Mad Dogs and Frenchmen

(Ah, finally missed a day – and I was doing so well this year!)

One of the books I’m reading at the moment, slowly and in French, is Pierre LouÿsLa Femme et Le Pantin (The Woman and the Puppet). Louÿs is portrayed by Wikipedia largely as a late c19th writer of erotica, but he’s really far more interesting than that (more on him some other time).

Anyway, today I read the quoted cliché:

à l’heure où il n’y a dans les rues que les chiens et les Français (at that hour when you only see in the street [mad] dogs and Frenchmen)

and I thought to myself:

  • I wonder if this is also a French phrase of delight in French eccentricity, or just a play on the English phrase
  • I have been that Englishman, walking in the 2 o’clock heat of Sevilla (for that is where our speaker is), the only person at the time doing so (every else is sitting in the shade of cafés)

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