Monday, July 10, 2006

More names

Husband and I attended a wedding this weekend. We left saturday morning and drove for two hours to Saint Lô, in Normandy. The two hours in the car were not very interesting, it was misting, and the views weren't spectacular. So I found fun were I could. Looking at the signs and asking Husband silly questions.

We passed a place called Villedieu les poêles. So ville - city, dieu - God, les poêles - pans (as in frying or sauté pan). Interesting and silly. Then the trick question. What does one call the residents of the City of God Sauté Pans?

Sometimes it's pretty easy.

Paris - Parisien, Parisienne (male, female)
Laval - Lavallois, Lavalloise
Nantes - Nantais, Nantaise

With Villedieu les poêles, I wasn't even sure where to begin. First, I suggested Les poêlerons. Husband laughed and said no, no, Villedieu would definitely be included. He suggested Les poêles villedieusiens. Which sounded kind of sacreligious to me, but I know nothing of these matters.

At the wedding reception, we were seated at a table with some very lovely people. Four we knew well, they are friends of Husband's since high school, and 2 we had never met before. PM and L, the unknowns, were charming. And smart and interesting. He's a journalist who works for a public tv station and she's a teacher.

Anyway, PM and L know the region quite well. We were talking about the drive is from Saint Lô to Laval and for some reason I mentioned City of God sauté pans. I also mentioned our attempts to guess the name of its residents. PM told us to give up trying, we would never guess it.

Two things to note about City of God sauté pans. It was called first Villedieu when the Templiers went there because I guess they thought it was holyish. It is also a place where, traditionally, copper cookware was made. As in copper sauté pans. Ok, so now the name of the place makes more sense.

As for the people, it's les sourdins and les sourdines. Coming from sourd, meaning deaf. Why? Well, apparently banging on copper with tools all day makes too much noise and so a lot of people had less than spectacular hearing. PM was right. I would've never guessed that.

7 comments:

Legal Alien said...

That's the kind of tale that makes me adore Europe. Your anecdote has everything: language, history, idiosyncratic charm. Deaf copper pot bangers? I love it!

zeb said...

tnepzjtI have a message from my son to your husband- HA HA

I am sure he was not pleased with the star player.

beth said...

Europe is so enchanting. Although I believe (not certain) that the city of Chicago means something to do about Onion. Not quite as enchanting, now is it!

beth said...

ps - does the tour de france travel anywhere by or thru Laval - we watch it in this household daily.

zeb said...

Beth- you watch the Tour that does my heart good.

beth said...

Zeb - I love the tour - only it's just not the same without Lance and Jan (sp?). We're just pulling for Big George! Husband took up cycling while I was pregnant - everyone cycles out here. I plan to take it up soon (probably with a baby bike seat attached - ha)!

Amy said...

I always enjoy stopping by your blog Nicole, I love these stories.