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Sunday, April 10, 2011

....we saw the signs.

No, not of the spiritual/religious nature, just everyday signs around town that are supposed to inform you of things.  Well maybe if you spoke the language.  Since we don't, we have improvised the meaning of a few of them.

The first, and one of my personal favorites because it makes me smile every time I see it, is any sign for:
Hotel de Ville

These signs are everywhere.  This is just the one closest to the kid's bus stop.  Every time I see these signs, images of a hotel decorated in dalmatian spots by Cruella Deville jumps into my mind.

You know Cruella, right?!?
I have found some images of what I think the Hotel de Ville should look like:
The outside
Obviously, Disney agrees on the hotel.
Lovely room

What this sign really means:  In France the sign for Hotel de Ville is a directional sign pointing you to the town hall.  So of course you see these every where which is good for me because then I smile in every town I'm in at least once! 

The second sign we have seen in a couple of locations.  This picture is by one of the bus stops we use.
This is a large sign close to an intersection.
We have made up a couple of things that we think this sign could be.  (1) Careful! Your car might spontaneously combust once you turn here (2) If you are not a large truck, you will burst into flames or (3) Danger!  Angry, hot headed drivers ahead.

What this sign really means:  This is a road sign letting you know that vehicles carrying combustable materials and trucks over 3.5 tons are not allowed on these roads.  Boring!  We like ours better.....

The next sign I have only spotted in a few places.  I think it is an old sign/sticker that is not used much any more (and for good reason!).  Most often I have seen these stuck to windows in a place of business.

What the.......????

As you can well imagine, our thoughts for what this sign could mean where all over the place......  Mammograms.......?  Breast exams?  Watch out for your female children......?  Run away!?!?

What this sign really means via translation is "driving accompanied by a qualified driver".  Okay, that's better....kind of.  So this is a sticker for driver's eduction cars.......Driver's eduction taught by adults to minors......still kinda creepy........

I had to do some more research on this one.  I googled the saying and found a picture of the sticker.
Better.  The ones I have seen
have obviously faded!  Whew.....

 So what does this sticker mean? The steering wheel clue would probably have given it away if it didn't fade. The text, if you speak French, would also give it away. It actually means that the person driving is learning how to drive, and it’s known in France as conduite accompagnée or ‘accompanied driver’ in English. In other words, the driver is being yelled at in French by someone who already has a license to drive. However, there’s every chance that the person driving has a license already because it’s not obligatory to remove the sign when the learner driver stops learning.  Maybe they should find a different logo or perhaps one that doesn't fade.
Scarlet letter???
Better than the other sticker, but come on folks!

Also seen on cars, this one means apprenti which pretty much translates to ‘apprentice’ in English. When someone has finally jumped through the hoops required to get a license (no small feat from what we have been told!), this sticker must be displayed on the car for 2 years.  It requires drivers to drive more slowly than the speed limit allows. However I have heard drivers rarely see any car with this sticker going less than 10km over the speed limit, let alone that much under.

I am sure that we will find more signs to "translate", but for now these are some of our favorites.