Employment in France: French English glossary

Employment in France French English glossary: Here are some of the terms you'll come across while looking for employment in France, interviewing and being hired. Elements of a CV (read more about the CV in this article): Nom de famille - last name Prénom - Given or first name Situation de famille -  Marital status, as well as number and age of children

célibataire - single marié(e) - married divorcé(e) - divorced pacsé(e) - civil union veuf (veuve) - widowed

Language skills

Notions  - basic or elementary knowledge Maîtrise convenable, Bonnes connaissances - Conversant Lu, écrit, parlé - Proficient Courant - Fluent Bilingue - Bilingual Langue maternelle - Native language (often written EMT = English mother tongue)

Centres d'intérêt, Passe-temps, Loisirs, Activités personnelles/extra-professionnelles - Interests, Pastimes, Leisure Activities, Hobbies ------- Acompte sur salaire - Pay a…
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Smoke detector countdown

  We have had a smoke detector in our suburban Paris home for many years – it seems “normal” to me, but I realized how unusual its actually was when my housekeeper reported a mouse sound coming from the landing one day while we were on a trip. Thinking that we probably didn't have mice, but not wanting this sound to go without investigation I asked a neighbor to stop by. They couldn't figure it out. The next week my housekeeper saw nothing new and yet heard the peep again. I was quite perplexed, but since there were no other signs I did not pursue the matter. Upon arriving at home and going upstairs I immediately heard the beep of the the smoke detector reminding us to change an expiring battery. A few mintues later I burst out laughing as I realized that the smoke detector was the mouse. The incident made me realize that smoke detectors were not very common. In fact, in France only two percent of homes are fitted with detectors as opposed to 97 percent in Norway and…
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Exhibition Le Chat – Philippe Geluck

Le Chat  is, as you may know, a comic strip by the Belgian cartoonist Philippe Geluck. It is one of the bestselling Franco-Belgian comics series. The title character, an adult, human-sized, anthropomorphic cat, first appeared in March 22, 1983 in a daily newspaper called "Le Soir". Le Chat is deeply embedded in Belgian  (and French) culture.

The character often comes up with elaborate reasonings which lead to hilariously absurd conclusions e.g. by taking metaphors literally or by adding increasingly unlikely what-ifs to ordinary situations. "Can we laugh about everything?" was wondering the French humorist Pierre Desproges. According to Philippe Geluck, the answer is yes! Le chat can be very controversial and politically incorrect which is something the cartoonist wanted to voice through his famous character. In regard to people who are uncomfortable with this belief, Geluck insists that “people who don’t li…

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Winged Victory

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, one of the most well-known and prestigious pieces in the Louvre, is back in place at the head of the Daru staircase after having been restored. We are now able to see the subtle juxtaposition of the two different colors of marble that make up the statue and the ship prow base. The statue is in white marble from Paros and the complementary base in a grey marble from the Island of Rhodes. Before the restoration both marbles were covered with the poisse of time that gave a brownish tint. The Daru staircase has also been cleaned. But what is Winged Victory? How did she end up in Paris? This is a statue of a winged female figure – the messenger goddess Victory -and a base in the shape of the prow of a ship. The statue was a magnificent offering to the Great Gods of Samothrace following a naval victory and dates from the Hellenistic period. It is an unequalled masterpiece of Greek sculpture, by the striking virtuosity of its drapery as well as the…
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Stephen Clarke, Interview with a Paris author

If you are an expat in Paris (or not!) you must know the adventures of Paul West, The hero of "A Year in the Merde" and its sequels depicting French lifestyle from his personal perspective as an English man. The books became incredibly famous as many people could relate to the story. Who never had problems adapting to a new country? The language, the workplace, meeting people... many subjects tackled in the books with a great sense of humour. As a French girl, I was very amused by those books. Even if Stephen Clarke gently points out some of our weird traits, it is obvious that deep down he really loves France. As a matter of fact, I found out he now lives in France! I spent a few years in London and I often thought that English people loved to hate the French! If there is a football match in a pub between France and England you will definitely hear a lot of jokes about the French but just like Stephen Clarke, you can also tell it is playful (most of the time!). It is a neve…
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Do you know this rabbit? RATP Mascot Rabbit

