Joyeux anniversaire!


posted by Simon Kemp

One year ago today I set up this blog with colleagues and students of the French department at Oxford University as a way to promote French language and culture, and encourage people to consider studying for a degree in modern languages at university (preferably at our university). I was pleased in the early weeks as the hit count on the blog started to creep up into three, then four figures, as we started to get visitors from other European countries and beyond.

Now, twelve months later, we’ve seen our quarter-of-a-millionth hit, we welcome up to six thousand visits a day, and have visitors from over a hundred nations, including Kyrgyzstan, Nepal and Tuvalu. And the numbers are still growing every month.

So I wanted to take a moment to thank you for visiting and supporting this blog. We’re nothing without our readers and commenters, and I’m delighted that we’ve found an audience out there, interested in reading about French literature, French film, French grammar, even, and what it might be like to come to Oxford to study them.

Over the course of the year we’ve offered our reading recommendations for those of you who are interested in exploring French literature, in the original language or in translation, including all of these:


Capture d’écran iPad 1




And we’ve suggested some films you might like to try as an introduction to French cinema, including these:



We’ve explored why musketeers are allergic to muskets, why French Voldemort is embarrassed by his middle name, why French grammar guides obsess over women injuring themselves, and how the pioneering spirit of M. Eugène-René Poubelle has left an enduring mark, if a grimy one, on the French language.

From the students of the university, we’ve learned, among many other things, how to book a hotel room if you happen to get stranded in fourteenth century France, how French people pronounce the word ‘lunch’, and how to win the Year Abroad (by being mistaken for a French person by a French person, apparently).

We’ve also learned what it’s like to apply here, what it’s like to study here, and how you might go about writing a personal statement or preparing for an admissions interview if you were interested in coming to Oxford as a student.

There’s lots more to come. If you find this a useful resource, do please tell people about us, and help word to spread. If there’s something you’d like to see more of, something new we could be doing, or something we could be doing better, then let us know through the comments. Thanks for reading, and I hope our regular Wednesday posts can carry on trying to keep you informed and entertained for a while yet.

2 thoughts on “Joyeux anniversaire!”

  1. I greatly enjoy the blog and have read several of the book recommendations. I especially enjoyed Le Secret. Thank you for producing it and please continue publishing it.

  2. Congratulations Simon! It was great fun to write for the blog, and hope to do so again soon – in the meantime, I look forward to more fascinating reading every Wednesday.

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