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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Fun French words

  • goujat

    (boor)
    Etymology: from Provençal gojat, young man, from gouge and diminutive suffix -at; which in turn derives from Gascon goya, girl, itself from Hebrew gōya, a Christian servant girl.

    Un mec qui se conduit comme ça avec les femmes, c'est un goujat.

      --Actress Sophie Marceau on French president François Hollande, in an interview in this month's French edition of GQ magazine

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

Who's en colère today?

  • Private sector

    Workers at champagne producers

    Students at schools of social work

    Longshoremen and port employees at Calais, on indefinite strike and stopping ferry and autoroute traffic


    Public sector

    Employees of the SNCF (French national trains, toujours eux) RATP, on strike today

    Cleaners at the Gare d'Austerlitz in Paris, on strike

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

  • New ideas don't win really. What happens is that the old scientists die and new ones come along with new ideas.

      --Max Planck (1858-1947)

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • Man in London parades with sandwich board saying "Fuck the poor"... general horror. He changes it to "Help the poor"... and no one looks at him. It is a stunt by charity Pilion Trust.

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