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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French phrase of the day: Locataire de Matignon

In France renting is common, even for the big cheeses.

French phrase of the day: Locataire de Matignon
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know Le locataire de Matignon?

Because it refers to a very specific person.

What does it mean? 

Locataire in French means tenant, the standard term used on any French property rental contract.

Le locataire de Matignon, pronounced ‘luh loh-cah-tear duh matt-ing-gnon,’ means the current tenant (or resident) of the Hôtel de Matignon. This is the handsome 18th century building that houses the French Prime Minister’s office.

Matignon. Photo by THOMAS COEX / POOL / AFP

 

So really this phrase is simply a synonym for ‘the Prime Minister’. 

It may be interesting to note that the word locataire  is most closely translated to tenant, highlighting the temporary nature of the job of Prime Minister. 

You might see this phrase used when describing domestic policy or day-to-day governing, two areas which fall under the purview of the French Prime Minister.

Use it like this

‘Le pass vaccinal entrera en vigueur lundi,’ a expliqué le locataire de Matignon – ‘The vaccine pass will come into effect on Monday,’ explained the Prime Minister. 

Le Président vient de nommer le nouveau locataire de Matignon – The President just appointed the new Prime Minister.

Alternatives

It’s not just the French PM who is sometimes referred to by the name of a building, this is common throughout French politics.

Le locataire de l’Élysée – inhabitant/ tenant of Élysée Palace aka the President

Le locataire de Bercy – the finance minister

Le locataire de Beauvau – the interior minister 

The building names are also often used as a shorthand for the various ministries, so you may see phrases like Matignon a announcé . . ; which means that the Prime Minister’s office has announced something, similar to how we talk about ‘a statement from No 10’ when referencing the British PM or ‘White House sources’ when talking about the US president.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: T’inquiète

This is a good example of something you won't find in your French textbook, but will nonetheless hear all the time in France.

French Word of the Day: T’inquiète

Why do I need to know t’inquiète?

Because you might be wondering why people keep telling you to worry all the time.

What does it mean?

T’inquiète – usually pronounced tan-kee-ett – literally means ‘you worry’ but in actuality it means ‘don’t worry.’

It’s a good example of the difference between spoken and written French.

It is the ‘tu’ conjugation of the verb ‘S’inquieter’ which means to worry.

The command “don’t worry,” which is reflexive in French, should actually be written as “ne t’inquiète pas” (do not worry yourself).

But in colloquial speech this is often shortened it to t’inquiète pas or simply t’inquiète.

It’s one of many examples where the ne of the ne . . pas negative form disappears in spoken French. 

This is in the ‘tu’ form, meaning it is informal, it’s not rude but you might not want to tell your boss to t’inquiete.

Use it like this

Vous vous en sortirez bien à l’examen de langue, votre français est excellent. T’inquiète. – You will do fine on the language exam, your French is great. Don’t worry.

Non, non, t’inquiète ! Tout le monde a adoré ton idée. – No, no don’t worry! Everyone loved your idea.

Alternatives

If you want the more formal version of telling someone not to worry it’s Ne vous inquiétez pas

If you want a ‘no problem/don’t worry about it’ type response, especially if someone has apologised for something, you could say Ce n’est pas grave (it’s not serious)

While you can also use Pas de soucis to say ‘no worries’, although that is slightly controversial and more often used by younger people.

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