Weird English Shop Signs: One More Time!

Signs, Signs and Signing Out

December 20, 2017By David JaggardC'est Ironique!


Joke Hotel in Paris, France
This must be where non-Parisian marketing consultants stay when they come to town for brainstorming sessions.

My dear readers! After seven years, four months and nearly 300 articles, I have decided to stop writing C’est Ironique on a regular basis. An irregular basis is not out of the question, but it’s time for me to move on to other projects.

So, as a final hurrah, or ha-ha, or harrumph, I am ending 2017 and what has been a good run with one last salvo in my long series of ill-advised, ill-conceived, ill-begotten and sometimes nauseating English shops signs. (The previous installment contains a link to the previously previous one, and so on ad nearly infinitum, if not nauseam.)

The use of English in French trade names has now become so common that it’s no big woop. But for the benefit of people who nonetheless want to make a BFD (big Francophilic deal) out of it, they can find everything they need at this shop on Rue Tiquetonne:

Sometimes the English names make perfect sense:

This fast food joint in Nîmes makes both pizza and hamburgers, and wants to evoke the mysteriously popular “mystique” of the United States, so…

Or make near-perfect sense in a sort of “Franglais” way:

And sometimes they make sense in two ways, as both phrases and acronyms:

On the other hand, this shop happens to be in the same building on Rue Monsieur le Prince as the one-euro-a-day apartment that I talked about in this article from 2014.
Spotted, like the previous sign, by reader Margie Rubin.

But most of the time, English signs here don’t make much sense, either due to illogical syntax:

Or due to an illogical juxtaposition of logical words:

Or due to an illogical juxtaposition of slightly-less-than-logical words:

Or due to a total breakdown in logic:

It’s true that the fashion world’s fixation on skinniness is unrealistic and even unhealthy, but still…

In fairness, I have to admit that not every use of English in a French commercial venture results in an inadvertently risible shop sign. Sometimes it results in an inadvertently risible brand name:

These coffee capsules will get you up on your feet in the morning! Or will they?
I saw this in a French store, but it’s a German brand. Which of course explains why the label is in English and Russian.

But back to French shop signs. The trend for English is powered in part by France’s unreasonable fascination with American pop culture, but the U.S. is not the only Anglophone country that has cachet here.

The French also admire Ireland, for the beauty of its landscapes, the quality of its fermented beverages, the way Waiting for Godot makes calling “ninety” “four-twenty-ten” look sensible by comparison, and the fact that the Irish people are just so downright:

Oh! And also for that delicious traditional Irish food, as offered by these two places:

Spotted by reader Anne Ellis.

Sometimes, as I mentioned above, it’s enough to make you:

And now, to bring this yukfest to a close, I have one final word for all of my readers:

Oops! I mean:

Spotted by reader Jake Dear.

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.

Follow C’est Ironique on Facebook and Twitter.


  • I’ll miss these articles as I feel as though the store signs are only going to get worse and more prevalent. Just as every art gallery area in the world is now showing the same styles, soon all store signs will be mixing languages and puns. You have probably helped this scourge of signage along by making it known. And it will be sourly (oops, sorrowly) missed.

What do you think? Send a comment:

Your comment is subject to editing. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe for free!

The Paris Update newsletter will arrive in your inbox every Wednesday, full of the latest Paris news, reviews and insider tips.