Two obelisks and a giraffe

Two obelisks from the entrance to Luxor Temple were offered to France by the Viceroy of Egypt in 1830. One thrones on the place de la Condorde still today. But did you know there was another precious gift from the Viceroy just a few years earlier? Rosa Bonheur moved to Paris from Bordeaux, she was 7 years old at the time and did not like Paris at all until she discovered Paris' latest phenomenon... Zarafa. In 1826 Muhammad Ali Pasha, the Viceroy of Egypt, gave Zarafa (Arabic for «Giraffe», literally «charming» or «lovely one»), the first living giraffe to set foot on French soil, to Charles X as a diplomatic gift. She was separated from her mother at 3 months of age, traveled 2000 miles down the Nile, then across the Mediterranean by boat, arriving in Marseilles, where she would spend her first winter acclimatizing. The following spring, she left for Paris on a 41 day walk (880km) accompanied by 55 year old French naturalist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. Each stag…
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Break in?! Pickpocketed? Theft in Paris?! Bike stolen?!

Theft in Paris?! Break in?! Pickpocketed? Emergency?! Bike stolen?!

Were you the victim of Theft in Paris? Was your apartment or vehicle broken into? Your bag or car stolen? Your home tagged with grafitti? We certainly hope not, but sometimes it is necessary to make a police declaration for theft or damage. The good news is that you can do a pre-declaration online and avoid waiting at the commissariat. Not only will you save time by not having to personally go to the station and wait in line, you can also fill out the form calmly in your own home with a dctionary handy and without pressure to speak French. Once the pre-declaration is transmitted you will be contacted within 24 hours by a police agent who will process the complaint then ask you to stop by to sign (within a month) and finalize the complaint. I can personally vouch for the efficacity of this system. I used it when my bike was stolen. It makes making a complaint quite si…

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Sh… A Speak Easy puzzle of expressions

"Sh!" in English, but "chut!" in French. Expressions certainly do not simply translate from one language to another, they are also transformed. Here's a Speak Easy collection of "sh" words in English (many of the these English words are of Yiddish origin and they are fun to say outloud due to their rather odd combination of sounds), up to you to find the French equivalents in the list. In French the Sh and sch sound are not very much used. The English section of my Harrap's has 8 pages of words beginning with these letters whereas the corresponding French section has just 25 entries. Those 25 French words are frequently derived from English: schéma, schématique, schisme, schiste, schizophrène, schlinguer, schnaps, schnock, schuss, shaker, shakespearien, shampooing, shampoiner, shampouineur, shérif, shetland, shiatsu, shinto, shit, shoot, shooter, shopping, short, show and show-business. Enjoy the this puzzle of expressions and prick up your ears to the colorful expressions o…
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