Just because the doors are closed at the French Cultural Center doesn’t mean that we need to stop enjoying the delights of French language and culture! There’s still plenty that can be done and enjoyed in the midst of social distancing. Although the library is closed, many of our resources can be found through free online platforms.

1. Read the news or entertain yourself with a magazine!

Many news sources have online versions--take Le Monde, for example, which can be found here. While not every article is free for non-subscribers, most are easily accessible. Le Figaro also has an online option with plenty of free articles. If the news is getting a little too serious for you right now, take a break, and read some online magazines such as Elle or Astrapi!

2. Watch French television and movies!

Though American Netflix doesn’t have as many options for French language films and television as the French counterpart, it does offer some respite through these hard times with funny reality shows like C’est du gâteau!, the French version of Nailed It!. Looking for something a little more serious? Try the French family drama filled with lies and intrigue, Mythomaniac.

But, if you don’t have a Netflix account or you’ve run out of choices, check out Hoopla available through your local public library. All you need is a library card--or an eCard, which you can get online from the Boston Public Library!--and filter resources via the language tag. Hoopla offers lots of French Cultural Center favorites such as A French Village and Agatha Christie’s Criminal Games. Feel free to make the most of the system by signing up for other library’s eCards and using your new card through Hoopla, too!

If you’re interested in educational material, try Kanopy (also found through your public library’s e-resources), which is full of documentaries and foreign language films!

3. Listen to French music!

Keep an eye out for a curated blog post on this topic, but with the help of Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube, there’s plenty of French music to be discovered. From the classics of Edith Piaf and Françoise Hardy to newer artists, there’s plenty to be explored. If you’re trying to learn current French slang and better understand wordplay, try Yelle, Maître Gims, Christine and the Queens, Stromae, Louane, Hoshi, and Indila. From club music to rap to acoustic, there’s plenty to listen to and to watch alongside a music video.

4. Change the language on your phone and social media!

Did you know that changing the language on apps and your phone can teach you valuable information? Such a drastic change from what you’re used to forces you to slow down and figure out what each app is asking. Partager? Modifier? Télécharger? Affichage? What are these words, and what do they mean? Working your way through something that is so familiar in English is a great way to learn new words, and really have them stick. Soon, the unfamiliar will yet again become familiar, and you’ll be scrolling like a pro once more.

5. Reach out to your friends from class!

Certainly at this time of social distancing, it may not be wise to meet up with your best friend from the French Cultural Center at a busy cafe. But! That doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with them! Call them, text them, send them an email en français. Quiz each other on conjugations, ask each other about what French film you’ve just seen from the comfort of your socially distant couch, or have a conversation. Now is a great time to learn new medical and health-related vocabulary, so why not test these new phrases out with each other?**
Social distancing doesn’t mean you should self isolate. Besides, learning another language is even better when you have a friend!

Although nothing really beats the physical copies of newspapers and books, and nothing really comes close to actually meeting your FCC bestie at a cafe to practice your French, these alternatives are sure to keep cabin fever at bay. In this day and age, there are plenty of online resources made to benefit a variety of our interests, and all in French, too! So be sure to cozy on up with a cup of tea and a blanket, to ease your way into a good book, movie, or language learning e-resource (remember, you can always find a round-up of our curated suggestions here!).

**Ne m’approchez pas, je pratique la distance sociale, is a perfectly proper way to tell folks in French to please don’t come within six feet of you.

Amy Layton

Library Assistant

Amy grew up in a small rural town in Washington and left home to study French and English literature at Southern Oregon University. This led her to La Ferté-sous-Jouarre to teach high school students English through the TAPIF program. From there, she travelled back to the states and received her Masters of Library and Information Science and Children’s Literature at Simmons University. In her spare time, she practices latte art and watches Danny Phantom.

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