Friday, April 22, 2011

Sign language

Knowing what signs say is often fairly useful when in a foreign country that uses a language other than one's own. It can save a lot of frustration, and maybe even your life! So from the get-go I collected signs on my excursions all over Paris. Here are just a few of them.

The first sign was attached to the boundary fence of Jardin du Luxembourg and says 'The puppets of the gardens amuse the young and the old (actually the little and the big) with their artistic spectacles.' Most people could have decoded that one. The second sign was down at the Parc Floral de Paris at Chateau Vincennes. I encountered similar signs in nearly all the parks I entered. It says 'These grasses are planted of (with) bulbs. Respect them. Thankyou'.

Ah, now this next sign saved me from being skittled - once I worked out what it meant. Firstly, I thought it was saying that I had two minutes to cross. But I knew that minutes in French is the same as in English. The sign actually says 'Attention pedestrians! Cross in two times (goes)'. Meaning that the pedestrian crossing was controlled by two signs that operated independently. Cross this lane, then wait, then cross the other lane. Phew! Glad I read that one carefully. The second sign is actually three signs and is down toward rue Cler in the 7eme. The first sign is a standard street sign and they are all of this design. The second sign says 'I like my neighbourhood. I pick up. The sanitary department rules provide for fines for infractions possibly up to E450'. The third sign in this little group says I think 'It is an offence to take down these orders under pain of a fine'. The Sanitary Department reckons it is serious about dog turds on the footpath.

No idea about this first one. It is over on rue vieux Colombier beside the theatre. The words say "Column of dry descending - Column of dry rising'. Any ideas? The second sign is a bit of bureacratic sillyness. It says 'Attention pedestrians. This sign has moved'. It is next to the repositioned pedestrian crossing in front of Eglise Saint Sulpice over in the 6eme.

So for the final two. The first sign was on the railing around the flower park down at Chateau Vincennes yesterday and says "Fixing your bike to this railing is banned under pain of being impounded'. There were no bikes anywhere. The final sign was a little beauty that I espied with my little eye in Montmatre Cemetery. It was at the base of a tomb that was in considerable disrepair and says 'This concession has been abandoned. To make application to start again address yourself to the curator.' Many plots are granted in perpetuity, but not this one, I gather.

Hope you enjoyed these!!


Joan Elizabeth said...

Great fun. At least in French I can have a pretty good go of interpreting the signs. In Japan iI found it quite another story. When I was working there for a shot stint. I could not figure out what the sign in the toilet said. I asked the guys I was working with what it said but they could not help ... because the toilets were those squatting sort and they used the urinal, saving up their number twos for at the hotel where there were thones to sit on. Anyway after some pestering from me one of them who had some rudimentary Japanese eventually tried the squat and came back to inform me the sign said "Press button to flush".

diane b said...

Glad that it is you trying to work out the meaning and not me. I just take Bill with me and get him to translate.

Julie said...

Ah, DB, I find that a little frustrating. I once toured Paris/France with a friend who was very fluent. And I did not see enough. I found that annoying eventually. All the decisions were made without me having to even put my brain into gear. And that takes away most of the fun. For me it does anyway. You can tell from the sorts of posts I have put up, that I walk the streets here just the same as I do at home. Always looking for the six penny bit between the cracks.

Will you ask BB for me, please, what he reckons those columns of air are for. It was nowhere near either the journalist's club nor the politician's National Assembly!!

Julie said...

Oh, and I have yet another oddball post to inflict on my Plumbing readers. I think I will be ready to go with it before I leave next Thursday. It is about ensuring that cars don't hit the door-jambs as they enter those gorgeous looking doorways! Stay tooned ...

wilbo43 said...

Feux décalés means Lights have shifted (moved), probably referring to traffic lights. Love your parisian posts, Julie.