Jul 28, 2016

Does Not Rhyme With Fare: Kreuzig


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


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


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


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 Now, the ticket taker has been replaced by a machine that marks a purple stamp on the ticket and marks the magnetic strip.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


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.


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