For intermediate and advanced learners who want to reach B2 level.
The Staircase is a brand new French learning method! It combines minimalist grammar that makes you think with storytelling that helps you memorize what you’re learning. It is made of 30 episodes, of 30 sentences each. In every episode, you will be focusing on a new language notion and discovering a new part of the plot at the same time. Each sentence adds a new grammar notion with increasing difficulty. You will make a lot of progress!
The Staircase is based on the Original Story “The Vineyard”. It is the story of a (not-so traditional) family in the fascinating world of winemaking business.
Use it to evaluate your current level, to admire your own progress and to know what to learn next. Join the happy Community of Staircase learners!
A Note from the Author
“I developed this methodology using linguistic data and inspiration gathered from more than 5,000 hours of private lessons taught with my students. Enjoy the climb!” Léa Tirard-Hersant.
The Staircase – Course only
- The Staircase French Course
- The Vocabulary cheatsheets (1 for every episode, for a total of 30 cheatsheets)
- Complete Audio recordings. By using the dictation mode, you can train your ear to French fast-speech.
- The Clues, that help you climb the harder steps
- Video introductions, to start every episode in a positive mood with your Staircase Hostess Léa!
- Comments area where you can ask French learning questions (average answer time by Léa and Iza, less than 24 hours)
- and more surprises
And After the Finish Line…
- The Staircase Treasure 👑
- A personal invitation to a very special event in 2018
EPISODE II.Le Dîner
The "EN" pronoun and talking about quantitiesSTORY:
The siblings have grown up. Nándor, the brother, makes a very nice gift to his sister Eléanore. Then they go downtown to shop around for dinner.
EPISODE III.Les Escaliers
The French expression "Il y a" and how to translate the English "there" in different contextsSTORY:
Eléanore visits her brother in his house, which is full of staircases. The learner discovers an important element, that the brother and sister run a family vineyard. The general plot will
Numbers. Become the master of French numbers with this Episode 4. You will play around with units, numbers in context and writing numbers in full letters.STORY:
Nándor and Eléanore have received last year's balance sheet from their accountant. They have a problem: they are in the red, and they lost two important contracts in a political crisis. Now they have too many bottles to sell on their hands. How are they going to go through it?
EPISODE V.Le Parrain
Focus on small talk and How to translate "to sit down", "to be sitting" and other action verbs.STORY:
Eléanore asks her godfather, Walter, for help. He is a retired wine importer and he cannot directly help her, but he introduces her to one of his friends, Lady Wolff, who is a very famous (and ferocious) wine seller. Eléanore also gives a letter to Walter from her brother Nándor, but she doesn't know what is inside.
The 2 verbs "Parler" and "Dire"STORY:
This episode is about speaking foreign languages and about Walter and his extended language skills. This episode puts into question the notion of what is a polyglot, and defines a new kind of person : the omniglott.
EPISODE VII.La Louve
How to describe someone physically and how to translate the English "to look" in different contextsSTORY:
Eléanore meets the famous wine seller whose name is Lady Wolff. Lady Wolff accepts to help her sell the wine, but she will ask for something precious in exchange...
EPISODE VIII.Au Volant
The vocabulary of car driving in FrenchSTORY:
She accepted Lady Wolff's humiliating deal. Eléanore is furious and she drives like mad in the moutain. She goes to her brother's house and in order to calm herself down, she invites him to go with her for an excursion in the wild.
EPISODE IX.Au Paradis
"Commencer à", "Continuer de" et "Arrêter de" - 3 verbs that describe a process of actionSTORY:
At the end of the previous episode, Eléanore invited her brother to go "to heaven". She takes him to a very special spot in the mountain where they can see the sea of clouds from above. At the end of this episode, she asks him what he wrote in his letter to Walter.
EPISODE X.Lettres au Père Noël
Noun genders - illustrted by a list of gifts and items that the children ask and receive for ChristmasSTORY:
This episode is a disgression about letters - but not the letter that Eléanore would like to know about. It is about the letters that they would write to Santa, back at the time when she and her brother were children.
The Conditionnel conjugation tense, and how to translate "about" in different context.STORY:
Once again, Eléanore asks her brother what he wrote in the letter and once again, he diverts the conversation - instead, he asks her about her meeting with Lady Wolff. Eléanore confesses that in exchange for making the sale contract, she accepted to give away one of their most precious vintage - a 1989, the last one made by their grandfather.
EPISODE XII.La Carte
Vocabulary of navigation and topographySTORY:
Nándor finally reveals what was inside the enveloppe that he gave to Walter. It was not a letter, but a map paper. Then he shows her a map on his own phone, and he zooms on Saudi Arabia. He reveals that he received a job offer as a consultant for building a vineyard there.
EPISODE XIII.Du Vin dans le Désert
The Subjunctive conjugation tenseSTORY:
In the previous episode, Nándor revealed that he had received a position as a consultant to help build a vineyard in the Saudian desert. He explains the mission in details now. At the end of the episode, he books his flight ticket and we understand that Eléanore will be managing the vineyard alone for a while.
