Let’s use this page for general discussion of FIA. La seul règle est de ne pas être mal élevé !

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237 Réponses

  1. Cher Robert,

    Quand je suis entré dans un magasin de vins, je pense toujours à votre grande étude systématique des grands crus de Bourgogne.

    J’ai beaucoup de jalousie de votre voyage aux grands vins de la région. C’était sûrement une grande diversion pour un américain, à visiter beacoup de villes fameux, où des vins sont les grands vins de tout le monde. Hubert croit qu’il faut aller jusqu’en Bourgogne pour les découvrir. Sans doute, il a raison.

    Finalment, je voudrais vous dire-c’est très amusant à vous entendre, chantant la chanson à boire de Bourgogne:

    « Quand je vois rougir ma trogne, je suis fier d’être bourguignon. »

  2. Cher Robert,

    Votre message m’incite à reprendre mes études avec le livre, French in Action.

    Je voudrais te dire—j’aime ce livre avec ses photos, ses descriptions intéressantes des characters de Robert et Mireille, de Marie-Laure et Hubert, et surtout, j’aime l’ histoire charmante de l’amitié des deux jeunes gens.

  3. Encore moi (Charles/Robert); for those who have some difficulty with their French, here’s what I was asking in my previous post (click on link below)…Merci beaucoup !


  4. Bon jour tout le monde,
    C’est Charles/Robert; quel est votre moment préféré / quels sont vos moments préférés dans French In Action ?
    Et quel est votre moment préféré / quels sont vos moments préférés entre Mireille et Robert ?
    À bientôt🙂

  5. Salut, Charles ! Très difficile à dire. Vous avez créé trop de moments mémorables ! Leçon 14 quand Robert et Mireille se rencontrent au cour de la Sorbonne. Toute est possible à ce moment ! J’aime beaucoup le repas chez les Belleau, leçons 33-36. Quand vous prenez le métro pour trouvez l’appartement de Mme. Courtois (leçon 24)…amusant toujours ! Votre élucubrations sur l’inutilité d’une éducation (leçon 20)… Je suis intéressé de savoir les opinions des autres FIA fans !

  6. est ce que vous pouvez me dire oú se trouve en paris la bouche, je vais voiyager a paris et j’amerais aller a la bouche. merci.

  7. La bouche dont vous parlez est la fontaine Stravinsky situé juste à côté du musée d’art moderne Centre Pompidou. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stravinsky_Fountain

  8. Quelle tristesse. J’etudierai la lecon 35 aujord-hui. Prof. Capretz me semble un ami; un vraiment gentilhomme chaleureuse. Mes regards a la famille.

  9. Very sad news indeed. Meeting Pierre and attending the reunion in 2010 was unequivocally a highlight of my life. Thank you, JP for keeping us informed. FIA shall live on!

  10. Bonjour tout le monde,
    just received sad news from Tim Shea, the 2010 FIA Reunion organizer, about Pierre Capretz. He forwarded me this email sent by Barry Lydgate.

    Sylvie Mathé wrote me this morning to say that Pierre died in his sleep last night at the hospital in Aix-en-Provence. His condtion had been deteriorating for some time, and he was admitted to the hospital several days ago after another in a series of cardiac events.
    I don’t have any information about funeral or memorial plans, but will let you know when I hear. I am going to try to free myself and attend if there is a ceremony.

    Barry Lydgate
    Professor of French
    Chair, French Department
    Wellesley College

  11. Thanks for passing along this sad news, Charles. I didn’t learn about it until today when Barry Lydgate emailed me. Somehow I didn’t get notice of your comment yesterday. A sad time for all everyone involved with FIA and for all former FIA students and FIA fans.

  12. When I originally commented I clicked the « Notify me when new comments are added » checkbox and now each time a comment is added
    I get several emails with the same comment. Is there any way you
    can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

  13. I wish I knew how to do that, Mariam! I think you may have to make that change yourself. Sorry!

  14. mireille’s phone number: 43-26-88-10
    belongs to this guy’s fax machine:

  15. Je voudrais faire un commentaire sur les leçons quarante quatre et quarante cinc de French in Action. À leçon 44, Mireille demande à Tante Georgette, « Et toi, qu’est-ce que tu me conseilles? » Tante Georgette répond, « C’est bien ‚égoïste, tout ça! . . .Tu pourrais m’aider pour mon cimetière de chiens. » Mais puis, à la leçon 45, Mireille dit à son tonton, Guillaume, « Tante Georgette voudrait que je lui donne de l’argent pour son cimetière de chiens. » Tonton Guillaume répond, « Ah, ça, c’est bien elle! C’est Georgette, tout craché! Il y a des millions de gosses qui meurent de faim partout dans le monde, et tout ce qui l’intéresse, c’est d’assurer une sépulture décente aux toutous défunts! Quel vieux chameau, cette Georgette. »

    Je crois que Mireille ne soit pas fidèle à la réalité avec ce dialogue. Tante Georgette a donné son conseil à Mireille seulement parce que Mireille pour commencer lui demande ce qu’elle conseille. C’est injuste à Tante Georgette!

  16. Jer voudrais faire un commentaire sur les leçons quarante quatre et quarante cinc de French in Action. À leçon 44, Mireille demande à Tante Georgette, <> Tante Georgette répond, <> Mais puis, à la leçon 45, Mireille dit à son tonton, Guillaume, <> Tonton Guillaume répond, <> Je crois que Mireille ne soit pas fidèle à la réalité avec ce dialogue. Tante Georgette a donné son conseil à Mireille seulement parce que Mireille pour commencer lui demande qu’est-ce qu’elle conseille. C’est injuste à Tante Georgette!

  17. Hello:
    First, great site. I have just started FIA. I plan to complete the 52 lessons with a tutor. My question is what is the best way to pace myself to get the most out of the video, workbook, textbook, and audio? I plan to spend 1-2 hours a day on the course, depending on my work schedule. For an adult self-learner with a tutor (2 hours a week), it is reasonable to do 2 lessons a week? Please advise.

  18. I’m going to France in a month…I love France, and I love French in Action. Many years ago I bought the entire program, even the Study Guide, and I really enjoy my hour a day or so spent on the study of the language. Mes meilleurs voeux a le professeur! M Capretz, you are so warm, and smart, and capable….you make learning and studying a pleasure!

  19. Dear Friends —
    I have been looking for the audio component for part 1, and have been unable to find it in my local libraries or through interlibrary loan. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please e-mail me: weownthesky.m84@gmail.com — I would be happy to buy a used copy of some kind at a reasonable price, but what is currently « out there » is ever so expensive.


  20. Hi Everyone!

    My local libraries do not have the accompanying audio component to borrow, so I thought I would turn here to see if anyone is willing to help a new French learner out…. Please e-mail me! weownthesky.m84@gmail.com


  21. Hell everyone!

    Omg I finally found it! I always remembered mystère et boulle de gomme but didn’t knew the name of the courses. When I was a little girl I loved to watch this series with my father who was learning French specially Marie Laure as she was my age, she is really a great actress.

    I think this helped a lot, I’m studying in Franc now🙂 Thanks for that

  22. Dear One and All,
    Turns out the email address in my earlier posting is faulty. Please use blydgate@wellesley.edu to send ideas for documents for Part 2 of the new FiA textbook. Sorry!
    Thanks to Robert Eder for drawing my attention to the problem.
    Barry Lydgate

  23. To Barry Lydgate, I tried to respond to your call for suggestions for the new edition of FIA text book part 2, but there was a problem with your email address, so my message was kicked back.

  24. Dear Friends and Fans,
    Barry Lydgate here. I’m working with Pierre Capretz on updating Part 2 of the FiA textbook; in summer 2014 it will join Part 1, published this year, to complete the new Third Edition.
    We’re seeking suggestions for updated text and cultural documents for inclusion in Part 2 (lessons 27-52). We’d like ideas for documents that reflect multicultural France and the Francophone world of today, and that connect if possible to one of the thematic and semantic fields of the lessons of Part 2: transports, logements, architecture, théâtre, cinéma, multimédia, ordinateurs, vacances, voyages, écologie. . . .
    Our deadline with the Yale Press approaches. Please send your ideas—preferably with the document itself or a precise reference to it—to me at blydgate@gapps.wellesley.edu. If we use your idea we will of course acknowledge your contribution in the book. Merci infiniment!

  25. French in Action is the best! I can’t understand why other languages like Chinese don’t have something comparable to French in Action! Apparently the third edition of the textbook has come out on Yale and Amazon. The workbook is coming out soon (if not already) but I am wondering how the audio files for the workbook will be presented, online for free or on an audio-CD?

  26. Bonjour, mes amis du FIA!

    I absolutely love, love, *LOVE* this wonderful, entertaining language course.

    As fan « Anna » wrote (le 6 juin, 2011), I, too, benefitted GREATLY watching this series during a « severe depression. »

    One day, I woke up and wasn’t depressed, anymore, because I finally had had something to *look forward to* that day: Studying French, in every way in which I could; there’s nothing worse in life than to be without a goal(s).

    Merci beaucoup, *chér Professuer Capretz*, pour le cours de langue *extraordinaire*!

  27. Bon anniversaire cher professeur!

  28. Being mean to kids doesn’t make them well behaved or responsible adults! Mireille about Marie-Laure. « Quelle celle gosse, cette gamine! »

  29. It is still true. My French friends’ children are much better behaved than those of my American friends, and even better than my English friends’ kids who live in Paris.

  30. @Robert Obama Eder: In one of the books that go with the FIA videos, there’s a comment that although Mireille’s treatment of Marie-Laure can seem a bit strict, it’s not unusual or out of place in a French family.

  31. Marie-Laure is also one of my favorites in French in Action. It goes to show the magnetism of the whole series, drawing me in, that I would resent that Mireille was mean to Marie-Laure at times and overly bossy. <> (Leçon 16) I came to the conclusion that Mireille was not such a nice person. But wait! Mireille and Marie-Laure and the rest are just actors! This was after all a made-up story for the purpose of teaching French!

  32. I’m most impressed with Marie-Laure (Virginie Contesse). Of all the actors, she seems the most natural, probably because she is the only one playing the person she is in real life: a girl about ten years old.

  33. Does there exist anywhere a transcript of the reunion skit? While I can pick out parts of it, they just talk way too fast for me to get it all, even with repeated viewings.

