Photo of the Week


Left to right: Eiffel Tower, Louvre Pyramid, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and Ferris Wheel. © Paris Update


Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

Drawing through the ages

"Apples" (1944), by Henri Matisse. Eric Coatalem Gallery.

> Salon du Dessin: 39 galleries showing works on paper, from Old Masters to contemporary. Palais Brogniart, Paris, March 22-27.

Contemporary drawing fair
> Drawing Now: 73 galleries, Carreau du Temple, Paris, March 23-26.

More contemporary drawings
>Ddessin: 20 galleries. Atelier Richelieu, Paris, March 24-26.

Art and design fair
> PAD (Paris Art + Design),
67 galleries, Tuileries Garden, Paris, March 22-26.

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, March 23-May 28.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Audrey Dana's Si j'Étais un Homme, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, Feb. 24.

Documentary film festival
> Cinéma du Réel showcases documentaries from around the world. Various venues, Paris, March 24-April 2.

Suburban blues
> The Banlieues Bleues festival brings major French and international jazz acts to the Paris suburbs. Various venues, through March 31.

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.




Hot Topics - C'est ironique !


C’est Ironique Sign of the Weeque

Paris Update Bad-French-at-Midway-Airport

Spotted by reader Mary Beth Dietrick

I have decided this week to suspend my usual policy of making fun of bad English on French shop signs and, in the name of equality, make fun of bad French on an American shop sign. This is (or was — the photo dates from 2012) the front door of an allegedly French bakery-eatery at Chicago’s Midway airport.

Francophones are already cringing, but for the sake of readers who don’t read français, here’s a rundown of what’s wrong here:

1) In this context, the use of “les” in les sandwiches pains (“the bread sandwiches”) implies that these are the only sandwiches made with bread anywhere on the planet. An unlikely claim.

2) The standard French plural of “sandwich” is the seemingly unpronounceable sandwichs (although, to my dismay, I’ve been seeing more and more use of the “e” in recent years).

3) “Pains” (breads) shouldn’t be plural.

4, 5 and 6) Having looked up “spirits” in the dictionary and picked the wrong definition (“esprit” means “spirit,” as in “soul” or “essence”; the word for hard liquor would be alcools”), the sign painter then spelled it wrong and failed to make it plural.

7) Why isn’t “beer” translated? My guess: the manager surmised (astutely) that while most American wine drinkers would understand vin,” most beer drinkers would take one look at “bière” and head for the Hooters next door.

8 and 9) Apéritif is misspelled and should be plural.

10, 11 and 12) Fraise friutes is just weird. I can only hope that it’s supposed to mean “strawberries and other fruits,” in which case “fraise” should be plural, “fruits” should be spelled right, and something should be added to make the phrase comprehensible.

13 and 14) Errors 1 and 2 (but not 3) are repeated in the line about croissant sandwiches.

15) The word for “pastries” would be “pâtisseries.”

Score: 17 words, 15 mistakes. At least their pasteries are made with espirit.

Have you seen a ridiculous sign in Paris? Or anywhere in France? Send me a photo in care of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.