“Je vis, je meurs” de Louise Labé

The first recognized French poetess, Louise Labbé was born in Lyon, between 1520 and 1525. She was raised during one of the most interesting centuries in literature's history. The Middle Ages were over, and the Italian renaissance was creating a revolution in France’s artistic life. The message is simple and still so very modern: love and its torments... [Read More...]

“Les Vous et les Tu” de Voltaire

"Les Vous et Les Tu" is a sensual, yet very deep poem from Voltaire, 18th century. Particularly interesting for students is that it plays on the difference between Tu and Vous, since Voltaire says "tu" to the woman he loved, and "vous" to the one she became. [Read More...]

“Les Pas” de Paul Valéry

In this classical yet sensual and very musical poem, Valéry describes two people: the “I” who represents the poet and a feminine entity who is approaching. Ghost? Fairy? Or would it be the poet's muse? [Read More...]

“Le Dormeur du Val” d’Arthur Rimbaud

This poem, written by the 16-year old Rimbaud, is partially in the classic form but already announces his future avant-garde poems. When he wrote this piece, France was at war with Prussia, and Rimbaud was frequently running away from home and traveling by foot. It is therefore possible that the scene described in the poem is a real scene. [Read More...]

“Tristesse” d’Alfred de Musset

Alfred de Musset is a poet of the beginning of the 19th century in Paris. Mostly known for his romantic poems, his theater pieces and his novels, de Musset's first collection of poems won the approval of Victor Hugo, who accepted him in his Romantic literary circle: Cénacle.
He was the lover of the women writer George Sand, who was the inspiration for this poem. [Read More...]

“Le Pont Mirabeau” de Guillaume Apollinaire

Legend has it that this poem was inspired by the rupture between Apollinaire and the female painter Marie Laurencin, because he had to cross the Mirabeau bridge to go see her. In an ultra modern form, with short verses, a refrain that repeats throughout the poem like a song, and without punctuation, the poem speaks of the classic themes of the fatality of passing time and the pain of love. [Read More...]

“Le Lac” d’Alphonse de Lamartine

Lamartine, a pioneer of the French Romantic movement, is considered one of the greatest French poets of the nineteenth century. In this poem Lamartine talks about the ephemeral nature of life and love.
Written in highly melodious and emotional verse, "Le lac" epitomizes the lyrical qualities of Lamartine's poetry. [Read More...]

“Carmen” de Théophile Gautier

In May 1840, Théophile Gautier, the enfant terrible of the French Romantic movement, was hired by the journal “La Presse” to record his experiences and impressions of Spain. The end result was the book “Voyage en Espagne” (1845), an enthralling piece of travel writing later translated into English as “A Romantic in Spain”.For Gautier, Spain was an exotic and passionate culture. "It was a revelation", he said later, like discovering his true home, the native land of his spirit. [Read More...]

“Demain dès l’aube” de Victor Hugo

One the best-known masterpieces of Victor Hugo, this enigmatic poem takes us for a walk through Normandy’s countryside. The destination of the journey is a mystery: one first imagines a lover’s date... but the poem will unravel a meaning much deeper to the poet’s heart. My thorough explanation of the poem will tell you about this drama, one of many in Victor Hugo's life, and show you how Victor Hugo builds up the tension of the poem - in a extremely visual, almost cinematic way. [Read More...]

“Poème Sur Une Morte” d’Alfred de Musset

This poem was written for the extraordinary princess Cristina di Belgiojoso, who was a striking, dark-eyed and dark-haired, pale-skinned beauty Musset met at one of the Paris salon. Musset threw his heart at her feet, but was received as a friend, and rejected as a lover. In anger, he wrote this poem. [Read More...]

“El Desdichado” de Gerard de Nerval

Today, I'm going to present you a rather complicated poem, which speaks of French historic characters and refers to legends from France and the Roman and Greek antiquity. Rather dark, yet full of hope, this poem is gorgeous and profound, and one can find a new meaning with each reading. [Read More...]

“Le Corbeau et le Renard” de Jean de La Fontaine with explanation and analysis

Aujourd’hui, je vais vous parler du poème “Le Corbeau et Le renard” de Jean de La Fontaine. Je vais parler lentement, clairement et utiliser un vocabulaire de tous les jours pour expliquer, et puis discuter du poème.
Tout d’abord, je vais lire le poème lentement. Puis je vais expliquer le vocabulaire, et puis je vais vous parler du message du poème, et de la vie de l’auteur. Enfin, je vais relire le poème plus rapidement.

[Read More...]