Merci to Kev for contacting me for this interview (in English) as a way for authors/bloggers to support each other.
Presenting: La Souhaitable … Kim Defforge! (click to access article)
Body language refers to various forms of nonverbal communication, wherein a person may reveal clues as to some unspoken intention or feeling through their physical behavior. These behaviors can include body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements; the meanings varies depending on the culture.
In 17th century France, MOUCHE (applied beauty marks) were used in fashion to convey body language, as well as to physically cover pock marks. They could take the shape of hearts and/or be made of lace, but their facial placement was key to the intended body language message.
Women also carried FANS — not just to cool themselves or for mere decor, but to communicate when it wasn’t appropriate to verbalize something. The fan had to be carried, opened, closed and fluttered with precision and reason. A woman held it in front of her, not covering her face, with the painted side facing out. Every movement had a meaning.
Carrying Open fan: come speak with me
Twirling the fan in the right hand: I love another
Twirling the fan in the left hand: We are being watched
Placing the fan near your heart: I love you
A half-closed fan pressed to the lips: You may kiss me
Letting the fan rest on the right cheek: Yes
Letting the fan rest on the left cheek: No
Dropping the fan: We will be friends
Other sources decoding fan language offer some pretty specific statements:
Placing fan on left ear: I wish to be rid of you
Carrying fan in right hand in front of face: Follow me
Drawing fan across the forehead: You have changed
Drawing fan through the hand: I hate you
Threaten with shut fan: You are imprudent
Gazing at shut fan: Why do you misunderstand me?
most commonly understood fan gestures.
A fan placed near the heart: “You have won my love.”
A closed fan touching the right eye: “When may I be allowed to see you?”
The number of sticks shown answered the question: “At what hour?”
Threatening gestures with a closed fan: “Do not be so imprudent”
Half-opened fan pressed to the lips: “You may kiss me.”
Hands clasped together holding an open fan: “Forgive me.”
Covering the left ear with an open fan: “Do not betray our secret.”
Hiding the eyes behind an open fan: “I love you.”
Shutting a fully-opened fan slowly: “I promise to marry you.”
Drawing the fan across the eyes: “I am sorry.”
Touching the finger to the tip of the fan:“I wish to speak with you.”
Letting the fan rest on the right cheek:“Yes.”
Letting the fan rest on the left cheek:“No.”
Opening and closing the fan several times: “You are cruel”
Dropping the fan: “We will be friends.”
Fanning slowly: “I am married.”
Fanning quickly: “I am engaged.”
Putting the fan handle to the lips: “Kiss me.”
Opening a fan wide: “Wait for me.”
Placing the fan behind the head: “Do not forget me”
Placing the fan behind the head with finger extended: “Goodbye.”
Fan in right hand in front of face: “Follow me.”
Fan in left hand in front of face: “I am desirous of your acquaintance.”
Fan held over left ear: “I wish to get rid of you.”
Drawing the fan across the forehead:“You have changed.”
Twirling the fan in the left hand: “We are being watched.”
Twirling the fan in the right hand: “I love another.”
Carrying the open fan in the right hand:“You are too willing.”
Carrying the open fan in the left hand: “Come and talk to me.”
Drawing the fan through the hand: “I hate you!”
Drawing the fan across the cheek: “I love you!”
Presenting the fan shut: “Do you love me?”
~From All About Fans
Le week-end du 20 et 21 septembre 2014, les Journées du Patrimoine reviennent avec pour thème “Patrimoine culturel, patrimoine naturel”. Comme chaque année environ 16 000 sites publics ou privés seront ouverts au public.
This annual event is a unique opportunity to discover local heritage in all its splendour and variety by visiting sites and architectural features. A wide range of activities is organised throughout the department.
Then along with your French slang and French idioms, you must learn some French proverbs!
These beauties are filled with both imagery and wisdom, and can be used in everyday situations.
Here are nine French proverbs (brief sayings encompassing advice and general truths) and their meanings, which will give sel (salt/savor) to your use of the language, and a certain “poésie” (poetic flair) in the way you communicate.
“Qui vivra verra” is a widely used and understood proverb that literally means, “He/she who lives, shall see.” This phrase is usually used when an outcome is unpredictable or uncertain, like in the English “the future will tell.” Although it is a very short phrase, it still rolls smoothly off the tongue with elegance.
“L’habit ne fait pas le moine” translates to “The vestment does not make the monk.” Its significance, though, is that just because a monk is wearing a renunciate’s robe, it doesn’t mean that the monk is sincere in his intentions. The English equivalent would be, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The sense of the phrase implies that appearances can sometimes mislead one’s better judgement. The philosopher Plutarch came up with his own rendition of this phrase. It goes, “A beard does not make a philosopher,” which in French is translated as “La barbe ne fait pas le philosophe.”
