Archive for May, 2011

Passage de la folie

May 24, 2011

un passage
(noun, masculine):
a passage or alleyway;
a visit or stay;
a stop en route to somewhere/the act of “passing through”
(i.e. “Était-ce après le passage du facteur?” = “Was it after the postman had come/been?”);
“on the way” (to somewhere)
(i.e. “Je peux te prendre au passage = “I can pick you up on the way.”)

une/la folie (noun, feminine) – madness ; an act of folly ; a passion (i.e. “avoir la folie des antiquités” = “to be crazy about antiques”); an extravagance

C’est de la folie !This is madness!; That’s crazy!; In more slang terms: That’s crazy talk! This is insane!

C’est de la folie ?Is this madness?/Is this crazy?

un arrondissement Paris is divided into 20 numbered districts, known as arrondissements

une chambre de bonne – literally, a “maid’s room”; many old residential buildings in Paris have what used to be servants’ quarters that have now been converted into low-cost one-room rental units (often for students)

la gym suédoise – “The Swedish Gym”


“What is life but a series of inspired follies?”
– George Bernard Shaw

A couple of weeks ago, while meandering through the 11th arrondissement with my friend Khaled, I turned a corner and came across this sign.  It made me smile instantly, not only because it was clever joke on the part of the graffiti artist, but also because it made an apropos title for the past year.

C’est de la folie?” (“Am I crazy? Is this madness?”) I wondered last year, as I contemplated quitting my job, giving up my comfortable life and moving to a foreign-speaking country across the Atlantic Ocean.

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