Valentine’s Day – When Cupid’s bow is fired…

Valentine's Day - When Cupid’s bow is fired… As far back as the early fourth century B.C., the Romans had celebrated an annual rite of passage for young men in honor of the god Lupercus. The names of willing young women were placed in a box and drawn at random by the young men. From this lottery each man was matched with a woman companion to share in mutual entertainment and pleasure (often sexual). In a year’s time a new lottery was drawn with new partners.  Needless to say the early Catholic Church fathers were determined to put an end to this practice. They decided to find a « lover’s » saint who could usurp the popularity of Lupercus. They found Valentine. In Rome in A.D. 270, Valentine, Bishop of Interamna, had performed the sacrament of matrimony for lovers in secret. Valentine was violating a law issued by the mad emperor Claudius II who believed that married men made poor soldiers because they were loath to leave their families for battle. Since the Empire needed s…
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Why is it called? Part 1: French Pastries and desserts

Why is it called … Part 1: French PASTRIES and DESSERTS Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Why are croissants, pain aux raisins and pains au chocolats called viennoiseries for example? How do things get named? Here is a short list of French pastries and desserts and how they got their names. We invite readers to add their own favorite pastries and dessert to the comments. Viennoiserie A pastry was created in Vienna in celebration of the end of the Turkish siege of 1683 in the shape of the Turkish crescent (croissant). An Austrian army officer named August Zang and his associate Ernest Schwarzer, a nobleman from Vienna opened the Boulangerie Viennoise at 92 rue de Richelieu in Paris in 1838. They were the first to make the pastries which were to become known as viennoiserie. Ironically even though the French name viennoiserie makes a reference to Vienna which is the origin of the pasrties, in English these baked delights are called D…
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BEWARE THOSE FAUX AMIS 

BEWARE THOSE FAUX AMIS (WORDS THAT LOOK ALIKE IN TWO LANGUAGES BUT HAVE DIFFERENT MEANINGS, SOMETIMES DANGEROUSLY SO) AND INACCURATE TRANSLATIONS! You’re the Chief Information Officer of the French branch of a sprawling multinational, and you’ve been told to upgrade the entire system. Everything. The Works. There are hundreds of thousands of euros to be spent on software, hardware, related staff training and, in conjunction with the Marketing Department, a glossy communication campaign to let the universe know how ultra-wired you are. With almost puerile excitement you grab the phone, call the most renowned supplier in the world and are transferred to an eager young French sales-rep delighted at the opportunity to practice his English. You explain what you’re after. The young man says he’s thrilled to help but his own system is out today. Could you call back tomorrow, he asks, when he’ll hopefully have access to the documents he needs for his pitch. You call the next day. “T…
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Hogtied in the Hexagon? understanding France part 3 of 3

Hogtied in the Hexagon? understanding France Part 3 Our choice of 15 Books to help better understanding France. Part 1 of this article Part 2 of this article 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 here is part 3 of our list of 15 books that'll help you feel less bewildered and understanding France. What is the Hexagon? The Hexagon is a nickname for France! (due to the mainland's nearly hexagonal shape) La puce à l’oreille: anthologie des expressions populaires avec leur origine Claude Duneton Fistfuls of everyday expressions are analyzed in their social and historical contexts. A marvel of curiosity, this book will teach you a great number of things about popular expressions. Tomber en quenouille, avoir la poisse, la veuve poignet, être un pigeon, rouler une pelle, pas piq…
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Hogtied in the Hexagon? understand France part 2 of 3

Hogtied in the Hexagon? understand France Part 2 Our choice of 15 Books to help you better understand France. Part 1 of this article Part 3 of this article 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 here is part 2 of our list of 15 books that'll help you feel less bewildered and understand France. What is the Hexagon? The Hexagon is a nickname for France! (due to the mainland's nearly hexagonal shape) Memoirs of Hadrian Marguerite Yourcenar Memoirs of Hadrian is a novel by the Belgian-born French writer Marguerite Yourcenar, the first woman ever elected to the Académie française (1980). It is about the life and death of Roman Emperor Hadrian. The book takes the form of a letter to Hadrian’s cousin and eventual successor «Mark» (Marcus Aurelius). The emperor meditates on militar…
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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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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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Top 40 Children’s names USA UK France

Top 40 Children's names USA UK France There is plenty of overlap in names for babies these days. Here's a chart of the top 40 babies names to help you choose a name that will work in both languages so that your child will never be branded by their name. Then again you may want to add some creativity and attachment a name to a place. We know a boy born to an Australian Mom in Paris who is named Sidney, a little girl accidently born in Marseille to American parents is Sophie Marseille (read her story accidentally French baby), a girl to a French American couple is Miami who has a twin brother named Shane and a James born to French-British parents looking for something classic that works in both languages. Please add a comment if you know any children with lovely names. Children's names USA UK France. Article about Mother's Day in France Having a Baby in Paris: Baby Products Made in France
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