Paris Focus: Art and French Lessons

When I saw this painting (well actually NOT the painting as that had been loaned elsewhere) but a copy of it in the Musée de l’Orangerie I was immediately taken back to 1968 when I was a young teenager in a Grammar School near Leeds.

There we had an amazing French teacher who earned himself the nickname of ‘Lurch’ as he was a big, tall chap with short cropped blonde hair and for some reason reminded us of Lurch, the butler,  in the Addams Family programme on TV at the time.

He was a wonderful teacher, making our French lessons fun and interesting, with great humour. One of his comments in my end of year report has stayed with me all my life: “Jude is an excellent conversationalist, just a pity it is not in French“. Saying that I loved languages and especially French, so much so I even went to work as an au pair in Geneva several years later. He unfortunately for us, left to teach in Chad at the end of this school year, leaving us to do our French O level with a rather disappointing replacement.

But back to the painting. One of the ways he taught us the language was by studying scenes or paintings and this was one of them. The teeny  dog, or was it a cat? The family in the cart – where were they going? Who were they? Is that a child or a pet monkey? Such a painting could stimulate many a conversation. In French. Of course 🙂

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

42 thoughts on “Paris Focus: Art and French Lessons”

      1. Not at all. When I was child in school, I already translated Jack London’s White Fang from Swedish to Finnish using dictionary. Three first books took time to translate From French to Finnish. I underscored every single word in my dictionary. In two years, I was a “walking dictionary”.

        I learnt Spanish while working Spanish during 4½ months. Few years ago, I went to Brazilian Portuguese course. In two winter courses, I learnt it. In school I learnt Swedish and German. These two languages I have forgotten so much, that I cannot made my posts in them. I understand them spoken, but writing is another thing, as You can imagine. My mother tongue is Finnish and my posts are in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

        Welcome to find hidden gems of Finland.

        Have a wonderful day!

        1. You must be extremely talented with languages. I shall pop over and visit your blog as I know very little about Finland other than it has lots of lakes and is very dark in the winter months!

        2. Hello.

          Dark in winter months, well, but in summer white nights! Can you imagine that sun never sets in the north – awesome experience. Happy weekend!

        3. I lived in Norway one summer so know those light nights to some extent – I found it very difficult to sleep! And used to go for a walk in the mountains after my shift in the hotel finished at 11 pm.

  1. “Jude is an excellent conversationalist, just a pity it is not in French“ hhahhaha love it. What a great way to learn a language – discussing a piece of art or something. I’ve vowed to re-learn French. I did two years at high school, so I should be able to pick it up again, right?

    1. I think French is a lovely language and I’m sure if you have studied it before you can pick it up. Of course the French never talk like the schoolgirl French we learn!

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