Tiré à quatre épingles

“Bledard92”, “Palais des Festivals lors de la 60e édition du Festival de Cannes”, May 18, 2007 via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution

Today’s entry is from a guest blogger, Madison Taormina, a student in my AP French class. Merci, Madi!

Each spring, a usually quiet, quaint town in the South of France is flooded with visitors from around the world for one of the most celebrated film festivals: the Cannes Film Festival. For two weeks each year, the town’s population of less than one hundred thousand inhabitants balloons to close to one million visitors. Cannes is the desired destination for avid film aficionados, whether an actor, director, critic, or student. The festival was created in the early twentieth century and today remains one of the most renowned, yet exclusive, venues in the film industry. Not only is Cannes a setting for film awards to be given, like the most prestigious Palme d’Or, but it is also a place to see new films and to be seen. Thousands of distinguished legendary film geniuses parade down the grand red carpet as they enter the theater. However, the red carpet is not exclusive to film celebrities; any member of the public with a pass is permitted to strut with the celebrities. All the participants, including the public and paparazzi, are required, to wear either tuxedos or dresses to step onto the red carpet, intensifying the extravagance and lavishness of the event. Tickets to elite film viewings are given to the best-dressed people on the red carpet.

At Cannes, every participant is tiré à quatre épingles (teeray ah catruh ay pangle), the idiomatic expression meaning “well dressed.” Originating from the Renaissance when pins were expensive and considered a luxury, tiré à quatre épingles literally means “held by four pins,” implying that the item being held by the pins was in itself luxurious, making one “well dressed.” At Cannes, being tiré à quatre épingles is the key to success.

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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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