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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« Spring is coming | Main | Anomalies of French life: loving jazz »


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My husband and I were wondering what to do yesterday to take advantage of the nice weather, when I spotted someone from our apartment walking by with a "Mani Pour Tous" pink flag and thought it meant there was going to be a pro-gay marriage manifestation.

I think the strikes are fun. It's a nice long walk in the middle of the street which is a different perspective than the sidewalks, there's music, there's yummy street food and margaritas from the back of moving trucks.

Luckily my husband quickly pointed out that despite the pink and the "for all" in their slogan, it was a strike for the anti-marriage folks. Not my cup of tea.

We decided to walk to the movies and ended up having to cross through the procession. It wasn't too crowded but it creeped me out being in the middle of that many people I consider to be hateful. It only took a minute to get across the street but I felt so icky when I got across I wanted to go home and take a bath.

So thanks for posting a nice story! was there in January.

What a great story! It's good to know that the police have a sense of humor.

Quick thinking all around.

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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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