A French Netflix Must-Watch to Understand French Culture: L’Agence


A friend of mine told me that there’s another series trending internationally on Netflix that’s set in France.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it? It’s called “The Parisian Agency: Exclusive Properties” in English (or “L’Agence: L’immobilier de luxe en famille” in French.)

Well, I sat down to watch it and I was delighted to see that this series gives a real, authentic view into French culture and the everyday lives of a French family — unlike other Netflix series, like Emily in Paris, that may be set in France but is very stereotypical and clearly created for an American audience.

It’s still a “reality” show – it’s scripted, it’s produced, and it’s a giant advertisement for the Kretz real estate agency. And the family and their clients are all much wealthier than most French people, buying and selling homes that the average French person could never afford.

And yet, it’s very obvious that this is a French series that was created for a French audience.
They really dress and speak and act like the real French people that I know, with the real everyday spoken French that I cover here in Comme une Française. It is SO French! And that can help you a lot with practicing speaking and understanding real everyday French.

Let’s see what I mean, with a specific scene together.
C’est parti.

1) Understanding Fast Spoken French with “The Parisian Agency” : The Scene
2) Understanding Fast Spoken French with “The Parisian Agency” : Full Subtitles
3) Understanding Fast Spoken French with “The Parisian Agency” : Vocabulary
4) Understanding Fast Spoken French with “The Parisian Agency” : Pronunciation
5) Understanding Fast Spoken French with “The Parisian Agency” : Process

Want all the vocabulary of the lesson ?

1) Understanding Fast Spoken French with “The Parisian Agency” : The Scene

Here’s a scene in the first episode of the second season of the show.

The context is a family working together:

– The family is preparing a party for Majo, the grandmother’s, birthday. (She’s not in the scene.)
Martin just came back from a business trip in Lisboa for work, and goes back to work with his brothers.
– One of them, Valentin, is working both on making a video for Majo, and closing a deal with clients.
– Their mother Sandrine is working with her husband in the background.

They’re speaking real fast spoken French, with edits from the show, so it’s as if you were dropped in a real French conversation.

Don’t worry if you don’t get everything – or even if you don’t understand much. We’ll break it down later.

What can you understand on the first watching on the scene, at full speed without subtitles?

2) Understanding Fast Spoken French with “The Parisian Agency” : Full Subtitles

Here are the full subtitles for the scene, that I introduce gradually in the video lesson.

For each line, you’ll find:
– The written version of the sentence.
– The actual way they pronounce it (when it’s not the same), with “eaten” letters replaced with apostrophes.
– The English translation.

I’ll give you a vocabulary and pronunciation guide just below that!

Full subtitles:

Vous avez eu le temps de bosser sur la vidéo pour l’anniversaire de Majo, ou pas ?
Vous avez eu le temps d’bosser sur la vidéo pour l’anniversaire de Majo, ou pas ?
– Did you have time to work on the video for Majo’s birthday, or not?

On est tombés sur les archives, avec ça de poussière dessus…
On est tombés sur les archives, avec ça d’poussière dessus…
– We found the archives, with this amount of dust on top…

Des vieilles photos magnifiques.
Old photos, amazing.

On a tout ajouté au montage, enfin c’est canon.
On a tout ajouté au montage, ‘fin c’est canon.
We added everything in the editing, I mean it’s fantastic.

Moi j’ai rien vu, hein, vous m’avez caché ça.
– I didn’t see anything, right, you hid it from me.

Bah nan tu verras en direct. Il est où mon ordi, en revanche ?
Bah nan tu verras en direct. Il est où mon ordi, en r’vanche ?
– Well no, you’ll see it live. Where’s my computer, though?

On l’a revendu, on était sur le point de revendre ta chaise.
On l’a r’vendu, on était sur le point d’revendre ta chaise.
– We sold it, we were just about to sell off your chair.

Je suis viré là, c’est ça ?
Chuis viré là, c’est ça ?
– I’m fired now, is that it?

Qui va à la chasse perd sa place, hein, Martin.
– “You shouldn’t have left your seat”, Martin!

Faudrait savoir ce que vous voulez, hein. Vous me reteniez pour pas que
je parte à Lisbonne, maintenant vous voulez me virer.
Faudrait savoir c’que vous voulez, hein. Vous m’reteniez pour pas qu’je parte à Lisbonne, maintenant vous voulez me virer.
– You should make up your mind, then. You didn’t want me to go to Lisboa, now you want to lay me off.

Nan mais prends le mien parce que je dois y aller de toute façon.
Nan mais prends l’mien parce que j’dois y aller d’façon.
– No but take mine, because I have to go anyway.

Tu vas où ?
– Where are you going?

