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 "Sages" okay the CPE; no one happy | Main | April Fish Day »


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Hi Sedulia !

In Amerloque's view, France-Inter and its little sister/brother France-Info are simply not interested in presenting balanced viewepoints. Their agendas are elsewhere, and they make no pretense of "objectivity".

In the 1960s and 1970s, though, France-Inter was far more objective - and informative - than it is today. Depuis mai, 1981, c'est n'importe quoi, sur les ondes …


PS: Amerloque always has a week of food in the house, and another two weeks of canned goods in the country house. Perhaps that comes from his American upbringing. (smile)

I'm glad that I found your blog by accident. I've been a Francophile for a while but as an American, I have a very hard time understanding their psyche when it comes to these kinds of issues. I guess it's the difference in growing up in a system where being fired for no cause was possible. What I don't think they seem to understand is that that type of firing does not happen very often. Companies that fire people for no reason don't get new employees. Companies that treat their employees well and only get rid of employees that do their jobs have employees who appreciate their employers. No one likes to work with lazy or incompetent people. I'm sure that I'm naive about the entire issue but I do think that they are missing some of these important points.

I feel the American POV is naive, and the French turn of mind is decadent. Narrow is the path...

Hi there,

Well, in fact, interviewing anti-CPE people was a bit logical as what Chirac said was an answer for them.
Pro-CPE had just to say "the president made a step forward, it is a good thing"...

I think that Chirac could not content pro and anti CPE. As we say, "il a ménagé la chèvre et le chou" which is a bad thing during these circumstances.

If we wanted the law to be changed, he had just to ask for a new reading at the Assemblée.
As the Assemblée is on his side, the law would have been changed quickly and anti-CPE couldn't do anything more.

(Sorry for my english, it is far behind me ;) )

I'm a small business owner, and I'm against the CPE (and the CNE, by the way, as I'm not concerned by the CPE (which fits for more than 20 employees companies)).
Of course companies are not supposed to fire employees after 2 years, which is illogical.
Then, why would the law offer this possibility, if the problem is not there? ;)

I think that the main problem comes from elsewhere : how can you ask employees more flexibility when at the same time, big companies to make the best profits they ever made?
And that these profits are, for most of them, distributed to shareholders, and bosses while the profits came from shareholders (I'm ok with that), but...employees, too.

At the moment, in France, people have a feeling of injustice : rich people get richer, just by "mechanics", while poor people don't, or, even, get poorer...
Government asks them to tighten the belt (sorry for galliscism) while the richer don't have.
At the same time, people have to pay more and more to put gas in their cars, "because of oil price and Iraq war", but Total has made a benefit of 12 billions euros.

With this kind of things, it is easy to understand that people are fed up in a system they can't trust anymore...

(J'en profite pour vous remercier pour votre blog que je trouve sympa et instructif ;) )

I'm French, currently living in London. I went back to France one week ago and was amazed by all this incoherence about the CPE. Even tough all of this chaos comes from my own country, I quite agree with you. French attitude can be extremely archaic sometimes. Either on the government side or the French trade unions side. The one year probation period from Chirac seemed like a good proposal to me. Even more so that the CPE "probation period" is not a "real probation period" per say: you do get money after one month if you are fired, while with a real probation period, you get nothing. There is indeed a 20%+ unemployment rate with younger people in France. Would they really rather the government do nothing about it? Really making me think twice before ever going back in France...

I knew i had forgotten something : i wanted to mention a program i fell upon by accident the other day : it's on sunday, on France 2, right after the "13 heures" newscast. The presenter, Rachid Arab, asks regular folks in the streets of Paris, sometimes other cities, their opinion about the hot topic of the week and lets them debate for a bit to see if anything valuable comes out. 2 weeks ago when the debate about CPE was heating up, he assembled a really diverse group of people with diverging opinions. It was kind of enlightening to hear a young french guy of Maghrebic descent say that french youth should be made to accept hardship and the virtues of work instead of desperately avoiding them at all cost. Interesting to note this kid had almost never been unemployed. Also enlightening was a french girl, also of Maghrebic descent, who tried to convince another one that any measure that can make finding a job easier is good to take as it can be a gateway to a better one and always a valuable experience. The other girl, an african girl, in contrast was against the CPE because as she put it : how can she borrow money to buy a house and ask for a line of credit if she's not assured to keep her job eternally ? yes i know. I know France 2 keeps a videobank of past programs so if interested you should be able to get webcasts from their site.

From Sedulia:

Thanks Fabrice, that sounds really interesting!

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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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