Thursday, September 29, 2005


Claude François (aka Cloclo) was a huge disco star in the late sixties and seventies. Surounded by dancers aptly named Claudettes, he rose to fame with catchy songs, lavish costumes and amazing dance routines. Among his many successes, he is credited for writing a song titled"Comme d'habitude" ("As usual"), that would eventually get translated to English and become one of the most famous songs ever, "My way". Other titles you may want to look up include Le téléphone pleure (the telephone cries) Le Lundi au soleil (Monday under the sun) Chanson populaire (popular song) Cette année-là (that year) Alexandrie, Alexandra... and much more.

Claude François died in 1978, alegedly from electric shock when trying to fix a lightbulb while taking a bath.

There is an 8-CD box set for real fans, or a number of best-of CDs that provide nice introductions to the disco king.

Also to be noted, a recent French comedy titled Podium, starring Belgian star Benoît Poelvoorde, that depicts the life of a Claude François impersonator.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


un ananas (the 's' may or may not be silent, depending on your personal taste) = a pineapple
une pastèque = a watermelon

Monday, September 26, 2005

A la soupe!

There are two words to designate soup in French (well, more if you count consommé, crême and other fancy ones):
une soupe
un potage
There are some references that explain de difference between the two, but it remains subtle. Soupe has a more traditional connotation, and typically consists of a broth with some other ingredients thrown in (vegetables, meat etc), whereas a potage is typically thickened by using pureed ingredients (e.g. vegetables) or somehing else (egg,...).

Here is a recipe for cabbage soup (soupe au chou), that also happens to be the title of a classic French comedy starring Louis de Funès

Friday, September 23, 2005


Today, some French beers:
Kronenbourg (or "Kro" for short): not expensive, but not tasty either
1664 ("Seize-cent soixante-quatre"): cheap, not that good, also made by Kronembourg
Pelforth: reasonably priced but terrible

Come to think about it, I don't think we make any good beer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


(un) renard (the 'd' is silent) = a fox
rusé comme un renard = cunning as a fox
un renard des surfaces = a fox in the penalty term referring to an attacker who's always sniffing for the slightest goal opportunity

Monday, September 19, 2005

Rions un peu

(une) blague (pronounced "blahg") = a joke

C'est une blague! = It was a joke!
C'est une blague? = You're kidding, right ?
Blague à part... = seriously though..

Speaking of blagues, here's the funniest thing I read today. Most of it seems to be true from what I can tell.

Friday, September 16, 2005


(un) pot (the 't' is silent) = a pot, a jar

prendre un pot = to have a drink (literally to take a pot)
on prend un pot ? = let's have a drink ?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

En vrac

(un) bric-à-brac (pronounced breek-a-brak)= a disorganized set of things, a mess
(une) rubrique (ru - breek) = a (newspaper/magazine) section

Rubrique-à-brac is not only a fantastic pun, it is also the title of a bande dessinée (comic) series by Gotlib, first published in the weekly comic magazine from the late 70's "Pilote". As the title implies, subjects range from detective stories to wildlife reports, fairy tales and unlikely explanations as to how Isaac Newton formulated his gravitational law. Deliciously insane.

English readers, here is an article on Gotlib.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


entraver = to hinder, to obstruct. Also, slang for "understand"

E.g. entrave à la justice = obstruction of justice
j'entrave que dalle = I don't understand anything (slang).

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


rien = nothing

Tu veux quoi ? Rien = What do you want ? Nothing

Monday, September 12, 2005

Le pain

(le) pain = bread
(la) mie (pronounced 'mee') = the inside of the bread, when the crust is removed
(la) croûte (pronounced 'croot') = the crust
(le) croûton = the tip of a bread, or a crouton

le pain de mie = sliced bread
se vendre comme des petits pains= to sell like hot cakes (literally like small breads)
ça ne mange pas de pain = it doesn't cost anything (literally it doesn't eat bread)
je ne mange pas de ce pain-là = I won't have anything to do with it (literally I don't eat that kind of bread)

(un) pain is also slang for a punch, as in:
je lui ai mis un pain = I punched him

Friday, September 09, 2005


enrober (de) = to coat something (with)

e.g. des amandes enrobées de sucre = almonds coated with sugar

enrobé(e) as an adjective meens coated, but also a little fat, for a person. For example, Obélix, the fat sidekick of Gaulish comic book character Astérix, likes to point out he's not gros (fat), just "enrobé"

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Useless word of the day

Anticonstitutionnellement = unconstitutionally

Supposedly the longest word in French. I won't even try to explain how it's pronounced, I have enough trouble with it myself.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tu sors!

(une) porte = a door (the 'e' is silent)

prendre la porte = to leave (literally: to take the door)
enfoncer une porte ouverte = to state the obvious (literally: to break down an open door)
c'est la porte ouverte à... = it's an open invitation to (literally: it's an open door to...)

E.g.: c'est la porte ouverte à toutes les fenêtres! = it's an open door to all windows!

Which is an obviously absurd, meaningless but funny variation to the standard expression. It comes from the comedy La vérité si je mens (or its sequel, not sure)

It's now widely used, and I suspect some people think it actually means something :-)

Friday, September 02, 2005

An unusual verb

la sauce = sauce. Pretty straightforward, except the pronunciation is slightly different in French: the o sound is the same as in boring, at least in the northern parts of France. The southern accent would be very close to the English pronunciation.

saucer = to wipe something with a piece of bread, usually sauce left in a plate.
E.g. passe-moi le pain, je veux saucer = give me the bread, I want to wipe the sauce.
se faire saucer = to get soaked
E.g. on s'est fait saucer = we got soaked

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Synonyms for coward:
un lâche (pronounced lash)
un trouillard (troo - yar)
un froussard (froo - ss - ar)
un couard (coo - ar)
une poule mouillée (pool - moo - yay), literally "a wet chick"
une fillette (fee - yet), literally "a little girl"

La trouille and la frousse both mean the same as la peur =fear.