French reading practice with side-by-side translation

 Reading comprehension: See the links at the bottom for lessons related to the phrases in italics.

Chéri, de ColetteDarling, by Colette

"Léa ! Donne-le-moi, ton collier de perles ! Tu m’entends, Léa ? Donne-moi ton collier !"

Aucune réponse ne vint du grand lit de fer forgé et de cuivre ciselé, qui brillait dans l’ombre comme une armure.

"Pourquoi ne me le donnerais-tu pas, ton collier ? Il me va aussi bien qu’à toi, et même mieux !"


"Léa! Give it to me, your pearl necklace! Do you hear me, Léa? Give me your necklace!"

No response came from the great wrought iron and chiseled copper bed, which shone in the shadows like armor.

"Why wouldn’t you give me your necklace? It looks just as good on me as on you, maybe better!"


Au claquement du fermoir, les dentelles du lit s’agitèrent, deux bras nus, magnifiques, fins au poignet, élevèrent deux belles mains paresseuses.

"Laisse ça, Chéri, tu as assez joué avec ce collier.

—Je m’amuse…. Tu as peur que je te le vole ?"


At the sound of the clasp, the lace on the bed stirred, two magnificent bare arms with slender wrists lifted two beautiful, lazy hands.

"Leave it alone, Darling, you’ve played with the necklace enough."

"I’m having fun…. Are you afraid I’ll steal it from you?"


Devant les rideaux roses traversés de soleil, il dansait, tout noir, comme un gracieux diable sur fond de fournaise. Mais quand il recula vers le lit, il redevint tout blanc, du pyjama de soie aux babouches de daim.

"Je n’ai pas peur, répondit du lit la voix douce et basse. Mais tu fatigues le fil du collier. Les perles sont lourdes.

—Elles le sont, dit Chéri avec considération. Il ne s’est pas moqué de toi, celui qui t’a donné ce meuble."


In front of the pink, sun-washed curtains, he danced in silhouette, like a graceful devil in front of a furnace. But when he moved back toward the bed, he turned all white again, from silk pajamas to buckskin slippers.

"I’m not afraid," responded the sweet, low voice from the bed. "But you’re wearing out the string of the necklace. The pearls are heavy."

"That they are," Darling said consideringly. "The guy who gave you this item didn’t cheat you."

Il se tenait devant un miroir long, appliqué au mur entre les deux fenêtres, et contemplait son image de très beau et très jeune homme, ni grand ni petit, le cheveu bleuté comme un plumage de merle. Il ouvrit son vêtement de nuit sur une poitrine mate et dure, bombée en bouclier, et la même étincelle rose joua sur ses dents, sur le blanc de ses yeux sombres et sur les perles du collier.

He was standing in front of a long mirror, attached to the wall between the two windows, and contemplating his image of a very handsome and very young man, neither tall nor short, with blue-tinged hair like a blackbird’s feathers. He opened his nightclothes to a dark and hard chest, curved like a shield, and the same pink spark played on his teeth, on the whites of his dark eyes, and on the necklace’s pearls.


"Ôte ce collier, insista la voix féminine. Tu entends ce que je te dis ?"

Immobile devant son image, le jeune homme riait tout bas :

"Oui, oui, j’entends. Je sais si bien que tu as peur que je te le prenne !

—Non. Mais si je te le donnais, tu serais capable de l’accepter."


"Take off that necklace," insisted the feminine voice. "Do you hear what I’m saying to you?"

Unmoving before his image, the young man laughed quietly:

"Yes, yes, I hear. I well know that you’re afraid I’ll take it from you!"

"No. But if I gave it to you, you’d be able to accept it."

 Translation by LKL. Most translators kept the name Chéri, but I chose to translate it to maintain the feeling behind it.
Chéri est un roman français classique. Écrit en 1920, il est dans le domaine public. Téléchargez l’original en format électronique pour lire la suite gratuitement :  |

Chéri is a classic French novel. It was written in 1920 and is now in the public domain; you can read it at

If you’d like a modern translation, you can purchase it at  |

Note: If you click one of these links and make a purchase, I may earn a commission: Ad and Affiliate Disclosure

 Chéri, by Colette Reading comprehension



Questions about French?

 Ask me in the comments section below or visit the Progress with Lawless French Q+A forum to get help from native French speakers and fellow learners.

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.