Whiteboard in French?

I love my kids' education at the French American school here in San Francisco. Among other things, it's made them so much more sensitive to language and humor. Today, I asked the kids if there was a French word for a whiteboard. They said that everyone just calls it the "ardoise," which of course is like continuing to call a whiteboard a "blackboard" in English. ... My 8 year old son replied, "How about "blardoise," which I'd say is the perfect adaptation.
Culture, Understand France and the French

Good news/Bad news – no more smoking outside French cafés

Well, no more heaters that allow folks to sit outside and smoke. Paris is moving to ban outdoor heaters at sidewalk cafés.

I've heard more and more that these propane heaters are the single worst thing many homes have in the way of polluting devices. Still, I guess like wood-burning fireplaces, it's sad to see them go.

France long held out against the smoking bans being enacted worldwide in public places, but finally caved in three years ago. But while the inside of Left Bank cafés has been less foggy, the café-clope (coffee and cigarette) culture of the city has continued to thrive by simply spilling into the streets, thanks to the gas heater.

Culture, Museums and Monuments, Shopping, Understand France and the French

Hôtel Drouot is pure theatre

The auction rooms at the Hôtel Drouot in Paris date to 1852. They’ve been modernized since then, but the general atmosphere probably hasn’t changed much. On any day of the week, a throng of characters straight out of a Maupassant novel can be found bidding for dusty treasures straight out of the proverbial Old Curiosity Shop. Annually, about 800,000 lots…read more

Say goodbye to the “bise?”

That said, there are things you can do to help avoid the flu, like obsessively washing your hands, trying not to touch your face, and avoid close contact with strangers and friends, such as the ever-present "bise." ... Some French schools, companies and a Health Ministry hotline are telling students and employees to avoid the social ritual out of fear the pandemic could make it the kiss of death, or at least illness, as winter approaches.

...The New York Times ran a story the other day ( Swine Flu Upsets Rituals of Greeting ) as well on relative risk levels of different contact, and the bise, or even Hollywood-style air kiss was right at the top, so look for less kissing and touching in the months to come as we all suffer through the season.