Thursday, March 1, 2012

What’s Miss France 2012 going to do now - goodbye dear ‘mademoiselle’….

Whilst we are passionate about equality in this modern world and fiercely defend the individuals right to be who they are and what they are we did feel a little sad this week when we learnt that the French Government are to banish the word ‘mademoiselle’ from all official forms and registries. 

It has long been the case (since 1690 in fact and entering  into official use when Napoleon I created the French Civil Code ) that on all official documents there has been a choice of ‘Mademoiselle’, ‘Madame’ or ‘Monsieur ‘  in all places where you need to give your name.

The move came after several months of advocacy campaigning from two French feminist organizations who have long argued that the word ‘mademoiselle’ makes reference without justification or necessity to a woman’s matrimonial status.  This is directly opposite to the word monsieur which is applied to all adult men. 

Of course that is right and yes we recognize the fact the UK now widely use the expression Ms. and Germany have already banished the word ‘Fraulein’ but we can’t help thinking that there is a little loss of romanticism from the French language here.

Should ‘le Madame Francaise’ now worry , as some opposing groups have identified, that the loss of the word ‘mademoiselle’ dilutes the impression of youth and should we all worry that this now complicates matters for ‘le Monsieur Francais’?

 And we can’t help wondering what the lovely Delphine Wespiser, Miss France 2012 is going to do now ……..?

‘Au revoir ma belle mademoiselle’

Monday, February 27, 2012

Marks & Spencer sandwich for lunch ..... long gone are those days!

Now we know that France, as with the majority of  European countries, is known for its long lunch breaks.  We also agree that there is nothing more frustrating than being out in the car and deciding to pop into the local DIY store to pick up that tube of sealant that we have been meaning  to get for the last three weeks, only to find that they have been closed for 10 minutes and will not open again for another hour and 20; but there is a very good reason why ......

Lunch is sacrisanct here and today has been a very good example.  We met friends, some French some English, for a Routier style lunch in one of the many bistro bars in the commercial areas of St Malo.  When we arrived the place was heaving and the majority of customers were the many local artisans who fully expect to take their two hour lunch break , whoever they are working for.

So remembering the many lunchtimes when I just managed to dash out of the office, run into the nearest Marks and Spencer, buy a sandwich, a salad and a soft drink (for probably close to £9) run back to the office and start working again immediately, I appreciated one of the many reasons why I moved to France.

After a couple of cider aperitifs, we sat down to a meal that for me consisted of:

Rillette de Viande
(a soft and delicious potted meat served with cornichon and a slice of local saucisson sec)

followed by .....

Jambon Roti avec sauce madeira
(one of the thickest and most tender slices of roast ham with a rich and piquant sauce)
served with mashed potato

followed by .......

A delicious selection of rustic cheese with one of the best goats cheeses I have ever tasted.

followed by ........

A rich creme brulee and coffee.

A caraffe of red wine that seemed to be filled as soon as it was empty and all for 11€20 (at todays rate about £9.50).

Marks & Spencers deservedly have a reputation for a quality pre-packed sandwich but mixed with the excellent company,  I know where I would rather be........