  34. Richard: No one has transcribed it to my knowledge. Would be a great project for someone with some dedication and time!🙂

  35. Wow! What an incredible surprise to discover by complete accident that a fan group exists for French In Action! I absolutely LOVED the show when it first appeared on PBS in 1987. I regret having missed the reunion event. That must have been a wonderful experience to meet the creators and major participants. I’ve watched the videos, merci beaucoup de les avoir postées. Really enjoyed the « Is FIA a cult? LOL

    I moved to France (Orléans) in 1991 and have been based in Paris since 2001. If any FIA fans want a personal tour guide for the FIA walking tour, n’hésitez pas à me contacter!

    It’s so great to see I was not the only one to have truly appreciated the excellence of this original, entertaining and highly effective, educational and informative program.

    Bravo, Professeur Capretz, énorme merci pour votre coup de maître.

    And grand merci aussi à JP for greating this blog.

    Vive la France et vive FIA!

  36. Salut à tous! These days, I am studying Lesson 33, where Robert and Hubert are having dinner with the Belleau. Hubert is playing the role of an aristocrat, as Mireille says, remarkably well. He is ranting about the lowly laborers. They want everything, he says, including a fridge, a vacuum cleaner, and electric lights. They were happier 100 years ago when they had water only when they went to fetch it at the pump.

    Where have I had this line recently? Yes! Mitt is saying how 47% want the government to give them everything, health care, pensions, and everything else.

  37. That’s a nice idea, Alexandre….but I wonder if any footage still exists? The only one who could answer that would be the Prof. Capretz himself.

  38. I’d like to see more behind the scenes and making of the series. There must be thousands of hours of footage that didn’t make it to the final cut.

  39. Just a note to JP Sullivan thanking him a million for that short but extremely helpful comment on Mireille’s introduction.
    I have listened to that so many times and now he has explained… so obvious. I am in the UK and was fascinated to see the reunion stuff and how well M looks but my Mrs would think I was a little weird if I alluded to and agreed with the comments on her gorgeous looks and also my age kind counts against me but she is and was a lovely looking lady. Anyway onwards and upwards with FIA.
    Very kind and great site and nice to have access to such a site given the date of the videos.

    Nigel Blanchard

  40. Also…. Does anybody know how Le Professeur is doing?


  41. JP… LOL… I have 58 days left in the Congo. As they say in Italy, « Sayonara. »

    The opening bit with Mireille introducing her family…I was too distracted staring at Valerie.

    I wish I had not been so shy at Yale. Should have got a picture with her. She was very friendly and pleasant.

    The reunion was one of the most pleasant times I have had in years. I am very glad I was able to make it there.


  42. What is the real address of the Belleau apartment. I know it is on rue Guynemer. Merci.

  43. 32 rue Guynemer…see article I wrote a few years back on this site.

  44. I am re-trying with FIA as I did the wrong approach a few years ago and just you to watch the videos. I am having another go and this time have gone out and purchased Text and work books. One thing that bugs me is at the beginning of each video is a short introduction from Mireille when she says « voila ma mere et mon pere » (sorry no accents) but just before what does she say in connection with her family as we have tried to find the words as they dont come over very well –sounds like comment sait mes parents or comment sont mes parents???

  45. Nigel, For the longest time I was confused by what Mireille says at the beginning also, but then one day it hit me that it was: « Commençons par mes parents. » 🙂

  46. I was a Yale student in the late 60s and had a terrible time with my daily French class. A good part of the reason was its time– 730 am.
    I abandoned the study of the language as fast as I could. But in the 80s i started again, reading (I could read but not speak) the Maigret novels in French — and even getting a statement by Simenon ( « Truth is too simple for the intelletuals ») into a speech by President Reagan for whom i worked.
    Then I discovered French in Action and became a devotee. Learning enough to get by at Maxim’s with owner Pierre Cardin who said « Monseiur Tony, votre accent, c’est charmant. Ne Changez pas. »
    My contribution to Angle-French relations.

  47. Hello! I don’t mean we make a professional psychological study, but talk about our impressions of the people; for example, the obsession of Mr. Courtois with the good food and wine (also Colette’s), and that of Mme. Courtois with Minouche. Or the mysterious ladies of French in Action, sometimes scary, like the concierge at the Belleau’s building.

  48. Je vous propose de faire une etude psychologique des personnages de French in Action, des personages principaux et secondaires, comme monsieur et madame Courtois, ou bien la concierge. Evidemment aussi de Robert, qui a beaucoup de complexes, mais pas de Mireille. On n’a pas besoin de faire une etude de la psychologie de Mireille, parce que le proffesseur la a fait l’être humain parfait.

    Michael, est ce que tu est dans la discussion? Je veux dire Michael, l’etudiant qui question tous les temps a notre professeur, et qui voulait parler des complexes de Robert, pour apprendre le Francais.

  49. Bonjour tout le monde, et Max à Kisangani (c’est où?).
    J’ai mangé une religieuse cet après-midi à Patachou. Délicieuse!
    Mais j’ai besoin de savoir: comment va notre professeur?

  50. Hello Fellow FiA Cultists. I am back in Kisangani. Wish I was at the Luxembourg….

  51. Re Marie Laure in FIA. The one thing that bothered me about Mireille was how she treated Marie Laure. I thought that the FIA writers did Mireille a disservice in this regard. I thought Mireille’s harsh impatience was superfluous and unnecessary.

  52. J’étudie maintenant les dialogues de FIA parce que je veux les mémoriser avec l’intention de les apprendre par coeur. Si il y a des autres qui ayant le même désir, on peut peut-être ensemble préparer le méme dialogue, et puis on peut le discuter l’un avec l’autre. Robert Eder, Salt Lake City, hussein.eder@gmail.com.

  53. I see some comments asking about Marie Laure (Virginie Contesse). In the skit between Charles Mayer and Valérie Allain, Mireille said that Marie Laure had been studying law and now was a « detective privée, » or was this just made up for the skit? Or perhaps I misunderstood the dialogue.

  54. At the reunion there was quite a bit of interest in what has become of Virginie. Nobody seemed to know.

  55. At the reunion, Valérie said she stayed in touch with Virginie’s family in Menton, France for a couple of years after filming, but fell out of contact after that. See Charles Mayers’ comment below of 24 Nov 2010. There were some rumors posted here about Virginie working at a store in New York City, but I rather doubt their veracity.

  56. It has been awhile since I visited this site and am trying to catch up. At the reunion, did anyone ask about Virginie Contesse? Any info on « Marie Laure? » My favorite character on FIA all those years ago…

  57. RIP
    tante Georgettee =Colette Ripert died May 15, 1990

    Still active
    sister Cecile =Julie Arnold
    Hubert = Franck de la Personne
    Jean-pierre Bourdon = Riton Liebman
    Colette = Fabienne Tricottet

    FIA was last gig
    Madame Belleau = Rosine Proust (she was hot on the show)
    Jean-luc = Patrice Bachelot

    I think I ran into Valerie in Paris a few years ago ~2009 at the big art store Crea. I’m in France now and enjoy Provence more than Paris, words from FIA come in handy but nothing better than immersion.

    There are two ways to know if you the get ‘French’, when you go into a shop in a Paris and the shopkeeper responds in French instead of english.

    Second go into a hardware store like Brico Depot or Brico Marche and describe plumbing and electrical things you need, if the dude tells you where it is, you’ve made it. If he tells you go ask the girls at the counter you haven’t. I’ve ‘made it’.

  58. Regarding putting FIA videos on a PC, I have transferred all videos from DVD to my MacBook and the total storage is 23 GB. I used free open source software to do the transferring. Videos can be further compressed if resolution is sacrificed. I transferred some videos to my IPod Touch with a lower resolution. I was able to cut out the annoying intro sequence and titles from each lesson.

    Once on the MacBook, videos can be accessed quickly. Neat things can be done like replaying arbitrary sections quickly to pick up a phrase not caught on first hearing.

    I imagine the same thing can be done with a PC. Most computers these days come with 100’s of GB so no problem with storage.

    I also transferred all audio CD’s which required 3 GB. I organized these in ITunes into « Audiobooks » grouped by lesson so they don’t show up as Music.

  59. But whatever happened to the cast of French in Action. It would be good to know something about them. Yes, I have bought all of the toos and have been enjoying the effort.

  60. So glad to have found this site. I bought the series in VHS about a decade ago.

    Due to a trip coming up (soon), decided brush up on French. Rather than figuring out how the DVD player can play a VHS, found the Annenberg videos online and then this [bizarre] site.

    Almost done listening to the whole series over a one-week period. 🙂

  61. Once upon a time I purchased the whole of the video series. (point being I am a paying customer🙂. But those darn videos will not fit in my eeePC and I am visiting abroad right now. Can someone send me a direct link to a video via email? I can’t see the home page, but could type the link in for a video on the site directly. dimitrisdad@gmail.com

  62. That’s a wonderful story, Anna. I wonder if Prof. Capretz realizes that FIA has touched so many lives and done so much more for many people than just teaching them to speak and understand French!

  63. I started watching/studying in 1995 during a time of severe depression. The program was (I firmly believe) instrumental in my recovery over the following years that I stayed with the program – watching on TV, then buying audio cassettes and workbooks. I knew I had to eventually get to the end to ‘solve the mystery’. !! After 7 years absence I’m coming in again at lesson 36 – it is all so familiar – all the characters seem like ‘old friends’. I’m just loving it – this program has influenced lives in ways that could not even be imagined. I am extremely well these days but I do believe that FIA helped ‘save’ me.

  64. FIA is basically my reason for exsistance. i dont know what id do without it. every night before i do lines i watch fia. sometimes i hope to be just like the professer, dr. evil professer guy. i just got spam on facebook, and theres a squirrel outside that reminds me robert! someday, i am going to marry marielle, whether she loves me or not. and shel make me enchilladas every wednesday.

  65. i love this show and i watch it every night before i go to bed.

  66. I had NO idea this blog existed, but thanks to youtube I saw the « reunion » that took place last year.

    Thank you for bringing this reunion together! It really warmed my heart. I know my coming to learn French really was helped by M. Capretz, Mireille, et Robert!

    Merci beaucoup!

  67. For « Encore un autre Robert »: I was able to acquire « gently used » textbooks and workbooks from amazon.com. Both for lessons 1-26 as well as 27-52. I acquired the audio CD’s for parts I and II from e-bay. It took a while to amass everything but it was the most economical way to do it and worth the wait! Good luck

  68. Thanks, JP. I stand corrected.

    I could not have got around in Haiti without French.

  69. One of the criticisms of FiA that was mentioned at the reunion was that the program was too « francocentric. »

    I just returned from working with officers from Rwanda and Cote d’Ivoire. They told me that their countries are now emphasizing English as the second language. Very few people in Africa actually use French.

