Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Close but no Cigar

Accent aigu or accent grave? So hard to know, sometimes. And so many French words are so very close. In fact, the word for "close" is près. The word for "fields" is prés. It is confusing. They sound almost the same. But two very different words. Any French student worth his dictée score can tell you that.

Suffice it to say that the quartier of St. Germain-des-Prés (St. Germain-in-the-Fields) often has its name misspelled, with the accent grave mistakenly in the place of the aigu.

But even at the much heralded Café de Flore?

Yup. Little picky proofreading sleuth here had way too much time on her hands and actually read the wonderful round paper tablecloths that cover every little café table on the terrasse. They feature a watercolor by my favorite of favorite Parisian artists, Jean-Jacques Sempé (another knee-knockingly handsome gent). Nice to daydream about him for a while...

Oh wait -- back to the Flore. So go check it out for yourself. The gorgeous table covers say Café de Flore - Saint-Germain-des-Près.


Did anyone else notice? Or is the place just so teeming with tourists that the owners figured no one would pick up on that typo? What about all those intello-literary habitués? This is the hangout where drinking an espresso is supposed to actually make you smarter. It's an institution, for God's sake.
I mean, what would Jean-Paul and Simone have said?

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