French word of the day: Printemps (28/3/2024)

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And just like that it is spring! The tree leaves growing back, birds chirping angrily at 6am, and of course those fat slimy snails crawling into anything and everything. Coming from Toronto I’m used to squirrels, but these escargot have caught me off guard.

In case you missed it, we moved to the ‘burbs just outside Paris last summer and snails are literally everywhere around here. Constantly underfoot, in gardens and on buildings, ready to provoke all sorts of awkward detours. No wonder the French looked around and decided, hmm maybe we should instead slather them with herbs and butter in the oven and eat them!

Even so, while I am not planning any to roast any snails on the bbq, I am looking forward to the clocks springing forward this weekend. (Yes, we in Europe are a few weeks behind North America, which leads to all sorts of confusion if you are looking to plan a transatlantic phone call.)

To celebrate this extra hour of sunshine, it is also a long weekend in France for Easter Monday!

Now, there is no French equivalent of “Spring forward, fall back”, the closest I’ve found is the very boring expression:

  • passage à l’heure d’été – moving to summer hours
  • passage à l’heure d’hiver – moving to winter hours

Nonetheless, a bottle of rosé has gone into the fridge to prepare for this momentous rite of spring, even though it is looking like it is going to rain all weekend. (I’m waiting for the day when a French high school philosophical question is as forth: “When doesn’t it rain in Paris?”)

Beyond the upcoming long weekend, there is not much going on besides the usual squabbles about the upcoming Olympics.

(Should Parisians flee the city, should they walk more if the metro is closed, are they allowed to visit their friends, they definitely shouldn’t plan to move house during this period, etc. etc. etc. All this from a bunch of highfalutin politicians with personal chauffeurs who have made sure that one lane of traffic all around the city has been reserved for “VIPs”.)

But we shall ignore all this for the moment, because who wants to ruin spring-is-in-the-air feeling? Joyeuses Pâques if you celebrate, and if not, bon weekend en tous les cas!

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