Hogtied in the Hexagon? comprehend France part 1 of 3

Hogtied in the Hexagon? comprehend France Part 1 Our choice of 15 Books to help you better comprehend France. First of all what is "hogtied"? To hogtie is an Americanism that goes back to about 1890 literally meaning to tie an animal, in particular a hog, with all four feet together. Figuratively the phrase mean to thwart or hamper. So below is the beginning of our list of 15 books that'll help you feel less bewildered and comprehend France. What is the Hexagon? The Hexagon is a nickname for France! (due to the mainland's nearly hexagonal shape) Part 2 of this article Part 3 of this article Dictionnaire amoureux de l’Histoire de France Max Gallo Max the historian works the alphabet from A to Z with entries ranging from Alésia to Jean Zay, touching along the way on Bernard de Clairvaux, Dreyfus, François Ier, Gambetta, Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz, Henri IV, les intellectuels, la laïcité, le maquis, Saint Louis and Verdun. When Monsieur Gallo says he loves Fre…
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Say Fromage, A Speak Easy

Say Fromage !

As long as 7,000 years ago, cheese was being made in northern Europe — albeit in a simple and functional form, a new study reports. And cheese has been part of the language for as long. There are so many French expressions involving fromage, pain and vin that we decided to do a Speak Easy on the subject. We hope you will enjoy it and come back saying cheese and hungry for more (or maybe even buy the book!).

But why do we "Say cheese" when taking photos? It goes back to Texas in the 1940s as a sure way to get someone to smile for a photo. Read more here! Plus here's our article on French cheese where you'll learn how to choose, cut and serve, plus the etymologies of fromage and cheesemonger.

For this Speak Easy puzzle Match the French phrase or expression with the English.

Order the Book - Commander le livre

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Water in Paris, Part 3: Non-Drinking water

A series on Water in Paris. Part 3: Non-Drinking water In the 19th century, Baron Haussmann, who was in charge of reorganizing Paris to make it more sanitary hired Eugène Belgrand as Director of Water and Sewers. Mr Belgrand with great foresight created not one but two water systems. One of course for treated drinking water which is expensively processed stuff and the other a network of non-potable from the canal Saint Martin and the Seine. The less expensive untreated water is used for watering parks, decorative fountains and cleaning the streets. There are 12,000  bouches de lavage from which water flows into the gutter. They are turned on by sanitation workers with green brooms and directed by soggy rolls of old carpet. The water flow and the green broom push the accumulated debris along to the sewer openings. Tout un système! The non-potable water is also used in the high pressure sprayers that clean up after markets and festivals. 1 600 kilometers of streets are sp…
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English language press in France in an Exhibition

Exhibition: Language Matters

Why this exhibition ?

Did you know that the French National Library holds almost 6,000 English-language periodicals (including your beloved FUSAC) that have been published in France since the Revolution? Such a large figure may come as a surprise, since these are but too only rarely dealt with in the history of the French press. The titles which are displayed in this exhibition come under the banner of a marginal category, that of the foreign, in this case, English language press. It is defined as periodicals or newspapers written in languages other than the national language(s) – whether de facto or de jure.

Exhibiting the wealth of the English language press in France Digitalisation operations that were launched in the 2000s in many libraries throughout the world have brought to light this global foreign-language press heritage. Its wealth is beyond imagination. Foreign…
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Remarkable trees in France

France is remarkable in many ways, including in trees. We recently published an article about the remarkable trees in Paris and now below you'll find some for the rest of France. We were out on a bike ride a few kilometers from home the other day and came across a tree planted in 1556! It was huge! And in great shape. The tree is called the Platane de Diane because it was planted by Diane de Poitiers, favorite of Henri II when she received the hunting property at les Clayes. A beautiful plantain tree that has seen not only Diane, but certainly Louis XIV walk beneath during a hunting trip, saw a first chateau built under Henri III, destroyed partially during the Revolution and another chateau built in the 19th century, burned by the Germans as they retreated at the Liberation, the telegraph line running past up on the hill, the writer Tristan Bernard and the artist Edouard Vuillard and who knows how many other famous people and events. All that in the Paris suburbs Les Clayes…
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Water in Paris, Part 2: Drinking water

