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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Comments

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I remember the first one I encountered which was at the school I was attending. I walked in and immediately walked back out and had to ask my Canadian friend how you use it. I didn't believe her at first. After a couple of months, I developed strong quads and soon was able to balance with a purse and coat even after a couple of glasses of wine. Quite an accomplishment.

Oh I know!! I hate driving on the Autoroute du Soleil for that reason. And you probably know this already, but they usually do have a few stalls with actual toilets....but with no toilet seats, so for me that still counts as a bathroom FAIL! :)

I've seen these in France...and Nepal!

There are certain things that just make a nasty impression on foreign visitors to your country. In the U.S. it's maybe those Welcome-to-America-now-pay-$4 baggage trolleys at airports... in France, it's these!

I have seen a toilet similar to this in Korea. Users need to squat while using it.

Are you familiar with the Reverse Cowgirl episode of South Park? Episodes are free on the southparkstudios.com website.

Oh man I almost fell out of my chair with laughter. I remember the first time I visited Kenya and encountered one of these. I remember staring at it perplexed until my roommate entered the public restroom, laughed at me and pointed to another toilet that was more to my liking. I was so relieved that I didn't have to squat. That said I read something recently that said the position you assume while using this type of facility is actually easier on your colon and has numerous health benefits. Go figure.

Well it may be good for your digestive system but it sure isn't good for your shoes, purse, coat and whatever else you happen to be wearing or carrying. Watch out for that cell phone in your pocket, guys!

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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.

News about France in English

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