Saturday, October 31, 2015

YIKES!

Argh!
Argh--that's a rough equivalent in French for "yikes."
From the vitrine of the famous wax museum, the Musée Grevin, in Paris.


©2015 P.B. Lecron

Thursday, October 29, 2015

CHERCHEZ LA FEMME

"Châtaigne:  femelle du marron" -- Gustave Flaubert, Dictionnaire des Idées Reçues

An unfinished work that Gustave Flaubert began in 1850 and continued til the end of his life in 1880 was a collection of sometimes silly French aphorisms, Dictionniare des Idées Reçus. A must.

Know that in France when the edible sweet chestnut, la chataigne, is transformed into culinary delights, it is most often called "un marron." The common, non-edible horse chestnut, is also called un marron. 

Expressions
une idée reçue:  a preconceived notion
cherchez la femme:  literally, look for the woman; the idea being that if a man's behavior is out of character or strange it is because he is either trying to hide an extra-marital affair, or trying to impress a woman. The term was coined by Alexandre Dumas.


©2015 P.B. Lecron



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

LE BOUQUET FINAL

"Les champignons ressemblent aux péchés: pour les déguster, il faut prendre des risques."-- Hervé Bazin (1911-1996)
Mushrooms are like sins; to taste them you have to take risks. 

Expression
Le bouquet final:  the grand finale; literally, the final bouquet and often used as a term for the last and best part of a fireworks display or an achievement
C'est le bouquet:  this really takes the cake


©2015 P.B. Lecron

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

L'AMÉRIQUE


Representing one of the "four parts of the world" and a masterpiece in Louis XIV's large order of marble sculptures commanded in 1674 for the park of the Château de Versailles, the allegorical and stylized female American Indian personifies the new French colony of Louisiana. Entitled l'Amérique, the sculpture, complete with a decapitated head and alligator at her feet, underscore the 17th-century European perception of the New World's dangerousness. The sculpture has been replaced by a copy, the original having been removed to the lower gallery of the Château for safekeeping. 


Vocabulary
un pagne:  a loincloth
un carquois:  a quiver
une flèche:  an arrow
la dangerosité:  dangerousness


Expression
Vider son carquois: to lance short, clever or paradoxical sayings, not to be confused with "vider son sac" which means to get something off one's chest

©2015 P.B. Lecron

Sunday, October 25, 2015

EGOISM

A well-placed metaphor from an important 19th-century French man of letters and dandy. . .
"L'égoïsme, ce gros ventru, cette citrouille qui prend toute la plate-bande." -- Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly
Egoism, this bulging potbelly, this pumpkin which takes up all the garden bed.



Vocabulary
un ventru:  one that is potbellied
ventru, -e:  potbellied
une plate-bande:  garden bed

©2015 P.B. Lecron

Sunday, October 4, 2015

CATCHING FORTY WINKS

Famous French cat and Sacré de Birmanie, Pompon, catches forty winks, or as one would say, "Il pique un roupillon."

Vocabulary & Expression
un roupillon:  a nap
piquer un petit roupillon:  to have a little nap



©2015 P.B. Lecron