French Culture – The latest news from France Posted by Tim Hildreth on Sep 17, 2019 in Business, Culture, Music, News
One of the ways that I keep my French up is by watching the news from France. It’s a good way for me to practice my language skills, to keep up with what’s happening, and to feel closer to the people and places that still occupy a big place in my heart. A few stories caught my attention this week that I thought I would share with you.
Le Mont d’Or
I’ve known for years that the arrival of the Beaujolais nouveau in November is a big event in France. What I didn’t know was that there is un fromton (slang term from fromage) that has its own coming out.
Le Mont d’Or (or the Vacherin Mont d’Or) is un fromage (a cheese) from the Haut-Daubs region near Switzerland in eastern France. Le fromage has a unique woody and resinous taste which comes from its boite d’épicéa (spruce box, which also smooshes the half-cured curds when they’re added which also gives the cheese a bumpy look that some say remind them of the local mountains that surround its home!). Uniquely, le fromage is only available du 10 septembre au 10 mai (from September 10th to May 10th).
To learn more you can watch a short reportage (news story) from FranceTVinfo here [Remember: as we’ve discussed recently you can use the video and the summary to practice your listening and reading comprehension].
One lucky rooster
For over two years now Maurice, un coq français de l’île d’Oléron (a French rooster on the Isle of Oléron), and his owner have been locked in battle with des voisins (some neighbors) over le chant de Maurice (Maurice’s crowing).
Les voisins – city folk “from away” who only come for vacation – didn’t appreciate having their early mornings disrupted by le chant matinal du coq (the morning crowing of the rooster).
This latest ‘attack’ on French rural life and culture was too much for the locals. Well, happily a judge agreed with them and Maurice and his owner have won their case against the neighbors and can keep living – and crowing – together.
There used to be a joke that la rentrée scolaire was also la rentrée des grèves (back to school meant back to striking), because it often seemed that strikes increased in the fall. Well, the current grèves of workers from the RATP (supporting Paris’s Métro system) are no joke. The last weeks have seen nightmare commutes for workers in and around the city.
Striking over a planned reform of the age des retraites (retirement), les grévistes (strikers) se plaignent aussi “des conditions de travail difficile, avec des risques pour leur santé et des plages horaires trop longues pouvant aller jusqu’à 13 heures” (are also complaining about difficult working conditions, health risks, and long shifts that can be as long as 13 hours).
Those affected by the strikes don’t seem very sympathetic. The current retirement age of 52 is much younger than workers in the private sector and as one traveler shared: “ils ont déjà plein de privilèges donc au bout d’un moment, il faut arrêter. Il y a des boulots plus pénibles que conducteur de métro” (They’ve got tons of benefits, at some point enough is enough. There are tougher jobs than driving a subway).
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