Photo of the Week


Humor on the hoardings spotted before the first round of the French elections: “John Goodman (Jean Gentilhomme) for President,” the candidate of the “Nice Peoples' Party. That would make a change. © Paris Update












Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Silent films from Switzerland?


> They’re rare, but they do exist and can be seen at the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Paris, through May 2.

Retail heaven
> You can buy just about anything at the century-old Foire de Paris, a gigantic pop-up store. Porte de Versailles, Paris. April 27-May 8.

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

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Nicolas Boukhrief’s La Confession, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, April 28.

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.


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.