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85 posts categorized "Toulouse Language"

On y va! : Au Cinéma ABC

Now, I know what you're all thinking. It's 9am in the morning, why don't we go see a movie!? Well, that's what Toulousers did, as they embarked from the Institut Catholique to the Cinéma ABC, in the very early hours of the morning! Cinéma ABC has existed for over 50 years in Toulouse and is an interesting place of sorts, as we don't really have anything like it in the United States. It is a cinéma associative, meaning that it is made up of a director, a small council, and volunteers. While many cinemas like this one are funded by the government, this one is special, as it relies on the public to keep its doors open. The Cinéma ABC was originally more like a cinema-theater, made up of one grand room that sat over 1000 people. However, because of the crisis in the 1970's, most of France's cinemas decided to create much smaller viewing rooms in cinemas. That way, the cinema could show more films, giving the public a greater variety to choose from film-wise. Cinéma ABC was no stranger to this notion, changing its one very large room to three rooms- making independent films much more accessible to the public. Interestingly enough, Cinéma ABC has three letters- A, B, and C- all corresponding to the different screens they offer now. Their largest room seats close to 200 people. 

ABC cinema

This cinema d'art et essai showed us a magnificent film that sparked  a lot of discussion after our viewing. We were in the cinéma for nearly an hour afterwards just chatting about what we thought the film meant, what its morale was, and analyzing characters. We were fortunate enough to see Les Comnbattants, a film about a young girl who wants to join the French army. A coming of age story, Toulousers enjoyed the humor of the film, as well as appreciated it's more serious aspects as well. Check out the trailer below if you're interested in watching!


While it did confuse some of the Toulouser's (there was A LOT going on), overall it was well received and many students spoke about this film in their weekly project. 

PL Kyle can't wait for the show to start!


Caroline and Ginny focusing up for the film!

Stay tuned for more! 

HipHop Workshop Part Deux

HipHop Workshop

    Session 2 finally got their chance to dance this week!  The HipHop Workshop is a favorite for Toulousers and Session 2 had a blast dancing and learning about HipHop culture.  We arrived at the spot a little early so we took an amazing group photo in front of the HipHop Dance Studio.  The students couldn't wait to get started and got a glimpse of some dancers as we went into the back to wait for our class.


The back of the studio is amazing!!  It's a garden filled with graffiti (one of the disciplines of HipHop), and repurposed tires as tables and chairs.  We got to relax a bit and cool down from our walk before tearing it up in the dance studio.

Ladies lookin' cute!! Getting ready to dance.


Christine and Tesla lookin' fly next to that gorgeous graffiti art.


Brooks, Micki, and Garrett chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool


When it was time to dance everyone was ready to go!  Our instructor Mathou introduced herself and told us her specialties were House and Contemporary Dance, but she was ready to teach us a bit of everything.  Before we knew it we were dancing!  We did it all from Pop and Lock to House to Break Dancing.  We even learned how to Freeze!!  You'll see some of our expert Freezers below. 


Christine Freeze
Christine impressing everyone with her moves.


Isabel freeze
Isabel has it figured out! She tore it up on the dance floor.
OMG freeze
Eri literally cannot right now. So impressed with Lola and Christine.

Everyone doing their fiercest point!

The workshop was a success with Isabel looking into how she could take classes, and with Benjamin declaring he had a new skill for life, we know they loved it!  Keep dancing Toulousers! :D


Traditional Occitan Songs & Dances

Bonjour tout le monde —

It’s PL Kyle, coming at ya from the beautiful city of Toulouse!

Here we are starting our second week here in La Ville Rose.. I would say its safe to say that all of us had a great weekend celebrating La Bastille with our friends and host families as PL Bridgette shared with us in her previous post.. I know some of us were on the struggle bus when it came to being on time this morning, not to mention any names :)



We gathered at the Institut Catholique at 9:00am and a half our later we were off to our destination. C’est parti!! Today, we went to explore traditional Occitan music and dance. Upon arrival at the COMDT, we broke ourselves up into two smaller groups. One group started off with some singing and dancing in Occitan and the other half started off upstairs with a little history lesson.

I was part of the first group who sang and danced first. The two Occitain songs that we learned were called “Le rondeau” and “La scottish.”

Be sure to ask your kids to show you the song & dance when they return aux États-Unis!

Checkout the pictures below!





During our history lesson our guide shared with us some information about traditional musical instruments that were/are used to play Occitan music. Just to give you a better idea of how this music sounds, I’ll give you guys a quick rundown of some of the instruments that were mentioned:




La boah — This is a bagpipe instrument that is traditionally made from goat. The students seemed to be a bit surprised when our guide passed around a goat fur and asked which animal it came from. Our guide even gave us a sample of how this instrument sounds.