J’ai rendez-vous à la maison avec Flavien et Maud. Le propriétaire doit nous appeler, sur l’appartement où ils sont positionnés pour nous donner sa réponse.
– I have a meeting at the house with Flavien and Maud. The owner is supposed to call, about the flat where they made an offer, to give us his answer.

Là tout de suite ?
– Right now?

Ouais, tout de suite là. Et je voulais le faire avec eux, c’est plus sympa.
Et puis je reviens après pour l’anniversaire.
Ouais, tout de suite là. Et j’voulais l’faire avec eux, c’est plus sympa.
Et puis j’reviens après pour l’anniversaire.
– Yeah, right now. And I wanted to do that with them, it’s more fun this way. And then I come back for the birthday party.

Sois pas en retard, hein, ce soir !
Sois pas en r’tard, hein, ce soir !
– Don’t be late, tonight!

Nan, t’inquiète, je fais vite.
– No, don’t worry, I’ll be quick.

N’arrive pas après Majo !
[N’] Arrive pas après Majo !
– Don’t arrive after Majo!

Ouais. Allez bye, à toute !
– OK bye, see you soon!

3) Understanding Fast Spoken French with “The Parisian Agency” : Vocabulary

Did you hear some fun real French vocabulary?
They use everyday informal French, like:

  • “Bosser” (= Travailler) = To work
  • “Canon” (= Magnifique) = Beautiful
  • “Viré” (= Renvoyé) = Fired, laid off

Some vocabulary that you might not know:

  • Un montage = An edit (video)
  • En direct = Live (broadcast)
  • On était sur le point de… = We were just about to…

And a cute expression that any French child knows:

  • Qui va à la chasse perd sa place ! = Literally, “Who goes hunting loses their place.” It’s used as “If you leave your seat, someone will take it.”

It sounds good because it rhymes!

Finally, I really want to take a second on one specific sentence:
“Il est où mon ordi, en revanche ?”
= “Where’s my computer, though?”

  • “En revanche” means “However.” It does NOT mean “in revenge” (the literal meaning)! It’s a bit formal and elegant, because they’re still educated.
  • Mon ordi is short for Mon ordinateur (= My computer.) French people, especially Parisian people, love to cut syllables to speak faster! We’ll see that in depth in the next section.
  • “Il est où mon ordi ?” is informal grammar for “Où est mon ordi ?” But using the correct grammar here would sound a bit too formal. In everyday life, we don’t really do the inversion of subject and verb to ask a question!

Qui va à la chasse perd sa place probably comes from the XVIIIth Century French sport / game of “le jeu de paume” (= “game of the palm”, precursor of tennis, played with the hand). When the ball hit the spot called “chasse”, the players had to switch places.

4) Understanding Fast Spoken French with “The Parisian Agency” : Pronunciation

Informal French pronunciation:

  • Oui → “Ouais”
  • Non → “Nan”

The Kertz speak real everyday spoken French. And that’s fast! They eat a lot of vowels and letters, and sometimes whole words, like we do in everyday French. That’s how we can say:

  • À toute” (= À tout de suite) = See you in a moment
  • “T’façon” (= De toute façon) = Anyway
  • “T’inquiète” (= Ne t’inquiète pas) = Don’t worry
  • “ ‘Fin” (= Enfin) = Well / Finally / Long story short
  • “Arrive pas après Majo” (= N’arrive pas après Majo) = Don’t get here after Majo does.

Click here to learn more:
Spoken French Rules — Can you drop the “Ne”?

They also systematically eat the vowel in all one-syllable words in “-e”. Even before a consonant!

So we have:

  • Ded’ + word (= “of”)
  • Cec’ + word [sounds like “ss”] (= “this”)
  • MeM’ + word (= “to me”)
  • QueQu’ + word (= “so that”)

Or in context (see the subtitles above for the complete sentences):

  • de bosser → d’bosser
  • de poussière → d’poussière
  • ce que vous voulez → c’que vous voulez
  • Vous me reteniez pour pas que je parte → Vous m’reteniez pour pas qu’je parte

It’s especially egregious for “Je” :

  • Je fais → J’fais
  • Je dois → J’dois
  • Je suis → J’suis / “Chuis”

That’s something that always happens in real spoken French. Now you won’t be surprised when you hear it!

Another, more subtle eating of letters is when a word begins with “re” : the “e” often gets eaten (especially in this scene) :

  • Word in “Re-” → R’ + rest of the word
  • En revanche → “En r’vanche
  • En retard → “En r’tard
  • Revendu → “R’vendu

Finally, at one point, Martin tries to go further, in:
Maintenant vous voulez me virer. (= And now you want to fire me.)

It’s the punchline of his joke, so he wants to deliver it fast. And it almost seems like he (tried to) cut the “vous”, like “Maint’nant v’voulez m’virer.

What do you hear?
(Tell me in the comments!)

