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Le plus important des jours . . . * Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Business, History, Literature, News, Vocabulary, Wine

Novembre touche à sa fin. (November is almost over.) As I was reflecting on the last month and thinking about this week’s post, it struck me that November is a month full of momentous jours (days) . . . some are specific to us here in the US, but at least one should be on the calendars of every Francophile (especially ceux qui aiment le vin! / those who love wine!)

Le premier jour important de novembre est le premier mardi (sauf si le premier mardi est aussi le premier du mois!). (The first important day in November is the first Tuesday (unless the first Tuesday is also the first of the month!)) Try to keep that one straight! In any case, the first Tuesday in November every four years here in the US is the day on which we vote for president.

Le deuxième jour important est le 11 novembre. (The second important day is November 11.) Le 11 novembre in France is Armistice Day which marks the end of World War I. This year le 11 was a vendredi (Friday), but if it had been a mardi or a jeudi (Tuesday, Thursday) you can bet that the French would have taken advantage to faire le pont (make the bridge)!**

Novembre est aussi le mois de l’Action de Grâce . . . du moins aux États-Unis. (November is also the month of Thanksgiving … in the US at least.) In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on le deuxième lundi d’octobre (the second Monday in October). Thanksgiving remains by and large a North American holiday little known to most French people, but you can always find a few good ex-pat gatherings and even some restaurants and stores to meet your needs if you find yourself in Paris on the quatrième jeudi de novembre (fourth Thursday in November).

640px-charnay_vue_generale

^^ A vineyard in Beajolais

Between le 11 novembre and l’Action de Grâce though is the all-important day for those qui aiment le vin. Le troisième jeudi de novembre voit l’arrivée du Beaujolais Nouveau! (The third Thursday of November sees the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau!) The Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine from the Beaujolais region of Frace to the north west of Lyon. Every year the first harvest is pressed, quickly fermented, and shipped out around the world . . . but cannot legally be sold until le troisième jeudi de novembre. Because it is processed so little, the Beaujolais Nouveau is a very fruity wine that is best enjoyed frais (fresh, or cool). For some it is a last taste of summer, for others, the first taste of fall.

Vocabulaire utile / Useful vocabulary

Les jours de la semaine / The days of the week***
lundi Monday
mardi Tuesday
mercredi Wednesday
jeudi Thursday
vendredi Friday
samedi Saturday
dimanche Sunday
Les mois de l’année / The months of the year
janvier January juillet July
février February aout August
mars March septembre September
avril April octobre October
mai May novembre November
juin June décembre December
Nombres ordinaux / Ordinal numbers****
premier / première first sixième sixth
deuxième second septième seventh
troisième third huitième eighth
quatrième fourth neuvième ninth
cinquième fifth dixième tenth

Finally, last week we talked about changes and about regrets. Well here’s a change I never thought I’d see in France. In an effort to address a growing problem of gaspillage allimentaire (food waste), France has adopted une loi (a law) requiring restaurants to offer customers doggy bags (which, no kidding, they call “le doggy bag). The law has been in effect since January, but I only just heard about it over dinner recently during a visit from my beau-frere et belle-soeur (bother and sister-in-law) visiting from Paris.

Also from last week, I used a picture of the cover of a small work by Diderot, Regrets sur ma vielle robe de chambre (Regretting (parting with) my old bathrobe). In 1988, more than 200 years apres la mort de Diderot (after Diderot’s death), the work gave rise to the term “the Diderot effect” which describes consumption habits. Clearly he was a man ahead of his time!

* The most important day

** November 11 is also Veteran’s Day here in the US when we remember all of those who have fought and died in the many wars in which the United State’s has participated over its history.

*** Note that days of the week (and months of the year) are only capitalized in French when they come at the start of a sentence. As a general rule, they use lower-case.

**** Ordinal numbers tell us what order things go in. The word for first (premier / première) has both masculine and feminine forms.

Image Credits:
^^ By Camster – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18718368

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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


Comments:

  1. Helena:

    Bonne lecture, merci!