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'm trying to identify the trees one sees in some parks in Paris, especially in the little park behind the Musee Picasso. They look like the regimented trees in your second photo above. Are they plane trees? Do they have heart shaped leaves? Could they be linden trees? Merci mille fois!

what are the purple flowering trees seen in Paris?

Yes, could someone email me with the answer too, please. Wonderful sights (4May 2010) all round Paris and especially good in Luxembourg gardens. People guess they are jacaranda trees, but I'd like an expert view.

I wonder if they're jacarandas. Do they look like this?

I have a photo. How do I send it?


Send it to my email address and I can publish it.

The purple flowering trees are Princess Trees, also called Empress Trees. According to the article, they are in the corner of Luxembourg Gardens where the Tai Chi practioners meet. They flower before they leaf out and have large leaves. I figured out what they might be and then went searching for references. Jacarandas are tropical so I ruled them out. BTW there are not that many purple flowering trees in temperate climates.

I would be in heaven spending a whole vacation in Paris just doing tree identification.

what do you name the big trees in Paris along the road,they are cutting neat.What is the nam of that trees?

Hi Chilly,
Most of the trees seem to be plane trees or horse-chestnut trees.

The purple flowered trees one sees in Paris in the springtime are Paulownia trees. I learned this on a tour of the gardens led a gardener - definitely a horticultural kind of tour. Wednesday mornings, 9 a.m.

Thank you for the comment re: the horse chestnut trees and the flowers that drop and litter the pavement and cars. Not nice at all.

We just came back from Paris and are wondering, what tree is it that is dispersing all the white fluffy stuff into the air? Not so great when it goes up your nostrils.

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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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