  70. Max, I was aware that Rwanda is abandoning French for English–they are a small country whose ruling regime doesn’t like France–but hadn’t heard that about Cote d’Ivoire. The latter surprises me, because Cote d’ivoire, like Gabon where I’m going in May, is thoroughly francophone. You still can’t get anywhere with English in the D.R. Congo, where I spent 9 mos in 2010. It makes a lot of sense for young people in these developing nations to be learning English, but most of these countries will remain French-speaking for the foreseeable future. According to Wikipedia, about 115 million Africans were French-speakers in 2007.

  71. I was disappointed that I could not be at the reunion, so I will be doubly disappointed if this thread dies off again.

    To that end, I have a question: I have seen Lessons 1-20 from the FIA textbook. Were there similar lessons for 21-52? If so, where can I acquire the book or an electronic file or…?

  72. Ca me derange profondement qu’on ne sait pas ou se trouve la petite…peut-etre que c’est parce qu’elle ne veut pas etre trouvee! I’ve been to France many a time and Marie-Laure reminds me of so many insolent little brats that, in turn, reminded me of her. There’s so much honesty in cultivating your true personality in France. There’s no « have a nice day » there. It’d be interesting to see how Virginie turned out after spending 52 episodes becoming part of the learning community of the actors. AND YES, I was honestly in love with Mireille because I was close to her age. I’m French Canadian so I watched with a curiosity for the idiomatic and euphemistic differences and similarities related to French culture. For the most part our languages actually mesh well with differences apparent in accent and local dialect distinctions. It’s good to see all on this board so enthusiastic about learning French. I share the same in my pursuit of acquiring Spanish. No hablo mucho, pero con la practica, que vendra!

  73. Bon anniversaire M. Capretz. Je pense à vous tous les jours! xo

  74. Hi I’m so glad I found this site! I love FIA. I used to watch it on PBS all the time, when I was a kid. It was so fascinating to me. I couldn’t get enough of it. And when I got to high school, I made sure I took french! haha. Then when I watched it again on PBS as I got older, I could figure out some of the stuff they were saying. I still watch the show on youtube right now, and find it just as fascinting as I did when I was a kid.

  75. Bon anniversaire, cher professeur!

  76. Meilleurs voeux à l’occasion de votre anniversaire.
    Dominik de Filippis

  77. Hello everyone!

    Tomorrow, January the 30th, is the birthday of our beloved Professeur, and this is a good place to wish him a great day:

    Bon anniversair a le plus grand professeur du monde!!! et ecrivant, et cineaste, etc.

    Salvador from Guadalajara, México

  78. I second your motion, Salvador! Bon anniversaire, professeur !

  79. Hi everyone

    I’m currently working with someone else on making subtitle for every single episode of FIA and already made some of them .
    If you are interested in having those just contact me with the below email :

    take care

  80. Many thanks to Brian and Jim Q for taking the time to give me their helpful comments. I am already adopting their suggestions.

    Are there any online chats where I might be able to trade English language tutoring for French tutoring, with an emphasis on speaking if possible. Any native French speakers that are interested in taking their English to a different level. It seems like an obvious situation, but I have not located anything thus far.

    Again, comments would be much appreciated.


  81. I just found out about this website today. Long live FIA!

  82. Soyez le bienvenu ici !

  83. Another way to keep your French going is to visit the French versions of web sites such as MSN or Yahoo. I have the French version of Facebook, and sometimes chat with friends in French. If you want a special challenge, I recommend French comedians. There are some very amusing clips of Florence Foresti, Raymond Devos and others on YouTube. Very amusing, but very challenging as well! If you’re like me, you will want to listen to each clip at least ten times! Good luck!

  84. Patrick,

    I’d suggest adding french tv . You can watch stuff for free on the web, or buy french movies, or simply watch a dvd with the language turned to french.

    If there is a local college that has a french major, you can enroll as a non-degree student and take all their french classes.

    Last, the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has a set of 24 lessons that you can learn from. You can even get the book and audio off the web for free. Hope this helps.


  85. First, FIA is the best language course out there. I am going through it a lesson per week using all the elements, video, textbook and workbook. In my experience, a lesson per week is ideal as it takes a certain amount of time to absorb the materials effectively. I supplement by listening to Radio France and french music. Progress is slow but effective.

    My question to those who have taken the course: what next to continue the improvement. Moving to France or Montreal is not an option at the moment (though that is what we are working toward) and I need to be at home learning so attendance at Alliance or such like is not a possibility. Working with these limitations, are there any other online teaching courses that would pick up where FIA leaves off.

    Any help or advice would be much appreciated.

  86. It is unfortunate that the French apparently do not allow FIA to be taught in France. I was told by a Frenchmen here in the U.S. that, because it was produced by Yale University, it could not be sold in France, and this was confirmed when I contacted Yale, which continues to distribute the course, but is NOT allowed to do so in France.

    This is unfortunate because I have been using the program for years and will be going to France for ten months, partly to study French.

    I would like to get to the bottom of this, because I have found, as have many others, FIA to be more understandable, more entertaining and more instructive than any of the French-made courses, most of which are badly designed, badly written, badly acted and confusing.

    What did Pierre Capretz do to so offend his countrymen that his course is proscribed in his own country?

  87. Bonjour,
    regarding Marie-Laure/Virginie Comtesse, the last person to see her was Valérie, in Menton, South of France. Valérie had stayed in touch with her; her family had moved to Menton, and Valérie visited her while visiting her own family in Saint-Rapahael, also on the Riviera. She said Virginie was 14 at the time, so it must have been in 1987, as my memory tells me she was 12 when we shot FIA.
    Valérie is supposed to look into that, and try to find out if Virgine’s parents still live in Menton, as there was no result on the Net for Virginie Comtesse. If she’s married, she has her husband’s name of course.
    Will keep you posted if something comes up.
    A bientôt,

  88. Merci, bien, JP; je crois que comprends maintenant. Je me demandais si peut-etre c’était une expression française que je ne connaissait pas.

  89. J’ai deux questions pour vous tous:
    Qu’est-ce qui s’est passé de Virginie Contesse (Marie-Laure)?
    Il n’y a rien sur l’internet.
    Et que signifie l’expression: « Mystère et boule de gommes »?


  90. Christiaan : S.V.P. voyez la discussion en dessous de l’article « incroyable, inoubliable ! » pour ce que nous savons sur le sujet de Marie-Laure (rien, en bref). A propos de « mystère et boule de gomme » il me semble que un peu de mystère sur la signification de cette phrase est tout à fait à-propos. Mais voyez ce podcast sur cette question.

  91. Atlantis: if you are picking up everything that’s being said in the later FIA episodes, you are understanding French as it’s really spoken by real people in every day situations. My French is good enough to get by in francophone countries but I still miss some things said in the dialogues and have to consult the text. I just watched Leçon 48 and had to look at the text to understand what was being said in a number of places. IMHO, if you’re getting 40% or so what’s being said you can follow a conversation.

  92. If someone could watch the programs and understand everything being said in real time, would they then be able to understand french in a real situation?

  93. Montaigne looks like white stone in episode 2, where Tante Georgette is introduced….. Is this a set on a stage?

  94. Hey Dominick,

    I think there was one post from someone claiming to be ‘Marie-Laure’ some time back and she definitely seemed to not want any attention. She said that no one will ever find her, so she is probably married and has a new last name. So if you find out who she is, you must be tthe cia or something, and tell her we all wish her well.


  95. Does anyone know whatever became of the actress who played Marie-Laure? And Tante Georgette?

  96. Great site – I can’t believe there’s gonna be a reunion. I found Charles Mayer’s site – he looks the same, really cute, where’s his YALE shirt (love that embedded message)…

    I think this IS the best video language learning course, i’ve done Destinos (second best) and Fokus Deutsch, too, which I love because of the language, but it does NOT do immersion like Capretz’ method does.

    I remember FIA very very fondly for what it allowed me to learn in a very short time. I was the only person at my university who had one year of intensive French, with this,and ONLY this much French, and went the next year to study in Paris and Geneva. With the right teacher, it’s all you need.

    Thanks for the great albeit quirky fan site!!!!!


  97. I wondered where the interiors for the Belleau apartment, etc., were shot. Does anyone know?

  98. Max: I think the interieor shots of the Belleau’s place were actually shot inside the 4th-floor apartment at 32 rue Guynemer. When Mireille et Robert go out onto the balcony to enjoy the view, they are clearly on the balcony of this apartment.

  99. Paris is also a star in this program. FIA is by all odds the best language learning video program so far published.

  100. Max: Good point! Nothing else on American television has come close to FIA in giving Paris and French culture wide exposure to an American audience. The City of Paris is so much more than a backdrop in FIA. By the end of the series you feel that you know the place, even if you’ve never been there. I’d like to know how much American tourism in France has been generated directly or indirectly by FIA…I’d wager a lot!

  101. Valerie Allain, to set the record straight, was not and never has been a porn star « doing the nasty. » Unfortunately, she did appear in some soft porn, running around in the altogether.

    Her film career ended at about the age of thirty, when she may have become too old to continue to appear in the kind of teen movies in which she had been cast. The high point of her career seems to be her role in « French in Action, » in which she performed (if my arithmetic is correct) in her late teens.

    I hope she is well and happy.

  102. I take issue with your characterization of some of Ms. Allain’s films as « soft porn. » Yes, she had nude scenes in a few movies, but these films were in no way « porn, » of any variety. Perhaps because there has been so little information available about Ms. Allain, rumors, like the one that she was killed in a motorcycle accident, persisted much longer than they should have. It will be interesting to learn at the reunion in October what the actress herself thought of these rumors, or if she was even aware of them!

    As for how old she was in FIA, there are discrepancies in her published birthdate. IMdB (both French and English) and her English-language Wikipedia page has her birthday as April 3, 1966, while her French Wikipedia page says April 3, 1965. Her MySpace page gives her age as 45, in agreement with the latter. Thus, she was either 19 or 20 when FIA was filmed during the summer of 1985. I’m inclined to trust her self-reported age on MySpace.

  103. Hey guys,
    just wanted to let you know Pierre invited me to a reunion at Yale Oct. 29 – 30 & 31 and told me Valérie was going to be there.
    See you there ?😉

  104. Quand est la réunion? Avez-vous des nouvelles? Quelqu’un peut répondre?

  105. Comme dit ma tante Georgette!


    Il a de la fortune, comme dit ma tante Georgette.

    Il n’y a pas de sot métier, comme dit ma tante Georgette.

    On ne sait jamais,comme dit ma tante Georgette.

    « Et tous les chemins mènent à Rome, » comme dit
    ma tante Georgette!

