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James Thurber - Funnier In French
James Thurber was once approached at a cocktail party by a female admirer who declared that his work was even funnier in French. "Yes," Thurber replied, "I always seem to lose something in the original."
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When Tristan Bernard Had Tea With A Stingy Host
The French playwright Tristan Bernard had tea one day with a notoriously stingy hostess, who offered the writer a plate of babas (cakes) au rhum, each of which she had cut in half. "Thank you, madame," said Bernard, politely helping himself, "I will have a ba."  
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Eleanor Of Aquitaine - By The Wrath Of God
At age 15, Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII, King of France. Her subsequent petition for divorce from Louis was based on the claim that they were too closely related for the marriage to have been legal in the eyes of God (and the church). In 1154, just two years after the marriage was annulled, Eleanor married Henry II of England. "I am Queen of England," she drily remarked, "by the wrath of God." [At age 19, she knelt in the cathedral of Vezelay (before the celebrated Abbe Bernard of Clairvaux) and offered him thousands of her vassals for the Second Crusade. Dressed like an Amazon, Eleanor galloped through the crowds on a white horse, urging them to join the ...
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Belinda Carlisle - Learning French
In March 1993, Go-Go's frontwoman Belinda Carlisle, inspired by Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence, moved to the South of France with her husband, movie producer Morgan Mason, and their small son. Though Carlisle started learning French before the move, she soon found that her efforts were academic. "I thought I had a good grasp of it until I had to speak it in France," she later recalled. "Someone tried to explain how to work the washing machine, and I just broke down and sobbed." As for shopping? "Everything's a struggle—just figuring out what kind of shampoo you're buying. But I love the three aisles of wine and five aisles of cheese."
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How Gallium Got Its Name
In 1874, the French chemist Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran discovered a new element. Knowing that it would be improper to name an element after himself, Lecoq named it "gallium" after Gallia—the Latin name for what is now France. Gallus, however, also means "rooster" in Latin and le coq means "the rooster" in French. Lecoq, is seems, was wrily doing some crowing of his own.
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Woody Allen - Hot In France
Perhaps surprisingly, a survey of French women once revealed that the man to whom they were most attracted was... director Woody Allen. Woody himself may have shed some light upon the issue: "For some reason I'm more appreciated in France than I am back home," he remarked. "The subtitles must be incredibly good!" * Allen was also once named one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history by Britain's Empire magazine (#89).
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Jo Brand & Linda LaPlante
During an interview one day, Jo Brand asked Bradley Cooper if he had heard of French writer Linda LaPlante. He had not. "She's a writer," said Brand. "She's French. Her name in English is Linda 'the' plant."
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Wellington: French Officers
When several French officers, embittered by their recent defeat at Waterloo, turned their backs on Wellington at the Congress of Vienna after the Napoleonic wars, King Louis (or, according to some accounts, an admirer) approached the duke to express his sympathies. Wellington thanked her, before wryly adding, "I have seen their backs before." ["I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy," Wellington once said of his own generals, "but they terrify me!"]
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French Invasion
Metternich once approvingly remarked that Lord John Dudley was the only Englishman he had met who could speak French properly: "The common people of Vienna speak French better than the educated men of London," he declared. "That may be so," Dudley replied, "but Your Highness will observe that Bonaparte has not been twice in London to teach them."
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Depede Mode's French critics
Martin Gore and his Depeche Mode bandmates drew their name from a French expression meaning "Fast Fashion." The band's French critics, however, derived perverse pleasure calling them Depede Mode. The English translation? "Dirty Pedophiles."