♥ I absolutely adore Joe Dassin’s “Les Champs-Élysées.” I studied French for years, and almost all of the classes used the immersion method, which meant that neither we nor the teacher spoke any English during the class and that translation was discouraged (and seen as an ineffective way to learn the language.) I did learn a great deal, and am rather fluent when it comes to reading and writing, semi-fluent with comprehension of spoken French, and somewhat good at speaking it. Despite being rather comfortable with the language, though, I am a rather poor translator because I was discouraged from doing it for years. I can often understand what’s being said but have a lot of difficulty putting that understanding and comprehension into English, if that makes sense at all. I can sometimes do it, but rather slowly and with some difficulty.
All of this leads up to my love for “Les Champs-Élysées.” When I first started learning French at age eleven, I remember the teacher playing it for us, and teaching us the lyrics in both French and English (this was one of the non-immersion method classes I had) and I adored the song then and still do. It gives me happy lovely nostalgic feelings. Plus, it’s one of those songs where, if asked to translate it, I could probably easily do so, because I know it so well.
My favorite lyric is: “Tous les oiseaux du point du jour chantent l’amour” (“all the birds at daybreak sing of love”- I think… if my translation is incorrect, let me know). So lovely!
Here’s a video of Joe Dassin performing it in this hilariously, adorably, wonderfully lounge-y style. I imagine that this is from the ’70s, and probably from French television, but I’m not sure. I didn’t think that I could like the song any more than I already do, but the lounge-y performance makes me love it even more ♥ ♥ ♥:
Overall, I think that learning via the immersion method was quite useful. I can usually understand what I read and hear, but frequently have a hard time translating it into English. But maybe that “deeper” understanding of the meaning is a “better” skill to have? I don’t know. I do think about language a lot, and find them very fascinating, so it’s interesting to think about.
(“We’d often go to the movies. We’d shiver as the screen lit up. But more often, Madeline and I would be disappointed. More often we’d be disappointed. The images flickered. Marilyn Monroe looked terribly old. It saddened us. It wasn’t the film we had dreamed, the film we all carried in our hearts, the film we wanted to make… and secretly wanted to live.” ♥ ♥ ♥)
I love all of his work, but I have a special fondness for this one, for some reason. Chantal Goya is so lovely (she also performed the soundtrack and was a pop star/yé-yé girl in real life. Swoon!) and it captures the feeling of ’60s Parisian youth so very well.
Here’s the original trailer, from the Criterion Collection DVD (highly recommended!):
Oh, how I want all of Madeline’s clothes from the film! Lovely lovely lovely!
And the song playing during the trailer is Chantal Goya’s “Tu M’as Trop Menti” (= “you have also lied to me”? I’m not certain) from the film’s soundtrack, which I tracked down a couple of years ago (it’s hard to find.) Here’s the song (.m4a): tinyurl.com/dxoohj
More soon! xoxo