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

  • pagaille

    (chaos, a mess)
    Etymology: sailors' slang pagale, origin uncertain, tossing something out randomly, as, an anchor, into the hold, etc. Often used with semer (to sow), meaning to cause chaos.

    La grève des cheminots sème la pagaille à Bruxelles.

Who's en colère today?

  • Private sector

    Car-service drivers, blocking Porte Maillot, one of the major entrances to Paris

    Everyone at Air France

    Public sector

    Regional strike of SNCF (French national trains, toujours eux). Extra props to the cheminots (SNCF train workers) for shutting down the trains in a region devastated by killer floods a few days ago.

    Not in France, but it could affect you: no trains out of Brussels today, the strikers are blocking the tracks

Go back to school in Paris!

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Today's quotation

  • Our era has seen the birth of an ephemeral creature unknown to earlier centuries: the man coming out of the movie theater. The film he saw has given him everything. He is no longer the man who thinks only of himself. He is reconciled with others. He seems to have a great destiny before him. But he dies in ten minutes or so. The street is full of people who have not just come out of the movies. With their scowling looks, their indifference, their sly way of behaving, they encircle him, drowning him in their throng.

      --Turkish author Yusuf Atilgan (1921-1989) in his book Aylak Adam (1959)

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • Major floods in the Riviera killed at least 20 people last week; natural disaster declared Thursday 9 October. Another consequence of both global warming (more than one meter of rain fell on Marseilles in a day) and of the building of too much housing and too many roads in floodable areas.

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