France on h2g2 - The French Connection

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Last Updated: August 31st 2002

Chercheuses, chercheurs, Bonjour!1

French figures

Well, I figured that it might be a good idea to have a page as a centre for all things connected with France, the French culture, language, cuisine and anything else generally 'français'! If anyone has any suggestions, questions or requests feel free to drop me a line on this page or on my U-page. smiley - ok

H2g2 Coup de coeur de la semaine: It's summer holiday time so here's an idea of somewhere to go if you happen to be in north-east France soaking up the rain - Few people realise that the little blue cheery-chappies of seventies TV fame have their very own (well, shared with some kind of Euro-kangaroo thingy) theme park. Discover the joys of Walibi Schtroumpf thanks to Bonne Etoile2 for the low-down.

Below you will find some news from France, links to h2g2 entries, outside links and even the odd conversation thread. French language postings are acceptable but may be moderated if too involved. This depends on the French skills of individual moderators and thus varies from post to post. A good rule of thumb is that most simple phrases pass muster so it is best to avoid vocab much beyond intermediate level. If you want to chat with some other French speakers, there is an interesting thread called Let's Parlez Franglais! Venez nombreux!

The 'Paris - France' in the title is just so that the h2g2 search engine picks it up with all the usual search words. If anyone knows some clever way to do 'keywords' for entries, I'd love to hear about it. Alternatively, some clever, witty title that is not too long, gets all the words in and sounds good... Any offers?

Latest News

It's August and France is on holiday, so there ain't no latest news til September, now

We have a cycling correspondent! LuckyStar has set up this Tour de France 2002 page to keep us all informed as to how they are all getting on (Good luck Lucky!). If anyone wants to contribute some commentary, or just chat about the Tour, please feel free to do so in this thread.

In the meantime, here's an fun and informative entry on the Red Devil, who has carved himself a permanent role on the TdeF scene since he first appeared capering at the roadside nearly ten years ago.

June 26th - Good news for foreign language postings smiley -

Latest news is that 'some' foreign language postings will pass, as long as the moderator on hand can recognise that their is nothing dodgy about it. This is a great result really, as many people can 'understand' foreign languages much better than they can actually use them.

I think that must be why some foreign language postings were going completely unmoderated whilst other equally harmless f-l posting would be referred. Anyway, limited freedom is some freedom, and it seems as though anyone who wishes to hold a civilised discussion in understandable French is free to do so on this page.

PLEASE don't be upset if postings get moderated. They will probably come back eventually, and we can always re-post. The moderators have their limitations like all of us. :)

Well, that's the news...

France in Real Life

H2g2 books in French

Yes, they do exist in translation in French, and yes, i really have actually bought a copy, from a bookshop in deepest Alsace, which is pretty deeply French. I gave the first book to a friend whose sense of humour seemed to be receptive to DNA's style, and i was not mistaken. Not only did he lap up the first one, he promptly went out and bought the 'restaurant' of his own volition.

This is not all (you will have guessed that by now my friend has read the lot - not checked whether DG is easily available in Frog, but it undoubtedly will be in print). He also passed it on to his 16 year-old daughter who had over-heard him raving about it. Once again, the DNA magic did it's stuff (though from what they tell me the translator must have had to do some pretty spectacular verbal acrobatics to deal with some of the names and word-plays. Of course, Slartibartfast is funny in *any* language! smiley - . She too has read the lot and I am proud to say I've done my little bit in bringing a bit of classic British comic literature to our European neighbours.

smiley - smiley - smiley - World Cup News Les Bleus Return Home Empty Handed
smiley - smiley - smiley -

France return from World Cup 2002 in Japan/South Korea early after failing to score a single goal!smiley - yikes

Nobody in France really saw the victory coming in 1998, despite the tournament being on held on home soil. Then the French stars divided and conquered Europe's biggest clubs, only Dugarry staying in France (the French fiscal system leaves clubs unable to pay the huge salaries of modern football stars), coming back together to win the European Championship in 2000. This was the 'proof of the pudding', in many pundits views, because the '98 final had been such a shambles. In 2000, with Brazil in decline, the French football team really looked like the best in the world.

But they returned home from the 2002 World Cup without scoring a goal


- the first title-defender ever to do so badly! They were without their acclaimed playmaker and French superstar Zinedine Zidane for their first two matches, providing the first shock of the tournament by losing to Senegal in the opening match. Then the early sending off of Thierry Henry, arguably victim of some harsh refereeing, left them to fight off the Uruguayans for over an hour in what was a very physical game. Neither side managed to score and the French were left needing to beat Denmark 2-0 in order to qualify.

In spite of this I found many French fans optimistic that their side would pull the necessary result out of the hat with the return of their all-powerful magician, Zizou le magnifique. In the event Zidane seemed not to have fully recovered from the thigh injury that had kept him out of the first two encounters. Denmark were strong and France seemed unable to find their rhythme. 2-0 was indeed the restult, but it was the Danes who found the net. France never did in Japan and Korea in 2002, and their will be much said in the coming days about where it all went wrong. C'est la vie!

France rejects National Front presidential candidate

So in the end Jean-Marie Le Pen scored under 20% in the second 2nd round! Jospin has retired from political life and President Chirac has another five years at the helm. The new conservative government is headed by a relative unknown from the mid-west Poitou region named Jean-Pierre Raffarin. A disappointment for young hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy, one Chirac's leading supporter and spokesman. Their will be new elections to the National Assembly in June, though, and the new right-wing coalition between the Chiracist RPR and sections of the more liberal UDF may not be in government very long if the Socialist party have their way.

Landslide victory for Chirac's UMP

Legislative Election results - first round.

