Photo of the Week

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Sunset over La Defense © Paris Update

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris

English-language theater festival

ParisUpdate-ParisFringe-Geometrika300

> Paris Fringe returns for its second year of English-language theater and comedy. Various venues, Paris, May 18-28.

Pre-Edinburgh play
> Sugar Baby, by Anne Penketh and starring Holly-Rose Clegg, will play in Paris before moving on to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  La Chapelle des Lombards, Paris, May 20.

Annie in English
> The International Players present the musical Annie. Le Quai 3, Le Pecq, May 18-21.

Late-night art
> Museums stay open into the night for free and hold special events for the Nuit Européenne des Musées. Various locations. Paris, May 16.

Left Bank gallery crawl
> Open house at 50 galleries for Art Saint Germain des Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Gold in galleries
> The Carré Rive Gauche, an association of Left Bank galleries celebrates its 40th anniversary with an event called ExtrORdinaire, featuring gold in works of art. Opening night: May 18. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

All that jazz...
> Jazz acts ranging from amateurs to big names at the Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 11-22.

Literary Latin Quarter
> Readings, book signings, storytelling, concerts and more at the Quartier du Livre festival. Various venues, Paris, May 17-24.

Emerging artists
> The Salon de Montrougehas been exhibiting the work of young artists every year for 62 years. Le Beffroi, Montrouge, through May 24.

Plays from all over Europe
> The Chantiers d'Europe festival presents theatrical performances from Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Croatia and the United Kingdom. Théâtre de la Ville–Espace Pierre Cardin, May 2-24

Hollywood glam
> Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and more in classic films from Hollywood's Golden Age for the Glamour cycle. Forum des Images, Paris, May 3-31

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.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Emmanuelle Cuau’s Pris de Court, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, May 19.

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.

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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."

Click here for more C'est Ironique! columns.

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