Jules Verne’s novels really merit the qualification “extraordinary”. From the very first sentence, the author creates a certain atmosphere. The first sentence of a novel or short story is very important. It should grab the reader’s attention, and entice him to read this story.

Jules Verne often starts his novels with a sentence that situates the story in time or space, like this one:

Le 27 janvier 1854, deux hommes, étendus au pied d’un gigantesque saule pleureur, causaient en observant avec une extrême attention les eaux du fleuve Orange.

or this one:

Le 18 octobre 1827, vers cinq heures du soir, un petit bâtiment levantin serrait le vent pour essayer d’atteindre avant la nuit le port de Vitylo, à l’entrée du golfe de Coron.

On the other hand, sometimes a story starts in the middle of a conversation:

« Il faut pourtant convenir que la vie a du bon ! s’écria l’un des convives, accoudé sur le bras de son siège à dossier de marbre, en grignotant une racine de nénuphar au sucre.

Do you recognise these sentences?

On these pages, I let you test your memory. I have assembled the first sentences from all the novels and short stories that have appeared in the series of the Extraordinary Voyages. Some of these you will recognise at once if you have read the story. Others are true brain-teasers. I have also collected the first sentences from works outside of the Extraordinary Voyages (essays, plays, etc.) and the titles of the first chapters.

You can try all sentences, or pick a level of difficulty.