“Chacun voit midi à sa porte” is a beautiful expression which, while being somewhat unfortunate, is nevertheless quite true. The literal translation goes, “Everyone sees noon at his doorstep.” It means that every individual is occupied, first and foremost, with his or her own personal interests, and each feels their subjective opinions as objective truths. When such tenacity occurs, the French would say, “Inutile de discuter,” it is “useless to argue,” since every man feels he is right. Innumerable are the contexts in which this phrase may be used, and it would impress a French person to hear it from a foreigner.
“Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir” is another widely used proverb, understood by all French natives. It literally means, “It is better to prevent than to heal,” and interestingly, it’s the first principle of traditional Chinese healing practices. The French are very attached to this saying, dearly using it on a regular basis. It is not surprising, however, since health is first priority – “Et d’abord, ne pas nuire!” (First, do no harm!), they say. The sense of the proverb is such that it is better to take the necessary precautions to prevent a sickness, than to have to treat and heal this sickness. It is sens commun (common sense) in France, undoing the dictum, “Ignorance is bliss,” for the bliss in this case is to not be ignorant, but preventive.
“Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid” is a charming little phrase that’s widely applied, and translated as, “Little by little, the bird makes its nest.” This proverb designates patience and perseverance. It can be used in many situations, particularly in the process of something not yet accomplished, as opposed to something that has been accomplished. And only then, after much time and effort, one might also say (with a pronounced sense of triumph and achievement), “Paris ne s’est pas fait en un jour!” (“Paris was not made in a day!”)
“Qui court deux lievres a la fois, n’en prend aucun” is a marvel not only in its implication, but in its wonderful imagery. It is translated as, “Who runs after two hares at the same time, catches none.” The meaning is that an individual ought to concentrate on one task at a time with optimal attention, if that task is to be well done. If a person does two things at once, the likelihood is that the end result will be anchored in mediocrity, due to a half-hearted effort. Something well done is something done with total concentration. This proverb offers an important reminder, so it can be wisely applied to many various situations.
“Qui n’avance pas, recule” is a truth that none can counter. It is translated as, “Who does not move forward, recedes”. There can be no standstill in life, only evolution or devolution. Either one evolves, or one devolves. To be stagnant is the same as to recede. “Expect poison from stagnant water,” the English poet William Wordsworth once wrote. This proverb can be used as encouragement in the need to persevere. It may be persistently employed, given its truth content.
“Quand on a pas ce que l’on aime, il faut aimer ce que l’on a” is a beautifully worded proverb that’s full of good sense. Its translation is, “When one doesn’t have the things that one loves, one must love what one has.” It reflects the saying, “Want what you have and you’ll have what you want,” which is to say that you must be content with what you currently hold, however little it may be. In this way, we avoid the burden of wanting things out of reach, and become grateful for the things that are before us now. If you say this proverb at the appropriate time, the French will surely be intrigued by such wisdom, and perhaps commend you for it with a “perrier” or a glass of wine.
“Il n’y a pas plus sourd que celui qui ne veut pas entendre” is a proverb “qui court les rues” (that runs the streets, meaning it’s widely used). It translates as, “No one is as deaf as the one who does not want to listen.” This would be the case for very stubborn people, or those so caught up in their own self-assertions that they pay no heed to the advice or opinions of others. The French, especially Parisians, are intellectual ringleaders. You might say that in Paris, debating is almost a sport. When a debate leads nowhere because of the tenacity on both sides, this proverb is likely to be used by either one or both of the parties (if each believe they are right).
So there you have it – nine proverbs to refine and give flair to your use of the French language. If you keep these sayings in your repertoire intellectuel (intellectual repertoire), you will find your ability to impress the French significantly increased.
Do not forget that these are “widely applied” French proverbs, and their usage is very flexible. Within the space of a day, many occurrences would arise in which you could slip one or more of these in your day-to-day conversations. They will have instantaneous chameleon effect, because French people would (usually) only expect a French native to say these. You saying one will either amaze the French person, or give off the impression that you have refined mastery of the language. It is a cunning way to gain a foothold in French conversational territory, which is why rehearsing and applying them will only bring greater eloquence, clarity and cordial magnetism in your meetings with the French.
