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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There's another one in German that has stood me in good stead over the years: "Bier auf Wein muss nicht sein! Aber Wein auf Bier empfehl ich dir!"

A not very poetic translation would be something like "You mustn't drink wine then beer. But beer then wine, now that's a good idea!"

That one makes me laugh everytime...I love that it's actually quite a crude saying, but the fact that it's in French makes it sound so much nicer.

i can't understand your philosphy. why red before white goes to hell.

The reds usually have much more complexity, and their tannins will mask the more subtle flavours of the white ones afterwards. It is basically meant for a gradual and progressive utilisation of your taste buds.

Imagine first staring into the headlights of a car, and then having to pinpoint a candle at a quarter mile distance...

My understanding is that white wine digest faster. If you drink the red first followed by will usually be sick..that is what is meant by ... tout fout le champ...which means...every thing escapes... The white makes a big splash through the red. The other way around all is well in the stomach...white first red after problems

Married a French guy, then moved to France. In most every region, the natives knew the adage. I was glad to learn it too.

Rouge sur blanc does not mean red before white but red over white


beer before wine fine, wine before beer fear

Yes, rouge sur blanc does mean red over white if you translate it word by word, but you can't always translate an expression word by word. In that case our expression (i'm french) means red before white and white before red.

The correct diction is Blanc puis rouge, rien ne bouge (white then red), rouge puis blanc....

not "sur"...

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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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