I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was “Noël au balcon” (Christmas on the balcony) with temperatures nudging 20C. This usually means it will be “Pâques aux tisons” (Easter by the embers, or by the fire). C’est à voir.
How did you get on with the quiz? Here are the answers. Award yourself one point for every correct answer. Where a question has more than one answer, you get a point for each correct answer.
In each case, if there is a relevant post on Life on La Lune, I give the link so you can find out more about it.
1. Which French food item was inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2022?
b) Foie gras
c) Roquefort cheese
Answer: a) baguette. Read more about how a humble loaf became an icon of French cuisine.
2. Which international celebrity has their own dedicated La Poste sorting office?
a) Gérard Dépardieu
b) Le Père Noël
c) Zinedine Zidane
Answer: b) It is, of course, le Père Noël, who has a dedicated sorting office in Libourne, near Bordeaux. Every letter receives a reply. Read more about La Poste.
3. What did King Charles IX offer every lady at the French court on 1st May?
a) A brooch in the shape of a fleur-de-lys
b) A pair of silk stockings
c) A sprig of lily-of-the-valley (muguet)
Answer: c). This is the origin of the custom of giving muguet on 1st May. If you want to sell it, you have to abide by various rules.
4. What is le drac?
a) A form of torture on a spiked wheel
b) An attack of nerves, stage fright
c) A fearsome mythical beast
Answer: c) Le drac was a mythical beast conjured up mainly to frighten children, but it was also the subject of many folkoric tales. An attack of nerves is le trac in French.
5. Which of these towns in Southwest France is known as ‘the pinkest of the pink cities’?
Answer: b). All three are built primarily of red brick, but Montauban is known as the pinkest of all three.
6. What is believed to be the longest postal delay ever in France?
a) 120 years
b) 150 years
c) 220 years
Answer: c) 220 years. In 1790, an official letter addressed to a village in Ariège was delivered to the mairie of the wrong village in the Tarn. It took until 2010 for this to come to light.
7. Picture question. What is this apparatus?
a) An apple press
b) A chestnut press
c) A wine press
Answer: b) a chestnut press. This was a method of separating the skin from the pulp. The latter was used for various culinary purposes. The town of Laguépie was once the centre of a thriving chestnut industry.
8. Which French president appointed France’s first woman prime minister?
a) François Mitterrand
b) Jacques Chirac
c) Emmanuel Macron
Answer: a) François Mitterrand appointed Edith Cresson prime minister, a post she held from 1991-92. The current prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, appointed by Emmanuel Macron in 2022, is only the second female prime minister in France.
9. In 2022 Villefranche-de-Rouergue was the film set for a dramatisation of which World War II novel?
a) All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
b) Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky
c) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Answer: a). Although the novel is set mainly in Saint-Malo, Villefranche-de-Rouergue was felt to have retained more authentic decor. Many shop fronts were transformed to 1940s style specially for filming.
10. What is a cantou?
a) An Auvergnat mountain song
b) An inglenook fireplace
c) A stew of duck and sausage
Answer: b). A cantou is a fireplace large enough to sit in. In past times it was the centre of the house, providing heat, light and ashes for washing. Most of the cooking was done over the fire. The stew of duck and sausage is cassoulet, which originated in Southwest France.
11. What is un poulet?
a) A chicken
b) A pulley
c) A slang name for a policeman
Answer: two correct answers: a) a chicken (you didn’t have to work very hard for that one); and c) a slang word for a policeman or police officer, as I should originally have written. I looked at the role of gendarmes vs police in a recent post. A pulley is une poulie in Franch.
12. Which of these famous artists is not buried in Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris?
a) Gustave Caillebotte
b) Georges Seurat
c) Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Answer: c) Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters Caillebotte and Seurat are both buried in Père Lachaise. Toulouse-Lautrec is buried in Verdelais, Lot-et-Garonne, where his mother owned a château, having separated from his father. The artist died there in 1901.
13. Septfonds is famous as the regional birthplace of which clothing industry?
a) Clog making
b) Straw hat making
c) Linen cloth weaving
Answer: b). The delightfully named Petronille Cantecor set up a hat-making workshop in Septfonds in 1796, having made straw hats for her neighbours. The industry flourished during the 19th century.
14. Which of the following towns in Southwest France does not hold a truffle market?
Answer: a) Laguépie (Tarn-et-Garonne) does not have a truffle market, but is instead known for the former importance of its chestnut industry (see answer to Q7). Lalbenque (Lot) is the biggest truffle market in the region. Limogne-en-Quercy (Lot) has a much smaller one.
