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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Great site. Its on my daily blog list now...


From Sedulia: Thanks!

I like Greeting cards! And although I grew up in France, my parents had the custom of sending them every year before Christmas... The ones that were sent out after New Year were for people we had forgotten (often saying "Thanks for your card ... and Happy New Year!") cheers!

I feel the same way about Christmas cards. I write them because I haven't seen most of the people for years and I truly want to know how they are and what is new with them. I am so disappointed when I get a card back with no information, just a signature. I even like Christmas letters. I don't care if everyone gets the same one, just let me know how you are.
Personal letters have died out with the Internet taking its place. I used to have beautiful stationary and loved writing a letter. It was such a treat to receive a letter in the mail. I love e-mails and IM's but it just isn't the same.

Jeez, that is so true, I always wondered why I could always get more 'bonne annee' cards than 'joyeux noel' cards when i lived in aix. I never really thought to ask why that was. Interesting! (Also explains why christmas cards i get sent from france are always so late)
Good site, btw.

Hi !

/*/But it makes me sort of sad that what is dying out has to be the pleasant custom that cheers people up, rather than the overwork that is killing it./*/

Yes. It is sad, indeed. C'est très bien dit.

It is so rare to receive a Christmas card now ... probably in a few years there will be "Christmas Card Clubs" where we can unite, exchange postal addresses and send each other real, paper cards, just to keep the tradition alive ... how truly and how devastatingly sad.


Sorry to not write about Lucia... I feel like I've done Lucia too much before, I don't have anything terribly new or enlightening to say about it anymore. But, if you need a fix, go back into my December archives and there are several different posts, including the Lucia song in Swedish.

As for Christmas cards, I stopped when I moved to Sweden for some reason. Which is not to say that Swedes don't send Christmas cards, they do. Although I don't know if it's something like Hallowe'en or St. Valentines that they've picked up from the Americans in their own peculiar Swedish way.

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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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