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

  • ouistiti

    (literally: marmoset)
    Etymology: onomatopoeia from the sound a marmoset makes. Actual meaning: this is what you say in France when you want people to smile for the camera.

    Selon une étude réalisée par le fabricant d’appareils photo Nikon, le « ouistiti » utilisé en France au moment de se faire prendre en photo est le petit mot le plus efficace pour s’assurer un joli sourire.

Who's en colère today?

  • Private sector

    First strike in 43 years at an aeronautics company in Toulouse, Latécoère


    Public sector

    The SNCF (toujours eux), regional train employees in the Lyons area guaranteeing unpleasant travel from the 17th-21st December
    Also yet another strike by Sud-Rail, a particularly truculent SNCF union in the south of France, this time five days in January: 6,7, 21, 22 and 23. "We have no choice." Right.

    Marseilles trams on strike until February

Go back to school in Paris!

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« On the Cowardice of the French | Main | Paris, London, U.S. »

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I enjoyed this post, having discovered it by Googling “Patrick O’Brian fraud”. Have not read the books yet, but am strongly considering diving into them, and thought I’d try to learn a little about the author first. According to Wikipedia, it appears that his supposedly voluminous knowledge of ships and seamanship were either lacking (explaining why his prose was impenetrable in that respect, even to experienced modern sailors) or acquired purely by research, not experience.

As a former police detective myself, and no stranger to “questioning”, of convicts or otherwise, I suspect O’Brian/Russ was beginning to realize too late, at the close of his life, that elaborate fictions about oneself never survive the passage of time. They always unravel, particularly in the age of the internet, which he could not have foreseen, but which was beginning to dawn at his death.

In spite of all that, do you still recommend the books?

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Today's quotation

  • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

      –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

    À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.

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