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 would like just to warn non-French readers that many schools or principals are not like this one or any other you posted the past several days.
For instance, I have never experienced any pupils, junior school students or even sometimes high schools students (believe me, I was one of these high school students) being allowed to go outside without written permission from their parents.

But that's true the French system is probably more rigourous, "cartesien" and hard on pupils than the american one.
I am so used to it that I have trouble to really complain about it.
And it does not forbid many (too much ?) scientists like me to leave France to work in the US.

My friend's son's school principal is a lot like this directrice. Her son reported, to his mother, an incident between a bully and a boy being bullied. My friend called the school, not to make a big deal about it but she thought they'd want to know. The principal called Tyler out of class to interrogate him; then made Tyler go back to the class and pull the victim out of class to talk to the principal -- which means he and all the other kids would know Tyler had something to do with it. Then the victim proceeded to lie to the principal so that the bully wouldn't bully him even worse. My friend was worried about retribution against her son from the other kids, so she sent her husband to see the principal about it (she herself had to work) and instead of calmly listening to the parent's complaint, the principal went BALLISTIC on the dad, yelling at him and behaving in a most childish and unprofessional manner. After that both parents were so worried the principal would take it out on their son or his two younger siblings that they wrote a letter to the school board threatening legal action if this principal EVER said or did anything to any of their children without one of the parents being notified FIRST. The school board president met with them in person and commiserated, but much the same thing -- they've had complaints about this principal before but they feel there's little they can do right now, he hasn't done anything bad enough to get fired. What a sad commentary on our educational systems in BOTH countries. Zut alors!

that sounds all too familiar... I worked as an assistant for 2 years in primaire and I ran into these issues with so many teachers, especially the "you're worthless, you're stupid and you're going no where in life" to a 7 year old... it made me sick to my stomach.
i respect that there are cultural differences but at the same time to treat a child that hurts.
at the same time how could a lowly "assistant" possible make any comments?

I've never met her, but I hate her already.


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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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