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At the French zoo Posted by on Oct 12, 2021 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

Not everyone is down with zoos these days1Deemed old and outdated, the Vincennes zoo was actually closed from 2008-2014 for major renovations designed to make the zoo more hospitable for its animal inhabitants.. But for some people, a well-run local parc zoologique2zoois the closest that they will ever come to seeing and learning about different animaux3animals. Since 1934, Parisians have been able to experience a variety of animaux sauvages4wild animals by visiting the Parc Zoologique de Vincennes (commonly known as the zoo de Vincennes) in the 12th arrondissement.

At the French zoo

[CC0] Pexels.com, Cesar Aguilar

At the French zoo

This fun chanson and video clip from the French musical combo Arne Vinzon (a group which aims to mélanger les genres, tragique et légèreté, pleurs et danses5mix genres, tragedy and lightness, tears and dances) will let you take your own virtual tour through a slightly surreal zoo de Vincennes.

Les otaries, les otaries, les otaries The sea lions, the sea lions, the sea lions
Du zoo de Vincennes Of the Vincennes Zoo
Changent de couleur, de couleur, de couleur Change colors, colors, colors
Au soleil couchant In the setting sun
Et les lions, les lions, les lions, les lions, les lions And the lions, the lions, the lions, the lions
Qui regardent la Seine Who look at/watch the Seine
Se demandent d’où viennent, d’où viennent Ask themselves from whence, from where
D’où viennent, d’où viennent, d’où viennent Where do they come from, from where
Les orang-outangs The orangutans
Mais ils viennent du Zoo, du Zoo, du Zoo, du Zoo, du Zoo Well they come from the zoo, from the zoo, from the zoo, from the zoo
Du Zoo de Vincennes The Vincennes Zoo
Tarif réduit, réduit, réduit, réduit Reduced, reduced, reduced, reduced price
Pour les enfants For children/kids
Il y a des éléphants hétérosexuels There are straight elephants
Des pumas interlopes, des oiseaux nyctalopes, des petits et des grands Interloping pumas, birds who see at night, some small and some big
Mais il y a surtout des wapitis tout doux But above all there are very gentle elk
Tout doux, tout doux, tout doux So gentle, so gentle, so gentle
Des wapitis tout doux Some very gentle elk
Tout doux So gentle
Les otaries, les otaries, les otaries The sea lions, the sea lions, the sea lions
Du Zoo de Vincennes Of the Vincennes Zoo
Lisent dans le texte, dans le texte, dans le texte, dans le texte Read the works, the works, the works, the works
Les philosophes allemands Of German philosophers
On leur lance des soles, des raies People toss them soles, skates,
Des carpes, des crabes, des rougets, des harengs Carps, crabs, mullets, hareng
Elles sont contentes, ravies, comblées They’re happy, thrilled, satisfied
Elle jouent avec une balle, que leur lancent les gens They play will a ball, that people toss to them
Les otaries-taries-taries du Zoo de Vincennes The sea-sea-sea lions of the Vincennes Zoo
Les otaries-taries-taries du Zoo de Vincennes The sea-sea-sea lions of the Vincennes Zoo
Mais il y a surtout des wapitis tout doux But most of all the very gentle elk
Tout doux, tout doux, tout doux So gentle, so gentle, so gentle
Des wapitis tout doux The very gentle elk
Tout doux So gentle
Les otaries The sea lions
Du Zoo de Vincennes Of the Vincennes Zoo=
Changent de couleur au soleil  Change colors in the sun
Couchant As it sets

Une autre chanson d’automne

Last week Bridgette introduced us to Paul Verlain’s Automn Song, whose famous opening lines “Les sanglots longs des violons de l’automne blessent mon cœur d’une langueur monotone” served as a part of General de Gaulle’s regular communications with occupied France during World War II. Those famous lines also open one of my favorite 80’s French pop songs by the group Gouts de Luxe as I shared in this post from 2019 about another autumn-appropriate tune.

An update on Notre-Dame

In line with it’s on-going quest to be “Europe’s greenest city”, Paris has selected 4 design groups to reimagine the 4 hectares/8 acres around the cathedral allowing the space “d’accueillir dignement (et non en les entassant sur une fine langue de trottoir pendant des heures comme c’était le cas jusqu’à l’incendie) les quelque 12 millions de visiteurs qui s’y rendent chaque année6to welcome the approximately 12 million visitors who come each year the way they deserve to be (and not by piling them up on a slim slice of sidewalk for hours on end like before the fire while also making it more attractive to locals, the previous site “peu fréquenté et approprié par les Parisiens étant donnés les commerces et les usages tournés essentiellement autour du tourisme7rarely visited by Parisians given that the business and space revolve primarily around tourism.

Just for fun

And to end this week, check out this fun take on the recent Arc de Triomphe art project from the Tim Traveler.

Dreaming of the arrondissements…

Ever-changing Paris

Christo’s Arc de Triomphe

  • 1
    Deemed old and outdated, the Vincennes zoo was actually closed from 2008-2014 for major renovations designed to make the zoo more hospitable for its animal inhabitants.
  • 2
    zoo
  • 3
    animals
  • 4
    wild animals
  • 5
    mix genres, tragedy and lightness, tears and dances
  • 6
    to welcome the approximately 12 million visitors who come each year the way they deserve to be (and not by piling them up on a slim slice of sidewalk for hours on end like before the fire
  • 7
    rarely visited by Parisians given that the business and space revolve primarily around tourism
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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris


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