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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« Texas Embassy in Paris | Main | Germans Non-native speakers, please stop saying F*ck »


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Actually standard shop-opening hours in France are way beyond standard shop-opening hours in The Netherlands and Germany.

Be aware that in Germany most shops close Saturdays around midday until Monday midday.

At 7:30 pm tonight, I realized that I needed butter :(. You can imagine what happened. (Nothing).

I feel for you. But in our neighborhood Amid is open until 10 p.m. On Sundays!

I live in a rural area of France in Pas-de-Calais, the shops all used to close for two hours for lunch and all day Sunday but supermarkets are now open the whole day from 8.00 til 20.00 and on Sunday mornings. I hope that all the small shops don't follow suit - I like that everything is not as commercialised as it is elsewhere...

There is definitely something nice about the quiet of a day when nothing is open. It almost forces you to go for a bike ride or visit someone instead of doing errands. I think it's good for the soul.

disagree with the comment about Germany!

opening hours have changed at least in cities - usually you can shop till 8 or 9 pm and 10pm for groceries... additionally you have shops that fill this "gap" during the night/sundays (spätverkauf)

and yet you complained about LA being an "early town" where everything closed too early at night, soo...

@julia, wow, times have changed!
@jam, that's true, but it's not so much the stores that close early, but mainly restaurants and things

Longer shop hours must mean additional staff as I can't imagine workers tolerating a 9 or 10 hour shift.

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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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