French Advent Challenge

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Bonjour tout le mondeOver the weekend I had lots of fun finishing this little French challenge and now it is time to share it with you all. I haven’t used French since our trip to Paris the year before last, so it has been really nice to see what I can still remember. At some point I would like to work on all my languages again but I am finding that focusing on one at a time seems to be working better for me.

Let’s begin…

Day 13 – Christmas Greetings

Advent Challenge Day 13

When I found these phrases they seemed to stir something in the dark recesses of my brain from when I learnt French at school. Back then I really didn’t enjoy languages and never learned enough to even have a basic conversation; even after 3 years of study. Luckily I have found the language bug and learned some basic conversational French using podcasts for our trip to Paris. It is amazing how much you can learn when you find the way that works for you. I just wish I had known that 5 years ago when I started on this language adventure… but I digress.

Here is a selection of the most common French greetings…

Joyeux Noël – Merry Christmas

Meilleurs vœux – Best Wishes

Bonnes et Heureuses Fêtes! / Joyeuses Fêtes – Happy Holidays!

Bonne année et bonne santé – Happy New Year and good health

Vœux de Bonheur pour un Joyeux Noël – Happy wishes for a Merry Christmas

Meilleurs Souhaits pour Le Nouvel An – Best wishes for the New year

Passez un Joyeux Noël en famille – Have a good Christmas with your family

Researching these phrases reminded me how useful it was to work on my pronunciation while I was re-learning the basics of French. It makes learning these new phrases so much easier to say and remember. Something to remember when I eventually choose another language… it will happen at some point I am sure.

Day 14 – Christmas Dinner

Advent Challenge Day 14

Like everywhere else in the world, each family in France will have their own special way of celebrating Christmas, but you will find some traditional dishes that will grace most tables over the festive season. These are the ones I want to share with you today.


Traditionally any important dinner or lunch with start with an apéritif; typically some form of amuse bouche. Anyone that has watched the Great British Bake Off will now be more than familiar with these little treats but for those who have missed out on the baking magic, an amuse bouche is a bite sized dish made with puff pastry and filled with something delicious. Some of the most common ingredients are jambon (ham), fromage (cheese) or escargots (snails).


For most families Christmas is the time to prepare one of the most famous French dishes; foie gras. Typically served with pain grillé (toast) and figue (fig) or confit d’oignons (onion confit). Other popular appetisers are huîtres (oysters) or saumon fumé (smoked salmon).

The Main Course

Then comes the star of the show. Like most European countries the main event is hosted by a roasted bird. Some of the common choices are chapon (capon), dinde (turkey), pintade (guinea fowl) or faisan (pheasant). They are then stuffed with châtaigne (chestnut) and served with champignons (mushrooms) and vegetables.

Cheese Board Time!

It wouldn’t be a French party without a cheese platter. According to the cheese connoisseurs the perfect cheese platter is made of a choice of cow, sheep and goats cheese; but with so many choices available to you from across France how can it be to easy to choose. They will then wash the whole thing down with some good red wine.


After all the cheese it is finally time to appease the sweet tooth with a Bûche de Noël (Yule Log). A traditionally frosted swiss roll decorated to look like a log with lots of chocolate icing. Absolutely delicious! They then add some small Christmas figurines to the top for presenting at the table.

I don’t know about you but after all that food even I would be full… and that is saying something!

Day 15 – Christmas Carols

Advent Challenge Day 15

As with my other challenges I have relied in the almost endless supply of foreign language videos on Youtube. Below is a selection of some of my favourites for you to enjoy.

Day 16 – Christmas Story

Advent Challenge Day 16

This time the story comes in video format. While searching for the Christmas carols I came across these two Christmas stories on Youtube which had french audio with English & French subtitles. I think the videos are made for children but for a beginner like me they are great to practice listening and picking up some festive vocabulary. A very good find!

Another challenge complete! My tracker is starting to look very colourful now. What do you guys think?

I still need to get all my presents sorted but while I am working on that I will be sharing my Icelandic challenge I am working on now. Stay tuned for more.

Ciao for now!

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