Store names often combine two French obsessions: shopping and jeux de mots.
Walking to dîner with Albert and Maria, we passed their favorite librairie (bookstore, not library): Mona Lisait (Mona was reading). Great calembour (pun)! We don’t do that much in the United States. In France, “punny” shop names abound. Not to mention funny nicknames for well-known things. Going up the escalator of the Centre Pompidou (also known as le paquebot—the ocean liner—and sometimes ce tas de tubes—that pile of pipes), we saw la Tour Eiffel (pronounced Tour FL) begin to twinkle. Evenings, every hour on the hour, for five minutes, it looks just like an enormous sparkler. J’adore ! My Dutch husband, who thinks it’s vulgar, says that’s my Disneyland mentality.