A new record low turnout, in spite of all that was said about abstentions letting in Le Pen in the presidentials!

A comfortable majority for Chirac's Union for a Majority for the President party (UMP) - cobbled together from the various right-wing groupings.

Second round - as expected, large majority of the UMP.
This gives Jacques Chirac almost total power in France. One current affairs magazine has a full frontal of Chirac 'enthroned' in a handsome antique 'fauteil' - looking very regal, quoi!. It is quite true that as long as he keeps all those deputies who fell into line with his new right-wing group he is holding all the strings. There is considerable pressure on the new president and his new government to *use* this power and have something to show for it, and not just in five years time, but in five *months*! They want results!

In keeping with tradition, Prime Minister Raffarin officially handed the President of the Republic his resignation, a purely symbolic act before being re-instated. Indeed, most of the interim government formed in May remain in their posts. The notable exception is a certain X who has resigned because of accusations of involvement in the illegal funding of his political party.

The Guignols

The Guignols is an excellent 5 minute puppet-based satire tv programme, broadcast every evening on Canal+ (de-crypted for non-subscribers) and satirising the main news programme on rival TF1. Those in the UK who remember Spitting Image would recognise the style. Chirac is currently being lampooned as 'Supermenteur' (Superliar'), when dodgy right-wing cronies get asked awkward questions Chirac disappears on some ridiculous pretext and in a flash - Supermenteur arrives on the scene and saves the day by coming up with some outrageous political lies (some of which are fearsomely close to his *actual* statements!). It's pretty harsh on old Jacquot, but great fun! smiley - laugh

An interesting character on the show is Sly Stallone. The Stallone puppet is almost never used to portray the muscle-bound actor of Rocky and Rambo fame, but rather various aspects of the US generally. He appears in different costumes, each indicating in some way who he represents in a given sketch or slot. In a suit he is usually just the behind the scenes power-mongers of the US administration.

For instance, Bush is portrayed as sub-humanly stupid and never appears without his 'aide', Stallone. The President never speaks for himself but is usually seen 'playing' in the background. A typical example of his antics was a scene where he shoots himself in the head and Sly says, "It's ok, he didn't hit any vital organs!" Or there was the time when some specialist doctors were called in to try to locate the presidential grey matter but gave up, leaving a torch inside his empty skull and switching off the lights in the oval office to give a halloween lamp effect. You get the idea.

In another less obvious guise, Sly is dressed in black and purple church robes and represents the Catholic church. He has a 'dictionary of excuses' for all the various scandals (often rather sordid, in fact) that churchmen are involved in.

When wearing a suit and glasses, the same puppet embodies the forces of 'evil, uncaring, megalomaniac capitalist corporations' and laughs in the face of French social security policies. In this guise he usually refers to the French as the 'smelly cheeses'. This is quite a good indicator of the anti-globalisation/anti-americanism tendency present in parts of modern French culture.

France on h2g2

The edited guide has a France section containing lots of articles relating to... well, i won't say it. There is also an edited guide entry on France. It's a bit hit and miss, if you ask me. If anyone's interested, perhaps it would be worth preparing an update.

There is a university project about Paris, France's capital city. It includes quite a good variety of articles about places of interest, driving tips, food and drink etc. Well worth a visit if you're planning a trip or just interested in finding out about this wonderful city.

Executioner poised to chop off m'Lady's head

The storming of the Bastille; Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette with her famous 'Let them eat cake!' (why did she say that?); Robespierre, StJust and the terror; or just good ol' 'A Tale of Two Cities'! What do you associate most immediately the French Revolution?

I would welcome anyone who is interested in French history at all to pop over to the universtity project about the French Revolution . It's a fasctinating period and there is no shortage of available subject material, so why not think about contributing something?

Anybody who follows French current affairs in France will be familiar with

José Bové

. For those who haven't heard of France's favourite anti-globalisation and anti-malbouffe4 campaigner, this piece from PurpleJenny will bring you up to date. A character in the world of French politics not to be missed.

There is an article on the wines of Bordeaux, though it has not been edited yet.

This could be handy if you're on a trip to Paree - Ex-pat bars in Paris, all shiny and edited and everything.

Recently on the front page, Whisky's excellent - Ex-pat bars in Lyons, France. Did you know that the French spell it without the S? Whereas Marseille is spelt with it! Or is it the other way round? smiley - huh

Another useful one from Whisky - French Public Holidays.

There is also an edited article on Toulouse.

Here's a single edited entry on Strasbourg and the neighbouring town of Kehl on the other side of the Rhine and thus in Germany.

And an introduction to the Cite des Sciences and de l'Industrie, Paris, France.

Well, this was kind of a spur of the moment page and I don't have anything much else to hand to put up here. I suspect that no links to French language sites will be approved, although perhaps if they have English versions... Any requests?

How does the h2g2 search work?

I thought if I added the word 'French' to this page loads of times, it would help to get it picked up on the h2g2 search engine, but it didn't!

French, French, French, French, French, French, French.French, French, French, French, French, French, French, French.
French, French, French, French, French, French, French, French.
French, French, French, French, French, French, French, French.
French, French, French, French, French, French, French, French.
French, French, French, French, French, French, French, French.
French, French, French, French, French, French, French, French.
French, French, French, French, French, French, French, French.

France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France.

1Translator's note: pastiche of a standard opening to a political speech in French2Er, that should be LuckyStar, really, but i couldn't resist3All right, I admit it! I just can't say that enough times! Sorry France!4A pejorative term in French for food that is not really very nice; the main culprits are regarded to be the burger bars and fast food chains, McDonald's first and foremost!

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