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 feel this way today too. I want to go to grad school, and today I was visiting relevant message boards. They were full of stories like "My friend's friend's cousin's aunt's nephew had a 4.0 and perfect scores on his GREs and he was still refused by every school he applied to." Nope, not a good day.

When I first moved to Paris it drove me crazy that I would be in a tiny grocery store trying to buy food with the store packed with other shoppers in the narrow aisles, and long lines trying to check out. What got me was that there would be two or three employees also stocking the shelves at the same time and the customers had to work their way around them. I missed the huge stores in the States with many more check out stands and where the stocking was usually done at night. I now understand that it is really hard to have a business in France and that most stores can't afford the over-time pay or the money to pay for extra help. It helped me not to be so crabby about it all. I bought chicken through the whole bird flu thing as well-got a whole chicken for alot less than usual.

You got it right: April not quite feeling like Spring but more like a tease. We need that sunshine to stay but it just won't. It throws us into a little funk.

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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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