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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