July 17, 2013 / Brooklyn news / Williamsburg / Brooklyn Is Awesome

Viva la France! French nationals bring some je ne sais quoi to Williamburg

The Brooklyn Paper
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Break out the berets and the Godard movies, because a new French language school and cultural center in Williamsburg is planning to bring a little more branché to the borough

Coucou Brooklyn, on Marcy Avenue between Metropolitan Avenue and Hope Street, opened on July 11 with a bash that included French techno and hip-hop, French wine and, of course, brie, ensuring that Brooklynites don’t have to travel to France to get a little bit of French culture.

“You can have that here in Brooklyn,” said Akoma M’ba, one of the center’s director.

Cousins and Francophiles Lea and Marianne Perret said they found enough Left-Bank lovers in Brooklyn to know that Coucou would be a hit.

“There is a big wave of French immigration happening right now, so a lot of people have a French girlfriend or boyfriend and want to learn the language,” said Lea Perret. “And there are people in the restaurant and wine business, or just Francophiles who are looking for a place where they can find that kind of culture.”

The center will offer seven levels of French language classes, ranging from beginner to fluent. All classes are capped at 10 students.

The center will also host wine tastings, film screenings, and dance parties. It will also have a library full of Franch-themed books and DVDs, and a workspace wanna-be Parisians can use during the day mingle.

“It’s a good place to be French,” said Marianne.

Coucou Brooklyn [38 Marcy Ave. between Metropolitan Avenue and Hope Street, Williamsburg, (415) 535–9577,].

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:12 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Martian from Outer Space says:
This article is satire, correct? What is there to like about the French? They created the bourgeosie--oh wait, of course, now it makes sense.
July 17, 2013, 6:02 am
Wizz khalifa from Park Slope says:
@ Martian

Actually French bourgeoisie was key for French revolution and French constitution that largely influenced the US constitution.

I don't think that they created bourgeoisie even though the word sounds French. I'm quite sure that it is a social class that was all across Europe. Basically rich educated people that weren't royalty but I could be wrong.
July 17, 2013, 11:02 am
The Chooch from the Brooklyn Bourgeoisie says:
The bourgeoisie is the emblematic class of modern times. Marx called it the revolutionary class. Although Marx stood for a working class revolution, he held that the bourgeoisie was the key to that revolution. Most of the leaders and philosophers of revolution in Europe and America more than 200 years ago were members of the bourgeoisie. (Some were working class (Paul Revere) and some were aristocrats (Lafayette).)

Gentrification is the paramount bourgeoise event of our times. Just look at Brooklyn. Here we have a clash of bourgeoise and working class cultures, with lots of cross-over and mutation between the two.

Local mooks buy property for bubkes in the 60s, 70s, 80s. One generation later they are millionaires and their kids are in law school and don't even speak Brooklyn no more. They have become bourgeois.

On the other hand, Vey is the Chooch! Once a bohemian mountain man in the rust belt of old Williamsburg, he was a bourgeois son whose role was to "pioneer" or "scout out" a working class territory for eventual takeover by the bourgeoisie. And what did the Chooch get for his trouble? Bubkes!

In a certain way the Chooch "became" working class. Well. Not exactly. But he is less wealthy and less bourgeoise in his ways, and more intimate with working class Brooklyn, than he would have been had he stayed in Connecticut and gone to law school, and then just bought a condo in Williamsburg. Instead of trying to be an artist in the ghetto all these years.

Artists, bohemians, and hipsters are a *sub-culture* of the bourgeoisie. In the past, their role was to "pioneer" radical ideas for eventual digestion by the bourgeoisie. Today the role of the artist is more civic. His or her role, in large part, is to pioneer actual neighborhoods for eventual digestion by the bourgeoisie.

What people frequently don't understand is that the bourgeoisie is not "conventional." It is basically a progressive class. The bourgeoisie invented atheism and the lightbulb, and a lot of other things we take for granted. And the bourgeoisie has produced a powerful sub-culture called the hipster, whose job is to be exploratory and rad, albeit with varying degrees of success.

The working class and the aristocracy have also produced *avant-garde* sub-cultures. A strong working class Jewish intelligentsia came out of Brooklyn in the 1930s. But the idea of such a sub-culture comports mostly with the values and activities of the bourgeoisie.

So what does this have to do with French cinema? Well, quite a lot. The city of Paris went through gentrification some twenty years before Brooklyn. And French intellectuals have a lot to say about class and revolution. Sometimes their insights have no relevance to American society at all. Sometimes they are riveting.
July 18, 2013, 2:33 pm
G from WBurg says:
such a cliche. even a picture of clouseau on the wall.
July 19, 2013, 2:17 pm
the Chooch from la Zone Newyorkaise says:
G, let it be. Jayzus!
July 20, 2013, 12:12 am
Wizz khalifa from Park Slope says:
@ G from Wburg: not so cliché if you can't even recognize the picture on the wall - it's Cousteau (the oceanographer), not Clouseau (the inspector).
July 24, 2013, 2:01 pm

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