Erica Packer

I really enjoyed my time at La Petite French Classe. My French really improved and I loved the structuring of the class with one hour allocated for conversation and one hour for grammar. It was a lovely atmosphere in which to learn French and I always looked forward to my classes.

Erica Packer
Julie Booth

La Petite French Classe is singularly the best French conversation class in Sydney. Hosted in a magnificent, elegant home it feels like being in France, with a small intimate group guided expertly through the language by a qualified teacher. La Petite French Classe is a wonderful warm experience and the highlight of my week.

Julia Booth
Kirsten Carriol

Having studied French since high school in many different formats I can honestly say that La Petite French Classe is by far the most enjoyable and productive method of learning French I have used. Its easy conversational style and no-pressure environment - plus the handmade cakes by Claudia make it a true joy.

Kirsten Carriol - Beauty Entrepreneur

You're already speaking french

Many would-be French speakers are held back by the notion that learning a language later in life is too difficult. But if anything, a broader vocabulary and cultural awareness pays real dividends. Beyond question are the health benefits of mind exercise and mental fitness - keenly and enjoyably tested in learning a new language.

You might already be speaking more French than you realise! Many people aren’t aware that French was the official language of England from 1066 until the end of the 13th century. Plenty of French words and phrases are a part of everyday English; some, with interesting translations and origins.

Carte blanche: Literally means “white card”. Said to have originated in the time of Charles II (1630-1685), when he was known to have offered invaluable helpers a sheet of paper with no more than his signature at the bottom, enabling them to write their own laws.

Art Deco: Describes a style of design associated with the landmark Exposition des Arts Decoratifs held in Paris in 1925. The style heavily influenced the grand ocean liners of the 1930s, which in turn carried it to the ports of New York and Miami in the USA, where it may still be seen in the architecture.

Bon vivant: “Good liver”. Often refers to someone who perhaps doesn’t have a good liver - the result of too much good living!

Faux pas: “False step”, saying or doing something wrong.

Mardi gras: “Fat Tuesday”, from the last day before the beginning of Catholic Lent on Ash Wednesday.

C’est la vie: “That’s life.” More often used in English than in French, although the phrase itself often occurs in longer sentences (l’amour, c’est la vie - “Love, is life.”) It has a famous Australian equivalent thanks to the condemned bushranger Ned Kelly, whose last words were “Such is life.”

Crème brûlée: This beautiful, custard-like dessert sounds more delicious than the literal meaning, “burnt cream.”

Maître d’: Abbreviated from maitre d’hotel, or the hotel master.

Prêt-à-porter: “Ready to wear”

Savoir-faire: Literally meaning “knowledge of doing”, and often describing a person’s social graces.

Cul-de-sac: A short, dead-end street somehow earns the name “bottom of the bag” (and “bottom” is putting it politely).

Double entendre: “Double intent”, or double meaning.

Haute couture: “High sewing”, used to describe the most exclusive fashions. Similarly, “haute cuisine” for the highest form of cooking.

Attaché: Literally, “attached.” Used to describe an agent or employee of a diplomatic staff.

Papier-mâché: “Chewed paper.” The material itself actually originated in China, where it was used around 2000 years ago to make soldiers’ helmets; but it was first popularised in Europe by France, in the 17th century.

Joie de vivre: “Joy of living.”

Laissez faire: Adopted by English economist Adam Smith to describe his theory of “let (them) do” - that is, leave the market alone, and the combination of human endeavour and ambition and the forces of supply and demand will take care of it.

Pied-à-terre: “Foot on the ground”, referring to a place kept for accommodation, usually a city apartment.

Raison d’être: “Reason for being.”

RSVP: “Repondez, s’il vous plait” - respond, if you please.

If you’re going to learn French, why not do it in style?

View photos of the La Petite French Classe fourth anniversary brunch.

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