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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Thanks for a great blog (you do have regular readers out there, even if they don't comment much), and an especially great post. It is really sad and moving how even the tiniest village in France always has an "aux nos morts" monument from WWI.

As an American living in France, I can certainly understand the exasperation that Chirac and co. can cause Americans. But this "French are cowards" stuff does not fly with me at all, either. There are some things that you shouldn't joke about. Good job.

Perspective is necessary, especially by US citizens.

Thank you for this post. I always feel sad when someone (usually an American who never been to France unfortunately) is saying the French are coward.
We have spend centuries to fight with our neighbors and I think we just want a peaceful environment for our children. We know how precious life is. That's how and why the European Union has been created. So many people of our family have been impacted one way or an other by the wars.
The WWI was the most deadly (by the way, there was only about 40 million French in 1914)
The WWII was so "inhumaine". I am very sad regarding the sentence "surrender monkey" because one of my grand-father was forced to work in a German farm, the other one was fighting in the "Vercors"

I have a son who is Hispanic, a French son-in-law, a Vietnamese granddaughter and an African American granddaughter. It feels like the world we live in is smaller every day.
I find it sad that these tiresome and untrue lists still get circulated.I wish we as people would get as excited about the positive aspects of other cultures, but I guess it's just easier to perpetuate the same old negative information and give it new life with our younger generation.
I for one, am weary with hearing about it, but I guess it isn't going to go away.
(I will do my part by trying to enlighten the small circle where I do have some influence)

Keep on writing your blog, it always makes me think!!

Correction: France lost 1,400,000 soldiers from an entire population of 40 million, not 60 million (that is their roughly their population today). Therefore the casualty to population ratio was even higher during WWI.

moreover, there were not only 1400000 dead men, but also 900 000 'infimes de guerre' when WWI was over (don't know how to translate that)
All these 'gueules cassées' and infirms were for years and years a living proof of the horrors of war.

From Sedulia: In other words, almost a million men badly wounded as well as 1,400,000 men dead, in a population of 40 million.

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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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