The 3 past tenses : Imparfait, Passé Composé & Plus-que-ParfaitSTORY:
Weather is essential in wine making. This episode traces back the variations of weather throught times in the family winemaking history. It is also a disgression in the narration, that helps the reader's feeling that time passes by while Nándor is away in his desert mission.
EPISODE XV.Visite Guidée
The "Pronoms & Adjectif Démonstratifs" (ce, cette, celui-ci, celle-ci..) and the word "Bienvenue"STORY:
Time goes by as Nándor is away on his mission in Middle-East. Some days, groups of visitors come and visit the vineyard. That day, Eléanore takes a group in the building and the cellar. This episode is the first part of the visit.
EPISODE XVI.La Statue
This episode is the second part of the visit, in which Eléanore takes the group of visitors through the vines. They pass by a statue which represents the wife of the founder of the vineyard. She was a german immigrant and her name was Aliénor. As the group walks away, Eléanor that a child - the daughter of someone in the group - found a shiny object near the statue. The vision vanishes as soon as it appeared and the child runs back to the group.
As Eléanore is at the family vineyard, Nándor is still abroad on his consulting mission. In this episode, he receives a threatening phonecall from local people who oppose the project of the construction site.
EPISODE XVIII.Comment vas-tu?
The siblings are on the phone and Eléanore asks her brother for news. She peppers him with questions about his stay and work there.
EPISODE XIX.Les Habitudes
Talking about habits in the past, and the "Imparfait" past tenseSTORY:
As Eléanore manages the vineyard mostly alone, she tries to maintain a good routine of productivity. At the end of the episode her father visits and announces that there will be a wine competition soon. Will her batch of wine be ready soon enough to compete?
EPISODE XX.Recette pour un Grand Vin
What makes a great wine, and will Eléanore's cuvée be good enough to compete this year? In this episode, the father lists the elements that make a great wine.
EPISODE XXI.Un Hôtel pour le Weekend
The Adjectifs Interrogatifs and pronoms relatifs, “Quel, lequel, celui,” and also "qui, que, dont" & Hotel booking small talkSTORY:
The father, mother, and their daughter Eléanore need to book a hotel room for the journey to the Grand Wine Competition. They meet to book it together, and they have a relaxed conversation about memories from the past.
EPISODE XXII.Médor le Chien
The Imperative verb form, and dog-related vocabulary.STORY:
This episode is for dog lovers! It is a flashback in time with scenes from the past with Médor, the family's dog.
EPISODE XXIII.Le Mal du Pays
The two verbs "Manquer" and "Plaire"STORY:
The brother Nándor has been working abroad for almost a year. In this episode, he writes a letter to his sister. He talks about the things that he likes where he works, and the things that he misses from home.
The Passive voiceSTORY:
In this episode, Nándor's construction site is being attacked by local activists who oppose the wine producing project. The governor offers to let him leave and go back home. Will the brother abandon the site and finally return home?
EPISODE XXV.Cépages & Comérages
When to use "C'est," or "Il, Elle est," and how to talk about people's jobs.STORY:
The weekend of wine competition starts with an introductory cocktail. It’s an occasion for the industry professionals to meet and make contacts.
EPISODE XXVI.Le Concours
The Comparative form, and how to express similitudes and differencesSTORY:
This episode is the core of the wine competition. The judges try and rate the wines one by one to compare them. Eléanore and each of the guest can also enjoy the wine tasting because there will be People’s choice Award along with the Judge’s award. Eléanore’s wine wins the people’s choice award and Lady Wolff wins the judge’s prize. Everyone admires the beauty of two winning wines made by women, but Eléanore and her family think that the wine tastes a little like their grandfather's cuvée...
EPISODE XXVII.In Vino Veritas
Les Connecteurs LogiquesSTORY:
The family gather to discuss their suspicion that Lady Wolff entered their grandfather's wine in the competition under her own name. Walter is present. They agree that they need to analyze the wine composition and compare the samples. The problem is that they don't have any bottles left - or do they?
EPISODE XXVIII.Le Pardon
"Tu" and "Vous" in a dialog, and using "Voilà". There are more than 10 "voilà" hidden in this episode, try to find them!STORY:
The analysis proves right. Lady Wolff changed the labels - she is a counterfeit! Eléanore visits her and threatens to reveal everything and destroy her reputation in the wine industry. Lady Wolff tells her the whole story of their past with Walter and Eléanore's grandfather, and she finishes by revealing her secret that will take Eléanore to her godfather's again in the next episode.
EPISODE XXIX.La Cave N°30
The verb "Aller"STORY:
Walter tells Eléanore to go to the cellar #30. Eléanore and Nándor go there and see the latch has a lock - but where is the key? This episode is the quest to find the key of cellar #30.
EPISODE XXX.Le Trésor d’Aliénor
The "Y" pronouns and "y" idiomatic phrases. There is at least one "y" hidden in every step of this episode, from sentence #1 to #30. It is your mission as a translator to find them!STORY:
Nándor finally found the key of the hatch inside the last cellar. They go down the staircase and they find a hidden cellar and the treasures that their ancestor Aliéanor had gathered there almost century ago.