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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« Bureaucracy versus bureaucratie | Main | The American French girl »


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As a French expat living in California, I get a lot of Americans telling me they've seen Paris... in Vegas. Going to the 'real' Paris, France, seems redundant to them. Go figure.

Charming post! You might be interested in knowing that Canada's Saskatoon sometimes get called "Paris of the Prairies." I was there for a conference a few years ago with a friend who had also recently visited Paris (in, you know, France) -- surveying, from one of the bridges crossing the South Saskatchewan River, the other bridges lined up, one could, indeed, imagine oneself straddling the Seine . . .

I don't quite recall all the details of "Paris, Texas" the movie but do you say it is dumb ? It was an widely acclaimed movie at the time.

Hi Josh,

That's just IMO. A lot of people also love Woody Allen's latest movie "Midnight in Paris" which I thought was dumb for the same reason-- stuffed with 10th-grade-intellectual clichés.

Funny ! My dad was actually born & bred in Paris, Kentucky. I grew up not too far from Paris, Maine. And now live in Paris, France. Of course, my parents moved back to KY last year... and whenever I visit, I do have to clarify... people there actually usually call it "the real Paris..."

While vacationing in Maine this summer, I told a local I lived in Paris. He rightly assumed I meant his Paris--Paris, Maine--not that other one in France. Paris can mean something totally different for a lot of 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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