Spot 80 French Words Used in English Story
Spot the French Words in the Story
The following short story, Trevor and Jeanette's Coup de Foudre Encounter, contains no less than 80 French words that are commonly used in the English language. Can you spot them all? When you've finished, you can compare your score with others who have taken the test.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we shall begin...
Trevor And Jeanette’s Coup de Foudre Encounter
The aperitif her fiancé had promised to get Jeanette from the bar never materialized. He was talking to a young blonde in a far corner of the exhibition. Jeanette walked over to the buffet, helped herself to some punch, and was just about to bite into a delicious looking piece of whole grain crab baguette when a tall, well groomed young gentleman standing next to her asked, “How do you like the paintings? I myself am quite blasé about art, I attend virtually every exhibition opening in town. Being a bon vivant , I must confess, I only come to these events in search of a beautiful brunette like yourself. May I introduce myself? My name is Trevor MacCullen, delighted to meet you.” Skilfully balancing a glass and a plate full of victuals in the other, he stuck out his free hand.
“Hi, I am Jeanette with double “T” ”E”.
“Ah! I must say," Trevor replied, "I much prefer the French spelling of names like Jeanette, Claudette, and Juliette. What about a change of venue? Let us get out of this stuffy place. Would you like to come to join me for a drink at that delightful outdoor café in the park, owned by the best restaurateur in town, so we can get better acquainted?”
“Oh I don’t know, I came here with someone, you see.” Jeanette looked away only to see her enfant terrible of a fiancé still wildly flirting with the same gorgeous blonde. He was obviously in another of his ”cherchez la femme” moods.
“No problem at all Jeanette. My chauffeur will drive us and you’ll be back here before your escort even notices your absence. By the way, that is a very chic dress you are wearing.”
He did not mention but noticed her well endowed décolleté and a subtle smell of fresh eau de Cologne that blended so well with his own Cartier eau de toilette.
“OK then, I´ll join you for a little while,” Jeanette consented. Trevor put his plate down and, gently holding Jeanette’s elbow, he guided her through the crowd to the exit where his Limousine was waiting.
Janet was at an impasse. She knew very little about art. She knew her étiquette, but was more of a down to earth, outdoor sort of person, with a natural sense of joie de vivre. She preferred getting her hands dirty in the garden in lieu of having to dress up for posh cultural or social events. Although Trevor was much more at home in higher social circles, he also carried with him a laissez-faire attitude. Now he was eager to start a liaison with this beautiful woman whose thin satin lingerie strap, so delicate and sexy, had just escaped her shoulder line. On a more personal level, Trevor confessed to being a failed entrepreneur living on his family fortune.
“I am a total failure, but very lucky not to care about this fait accompli. I hope I haven’t made a faux pas by being too honest about myself but I am so strongly attracted to you Jeanette, that I would risk everything to get to know you better.”
Unused to such charming attentions, Jeanette felt a bit like a femme fatale. “Oh, come on, Trevor, there must be something you are passionate about, something you are good at.” She lowered her head. “My fiancé, is crazy about the Grand Prix and beautiful blondes to the point of neglecting me most of the time.”
“Well in that case the man is a rogue and does not deserve to be anywhere near a beautiful creature like you, Jeanette.”
Sitting outdoors in the park restaurant, away from the poseurs showing a mere façade of themselves at the exhibition, Trevor ordered an exquisite vin blanc. He picked up the à la carte menu and suggested an hors d'œuvre of pâté de foie gras.
“But I am a vegetarian,” Jeanette said. “I’ll have the salad with vinaigrette. For main courses the maître d' suggested some mange tout and sauté potatoes to go with Trevor’s entre-côte and Jeanette’s omelette . Trevor raised his glass “bon appétit”. Being a good raconteur, he told Jeanette all about the ins and outs of the art scene in the capital. He finished his monologue by saying, “The genre of Art Nouveau is all but an idée fixe propagated by art critics to bump up the prices. Anything a child draws can be called Art Nouveau, for Pete’s sake.”
John Lennon was singing “Imagine” in the background. With more white wine, the sunshine, fresh air, bird song, and the sound of laughing children far away, force majeure would have it that Jeanette fell deeply in love with Trevor.
The pièce de résistance on the menu was a desert of Crêpes Suzette. Enjoying her meal and the exceptional company, Jeanette looked out over the large open field. One area had been left wild. It was like a déja vu of the prairie adjoining her own rural holiday chalet. Trevor interrupted her rêverie.
“I recently read a reportage in Vogue magazine about Dior’s next fashion show in Paris next week. Please Jeanette, do me the honor of accompanying me to the première? I’ll buy you a haute couture dress of your choice to show you my gratitude.”
“You do realize you are just about to sabotage my entire engagement.”
“ I do indeed and I don’t mind in the least being a saboteur of what could prevent you from becoming mine.”
“That is all very charming, but for now can you please take me back to the exhibition? My fiancé will be wondering where I am.”
“Only if you promise to join me for a little soirée I arranged at my house tonight. “
“I might just do that,” Jeanette smiled, “ what better way to get to know a man than by meeting his friends.”
“Exactly. You will soon discover the truth about me. That although I am no savant, nor very spiritual - I never participated in a séance - my friends are nice people, full of interesting vignettes which will both inform and entertain you. Now let us go back to the exhibition and I’ll pick you up at 8 o´clock tonight.”
Jeanette handed him her card. “Here is my address, Don’t be late. And by the way, vis-à-vis the Dior fashion show in Paris, I am not promising anything yet.”
They got up and walked back to the car park where the limo was waiting. Jeanette was pensive during the drive back to the exhibition. She might have to say adieu and bon voyage to her inattentive fiancé and swap him for this prince charming of a man. Vive la différence. Sitting here in the limo, with Trevor’s strong arm around her shoulder, Jeanette’s morale was up, she felt happy and safe, looking forward to, once again, holding the carte blanche over her future.
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Jeanette and Trevor's story only covers the tip of the iceberg. Did you know that there are over 7,500 French words we have adopted from the French for use in English? Unfortunately (for the French) English speaking people have bastardised the pronunciation of those adopted French words to the point that French people who don't speak English often fail to recognise them. Watch the next video to learn more French words commonly used in English with their respective English/French pronunciations.
More French Words Used in English
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