Thursday, 22 May 2008


Passe-temps, the French word for passtime, ie something people do to pass time away.

I remember learning this word in a college French class entitled "French Culture and Civilization." The word came up during a discussion on striking like, "The French national passtime is striking." When the sun comes out, so do the strikers. This past week, the civil servants have striked and the teachers have striked.

So it shouldn't have surprised me this morning when I walked through the train station on my way to work and found it to be a haven of calm. It's only when I saw the half dozen soldiers in military fatigues with machine guns that I realized not only were there no trains but there were no travellers (Lille Flanders is the main hub for the commuter trains for Northern France including the hourly TGV to Paris).

So what are they striking about (again!), you might ask? Today, it's retirement. As my husband says, if the teachers and SNCF (train company) didn't strike so often, we would have lots our social security and paid holidays long ago. It is just a matter of time as I see, keep up the strikes!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...