November Newsletter

Updated: Nov 11


Dear Alliance Française Member,


November gathers on the horizon.  It is only fitting that this month should start with an extra hour of snooze.  We need all the help we can get before the election finish line - or another cycle of intense dismay, whichever it might be - and hibernation seems like a perfectly valuable coping strategy.  Another option is to look elsewhere for amusement; did you know that November 3rd is also.... national Cliché Day? What better candidate for such a cliché as Day of the Year, really?  This is the day to get all clichés out of your system in one bound and never have to think about them again until next year (or your next episode of Emily in Paris.)  Why should we care, you might ask?  Because the origin of the word “cliché” is somewhat funny, in all its Frenchness.  It comes from the onomatopoeia describing the clicking sound of a "stereotype", or printing plate, used in the early 19th century, to reproduce images repeatedly.  "Cleeeeeshhh" became the verb "clicher", hence the past participle "cliché".  Glad you asked. Here is what else might hopefully offer some distraction this month :

Zoom Café Tuesday 3 November, 11am -12pm. Our monthly Café conversation in French. Please note that the start time has changed from 10:30 to 11am. In an effort to simplify our lives - again, we need all the help we can get - all morning events will start at 11am from now onwards.   Free and open to all. Sign up here. Apéro Antivirus Friday 6 November, 5-6pm. Our antiviral, Friday evening get-together and chat in French. Free and open to all, clichés included. Sign up here. Aimer, C'est Agir Tuesday 10 November, 3pm Join Marva Barnett, author of To Love Is to Act, to discuss how Victor Hugo put into action the last words he wrote: “Aimer c’est agir.” We will learn about Hugo's perspectives on building empathy, justice, forgiveness and resilience. All timeless qualities.   In English. For members only.  Sign up here Apéro National Tuesday 10 November, 5:15pm, or Wednesday 11, 8:15pm. A special moment where we get to meet members from other AF chapters in the US. In French. Members only.  Sign up here. Revival of the Breton language Wednesday 11 November, 6:30pm The Brittany language called "Breton" originating from Celtic language accounts for between 250,000 and 500,000 speakers nowadays, some among the old generation and ..... some of the younger!  From his own experience as enfant du pays Breton, Prof. Gildas Hamel will tell us about the gripping ups and (mostly) downs of his native language throughout history, all the way to a promising, albeit fragile, revival in modern times. A fascinating story ending on an uplifting note.  In English Free and open to all. Sign up here

Why people in a few French villages rescued refugees in WWII, and still help migrants today? Friday 13 November, 12pm During WWII, residents of a cluster of towns in Southeastern France gave safe harbor to hundreds of refugees, mostly Jewish children. Current residents of the same towns offer refuge to migrants today.  Why? What are the traits that make a group choose selflessness? With writer Maggie Paxson as part of the series All Things French. In English.  Free and open to all.  Sign up here Mon Pays: La Bretagne Monday 16 November, 1-1:45pm Think that Brittany is all about crêpes and weird hair-dresses? Let's move beyond clichés and let Hélène Crié-Wiesner take us on a journey throughout her homeland's rich history, art and culture. In French. Free and open to all.  Sign up here Club de Lecture Tuesday 17 November, 11am-12pm. Our book for this month's club is Chanson Bretonne by Nobel prize Jean-Marie Le Clézio.  Bretagne, again? Yes!  At 11am.  In French. For members.  Non-members are welcome to try the club once. Sign up here. Soirée Beaujolais Nouveau Thursday 19 November, 7-9pm. Join the French-American Chamber of Commerce for a celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau in the Maison de France's backyard! With a special presentation by Maison Duboeuf & Fils on what goes into making this special wine.  Unlimited wine pours for $15 for members, $20 for non members.  Bring your own food or order picnic baskets by French chef Serge Falcoz-Vigne. Sign up here. L'Oeil Ouvert Wednesday 2 December, 11-11:45am  Where is Docent Diane Beckman taking us for an interactive art session this month?  Suspense, suspense.  Open your eyes wide and find out.  In French Free for members, $10 for non- members. Sign up here. You guessed right: Our tour de la Francophonie is taking us to "la Bretagne" this month.  Known by the Celts as Armorica, "land of the sea", the name "Brittany " derives from the Britons who, back in the dark ages, came south across the English Channel to seek refuge from the Anglo Saxon invaders.  Much like Wales and Scotland are to the U.K., Brittany is proudly independent with a strong Celtic background steeped in tradition and legends. Oh yes, and it is wild.  If you see a picture of a lighthouse about to be engulfed by a towering wave, that’s Brittany. The coast is rugged, rocky and huge. One-third of France’s coastline is in Brittany.  The towns are all made of stone, but the coldness is set off by brilliant marine-blue shutters and hundreds of colorful flower boxes and gardens.  They feel like the end of the world.  And right now, that sounds like a very good thing. Happy November to all! The Alliance Team

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