    Tout est bien qui finit bien, comme dit ma tante Georgette!

    Plus on est de fous, plus on rit, comme dit ma tante Georgette

  106. I see lots of questions on here, but very few responses. The owner of this site should allow a ‘post comment’ type of button with each post to keep everything consolodated. Great site otherwise!

  107. New FIA fan says bonjour! Just did a sum up of all the FIA stuff available online, videos, textbook and mp3:

    Online video
    for all not living in US or Canada:

    North America:

    %% ————————————————————




    %% ————————————————————

    Episode 1-52 transcripts:

    %% ————————————————————

    Episode 1-45 transcript + teacher’s guide notes:
    old version(1-26):http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/fia/fiapressuggintro.html
    new version(1-45):http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/FiA/fiapreparelessons.asp

    %% ————————————————————

    Episode 1-52 mp3 (only the conversation, no prof. session, no background noise):


    %% ————————————————————

    52 courses video torrent:

    %% ===================================

  108. There are several continuity errors in the series.

    In the episode where marie-laure doesn’t return home at 6pm, robert and mareille go to luxembourg to search for her.

    they find the bateau next to the tree but when they return to the apartment marie-laure is already playing with the bateau on her bed.

    when marie-laure arrives at the catacombs her sweater is around her waste but when when she exits the catacombs her sweater is gone.

    In learly episodes robert threw away his jacket which mareille kept, then he wore the vest then somehow switched back to his original costume. shows were shot out of sequence with bad continuity.

  109. Est-ce que la methode est presente et diffusee en Asie?

    J’envisage d’utiliser French in Action pour mes cours dans une universite a Seoul.

    Pour l’heure, je teste.


  110. What fabulous news! I will be there with bells on.
    I hightailed it from PEI to Toronto for the winter to take a French course at Ryerson and want to tell Monsieur Capretz that my teacher was not pleased with my use of the word ‘la bouffe’ (learned from one of the last episodes) in my composition; she underlined it in red and wrote ‘VOC (argotique)!’
    It really made me giggle.

  111. Cher Anonyme de Yale,

    That is very exciting news, indeed! Welcome to the site and thanks for the update. Please continue to keep us au courant.

  112. Cher Tous!

    I am a graduate student in French at Yale. A friend of mine (well-placed) told me about this site. She works with Pierre and tells me that there will be a reunion here at Yale in the Fall. More details if/when I get them!

    how exciting!

  113. Mon dieu, Professeur Capretz est très beau, n’est-ce pas?😉
    J’espère que je peux apprendre beaucoup avec lui et ce cours. Merci bien pour le site!

  114. JP : Bonjour, thank you for this nice website! I was really interested to read the ‘interview’ with M. Capretz – great job at conducting this!

    I would probably not be able to attend a reunion in Philadelphia, but I love the idea. It’s a fun thought just for the cast to be reunited with each other and M. Capretz after 25 years, regardless of whether or not the public is invited.

    By the way, I would really like to see the French in Interaction realized one day soon. It sounds like a very interesting project, taking our beloved FIA to the next level.

  115. I found this website accidentally while I was looking somethiing up for my work.(I’m a french-chinese translator in Taiwan.)
    French in Action is such a good material with so many stuffs in it ! I’m quite thankful that my prof used it to teach us back in college. I’ll definitly share the website with all my classmates!
    Un grand merci + gros bisou pour le createur du site!!!

  116. I’m wondering if anyone can help me find all the episodes available for mac? both the monova.org and the learner.org don’t seem to work. can someone help out a fellow FIA enthusiast? merci beaucoup!

  117. I’d advise anyone serious about learning French to go ahead and buy the official DVD’s from the link on the left (Buy new FIA materials).

    They may seem expensive at $450 for the complete 14 DVD (52 episodes), but compare that to what you would pay for tuition for an introductory French 101 class at a University, which is likely to be at least $1,000 (Damn, college has got expensive!)

    Then you’ll have access to good quality FIA whenever you want, and for the whole family to use and enjoy.

    You will also find cheaper versions on Ebay, but I suspect that well over 90% of those are cheap copies burnt to DVD-R’s and won’t last over time.

  118. Just want to say that you might want to check for the videos at your libraries. I’m new here, and have read some of the postings, so I’m not sure if this has been mentioned before, but my city library has all lessons on VHS. I went to my parents’ house and dug out my college FIA textbooks so now I have those too. My husband and I just booked a trip to London and Paris for September. We’ll spend a week in Paris, renting an apartment. I dropped out of French back in college once my classmates started speaking in sentences and conversations. English was banned at that point. But I hadn’t grasped the verbs, so I couldn’t participate. I dropped mid term in the third semester. Watching the videos, I’ve regained what I had learned before but the verbs are still hard for me. My best friend is fairly fluent, so I’ll have her tutor us, especially with the verb, sentence structure. I really want to learn now. I’m afraid I’ll be fearful to order any food or buy an outfit if I don’t learn something! I never did forget about Mireille and Robert though. Always wondered what happened in the story and how the actors were doing. And through this site, I found I wasn’t alone! Interesting FIA effect.

  119. My answer is « Oui » for both of Monsieur Horn’s suggestions. Si vous avez le temps, please approve the comments before they make it on this forum. For me, a delay of a couple of days is not an issue.

    Having a « Demander au professeur » section on the blog est une bonne idee. Nous pouvons poser les questions sur la web, et Monsieur Capretz peut repondre, quand il a le temps. These questions need to be screened before hand, bien sur.

  120. There will be news shortly about our interview with Professor Capretz! I have some questions for him but need more. Now is your chance to learn what you’ve always wanted to know. I’ll put up a blog article soon where you can leave your questions for him.

  121. The spam really is out of control. They’ve figured out how to get it past the spam blockers. I think the only thing I could do is approve every post. This will block the spam, but will introduce a delay of a day or so in some cases for your comments to appear… Do you think I should do this?

    About Professor Capretz…yes I was supposed to interview him. Truly there are few things I’d rather do, but the work I’m paid to do has been extra demanding of late. I’m wondering if we shouldn’t consider asking the good professor if he would like to answer questions right here on this blog. We could designate a blog article as the « Demander au professeur » article. We type in our questions, and he as his time permits, anwers them. What think you of this idea?

  122. This spam is getting ridiculous! Stop the insanity!!

  123. about the spam — i have no idea if this is possible, but is there a way for FIAFAN users to flag posts — perhaps two flags and it gets deleted?

    in other news — was there going to be an interview with le professeur? is this something that could be done as a net cast?

    i know, i know, im assuming you are google! ; )

  124. Yes, the spam has been a problem. A lot of stuff gets by the filters and it takes me a day or two to see it and delete it. The only way to prevent any of it getting on the board would be to have everyone’s comment go through me for moderation. But this would create delays. V.O., I think I got too happy with the delete key the other day while killing spam and snuffed your comment by mistake! Sorry!

  125. Yes, is there anything we can do about this sudden avalanche of spam?

  126. It seems this discussion page is plagued by spam. One of my posts also was deleted — dont know why.

  127. Hey, why are there no stories about Mireille and Robert on http://www.fanfiction.net/

    Surely we have all been inspired to imagine « la suite de l’histoire. » For example, I always imagined that Robert and Mireille meet years later at Yale, each there to watch their child graduate. They haven’t seen each other since 1986… what would that rencontre look like? And Ousmane, what has he been doing in the library? Is he solving the DaVinci code?

    Any way, just thought people might like to look at that site!

    Vive Ousmane, et vive French in Action!

  128. oldfiafan: to answer your question, yes the textbooks have all the dialog from the video-play about Mirielle and Robert but not the part after with Prof. Capretz. Still it is very helpful and also contains pages of examples that review much of what he says on the video.

    Amazon is a good place to pick up a used copy of both the textbooks and the workbooks. The ones I got were « gently used » and had maybe one of two pages where someone had made some notes in the margin. The rest of the pages were pristine. The margin notes didn’t bother me at all. As a matter of fact, they were very helpful!

  129. 1) any word from le professeur about the reunion?

    2) if you google french in action for teachers you will find transcripts for many of the videos. a great resource, but incomplete!

  130. Has anyone tried the French in Action textbook (Amazon-$37)? Amazon has the « Look Inside » feature which allows you to see the first few pages, and it looks like all the vocabulary & material from the show should be there.

    As a bonus, you also have a nice picture of Charles & Valerie on the front cover.

  131. Zeb,

    In the upper, left hand corner if you click on the picture of « l’homme en noir » that says WIKI you will find that some really nice person has been working on vocabulary lists and grammer from each episode. So far, she has done up to lesson 20, I believe.

    Why do I feel like I’m the only one here lately? Where’d everybody go?

  132. Hi All.

    I am looking for lists of vocabulary from all the lessons that I can use to make a flashcard set. I have yet only found lists for Lessons 23 and 24 online.

    Can anyone assist?



  133. Hi, SJD…I just listened to the sentence you were referring to and it sounds to me like he is saying, « Elle est indignée » (indignant) which would make sense in the context. Hope that’s right.

  134. Hello, just wondering where is the best place to post questions about the content of the videos. There are places where I just can not figure out what the prof is saying no matter how many times I replay it. I have the text to help with the story dialogue but the text doesn’t cover these section.

    For instance: Lesson 29 around the 9:30 mark, the prof says:
    Regardez Marie-Laure ici, elle n’est pas contente, elle non plus.

    What is the next sentence? Any help would be appreciated.

  135. I hope there is a reunion, with as many cast members as they can find. And I hope it is open to the public, at the public of this list. Yale would be a fine place, but Paris more appropriate!

  136. REUNION!?
    My information is second or third hand (but not more than that! I’m at Yale where le professeur roams the campus), but rumour has it that plans are in the work for a French in Action Reunion….some sort of paid event with some cast and other events. We are approaching the 25th anniversary….

    Anyone else know anything?

    Je serai là ! (if it’s on the east coast)

  137. V.O.: That is fantastic news, if true! This will obviously be a question I will put to the Professor. I want to urge all FIAfans to send me the question or questions they’d like to hear Pierre Capretz answer. I am going to convey these to him soon!

    BTW, I like your moniker. I have always wished Ousmane had figured more prominently in the FIA episodes. I like that cool handshake/snap thing he does.

  138. Hi:

    I just wanted to let everyone know that there is now a « Fans of Valérie Allain » group on Facebook.com.

    It’s an open group, so everyone is free to join.