L’aboès — This instrument is the traditional oboe, but it varies from our classic oboe that we have today in orchestras. As our guide said, this instrument is usually played outside because of its “bruit fort.” It took us all by surprise when she played it for us. This instrument is also used to signal the start of a festival or a fête.
L’accordéon diatonique: Last but not least, we have the accordion. This is what some us immediately thing of when we think if an instrument that's played in France. We see/hear them everywhere!

What an interesting morning we had at the Occitan dance and music workshop. To conclude our visit, all 40 of us gathered just before heading out to lunch, to sing and dance ensemble.
Check out the photos below!


Et une petite vidéo :)

À la prochaine,
PL Kyle

Bastille Day in Toulouse!

Program leader Bridgette here to give you an update on what's going on in La Ville Rose..

Le quatorze juillet is a national holiday in France that you may know of as "Bastille Day." It is la Fête nationale of France, and it commemorates the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution on 14 July 1789. 

The Bastille was a fortress-prison in Paris that held political prisoners as well as arms and ammunition, and therefore was a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy. This was a turning point of the French Revolution, and a year after on 14 July 1790, the Fête de la Fédération celebrated the unity of the French nation during the French Revolution.

In France, Bastille Day is celebrated with fireworks and a military parade, the largest of which is in Paris along the Champs-Élysées.

Toulouse held a military parade, fireworks, and a free outside concert with David Guetta and multiple other artists! You're probably saying, "wait, David Guetta, in France? That's random!" Actually- it's not! He was born and raised in Paris, so of course he'd be willing to come back to France to celebrate Bastille Day in true French style. Or maybe you're saying- "who the heck is David Guetta?" In that case- je vous aide, he is a famous DJ, songwriter, and record producer who has had his hands in many hits. I'd suggest youtube, I'm sure you'll find a hit that gets your head boppin'. 

It was said that there were over 300,000 people there for the free concert, with many more streaming into the streets and filling up the two bridges shortly before the firework show at 10:30 pm. I'm sure your kids have plenty of stories and pictures to share of their host families celebrations of this wonderful and colorful national holiday!


- PL Bridgette 


On y va! : Pétanque in the park

Day three in the classroom was one of introductions and getting to know one another, as was our afternoon activity. Students enjoyed lunch in the city after class and returned to the Institut Catholique for a grosse surprise! They would meet the French champion of pétanque in the park to learn how to play this magnificent and extremely cultural game (or a simplified version of it, at least). Thomas Godard, 17 years old, was the perfect person to introduce this game to students! Of the same age, Toulousers found it hard to believe that this young man was the champion of France! 


For those of you at home who are lost in all this pétanque talk, let me break it down for y'all. Pétanque is a French game, similar to what we call bocce ball in the US. The game originated in Provence, France in the early 20th century and comes from the Occitan word "petanca" which translates to "feet planted." Interesting, you're thinking. Tell me more. Well, before you throw your ball, you have to stand in this plastic ring with both feet on the ground. Thus, the name corresponds to the game! As most of you know (hopefully) we are in the region of Occitanie in France, so it's very cool that the name of this game originates from not too far away from Toulouse! 


Alright, now for the objectives. Thomas showed us two different versions of pétanque. The first was one where you stood in the ring and threw the ball at what looked like a painted target. If you got outside of the target, you earned one point. If you got in the first ring of the target, that was worth two. Second ring? Three. And in the center? You guessed it, four points. We played a super simplified version of the game where you just kept track of your points based on how close you got to the bulls' eye. Lola and Hyacinth killed it in the second group, both earning 18 points within three rounds. Needless to say, Thomas was impressed. 



The second version of the game that we learned was a game of pushing other balls outside of a marked circle. Again, you started with two feet planted within a plastic ring. Then, you threw your ball (you got three tries) towards a circle that was filled with seven other balls. The objective here was to have your ball push out as many other balls from the circle as you can. This version was a bit more difficult, as you had to throw the ball with a little bit more force in order to make the other balls move outside the circle. 





If I've got your interest peaked, here is a youtube video (explaining much better) some basics about pétanque where you can learn more. After talking with Thomas, many Toulousers may find this captivating!




Navigating Toulouse

Toulouse 22

 Eric, probably telling us for the fiftieth time to stop being snails when we walk...Ne soyez pas les escargots! 

After completing two long days of orientation, our young linguists ventured on a walking--or jogging, rather--tour of Toulouse. Eric took everyone through a quick journey back in time as he explained the city center's layout and its history. He explained first that the city is roughly 2,000 years old,  founded sometime during the Roman Empire. Though no one can be absolutely certain of the exact date of its construction, as it was never written down, we've found some documents signed by Augustus indicating that we can use the Roman Empire as a rough estimate of its genesis. 

Toulouse Tour VII

Sam can't wait to go on this tour so he can just crush it navigating around the city with his mad orientation skills.