Do you know this rabbit? You've probably seen him hundreds of times, but can you recognize him out of context? This is Serge, the RATP Mascot Rabbit for safety in the Paris Metro. You mostly see him down low - at kid's height - on the insides of the doors reminding kiddos to keep their hands away so as to not be pinched. The RATP Mascot Rabbit has been around since 1977 and was first drawn by Anne LeLagadec. She chose a rabbit dressed like a child because rabbits express fragility, softness and run around without paying attention to their surroundings (so she said). In 1986 the safety rabbit was redrawn in a yellow  jumpsuit to make him more visible and he became the unofficial mascot of the Paris metro. He even got a name: Serge, after Serge Maury who drew this second incarnation. In 2014 a new version of Serge was unveiled. Fresh stickers of Serge, who is now wearing a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, were progressively affixed to the 24,000 metro (and RER) car d…
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Hints and Hindsights – FFFFFF. F to the sixth power.

Hints and Hindsights. FFFFFF. F to the sixth power.

The six Fs. Fascinating, Fun Facts and Figures about France and French.

They come in handy more often than you’d think: during lulls in parties, as intros or outros to speeches, when you need to prove to some arrogant twit that at least some foreigners know there’s a world beyond Main Street and a timeline that precedes 1776. But let’s not get too arrogant ourselves - even for the most cultivated among us, some of these are real jaw-droppers:

-> When was the last guillotining in France? No, it was not during the 1793 Reign of Terror. It took place in Marseille on September 10, 1977 (that’s nineteen seventy-seven!) to end the life of Tunisian immigrant Hamida Djandoubi, convicted of having tortured and murdered his 21-year-old his former girlfriend, Elisabeth Bousquet. (France abolished the death penalty in 1981.)…

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French letter writing logistics

In high school French class you learned how to conjugate the obscure pluperfect-subjunctive. In college you memorized the name of every Gallic king going back to Charles the Bald. Your graduate courses included reading La Chanson de Roland and La Quête du Graal in their original Medieval idiom. BUT NO ONE TAUGHT YOU THE LOGISTICS OF WRITING A SIMPLE FRENCH LETTER-and are you going to be surprised at what you missed! Here-to save you from the wrath of civil servants, rejection by potential employers and, especially, ridicule by your mother-in-law-are the basics of French letter writing: Placement (1)  This is done the opposite of the Anglo-Saxon way: Your name, professional title and address go on the top left of the page (or in a centered frame at the top of the page)...and ...the recipient’s info goes on the right, slightly lower than yours. (Note that words like rue, avenue, boulevard, place, allée, etc. are not capitalized, although the name of the rue, avenue, e…
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French money: New Euro banknotes

French money: New 5 Euro notes 5 Euro notes have always been floppy and very worn, rather like dishrags. They are rather scarce too. Maybe that will all change with the introduction of a redsigned bill. This month the new € 5, the first of the new "Europa" series, was simultaneously released in all the countries that use the Euro. Have you seen it yet? It took us 3 weeks before we saw the first crisp new bill. Why make a new bill? To keep ahead of conterfeiters! The Euro notes are some of the most secure bills around, but after 10 years of circulation it was time for an update. Here's what's new. Security features have been improved and make notes more safe. The security features built into all new notes are easy to check with the method of "touch, look, tilt". Look for the new watermark and hologram showing a portrait of Europa, the character from Greek mythology who gave her name to the new series of banknotes. Tilt to see the large new number 5 change color from e…
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How do you translate… ?

Newcomers, stay with us here: you might need this some day. Old-timers, has something like the following happened to you? You’ve moved to France and after several weeks, your nice bakery-lady realizes that you’re not a tourist but a bona fide resident of the quartier. She’s always found you genial, so one day she tries her luck, saying in French, “I want to put a sign in the window about all our offerings, to attract English-speaking clients. I would be thrilled to translate it myself, as I know a bit of English, but I’m not familiar with specific words related to gastronomy. Could I ask you to do me a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiig favor and translate it?  It’s not long-only three paragraphs.  That said, please feel free to say no.” Several months go by and you find a job. You get along well with everyone, from the floor sweeper all the way up to the CEO.  On your way out to lunch one day, the receptionist corrals you and says in French, “My son is looking for an internship in the UK…
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