French Language Blog

French History – World War I bis Posted by on Nov 27, 2018 in Culture, Vocabulary

Last week I shared a short excerpt from the Bulletin de Lille, a biweekly paper printed under the direction of the German Command in Lille. I love how the exchange illustrates the delicate dance between occupied and occupier that can arise in such situations. This week we look at a another except that highlights another aspect of life in war-time.

Image of the banner graphic from the Bulletin de Lille.

Bulletin de Lille, a bi-weekly publication appearing on Sundays & Thursdays. Published under the authority of the German command. For sale at Madame Tersaud’s 14 See-Aremhault Street.

Lille sous les Allemands / Lille under the Germans


(dans l’édition du dimanche 2 janvier, 1916)

Notice from the Mayor’s office / City Hall (in the Sunday, January 2nd, 1916 edition)
Pain. – Il est rappelé que la ration de pain sera portée, à partir du 3 janvier prochain, à 2k. 750 par semaine et par bouche, soit une augmentation de 500 grammes. Bread. – Reminder that bread rations will, beginning on January 3, be increased to 2k. 750 a week and by mouth, or an increase of 500 grams.
Cette mesure n’est pas due à la surabondance de farine, et elle ne pourrait être appliquée définitivement qu’en réalisant toutes les économies possibles. This increase is not a result of an over-abundance of flour, and cannot be fully implemented unless all savings are realized.
Le public comprendra donc que le contrôle soit, à l’avenir, plus rigoureux qu’auparavant. The public will understand that, as a result, monitoring will be more rigorous in the future. 
D’autre part, un certain nombre de cartes d’évacués et de cartes majorées n’ont pas encore été rentrées ou modifiées. […] Les personnes qui se serviraient ou tenteraient de se servir de ces cartes, s’exposent à une suppression totale de pain et de denrées américaines pendant quinze jours au minimum. In addition, a certain number of evacuee cards and bonus cards have not been turned in or updated. […] Any person who uses or tries to use these cards, will expose themself to a loss of bread and all American goods of at least two weeks (15 days).
Enfin, le Comité sera reconnaissant aux personnes que n’utiliseront pas toute la nouvelle ration, de ne pas prélever la quantité totale de pain à laquelle elles ont droit. Ce sera l’un des meilleurs moyens de faire les économies de farine indispensables pour assurer définitivement l’augmentation qui a été accordée pas la C.R.B à nos concitoyens, pour les aider à traverser la période la plus dure de l’année. Finally, the Committee thanks those who do not use all of their rations for not taking the full ration due them. This will be the best way to save flour and to ensure the increase provided by the C.R.B to our fellow citizens, to help them make it through the most difficult part of the year.

Key Vocabulary

le painbread

la farine flour

les économies / savings

l’augmentation / increase (as opposed to une baisse / a decrease)

la C.R.B / the Commision for relief in Belgium was a support organization that provided access to food and other products during the war.

Want to read more? You can find the full édition du 2 janvier by following this link.

Images and text CC0 from Project Gutenberg.

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.