Thursday, February 10, 2011

Be Merry (Go Round)!

My favorite George Dubya quote is, "the problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur." Riiiiiiiiiiight.

In fact, the French have a whole lot of good words, including entrepreneur, that double as English words: café, fiancée, lingerie, croissant, caramel.

To that list I would add carousel. The French make a distinction between a carousel and a manège, which I haven't quite figured out. (Readers enlighten me if you know!) If I had to wager a bet I'd say the former is bigger, perhaps containing 2 tiers, and either does (or does not) contain only horses. I've also heard that carousels turn counter-clockwise, while manège turn clockwise; I've never noticed which direction they go, 'cept around.

It's all academic, really, for I don't discriminate from one carousel or manège to the next. If pressed, I'll fess up to preferring the ones with antique looking horses, but eh, as long as RC are in tow, I'll take the ones with flashing bulbs and bad airbrushing. Skank is as skank does.

In fact, I have a hard time passing by a manège without losing some coin. I've taken to carrying a ziploc baggie filled with tickets from carousels from all over Paris- and they are everywhere! (even carousel ticket vendors know the incentivizing power of offering a bulk discount- such entrepreneurs!)

The most beautiful, I think, is the one outside the Hôtel de Ville, but our neighborhood manège filled with an assortment of outcasts (a pig, an old bicycle, a donkey, random horses), has brought us (by now) hours of fun. Franck remarked the other day while taking pix of the kids on the latest twirl ride, that "all we have are photos of them on manèges." This will be a little demonstration of that:

a riff on the manège, with baton in hand

despite appearances, he loves it

Camille is always game

high tide at Jardin d'acclimatation

parallel pathing at Champ-de-Mars

even in the odd shopping mall, we find what we're looking for

as Cinderella's coachgirl

helicopter ride along the seashore


  1. hmm, funny I never asked myself what the difference was between the two... A carousel is a type of manège. Typically a carousel has horses or generally animals that move up and down to simulate the horse gallop. A "manège" in contemporary French can have firetrucks, motorcycles, airplanes etc. Note that a manège in French is also the name for a horse riding arena so there's somewhat of a contradiction in the use of the two words by Ze Franch. this is all based on my french growing up of course.

  2. And the seasons they go round and round. And the painted ponies go up and down. We’re captive on the carousel of time. We can’t return we can only look behind from where we came. And go round and round and roundIn the circle game

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