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Passerelles ep. 1, Quiz 84: entourés de

Listen for the phrases: “entourés de”, “cierges”, and “qui devaient”. Can you hear them all in this short clip from Passarelles? We’re getting to the end of this episode. Continue your listening journey and improve your French listening comprehension with our daily quizzes! Take on today’s…

This clip is from Passerelles Episode 1. Listen and fill in what you hear below. Read more and find a translation below. Listen to the full episode here.

9 seconds, 23 words

This audio sample and transcription is from Passerelles ep. 1. We do not own the content. Listen to the entire episode


surrounded by

What’s opening up for you with this clip?

The snippet in English

Find a translation of this snippet here, how much of this did you hear?

Ces gâteaux étaient entourés de cierges, de grosses bougies qui devaient évoquer la lumière et la brillance de la lune ou des étoiles.

These cakes were surrounded by candles, large candles that evoked the light and brilliance of the moon or stars.

The above translation from Deepl. Source

What does “entourés de” mean?

  • Entourés de: This phrase translates to “surrounded by” in English. It is used to denote being encircled or enclosed by something or someone. It can be used in various contexts, both literally and figuratively.


  • “Ils sont entourés de leurs amis lors de la célébration.” (They are surrounded by their friends during the celebration.)
  • “La maison est entourée de beaux jardins.” (The house is surrounded by beautiful gardens.)

Usage & Nuances:

  • Entourés de is used to express being in the midst of or having around oneself particular people, objects, or environments.
  • It can also be used metaphorically to describe being surrounded by abstract concepts like love, danger, or suspicion.

Related Phrases:

  • Environné de: Another way to express being surrounded or enveloped by something, though it’s less commonly used than “entourés de.”
  • Cerné de: Often used in a more negative or threatening context, like being surrounded by danger.

In Summary:

  • Entourés de translates to “surrounded by” in English, depicting a state of being encircled by people, objects, or situations, either literally or figuratively.

What does “cierges” mean?

  • Cierges: In French, the word “cierges” refers to tall, slender candles used primarily in religious ceremonies or churches. They are distinct from ordinary candles due to their association with spiritual or religious rites.


  1. Dans l’église, les cierges étaient allumés pour la cérémonie.
    • (In the church, the tapers were lit for the ceremony.)
  2. Les fidèles ont allumé des cierges en mémoire des défunts.
    • (The faithful lit tapers in memory of the deceased.)

Usage & Nuances:

  • Cierges are associated with a sense of solemnity and are usually seen in a religious or sacred setting.
  • The term can also metaphorically signify hope or a spiritual presence.

Related Phrases:

  • Bougie: A general term for a candle.
  • Chandelle: Another term for a candle, though less commonly used than “bougie”.

Cultural or Additional Notes:

  • In many French-speaking regions, lighting a cierge in a church is a common practice to honor the memory of a loved one or to offer prayers.
  • The lighting of cierges often occurs in solemn ceremonies, reflecting a tradition steeped in symbolism and spiritual significance.

In Summary:

Cierges refers to religious or ceremonial candles in French, often used in churches or religious rites, embodying a sense of solemnity and spiritual reflection.

What does “qui devaient” mean?

  • Devoir is a French modal verb that can signify a variety of concepts including duty, necessity, probability, and expectation depending on the context. In English, it can be translated as “must,” “have to,” “should,” “ought to,” or “supposed to,” among others.

Usage in the Given Context:

  • In the phrase “Les bougies devaient évoquer la lumière et la brillance,” the verb “devaient” (were to) is used to express a certain expectation or intended purpose regarding the candles. Here, “devaient” is more about the intended effect rather than an obligation, translating to “were to” rather than “had to” or “should.”


  • Les fleurs devaient symboliser l’amour. (The flowers were to symbolize love.)
  • Le repas devait être prêt à midi. (The meal was supposed to be ready by noon.)

Subtle Nuances:

  • Devoir can be subtle in its application. The choice between “should,” “had to,” “were to,” or “supposed to” often hinges on the nuanced expectations, obligations, or intentions expressed in the conversation.

Probability or Likelihood:

  • Sometimes, devoir is used to express a probability or likelihood:
    • Il doit pleuvoir demain. (It is likely to rain tomorrow.)


  • Avoir à (have to)
  • Être censé (to be supposed to)

Cultural or Additional Notes:

  • The nuanced usage of devoir reflects the richness of French language expressions, mirroring a broader range of intended meanings compared to its English counterparts.

In Summary:

  • Devoir is a versatile verb expressing a range of concepts from obligation to expectation. In the provided context, “devaient” expresses an intended purpose or expectation, translating to “were to” in English, showcasing the verb’s nuanced use in expressing different shades of meaning based on context.

What is opening up for you?

Comment below with the words you thought you heard, where you struggled, where you surprised yourself, or what you thought about this clip. Every little bit inspires other learners, thank you for being that inspiration to others on their French fluency journey!

Listen for the phrases: “entourés de”, “cierges”, and “qui devaient”. Can you hear them all in this short clip from Passarelles? We’re getting to the end of this episode. Continue your listening journey and improve your French listening comprehension with our daily quizzes! Take on today’s…

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