Since the horrific events of November 13, I keep hearing the expression montrer patte blanche (mohn-tray pat blahnsh), which literally means “to show white paw.” Figuratively, it means to identify yourself, often by presenting proof through documents. In the new Paris, people are be asked to justify their right to be somewhere and to produce ID. I realize that I’ll have to remember to carry documents the next time I’m there.
The phrase comes from a fable by Jean de la Fontaine, Le loup, la chèvre, et le chevreau (The Wolf, the Goat, and the Kid) that was published in 1668. In the story, a kid is saved from a terrible fate by demanding proof of identity before opening the door. (Here’s an animated version.) I hope that the demande “Montrez-moi patte blanche” will protect Paris just as effectively as it saved the kid.