Eric started off by explaining that the city is split in two by a major river: La Garonne, which runs from the Atlantic Ocean in the North to the Pyrénées in the South. Historically, the city center was built on the Eastern side of the river for a couple of reasons. This side created some really convenient cliffs in the bank, making it an excellent spot for ports. The other side of the river was prone to flooding which made it not so great for building a city. Additionally, a little further out East was wetlands and further North was marshy, so Toulouse's city center is situated right in the sweet spot. This was all new information to me; Sam seemed to have an already pretty intuitive understanding of how river banks work, ancient city construction, and how the street signs work here in Toulouse...which makes me suspicious that he's not really a Toulousain pretending to be an American high school student studying in the city for the first time...

Toulouse Tour V

Toulouse Tour VIII

Just a few shots of Eric doin' his thang...

Toulouse carte


So, here's the low-down on how this city works...and you'll want to pay attention here because it's pretty stinkin' cool. There are two main streets that run North-South through the city center, parallel to the Garonne. One of them, the one that the CIEE Study Center is situated on, is the oldest road in the city. In fact, it's as old as the city itself. (Are you kidding me? I get to walk on a 2,000 year old street everyday to work??) Now, the street name changes as you walk further and further down it, but we'll call it Rue Pharaon for now since that's where the study center is. If you look on the map above, you'll see that this particular street is highlighted in red. This street is tiny and all cobble stone, though this doesn't stop cars and motorcycles from driving behind you and expecting you to get out of the way, you stupid pedestrian. The second main street is the yellow one and that's Rue Alsace-Lorraine. Now this street wasn't built until the 19th Century during the Industrial Revolution. It's larger and busier in the sense that it was meant to accommodate this new surge in motorized vehicles. 



Caroline from North Carolina (sorry Caroline...I couldn't resist...) making her way downtown, walking fast, faces pass...

Toulouse XI

Keaton and Christine work together to find the next destination! 

Toulouse Tour IV


So here's the thing about the plaques de rues, or street signs, in Toulouse. See that sort of blurry oval-shaped yellow thing on the building that Eric's pointing to? That's one of the original street signs from when the city was first built. They're pretty useful too. It's by these ancient street signs that a person can navigate through the city. 

The yellow plaques indicate that the street is running east-west and the white indicate that it's running north-south. Additionally, the house numbers increase as you head east and increase as you move west. This all makes for a fool-proof, history-infused, and all-around super cool way to navigate through the city. 

Toulouse Tour III

The big reveal! 

Toulouse 19

Toulouse Tour 2

Toulouse Tour 15

The group finds their way to Pont Neuf, or "New Bridge," along the Garonne. 

Toulouse TourXII

Pont Neuf (New Bridge) is a 16th Century bridge running perpendicular to the Garonne. Pretty old now, but it was newer than the bridge they were replacing at the time.

Toulouse TOur 16

Antonia learns from Eric the art of navigating European cities through churches. 

Toulouse Tour 17

Eric explains to Wendy, Ginny, and Antonia that in Toulouse, Street signs are written in French and Occitan. 


Last stop: Place Capitole! 


Stay tuned for more adventures in the city! 





On y va! : Getting to Toulouse and getting oriented!

PL Becca here, back at it for the second summer! Getting to Toulouse from Milwaukee with a group of 7 students was a blast (kids make travel fun!) and we fortunately all made it through security and customs sans problème! Meeting up with students in Philadelphia, I found Elias, Lavinia, Eri, Foressia, Neenah, Angelica, and Lindsey eagerly awaiting to take off for the first leg of the trip (to Madrid!). In the airport, we got to know each other a bit via mini-interviews where I asked the Toulousers to reveal their favorite flavors of ice cream, what they were most looking forward to in Toulouse, their defining characteristics, and their French experience. A few interesting ones that I have to share for the blog... Eli is most looking forward to getting lost while exploring, Foressia is most looking forward to the food (especially the baguettes and crepes!), and Lindsey is excited to experience a new culture. Favorite flavors of ice cream, you ask? Cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, chocolate, and surprisingly, vanilla. Foressia's beautiful bright red hair was her defining characteristic, Neenah showed off her hyperactive gum muscles when she smiled wide, and Angelia will literally eat anything covered in chocolate. Alright, now that we're all acquainted, time for travel! After a grueling six and a half hour flight, we were there! Well, not quite...we were in Madrid, with another three hours before our next flight. Whew! 


As we traveled through customs, Toulousers were surprised at how abrupt security was. Glancing quickly at passports and our blue CIEE shirts, we must of looked trustworthy and excited to explore, because we all advanced through customs in a breeze. But, alas, we had to go through security a second time in Madrid. Naturally, we all got out our water bottles that we had bought at the previous airport and started chugging. Hilariously, there was a security guard who was watching us, a puzzled expression on his face. After we either threw them away or finished the last drops, he smiled, letting us know that water was okay to bring through security...! Ooh la la how we laughed at this interaction with our Spaniard friend!

