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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« Odd cheeses, odd flowers | Main | Christmas lights on the Champs-Élysées »


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Hi Sedulia !

/*/ … /… any more because our insane mayor Delanoë is now systematically roadblocking all the through roads of Paris … /… /*/

These people need their heads examined. In yesterday's Parisien, there was a story that stated that even the two-wheeler people (bikes, Vespas, mopeds, and motorcycles) are fit to be tied with this Mayor's insane policies. Nowhere to park, tickets galore, accidents everywhere …

One of the City Hall people was even quoted to the effect that "We didn't plan for this ! We had no idea our traffic policies would lead to so many two-wheeled vehicles !" Plus c.. que ça, tu meurs !, as the French locution goes. (sigh)

/*/The kids gawked at all the soldiers they saw patrolling the Gare in threes, dressed in camouflage uniform with machine guns nestled in their arms./*/

The trick is to look and see if the loaded magazines are inserted into the weapons.

If they are, there is something somewhere being taken seriously indeed by the powers-that-be. If they aren't, it's just show for the taxpayers and tourists.


That plastic bag garbage contraption has been around for awhile, I think. I recall seeing something like that on Champs-Élysées in 1996. I asked around why there weren't any real trash cans and I was told that it was because of the bomb threats. Ditto in all the gares.

To be honestly, I like the simplicity of the contraption. It looks better than the ugly green chicken-wire thingy we have in NYC.

There are still a few of the older green metal cans here in Antibes. I really should go out and take some photos as the clear plastic bags are rapidly appearing in their stead.

Along a similar note, I always wondered when we lived in Nice why they completely covered (taped over with plastic) the trash cans along the zone pietonne during Carnaval. Is it because of security concerns? And huge piles of garbage that collects over and around a "closed" can is not a hazard? I still don't get it...

Meilleurs voeux!

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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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