, ajoute-t-il, que certains citoyens l'utiliseront pour manipuler tandis que d’autres seront manipulés. 
Et nous sommes tous libres de nous poser la question : “quel orateur voulons-nous être ?” (p23). À travers ce livre, Viktorovitch veut nous proposer une “rhétorique pratique” (p36) qui va nous accompagner et nous entraîner au quotidien. Il utilise une métaphore intéressante : pour lui, la rhétorique se situe entre le karaté et l’aïkido.
[B2 argumenter et convaincre] Here you should be able to understand / produce content with statements for or against something in order to… convince! And since you are expected to understand French fluently, no more retranscription provided from now 😋

Carte d’identité de la rhétorique

  • art martial : mélange de karaté et d’aïkido
« si la rhétorique était un art martial, elle serait à la fois le karaté et l’aïkido » (p44)
  • armes : les arguments produits, l’image dégagée, les émotions suscitées
périmètre tridimensionnel de la rhétorique : « argumenter, plaire, émouvoir » (p46) - (argumenter = logos ; plaire = ethos ; émouvoir = pathos)
  • principe clef : “sois convaincu, tu deviendras convaincant”
« plus nous paraissons convaincus et plus nous avons tendance à en devenir convaincants » (p84)
  • paradoxe fondamental : moins on aura l’air d’avoir construit son argumentation, plus on sera convaincant
« plus un procédé est visible et moins il est efficace » (p403)
  • secret d’une argumentation réussie : la clarté et la concision
« plus notre argumentation sera ramassée, resserrée, condensée et plus elle en sera percutante, incisive, mémorable » (p123)

9 conseils pour devenir plus fort grâce au langage 

  • être capable de détecter la dynamique* dans laquelle nous baignons au quotidien, c’est déjà gagner en force de conviction (p46)
* il y en a 4 principales : monologique, délibérative, compétitive, conflictuelle** (p50)
**celle-ci est absurde du point de vue de la rhétorique car c'est celle des débats stériles et des invectives (p53), mieux vaut s’en détourner, conseille l'auteur
  • apprendre à sortir de soi-même, ses préoccupations, ses objectifs afin d’adopter le point de vue de l’autre et ainsi mieux trouver les arguments pour le contrecarrer (p83)
  • quand on nous impose une définition négative d’un terme, il faut se réapproprier ce mot et lui redonner une définition qui va venir renforcer notre argumentation (p175)
Exemple : si on vous dit qu’« intello » est associé à quelque chose de barbant ou compliqué, vous pouvez contredire en affirmant qu’il est associé au contraire à quelque chose d’exigeant et profond !
  • parlons positif 
L’auteur conseille d’utiliser des formulations positives, particulièrement pour se décrire soi-même, et plus généralement de n’employer que des mots dont les connotations sont à notre avantage (p179)
« Les mots que nous proférons déterminent notre perception du monde. Il ne tient qu’à nous de la réenchanter. Voilà un bon exemple de ce que la rhétorique peut, au quotidien, nous apporter » (p182)
  • apprenons à écouter (pour accéder à la 5D* 😁!)
*conseil de l’auteur : « devenir des décrypteurs du discours » (p198). En effet, les indices sont partout autour de nous, à nous d’apprendre à les identifier. Par exemple, même le choix de la conjugaison est de la rhétorique : on utilise le « je » pour se mettre en avant ou susciter de l’empathie mais si cela ne nous arrange pas de porter la responsabilité de quelque chose, on va s’abriter derrière le « on » ou le « nous » (p191)
  • ne séparons ni n’opposons la raison et les émotions : les deux ont leur place dans le processus argumentatif
« L’une ne va pas sans les autres » (p233) ; utiliser la rhétorique des émotions est une bonne idée quand c’est bien pensé, adapté à la situation, justement dosé et si cela incite à l’action (cf. fin du chapitre 5)
  • apprenons à surprendre
« D’un point de vue de la rhétorique, ces caractéristiques confèrent à la surprise une utilité tout à fait unique. Parce qu’elle va saisir les auditeurs et faciliter leur attention, elle permet de mettre en valeur l’émotion qui lui succède et de décupler son efficacité. » (p283)
  • apprenons à nous taire : le silence est d’or !
« Retenons-le, c’est dans les silences les plus lourds que surgissent, flamboyants, les grands discours » (p285) ; « Le premier outil, pour s’assurer d’être écoutés… c’est le silence » (p410) cf. le contexte du débat contradictoire, « combat pour la parole », il ne peut être remporté que grâce au silence !
  • dédions toute notre vie à la construction et à la protection de notre ethos*
L'ethos est l'image que nous renvoyons en tant qu'assise de notre force de conviction. Viktorovitch en parle comme de « l’œuvre d’une vie » à forger (p341), c’est dire son importance !
*il consiste en 3 enjeux : paraître sincère, compétent et séduisant (p311)

