No Such Thing as Too Many Paris Shop Signs: From the Ridiculous to the Sublimely Ridiculous, Part 13

Are They All Like This?

September 23, 2015By David JaggardC'est Ironique!
The name of this Latin Quarter bar pretty much sums up the use of English in Parisian shop signs.

Now that everyone’s happy, rested and relaxed after summer vacation, what better way to start the fall than with some disturbing statistics? Like these:

• Every 40 seconds, somewhere in the world someone commits suicide.

• Every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world there’s an earthquake.

• Every 20 seconds, somewhere in Paris someone opens a new business.

• And every 10 seconds, somewhere in Paris someone opens a new business with a ludicrous English name.

I realize that those last two figures are contradictory, but it sure seems like that is what’s happening (as steadily but irregularly reported in C’est Ironique — see my previous post on Paris shop signs, which contains links that eventually lead to harder drugs. Oops — I mean that eventually lead back to Part One).

Consider, for example, these three places, all right next to each other on Rue Saint Augustin:

The menu includes (no kidding) a “Shrimpdwich,” an “Englishdwich” and a “Mexicdwich.” Pronounce your order correctly in one try and you eat for free.
This is a used bookstore. They have other branches that deal in used jackets and egg beaters.
It’s a men’s hair salon. I guess for guys who want to have their hair styled in a shock and then bail.

And at the end of the day, after they’ve mown all that hay, what do they do with it in the heart of the city? My guess: they feed it to the…


In the United States there have been star horses, star dogs and even a star pig on Green Acres, but to my knowledge there are no bovine hoofprints on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I guess that’s what makes Paris so famously unique. Well, that and the food. Well, most of the food:

Spotted by reader Jim Hutchinson.

I’ll think I’ll just have a soda, thanks. For the benefit of readers who were stoned in high school biology class, urea is the main biochemical substance in urine. Since I was not under the influence of other biochemical substances in high school biology, I happen to remember that urea is also the very first organic compound to be synthesized in the laboratory.

Learning this fact made me wonder: after he had successfully whipped up a batch of what was in effect wee-wee, what did the chemist do with it? If this scientific breakthrough took place in Paris, he probably just dribbled it out into the street. Right in front of:


A children’s store — yummy! I have a modest proposal for the owners: pick a different second word. “Fancy,” perhaps. Or even “Toasty.” But not just any word that happens to end in “y.” Like this one:


This furniture shop on Rue Solférino specializes in chairs and sofas, no doubt upholstered with:

ParisUpdate-Serious Leather

But seriously, “Seaty” is a name selected to convey the tony, upscale character of the neighborhood, the high-end nature of the goods on offer and the sophisticated tastes of the target clientele. But it doesn’t do that quite as eloquently as:


I’ve always wondered who patronizes those fancy decoration shops in the Saint Germain district. Now I know. And many of those same customers probably frequent:


After all, what snob wants cheerful art? And speaking of the lugubrious, when it comes to dealing with the most mournful event of all, why make things complicated? At least that’s what they think at:

Spotted by reader Jordan Grossi.

For the benefit of readers who were rendered brainless by their own hormones in high school French class, obsèques means “funerals.” But it’s not quite that simple.

The slogan for “Simply burials” says, “Grow a commemorative garden” (apparently right over the grave) and the one for “Simply cremation” encourages customers to “Go into the light.”

Let us bury you so you can fertilize flowers and vegetables. Or let us cremate you so you can generate photons (from, among other things, grilled urea).

In other words, we all end up either mulch or fuel. It’s a sobering thought.

Have you seen a ridiculous sign in Paris? Or anywhere in France? If not, you will eventually. When it happens, please send me a photo in care of


© 2015 Paris Update


An album of David Jaggard’s comic compositions is now available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music, for purchase (whole or track by track) on iTunes and Amazon, and on every other music downloading service in the known universe, under the title “Totally Unrelated.”

Note to readers: David Jaggard’s e-book Quorum of One: Satire 1998-2011 is available from Amazon as well as iTunes, iBookstore, Nook, Reader Store, Kobo, Copia and many other distributors.

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