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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I am myself of French nationality but left France 5 years ago, to live in London, and i am bewildered to see that young poeple in France are so stubborn and don't want any change, the statu quo seemed to be the leitmotive in France. Those rich kid demonstrating don't know anything about "precarite" and if they did they would jump on any job offer they would see, without thinking of a "contract" which would last for ever.

To me the CPE is just a way to get France out of the big unemployement crisis it's having. Sure it might not be ideal and probably not like what their parents had back in 68, but time have changed, and if young French people are still living in the dream of the 60's, well the situation is not gonna be any better.

A job is a job and when you are young what you want is to work, and you are more likely to get over it if you get fired so why be so fussy young kids? You want a job or not?

I'm a Frenchman who left France 10 years ago. I have worked in the USA and Canada so I have my own experience now and here is something you need to understand fellow citizens of France, to be clear I'm going to say it in french:
"La precarite c'est ce n'est pas dans le fait de perdre son emploi c'est dans celui de ne pas pouvoir en retrouver un!" [Precariousness does not come from losing one's job but from not being able to find another one!] Think about it, but fast because France is sinking!

It took an American to give a succinct clear explanation of this CPE problem. I've been googling it in French and I get long winded convoluted exposes but no clear facts. European labour markets are a thorny issue for the people involved, and for investors. When you hear about the amount of holidays they have in France and Germany each year it makes for a bit of envy...


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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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