A series on Water in Paris Part 2: Drinking water The Seine furnishes half of the drinking water to Paris and the region. Other water comes from aquifers and aqueducts. One of the aqueducts, the aqueduct de l'Avre, brings water, using just the force of gravity, to Paris from the Avre river in Normandy 102 kilometers away. The chief engineer for the project was Fulgence Bienvenüe who was also the creator of the Paris metro. The aqueduct entered into service in 1893. The aqueduct flows mostly underground before crossing the Seine on a bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel between Saint Cloud and the Bois de Boulogne. The bridge is a footbridge and an interesting destination for an outing. See our article. There has been indoor running water in Paris since 1781, albiet there were only 125 houses connected at that point. The great strides in indoor water came under Baron Haussmann in the mid 19th century and by 1884 two-thirds of Paris was connected. There are multiple water tr…
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The French keys to the kingdom

Bonjour, madame. Excusez-moi de vous déranger. Then I went on to ask the lady in the press kiosk if she knew how to get to the street I was looking for. Wow! Talk about a miserable human being! (Miserable, by the way, is a faux ami, usually used in French to mean only “destitute”, i.e., financially “miserable”; the French translation of the English “miserable” is simply [très] malheureux, triste.) The look on her face was a combination of horror (at being disturbed), heartache (What had happened to her?!) and hatred (of the world in general). And yet, I had used all three magic words/expressions. The ones you’re chided by cross-cultural coaches for not using, and thus not getting what you need and want in France. The ones you’re real proud of yourself for having learned, as witness your success in getting what you need and want in a capital city notorious for its commercial iciness. So, “Sorry, lady! I gave you all I have,” I said to myself, realizing that if these th…
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Bicycle visibility – Darkness is coming

Darkness is coming - Bicycle visibility (for joggers too)! When daylight savings time ends and you have daylight from only 8 am to 4 pm there's a lot of bike riding to be done in the dark. How can you put the odds of being seen on your side? Bicycle visibility! Some things are pretty obvious: florescent shirt or jacket, reflective vest, headlights and tail lights. That's the minimum. But you can do more and with more panache too! I ride with multiple forms of light and reflectors and for that matter I use all of my visibility techniques during broad daylight too. The way I see it you can never be too visible. http://www.saintgermainenlaye.eu/en/pages-speciales/detail-decouvrir0/article/security-of-cyclists-well-seen-well-protected/ Fashion? Yes you can! Ugly yellow construction vets? OUT! OUT! OUT! Put on something with style like a well-fitted multicolored vest from Rayon Jaune.

Who is Rayon Jaune? Béatrice: Ingénieuse ès produit. Béatrice worked i…

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484,000 Trees in Paris

There are no less than 484,000 trees in Paris! This makes Paris one of the most treed cities in Europe and here we’re only counting the «public» trees. trees lining public streets (96 500); trees in parks and gardens (36 500); trees in cemeteries (34 000); trees along the Péripherique (8000); trees in school yards and sports areas (9 000); trees in the bois de Boulogne et Vincennes (300 000) for a total of 160 species. Most trees in public spaces and lining streets live to just 60 to 80 years. Trees have a tough time dealing with pollution and other incidents of city life. But there are still 222 remarkable trees in Paris that have been classified by the city. The 222 are remarkable either for their beauty or fantastic shape, their history or their rarity. Here are a few of the trees deemed remarkable in our fair city. A list and map of 60 trees worth seeing is available on  http://www.paris.fr Luxembourg Gardens Chestnut trees in the Luxe…
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A tongue-in-cheek look at the French Education System

If you have children in France, there’s a good chance that you might possess at least the stirrings of the beginnings of a stab at understanding it. Then again, you might not. If you don’t have children in France, there’s a mega-chance that your quest for grasping it will prove even more futile than your search for a short line at La Poste. No, we refer not to The Meaning of Life. We refer to…..the French education-system. So, here is a very incomplete (in the interest of space), extremely simplified (in the battle against cerebral overload) exploration of pedagogy as known and--sometimes not--loved in France and beyond. Which brings us to our first point: the “beyond” part. The French system of elementary, middle and high schools not only graces Gallic soil but also extends throughout the world in what is recognized as a unique offering that accommodates the needs of French expats and follows the same curricula, administers the same tests and delivers the same degrees as …
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