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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« Long live the American Library of Paris! | Main | The m'rach (rose-water sprinkler) »


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I had no idea that was the phrase for ghostwriter... things are definitely changing, the world over. There is a small hamlet near us called 'Les negres' - I wonder how long it will stand before a compulsory name change?

This is a very interesting post. I feel for seniors everywhere as they have to navigate the new rules of the P.C. world! I had never heard that anecdote about "les Bretons" and find it rather creative! ;-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

It seems "nègre" means ghostwriter also in other languages like Spanish ( or German ( - even if it's not used anymore in German.

You got it wrong. The problem is with the second sentence " I don't know if the nègres always worked that hard, but anyway... ". He wouldn't otherwise.

Really? So it's not just the word nègre that is the problem? I thought that was it.

New affaire Guerlain! (Maybe he's got Alzheimer's.) On February 24 he went to the Gare du Nord in his wheelchair with someone accompanying him. Three SNCF agents came to help him but he was too late for his train and was refused access. Exploding with anger, Guerlain said, "La France est un pays de merde, c'est une boîte de merde et en plus on n'est servi que par des immigrés." [France is a shit country, it's a pile of shit, and nowadays you are never served by anyone but immigrants."] The person with Guerlain told him to be silent, stop talking nonsense in front of everyone, the first trial wasn't even over. The agents, who were black and Asian, told their superior and filed an official complaint, now being considered by the Paris public prosecutor.[email protected]1

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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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