Bonjour et Bienvenue!
Over sixty people gathered on 14 July at the Church of Christ centre in Bunbury to celebrate the French National Day and experience the French language and culture. Local French teacher Martine Combret organised the event which included the screening of a French classic film La Fille Dupuisatier (The Well digger’s daughter). Martine’s French language school Learn French Avec Moi, established in 2014 has a steady flow of students.
While there are a number of French speaking people in the area, including French migrants and people from Mauritiaus, there are also many people learning French and travelling to France.
Mrs Combret has been asked by many about a French social group and while there has been no social group as such, she saw Bastille Day as an ideal networking opportunity.
Australia and France have a shared history and Mrs Combret said there is a strong connection between France and Australia.
“Australian soldiers fought in France during both world wars, with unfortunately too many laid to rest in French soil.” She said.
Being the centenary year of World War 1 and with historic cultural and economic ties between Australia and France and the common values shared by our two countries, the Bastille Day event, was timely for the mingling of the two cultures. Many of Mrs Combret’s students attending, were keen to practice their newly acquired vocabulary and French speaking people were only too happy to engage in conversation. Although some students had trouble keeping up with the dialogue, it was all good practice.
While many donned a French beret and national colours, the French spirit was alive and well with a fine fare of French cuisine, including favourites such as brie and camenbert cheeses, crusty French bread, pates, croissants to name a few.
The French National Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790. A politician named Benjamin Raspail proposed that July 14 should become a holiday in France in 1880. The law was enacted on July 6, 1880. Bastille Day was a public holiday for the first time on July 14, 1880. The military parade in Paris has been held every year since 1880, except during World War II.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris and the French national flag are important symbols of Bastille Day. The French national flag is one-and-a-half times as wide as it is tall. It consists of three vertical bands of equal width coloured blue, white and red. The same colours are displayed in parades, on bunting and banners on Bastille Day. People may also wear clothing or face paint in these colours.
Until next time a biento