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 crime against history | Main | Ilan Halimi and ordinary anti-semitism »


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Did she get hurt? ;)
Isn't it funny how you mix up the two languages?

LOL. i had to read it twice to understand...
I'm Québécois... you Hundertand?

I hate it when I'm lost for words, or find myself translating French colloquialisms back into English.

Watching UK TV and speaking English regularly is so important. I could not withstand losing my grip on my own mother tongue.

I've lived outside of the UK and in Francophone countries since 1998 and I'm doing OK so far. Regular contact in business with English speakers has helped though.

Slap me if I ever say or type something like "she fell on a good teacher this year", unless it's deliberate bilingual irony spoken in front of others that are equally bilingual.


Hmm-- judge not lest ye be judged, Fruey! Let's see how well you would do with a French partner, French-speaking children, and 20+ years in France!

Actually most of us old-timer expats are guilty of this kind of thing from time to time. We try to confine it to each other!

Sedulia, I'm enjoying your blog! I have only been in Paris a short time, and have a painfully bad grasp on French. I have 6 hours a week of lessons at work (Institute Francais du Petrole, BEICIP-FRANLAB), and my brain warps into German when I get lost during the lesson.

Can you tell me the name/town of the restaurant in this post? I'd like to go there when I have visitors from the U.S. Thanks...

From Sedulia: Unfortunately, it's in the back of beyond in a not-charming area, and would be very hard to get to without a car. I don't think it's worth it. There are a bunch of restaurants in Paris with fires though. Offhand I just know the Coupe-Chou in the 5th and the Quincampe, r Quincampoix near Beaubourg.

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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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