  139. Merci beaucoup! JP. I’ll definitively check it out.

  140. great comment dude, I think you are right

  141. A question that I would like to ask Prof Capretz would be if he has any info on Virginie Contesse. Perhaps, even the name of talent agency representing her all those years ago. She probably got out of the acting business decades ago, but it’s still worth a letter asking for a photo.

    Je ne sais pas pourquoi Virginie a disparu?

  142. Maybe this has been discussed. I don’t know. If you purchase the course DVD set on ebay you are likely to be buying a bootlegged copy. I unknowingly did this. I suspect that the same person has been selling bootlegged copies for years. The bootlegged copies have crappy graphics, come without the original packaging and have a blue tinged color.

    Over the years I have noticed that two or three DVD sets show up per week from « different » sellers but the sellers’ presentation has the same look. The buyer list is always private. The seller sometimes claims to be from other than the US but the package is sent from the US.

    The DVDs routinely go for less than $100. This guy needs to be stopped.

  143. Hi everybody! I just began to learn French and my teacher told me about French in Action I love it specially Robert!!!! I think he is the most handsome Canadian ever!!!! I saw a recent picture of him and he looks better with time just like good wine. I’d like to know more about him. He’s definitively the reason why I’m keep on watching it.(also because I’m learning while having fun )

  144. Patricia,

    If you’re a big fan of Charles Mayer, you’ll want to check out his acting website on which there are lots of pics and clips of his work through the years. See the link on the FIAfans sidebar. Also check out his comments on his role in FIA in the FancyRobot blog archive. I hope he’ll let us do an interview with him after we do ours with Professor Capretz!

  145. Good work, Steve! Thanks for taking the initiative here.

    Here’s what I propose to you and everyone reading this who is dying to ask our beloved Professeur Capretz questions about himself and the development of FIA. Email me your questions. I will combine them in a logical order along with some of my own and send them along to the good professor. When I get his responses I will publish the questions (crediting the question’s author, of course) and his responses as a article here on this blog.

    Here is everyone’s chance to ask the burning question about FIA!

    Send your questions to AloysiusH (at) gmail (dot) com.

    (Yes, Aloysius and I are on close terms.)

    Let’s give this at least a month or so, to give folks a chance to see this and to get their questions in.

    Merci, Steve, et merci, Professeur! 🙂

  146. I’ve emailed a couple of times with Pierre Capretz and I believe that he would be happy to answer some questions. Copied below is part of his latest email:

    « … I understand, now, that what you may want to do is to conduct some kind of interview which you would publish in the Fiafan site. Fine with me. Send me the questions you would like to ask in such an interview and I will do my best to answer them. I do not know how much the Fanfia readers would like to know about me, but for my part I would love to know something about you.
    Bien à vous
    Pierre Capretz »

    How should we go about putting together a list of questions? They should probably be submitted by the moderator of the site to be more ‘official’.

  147. It’s wonderful to know that the great Professeur Capretz has been over to our humble blog to have a look and liked it. You know, one idea that might be worth pursuing would be to assemble all of our various questions concerning the origin, development and production of FIA and ask Dr. Capretz to respond in writing when he has time. We could post this as an article on the blog. Who knows, but maybe Ms. Allain and Mr. Mayer could follow suit?

  148. Hello All,

    I’ve received another email from Pierre. He seems to like this site. I’ve copied the email below:

    Cher Monsieur,
    Encore désolé d’avoir pris si longtemps pour vous répondre: j’essaie de travailler à French in Interaction et ça absorbe toute mon énergie…

    Thank you so much for your message, it is nice to hear from you and I hope we will keep in touch.
    Merci en particulier pour l’adresse du site (http://fiafans.org) qui est admirablement bien fait et m’a beaucoup intéressé.Je regrette de ne pas être capable de vous donner les noms des films et clips de télé qui aparaissent dans FIA
    Je suis tombé sur la petite note suivante qui n’a sans doute aucun intérêt pour vous mais que je copie, juste en cas.

    Bien à vous

    Pierre Capretz

    >Que sont devenus les comédiens de French in Action?

    Nous avons adressé à Monsieur Belleau la question que pose Mark Ed West dans le Kentucky et Monsieur Belleau nous a répondu ceci:
    « Cécile et Mireille ont pas mal tourné au cinéma et à la télévision. On a beaucoup vu Cécile ces derniers temps. Elle a joué sous son nom de comédienne, Julie Arnold , dans cette longue série à la télé qui s’appelle « Marc et Sophie « . Cela lui a valu d’avoir sa photo dans beaucoup de magazines et même d’être au premier rang à la distribution des Césars en 1991, tout près de Sophia Loren. ( Ce détail a même été noté aux Etats-Unis; voyez la « French in Action Newsletter » d’avril 91, numéro 1).
    Mireille , sous son nom de comédienne, Valérie Allain, a eu un très joli rôle dans la série d’Antenne 2 ( aujourd’hui France 2) « Un Château au soleil », et elle a eu des rôles importants dans plusieurs longs métrages comme « Les nouveaux tricheurs » de Michael Schock ( 1987), ( voyez la « Newsletter  » numéro 4 ) ; et aussi dans un court métrage de Godard. Elle a eu le premier rôle féminin dans  » Alouette je te plumerai » en face de Fabrice Luchini et de Chabrol . Elle a aussi fait plusieurs pubs. Quant à notre ami Hubert il est souvent monté sur les planches, sous son nom de comédien, Franck Lapersonne; il a eu plusieurs petits rôles à la télé et il a tourné dans pluseurs films , « Strangers dans la nuit  » qui est passé sur F3 ( voir Newsletter numéro 2), « Pognon sur rue », une comédie de Jean Louis Bertucelli qui est passé à la télévision Suisse, sur TSR ( voyez la « Newsletter » numéro 3) .
    J’ajouterai que Mireille Dumas a récemment consacré une émission de « Bas les masques » à Jean-Pierre, sous son nom de comédien , Riton Liberman.<

  149. Hello All,
    I was organizing my video shelf and put in lesson 40 just for fun while I was working, and lo and behold, I found a really cool, small glitch! In this episode, the Man in Black is supposed to be saying « Zut! » en Morse. Jean-Pierre is the one who notices, but he gets one of the letters wrong (the French is correct, but the Morse is wrong). He says, « Trait, Trait, Point, Point: Z. Point, Point, Trait: U…. » Then he goofs with « Un Point : T. » (Un Point = E; T would be Un Trait.)
    I still enjoy this episode very much. After all, maybe l’Homme en Noir couldn’t spell very well!

  150. Hello.
    I’m new there
    Nice forum!

  151. Thanks Salil,
    Right after I posted the message from Pierre I noticed your post of January 1, 2009. I don’t know how I missed it. Thanks for providing those links.

  152. Steve,

    Here are the names of some of the sources of the TV (and movie clips) seen on French in action. I copied them from the yale univ press FIA forum archives (see my previous post for a link to the forum)

    TV shows

    Merci Sylvestre
    Papa Poule
    Marie Pervenche
    Le maestro
    Le coeur dans les nuages
    Allo Beatrice
    Tout comme un homme
    Helas Alice est lasse
    Le tueur est parmi nous
    Paris Saint Lazare


    Le locataire d’en haut
    Connaissez-vous Maronne?
    La boucle d’oreille
    L’ennemi public
    Folie douce
    Une derniere fois Catherine
    Le passe a venir (Thierry Martenet)
    La France revee
    Visite au chateau (Jacques Deschamps)
    Ballades (Catherine Corsini)
    Voyage a Deauville (Jacques Duron)

    I will post this on the Wiki as well. Hope that helps.


  153. All the entries on the main page about La Closerie des Lillas, Favorite Parisians scenes, etc have been excellent, but dormant for 11 months. Will this round of the Oscars produce renewed activity? It’s great to see the renewed (finally) activity in discussion. I hope to contribute to the Wiki, but it’ll take me a little while to figure it out. It’s been over ten months since we heard from Aloysiushorn. Are you OK?

  154. Dear rodporte: Thanks for your concern, I am actually doing okay. I feel more than a little guilty about letting this blog go to seed the way I have. A new article is in the works, but not one that will have been worth waiting 11 months for. What this blog really needs are more writers. I would love to make anyone who wishes to contribute a short article or two on FIA a writer on this blog! Of course the Wiki has also fallen by the wayside. I’m glad you’re motivated to get back into it! Let me know if I can help. And thanks for your concern! 🙂

  155. Steve,

    Wonderful to hear from Pierre Capretz! Thanks for sharing that here!

  156. I too am a fan of FiA. I studied the videos along with the old (1st edition) textbook last year. This year I acquired the 2nd edition and the workbook and I’m starting the adventure all over again. There are lots of new things to learn with the new material.
    I also was curious about the video excerpts used in the video series so I emailed Tracy Huang (I found her email in someone’s previous post) asking for info. My email was forwarded to Pierre Capretz himself and to my pleasant surprise he responded. His reply is copied here:

    Dear Mr …,
    Je suis désolé d’avoir dû attendre si longtemps avant de pouvoir vous répondre dû à un fâcheux concours de circonstances : health problems, lots of work trying to go beyond FIA, long stay out of the country, huge accumulation of mail.

    Unfortunately I do not have a list of the sources of the clips that appear in FIA. The list would be huge.
    By chance I happen to remember the source of the clip(s) showing a nice man with curly hair and a number of kids: this comes from « Papa Poule » a TV series.

    I am very sorry not to be of more help at this point but I will tell you if more info comes to my mind.

    I am indeed extremely sorry for my delay in answering and the little info I offer, all the more so because it was a great pleasure to hear from you. I hope we will have the occasion to communicate further. Meanwhile I hope you derive some satisfaction from FIA
    and its many quoted clips.

    Bien à vous.

    Pierre Capretz

    While he gives the resource for only one of the excerpts it was great to hear from Pierre Capretz himself.

  157. Cerish: Great question! I hope someone knows the answer.

  158. Hello,
    I’m glad I found this site.
    I too am a great fan of FIA.
    Does anybody know the name of that beautiful song,
    I mean, Mireille et Robert love theme?
    The song that plays in the last episode when they flying over France? That same song plays when they first met.

  159. Hi everyone, I just found this site, this is so cool. I just got done today reading the French in Action textbook. I’ve watched some of the episodes on YouTube and I think using FIA has been about the most fun I’ve had learning anything. Learning a new language always seems so intimidating but this program made it so easy! Love the website.

  160. For those looking for names of the films and tv series used in FIA, you can find some of the names here:


    The Yale website used to have a discussion forum for FIA with active participation by Prof. Capretz. The forum has been offline for a while but you can still see it on the web archive page below. There are many interesting discussions including posts by Marie-Laure (writen by P. Capretz🙂 )


  161. They are a variety of French films, television programs, and commercials. They would have to be from the early eighties or even older. If anyone were lucky enough to have been watching French television or films at this time, maybe you could give us a clue?