💎

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10 years in France but no French

10 years in France but still no French

A few months ago, I met someone who was living in France for 10 years and since he didn’t need French for work – he worked in the wine business industry -, he didn’t practice it and / or didn’t find it necessary to learn it.

A few days ago, the same situation happened: a man called and said that his wife, who moved in a few years ago now, just found it necessary to take French lessons in Dijon because she faces difficulties to get a job. He wanted to know how I could help.

😱OK.

I decided that I am not the right teacher for this profile of learner. Do you know why?

I don’t know how to deal with them. Sincerely.

A teacher is only helpful when he joins you on the journey you started

Because the first question one needs to ask himself as soon as he arrives in a new country and by the way, as soon as he decides to move in another country* HAS to be:

*of course, I am not talking about a situation of emergency when people are forced to leave their home and migrate (they have all my respect 🙏)

What is MY personal strategy to learn the language?

A language is a key that will allow you to open the door of a new country / city / community and BECOME A PART OF IT.

Without the language, you stay at the door. 

Period.

So for your own good, please take a moment and write down things you like and hobbies you have, anything you want as long as they can fit the four skills and then keep doing them but in French: 

listening / talking

reading / writing

Do you like sports? Follow instagram accounts of famous local sport teams (in France: football, cycling, etc.).

Do you like make-up vloggers? Look for French Youtubers

Can you sew? Join a sewing group, etc.

Also, the very first thing you need to do as soon as you arrive in France is to go get a library card! 😍Most of the time, it’s cheap or even FREE such as in Dijon.

I am a huuuge fan and most of the books I read come from there!

You will be able to borrow plenty of books, DVDs, etc. in French, know more about local events, meet new people, have more confidence and one day, without even realizing it: you will be fluent! Of course, it’s a process: even natives make grammar mistakes, etc. it’s normal. 

To me, being fluent in French is not about knowing the language perfectly (who can do that?), it’s more about feeling comfortable because YOU BELONG HERE.

Do you know what I answered to the man asking for help on behalf of his wife?

I asked if they have children (yes) and why she didn’t call me herself (she speaks French a little but didn’t feel confident).

I said that I could obviously make them pay for French lessons but it would be wrong because it’s not the problem here.

I gave him the advice above and added that if you start a life in France, you are physically here but you need to ask yourself if you are MENTALLY here.

When you help your children with their homework in French, when you go to the library or attend local events as a family or when you challenge yourself with actions such as calling someone you don’t know to ask for information, it makes you BE IN CHARGE. 

So you feel more and more confident.

💪 And you don’t have time to look back because you are too busy looking forward and widening your comfort zone.

Helping Adam use French to influence

These past few months, I was challenged by INRAE Dijon, French public research institute dedicated to agricultural science, to design something unique in Dijon: a 30h Advanced French Course for Research Director Adam Vanbergen.

Of course, Adam was already fluent in French but he was determined to do even better for example in situations when several Researchers interact and you have to process different things at the same time in order to provide appropriate AND convincing answers.

More than 100 pages of content

All through our sessions, I made him discover how people* build their speech. Some of them are easy to understand because their ideas are clear and when they talk, it’s well prepared. Some of them give you a headache and you have to deal with that.

Everyone still wants to make his point and builds a conscious (or unconscious) strategy to do so!

*Researchers and well-informed public (or not!) in science

French grammar, linguistics, rhetoric, argumentation: I created more than 100 pages of content from real situations and I challenged Adam with missions to accomplish. Of course, in an action-oriented evaluation of the language, I wanted this course to be useful for him as a Researcher and Research Director. 💪

Read below Adam’s feedback about this course and check link if you also want to join

Adam, merci de témoigner pour cet article ! Voici les questions :
  • Êtes-vous satisfait de cette formation et a-t-elle répondu à vos objectifs de départ ?

