Happy Bastille Day!

In honour of La Fête Nationale, here is an encore of my post about the Gallic rooster and the 10 things I love most about the French.


Coq-gaulois-doreIf you spend any time in France you will hear the story of  le coq Gaulois – the Gallic rooster – and why it is the unofficial symbol and mascot of France.

“Do you know why the rooster is the true symbol of the French people?” asked my father-in-law not long after I arrived in this country. He had a telltale twinkle in his eye, so I hazarded a guess. “Because he’s cocky?” He chuckled and delivered the punchline. “Parce que c’est le seul capable de chanter les deux pieds dans la merde.”

Translation: Because he’s the only one who sings while standing in shit.

Everybody laughed but I confess I didn’t really get it. Until it dawned on me: the French are often dans la merde but that doesn’t stop them from crowing.

It was my first experience of self-deprecating humour à la française. Or, as they say…

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  1. Mél@nie · July 14, 2015

    Bonne fête nationale, Mel! 🙂
    * * *
    P.S. with same due respect, I’ve always disliked “Bastille day”… 😉

    • MELewis · July 17, 2015

      Merci, Mélanie! I agree about Bastille Day as it’s not used in France but I guess it makes sense for outsiders. If you translate ‘Fête Nationale’ it could apply to any country, but only the French had the Bastille. Hope you enjoyed the fireworks – ours were a bit of a dud but it was a lovely summer day. Bises! xo

      • Mél@nie · July 17, 2015

        you’re right, Mel dear… we watched and enjoyed the fireworks @ la Tour Eiffel – simply fantastic!!! 🙂 bisous back… have a “cool” day! 🙂

  2. emilycommander · July 16, 2015

    I had not thought of this as being self-deprecating. Thank you!

    • MELewis · July 17, 2015

      Emily, it took me a while to fully get this, too. I just got stuck on the arrogance. Fortunately my beau-père repeats himself a lot, so by the time I’d heard the joke several times I’d had enough experience of the French to fully appreciate it.

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