• Simon O'Donovan

Vive La France

"I wanted to get far away from those who believed in cruelty, so then I went to France, a land of true freedom, democracy, equality and fraternity.” - Josephine Baker This week's theme for our Cognitive Stimulation Therapy session was 'Vive La France', as Wales are to play France in the 'Rugby World Cup' this weekend.

You could also use this CST activities page for 'Bastille Day', which is celebrated on 14th July. After a brief orientation session and introductions, where members said what they liked best about France or French people, we used the following materials to prompt recall and discussion.

* Click on the image above for slides to print off for the tables *

PARDON MY FRENCH Ask members to give the meanings of these French sayings that have become embedded in the English language. Oo la la - SURPRISE

C'est la vie - THAT'S LIFE







Creme de la creme - BEST OF THE BEST

Cul de sac - DEAD END ROAD

Je ne sais quoi - A CERTAIN SOMETHING

Raison d'etre - REASON FOR BEING

Hors d'oeuvre - APPETISER

Vis a vis - IN RELATION TO

Tete a tete - HEAD TO HEAD



Pied a terre - SECOND HOME

Art deco - DECORATVE STYLE OF 1920s and 30s

En suite - BATHROOM



Laissez faire - ANYTHING GOES

Joie de vivre - JOY OF LIFE

Nom de plume - ALIAS OR PEN NAME

RSVP - Respondex sil vous plait - PLEASE RESPOND


Aide memoire - MEMORY AID

FRANCE QUIZ QUESTIONS Click on the photo above to link to a pictures slideshow for printing off for the tables, to illustrate this next activity. What is the name of the French flag? TRICOLORE What are the colours of the French flag? BLUE, WHITE AND RED VERTICAL STRIPES What is the motto of France? LIBERTE, EGALITE, FRATERNITE (Freedom, Equality, Togetherness) Which animal is the symbol of France? COCKEREL (GALLIC ROOSTER) When is 'Bastille Day'? 14TH JULY What does it celebrate? THE STORMING OF THE BASTILLE IN 1789, A TURNING POINT IN THE FRENCH REVOLUTION Who is the President of France? EMMANUEL MACRON What is the capital of France? PARIS What did the Romans call France? GAUL What do the French call Wales? PAYS DE GALLES What do French people call English people? LE ROSBIF (after their like of Sunday roast dinners) What is the river that flows through Paris? SEINE What is the highest point in France? MONT BLANC (French Alps)

There is a tunnel running under Mont Blanc from France to Italy. How many miles long do you think it is?

8.6 MILES Where would you find Le Mont Saint-Michel? NORMANDY (It is twinned with Saint Michael's Mount in Cornwall) Which station in London would you leave to travel to France via the Channel Tunnel? ST PANCRAS

You could also of course catch a ferry. What are the main routes?






How far is it to swim from England to France? 21 MILES

(In September 2019, Sarah Thomas swam the English Channel four times non-stop. The swim was due to be about 80 miles, but because of strong tides Ms Thomas ended up swimming closer to 130 miles. It took her more than 54 hours to complete the challenge. Ms Thomas, who hails from Colorado, completed treatment for breast cancer in 2018. She dedicated her swim to "all the survivors out there".

What is the national railway of France? SNCF What is the underground in Paris called? METRO What side of the road do you drive on in France? RIGHT (Opposite to UK) What currency do the French use? EURO What was it previously? FRANC (Until 2002) How many steps are there to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower? (Nearest guess) 1,710 Where would you find the 'Grave Of The Unknown Soldier'? ARC DE TRIOMPHE Which is at the top of which avenue? CHAMPS DE ELYSEES Where did the D-day landings take place in the Second World War? DUNKIRK (The beaches were named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword) Who starred in the 1998 film 'Saving Private Ryan' about this event which occurred on June 6th 1944? TOM HANKS Which historic Paris building was sadly damaged in a fire in 2019? NOTRE DAME Who wrote 'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame' (1831) VICTOR HUGO (Lon Chaney starred in the classic 1923 film version. He was in love with Esmerelda) ... 'Murder On The Orient Express' (1934) AGATHA CHRISTIE (Hercule Poirot was the detective who featured in the story. He was actually Belgian!) ... 'Robinson Crusoe' (1719) DANIEL DEFOE (Man Friday was his best and only friend) ... 'Les Miserables' (1862) ALSO BY VICTOR HUGO (The story focused on the young girl, 'Cosette') ... 'Around The World In Eighty Days' (1871) JULES VERNE (The main character was Phileas Fogg) Name The Three Musketeers? ARTHOS, PORTHOS & ARAMIS (D'Artagnan was the young man befriended by the Musketeers before he was old enough to join their ranks) What does the 'Bayeux Tapestry' depict? THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS IN 1066 (The death of King Harold is depicted - he was shot through the eye with an arrow)

