Flowers for a “flirt”
Initially, William of Normandy became king of England on December 25, 1066. On arrival, the English language was riddled with words of French origin. The flirting comes from “tell tale”, the parliament , of the “parliament” (discussion), the butler of the “bottler” (man who serves wine), the foreign “fairground” from elsewhere, the coat of the “coat” of mesh. More complex is the case of “wasp”, the wasp whose “gu” has become “w” (Guillaume turns into William) and whose English has kept the “s” of old French when our language replaced it by a circumflex accent. As to squire , small rural nobliau, he has just “escuier”, the squire of the great lords and the cabbage (cabbage) of the “noggin”, head of which it has the form …
A royal motto “Honest be who thinks badly“
It is the motto of the British royal family and it is spread in French on its coat of arms. To the front page of the newspaper The Times we can read : ” Honest be who thinks badly / God and My Right ” surrounded by a lion and a unicorn. According to legend, King Edward III launched at his court “Honest be who thinks badly”, while Jeanne de Kent, “The most beautiful girl in England”, had just lost his garter while dancing and that he had picked it up.
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The monarch then founded the Order of the Garter in 1348, during the Hundred Years War, to distinguish his best knights. The obsolete but still chic phrase is used with irony even today in Europe to blame those who would see a scabrous allusion in the most honest acts or words.
Precious Bordeaux wines
The “clairet”, the first appellation of Bordeaux wines, seduced the English from the 12the century, when Aquitaine united, by alliance, to the British crown. Nobles, warriors and merchants, who greatly appreciate this nectar, settle in the port city and buy vineyards. Each fall, ” the great wine fleet “(Tasty oxymoron) sails towards the English Channel with its precious treasure to which virtue is credited” to animate and invigorate the exchanges “. English gentlemen, drink first!
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In three centuries of English history, Bordeaux established a monopoly on the production, sale, shipping and distribution of wines to Great Britain. And as Bordeaux owes a lot to its coveted wine, what would its prosperity have been without the English? Hopefully Brexit will not quench their centuries-old thirst for Bordeaux.
The tennis court at home
“A country full of palm games, more numerous than the churches, and more numerous players than the beer drinkers in England. ” This is how the kingdom of France was described in 1598 by a British traveler who was worried about seeing – according to him – this practical culprit gaining England. In reality, the anchor of the Jeu de Paume across the Channel is earlier: it stems from the Hundred Years War and the French defeat of Agincourt (1415).
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The Duke of Orleans, a fanatic practitioner of the palm, was taken prisoner by the English and occupied his captivity playing. Originally practiced with bare hands (hence its name), the tennis court was perfected over time, thanks to the use of a glove, then a sort of beater and finally a racket . In 1874, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield patented a sport combining palm, rubber ball and grassy field, hence its original name ” lawn (lawn) tennis “. Word tennis would come from a bad pronunciation of the French verb hold , traditionally spoken by the waiter at the palm.
Hugo in the metro with “Les Misérables”
In London, it’s just called The Mis and this musical has been playing since October 1985! Wretched of Victor Hugo hold the record for continuous operating time in the British capital. Their poster is part of the visual landscape of the “tube”, the London underground, which it has adorned the walls for 35 years. Karaoke essentials, intoned tubes – in English of course! – by Jean Valjean, Fantine, Cosette, Marius and Javert are hummed in the evenings just like the song by Snow Queen in kindergartens. Become a British institution, The set, however, were created in Paris in 1980 by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg before crossing the Channel, then crossing it again to be played all over the continent.
The old dream of a Channel Tunnel
It was on December 1, 1990 that England became … just a little less insular. On that day, a French worker and his British counterpart shook hands through the open space between the two galleries dug on either side of their country. However, the first project of a path under the fish to connect England to the continent dates from 1802.
French engineer Albert Mathieu-Favier had imagined a tunnel with an artificial island in the middle of the English Channel. Fifty years later, another project, still French, was accepted by Napoleon III and Queen Victoria, and later abandoned. But it is another Franco-British duo, Margaret Thatcher and François Mitterrand who will ratify this rail link. The site started in 1987 and the tunnel inaugurated in 1994. Since then, a new border has been drawn under the sea.