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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« Rafales over Paris | Main | The waiter spills »


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la coupole isn't it? i miss the hot chocolate from there.

From Sedulia:

Oui, la Coupole, j'adore pour le people-watching. Je n'ai jamais essaye le chocolat!

Hi !

/*/We had to wait at the bar at the restaurant for a short time. Instead of taking our names to call them out later in public (I always hate that), this resto had found a more elegant solution./*/

It's hardly a question of elegance alone, but rather a question of discretion and a raging desire to keep its customers.

It wouldn't do for Mr Dupont-Durand (in the company of his mistress) to be loudly paged when a) he told Mme Dupont-Durand he was going to the squash club or b) Mme Dupont-Durand was dining in the restaurant that evening, too.

Amerloque is reminded of a friend who with his mistress, a decade or so ago, frequented a certain Chinese restaurant near Miromesnil two or three times a week. This went on for some months; the quiet venue was far more important than the cuisine. (smile)

At the end of the year, the Chinese restaurant sent a card to his credit card address of record, i.e., home, thanking him for his excellent patronage over the past year.

The wife intercepted the card, made her own inquiries, and filed for divorce.

Within six months of having sent the card, the Chinese restaurant had a discreet "Under New Managemen" card in the window. The Chinese restaurant is gone, now …


From Sedulia:

I also remember going to a quiet, small, very out-of-the-way resto in Venice with Venetian friends, only to encounter an American acquaintance from our business trip there with his mistress, whom he'd secretly brought along on his expense account. He looked very uncomfortable indeed when we walked in.

Ironically, taxis are scarce when it's raining, you are in a hurry to go somewhere and/or when there are no other transportation choices availble to you.

I was once (with 2 other colleagues) stuck at 2am on a friday at Champs Elysees. Of course, the metro was already closed and all the buses (which could have taken us near our hotel) were full that people looked like they were plastered to the door. In the end, we had to walk.

Interesting tip about avoiding taxi conversations.

From Sedulia: Well, your 2 a.m. experience is not an anomaly. It happens every Friday and Saturday night to anyone who wants a taxi in Paris. (Merci, Monsieur Delanoë!)

haha true. when we told the concierge the next day (while checking out), he told us the same. hehe

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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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