  162. Did anyone ever find out any of the names of the films whose excerpts are featured in FIA?

  163. So for years I’ve been muttering the phrase « mystère et boules de gomme » to myself whenever anything really mysterious occurs. I’d learned it in FIA back in the early 90’s.

    Today I decided to Google it — and found this great site. I love the web. My schoolboy crush on Mireille lives!

  164. The hotel has it’s own website here. I had looked into staying there for my next trip but read mixed reviews about the service and the state of some of the rooms so I opted to stay somewhere else. By the photos you can tell it’s changed a lot since Robert’s day.

  165. Vicki,

    Thanks for those photos of the Home Latin. I’d love to hear from someone who’s stayed there recently. My wife & I stopped in and met the proprietor in July 2007. He had never heard of French in Action. I’d like to know if it’s still as Robert described it: « un petit hotel du quatier, le Home Latin, c’est pas luxieux, mais c’est propre et pas très cher. »

  166. Shruggs – I’m just guessing here, but from what I’ve heard about the French educational system I am not surprised that they are given homework to do during their vacation. So, the phrase « devoirs de vacances » would simply be homework that was assigned during a school break….or vacation homework. Sometimes you cannot translate the dialog word-for-word.

  167. I tried to post these in the previous message but didn’t have any luck. Let’s see if it works this time. Home Latin sign and Home Latin front entrance

  168. Randyl,

    I was in Paris last September and happened to eat at a restaurant on Rue du Sommerard. I looked up and directly across the street was Home Latin. Yes! It’s still there! It’s been rennovated since the Robert and Mirielle era but it still exists.

  169. We are going to be in Paris on and off from mid-September for a month. Is there anyone else interested in a FIA reunion? If there were enough of us, we could invite Valerie and Charles?

  170. Adrew:

    I do not know the name of the real estate agent. I was not paying too much attention until I saw the shot of the front of the building. If you know her why not ask if that was indeed the same building?


    Because many rooftops and buildings in Paris are similar, there is the possibility that I am mistaken and it just appeared to be the same place. It would be nice if someone could take a recent photo of the site to dispel any doubts.

  171. As of last summer the Home Latin was live and well on the rue du Sommerard!

  172. Hello Randyl Kent Plampin,
    Do you recall who the real estate agent was? HGTV has featured Adrian Leeds, an American woman living in Paris, very active on her website parlerparis.com, but she is generally partial to the Marais. We have been to her monthly afternoon gatherings, on several occasions in recent years, also in the Marais. HGTV recently re-ran one their programs with her.
    The reason that there are so many great coincidences like this is because Paris is, after all, a small city.

  173. Greetings:

    Approximately May of 2008 while channel-surfing, I came upon a program called « Property Virgins » on the HGTV channel. I decided to watch the rest of it since it involved a real estate agent trying to sell Parisian condos to Americans. The second scene was a head-on shot of the corner on the Rue Du Sommerard and I said « … what the hey … » and all of a sudden the next shot was the front of the building where the Home Latin used to be, the plaque on the right-hand side (as you look towards the door) having been removed and the projecting molding newly painted but still visible. At this point I almost jumped out of my seat. But it gets better. The real estate agent showed the young man the newly-converted condo and he steps out onto the balcony and the view is the identical view that Robert had back in 1985 when he took his breakfast. Absolutely amazing!

  174. Hello Shruggs,

    What she’s saying in Chapter 16 is:

    Quand il pleuvait, on jouait aux portraits, on allait voir de vieux films. Mais ma soeur trouvait que ce n’etait pas assez dans le vent, je veux dire a la mode.

    I would really recommend buying some of the books that are for sale along this program. One book has a complete transcript of the dialogues. It has really helped me understand everything. Without it, I’d be sunk.

    Art L.

  175. Oops, whenever i try to use the french quotes, the text
    disappears cuz the browser mistakes it for an HTML
    tag that it doesn’t recocognize. So here is the above
    posting again:

    Actually, I think Mireille is telling Marie-Laure that she
    *should* take advantage of it (the rain) to do her
    homework .. but i don’t understand why it ends in
    *de vacances*.

    So I think Mireille says:
    *Tu dois en profiter pour faire te devoir de vacances.*
    *You should take advantage of it to do your homework
    … holidays.*

    Now if it’s during holidays, why not use pendant or
    whichever term for ‘during’ in this context is correct.


  176. Actually, I think Mireille is telling Marie-Laure that she
    *should* take advantage of it (the rain) to do her
    homework .. but i don’t understand why it ends in

    So I think Mireille says:
    <> You should take advantage of it to do
    your homework … holidays.

    Now if it’s during holidays, why not use pendant or whichever term for ‘during’ in this context is correct.


  177. Ok, I will stick my neck out and take a stab at it:
    Can’t get the first two words for sure, but the rest of the rapid fire sentence as far as I can make out, sounds like … profiter pour faire devoir de vacances
    The first 2 words could be Tu vas, but I don’t think so. Mireille is telling Marie Laure she could take advantage of the rain to do homework?

  178. Hello,

    I discovered « French in Action » while trying to learn french
    on the french.about.com site. I’ve been enjoying it online
    but sometimes the audio doesn’t seem to play clearly.
    I found the yalepress.yale.edu site which has the transcript
    for the dialogue of the story but sometimes I can’t
    understand what is being said by the Capretz or
    accompanying clips of dialogue.

    I am currently on lesson 16. Can someone please tell
    me what Mireille says immediately after « Il pleut » at 9:05
    mark of the lesson?

    All I can get is the following:


  179. Ivan,

    I too was wondering why there is virtually no mention of the girl who played Valerie Allains little sister on FIA. Virginie Contesse who played Marie Laure… She was so sweet and very beautiful – as pretty as VA, but younger. I loved the way they portrayed these two sisters in their family setting. I’ve googled to see what I could find on this actress and there just isn’t anything out there which is hard to understand as she was talented and I would think the FIA would have provided good soil for an acting career. I took a year of French in a largely bilingual setting back in HS and felt totally inferior to the spanish speakers who picked French up right away. My teacher was French Tahitian, not very warm and screamed alot…so my ability to learn was hampered. I then went about to learn from books until I discovered FIA which would come on (still does) at 4 in the morning where I’m at. Truthfully, I think I’m a person who would need to be immersed in the environment to break past this frustrating barrier i have in trying to learn French. Anyway, I just wanted to add my voice here. Glad to have found this site and hope to become more inspired by you and the resources out there to learn this beautiful language.

  180. Here’s a link to Charles Mayer’s website for great pics of our beloved boy:


  181. Hi everyone,
    i was just wondering if anyone knew anything about Virginie Contesse? I haven’t managed to find any information on her apart from French in Action.

  182. To get the FIAfans wiki with Jenny’s episode reviews (up to leçon 21 now, I think) click on the « Le Wiki » pic with Jean-Claude in the upper left.

  183. Bonjour tout le monde. I have been having trouble finding the link to Jennie Lynn’s FIA episode-by-episode reviews on this blog. The link used to be pretty obvious, but now it has become elusive.

    BTW: My wife and I are now working our way through episode 25, so we especially enjoyed the recent article on la Closerie des Lilas. Thank you aloysiushorn for posting that.

  184. msmellie – thanks for that awesome bit of trivia about Marion Cotillard being the daughter of Jean-Claude our beloved « man in black ». I really do hope she wins the Oscar this Sunday. Her performance was extraordinary!

    I have seen Franck Lapersonne in a few films over the years but unfortunately I cannot remember the names of these films. They were not big roles but it seems he has worked steadily since FIA. He definitely has a face that you cannot mistake.

  185. Merci bien!
    Je vais montrer cette épisode à mes élèves cette semaine. Mes élèves vont être contents. Ils adorent Français en Action! (Je sais, c’est bizarre!)
    Merci encore,
    Mme Sexton

  186. Mme Sexton: The line appears in episode 39. Mireille says that when she and Robert are seated at the terrasse of Le Fouquet’s and Hubert passes by. Hope that helps.

  187. Mme Sexton: That line you quote from La Cantatrice Chauve sounds familiar. My first thought was the Mireille said it when it was revealed that Mme Courtois, her godmother, was a childhood friend of Robert’s mother in Leçon 15. But upon checking, Mireille there says « Mademe Courtois? Mais ça, c’est formidable! Quelle coïncidence! » I didn’t see that line in Leçon 23. Maybe someone else can help!

  188. I’m looking for the FIA episode where Mireille says, « Comme c’est curieux, comme c’est bizarre et quelle coïncidence! » I just realized that that line comes from « La Cantatrice Chauve. » My students are reading « Rhinocéros » right now (and an excerpt from « La Cantatrice Chauve ») and I’d like them to see that episode. It is 23?
    Aidez-moi svp???

  189. msmellie:

    Thanks for that astounding fact about Marion Cotillard! It never occurred to me that she might be his daughter. She deserves the Oscar for her fantastic performance!

  190. Thanks so much for this wonderful blog! I became interested in learning French as a result of stumbling across FIA on one of our public access channels. I’m currently doing a refresher in preparation to taking an intermediate class this fall.

    Two things of possible interest for fans of the FIA actors:

    1) Franck la Personne (Hubert) has recently appeared on TV5 in a couple of recent movies he’s done, « Palais Royal! » and « Le ciel sur la tete. »

    2) Marion Cotillard, up for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Edith Piaf in « La Vie en Rose, » is the daughter of Jean-Claude Cotillard, who played l’homme en noir and le mime.

  191. What a great site this is! I just happened to stumble across it a few days ago, and have been reading all the posts and looking at the pictures. They are wonderful; I’ve been just having the best time! I have been a fan of FIA for years now, I have it on VHS tapes and watch them to maintain my French. It is soooooo nice to have a site where I can talk about it. Thanks for all the work you put into this, I look forward to future blogs!

  192. Thank you, Jennie. You have made my day and more. I have only been trying to figure that phrase out for 6 years. I would never have gotten it. Thanks again, and please thank your students for me, for helping you learn to listen for such stuff.

  193. Bob,

    In lesson 6, that young woman is saying « du body-building » which means working out or lifting weights. Hard to understand English words when said with French accents, eh? I teach English to high school students here in France, and I can never understand what they say. Munteepeetun is Monty Python, which took me months to figure out!

    – Jennie

  194. I’ve been told of yet one more great site for le apprendisage de la langue at:


    which is apart of tv5monde.


