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Des Bonnes et des Mauvaises Nouvelles (The Good and the Bad News)

We returned from Nice to a sunny, but cold city. We are all wondering when it will turn warm enough to plant our geraniums and don our spring clothing. So far, no luck with temperatures almost to freezing tonight. (The Niçois are enjoying watching us suffer, I can assure you.)

Now, first the good news from the City of Light:

Digital Twin Sister Cities

3-4-13 mayors sign agreementPer a press release launched by the City of Paris last week, Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë signed a cooperation agreement focused on digital economy and ‘smart cities’ with Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco. This agreement reinforces the partnership which began in 2006 when the two cities declared themselves Jumelle Numériques (“Digital Twin Sister Cities”).

Thanks to the current city administrations, Paris and San Francisco are committed to working hand in hand to deploy new solutions to meet the challenges of the city of the 21st-century (managing pollution, waste, traffic, energy, mobility, etc.). They have undertaken the responsibility to support research initiated by INRIA (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control, Paris) and CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, UC Berkeley) who have initiated a joint effort. Both cities are offering a foundation for experimentation and research, and share their data and experiences by organizing an annual report.

Following the signing of the agreement, with the support of the Consulate General of France in San Francisco, a working meeting was held between Anne Hidalgo, First Deputy; Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco; Jean-Louis Missika, Deputy responsible for innovation, research and universities; Ron Conway, iconic Silicon Valley investor and Stéphane Distinguin, President of Cap Digital. This exchange helped identify concrete areas of work for the coming months.

Jean-Louis Missika remarked, “It is essential to help Parisian  startups grow in California, where they find the capital and access to the U.S. market essential for growth and job creation in Paris. Similarly, Paris must be the destination of choice for California companies who wish to establish themselves in Europe.”

And now the bad news:

French Control Freaks

A new law effective this Friday, April 5th, says that a maximum of 12% of all SMS traffic within the French telecommunications system in foreign languages will be allowed (Loi 2872bis, Décret 842a, 18 Mars 2013, Loi concernant l’utilisation des langues étrangères dans les télécommunications). It would appear that it includes such expressions as ‘le weekend,’ ‘le parking,’ ‘bye bye,’ ‘angst,’ ‘email,’ and ‘ciao’ that have become firmly implanted in the French vocabulary. However, for ‘email’ the French equivalent ‘courriel’ is now expected.

As a way of enforcing the new law is the fact that once daily quotas are full, texts entirely (or partly) in a foreign language and even using a single non-French word will be blocked!

A member of the French parliament has followed on by proposing that all websites based in France must now contain a minimum of 33.3% French language content! Plus, all foreign language sites must offer the possibility of full availability in French. He has also suggested that chat rooms and other facilities have limits similar to the mobile telephone regulations.

This is a joke, right?

3-4-13 JacquesToubonI remember in 1994 when the Toubon Law (law 94-665 of 4 August 1994, named after Jacques Toubon, the Minister of Culture when it was passed) went into effect, mandating the use of the French language in “official government publications, in all advertisements, in all workplaces, in commercial contracts, in some other commercial communication contexts, in all government-financed schools, and some other contexts.” (

“The law does not concern private, non-commercial communications, such as non-commercial web publications by private bodies. It does not concern books, films, public speeches, and other forms of communications not constituting commercial activity. However, the law mandates the use of the French language in all broadcast audiovisual programs, with exceptions for musical works and ‘original version’ films. Broadcast musical works are subject to quota rules under a related law whereby a minimum percentage of the songs on radio and television must be in the French language.” (

The funny thing is that “Toubon” was translated by the press to “AllGood” as a joke for the increasing usage of English in advertising and common language in France. And guess what, Toubon ended up ‘eating his words.’

A la prochaine…

adiran ny2011Adrian Leeds

Editor, Parler Paris & Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC

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 William JordanP.S. Join us on April 9 for the next Parler Paris Après Midi to learn about “The changing nature of diplomacy, what it’s like being a diplomat in a country like France” with William Jordan, Retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer. The event runs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais. Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for more information.




3-4-13EricaPSP.P.S. Parler Paris photographer, Erica Simone, has put together a “Kickstarter type” sale in order to make her work available and affordable for everyone before she leaves for a major excursion to Nepal on April 23rd…where she will be backpacking alone, starting in Kathmandu and then working her way around the country, stopping and volunteering at various orphanages and NGOs, taking lots and lots of photos as usual. To fundraise for the trip and to help people as she goes along, she is holding a pre-sale of photographs that will be taken on the trip. If you would like to partake, you can choose from several quantity/size options, pay for it now, and when she returns, you will get to choose from a wide selection of images. (NOTE: These C-Prints will not be editioned or signed). Learn more here


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