15. Which of the following French actors played Commissaire Maigret?
a) Bruno Cremer
b) Philippe Noiret
c) Jean Richard
Answer: a) and c). Bruno Cremer and Jean Richard both played Simenon’s characterful detective. The excellent Philippe Noiret never played Maigret.
16. What is a bolet?
a) A type of mushroom
b) A women’s short evening jacket
c) A covered balcony
Answer: another dual answer – a) and c). A bolet (boletus edulis) is an edible mushroom. A bolet (or balet) is a first-floor covered balcony to which an external staircase provides access. You see them particularly in the Quercy and Rouergue regions of SW France.
17. Which monastery in Southwest France has the largest cloisters in France?
a) La Chartreuse Saint-Sauveur, Villefranche de Rouergue
b) Le Couvent des Jacobins, Toulouse
c) L’Abbaye Saint-Pierre, Moissac
Answer: a) la Chartreuse in Villefranche-de-Rouergue. Founded in the 15th century, its cloister measures 66m x 40m (216’6″ x 131’3″ approx).
18. What does ‘faire le pont’ mean ?
a) Act as a mediator
b) Take the day(s) off work between a public holiday and the weekend
c) Have a lie-in
Answer: b). In France, public holidays usually occur on the date itself rather than on a Monday (as is often the case in the UK). When the holiday falls on a weekend, you can’t faire le pont.
19. Which beverage was known as ‘la boisson qui rend fou’ (the drink that makes you mad)?
a) Eau de vie
Answer: c). Absinthe, also known as la fée verte (the green fairy) fuelled la Belle Epoque of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Fears about its dangers to health led to it being banned in 1915. The government lifted the ban only in 2011.
20. Finally, a topical question. How many times has France won the FIFA World Cup?
c) Three times
Answer: b). France won in 1998 and 2018. They were just pipped at the post from achieving a hat-trick by Argentina, which won on penalties in 2022 after drawing 3-3.
You could have scored a maximum of 23 points, since three questions had two correct answers. How did you get on?
0-5 – lamentable. Homework: read all 785 posts on Life on La Lune.
6-11 – pourrait faire mieux. Homework: read all posts on Life on La Lune from 2022.
12-17 – bien. Homework: read all new posts on Life on La Lune twice.
18-23 – magnifique ! Homework: continue to read every new post on Life on La Lune.
It only remains for me to wish you une bonne fin d’année. I’ll be back in 2023 with more tales of life in la France profonde.
Copyright © Life on La Lune 2022. All rights reserved.
I just scraped into the top bracket thanks to a couple of lucky guesses. And some of my ‘double’ answers were surplus to requirements, it turned out! Another lovely quiz – thank you, Vanessa. Happy New Year to you both. xx
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Félicitations ! An excellent effort. Next year, I shall tell people to deduct a point each time their double answer is wrong 😉. Pleased you enjoyed it. Bonne année et bonne santé to both of you. Bisous.
The quiz was great fun and thank you for the blog through the year. Everything is brought to life when you know more about the history, context or background. Looking forward to more in 2023.
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Hello, Shelby. I’m pleased you enjoyed the quiz. I enjoy setting it! Thank you for your kind words about the blog. It was good to meet you at the library event in November. All the best for 2023.
I also achieved a ‘bien’ . I have enjoyed your blog all year with the little snippets of life in France. It is hard to believe another year is almost upon us. In another day I will be able to say ‘ We are going to France this year!! ‘ Not quite counting the days yet but now Christmas is over it is time to start researching in earnest.
Hope 2023 brings everyone happiness and good health.
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Well done! I’m pleased to see so many people doing the quiz this year. You must be getting excited about your forthcoming trip. You will get to 2023 before we do, so I hope it brings you good health and French bonheur.
Merci beaucoup Vanessa. That was fun, I should have done better than a ‘bien’, so will try and do my homework diligently! Bonne Année. Charlotte
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Well done. Pleased you enjoyed it. Yes, if you work at your homework, you can hope for a “Magnifique” next year! 😉 Bonne année,
Hi Vanessa..thankyou for keeping us entertained and informed throughout 2022.
Looking forward to another year of anecdotes and facts on France.
Terry & Shirley
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Glad you have enjoyed it. Life on La Lune turns 13 in February, but there are still a few things to write about. Hope 2023 is a good year for you both.