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French Retro Renault Commercial

This is a wonderful vintage French TV commercial for the Renault 4 Chevaux (4CV). This was a popular car in France during the 1950s. In addition to showing some fun views of Paris, the commercial offers a ton of car vocabulary, such as “le volant” (steering wheel) and verbs such as “garer” to park. The commercial is very easy to understand and would be a great listening aid for beginners and intermediates.

text and translation

  • Bonjour! Voulez-vous venir avec moi?
    Hello! Would you like to come with me?
  • Je vais vous présenter une petite merveille, la Quatre Chevaux Renault.
    I’m going to show you a little wonder, the 4 Chevaux Renault.
  • Voulez-vous monter.
    Want to hop it?
  • Comfortablement installé?
    Comfortably in your place?
  • Alors, allons-y!
    So, let’s go!
  • C’est la voiture maniable, facile à dégager – la voiture idéale pour la ville.
    It’s a manoeuvrable car, easy to clear [through traffic], ideal for the city.
  • Regardez comme elle est facile à garer. Et voilà.
    Look how it’s easy to park! There!
  • Au volant d’une Quatre Chevaux on est tout de suite à son aise.
    At the steering wheel of a 4 Chevaux, you feel at ease right away.
  • Il n’y a pas au monde de voitures plus feminine plus facile à conduire.
    In the world of cars, there’s no other more feminine car or car that’s easy to drive.
  • C’est aussi la voiture de l’homme d’affaires qui n’a pas de temps à perdre.
    It’s also the ideal car for the business man who has no time to waste.
  • Quel démarrage! Quelle accélération! Quelle sécurité!
    What a start-up! What acceleration! What safety!
  • Elle grimpe remarquablement et en chauffe pas en montagne.
    It climbs remarkably and doesn’t overheat in the mountains.
  • Je vous passe le volant.
    I’ll hand you the steering wheel.
  • Alors, bonne route! Je suis sûre que la Quatre Chevaux vous étonnera – et seulement six litres au cent kilomètres!
    So, have a good trip! I’m sure the 4 Chevaux will surprise you – and at just six liters per hundred kilometres!

vocabulary and grammar of interest

  • présenter qqch à qqn – to show somebody something.
  • installé – looks like installed but means in your seat. From the verb s’installer which means to take your seat among other meanings.
  • être à son aise – to feel comfortable, at ease.
  • perdre le temps = gaspiller le temps or to waste time.
  • Quel démarrage Quel + noun = what + noun!
  • Elle grimpe – Two points here. We refer the the car as “elle” as there’s no word for “it” in French. Grimper means to climb.
  • Je vous passe le volant – great usage of the verb passer. Here it’s passer qqch à qqn.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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