All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Monday, 21 February 2011

The voice of small town France.....

ThouarsImage via Wikipedia
I came across something today which brought to mind all the good memories of France and which solved a small mystery.
What had happened to 'le chat' who used to write a small column for the local rag in the area in which I lived when first in France casting a kindly but sharp eye on the various doings in his town through the medium of his two characters, le chat and la vache.

Even though I moved away, I still followed his column and was saddened when recently it ceased to appear in favour of something more anodyne.
Election time?
The anti-drink lobby?
Who knows...

So I was delighted to find a reference to a blog which 'le chat' has started and on chasing it down found that his voice remains unchanged.

And then I thought that for people really trying to get to grips with how France it thinks, how it expresses itself....then following this blog will provide an opening.
It echoes small town life...the problems with the roadworks, the local politicians, local beaurocrats, silly stuff seen while walking around, all described succinctly and with humour.
This is daily life reported, not by Poncey of Paris but by.......

Balthazar Fourcalquier

as 'le chat' now wishes to be known, on his blog at

There is a link in my blogroll...but, be warned, it just leads to a page of gobbledygook.

To find 'le chat' you need to go first to


and look for him on the list...among diverse other blogs ranging from taking over a dentist's practice to buying property in the area via two groups of anti capitalists and one description of railway modelling.
The list is a gem in itself.

Don't be discouraged by the fact that you will almost certainly not know the town or its'll soon catch on and if you can follow the goings on of The Archers this will be child's play.

And don't take one look and retreat muttering
'Goodgoddlemighty it's in French!'
It is, but it's simple French and a little perseverance will bring you an insight into cultural references that would otherwise pass you by.

And don't forget the music...there is a little triangle in the top left hand corner to press.

It's all good fun and I heartily recommend it to you.

As 'le chat' used to say

'Soyons serieux...a quoi on trinque?

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  1. Because it is you recommending I shall try, but my French is very , VERY poor.

  2. Mark, I think you'll enjoy it...the post about the cyclops is lovely as is the one with the photograph of the works in the town centre and his linking it to the ill starred offer of help to put down the Tunisian demonstrators.
    All done in a couple of words...

  3. Thanks for this, well worth knowing about and good for my French :-)

  4. I'll give it a shot as well. Surely four years of high school French will be sufficient? :-)


  5. Perpetually In Transit, thank you for stopping long enough to take in my blog...I hope you enjoy it.
    Give 'le chat' a's not your normal French course!

    Pearl...yes, that should be enough...just don't panic if you don't get it at once,let it sink in a bit...things you'd think you'd need to know like the CGT being supposedly the Communist party backed union are self evident when he's describing the right's (UMP) reactions to them..

  6. Being the lazy sot that I am, I clicked the link on the sidebar and it took me straight to his Blog, no messin'. It looks fab, thank you. And if I don't get the nuances, well, I can get my eldest daughter to explain. (See? Laziness again!) ;-)

  7. Alas, my French is non-existent. Hence my constant sanity and joie de vivre. ;-)

  8. How exquisite!

    Love the works post and the interview at the top of the page!

  9. Thanks for posting the link Fly. Thoroughly enjoyed what I read and will sign up for the newsletter!

  10. I'm giving it a try. Love the music. An interesting french lesson.

  11. Kitty, you're works now so it must have been one of those Blogger moments but I'll leave things as they are as i think the list of other blogs is lovely in its diversity.

    Steve, if I had had the good sense to follow your sterling British example and learn no French no doubt I would be among the merry band of 'bloggers about France' busy photographing my dinner...or worse, someone else''s...and rejoicing in the quaintness of being ripped off by builders...
    I made a cardinal error in improving my French....I understood what was going on...

    Sarah, yes, that interview sort of sets the tone...

    Wylye Girl, it is fun, isn't it? One of the nice things about France.

    Rosie, more fun than conjugation, for sure...and I agree about the music...the one about the school cantine reminds me of village get togethers where these things would be belted out.

  12. Fly, I've been following your blog for agea and love your clear-sightedness. It's one of the blogs which has inspired me to try blogging myself.

  13. Perpetually In Transit, that is one of the nicest things that have been said to me!
    Thank you very much!

  14. It looks interesting but I shall have to polish up my French!

  15. Cheshire Wife, have a go at the easier ones first and get into the swing of things.
    I like all the little digs about Bretons and drunkeness and the acid nature of the local chenin grape...with your current dental woes that's one variety I'd keep away from!