Check out the snapshot of Kyle's group traveling from Chicago. You can see it in their eyes- they just can't wait to land in Toulouse!


Well, as could be determined from the fact that the blog is written lightly and with humor, we all made it safe to Toulouse after our water bottle fiasco and met up with our host families. Toulousers were definitely tired (some of them didn't listen to PL Becca and sleep on the plane...!) when they met their families, but they were nonetheless ready to get started experiencing that French life! We bid them au revoir at the airport, eager to see them and hear about their first night in Toulouse the next day. 

At orientation, I bet you can imagine the kinds of stuff that we went over- the benefits of the program, what behavioral expectations were, and cultural differences. Toulousers had lots of questions and were intrigued by the resident director, Isabelle, and Mathilde, the program coordinator. No question was too much for the Toulouse staff, though. Everything was answered fully and students left orientation feeling like they could do anything in Toulouse that they set their minds to (within the program rules, of course!). 



One of the more entertaining parts of the day was when Isabelle and Mathilde asked Toulousers to find important locations around the Institut Catholique, the school where they would be studying for the next four weeks. Toulousers had to go find three other locations in addition to coming back to the Institut Catholique after: the CIEE Study Center, Carmes, and Esquir0l. Carmes and Esquirol are important because they are the two closest metro stops to the study center and school. Program leaders equipped them with maps (no smart phones allowed!) and set them loose in the city. Just like we knew that they would, all three groups found all three places. Here are the pictures to prove it. It was cool how Lavinia and Eri took the lead in Becca and Kyle's group, zigzagging the streets of Toulouse with maps not far away. Hyacinth took charge in Cynthia's group, running a successful operation to the three locations, and snapping some great photos. 







 Overall, we're off to a great start! Stay tuned for more!


Meet your Session 2 Program Leader : Becca Ebling

Bonjour tout le monde!

Toulouse Intro

My name is Rebecca Ebling. I will be leading the second summer session in Toulouse, France. I started taking French in 7th grade and have continued and loved it ever since. I currently teach in Whitewater, Wisconsin at Whitewater High School. I teach five levels of French (one of the classes is combined!) and coach Cross Country and Girls' Soccer. Throughout my life, I have spent about two years abroad, in Paris, Nice, and Toulouse. I participated in a semester abroad in Paris in college and then completed the TAPIF program in Nice following graduation. I was lucky enough to work with CIEE last summer and am so excited to be returning to the same team and staff in July 2017! 

I am most excited this summer about reconnecting with the CIEE staff in Toulouse (they are amazing!) and hoping to see the friendly cat that lives across from the office from last year (he was a star of the blog last summer!). I am also really looking forward to anything and everything airplanes, as Toulouse has an interesting and vivid aerospace history. I also cannot wait to meet all the new Toulousers! We have a big session coming up, and it is certainly going to be interesting getting to know all the different faces and language levels of the Global Navigators! I will see you all very soon in la ville rose, and we will discover the city and all its hidden treasures!


Cité de l'Espace

As we continued our exploration of Toulouse, we went into space!  (But not really...)  Toulouse has loads of aeronautical culture including an incredible museum dedicated to space exploration!  We visited last Friday, and everyone got to participate in a Scavenger Hunt, have some free time, and get a tour from experts in space travel.  


In fact, our guide often questioned our status as Americans when we failed to answer some basic questions like...  How many Americans have walked on the moon?  The answer... 12!  What American astronauts are currently in space?  Two, Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson.  


Caitlin acting as a model of the Earth for our hilarious guide.
Roan as the Earth. Boop! :D
Maya as...probably the Earth, lol.
MIR station. We got to go inside!!


Dan le bus! On retourne au centre.

After a fun visit to space, we went back to Earth and to our beloved Toulouse.  A suivre...


Meet your session 2 program leader: Bridgette Claery


My name is Bridgette Claery and I will be one of the program leaders for session 2 in Toulouse, France! 

I'm very excited to leave and meet you all in just a few short days! I'm from Rochester, NY, and I'll be flying out of JFK, so I'll be meeting up with some of you there. 

I'm a French teacher for the Hilton Central School District and I'm also a lacrosse coach. :) 

I was in Toulouse just last year, taking some classes at l'Alliance Française just for fun, so I can't wait to be back and show you all around. Toulouse is such a beautiful and vibrant city, there is so much to do and discover, we are going to have a great month together!

I must say that I'm most excited to see your personal progression in the French language, as well as individuals, as you learn and grow in a new environment.  It'll certainly remind me of the many times that I have studied and lived abroad, each time learning and discovering new things about myself! 

À bientôt ! 


(Here's a recent picture of me from my graduation with my Masters in Teaching) :)