  195. FIA lesson six includes an overview of various sports, then an interview snippet in which a young woman is asked which sports she enjoys. She states aerobics, tennis, and karate. However, after aerobics she says something that sounds like (in IPA): /dybɔldy bədinjə/. What is she saying?

  196. Marilyn, I tried to find Marie-Laure on the web a week or so ago, but no luck. Nothing on imdb.com except her FIA gig. Let me know if you learn where she’s at these days.

  197. Thanks to all for their excellent comments and suggestions.
    Just embarked on Chap 16, so I think I can safely say we’ve cleared the Chap 13 hump. Glad to know we weren’t the only ones who had trouble with it.

    The FIA plot is really starting to grab us – it’s clearly a big part of what has made the program so successful. We can’t wait to find out what happens next, and we spend inordinate amounts of time analyzing the various personalities. We hit the pause button a good dozen times in chapter 15, laughing at Robert’s facial reactions to Mireille’s moqueuse ways. Also loved his pouting ways at the cafe, at the start of Chap 15. And on our first run through Chapter 16, we understood enough to cheer on Marie-Laure’s blague stupide. Way to go, ML!

  198. MarieLaure is very funny; a real character. What is she up to?

  199. How interesting and amusing to hear that I was not the only one to which Chapter 13 (the dreaded Ch. 13, lol) was scary and challenging.

    It was like tripping on a sidewalk and regaining your balance while trying to retain one’s dignity, but I wanted to get to the other side of that street so I kept on going but not before dropping the routine several times at that point.

    I have to speak to a human in French so I’ll be starting 2008 with a Conversation and Grammar class at the Alliance in NY. I’m so excited I could pop like a champagne cork. Bon chance a tous.

  200. Just one more addition. After submitting the comment above, I checked out Jennie’s blog, Jennie en France, and her website has been closed by the host! She’s posted a copy of the letter. It’s a very great website and we hope, hope that Jennie gets it going again somewhere else.

  201. Although I am still only at the intermediate level, I would like to add a few thoughts to the above.

    Vicki is quite correct in all she says. particularly about understanding rather than translating. It’s subtle, but you slowly keep understanding more.

    But don’t be afraid to explore other areas. Learn French by Podcast is a really good audio audio program. The downloadable lesson guides are excellent and are a good deal at $25.00 for three months, particularly the first three months. There’s 85 lessons right now and a new one every two weeks.The main French speaking instructor, Amelie, speaks many phrases once slowly and distinctly and then quite quickly.. There is a link on the FIA fans homepage, where you are now.

    The understanding is fun. I fondly remember listening to a comedian speaking French in Montreal–and I got my first joke and laughed right along with everyone else, instead of the usual 10 or so seconds behind.

    For inspiration about language learning you might like to browse the book, How to Learn Any Language by Barry Farber. His enthusiasm is infectious, but the book is now quite dated because it was published before the Internet became so popular. Ah, yes, the Internet.

    You can listen to podcasts, TV news, radio stations galore, read newspapers, and so much more. Radio France International, http://www.rfi.fr, has a French language newscast, and it also has an easy version. Go to the website, and on the bar near the top, click on » langue francaise » and go to « Le Journal en francais facile ». Easy to understand and the 9h30 edition has a transcript.

    french.about.com has lots of tips and links to some areas that have some free tips and podcasts along with pay for services.

    On this website check out Jennie’s blog and website, links on the homepage.

    It’s great fun. We are really blessed. And there’s so much more! We can be like kids, and learn languages.

    Barry Farber loves to quote an old joke. « What do you call someone who speaks two languages? » « Bilingual ». « Three languages? » « Trilingual ». « One language? » « An American. » But it doesn’t have to be that way.

  202. LOL! Yes, le drageur seems to be the king of the « word-smooshers », followed closely by Mireille’s brother-in-law (Cecile’s husband) who is a champion word-garbbler. But take heart, as I recall, chapter 13 is the only one that features him heavily. He does pop up in a few more episodes but only briefly.

    What seems frustrating now is really what is the beautiful thing about FIA. These are real native speakers conversing at the speed, pace, rhythm, and style that real native speakers do. It is frustrating at first and may require all of your concentration skills in order to understand what’s being said. But each repeated viewing becomes a little bit easier. Before you realize it, your ear becomes more accustomed to their style and pace and you are able to discern even the « smooshed » phrases.

    What’s really exciting is when you realize that you are no longer translating from English to French in your head but actually hearing the French as French and not translating but truly understanding! I really think that is what makes FIA so unique and so effective.

    Hang in there….it can be frustrating at first. But each viewing gets a little bit easier….you’ll see!

  203. Hi, all. Great site. Thought I’d share my FIA experiences to date, and seek some feedback from FIA veterans.

    After working through a range of materials off and on since 2001 (including Rosetta Stone, Teach Yourself French and Hugo’s French in 90 Days), my husband and I stumbled upon FIA, and commenced working through the program. That was about 6 months ago.

    We made it through Chapter 12 with flying colors, but completely stumbled once we hit Chapter 13 (Jean-Pierre Bourdon et la queue). Le drageur spoke so fast that we just couldn’t gain command of what he was saying, even when following directly along with the textbook transcript. We fell away from our FIA routine for some weeks, and then decided we needed to try again from the beginning.

    Yup – we encountered the exact same frustrations with the dreaded Chapter 13 once we reached it again. This time we decided to just move on to Chapter 14 and hope for the best. To our relief, chapters 14 (and now 15) have proven very manageable. Whew!

    Just curious – have others had the same experience with this particular chapter? Do other « toughie » chapters lay ahead of us?

    And can any FIA veterans give us insight as to whether our ears will grow increasingly adjusted to the phenomenon we call « word smooshing »? Characters occasionally rattle off 8-9 words in a second, and even careful, repeated listening doesn’t help us identify the individual words being pronounced. We’re aware that native speakers of all languages elide and « smoosh » when they speak at a normal conversational pace, but sometimes its so pronounced in FIA that we’re surprised native speakers could ever discern the words.

    Are these just the typical concerns and experiences of a newbie, that will pass with time?

  204. No substitute for learning abroad. However, FIA is great, and can help you go a long way. I also find myself speaking to myself in French – it certainly helps, as does echoing the dialogue while watching FIA.

  205. Has it ever been mentioned on this site what some of the Yale students featured in the FIA series have gone on to do? I’m reviewing Lesson 25 in which tete de veau and lapin are mentioned and that Student Guy (that’s guy not « gee ») with the snearing attitude repeats « tete de veau; lapin. » He’s really very funny and adds just the right mix of quircky charm that keeps FIA interesting.

    Rodporte, good to know you (we) have yale’s ear to the ground. We’ll eat up whatever interactive site they have to offer as long as it’s Capretz’s version. Cet un type drolle.

  206. While true that there is nothing like live interaction when it comes to speaking the language for many if no most of us money or the lack of it may be an issue. In that case, I talk to myself. No, really I mean it. I think about the situation du jour as given in FIA and I pretend to talk to the waiter, the postman, at the kiosk, etc. I play a little pretend immersion time. My pets may think I’m mad but I talk to them anyway; why not in French??? I’m preparing for the one or two weeks I want to go to Paris by myself. Have fun.

  207. Hi! I just discovered this site a few days ago. I had previously come across the discussion at fancyrobot over the summer, but then could not find it anymore. I have been a fan of FIA for a long time. I just came across it one day on public television. I attempted to tape some of the episodes but our local public television station never would be consistant in their broadcast times. I then found the video on demand site and was in heaven.

    Many years ago, I spent a semester in France when I was in college. FIA was the closest thing to being among native speakers and was the next best thing to living immersed without the expense.

    Then this fall, I decided to return to France, the first time since that semester oh-so-long-ago. I discovered this wonderful school in Roanne called Ecole des Trois Ponts. I spent a week there taking both a language and cooking course. I had a marvelous time and I have FIA to thank for getting me prepared for the trip. While I feel that FIA does a lot for listening and comprehension, it doesn’t really challenge you as much with speaking. If you really want to improve your ability to speak, you need to join a conversation group or class that requires you to really speak. But I still think that FIA is a valuable tool in helping to learn this beautiful language.

  208. Just wanted to say I discovered this website, and it’s wonderful. Thanks for starting it.

    Question: I’m an adult, beginning French language student studying on my own with FIA and Pimsleur. I’m confident in my language learning abilities (I was a former Greek and Latin instructor), but I’m thinking about going from FIA to a summer in Middlebury. Anybody ever do it? What level course is appropriate to move into?

  209. I received a reply to my inquiry about the interactive version of French in action.The Yale website gives the demonstration for an interactive version of FIA and then also mentions looking for funding apparently to complete in. They also mention an interactive CD for the movie Jules et Jim. Ththis is the reply to my email .

    What’s available is Jules et Jim Interactif, an interactive viewing of the classic film on DVD-ROM distributed by Heinle.


    You can visit the Language Development Studio website at

    And for up to date information on the development of further
    interactives, contact Tracy Huang tracy.huang@yale.edu

  210. After looking around at the Yale French in Interaction page, it looks to me like what’s up there is a demo for raising funding to complete the projects there. Sadly, I suspect there is no CD out there to run the program and I doubt there is a whole program available to the Yale students. I have sent them an email asking for information and will pass any answers on.

  211. The 1994 textbook has the scripts for the scenes with characters (so the first 7-8 minutes of each episode), but the parts where Dr. Capretz is talking are not included.

    I’ve also been trying to find out which films are used in FIA. Unfortunately, the textbook doesn’t mention them at all.

    I’m still trying to think of a good article, Al.🙂

  212. Yes, I’m supposing it’s for Yale students only because the demo is all that will work for me as well so I’m thinking that their students have access to the rest of the interactive series. What a merveilleux resource this would be for all the rest of us.

    Maybe we can pester them into giving up the goods!


  213. DanR,

    Great question, hope a visitor here can provide you with some answers!


    Thanks for the tip about exciting « French in Interaction » page. I had already run across it and am planning a little blog article about it. It is great to see our beloved FIA characters and scenes brought to life again with these new and innovative computer-based presentation. I can only get the demo to work on a PC…no suitable plugin for my Mac. In what sense is it now only for Yale students? Is the whole program now available for them…i.e. more than just the demo?

  214. Never mind the above. At his time it’s only open to Yale students.

  215. Hi, I’m new around here but wanted to make certain all FIA Fans know about the newest FIA site:


    It’s an interactive version of FIA and lets you follow along in a number of ways. Check it out.

  216. oops… *resource

  217. Does the (c) 1994 edition of the French in Action text book contain the audio scripts? If not, which resourse does? Thanks.