(It is 230 foot long) Which Saint is renowned in Lourdes, with a shrine venerated to her in the place where she saw The Virgin Mary in 1858? SAINT BERNADETTE Who is otherwise known as 'The Maid Of Orleans' in French history? SAINT JOAN OF ARC (She died, burned at the stake, in 1431 aged 19 and was a famous heroine for fighting in support of Charles VII dressed as a man in the 'Hundred Years War') Who said "Let them eat cake!"? MARIE ANTOINETTE (In or around 1789 when she was told the people had no bread and were starving) How tall was Napoleon Bonaparte? (Nearest guess) 5FT 7INS Who defeated him at the Battle Of Waterloo in 1815? THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON (Wellington Boots are named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke Of Wellington)

How do you make a 'Beef Wellington'? BEEF COATED IN PATE AND WRAPPED IN PASTRY

True or False. At the end of the Battle Of Trafalgar in 1806, where Horatio Nelson was shot by a French sniper, his body was brought home in a barrel of brandy?

TRUE (The story goes that the barrel was empty by the time he returned, as the sailors had drunk it using a straw!) When was the last guillotine execution in France? (Nearest Guess) 1977 Who painted the 'Mona Lisa'? LEONARDO DA VINCI (In 1503) Where would you find it? THE LOUVRE How much is it worth? $850M (Insurance value 2019) Claude Monet & Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted in which style? IMPRESSIONIST What annual arts event is held in May in the French Riviera? CANNES FILM FESTIVAL What about the annual sporting event held in Monaco every May? GRAND PRIX Who starred as Inspector Clousseau in 'The Pink Panther' films? PETER SELLERS (His Chinese sidekick was Cato) Who starred in the 1998 film 'The Man In The Iron Mask'? LEONARDO DE CAPRIO Which character wears a French beret in the TV sitcom 'Some Mothers Do Av' 'Em'? FRANK SPENCER (Played by Michael Crawford)

(He was the first to play the lead role in 'The Phantom Of The Opera') What was the name of the missing painting in the TV sitcom 'Allo Allo'? THE FALLEN MADONNA WITH THE BIG BOOBIES (Rene and Edith were the bar owners) (Michelle's, of the French Resistance, catchphrase was "I shall say this only once.")

In the Dan Brown 2003 book 'The Davinci Code', where were Mary Magdelene's remains hidden? THE LOUVRE (Underneath the glass pyramid) Who invented Champagne? (The monk) DOM PERIGNON IN 1693 (Patsy Stone was the main character in the TV sitcom 'Absolutely Fabulous' who especially enjoyed this alcoholic beverage)

(Apparently, you can only call champagne champagne if it is produced with grapes grown in the Champagne region of France!) Name some other French wines? BORDEAUX, BURGUNDY, SAUVIGNON, COTES DE RHONE, CHABLIS, CHARDONNAY, MERLOT

(Merlot is the French word for 'blackbird'!) When is Beaujolais Nouveau Day? 15TH NOVEMBER How about French cheeses? CAMEMBERT, BRIE, PORT SALUT, ROQUEFORT, BOURSIN ETC What drink did Kylie Minogue as 'The Green Fairy' depict in the 2001 film 'Moulin Rouge'? ABSINTHE What are: - Croc Monsieur? HAM & CHEESE TOASTIE (A 'Croc Madame' is the same, but with a fried egg on top) - L'escargot? SNAILS - Cuisses de grenouille? FROGS LEGS - Viande chevaline? HORSE MEAT - Coq au vin CHICKEN IN RED WINE - Bouillbaisse PROVENCAL FISH STEW - Moules Mariniere MUSSELS IN WHITE WINE AND ONION BROTH. (Often served with Pommes Frites - French fries) - Crepe Suzette? PANCAKES FLAMBEED IN GRAND MARNIER - Pastis? ANISEED FLAVOURED SPIRIT - Creme de Menthe GREEN MINT FLAVOURED LIQUER - Croissant Buttery flaky pastry - Pain au Chocolate Croissant with chocolate spread inside Which famous French TV chef has a restaurant/hotel called 'La Manoir aux Quat Saisons' in Great Milton, Oxfordshire? (His surname is French for 'White') RAYMOND BLANC What card was Gerard Depardieu looking for in a 1990 'colour' film? GREEN CARD (Also starring Andie McDowell) What career does the retired French footballer Eric Cantona now have? ACTOR Which famous French football player advertised 'Vidal Sassoon' hair products? DAVID GENOLA Which advert featured 'Nicole' and 'Papa'? RENAULT CLIO What is a French holiday cottage called? GITE (Has anyone ever stayed in one?) What about a French manor house? CHATEAU What does "Vive La 'Difference" mean? CELEBRATE OUR DIFFERENCES (especially gender) What about "Vive La France" mean? LONG LIVE FRANCE

MUSIC QUIZ Playlist here Medley - Casablanca (NB Start this track playing at 1.57. End it at 3:00) What is the name of the French national anthem? LA MARSEILLAISE

