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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« CPE: Rêve générale--the General Dream | Main | "We must block the country for several days" »


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You hit the main problem in France right on the head. The whole Evolution v. Intelligent Design debate illustrates the main difference between Europe (France in particular) and the US : this debate, among many others, could never have been possible here. Even though the US media were quick to treat it as a Reason v. Jesus Freaks fight, it happened nonetheless and countless people were able to get their point across. At least a few of them were able to bring an interesting perspective. It had at least the virtue of reminding people that the theory of evolution might have some solid evidence to it, but it's still a theory, not a proven fact from beginning to the end, and what some researchers said about it flaws was extremely thought-provoking. And i was amazed at how it reminded me of how close-minded european societies are. Here, the debate would have been shot down at the very beginning. Because we're still in the place where people were executed for saying the earth might not be flat. Have things really changed ? Of course there's no physical torture or physical death, but try to suggest a word like "god" in a discussion over evolution and most chances are that you'll be intellectually tortured and socially killed. Just like suggesting that being poor does not automatically make someone a wonderful person and vice versa. Like suggesting that job security overrides any other concern. In fact, entertaining any idea that's not deeply rooted in the leftist ideology is forbidden. And this problem is the forest behind the CPE tree. From the Iraq war, to evolution, abortion, health care, and many other discussions, you can see that America's a vibrant battlefield of ideas while France and the rest of Europe are more an ideological dictatorship. Man, what i would give to feel foreign too !! Or at least have a french Fox News that would be a nice alternative.

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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.

News about France in English

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In Paris, alone, need help?

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Paris France in English

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