  218. Bonjour tout le monde!

    Great to see this new website for FIA; I look forward to visiting again. For now, I have a question:

    I’ve never been able to find accreditation for the film clips used in the series. Photos and written materials are listed, but not the video. After watching snippets from various movies again and again, I’d like to watch the movies themselves. Two that appear often are:

    A film apparently about a divorced man with several children. Clips from the film appear throughout the series, e.g. in lesson 25 where the children bring him petit dejeuner in bed.

    A film with a butler as one of the main characters. In lesson 24 for example he offers his elderly employer tea. She says « Quelle horreur! C’est le Scotch aujourd’hui! » and storms by him to the liquor cabinet.

    Does anybody know the names of these two films, or better yet does anyone know where all the film credits for FIA might be listed?

    Thanks in advance,
    Dan R

  219. Hi rodporte. I enjoyed the discussions on FancyRobot. I was hoping to see them take off again here. It is fun to read what other fans of FIA are thinking. I think it is just a matter of time until everyone who enjoyed the previous discussion realize that they have a forum again.
    As for typing all of those little accent marks, I have found that there are two ways to do it (easy and hard).
    The hard way is to carry around a table of code numbers. Everytime you want to type: é you take one finger and hold down the ALT key on your keyboard, and then (while holding it down) type the number 0233. Voilà (alt + 0224) when you let go of the ALT key an é appears! And it only took 4 keystrokes!
    However, it is easier to just type the characters, using the international keyboard. You can access it in just about every version of Windows. A good explanation for how to do this can be found here:


    I run XP and have my language bar toolbar set up to let me swap between the English (United States) keyboard and the United States-International. If you are set up correctly you are not stuck with using one or the other layout, you can move back and forth between them easily.

  220. Jennie, thanks for all your hard work on the wiki. No pressure. Twenty years have gone by without a FIA wiki, so what is a few more weeks?

    Thanks for the streaming video tip!

    P.S. : consider gracing Mystère et boules de gomme with an article when time permits!

    A+, Al

  221. Sorry I’ve been so lazy lately with the episode summaries! I’m trying to get back on a regular schedule of doing an episode every day or two.

    If you don’t live in North America, you can still watch the streaming videos online. You just have to paste the address directly into your web browser and change the number for each episode: mms://media.scctv.net/annenberg/French_In_Action_01.wmv

  222. Dare I hope? I think it looks like the discussion may be going now.Thanks to themoye for the information about the DVDs. While I may admit to thinking Valerie Allain was beautiful and I can see why others might have the same about Charles Mayer, I am finally learning French this time, about 19 years after seeing my first FIA and about 50 years after trying in high school–« J’entre dans la salle de classe. Je regard autour de moi. Je dis Bonjour au professeur et les eleves…. » And there it is, almost all of the French I knew for about 35 years. I’m doing far better this time, but I’m taking all the help I can get. I can carry on a sort of a conversation in French up in Montreal–far better than I ever learned how in German or one semester Spanish. And this time its great fun-a not unimportant factor for me studying alone. Fun helps me learn more than fantasy. And, just how do you get those accents over the « e »s?

  223. So my wife and I have been watching the individual episodes of FIA for FREE by streaming them to the laptop which is hooked into the TV. Sure the picture quality isn’t HD, partly because to improve streaming and probably also because of copyright considerations; but it still looks better than a 20 year old VCR tape.
    The DVD set that I ordered on Ebay arrived yesterday. Ah la la, quelle différence! The sound quality was much better than on the streaming video. I hadn’t expected that, but in hindsight, I realize that audio takes up bandwidth too. It only makes sense to keep the stream as small as possible so that people with a variety of connections can use the material.
    On the other hand, how important is sound quality when you are trying to learn a language. Paramount I would say. The clarity of the speaking was so much better. I understood far more of what was being said, than I had when watching the stream feed. Naturally it did not hurt that the DVD was routed through the receiver and speakers, rather than through the speakers built into the TV.
    Best of all however, was the ability to use the DVD remote to pause, rewind, relisten (repeat sequence) in an endless loop. That helped a lot!
    And of course, the video quality should be mentioned too. Suddenly you could read the titles on the magazines in the stores, or the writing on the sides of the ash trays on tables in the cafe.
    I bring all this up, not to brag about DVDs over the free feeds, but to point out what, to me, were unlooked for – and unexpected – improvements in the quality of the learning experience. The DVDs are well worth it if you have room in your budget to spring for them.

  224. BTW, I also want to add a thank you to JennieLynn for all of the FIA episode-by-episode articles. They are interesting, insightful et très utile pour apprendre le français. I am sure they were also a lot of work! Merci.

  225. Hi to all FIA Fans!!!

    I’m really happy to know that Mr. aloysiushorn saved the old Fancy Robot page, I couldn’t believe that all those discussions were lost for ever. Well that’s enough for now.

    In a separate note, the people of http://www.learner.org don’t let you watch any episode if you don’t live inside some countries. That’s a sad actitude for an .org site. Many french students around the world will never have the chance to know « The Capretz Method ».

    See yaa!

  226. So glad to see this site up and running. I enjoyed reading the fancyRobot discussions, and then one day it … disappeared. Whuh happened!? Thank you for picking up the torch and carrying on the thread.
    My wife and I have been studying French on our own for less than a year (since October of 2006). I was interested in learning French ever since I was in High School and I always considered it as one of those things I would do when I retired. Retirement is still quite a few years away.
    Then last summer my wife saw an offering for a 5 week ‘intro’ course at the local Community College. She signed us up for that and it gave us our jump start. I had never studied a word of french before the intro course.
    After the class ended we wanted to maintain our momentum so we started to work with Rosetta Stone. We felt as though we were learning things and were making good progress, but about 3 months later we got together for a friendly meeting with our french teacher. She brought with her, several VCR tapes, and some copies of some work book pages – and introduced us to the FIA course. She said that the course would have us speaking in no time.
    We are coming along. FIA is very helpful, but if you are going to do more than just watch the videos, then you have workbooks, audio exercises, etc. to do. That can take some time, especially if you are a working person and don’t consider french study as the only leisure time activity you want to engage in. Then there are all those side trips to Borders to buy books on grammar and verb tenses… where to find the time for it all.
    Mais, temps passe. C’est un voyage intéressant et amusant.
    We are currently working our way through chapter 13. We have been watching the episodes for free on http://www.learner.org, but I finally broke down and bought a set of the DVDs on Ebay.
    Didn’t mean to write a mini-bio, but it is nice to see some on going discussion on these pages; and thought that along with saying thank you for the site, I would add my two cents.

  227. I literally stumbled upon this site while looking up Virginie Contesse. This is great! I didn’t know there was a cult behind this.

    We are using it in class (long story behind that).

  228. I’m glad you share my enthusiasm for LFBP. I agree that it’s worth springing for the lesson guides.

  229. Thank you for the recommendation for the learnfrenchbypodcast. I am registered there and am downloading and listening to podcasts and transcripts. The transcripts and the podcasts are both very wonderful. French in Action is a great place to start and the podcasts are a wonderful supplement. At first I thought that I might do it for free without the transcripts, but after downloading one of the three or so free transcripts, I decided to spend the money.
    I took a college course in Oral French about 8 years ago. Now we have incredible resources that we did not have even then. 50 years after my first attempts in high school, I am learning to become fluent. And I’ll do it, if I don’t die first.
    I hope that » prof de francaisis is aware of the LFBP podcasts. They’d be great for his students.

  230. Just a quick note. This is a great site! I happen to be a university professor of French now, but I learned French through French in Action in High School. So, at least for me, it worked incredibly well (though I did end up studying it in college, in grad school, and in France)… I will always be in debt to Pierre Capretz, but also the actors of course, who inspired me to learn French, then to travel there and devote my career to the literature and language. I am still surprised after all these years of how well it works and how intellectually engaged the script is.

  231. Rodporte,

    I too would like to hear if there are folks who have achieved reasonable fluency using FIA as their primary instruction tool, either the videos alone, or in the context of a class. I’d also like to hear from those with experience with other learning French systems. One that I like a lot is « French by Podcast » for which I’ve added a link.

    Over a period of about 6 years I made repeated trips to Francophone Africa and I found that reviewing the videos in between these trips greatly improved my listening and speaking abilities while I was over there (even if the accents are bit different where I was working.) Immersion is key to learning a new language and Capretz’s FIA gives you immersion for 30 minutes each episode. But of course nothing can substitute for the total immersion of living in a francophone country where nobody can speak English to you.

    Keeping focused on language tapes or videos I think is half the battle for most folks (including me). FIA’s great virtue is that it is so entertaining to watch that paying attention is effortless.

  232. I wonder whether any of the FIA fans who managed to find this website and then managed to scroll down to the discussion here have any stories to tell about whether they had any success learning French from the French in Action tapes. It’s great fun to hear about Paris and to find out what successes the actors have achieved, but I also would enjoy hearing about how the course may have effected people’s lives.
    I took me about two years around 1988 or 1989 to tape all 52 episodes from my local PBS station. On a sporadic basis I watched the first 26 or so episodes. Then I signed up for a second year class at the local college. At the first class the professor asked us about our background in French. I still remember the expression of non-belief on his face when I said that, well, I had been watching the French classes on TV. I did fine in the college class, but I am still not fluent enough to easily and completely understand conversations in French. I do still fondly recall the thrill of getting my first joke in French. Looking back I remember far more from the FIA tapes than I do from the class.
    So now I am back happily listening to FIA tapes and using the Internet.
    This time I’m aiming for reasonable fluency. And what about you others out there?

  233. Hi rodporte,

    Firstly, re: this discussion page, it’s obvious that no one is using it. One problem that I didn’t anticipate when I set it up was that one would have to scroll down below all of the links at left to get to the comments. I will see what I can do to change that.

    Regarding the Home Latin, my wife and I walked into the place and met a M. Haddad (I hope I have that right), the propreitor. I was surprised that no one had any knowledge or memory of FIA. We didn’t see the rooms, but the lobby was clean, modern and inviting and the management seemed friendly. I didn’t see evidence of maintenance problems. It’s in a great neighborhood, of course.

  234. The discussion page seems wildly under-utilized, but I have a general question. I have been curious about Home Latin, the hotel where Robert stayed. Home Latin used to be listed in « cheap travel » guides as a decent place to stay. More recently I read a really critical review of it. It seems Home Latin was really in need of maintenance. Do any fans have information?

  235. Hey gang, just some info for you Valerie Allain fans out there. The Yahoo group has some very recent pictures of her from a MySpace page. Go there, check it out, and come back here.

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