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“Couac” the inescapable word in French politics

“Couac”. What is this word that incessantly appears in French political commentaries? According to the Larousse dictionary, the word “couac” means “Wrong or jarring note that a singer or instrumentalist accidentally makes”. It has been in vogue within the French press for some time, used to describe multiple communication errors committed by the Ayrault government, particularly regarding the 35-hour work week.


Certain ministers have been annoyed by the use of this term.

Government spokesman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem having even declared to journalists: “I have nothing against the word ‘couac’ in it absolute terms, I would simply like it if you took the time to reflect on the definition of the word ‘couac’, which, in my opinion, you do not do enough.”

The word ‘couac’ reappeared after the election of the president of the UMP (The right winged party of Nicolas Sarkozy). Indeed, candidates Jean François Copé, outgoing president of the UMP, and François Fillon, former prime minister of Nicolas Sarkozy, have each claimed their separate victory, which their sides are accusing each other of fraud.

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After recounting the votes, the Control Board of Elections awarded the victory to Jean François Copé with 50.03% of the votes, failing to take into account the votes from the DOM TOMs (French overseas administrative departments and territories). The fillon camp once again denounced the results.

A mediator Alain Juppe attempted negotiations between the two camps. In vain. The losing Fançois Fillon has called for a new voting and threatens to take the matter to court… The saga continues… The UMP has since replaced the word ‘couac’ with ‘chaos’ or ‘K.O.’

Foodie Friends, the 2013 Le Fooding guide is out in France!

You probably know the classic conservative Michelin gastronomic guide, but do you know of the Le Fooding guide? Created in 2000 by two journalists Alexandre Cammas et Emmanuel Rubin, the Le Fooding guide is provoking and likes to break the codes of French gastronomy. Using English to name a French gastronomic guide sure was daring! Its success has popularised the word ‘Fooding’ which comes from the melding of the words ‘Food’ and ‘Feeling’.

This year Le Fooding 2013 published a list of Parisian and provincial restaurants and bistros to discover. The restaurants are sampled and selected by the ‘the tribe’ of forty odd Le Fooding columnists. An evening at the Beaux-Arts in Paris, presented by comedian Jamel Debbouze and his Comedy Club has revealed the winners for 2013.

Among the winners:

– Le Fooding best restaurant was awarded to: Roseval – 1, rue d’Eupatoria – 75020 Paris

– Le Fooding best bar goes to: Pierre Sang Boyer – 55, rue oberkampf – 75011 Paris

Don’t hesitate to let us know your favourite bars and restaurants via @MaVieFrancaise #fooding. For more information about Le Fooding go to lefooding.com

Quirky: French singer “M” performs a concert in the Paris.


After the unexpected concert by the Rolling Stones in Paris a few weeks ago, it was up to French singer Matthieu Chedid, aka “M”, to create the surprise! For 45 minutes during rush hour in the Paris Métro station Jean en Jaurès the Frenchman performed in front of the astounded eyes of passengers of line 2.

M releases a new album ‘il‘ and will begin touring in 2013. He will be in concert at the Trianon on the 27th to the 29th of March 2013 and then at the Zenith in Paris from the 19th to the 29th of June next year!

References: 1. lexpress.fr
2. leparisien.fr

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Emmanuelle Tremolet

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  1. francois roland Dec 8, 2012 at 9:41 AM - Reply


    A little something to say about some words that seem “inescapable” in the mouth of our French journalists. The truth is that they are sheeplike and lazy, so they catch any gimmick that seems fashionable for them and use it in every occasions, including those when it doesn’t apply at all. Frederic Pommier one of our radio humorist, made his speciality of making fun of this abuse of gimmicks. His humorous chronicles about that can be heard there (it’s in French of course): http://www.franceinter.fr/reecouter-diffusions/477427

    The word “couac” which primarily refers to a singer who sings one note out of tune, in a choir for example, is a good image when a minister says something going at the opposite of his government policy. Just because he’s more or less supposed to speak in unison with the others. But it doesn’t apply at all to what happened for the election of the UMP president. Those who want to understand the fight happening now, have to know that the UMP never any tradition of democracy. They are more accustomed to go with the providential chief imposing himself by a sort of putsch, even if it implies to stab one of his buddies in the back. That is for example the exact way Jacques Chirac came in power at the head of the UMP, by the mean of playing against Jacques Chaban Delmas, a member of his own party who was running for president, and that he betrayed in exchange of a prime minister position, treating for that with the man of another party whom he helped to win that election (Valery Giscard D’Estaing). So today when François Fillon doesn’t accept the victory of his massively cheating challenger (not only J.F Copé omitted to count the DOM TOM votes, but he also used false proxies), I don’t see any “couac” in that, it’s just the natural response of anyone not accepting lout’s methods and unfairness.

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