A French Lesson over Tea at the Grand Mosque of Paris

Grand Mosque of Paris2The largest mosque in France and the third largest in Europe, the Grand Mosque de Paris is located in the 5th arrondissement just around the corner from Le Jardin des Plantes. The beautiful pink marble mosque was built between 1922 and 1926 to honor the soldiers from the French colonies who had helped France during WWI. During WWII, the mosque was a secret refuge for Jews and escaped prisoners of war. Originally sponsored by the king of Morocco, today it is a place of worship for France's Algerian-dominated Muslim population.

Location: 2, bis place du puits de l'Ermite, 75005 Paris
Transportation:  metros lines 7 and 10 at station Jussieu and line 7 at Place Monge
Hours: Open Mon, Wed-Thu, and Sat from 10 am - 9 pm and Fri 2 pm - 9 pm; the café is open 12pm to 3pm and for dinner 7pm to 10:30pm
Website: www.mosquee-de-paris.org

teaThe Grand Mosque of Paris is known for having a beautiful hamman, where Parisian women of all shapes, ages, and colors are scrubbed and messaged.  It is also famous for its traditional North African cafe and tearoom, which may be a better setting for our French class. With cedar wood from Algeria, green tiles from Morocco earthenware from Tunisia, lots of cushions around to sit on, and wonderful traditional pastries and mint teas, the café is a popular gathering place for students.

Here is a short text in French to get you started for your lesson. Why not start by hearing it read to you? Click below to listen!

 La Grande Mosquée de Paris a été édifiée pour rendre hommage aux dizaines de milliers de soldats musulmans morts pour la France pendant la Première Guerre mondiale. Elle a été inaugurée en 1926.

Construite aux frais de l'État, elle est financée actuellement en grande partie par l'Algérie.

Les musulmans :

Avec environ 5 millions de musulmans, l'islam est la deuxième religion en France, après le catholicisme qui compte environ 40 millions de fidèles.

La première génération de musulmans, aujourd'hui retraitée, a gardé de forts liens avec son pays, où sa famille est souvent restée vivre. En 1974, le gouvernement s'est prononcé en faveur du regroupement familial, et les enfants et les femmes ont pu venir vivre en France. Beaucoup d'entre eux ont demandé la nationalité française à cette époque.

La situation est différente pour la seconde génération, constituée de musulmans nés en France, et donc citoyens français par le droit du sol. Certains ont peu d'intérêt à connaître leur pays d'origine, avec lequel ils ont conservé peu d'attaches. Ils se sentent souvent comme des immigrants, alors qu'ils n’ont qu’une connaissance très vague du pays de leurs ancêtres et sont de nationalité française.

(aux frais de l’état : at the governement’s expenses; retraité : retired ; prononcé en faveur de : to be favorable to ; une attache : a bound)

Interested in starting French lessons? Call +33 (0)6 66 10 53 64 or contact us at [email protected].

Photos by Gérard Ducher and the blog opistachio.

French Lesson at the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes in the Paris 5th

SpeakerIconOpen to hear a description of the Jardin des Plantes in French and then read the full-text with highlighted vocabulary below: French lessons for the Jardin des Plantes (opens with QuickTime Player and Windows Media Player).

French Lesson Paris_Jardin_des_PlantesLocation: rue Cuvier, rue Buffon, rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, place Valhubert

Public transportation:  metros at Gare d'Austerlitz or Gare de Lyon; buses 24, 57, 61, 63, 67, 89 and 91; or Batobus: Jardin des Plantes stop

Hours: Open everyday from 9am to 6pm, including bank holidays

Admission fees: 10€ adults, 8€ 4-16 years, and free for children smaller than 4 years old

Websites:  http://www.mnhn.fr/le-museum/

At French As You Like It, we find students learn new vocabulary and grammar rules faster (and have more fun learning) from real life rather than books. Since Paris is our classroom, we try as often as possible to organize private classes at locations where you can use your new skills as we teach them to you. We recently blogged about how objects and animals make different sounds in French. If we were to give a lesson on animals and the sounds they make, it would only make sense that we would take you to the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes or the public zoo in the Paris 5th.

French Lesson MenagerieMNHNThe zoo opened in 1793 during the French Revolution and is considered to be the oldest civil zoological garden in the world. In 1793 the French government declared that all the privately owned exotic animals in France should be donated to the zoo in Versailles or killed, stuffed, and donated to the natural history museum in the Jardin des Plantes. The scientists and staff at the natural history museum couldn’t bring themselves to kill the animals and instead opened the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes, near the natural history museum. Eventually the zoo at Versailles was closed and all those animals were also transferred to the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes.

French lesson with orangoutandJacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre is considered to be a crucial founder of the zoo. A writer, botanist, and life-long vegetarian, he lobbied to keep the exotic animals under scientific supervision, in their natural environment, and allow the public access to them.

The menagerie can easily be visited during a French lesson or on your own in a couple of hours. There are snack stands in the zoo or you can pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the zoo’s table or on a blanket in the Jardin des Plantes.

To get you ready for your visit, here is a short text and vocabulary about the park where zoo is located:

Le jardin des Plantes : Ancêtre du jardin scientifique imaginé par Henri IV, le Cabinet d'Histoire Naturelle du Jardin Royal des Plantes médicinales est créé en 1626 par deux médecins de Louis XIII, les collections du Muséum grandissent, en particulier grâce aux voyageurs naturalistes qui ramènent des spécimens de toutes les parties du globe.
Le jardin est ouvert au public dès 1640. Colbert lui redonne une nouvelle jeunesse et le botaniste Fagon assure sa promotion scientifique.

L'intendant du Jardin du Roi entre 1739 et 1788, Buffon, assisté de Daubenton, garde et démonstrateur du Jardin du Roi, contribue au rayonnement en donnant naissance à une classification des espèces.

Des Plantes médicinales = medicinal plants
Le roi = the king
Un rayonnement = influence

Interested in a private French lesson at the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes? Call or contact us to organize a lesson at the zoo or at another site “off the beaten path” in Paris.

Photo of rotunda by Vincent Zimmermann via Wikimedia Commons. Map by Spiridon Manoliu via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of orangutangs by Kezia1 via Wikimedia Commons.