Photo of the Week

ParisUpdate-bicycles-courtyard

Bicycles in a Parisian courtyard. © Paris Update

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Stick up for science
> The Paris March for Science begins at 1pm at the Jardin des Plantes (Place Valhubert), April 22.

Silent films from Switzerland?
> They’re rare, but they do exist and can be seen at the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Paris, April 20-May 2.

Voices from the North
> The Pølar Festival celebrates Northern European culture with films, concerts, talks and more. Various locations, Paris, April 19-29.

Photo walk
> Eight Paris galleries hold special photography shows and events for Parcours Fotofever. Various locations, Paris, through May 1.

Photo shows galore
> Le Mois de la Photo has been moved from autumn to spring, with 96 exhibitions taking place all over the greater Paris area. See Web site for locations and dates.

Art videos
> The theme of this year’s Videobox Festival is “noise and movement.” Carreau du Temple, Paris, April 27-29.

Take home a winemaker
> Winemakers from Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux come to Paris to offer tastings of their products in wine bars and private homes for the event J’Irai Déguster chez Vous. Various venues, Paris, April 20-22.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Nicolas Bedos’s Monsieur & Madame Adelman preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, April 21.

Polaroid pix
> The “Expolaroid” exhibition features Polaroid images by nine artists. La Maison des Ensembles, Paris, through April 25.

Binge-watching
> Festival Séries Mania shows TV series from around the world and holds debates, conferences and special guests like Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife,” all for free. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 23.

Travel yarns
> Travel fanatics get together at the Paris Travelers Festival to swap tales of their adventures. FIAP, Paris, April 22-23.

Street art indoors

ParisUpdate-UrbanArtFair-Felipe-Pantone-2
The gallery Art in the Game will be showing works by Felipe Pantone at the Urban Art Fair.> Some 30 galleries show street art at the Urban Art Fair. Carreau du Temple, Paris, April 20-23.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 13.

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Hot Topics - C'est ironique !

 

French Complaining

complaining in france

In Paris, “carpe diem” seems to mean “complain all day,” even in gorgeous weather.

I think the French get an unfair rap in the national stereotypes department. They’re supposedly rude, snobbish, overdelicate, cowardly and indifferent to hygiene. Obviously, none of these ...

complaining in france

In Paris, “carpe diem” seems to mean “complain all day,” even in gorgeous weather.

I think the French get an unfair rap in the national stereotypes department. They’re supposedly rude, snobbish, overdelicate, cowardly and indifferent to hygiene. Obviously, none of these things is true across the board. There is, however, one preconceived notion about the French that I am tempted to corroborate, namely that they are incorrigible grousers.

I’ll cite an example. We all know that it’s pointlessly unpleasant to gripe about bad weather. But consider this conversation I overheard at a bus stop on Rue Custine one beautiful spring day last year:

Well-dressed elderly man: “The bus is late again. It’s always late, but 22 minutes?!”

Well-dressed elderly woman: “Well, at least we have nice weather.”

Well-dressed elderly man: “Nice weather! Nice weather?! I’ve had it with people going on and on about the nice weather! Maybe it’s great when you’re young, but I’m sick and tired of nice weather!”

Where else but in France would a cloudless 77°F day be a grievance? But one of his countrymen topped him just a few weeks later.

It was a nice (again!) Saturday afternoon and a lot of people were out shopping, including me. At one point I was walking up a side street near the big Boulevard Haussmann department stores, which were swarmed that day — which made it all the more unusual that there was no one else on the block except two youngish guys about 30 yards ahead of me, walking in the same direction and having a very animated conversation. I couldn’t hear what they were saying but they were both ardently involved in the discussion, which apparently required lots of gesticulating, and perhaps as a result they were moving more slowly than I was.

As I gained on them, they abruptly stopped talking and one of them looked back, glaring incandescently at me as though I should know perfectly well that I was butting in on their private reserved members-only sidewalk. Maybe they were plotting a murder, I don’t know.
In any case, they remained dead silent until I was well past them, which took a good 20 seconds or so. Then just as I pulled out of earshot I heard one of the guys hiss to the other, “Goddammit, if there’s one thing that really pisses me off, it’s pedestrians!”

For those who prefer their French quotes in the original, what he actually said was, “Putain, qu’est-ce qu’ils sont chiants, les piétons!” With the word “piétons” (“pedestrians”) spit out the way Nicolas Sarkozy says “labor unions.” And the way union members say “Nicolas Sarkozy.”

Hmmm. So the fact that people walk on sidewalks really gets this guy’s chèvre. You see what I mean about the French being grousers? I’ve been complaining about this almost every day ever since I moved here.

David Jaggard

Reader Ronald Hurwitz writes: "Don't you think that calling those jerks 'grousers' is an affront to the poor, defenseless little birds, the grouse?! And they're also quite delicious."

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