Maîtres mots

  • Il y a longtemps que notre pays est beau mais rude.

       --Newspaper editor Olivier Séguret, 25 January 2012

    The USA are entirely the creation of the accursed race, the French.

       --Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), writing to Nancy Mitford, 22 May 1957

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French Freedom of Speech

Today the cheminots are:


  • "À nous de vous faire préférer le train!"
    "Voyager autrement"
    "Avec le SNCF, tout est possible"
      --Former ad slogans of the SNCF (French national trains), each in turn quickly dropped

Fun French words

  • grouillot

    (minion)
    Etymology: from groule, an apprentice who must se grouiller, rush around on errands.

    Mais enfin je ne suis pas tout à fait le grouillot de service.
      --Anne Baldassari, fired as director of the Picasso Museum, on reports that she might be asked to supervise the hanging of the paintings for the (very eventual) reopening of the Museum.

Who's en colère today?

Go back to school in Paris!

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Isn't the purpose of listing the saints so that people can know when their name day is?

Yes, but justement, why do they care when their saint's name day is? Does anything special happen that day? I haven't noticed that it does.

My French family will celebrate each person's "fete" with a nice meal or special dessert. It's always fun :) In fact, until 1966, you had to name your child after one of the names that appeared on the calendar (http://www.affection.org/prenoms/loi.html ). My mother-in-law was actually named for her saint because she was born on that saint's day. So there is a long tradition of using these saint's days this way. Of course, my French family is from the South of France, so perhaps these customs are more provincial?

What a nice custom! No one I know is named for their birthday saint. Some of the names are really unusual, like Enguerrand, Judicaël, Guénolé, Gabin, Amandine....

I also know a lot of people who celebrate their name day with a special dessert too. And my clients always get a kick out of it when I happen to notice it's their name day and wish them "bonne fête".

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Today's quotation

  • Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.

      --Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • The cheminots or employees of the SNCF (French national trains, toujours eux) go on strike so often that there is now a card game called the "Cheminot Simulator," in which the goal is to cause as much grief to passengers as possible.

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