Quotes

Jul 28, 2016

Does Not Rhyme With Fare: Kreuzig

THE STORY:

Train season is upon us -- that glorious time of year when Parisians leave Paris in droves -- some of them on crowded roads, the lucky ones on trains. Time in trains means time in stations, which I feel compelled to tell (correct) you are not "gares" (rhymes with "fare"). They are "gares" (rhymes with "bar"). If you rhyme it with "fare" it sounds like you are saying "guerre" (meaning "war"). Nothing is more grating to a French person's ear than "Gayre" de Lyon.



Jul 22, 2016

Royal Boobs and Balls: Jolirond

THE STORY:

I present you the Coucougnette, which means "Balls" -- yes, in just the raunchy way your mind has immediately imagined. They are named after the balls of 16th century King Henri IV de France -- also known as Good King Henry. I don't know how good King Henry was, but I do know how good King Henry's balls are. Here they are mixed in with Queen Margot's Tits, making this perhaps the sexiest French candy photo ever.



Jul 16, 2016

What It Can Lead To: Menez Hom

THE STORY:

Today marks the 74th anniversary of the Rafle Vel d'Hiv, the two day period (July 16-17, 1942) when 13,000 Jews were rounded up in Paris -- by French policemen, under Nazi occupation in World War II -- placed at the Velodrome D'Hiver, and then deported to concentration camps, most of them to die there. The Velodrome D'Hiver doesn't exist anymore but, sadly, the memories do. Especially for my 90 year-old neighbor, who was 16 when her parents were taken from her during this horrible (and horribly-named) "rafle", never to be seen again.


Jul 10, 2016

Ticket to Ride: La Tour de Paul

THE STORY:

First there were ticket punchers, taking a ticket from each metro rider and punching a hole to mark the ticket as used. Serge Gainsbourg's song "Le Poinçonneur des Lilas" is about how depressing that job must have been. Now, the ticket taker has been replaced by a machine that marks a purple stamp on the ticket and marks the magnetic strip. But the machines shouldn't be too smug, because their days are numbered, too.


Jul 4, 2016

In This Unassuming Spot: Tomme de Saint Sulpice

THE STORY:

Even after five years, every once in a while Paris can still really surprise me. Walking through the 6th arrondissement, on a very average-looking block, I look up and spot a historical placard attached to the wall. And reading it, I find out that in this very unassuming spot, in 1783, the peace treaty ending the American Revolutionary War and officially recognizing the United States was signed.

 

Jun 27, 2016

Everything Gainsbourg: Régal du Brasseur

THE STORY:

Every place has its favorite sons and daughters, its iconic people that you can't seem to escape. Serge Gainsbourg is one of France's, and his face is particularly in your face in Paris, especially if you happen to walk by his old home in the 7th arrondissement on Rue de Verneuil. You won't have to ask which one it is.



Jun 20, 2016

Qualifications: Galet de Bain

THE STORY:

Pippa and her gymnastics team achieve their dream -- to go to Nationals. They compete against the best in Paris, then Region (half of Ile de France), then the Zone (all of Ile de France) in order to qualify. Because theirs is an after-school gym 11-hours-per-week program, competing against mostly kids who do special sports-study programs with 20 hours per week of gym, it's very unusual for girls from this Paris gym to make it. In fact, it's been about 10 years since a team of young girls made it all the way.



 
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