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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« A slum on the way to the airport; a palace at Place de la Concorde | Main | Warning, long post: The old concierge »


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Thank you for reminding me about this. I have a jar filled with one and two cent pieces and this is the perfect opportunity to use them!

This reminds me of the Lassie "Pennies for Unicef!" Halloween episode.

From Sedulia: I wish you'd tell about it!

I would like to thank you for your blog.
I am French and I arrived in the US about 1 year ago.
It is really funny for me to see what can trouble foreigners staying in France, the problem they face, what surprised them. I was so used to this that I could not see it.
I was used to read blogs of French people living in the US. Too much US-bashing, I think. I like to read your blog. It reminds me that French are not perfect (by far) but it shows as well our good aspects.
I love France, I love the US, and their people, even if both countries are differents, as you would like two children with their weakness and their strength.
Thanks again.

From Sedulia:

Merci Celine!

Pièces Jaunes started back when Francs were still in use. Back then the "centimes" (fractions of Francs) were all yellow coins. Since most of the "eurocents" are still yellow, I suppose they decided to keep the name. But that's the origin of the "Pièces Jaunes" term. I don't think anyone would call small change by that name in regular conversation.

From Sedulia:

Now they include one- and two-euro coins as pièces jaunes!

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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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