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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The Sunday Times dealt with the Ile de Re question this past weekend, although I think the headline was a little over the top, please see:,,2089-2546085,00.html



Thanks Craig. That story makes it very clear what is wrong with the ISF.

Hi Sedulia !

Nice paper on the ISF – well done !

Note that the ISF kicks in after 760,000 euros: ballpark it at a million US dollars, say, which leads Amerloque to observe:

A million bucks sure ain't what they used to be.



Terrific piece, good on you!

Read a great article in Le Figaro yesterday, who published a survey of which political figures pay and which don't, and what exactly they have in assets--I roared to discover that Segolene in her spiffy little (chanel?) suits tools around in a renault scenic and arlette laguiler drives a clio.

I have to say it's probably a morally sound idea, at least in a Socialist country, to have a fortune tax, but they certainly ought to tax income and not assets, and to raise the bar on what's considered a "fortune" ("eight hundred thousands euros, hahahahahha! oh wait, how much is our flat worth?").

Would you agree that referring to assets as "patrimoine" has all sorts of interesting social implications?

I never thought of that before, but yes, it does.

I think no one should lose their principal residence or land that's been in their family for generations just because they can't pay a tax on "wealth." Tax on actual income, or usable wealth, is another thing entirely.

The story of the old lady is meaningless, unless you know perfectly her situation and unless you have explored all the other possibilities that she had. For example, why couldn't she sell her apartment in "viager" and stay in?

If you have assets there is always a way to get income from them and then to be able to pay ISF. As a result, ISF is not really a tax on the wealth, but it's rather a tax on the wealth that is invested badly, and from this point of view it could even have a positive effect on the economy by favoring the use of this wealth in good investments. I don't see anything scandalous in that.

As you could have guessed I'm French... but I have lived one year in the US, one year in Italy and one year in Britain. I paid (income) taxes there too, and they weren't low.

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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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