Oui parce que je trouve que le programme est bien construit avec un mélange de grammaire, de compréhension orale, etc. J’ai apprécié l’interactivité grâce à l’utilisation de la vidéo qui stimulait les échanges et aussi que Samyra place le sujet dans le contexte de mon domaine de recherche. C’est plus facile à comprendre.

  • Qu’est-ce qui vous a été le plus utile dans cette formation ?

La grammaire (pronoms relatifs, etc.), les connecteurs logiques, etc. ont été des outils que je réutilisais après les séances dans mon travail.

  • Avez-vous constaté des changements pour votre travail ?

J’ai plus de confiance quand je parle avec mon équipe.

  • Est-ce que vous recommanderiez cette formation à un.e autre chercheur / chercheuse ?

Oui, cette formation a été construite de manière très précise pour les besoins individuels des chercheurs. Elle est très différente des formations dans d’autres instituts de langue.


“Use French to Influence”

30h French course made in Dijon & especially designed for Researchers (B2/C1 level)

Do You Need French to Apply to a “Grande École”?

Do You Need French to Apply to a “Grande École”?

Quick answer is “no and yes”!

For more, read the article below or go straight to your favorite part  


Are you dreaming of living and working in France, maybe in a famous company like Dior or a hotel from Accor Group?

By the way, since 2016, foreign graduates can now work in France!

Big French companies praise “grandes écoles” a lot. These specific institutions provide very high education level and they are separate from, but parallel and often connected to the main framework of the French public university system.


But hold on, let’s talk first about a fun fact 

aller à la grande école (1) faire une grande école (2)

(1) kids aged 6 going to elementary school

(2) students in their early twenties going to a “grande école”

Oups… Watch your words!


What is a “grande école”?

The name appeared during the Renaissance to refer to… Buildings where you could attend university classes. “Grandes écoles” indeed are big constructions, aren’t they? So it makes sense to focus on the container before the content.

Of course, the first post graduate schools in France were Royal Schools: engineers and military academies (17th-18th). It is just at the end of Early modern european period that “grandes écoles” were also meant for engineering and business education.

Today, there is no official list of “grandes écoles” in France. In 1992, the Ministry of Education described them as having:

  1. a selection based on a competitive exam
  2. a high education level

There are 3 kinds of “grandes écoles”:

  • dedicated to business and management education : according to the BCE, French institution in charge of the competitive exam, there are 21 business schools but we will focus here on the Top 10

By the way, did you know that 5 French “grandes écoles” are in the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020? 4 of them are in our top 10 below: HEC Paris, EM Lyon Business School, Edhec Business School & Essec Business School.

Not only business schools aim at training the best students in business and management but they also offer lifelong learning to business owners and executives (see MBAs at ESSEC).

  • other institutions : selective and challenging institutions such as engineering schools, Sciences Po Paris, Paris-Dauphine, etc. were also influenced by “grandes écoles”.

⛔ Lets’ take a break here to talk about the hidden face of “grandes écoles”

Since they are selective and challenging – how ironic in the nation of equality … – “grandes écoles” are definitely not open to any French student! (Take a look at the drawing below).

So we can’t help but wondering if they are exclusive to people who can afford them? To people gifted with the perfect background leading them to the top jobs in the top companies?

Of course, “grandes écoles” are expensive and even before making it, students who can pay for private lessons definitely have a head start on the others!

Criticisms do exist about “grandes écoles” (check this abstract about “Les Grandes écoles, système dépassé ou produit d’avenir ?” – more in the French version) but as far as I am concerned as a French citizen and a language teacher willing to treat all languages and cultures equally, let’s admit that French “grandes écoles” definitely have a typical way of thinking, organizing, managing and running business. 

They have their own vision on how to deal with the economy and so will the human connections be impacted. And by exporting themselves out of France, they also spread – and impose ? – that vision.

Otherwise, why would ESSEC go in Africa after investing in Asia? Why would many other French “grandes écoles” hurry to invest in Morocco, Senegal or Ivory Coast (see this article in French)? By the way, let’s not forget that the age of colonialism remains a very sensitive subject in France (check here and here)…

How would French people react if academic institutions from asian or african countries would open schools in France?

And by the way, who run the “grandes écoles”? Who decides the contents? The strategy? The vision for future? How do they change – if they change -? Are the students or other publics involved in the process?

