french is beautiful



Il y a eu une modernité pour chaque peintre ancien. | Every ancient painter was once modern.

Charles Baudelaire


One of the things I love most about Paris is it’s history. However, I’m constantly in awe at how beautifully ultra-modern elements are married + juxtaposed with classical architecture. The best example I can think of is the Louvre…with the original structure (not including the original fortress) dating to the 16th century, and the 1989 addition of the glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei. While originally very controversial, it is now one of the most recognizable modern landmarks in Paris. I feel this is very representative of French, and any language, really. You must have an understanding and respect for the proper (formal) verbiage, but be able to weave in modern day elements. There have been numerous times when I’ve used “textbook” French, and suddenly, it’s as if I have an arrow sign above my head blinking “AMERICAN” in neon lights. For example, instead of using the classic je voudrais for “I would like”…using je vais prendre gives it a modern, casual update. Another example – instead of using nous for “we”, a more common (modern) usage is the word on. I’m learning that these seemingly small tweaks can make the difference between sounding like you just left high school and sounding like a pro. Merci mille fois, Carrie Anne James.

* french is beautiful is a regular series – browse the archives here *


  1. when you understand this type of notions you are ready to feel more at ease when travelling to Paris .

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