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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It's always such a delight when you put up a post.Now I know that we,Russians also paid for St.Petersburg.

Louisiana was sold in 1803

I'm pretty sure it was Napoleon and not Versailles that is the cause.

Napoleon needed to fund his upcoming wars and needed the money. He also had just lost Haiti and did not have the man power to go back and retake it.

And he was probably right to sell it, since it had very little access to shipping routes and was mostly landlocked,except through New Orleans, which was under constant threat from the British.

You're right about Napoleon selling it, but he hadn't even had Louisiana very long again-- the Spanish had it for most of the fifty years before that.

But I wasn't talking here about the Louisiana Purchase but about the French and Indian War, in which France lost almost all its territory in the New World. Shortly after that, my Cajun ancestors were "ethnically cleansed" by the British from what later became Nova Scotia, and ended up in Louisiana. And I do think Versailles is the reason for that.

AH, yes of course. I do think you are right about that, of course.

Great blog.

New France was huge but pretty much empty hence her weakness. Unlike British, Irish and later Germans, Italians... French people have never massively emigrated (except French protestants).

In the 17th and 18th Century, New England welcome a couple of million people while New France had only about 70,000 people at her peak. Not easy to defend such a huge territory with so few people.

Anyway that's what we learn in French history class.

That makes sense, Sebastien! I wonder why the French never wanted to emigrate? The 17th and 18th centuries weren't easy for most French people.

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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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