The 24 Hours of Le Mans As Motivation To Learn French

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With this year's Le Mans coming to an end, I made the decision to learn French!

At first glance this may seem like a rather random and sudden decision. After all the fluffiness of Fernando Alonso's hair isn't the reason I know Spanish, and neither did the Rome ePrix spark an undeniable desire to learn Italien. And yet, Le Mans begs to differ ...

The 24 hours of Le Mans are beautiful, magical and a motherf*cker - all at the same time. Within its time span you feel every emotion humanly possible: defeat, hope, disappointment and joy at the same time, but you're too tired to somehow sort this mess out. One year it treats you well, the next year it hurts you and you love it. Thus, I declared last year that "I am going to Le Mans! Fight me!" before I fell asleep.

At this point it was more of a long distant dream like "someday I am going to own a Porsche 911 GT3", "one day I'll be happy", and "sometime I am going to go to Le Mans." The tipping point came later last year when the WEC announced a so-called "Super Season." Without getting into too much detail, this meant that the current season spans over two years, includes two Le Mans (Les Mans?) and finishes in the latter of the two.

I knew that my travel schedule is packed this year and I have not married rich as well. Furthermore, Le Mans is a whooping 15 hour car drive away from me and I famously do not fly.

However, Le Mans 2019 is the most sensible option for me: I am already more road trip experienced than I was last year. I can tell most of the squeaky noises in my car apart by now, and know that if endurance drivers do not stint for longer than three hours, neither should you. In addition, the 2019/20 season of the WEC introduces new regulations for the top class, while I am looking forward to those, LMP1 is the class I fell in love with and got me into endurance racing. Thus, I want to give them an adequate farewell before they leave.

The only issue I face is that while I speak three languages, none of them is French. In Slovakia, I realized how unimaginably uncomfortable I am with not having a lingua franca. Nowadays when I say "I understand French" I mean that I understand when someone is using the French language and not that I know what they're saying. While my brother knows French and could teach me the basics, I'd be hopeless in understanding the answer. Thus instead of finding a toilet, I would only find a bush ...

While I am sure that the lingua franca at La Sarthe around this time is English, there is half of France that I need to cross. I really do not want to end up in an uncomfortable position where I cannot be understood and I'd rather stumble over a French sentence than over no sentence at all. In addition, becoming a Multi-Lingual Language GodTM does not sound bad at all.

However, the most important aspect of knowing French when going to Le Mans is going to be on the way home again. As it is typical after watching the race, one does ponder on the meaning of life and the reason why we are in the universe, only to discover that it is held together by coffee. Thus, I need to be able to walk up to any barista and politely ask in French "double espresso with a shot of milk, please. No sugar."

Au revoir en Le Mans!


  1. I love the story of why you want to learn French. I once decided to learn High Valyrian from Duo Lingo so that I would be able to read and watch the Game of Thrones series without the necessary translations. It is another thing that I got bored and quit in a few days. I hope you go through and learn properly though. I studied French for 3 years and it was fun to learn.

    1. Fun fact, I am also using Duolingo :D Thank you for leaving a comment Xx

  2. I've been saying I'm going to learn French properly for ages now. I have a huge collection of fashion magazines and I would occasionally buy French Vogue to try and learn. As I understood the subject and a lot of 'fashion terms' are French words as well I found I would often be able to understand most of the article. Reading something you're already familiar with really helps. Good luck! x


    1. Yeah, it really helps when you can read articles you care about in your target language. I also wish you good luck Xx

  3. I studied French at school and thought it was a very beautiful language. I can’t remember any of it now but I still think it’s nice and very handy to learn too! Good luck! xx

    Bexa |

    1. I had Spanish in school, so I hope it's going to give me a helping hand :) Thank you


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