Global warming and environmental impact, consequences of Covid-19, overconsumption: we already face some of the big changes we feared the most

Do the “grandes écoles” – and not only the French ones ! – really fit to help us prepare for what comes after? Aren’t these the final hurdle which lead all of us to the present point: short term economic vision with profitability at all costs (including frequent unacceptable working conditions), damage of natural resources, etc., so many reasons “why we should bulldoze the business school”, reported The Guardian in 2018?

I hereby ask questions because I have no answer and also because it is up to you, if you still wish to attend a French “grande école”, to find answers 


6 good points about “grandes écoles”

Now that we talked about the story behind “grandes écoles”, let’s talk about how students benefit from them!

Apart from the cost, any French ambitious student would be more than happy to study in a “grande école” and here is why:

  • selective therefore prestigious, the “grandes écoles” are the must-do especially if you dream to work in hotel trade, luxury industry, restauranting, culture, art, design, pharmaceuticals, etc.

Look below how selective a “grande école” is and imagine how you will be considered as a non-French being able to make it!

  • high quality teaching staff and resources to help students: excellent working and living conditions on campuses (see example at EDHEC Lille). Students get used to networking so it helps for the future!
  • but at the same time, students are encouraged to take projects up: get involved in charities (see examples at TBS), start a business, anything to be able to learn from action! It is also easy to take a gap year in order to go more into your personal project, whatever it might be, in depth.
  • by the way, the “grandes écoles” make it really simple for French students to go abroad starting by providing them with challenging methods to learn foreign languages.
  • frequent dual-degrees provided, for example:

Let’s take a break here to name some French “VIPs” who graduated from a “grande école”

  • top executives
    • Christophe Bonduelle (EDHEC), CEO of Bonduelle 
    • Michael Burke (EDHEC), CEO of Louis Vuitton
    • Jean-Philippe Courtois (SKEMA Business School), Executive Vice President and President, Global Sales, Marketing and Operations for Microsoft
    • François Gay-Bellile (NEOMA), General Manager of Coca-Cola European Partners France 
    • Wilfried Guerrand (NEOMA), Executive VP in charge of Métiers and Data & IT systems at Hermès
    • Thierry Guibert (NEOMA), General Manager of Lacoste
    • Dominique Loiseau (BSB – Executive Program), CEO of Bernard Loiseau gastronomic restaurants
    • François-Henri Pinault (HEC), CEO of Kering (Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, etc.)

Click here for more


Top 10 of French “grandes écoles”

+ will you need French there? 

Classes in “grandes écoles” can be in English and French or only in English with French courses provided to international students. Basically, each “grande école” is different and so are the degrees!

Bear in mind that if you wish to get more skilled in a specific master’s degree for example, French will probably be required at to some point

See example in Skema’s FAQ: “Do I need to speak French to apply? No. SKEMA’s MSc and BBA programmes are designed for international students – they are taught and marked entirely in English. French is not required at all. To help you settle into your new lives in France, the school offers foreign students free French classes. For mastères spécialisés programmes, you need to speak French to apply.”

Anyway, if you come to study here in France with French students, you will soon be expected to reach A2 and then B2 at last, especially if you wish to work for a French company and / or settle down here. 

As far as the “grandes écoles” campuses out of France are concerned, it is impossible to know if French language is privileged in class and for which degree. You will have to check with each school beforehand.

Remember that if you graduate a dual-degree from a French “grande école”, you really can’t miss the opportunity to highlight your level in French whatever it may be due to the courses provided by the “grande école” or your personal commitment!

You will find below the Top 10 French “grandes écoles” with some examples of degrees and the language required

HEC*More about HEC & Asia, HEC & Americas, HEC & Middle East / Africa
ESSEC Global BBA in France, Singapore & Morocco
Master in Management in France, Singapore & Morocco
 ESCP BS* Bachelor in Management (BSc) in Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid, Turin
Pre-Master year studies for the Master in Management in Paris () or in Turin ()
Master in Management in the 6 ESCP campuses
List of postgraduate specialised masters ( and/or )
EM Lyon* More about incoming & Double Degree Students (Undergraduate)
More about EM Lyon campus in Casablanca
20 degrees in different locations ( and/or )
EDHEC BBA in Lille & Nice ( and )
List of worldwide academic partners
Audencia Business School*More about Audencia’s strategy abroad
Grenoble école de managementMore about Grenoble EM’s strategy abroad
SKEMA Business School*List of programs and degrees ( and/or )
NEOMA Business SchoolList of programs and degrees ( and/or )
TBSList of programs and degrees ( and/or )
*You can apply to Masters in Management in these 5 Business Schools on the same website JoinschoolinFrance.com

Lets’ also add Burgundy School of Business (BSB) ranked 15 and located here in Dijon but also in Lyon and Paris. Many programmes are delivered 100% in English with French classes available to international students.


