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 don't think it's difficult to *find* fresh milk, I simply find it astounding that so much of this flavorless sterilized juice is available and purchased.

When we first moved to France it was in the middle of the Canicule of 2003 with temperatures up to nearly 40 degrees C every day. We were buying fresh milk and were most surprised by the taste of it. Every morning, we would look at each other over our cornflakes and go 'yuk'. It was really a horrible thought to think we would be spending several years in France drinking milk that tasted like this. At the end of August, the weather broke, and the very next day, the fresh milk tasted exactly as fresh milk is supposed to taste. Apparently evey milk delivery for a whole month had curdled. I read somewhere that, during the canicule, it was thought that 60% of all fresh food had gone off by the time it was delivered to the shops.

Hello, I gave up buying fresh milk. It's usually available near the butter section in supermarkets, but in tiny quantities. I used to buy it, put it in the fridge and very soon it would go off. It's also very expensive compared to UHT.

I've since got used to the taste of UHT on cornflakes and in my tea. It was tough at the beginning, but hey, the human race is wonderfully adaptable, and I don't notice it any more.

Completly stupid are you ? in any food store you can find fresh milk in the fridge. You have the red one with fat , the blue one, half fat and the green one "bio" and some others.

You can also take a picture of cans and say where are the fresh food ??

Lorenzo, this blog is about the things an American notices in France. In the U.S., people basically don't buy non-fresh milk, so I took a photo of this UHT milk to show it.

This photo is of a supermarket, so it does have fresh milk. But many small stores do not carry fresh milk or have only one or two bottles that run out quickly. To an American, that is weird.

I think you must be about fourteen years old. When you grow up, you might want to avoid calling people "completly" stupid on the internet.

I have just moved to Brussels and have encountered the same problem. I love fresh cows milk and have been unable to find it at any of the local grocers. I have unfortunatly had the pleasure of finding sheeps milk. Gross. I refuse to believe I must live without it for the next three years.

well you have to agree, the butter and cheese are fresh, and yes, it is hard to find milk that we are used to in the states. the trade-off was fine with me, but first thing i wanted when i got home was a large glass of cold milk...renee

I am an American who recently moved to Ireland and found the opposite. From childhood summers in France, I fell in love with the mild sweetness in UHT boxed milk. My mother actually hauled a case of it back in her carry-on luggage. I turned to Parmalat when I missed France and when we moved here I was secretly hoping to find the same milk options, but alas Ireland is all about fresh dairy. The big stores have a whole refrigerator aisle of Irish butter, cheese, and milk. I have managed to find the hidden spot where they keep their UHT milk and find it ideal since we can keep a couple boxes on hand and we never run out, and I prefer the taste. But that's just me and I know not everyone likes milk to have a mild sweetness unless it is at the bottom of a cereal bowl. On the other hand, we don't have ranch salad dressing here so there are trade-offs. ;-) C'est la vie.

Well, I guess it's reassuring that somebody actually likes the stuff.

Being a Frenchman in Los Angeles, I have to say that I am experiencing the complete opposite. Impossible to find UHT milk here, unless you go to whole foods and pay an arm and a leg for a ridiculously small bottle of UHT organic milk...
I used to drive down to Mexico every other week to visit my wife who happened to work there and would bring back cartons of UHT milk in my trunk (until a borderguard made me throw it away once)

Funny! I guess you can get used to anything, but it still surprises me anyone, much less a nation of foodlovers, would *choose* UHT milk over fresh!

I have been trying to use UHT milk when in France to have a more authentic experience. I agree that it's strange in a nation of foodlovers.

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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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