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 left for France a day after the whole DSK controversy started. I knew nothing about it until people kept asking for my opinion on the issue. I couldn't help to think about how America never fails to be the first one on the case about sexual harassment no matter who the person might be or where they are from. Other than that I Couldn't help but think of Kobe Bryant from the Lakers as well. We had a guest speaker in our class (in France) the other day and one of his main questions was how we felt about the whole situation happening. Someone started to talk about how America might see it as more of an issue because France tends to keep politics' personal and public life separate. I believe that DSK would have been safer in France, and his reputation would not have been so corrupted before running for president and because it did happen in the US I believe that's why so much hype has been made out of it. Even though the french might keep personal and public life separate, this whole controversy in the U.S just made it so hard for them not to link them together. What do you think about the whole keeping personal and political life separate when one is running for office? I think when electing someone all the persons actions should be considered.

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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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