How do you get into a “grande école”?

1) Selection based on a competitive exam after a preparatory class (1-3 years)for French people and French-speaking people

After high school diploma*, called “baccalauréat”, French students aged 17-18 (check here for more about Education in France), can attend a “classe préparatoire” (preparatory class) where they will be called préparationnaires during 1 to 3 years.

*If, and only if, they were selected beforehand from their performance at school! 

Since the 18th, this special class prepares students for the “concours d’admission aux grandes écoles”. Students can choose between Literature, Science and, since 1920, Economics and Commerce called “EC” or “HEC” but students call it “prépa épices” (spicy prep? ).

At this stage, things start getting serious… 

Life in “prépa” is very stressful so it is an excellent opportunity to learn dealing with the pressure, find a good work method and also focus on working really hard to read a lot of classics. Indeed, maybe you know how important it is to be able to debate and build reasoning in French education system…  

There, students get prepared for the yearly competitive exam leading to the “programme Grande École” of 21 French business schools (and 3 other schools). All of them deliver masters’ degrees. 

If failed, they can try again twice, it depends if they are satisfied or not with their results at the written and oral parts* of the exam. Also, students from French-speaking countries like Morocco or Senegal go for the same competitive exam as native students. 

*oral part of the exam was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic… A drama for lots of students who relied on it to expect a better result!

⚠ By the way, native or not, you definitely need to be perfectly fluent in French to be able to attend a “classe prépa”. Remember that even most French people can’t make it!

Students in “prépa” are not alone. They have access to useful information and advice thanks to media like Mister Prépa, founded by Benjamin Hautin, former student in “prépa” and a team of students

To apply for a “classe prépa”, visit websites below and follow instructions

( deadlines may have changed when you will read this article!)

  1. check information on your local Campus France agency
  2. application open from mid-November to March on Pastel.diplomatie.fr 
  3. then you will have to follow instructions on Parcoursup.fr (French version only…) from end of January to mid-March
  4. after that, don’t forget to apply for the competitive exam before the end of your “classe prépa”! Follow instructions on Concours-bce.com (French version only…).
2) Selection based on gradefor French people and non-French people

French students who did not attend a “classe prépa” nor have the competitive exam but graduated a bachelor’s degree at university for example can apply to a “grande école”. This is called “admission sur titre”.

Places are limited so they need to prepare their records! Specific honors may be required so as 2 or 3 reference letters and you definitely need to prove your motivation during the interview with the jury.

Non-French students face the same process but each “grande école” is free to require more, for example B2 level in French. 

Check requirements for the Master in Management at Skema and Neoma

To apply for a selection based on grade as a non-French student, follow instructions on Join a School in France

3) Access thanks to an academic partner in your countryfor non-French people

The easiest way to spend a semester or a year (or more!) in France and maybe get a degree from a “grande école” seems to apply for exchange programs your university may have with French “grandes écoles”.

Check examples of partnerships at HEC, Grenoble Ecole de management or BSB

Psst! How about you Start French Now to get ready? ?

Did you find this article useful?

Feel free to comment below and / or share with friends!

Why You Shouldn’t Read Le Petit Prince

Why You Shouldn’t Read Le Petit Prince

Everyone should read Le Petit Prince when he learns French

Ok, tell me who started all this? Who?

It is not that I have something against that beautiful book — it is not my favourite French classic and certainly not the best! — and if you absolutely want to read it, go on, give it a try.

(You can start off by listening to this playlist)

Here is the truth:

First, many French people didn’t read Le Petit Prince — or other classics by the way — even if they praise it and would fight tooth and nail for it!

Most of the time, they just studied some extracts at school. Only two categories of people would read the entire books: 

  • the motivated ones 
  • those interested by literary studies.

