10 Jan 2012

Word plays in the Paris Metro

Playing on words, or punning, is almost untranslatable from one language to another, but visuals can help, at least when the words have the same signification in different languages. Here are a few visual puns on the names of some of the Paris metro stations.
Janol Apin set up these shots and there is a link below if you want to see more. A friend just sent them to me. French speakers will be in a better position to fully understand some of them, but I have added the occasional footnote to help the rest of you....

Gare du Nord is the metro that connects to the railway station whose lines lead to the north. We are in the Northern hemisphere.

You should manage the one above...

Ecole Militaire means Military School. This was founded by Louis XV in 1750 and looks like this above ground....no, the metro was not built by Louis XV. The tall bit in the middle is the top of the Eiffel tower, all of which lies about a mile behind.

Vincennes, on the eastern perimeter of Paris, is known for its horse-racing track.

I like this one. Pompe can mean a pump, but its other meaning is what you do before and during rugby training sessions, sometimes as punishment from the coach when you have dropped the ball. Do 20 if you haven't got it yet!

Alésia was the battle at which the Gaulois, under their chief Vercingetorix, were defeated by Ceasar. The Gaulois erected stone monuments called menhirs. Strange that they don't have a metro station called Crecy, or Azincourt, or Trafalgar, or Waterloo. Maybe I should suggest this to the authorities? Then again, maybe I shouldn't.


a "boulet" is a cannonball


  1. It is photographs by the artist Janol Apin, taken from his book Metropolisson, where there are many more. You can buy it as well as prints at Art Generation:

  2. Oh no, don’t get me started on paronomasia, please !
    Here I come (see previous comment): " Si ton Per est Britt, alors, tu parles bien l’anglais ? "
    This is the doggy type of humour: for Great Danes only!
    Hello to that couple, and a Happy New Year ...
    By the way, they are still very much expected at Domaine de la Coume Majou, whenever they see fit.

  3. Thanks Per and Britt. I can now insert a due credit for this excellent stuff.

  4. I always confuse Danish wine-writers with their Swedish analogs. Don’t know why: a Dutchman is definitely NOT Belgian. But you, as heir to great beer-brewers, should know, David. The only difference between Carlsberg’s and Tuborg’s lagers is their respective labels: once an elephant, once a great Dane, once the Little Mermaid .... So what ? True, both are Danish.
    Oh yes, I know: both countries are associated with unbelievably pretty blonde women.
    On top of that, my “doggy humour” would not work. There is no such breed as “the Great Swede”, as far as I’m aware. But, if I think twice, Hush Puppies is known for ... great suede!

  5. Yes, and we all know what a swede is. Wine is flowing well tonight?

  6. Luc doesn't even need that kind of lubrifocation for his brain. It was pickled in doggerel from the start.