Wednesday, 16 April 2014

N is for Noms

A short blog today (well there were two yesterday to make up for it). The naming of shops.

Go into any town or village and you will find a selection of shops exactly as depicted in your school text book. The signs above their premises read: Boulangerie, Patisserie, Boucherie, Charcuterie, Poissonnerie, Quincaillerie, Tabac.


Aside from the occasional strapline bearing the owner’s name, French shopkeepers do not deem it necessary to give their establishments cute names.


Only the hairdressers venture into drollery. There’s a Miln’hair near us and a Baln’hair in a nearby town - though I don’t get the joke with that one.


Other than that, businesses do exactly what is said on the sides of their vans. Electricité, plomberie, maconnerie, jardinage, couverture, zingerie. Maybe it has something to do with the pigeonholing tax system. (See I is for Impôts)

And I love the way their surnames are given in CAPITALS, like Luke PICARD, or FESSARD Michelle. No fuss, no frills, we all know exactly who does what and how to spell their name.

As a postscript, I have just found this set of business names from the UK. I think it demonstrates the difference between us very well when it comes to the naming of shops!


  1. An amusing post. I'm sending this to my sister-in-law who's on her way to France for a year. I hope you keep writing -- blogs and novels! I'm over at and here from the A to Z blogging challenge.

  2. I like that there is no guessing as to what a business is when you walk through its door. Though I also like the bit of pun that owners sometimes do when naming their shops.

    How exciting to live in other countries. I hope I do that in my next life. :-)
    The View from the Top of the Ladder