French word of the day: La Diversion (16/11/2023)

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In case you are wondering, it is currently pouring rain in Paris. In fact, Meteo France has announced that the past 26 days has been a record historique de pluie (rain).

This grey grisaille is perhaps probably why Parisians are particularly cranky about #Tahitigate.

To summarize, as I mentioned in my last newsletter, the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo took a month-long trip to the beachy French island of Tahiti all the way in the South Pacific ocean 10,000 miles away, to “inspect the surfing facilities for next year’s Olympics,” with her husband and 6 of her closest friends aka advisors.

While it is not clear why a mayor of Paris would need to go halfway around the world so often using taxpayer money (this is her 12th long distance trip in 2023), I should note that her self-proclaimed strongpoint is ecology.

But nevermind that, it turned out that she didn’t actually even visit those “surfing facilities” in Tahiti. It turned out, after a few press inquiries likened to teeth pulling, she had to meet up with her daughter who conveniently has been living on the island next door.

And why, enquiring minds wanted to know, couldn’t she inspect the facilities before/after meeting her daughter? As it turns out her daughter may or may not have been getting married, hence the Mayor’s plans could not be changed.

Like peeling an onion, #tahitigate has plenty of sunshine and drama, two things Paris is sorely lacking at the moment. (Business class tickets? Yes, cause the mayoral contingent is quite tall you know.) Even the Liberation, a left-wing newspaper who is traditionally on the Mayor’s side, couldn’t help getting in on the action.

Which is perhaps why Hidalgo, now that she is back in Paris, came out swinging against her favorite foe to divert attention: the Car.

Her big announcement one day after returning was: the price for parking an SUV in Paris should increase, and there should vote on it in February 2024.

Huh, you ask? What does that got to do with anything? To be clear, only around 34% of Parisians have a car, and an even smaller percentage have an SUV. And if you did have an SUV somehow somewhere, you certainly wouldn’t want to be driving it into traffic-gridlocked Paris.

(In general, I’m not even sure why anyone would get an SUV in France unless they have more than 2 kids and a dog. There are too many centuries-old narrow streets here and infinitely more tiny parking spaces. Even a small car is complicated to park here!)

Which all begs the question, who is going to come out to vote in freezing February on a minor issue that no one really cares about, but that the Mayor is going to spend money organizing? In any case it is certainly a bit of a diversion from the other news around world and this incessant rain.

In other news:

And in the blog:

42 Best Souvenirs from France

Find out the best souvenirs from France, why they are so popular, which region they come from, where to buy, and more.

18 Best beach towns and coastal cities in France

Get to know the most famous beach towns and coastal cities in France, from the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean sea along the French Riviera.

Chicken and Mushroom pie (Tourte au poulet)

Get the recipe to make the classic chicken and mushroom pie that makes a hearty dinner to love. With accompaniments and more.


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