Reblog: Written by Hadley Freeman for the Guardian:
Real French women don’t resemble the stereotype peddled by endless guides to looking chic, having lovers, eating baguettes and staying thin
I’ve noticed that yet another book has come out telling us that we should all be more like Parisian women. To save me reading this book, can you tell me how to be more Parisian?
Pas de problème, mon petit chou-fleur! After French Women Don’t Get Fat, French Women Don’t Get Facelifts, French Children Don’t Throw Food, Like a French Woman and French Women Are Just Better Than You So Shut Up About the War Already Because They’re Thinner and Sexier and We All Know What’s Really Important So Nyahhh!, yet another crucial addition to this delightful genre arrives called How To Be Parisian Wherever You are.
I’m afraid I haven’t read the whole thing due to a severe allergy to books that are predicated on national stereotypes so tired they would make the producers of ’Allo ’Allo! balk, but I did read an extract (hard-working journalist, me), and I can tell you, this book looks pretty spectacular. It was written, we are told, by “four stunning and accomplished French women … [who are] talented bohemian iconoclasts”. Coo! Stunning andiconoclastic? That is so Frrrrench, n’est-ce pas? So let’s see how this “iconoclastic” book shatters some French stereotypes. Well, we are told that French women “take their scooter to buy a baguette”. Take their scooter to buy a baguette? I’m sorry, is this a book about how to be French or a GCSE Tricolore text book? What next, “Monsieur Dupont habite à la Rochelle et il aime aller a la piscine”? Anyway, carry on. What else do we clueless non-Frenchies have to do to be more like French women, please?
“Smoke like a chimney on the way to the countryside to get some fresh air.”
“Don’t feel guilty [about infidelity].”
“Cheat on your lover with your boyfriend.”
Wow, this book really blows the lid on French stereotypes, doesn’t it? Totally doesn’t rehash them at all. Mon Dieu! Ooh la la! Nicole Papa! Du vin, du pain, du Boursin!
Admittedly, I am not Parisian. However, half my family is, I lived in Paris for a while after university “studying very hard” (dossing about with my cousins) and my parents still live there, so I have some experience of the place. But the funny thing is, in all my life of being related to Parisians, visiting Parisians and eating baguettes with Parisians on their scooters, I have never once come across a single woman who fits the stereotype peddled by these books. These idiotic guides present an image that is about as representative of Parisians as Four Weddings and a Funeral is of the average Brit. Are there skinny, scary women in Paris who have lots of lovers and always look fabulous? Yes, probably, and I’m guessing they all live in the same tiny square mile off the Boulevard Saint-Germain. But I have never come across any of them, and I used to cover Paris fashion week. It is perhaps the greatest trick France has ever pulled, constantly telling the world how innately chic its people are, while actually not being especially different from any other country. After all, there are rich, skinny, scary women in all major cities. But it is only Paris where we’re led to believe that this tiny demographic is representative of the entire populace.
Seriously, who buys these books? Have they never seen a French person? Do they just forget that their French GCSE teacher didn’t look and dress like Catherine Deneuve? Or are they so filled with self-loathing that they’re willing to cling on to whatever ridiculous lie is peddled by the publishing industry as long as it comes with a promise of self-improvement? Je ne sais pas, c’est très bizarre (see? This “being French” lark is un morceau de gâteau.) We all know that national stereotypes exist, but whoever would have thought that an entire publishing genre could be built upon them? But I appreciate that the publishing industry is struggling, so to help them on their way, here are some other titles that might be worth pursuing:
1. How to Get the Best Sunlounger Round the Hotel Pool Like a German.
2. How to Say ‘I’m WAWKIN’ here, I’m WAWKIN’!’ Like a New Yorker.
3. How to Throw a Shrimp on the Barbie like an Australian.
I’m going to stop now because each of these ideas is gold and I can’t just give them away, you know. The point is, there is nothing inherently chic about Parisians – they just happen to speak French, which is a very chic-sounding language, and they live in a stonkingly beautiful city (which they only saved by being cheese-eating surrender monkeys to the Nazis – I wonder if any of these “How to be Parisian” guides give any tips about how to acquiesce most stylishly to invading fascists? Yeah. I went there.) But as there seems to be some sort of appetite for this nonsense, here – EXCLUSIVELY!!!! – is my guide to being Parisian:
Move to Paris.
Au revoir, mes petits! Je vous embrasse, ooh la la!
