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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« Anomalies of French Life: Non-fresh milk | Main | The holidays: A good time »


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I read your post everyday or at least when you post every day. I enjoy what you have to say, sometimes I laugh and other times it make me think and ponder.
I am an American and I hope some day too live in Paris. I love Paris and the French are well, French!! I think many Americans have shallow and ill-informed opinions of the French and if they actually got educated about French culture they might actually understand why they have the opinions they have and act the way they do.
Keep up the great work, I really enjoy you blog.


Hello Sedulia, I've been reading your blog for weeks and weeks and for the first time I finally decide to add my comment... Just like Dave, It sometimes makes me lough and most of the time makes me think of how French are seen by foreigners from accross the big ocean...
I have been a foreigner myself when, at 18, I decided to cross that big ocean from my "Outside of Paris city" (Grenoble to be precise) right after my French graduation to spend some weeks in Louisiana and some month in California...
From my stay there, I reallized how hard it was to be a foreigner, how hard it was to understand another culture, how hard it was to explain why, for some reasons, you are already a "grown up", not a teen anymore at 18 in France and drinking a beer is not a big deal ;-) (not a big deal because you first got drunk at 14 and it is not a goal anymore... also less dangerous because you can only get your driver's licence at 18... whereas in the US, you first drive, then are authorised to drink, makes the forbidden drinking the main center of any party...) Anyhow, drink or drive...

I left a part of myself there, a family I still see from time to time... and a real pride of being french and love of my country (patriotism is something you don't really feel and even more show when you are french... or you are called an extremist, a nationalist... patriotism is a feeling I learned from Americans)

When one (who never went out of his country) asks me how stupids Americans are, I quickly answer that they are as stupids as Europeans are (and probably Asians, south Americans, Africans...)... I have met real dumb persons in every country I have visited, but mainly really interresting, bright and polite persons !

I love your blog because I truly think that the best way to learn about your own country and your own culture is to listen to the way non french people speak of the french and their attitudes...
I am not from Paris but I think it is a great city, its only problem could be the parisiens themselves ;-) some of the "French bad habits" treated in your blog are only "Parisien's bad habits" but I really enjoy the way you show us how stupid we can be ;-)

Keep up the good work... it is always a pleasure to read you !

Thank you and all the best for you and your family !


Can I just add a quote from general De Gaulle ?

"Patriotism is liking your country,
nationalism is hating the other's country"

Sorry, I'm not sure of the grammar with "'s"..


First of all, I hope you had a very happy Xmas.
What do you mean by "I heard a lot of rude remarks about the French, as usual"? When you were in London? hmmm usual jokes about frogs... ;-)
Living in London I think it is actually quite difficult to have any English opinion (except from Sun's readers ;-) because it is so cosmopolitan that you have more chance to find other nationalities than English...

re: filthy Easy Internet cafe ..

It's actually a Subway cafe run as a franchise by 'Vanda Tricolor', contact the manager, Himarshu Joshi on 020 7383 2686 and complain. The health and safety people have been in already over the stink.

From Sedulia: Thanks Dave!

Good news. Did someone do something. They actually cleaned the place on Saturday. Scrubbed the floors and cleaned the desks. The first time ever. Call them up in six months and ask them to do it again.

re: filthy Subway cafe ..

From Sedulia: Hi Dave! Thanks for letting me know! Who knows, maybe calling helped.

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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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