Hundreds of school desks have been set up on the Champs-Elysées in Paris for participants in a French language dictation, which, according to the organizers, claims a new Guinness record for the number of participants.
On the main avenue of Paris on Sunday, instead of the usual flow of cars, slender rows of school desks appeared. Anyone over the age of 10 can test their knowledge of the language of Baudelaire and Balzac by registering in advance on the website of the city hall.
Despite the scorching sun, there are practically no empty seats. Both schoolchildren and students, as well as many elderly French people, came to the dictation on the Champs Elysees. The participants patiently sit at their desks waiting for the beginning of the dictation: in front of the Arc de Triomphe, a stage has been set up on which green school boards familiar from childhood. The text is read from the stage: the participants have three listening sessions to write everything down and correct mistakes. The winners will be those who will not make a single mistake.
In total, the city authorities organized three dictations throughout the day – on the topics of childhood, modernity and sports. Up to 1700 people can take part in each. The first dictation was read by the journalist and literary critic Augustin Trapenar, the second by the famous French writer Catherine Pancol, and the third will be read by rugby player and vice-mayor of Paris responsible for sporting events, Pierre Rabadan.
The organizers of the action, the Committee of the Champs Elysees, plan to break the world record: according to preliminary data, about 5,000 people will take part in it. According to the French media, in total, the mayor’s office received more than 40,000 applications for participation in the dictation.
The previous record was set in 2018 at the Stade de France. Then the dictation was written by 1473 people. As conceived by the organizers, the purpose of the dictation is to remember spelling, have fun and arouse the curiosity of citizens.