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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« The friendly conductor | Main | National strike tomorrow, Tuesday 28 March, practical info »


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Haha....I wonder if the anti-crotte campaign will ever affect any change? I think I'd almost be a bit disappointed.

Hi Sedulia !

The Burberry scarf is now part of the "chav" culture.

/*/Elements of the stereotype .../... The stereotypical chav is someone who .../... wears particular clothing, such as .../... fake designer clothing and accessories, in particular the distinctive tartan of Burberry, similar to (and perhaps derived from) the casuals of football supporters./*/


/*/The "chav" stereotype and image have had an impact on the commercial world .../... The Burberry clothing brand became associated with the chav subculture, and ceased production of its branded baseball cap in an attempt to distance itself from the stereotype. The company pointed out that the chav stereotype is associated with counterfeit versions of the clothing: "They're yesterday's news", stated Stacey Cartrwright, the CEO. "It was mostly counterfeit, and Britain accounts for less than 10% of our sales anyway."/*/

No longer does Burberry grace the well-dressed English matron only, apparently. (smile)

Amerloque, for one, is dying to hear a detailed account of the handcuffed Hungarian au pair being trundled over to the local pompiers to be released ... (smile)

In France, one's relationship to one's coiffeur/coiffeuse is indeed crucial ... Amerloque, too, had the "unfaithfulness" comment from his usual coiffeuse, "Nadia", when she was said to be "indisponible". Apparently in some salons there are "take no prisoners" battles for customers among the staff.


From Sedulia: Yes, stupid me for being a good tipper.

I saw one of those "anti-crottes" posters in Nice about 18 months ago. It's message was "Ramasser - ce n'est pas s'abaisser" (picking up isn't lowering yourself).

I had to snap a picture of it for my friends who had studied in France with me in the early 90s, because it would have been completely unheard of back then. In fact, for our first month in our host city in 1993, we walked past the same pile of crottes for the entire month before rain and foot traffic had finally worn them away - blech.

I love your picures of the sky. Very powerful.

We're Americans in Paris, and from Madison (where you can be fined heavily for not recycling, picking up poo, etc.--we used to joke that there was a fine for farting) so we do. The other night, Lucy did her business in front of a policeman, and when my husband bent to pick it up, the policeman smiled at him. SMILED! Unbelievable.

But I must admit, my nightmare is slipping on a liquid crotte, after the rain, and landing on my but in all of its glory. Ew.

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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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