5) Understanding Fast Spoken French with “The Parisian Agency” : Process

In the video lesson above, I lead you into watching the scene five times:

First time: full speed, no subtitles
What do you understand?

Second time: 0.75 speed, no subtitles
What more did you catch?

Third time: 0.75 speed, with French subtitles
Which words did you not understand? Look up their translation and write them down.

Fourth time: 0.75 speed, with English subtitles (and French if possible)
What did you misunderstand before? Which translation surprised you?

Fifth time: Normal speed, no subtitles (like the first time!)
Check that you understood everything. Revisit the words you didn’t hear, or the strange pronunciation!

Now that was a few minutes of work, on one scene. But if there’s one thing you should take from this lesson, it’s that you can do that work yourself.

Whenever you take time in your day to practice French, you can take a scene of a French movie or TV show that you like. And break it down, until you’re fully confident in your comprehension and pronunciation.

But I’d also like to make a lesson on this show in general. I have a lot more to say about the way they talk, the way they dress and how the show is a good depiction of real French culture.

Tell me if you’d like to see that lesson someday soon!

For now, click on a link to find your next step towards understanding real spoken French:

À tout de suite.
I’ll see you in the next video!

→ If you enjoyed this lesson (and/or learned something new) – why not share this lesson with a francophile friend? You can talk about it afterwards! You’ll learn much more if you have social support from your friends 🙂

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Join the conversation!

  • C’était parfait! Je suis tellement heureuse de avoir rencontré votre site web ! Je regarde déjà cette série maintenant! En fait, j’ai regardé cette épisode juste aujourd’hui, avant de rencontrer vôtre vidéo!

  • J’apprécie beaucoup ce genre de leçon au niveau avancé, et que je ne trouve nulle part ailleurs. Merci beaucoup, Géraldine, et j’attends la suite avec impatience !

  • Very useful lessons Géradine.
    May be “en revanche” in this scenario could be translated with “by the way” rather than “however” or even “anyway”.
    Thank you

  • Merci Geraldine, That was a very useful lesson for me. Even though I knew all the words if I saw them written on a page, or even heard them spoken slowly and carefully , I was peering through a fog to know what was going on the first time, but after your explanation, and slowing the speed , much of the fog lifted. Thank you!! I think it is just what I need for my level. I definitely would pay for a whole course like this, as there are not many study resources to help with this transition. I find it hard to watch french TV as I get so lost and frustrated. People say they learned English by watching a tv series but I have tried this with french and I am just as lost at the start of the series as at the end. This proved to me that it is possible but I think I need more lessons like this. Bravo !!

  • Very discouraging. I didn’t understand but a very few words here and there at the full speed with no subtitles – either time. I was totally lost, yet I read and write at an Intermediate level in French, and I can understand many (most) YouTube videos in French. it seems the we need to learn not one language, but two: formal French, and then a second, more more complex language, “fast spoken French” – and the formal French does us no good unless we are reading. Very discouraging.

  • Excellent, I listen to France24 news and it is surprising how well to can train your ear with fast spoken French
    Great Video Géradine

  • Super Géraldine ! Ce type de leçon aide énormément à suivre des dialogues qu’on entend dans les films. Si tu décidais de préparer une leçon plus générale sur cette télésérie, je serais certainement preneur. Et pourquoi pas offrir un “30-day challenge” basé sur ce même concept ? Payant bien entendu ! Bien à toi, Roger

  • Great series (great lesson too). I loved the ten ways they say “good”…canon, top, extra, chouette, génial, sympa, truc de dingue, supernickel, and….Bon…. Also stay for season 2 to meet the truly ghastly Brit mega agent the family sucks up to, only to throw a fab fit of petulance when he refuses their offer!

  • Whoa, that WAS fast Geraldine! But I did learn how to say Lisbon in French, merci. Do they speak slower for less expensive properties?

  • Not sure what the problem is, but when I click on the download button nothing happens. Are the downloads now not available for me to get on my mac, never had this problem before.

    • Ca va Nicole. I gave up with the d/l button ages ago for the same reason but I’m getting a new ordi soon (not mac) and will try to fix the problem. I’ve saved some lessons using c & p but there are so many of them with, I hope, more to come. Salut!

  • Merci pour cette leçon, Géraldine. Je l’ai beaucoup aimée et j’en voudrais d’autres de ce genre. Mais une petite observation —en anglais un arrière petit enfant c’est a great grandchild.

  • ah, bien sûr. Un autre leçon sur “L’Agence: L’immobilier de luxe en famille” de serait formidable!

  • Merci pour le explication de cet video! J’ai appris beaucoup! Je crois que je devrais savoir mieux de français avant je peur comprendre quand un français parle très vite!

  • C’est bien trop vite pour moi, même à 75%! Incomprehensible. Extremement décourageant. Maintenant je sens vraiment stupide.

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