As Time Goes By - Dooley Wilson (NB Start this track playing at 1:00. End it at 2:20) Who starred in the film 'Casablanca'? INGRID BERGMAN & HUMPHREY BOGART When was it released? 1942

Chanson d'Amour - The Manhattan Transfer What does 'Chanson d'Amour' mean? LOVE SONG

She - Charles Aznavour Who had a major hit with a re-recording of this song in 1999. (It featured in the film 'Notting Hill')? ELVIS COSTELLO

Allo Allo - TV Theme Who starred as the Cafe owner Rene Artois in this 1980s TV sitcom? GORDEN KAYE What was the catchphrase of Michelle of the Resistance? I SHALL SAY THIS ONLY ONCE

Can Can - Jacques Offenbach Where is the Can Can traditionally danced in Paris? AT THE MOULIN ROUGE ('Moulin Rouge' translated to English is red windmill!) (We all stood and attempted to dance the Can Can) One Day I'll Fly Away - 'Moulin Rouge' (2001) soundtrack Who is singing this song? NICOLE KIDMAN Who originally had a hit with this song in 1999? RANDY CRAWFORD Je T'aime Moi Non Plus - Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin Who was this song originally written about in 1967? (Clue: Famous French actress, model and animal rights campaigner) BRIGITTE BARDOT (The song was later used to advertise the perfume with the same name by Yves Saint Laurent.) The Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe - Soundtrack What is the name of the BBC Radio 4 weekly show introduced by Kirsty Young where famous people choose their top eight songs to illustrate their life story? DESERT ISLAND DISCS (Roy Plomley originally devised and presented the show.)

Ask members to say which luxury item they would take with them to a desert island. In the 2000 film 'Castaway' what was the name of Tom Hanks (Chuck Noland) best and only friend? WILSON (A BASKETBALL) Thank Heavens For Little Girls - Maurice Chevalier Which musical does this song feature in? GIGI What are little girls made of? SUGAR AND SPICE AND ALL THINGS NICE (Boys are - SLUGS AND SNAILS AND PUPPY DOG TAILS) Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien - Edith Piaf What does 'Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien' mean? I HAVE NO REGRETS Edith Piaf's nickname was? LITTLE SPARROW La Vie En Rose - Grace Jones Which chat show host did Grace Jones assault on live TV in 1981? RUSSELL HARTY Which James Bond movie did she star in? A VIEW TO A KILL (1985) Frere Jacques - The Rainbow Collections Have a go at singing this song in two groups, as this French nursery rhyme is traditionally sung in 'a round'. English translation? BROTHER JACQUES ( A MONK) Are you sleeping? Ring [the bells for] the matins! Ding, dang, dong. The Phantom Of The Opera - Andrew Lloyd Webber Who starred as the first Phantom? MICHAEL CRAWFORD And the first Christine? SARAH BRIGHTMAN What dance troupe was she in? HOT GOSSIP I Dreamed A Dream - Susan Boyle Who is the main character who features on the 'Les Miserables' poster (little girl)? COSETTE And her adoptive father? JEAN VALJEAN Susan Boyle came second in 2009's 'Britain's Got Talent'. Who came first? The dance troupe, DIVERSITY Michelle - The Beatles Which 'Michelle' has recently written a best selling book entitled 'Becoming'? MICHELLE OBAMA What does 'Ma belle' mean? MY BEAUTY Where Do You Go To My Lovely - Peter Starstedt Who is the first person named in the song? MARLENE DIETRICHE Comment Te Dire Adieu - Francoise Hardy (Translation, 'It hurts to say goodbye') How would you say 'Goodbye' in French? AU REVOIR, SALUT, ADIEU, BON VOYAGE

How about 'Hello'?

BONJOUR, Oxygene - Jean Michel Jarre How much of the oxygen in our lungs is produced by the Amazon rainforest? 20% What was the highest ever recorded temperature for France set in July 2019. 45C / 113F La Mer - Charles Trenet

('La Mer' translates into English as 'the sea') What was the name of the French explorer and underwater conservationist? JACQUES COUSTEAU And the name of his ship? CALYPSO All You Need Is Love - The Beatles Which album did this song feature on? THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR How old would John Lennon have been this October had he lived? 80 (Time for a singalong.) (Note the song begins with the start of the French national anthem.) Ca Plane Pour Moi - Plastic Bertrand What genre of music is this? PUNK What does it mean? THIS WORKS FOR ME (The remaining songs on the playlist are included to accompany the cheese and wine party!)

(The painting below is 'The Fallen Madonna With The Big Boobies', of 'Allo Allo' fame. It sold at auction in 2018 for £15,000)

PRACTICAL ACTIVITY Next we had a Cheese and Wine tasting session, with the remaining tracks on the playlist playing in the background. We tried Brie, Camembert, Port Salut, Boursin and Roquefort with grapes and crackers. We washed it down with some low alcohol wines. We then played a game of Boule, otherwise known as Petanque.

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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