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I'm trying to understand the following passage (from an interview in a written magazine) :

-> Peux-tu nous dire, en général, quelle fut ton expérience en tant que M. Cuir Montréal 2017? -> J'aimerais dire que, jusqu'à présent, ce fut une expérience extraordinaire pour moi.

I looked up "fut" in wordreference, but the only meanings of fut (and not fût) were:
- "fut" is "être" conjugated in the past simple, for first person singular subjects (such as il/elle/on)
- "ce fut" (as a set exprsesion?) means "this was".

1)

"Quelle fut ton expérience"

I have never seen "quel" used as a subject. That is, I might say "Je mange", but never "Quel mange". And the wordreference page for "quel" seems to only say that "quel" is an adjective, never a noun.

But "fut" is not listed as a noun, so "quelle fut" couldn't have "quelle" to be an adjective as I usually expect it to be. So is "fut", here, actually a verb conjugated in the passé simple? But I thought that you never see the passé simple in speech (such as an interview), and only in fiction and in journalism?

My next guess is that perhaps an inversion is happening here. Maybe "Quelle fut ton expérience" really is "Quelle ton expérience fut en tant que M. Cuir Montréal"? But that still doesn't make sense; it would instead have to be "Qu'est-ce que ton expérience fut", not "Quelle ton expérience fut".

Questions:
1. Is the passé simple in fact used in conversational speech, such as in this interview?
2. Is "fut" in fact the verb être, conjugated in the passé simple, in both of these cases (ie, bolded at the top of the quote of the full passage)?
3. What is grammatically going on with "quelle fut ton expérience [....]"? Is "Quelle" actually a subject pronoun?!

Edit:
The word "fut" occured a third time in this interview! So it seems that it really is common, at least in this interview, to use "fut" in spoken speech? Here is the passage:

Ma première introduction au milieu cuir fut dans les années 1990. [....] Un jour, un daddy cuir m'a regardé et m'a dit "Va en bas, aux Katakombes, je crois tu va aimer ça". Alors, j'y suis allé et cela fut le coup de foudre.

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  1. Is the passé simple in fact used in conversational speech, such as in this interview?

While very rare, the passé simple is not forbidden in spoken French.

  1. Is "fut" in fact the verb être, conjugated in the passé simple, in both of these cases (ie, bolded at the top of the quote of the full passage)?

Yes.

  1. What is grammatically going on with "quelle fut ton expérience [....]"? Is "Quelle" actually a subject pronoun?!

Yes, quelle is an interrogative pronoun here, always followed by the verb être. That's a very common construction, e.g. :

Quel est le prix de cet article ?

Quelle est la capitale de la France ?


Note that "Ma première introduction au milieu cuir fut dans les années 1990" is odd. A better style would have been

Ma première introduction au milieu cuir eut lieu dans les années 1990

  • Do you know what reason they used the passé simple in this interview, but only for the verb être? Are there other verbs that are more likely to be conjugated in the passé simple, when speaking French? – silph Apr 9 '18 at 7:36
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    I guess the interviewer prepared the question. The passé simple is more likely to appear in written text. The interviewee then kept that tense to match the one of the question. – jlliagre Apr 9 '18 at 7:44

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