Learning Exercise

La France Pittoresque

The assignment requires students to write in the imperfect tense, as they discover the way things used to be in France. The task requires the gathering and processing of information on an old French tradition, custom or profession. Students will process the information and recount their findings using the appropriate tense.
Course: Intermediate and Advanced French

Traditions, legendes, personnages, terroirs...La France pittoresque est un guide de reference pour qui veut decouvrir la... see more


Assignment Overview

The purpose
of this exercise is to get you thinknig about how things used to be and to compare
them to how they are today. The appropriate verb tense for this in French is
the imperfect, because it describes habitual past action. By reading some articles
in Les Chroniques d'Autrefois, you will analyze the use of the imperfect. You
will then use it yourself in a composition. In the meantime, you will learn
some cultural history.

1. On the home page of La France
, scroll down to Les Chroniques d'Autrefois.

2. Click on one of the categories
(Traditions, personnages ou metiers) and read an article about an old
French tradition, personality, or profession.( Note: When you first click on
the category, you will see the featured selection on the screen. Look to the
navigation bar at the left to reveal other possible choices. Do not simply choose
the featured selection by default, but select something that really interests

3. Make a list with two columns,
one labelled "Autrefois" and the other "Aujourd'hui". Draw
facts from the article on how things used to be and put them in your Autrefois
column. In the Aujourd'hui column, write your own comments on how things are
different today.

4. Write a short composition, using
the imperfect tense, describing the activities in the article. The emphasis
should be on how things used to be.

5. Conclude by comparing the way
things used to be to theway that they are today.

6. Follow your instructor's directions
on delivery of the assignment.


Students should be familiar with the use of the imperfect tense to describe habitual past action. Students should be able to change verbs in the present to the imperfect tense.


Traditions, coutumes, legendes, personnages, terroirs, metiers, flore et faune.

Learning Objectives

Students will learn to express themselves using the imperfect tense. Students will learn historical and cultural information about France.