Jeux de la Francophonie (Nice): 7-15 September, the 7th edition of this cultural and athletic youth event will take place with sporting, traditional and creative competitions between participants representing French-speaking nations from around the globe. www.nicetourisme.com
France Gourmet Week known as “Tous Au Restaurant”22-28 September 2014. All over France for a whole week restaurants will put offer a buy one meal, get one free menu. Search on the website for participating restaurants:www.tousaurestaurant.com
Fete de la Gastronomie 26-28 September, every corner of France will come alive with events to celebrate its UNESCO-listed ‘world intangible heritage’ status. From grand-scale concerts to local sing-a-longs, Michelin-star set menus to small village banquets, the country will be in lively spirits to celebrate one of its most popular claims to fame. www.economie.gouv.fr/fete-gastronomie
Journées Européennes du Patrimoine – European Heritage Days: 20 and 21 September across the whole country, hundreds of historical buildings, famous monuments, Government sites and places of interest – some of which are normally closed to the public, open their doors and welcome in visitors. It is an amazing opportunity to explore and find out more about some truly fantastic buildings in France. Discover the heritage of France, more about Journées Européennes du Patrimoine. www.journeesdupatrimoine.culture.fr/
Information Source: TheGoodLifeFrance
Fifteen years after farmers infamously ransacked one of its restaurants to protest its “bad beef,” McDonald’s has conquered France.
Le Figaro calls it the “model student”: France is the suburban Chicago-based chain’s most profitable country outside the U.S. Sales were up 4.8% through the first seven months of the year, and CEO Jean-Pierre Petit, who is rounding his 10th year as McDonald’s France’s CEO, has said 2014 will be its greatest absolute sales year ever. In 2013 sales reached 4.46 billion euros.
The company now hires 3,000 workers a year and employs more than 69,000 workers in the country. Last year it announced it was going to invest 200 million Euros in expanding further. There are now more than 1,200 locations, including ones at the Louvre and Sorbonne, two on the Champs-Elysee, and all up and down the French Riviera. It has the most locations per capita in Europe and the fourth-highest rate in the world.
But France is supposed to have an uneasy relationship with American culture at best, and a militant disgust at worse. How did this happen?
McDonald’s first came to France in 1972, after a French restaurateur convinced Chicago that he could solve the firm’s European growth woes. Soon after the first store opened, just outside Paris, a reporter wrote that the American chain would have difficulty catching on as it would have to persuade “the French to eat with their hands.”
That correspondent would end up eating his words as the restaurateur, Raymond Dayan, had opened 14 restaurants by 1978, serving six million meals a year, according to L’Express’ Benjamin Neumann. A correspondent for Le Point said the chain seemed to be “prospering,” thanks, it seems, to the then-novelty of fast food and the lack of competition — “Quick,” a Belgian chain and Francophone Europe’s first homegrown one, didn’t come to France until 1980.
But sometime between 1978 and 1982, Dayan refused an offer from Chicago to buy out his group, which had licensed his franchises at 1% commission instead of the usual minimum of 5%. Chicago also began accusing his restaurants of being filthy. Dayan later attempted to sue, but he lost. McDonald’s never forgave him, having been forced to shut down its operations throughout the country f0r 13 months. The company’s official history now dates the first McDonald’s in France to 1979.
But by 1988, enough interest had returned that they were able to open the country’s first drive-thru (“McDrive”) in suburban Paris. The New York Times reported that the French officials had realized the key was to go after families and young adults who had spent time in the U.S. or the U.K.
As the chain slowly expanded into France’s breadbasket — and the U.S. and EU negotiated lowering food tariffs — demonstrations picked up.
In 1992, protesters lit a bonfire outside a McDonald’s to protest the signing of the Blair House Accord, which made it easier for American agricultural products to enter the continent.
Things culminated in 1999, when José Bové, a sheep farmer and activist, lead a group of fellow growers in dismantling a location under construction in the south of France.
Bové was protesting retaliatory sanctions the Clinton administration had imposed on imported Roquefort cheese and foie gras after the EU banned American beef treated with hormones (the mutual good feeling of the Blair House Accord had not lasted). He was sentenced to three months is prison.
The stunt made Bové a star of the anti-globalization movement and cemented for some the idea that McDonald’s remained intolerable to France. Even Prime Minister Lionel Jospin called the demonstration “just.”
Yet even as he sat in jail, France was already approaching 1,000 locations.
“The French like to be a little disruptive, provocative,” Dennis Hennequin, the former chief of McDonald’s France who in 2005 jumped to the head of McDonald’s Europe, told The New York Times in 2006. “Yet at the same time they vote with their feet.”
The Bové incident may have actually proved the key to unlocking McDonald’s France’s stunning decade-long takeoff, as it was now under more pressure than ever to correct national misperceptions as well as address valid criticisms.
