French Language Blog

It’s spring and inspiration is in the air Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Culture, Vocabulary

May has returned and with it the beautiful weather of le printemps (spring) at least here in my little corner of the world. In France that means – even with the stress of les élections présidentielles (the presidential elections), which are particularly heated this year*, and a recent spate of cold weather in the north and west where just this past week some spots experienced snow! – it’s time to enjoy a series of long weekends and escape for a few days.

For a little escape of our own, I thought I’d share some inspirational quotes that ma tante Rose (my aunt Rose) recently shared with me in one of her frequent e-mail missives.

Un sourire coute moins cher que l'electricite, mais il donne autant de lumiere. Abbé Pierre (yes, with an accent aiguë on the ‘e’ even though it does not appear in the image!) was a French priest, member of the Resistance, and tireless defender of the poor, homeless people, and refugees. he was also an author with several books and articles to his name. (1912 – 2007) This quote says: A smile costs less than electricity, but it gives as much light.
Joseph Folliet – also known as Frère Genièvre (Brother Genever) – was also a French priest and writer, and he was also a sociologist.  Also a member of the Resistance after being freed from a POW camp, he spent his post-war years working for peace as part of an international Catholic anti-war organization. (1903 – 1972) This quote says: Happy is he who has learned to laugh at himself: He hasn’t stopped having fun! (He’ll always have something to laugh about!)
Antoine de Saint-Exupery is best know for his wonderful story of le Petit Prince (The Little Prince). He was a writer, but also a pilot, a poet, and a journalist. This quote is from his novel Vol de Nuit (Night flight) about the early days of aviation and an attempt to establish overnight mail delivery from South America to Europe. (1900 – 1944) This quote says: To love is not to look at each other, it is to look together in the same direction.


* Le second^ tour (the second round of voting) will be le dimanche 7 mai (Sunday May 7th). Next time I post, France will know who her next president is going to be!

^ Second ou deuxième? As a rule, use second to indicate the second of two things (when there are only two). You use deuxieme to indicate the second thing in a list of more than two things. Since there are only two rounds of voting, the second round is le second tour. Note that there is debate about the correct way to refer to the second World War (1939 – 1945) in French. While I grew up learning about la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale, it seems that for some that appellation led too logically to the idea that there would be a third world war and that WWII should more properly be la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. I certainly hope we won’t have a troisieme guerre mondiale (third world war) any time soon, but when it comes to talking about WWII, I’m sticking with deuxième.

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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.