Second, you have to know that even natives may have difficulties to understand Le Petit Prince because it is complex since it is about imagination and poetry!

Thus it is absolutely normal if you face the same difficulties. One has to be really advanced in the language to understand the implicit, etc. 

Also, thinking about it, French literature is not set in stone: there are so much treasures to discover and promote…

For example, did you know that Simone de Saint-Exupéry, Antoine’ sister, was also a writer? She was older than him and when he started to be famous, he didn’t want another writer in the family (!). Despite that, she was a dedicated sister since she protected her brother’s work until the end of her life in 1978.

Their descendants, reporting they didn’t know why she didn’t do it herself, published her uncompleted but interesting childhood memories book, Cinq enfants dans un parc, to commemorate the centenary of the birth of her brother in 2000. 

I really want to pay tribute here to unknown or lesser-known authors like Simone de Saint-Exupéry who was not just “Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s sister”, but a person, a woman and a writer in her own right.

People like her make me reflect a lot on what is — or not — considered as major books and authors “you have to know”…

Anyway, there are so much great books to read out there so make your own way!

This being said, you will find below some reading advice if it can help:

1) Read books in French that you have already read in your language

Since you know the story, it will help you (and you can find bilingual versions if you want to take it slowly).

2) Read French versions of “must-read” books from all over the world

For example, read again Anne Frank’s diary, Le Journal d’Ann Frank, in a French graphic version. You can also find French versions of short writing style books like Le manuel du Guerrier de la Lumière by Paulo Coehlo. If you feel ready for more, check the French versions of 1984 by George Orwell, La chambre solitaire by Shin Kyong-Suk (신경숙) or Les Délices de Tokyo by Durian Sukegawa.

3) Read books in French about topics you are interested in

If you like travel writing, go at Librairie Grangier downtown Dijon — it is the biggest bookshop around — and flick through the “récits de voyage” area! If you are more into crime novel, try Le Mystère de la Chambre jaune*, a classic by Gaston Leroux.

* Yes, it is a version for teenagers but who cares? You will find useful annotations

If you are a soccer fan, check out this book + CD: La fabuleuse aventure des Bleus (A2). It is about the French team who won the World Cup in 2018.

And for more suggestions depending on your level in French, check out this page!

4) Read classic (or not!) books in French

Classics especially dedicated to learners of French (teenagers and adults): for example, Le Tour du monde en 80 jours + CD (A2) by Jules Verne

Classics published in bilingual versions: check out this page

Short texts: for exemple an engaged essay, Indignez-vous ! by Stéphane Hessel (30 pages), an outstanding French diplomat, resistant, writer and activist who addressed a beautiful message to the French people in 2010 (3 years before his death) about what they fought for in the past and shouldn’t forget. You also have La préférence nationale and other short stories, first book by Fatou Diome who shared her experience of immigration in France with a unique and brilliant style.

Comics to relax (but also learn thanks to the images! ): you can find lots of classics adapted into comics and if you are a comics books fan, you have to know all about Franco-Belgian comics! Here is a selection that people from all ages love to read again and again: Le Petit Nicolas, by Sempé-Goscinny (also without images here), Cédric (Cauvin/Laudec/Dupuis), Boule et Bill (Roba Jean/Dupuis), Gaston Lagaffe (Franquin/Dupuis) ⇓, etc.

“There is black ice”

➨ For more, check out Sam’s Book Club

You have an opinion about a book from this list (or not!)? Share with us below!

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(update 20/08/13)

Our Tips If You Move In Dijon (or visit)!

  Are you interested in cheap places to eat or other good tips to enjoy your stay in Dijon?
Read below!

Buy food      

Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

Fruit & Veg Boxes

You can join a Local Produce and Organic Food Association (AMAPP): each week, they provide you a fruit & veg box. Take it as an opportunity to make progress in french conversation! For example, you have Les Paniers d’Honoré providing fruits, vegs, honey, eggs, cheese, etc. Most of the time, it costs 10-15 euros to join and then you can choose one of the boxes available (from around 10 to 20 euros). Once a week or twice a month, you go pick your box at lunchtime or early evening. / Follow Les Paniers d’Honoré on Facebook

Agriself (Fruits & Veg Self-service)

Tomatoes, beans, strawberries, apples, potatoes, lettuce and so on: you can choose what you prefer and help yourself as you want at Agriself, 13km from Dijon! It is local, high-quality and cheaper when you pick up yourself.

