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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« But if I were Vuitton, I'd be worried | Main | Paris in August: parking »


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My boss recently moved to China with his family, and he was telling me about how there are three levels of fakeness. Ie if you buy a Level 1, it looks 100% real and costs a bit more, a level 2 has a lower price and a few mistakes, and a level 3 is dirt cheap with major mistakes (Loues Vilton for example).

When my co-workers went over, one bought a level 1 watch that costs $1000 in the US for $100 and another bought a level 3 watch for $2. The pricey watch looked totally authentic & is still working great, and the $2 watch stopped working 30min after they left the store.

Ha! Love these ads. I have always been a big fan of French advertising companies. They know how to get the message across, with the right message (and often, with a healthy dose of humor.) You are right to warn travelers about this issue. I remember hearing about the friend of a friend who got in big trouble at Roissy Charles de Gaulle one year because of a counterfeit watch! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

welcome home! i've missed your posts.

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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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