La vache !

The annual Salon International de l’Agriculture will run from February 19 to 27, 2011 in Paris. It’s a huge, huge event. To see it properly, you’d need to consecrate three days. What’s the big deal? France is justifiably proud of its farms and farmers. Without them, all that wonderful gastronomie would be difficult to achieve. Whether it be cheese, wine, or prize-winning beef, the French believe strongly in the concept of terroir, the subtle but indivisible link between the particularities of soil and climate with the ultimate product. The Salon is de rigueur for any French politician who is hoping to be re-elected. President Nicolas Sarkozy picked up points today by spending a significant amount of time on the opening day, instead of repeating the gaffe he made last year of only showing up on closing day. In addition to merely looking at a dizzying array of livestock, the attraction of the event lies in the thousands of free samples on offer. You can snack from 9h to 19h. Yum!

Today’s expression, la vache!, (lah vash) literally means “the cow!” Figuratively, it’s a highly useful exclamation. It can express pleasure, displeasure, surprise, or amazement. In the spirit of the larger than life Salon, I’ll throw in another cow-inspired expression. Vachement literally means “cowly” but figuratively means “very” or “really,” as in Le Salon de l’Agriculture est vachement bon. La vache! Je ne peux pas y aller! (The Agricultural Show is really great. Darn! I can’t go there!)

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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