TV5 Monde – Burning of McDonalds VIDEO HERE
So, Hennequin said, the company started explaining why it belonged in French society. It heralded items with ingredients that were locally grown, and explained its importance for young job-seekers.
“Without any cynicism, I thank Bové for helping us grow into that role,” he said.
Hennequin spent 20 years with the company and helped guide the firm through the Bové incident, but another man may deserve even more credit for McDonald’s recent spectacular growth. In 2004, Jean-Phillipe Petit, the founder of one of France’s most successful ad agencies and who served under Hennequin through much of his tenure, took the reins after Hennequin left to run Accor hotels.
Under Petit, McDonald’s continued to ramp up homegrown products, including increasing volumes of Charolais beef, government-certified cheese, and potatoes grown by McCain Group’s French affiliate. Petit also expanded the company’s product line to include more traditional French items like baguettes and pastries. And he has brought the restaurants into the 21st century: It’s possible to order online, or on one’s phone, and many now have Wi-Fi.
“‘McDo’ has succeeded in synthesizing its American DNA with French culture,” he said recently according to Le Figaro.
Last year, Petit published a book, “I Sold My Soul to McDonald’s,” in which he discussed his 20 years in the company’s marketing department and 10 as chief, despite not even having eaten his first hamburger until age 30.
“I adapted McDonald’s system to our own society, while saying ‘No’ to received ideas and leading the change,” he writes. “I couldn’t have done it without McDonald’s own guidance and without the confidence always accorded to me by American and French shareholders, as well as franchise owners spread out over 958 French communities.”
Marketing has played a key role in earning back the French psyche. Petit was able to persuade the home office to change the country’s logo to green …
As well as open McCafés that serve French macarons:
Finally, he positioned the company as a cornerstone of the lives of young people. The group says it will create 9,000 net jobs between 2012 and 2014, a pace it says it will maintain between 2015 and 2017, although most of the entry-level positions are minimum wage. Petit recently told an audience that besides school, McDonald’s was now the most important source of socialization in France. Having never graduated from college, Petit also touts the chain as a stable source of employment for young adults without diplomas.
McDonald’s growth is unquestionable. How it has come up with the money to do so, however, is now an open question.
Earlier this year, L’Express reporter Emmanuel Paquette broke the story that McDonald’s had allegedly been using a Luxembourg corporation to avoid paying French taxes. McDonald’s has denied any wrongdoing and said the inquiry was routine. It did not respond to numerous requests for comment.
“There doesn’t seem to be any doubt that the American firm has engaged in actions that could link to fiscal evasion, as opposed to an ‘optimization of tax planning,'” David Lair, a French attorney who has studied the case, told Business Insider in an online exchange. “But the fiscal authorities will have to prove it.”
The Luxembourg entity reported profit of $172 million and taxes of $3.2 million, according to Bloomberg, and it has received more than $1 billion in royalties. Bloomberg also notes the company reported a 4.1 percentage point drop in its 2012 tax rate thanks to “tax benefits related to certain foreign operations.”
If found guilty, Lair said, France would have to pay back what it is owed plus a 0.4% interest rate for each month of liability.
McDonald’s faces other challenges, too. Its share of France’s “commercialized dining out” sector, which includes any chain restaurant as well as schools and hospitals, stands at just 12.5% and has begun to stagnate, according to Le Figaro. France’s dining-out frequency, at one in seven meals, remains far below the U.K.’s one in three and America’s one in two. French people average only about 60 fast-food trips a year, compared with 150 for Americans.
And, according to Le Figaro, McDonald’s has not released data showing what the average performance per restaurant looks like.
For now one can find evidence everywhere that McDonald’s has become a highly sophisticated operation whose economic presence is not only immovable but critical to France. Demonstrators recently protested against a local town that had barred the construction of a McDonald’s. This November the company became the official partner of Paris Saint-Germain, France’s most important soccer team.
Nor has it entirely had to shed its American attributes to achieve its status. The company actually ran a contest called “American Summer,” its version of the popular Monopoly giveaway in the U.S. Certain foods came with tearaway sheets that could be redeemed for prizes like a Frisbee, headphones, a GoPro, or a Florida beach towel.
Flipping through the company’s Facebook page, which has 1.3 million likes and more 772,000 visits, one discovers the same amusing combination of English words and “Euro” concepts first poked fun at in “Pulp Fiction.”
McDonald’s Corp. needs all the help it can get. Shares have fallen sharply in the past two months after suffering its worst monthly sales drop in over a decade, and it is currently fighting through a tainted beef scandal with recalls in China and Russia, two other major markets.
Source/Credit: Business Insider