French Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 645 quotes )
French intellectual life has, in my opinion, been turned into something cheap and meretricious by the 'star' system. It is like Hollywood. Thus we go from one absurdity to another - Stalinism, existentialism. Lacan, Derrida - some of them obscene ( Stalinism), some simply infantile and ridiculous ( Lacan, Derrida). What is striking, however, is the pomposity and self-importance, at each stage.
A year or two after emigrating, she happened to be in Paris on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of her country. A protest march had been scheduled, and she felt driven to take part. Fists raised high, the young Frenchmen shouted out slogans condemning Soviet imperialism. She liked the slogans, but to her surprise she found herself unable to shout along with them. She lasted only a few minutes in the parade. When she told her French friends about it, they were amazed. “You mean you don't want to fight the occupation of your country?” She would have liked to tell them that behind Communism, Fascism, behind all occupations and invasions lurks a more basic, pervasive evil and that the image of that evil was a parade of people marching with raised fists and shouting identical syllables in unison. But she knew she would never be able to make them understand. Embarrassed, she changed the subject.
Des Grieux was like all Frenchmen, that is, cheerful and amiable when it was necessary and profitable, and insufferably dull when the necessity to be cheerful and amiable ceased. A Frenchman is rarely amiable by nature; he is always amiable as if on command, out of calculation. If, for instance, he sees the necessity of being fantastic, original, out of the ordinary, then his fantasy, being most stupid and unnatural, assembles itself out of a priori accepted and long-trivialized forms. The natural Frenchman consists of a most philistine, petty, ordinary positiveness--in short, the dullest being in the world. In my opinion, only novices, and Russian young ladies in particular, are attracted to Frenchmen. Any decent being will at once notice and refuse to put up with this conventionalism of the pre-established forms of salon amiability, casualness, and gaiety.
A Frenchman's self-assurance stems from his belief that he is mentally and physically irresistibly fascinating to both men and women. An Englishman's self-assurance is founded on his being a citizen of the best organized state in the world and on the fact that, as an Englishman, he always knows what to do, and that whatever he does as an Englishman is unquestionably correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets. A Russian is self-assured simply because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe in the possibility of knowing anything fully.
I cut the ribbon in Paris, and everyone in Paris speaks French? maybe you knew that. But I'm from Tennessee, and Tennessee girls don't speak French. So suddenly I'm stuck onstage with Minnie and Mickey and everyone is yelling at me in French? I guess they're telling me to get off the stage, but I didn't know what they were saying at the time, so I start dancing with Minnie and Mickey like on the show and finally my aunt comes and gets me off.
Antananarivo is pronounced Tananarive, and for much of this century has been spelt that way as well. When the French took over Madagascar at the end of the last century (colonised is probably too kind a word for moving in on a country that was doing perfectly well for itself but which the French simply took a fancy to), they were impatient with the curious Malagasy habit of not bothering to pronounce the first and last syllables of place names. They decided, in their rational Gallic way, that if that was how the names were pronounced then they could damn well be spelt that way too. It would be rather as if someone had taken over England and told us that from now on we would be spelling Leicester 'Lester' and liking it. We might be forced to spell it that way, but we wouldn't like it, and neither did the Malagasy. As soon as they managed to divest themselves of French rule, in 1960, they promptly reinstated all the old spellings and just kept the cooking and the bureaucracy.
It's a common mistake for vacationing Americans to assume that everyone around them is French and therefore speaks no English whatsoever. [...] An experienced traveler could have told by looking at my shoes that I wasn't French. And even if I were French, it's not as if English is some mysterious tribal dialect spoken only by anthropologists and a small population of cannibals.