Mond.-Sat.: 9:00am to 12:00am – 2:00pm to 6:30pm / tel: 03 80 39 80 35

rue de la Garenne 21110 Bretenière / Google map / Take bus L6 to Longvic, stop at “Longvic Mairie” then bus B21 Bretenière, stop at “La Garande”. 350m left to walk: continue on rue Principale, then turn left and turn right on rue de la Garenne.

Farm in Chevigny-Saint-Sauveur

Same as Agriself here! From May to November, you can pick up what you like at the Ferme du Château or of course, buy directly from the store.

Wed. & Sat.: 9:00am to 12:00am – 5:00pm-7:00pm (only Wed.) / tel: 06 95 11 88 83

4 rue du Château 21800 Chevigny-Saint-Sauveur / Google map / Take bus L7 to Chevigny-Saint-Sauveur, stop at “Chevigny mairie”. 300m left to walk: continue on rue de l’Église, then avenue de la République and turn right on rue du Château.

Fun Event: Disco Soupe

Let’s gather unsaleable, but still fit to eat, vegs and fruits from grocers and supermakets! Regularly, one day is dedicated to food wastage. Anyone can join – it is free – to cook and enjoy soups and even smoothies sometimes.

Information about Disco Smoothies and Disco Soupe are on Jondi.fr / Read this article in french about a Disco Smoothies and Disco Soupe in 2016!

Last event on Saturday, 13 Oct., 10:00am to 6:00pm / place François Rude

Free fruits, really? 

Pay attention late summer and early fall! When you take a walk around*, you may see hazel trees and walnut trees waiting for you to bend down and pick (they are just in the streets, they belong to no one).

*e.g.: Longvic, especially in Parc de la Colombière neighborhood

Fruits & Vegs Markets

Marché des Grésilles

Thursday and Saturday – 8:30am to 1:00pm / Place Galilée / Take bus L3 to Epirey Capnord, stop at “Ste-Bernadette”. 200m left to walk: continue, then turn on right and on left on avenue des Grésilles

Marché de Chenôve

Wednesday 8:00 to 12:30 – Sunday 8:30am to 1:15pm / Boulevard Henri Bazin / Take tram 2 Chenôve centre, stop at “Carraz”. 550m left to walk: continue on avenue Jean Jaurès, then avenue Roland Carraz. Turn right on rue Alexandre Dumas and again right on boulevard Henri Camp. Turn left on boulevard Henri Bazin and continue until you find the market.

Every Day Life

Cheapest food stores*

Netto, boulevard Chanoine Kir / Google map / Take bus L3 Fontaine d’Ouche and stop at “Chanoine Kir”

Aldi, 2 avenue Raymond Poincaré / Google map / Take tram 1 Quetigny and stop at “Poincaré”

Lidl, 1 boulevard des Valendons (Chenôve) / Google map / Take tram 2 Chenôve centre and stop at “Valendons”

Mes bonnes courses, 20 allée Dr Lépine (Marsannay-la-Côte) / Google map / Take bus L4 Marsannay Acti-sud and stop at terminus. 200m left to walk: continue, turn on left and turn on right. Follow them on Facebook: they post pictures as soon as they receive stocks!

*Good to know : water brands like Perrier or renown cheeses are less expensive there

Organic stores

La Vie Saine, 29 rue Musette / Google map

Au Gramme près, 56 avenue du Drapeau / Google map / Take tram 2 Valmy and stop at “Drapeau”. 300m left to walk on avenue du Drapeau

Hardware stores and anti-waste tips

You have to go to Emmaüs if you are looking for a bike, kitchen utensils, clothes, furniture, books and so much other useful items! Everything is second-hand but still in (very) good quality and you won’t believe how much it is cheap until you see it.

3 rue Paul Langevin (Chenôve) / Google map / Take tram 2 Chenôve centre and stop at terminus. Take bus F42 Chenôve Centre commercial and stop at “Palissy”. 600m left to walk: continue on rue de Longvic and then on right rue Paul Langevin

Same as Emmaüs but smaller, La Recyclade is a new place where you can find lots of second-hand cheap items.

