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The Membus in France: Part 2

By Memrise Blog

And then the Membus was back in La France! This time in the South, starting off at a quaint romantic town named Pezenas, the birthplace of the comic playwright Molière. There were certainly a lot of funny characters about, starting with the husband and wife team running our campsite. The Maître D, who wore a chef’s hat all day long (yet was never once seen in the kitchen), and the Maîtresse D, who wore nothing but a cigarette and a frown, argued so theatrically that the whole town could hear. But they made us feel right at home.


Our French team was complete with the arrival of our two new assistants: we had Jeanne, linguistics expert and devilish dancer, and Damia, polyglot extraordinaire and possibly the happiest person ever. Together we explored all the labyrinthine passageways of the town’s historic quarter; catching townspeople having coffee on their terraces, shop vendors offering us samples of their local produce, and accordion players serenading the squares.


From a small town to a big city, our next stop was Marseille, where we had the privilege of participating in Le Festival de Marseille, a contemporary dance festival. We met and recorded lots of the performers in residence at the Théâtre Joliette-Minoterie, and were lucky enough to go and watch a spectacular performance by the Badke dance troupe at Le Silo theatre. Some of us even managed to steal a few signature moves from them at the after party.


We’d like to thank the whole team, including Benjamin chéri, the theatre’s chief barman and resident sweetheart, and Julie, logistics superwoman who helped us with the difficult task of manoeuvring the bus around the city, and avoiding those ruthless French road officials. Sacré bleu!


We loved exploring Marseille, from le marché aux puces by day, to funky folk music by night. However, our favourite place by far was the Mucem. We spent the afternoon visiting their fantastic exhibitions on Picasso and ancient civilizations, before the rooftop of the museum turned into a disco, with a barbecue, DJ set and enough space and breeze to keep us dancing all night long.

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The culture only continued at our next destination, Arles. The Membus team had press passes to Les Rencontres de la Photographie, an annual photography festival attracting a very international crowd. We got stuck in straight away, meeting (and shooting!) all the film crews and photography enthusiasts that were out and about in full force.


We spent the days making the most of our free entry to the wide variety of exhibitions all over town. And so it was by night that we went collecting our videos. Our favourite of the evening festivities was an African pop concert at the town’s disused rail station, where we caught some great footage in a converted old carriage (at the same time picking up some useful interior design inspiration for our bus) before boogying away on the dusty train tracks.


And so, after 2 weeks, 2000km, 600 locals, 3000 phrases, and an awful lot of culture, our French dictionary is now complete! Very soon you’ll be able to enjoy this brand new video immersion mode on your favourite app, learning French directly from the French themselves. Which, as we all know, is the best way to learn any language…next chapter, Italian!

Editable map updated

Vocab / Glossary:

Maître D – Manager

Maîtresse D – Manageress

chéri – beloved / darling

Sacré bleu! – Dammit!

le marché aux puces – The Flea Market

Mucem – The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations