I hope you spent a very enjoyable Christmas, however you celebrated it. As promised, here are the answers to the 2015 edition of the Life on La Lune French Christmas Quiz. The correct answers are in green text. I hope you enjoyed doing it.
- What is “la main de Fatima” (the hand of Fatima)?
a) A curse
b) A style of door knocker
c) A type of French pastry
The hand of Fatima goes way back in Arabic and Jewish tradition, broadly as a sign that warded off evil. Hence a door knocker in that shape protected the occupants of a house. See my post here.
2. What is a “pet de nonne”?
a) A type of French pastry
b) A blessing
c) A prayer stool
Literally “a nun’s fart”.
3. What is “une jalousie”?
a) A chastity belt
b) A type of window shutter
c) An item of underwear
4. What is someone doing if they “fait chabrot”?
a) Dunking a biscuit in their tea/coffee
b) Drinking the dregs of the soup mixed with wine directly from the plate
c) Being obstinate
5. To what or whom does or did the nickname “La Veuve” refer?
a) The champagne, Veuve Clicquot
b) The guillotine
c) Yvonne de Gaulle, Charles de Gaulle’s widow
6. What is “une truffe”?
a) An edible fungus
b) A dog’s nose
c) A chocolate
I did warn you to look out for trick questions. It’s all three. 1 point for each.
7. Which village did French people elect as their favourite in 2015?
a) Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val (Tarn-et-Garonne)
b) Saint-Emilion (Gironde)
c) Ploumanac’h (Côtes-d’Armor)
8. Which river in SW France was described after flooding in 1930 as “une des rivières les plus terribles de France.” (one of the most terrible rivers in France)?
a) The Aveyron
b) The Lot
c) The Tarn
9. What proportion of the surface area of France is actually situated outside France métropolitaine (mainland France +Corsica)?
10. After Ile de France (Paris and surrounding area), which of the new regions of France from 1st January 2016 will have the largest population?
b) will have 7,808,000 (2014 figures). a) will have 5,867,000, c) will have 5,986,000.
11. Which film was shot in the village of Bruniquel?
a) The Hundred Foot Journey
b) Jean de Florette
c) Le Vieux Fusil
12. For which industry was la Forêt de Grésigne once noted?
a) Glass blowing
b) Iron smelting
c) Pottery making
Glass blowers produced a particular type of blue-green glass, which I believe was named bleu de Grésigne, the secret of which is now lost.
13. How many of Eleanor of Aquitaine’s children became king of England?
Richard I and John.
14. In 1209, during the Albigensian crusade, who is reputed to have answered when asked how they would distinguish between heretics and faithful in the conquered city of Béziers, “Kill them all. God will recognise His own”?
a) Arnaud-Amaury, Abbot of Cîteaux
b) Simon de Montfort
c) King Philippe II of France
It’s not clear if anyone really made this remark, which has sometimes been attributed to Simon de Montfort. Not long after the massacre, a German monk said that it was Arnaud-Amaury, one of the instigators of the crusade, who uttered it, and it has become his epitaph.
15. Which famous work of art was sheltered at the Abbaye de Loc Dieu (Aveyron) for a time during World War II?
a) Rodin’s “The Kiss”
b) Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”
c) Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa”
Originally taken to a Loire château, the Mona Lisa spent the summer of 1940 at Loc Dieu before moving again in September 1940 to the Musée Ingres in Montauban, where it spent the rest of World War II.
16. Which French president of the 5th Republic died in office?
a) Charles de Gaulle
b) François Mitterrand
c) Georges Pompidou
17. Which French political party was renamed “Les Républicains” in 2015?
b) Parti Communiste Français
c) UMP (Union pour un mouvement populaire)
18. Which famous Parisian hotel will reopen in 2016 after several years of renovations?
a) The Crillon
b) The George V
c) The Ritz
19. Who said, “The French are Italians in a bad mood.”
a) Winston Churchill
b) Gérard Dépardieu
c) André Gide
Those of you who cheated and consulted the internet will already know that it was none of these. This wasn’t a trick question. Apologies, I must have already been under the influence of the Christmas spirit when I prepared it. I meant to put Jean Cocteau, which is the correct answer, but André Gide slipped into my brain instead. It’s the sort of thing Gide might have said, anyway.
So we’ll ignore this question and not award or deduct any points for it – and move swiftly on.
20. What name is forbidden by law to be given to a pig in France?
a) The name of the current president
Like many such French laws, it has never been repealed.
This means you could have scored a maximum of 21 points. How did you do?
17-21 Très bien
6-11 Assez bien
0-5 Rien à dire
It only remains for me to wish you a very Happy New Year and I’ll be back in 2016 with more stories of Life on La Lune.
***Bonne fin d’année!***
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