11 rue du Nuits-Saint-George / Google map / Take bus L4 Marsannay Acti-sud and stop at “Richet”. 300m left to walk: continue on rue de Pommard, turn on right at rond-point des Cheminots résistants and again on right to rue du Morey-Saint-Denis, turn on left on place des Résistants and continue on rue du Nuits-Saint-Georges

Do you have a problem with your computer or any other device? Check Kelle Fabrik‘s regular events to make it repair and guess what? Y-o-u decide the price! Follow them on Facebook

Administrative procedures

If you need legal advice, go to Maison de la Justice, a place where local lawyers and bailiffs are regularly on call! Everyone can contact them, explain their problem and make an appointment: it is free. Read this article in french to know more (2012)

Mond.-Fri.: 9:00am to 12:00am – 1:00pm to 5:00pm / tel: 03 80 51 78 30 / email: mjd.tgi-dijon@justice.fr

8 rue des Clématites (Chenôve) / Google map / Take tram 2 Chenôve centre and stop at “Le Mail”.  120m left to walk: continue to rue des Clématites

La Maison de l’Avocat also provides free or for a lower price advice. Feel free to call them from Monday to Thursday, starting 10:00am, for on appointment to be set on Friday / tel: 03 80 70 40 70

6 rue Philibert Papillon / Google map / Take tram 1 Quetigny centre and stop at “République”.  250m left to walk: go on boulevard Clémenceau, turn left on rue Gabriel Peignot, then turn right on rue Parmentier and continue on rue Philibert Papillon

Good places to eat

Restaurant d’application du lycée St-Bénigne

Is tasting french cuisine for a low price one of your dreams? It is possible at the local hotel school, Lycée St-Bénigne. Check their website, choose your day and menu and contact them to book: it is only 17€! Follow them on Facebook

tel: 03 80 58 33 08 / email: hotellerie@groupe-sb.org

99 rue de Talant / Google map / Take bus L5 Talant Dullin and stop at “St-Mesmin”. 300m left to walk: continue on avenue Victor Hugo, turn right and continue on rue de Talant

Le Shanti

If you like vegetarian food and delicious fruits cocktails, this place is for you! You will appreciate the indian cosy design and various activities if you are interested: yoga, cafe philo, etc.

69 rue Berbisey / Google map / Take tram 2 Chenôve Centre and stop at “Monge”. 350m left to walk: continue on rue Monge, turn right on rue de la Manutention and then left on rue Berbisey

Shawarma Sami

In the same street and if you are fond of lebanese/syrian cuisine, you have Shawarma Sami with a 5€ kebab sandwich menu — including delicious homemade fries! — but also typical dishes such as falafel, kebbe, samboussas or hoummous.

68 rue Berbisey / Google map / Take free Bus City to Tivoli and stop at “Crébillon”. 20m left to walk.

This restaurant has also an address in Chenôve:

7/9 impasse Jean Perrin (Chenôve) / Google map / Take tram 2 Chenôve Centre and stop at terminus. Take bus F42 Chenôve Centre commercial and stop at “Charton”. 250m left to walk: continue on rue de Longvic then on the rond-Point de la Solidarité, turn right on rue de Longvic and continue to impasse Jean Perrin.

Too Good to Go (app)

Download the app and look for places around you to enjoy discounts in bakeries, food stores and restaurants. Not only will you save money but you will also act against waste since you will take what is left from the day or what is close to best-before date: bread, viennoiseries, fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, yogurts, etc. Bon appétit !

 

Other tips you should know

Where can I find free french books and movies?

Pay attention when you walk on the street: you will see many little books boxes (22!) where everyone can leave and take one or several books. You can help yourself and even keep it/them if you want!

If you are just interested in borrowing books and/or movies (old or not!), go subscribe to local libraries (bibliothèques municipales), it is very cheap and even free if you live in Dijon. See map below:

Where can I buy local branded mustard?

If you are looking for local branded mustard – Reine de Dijon or Fallot for example –, don’t buy it in the city center shops, it is too expensive! And same goes for local ginger bread Mulot & Petitjean or any typical product. You can find them in specific areas in bigger stores like Intermarché. 11 boulevard de l’université / Google map / Take bus L5 Université and stop at “Prison”

When is a good time to buy fine chocolates?

Buy them just after Easter or Xmas: they slash prices to get rid of stocks!

What does “liquidation totale” mean?

When you see this on a store – in big size in general –, it means that they slash prices on everything because they have to get rid of stocks (store renovation, etc.).

 

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