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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 Expression of the Day: Ça tape

The long-range forecast suggests that this will be a handy phrase this summer.

French Expression of the Day: Ça tape

Why do I need to know ça tape?

Because you might want a way to describe the feeling of walking down a long boulevard with no shade in sight…or a techno concert.

What does it mean?

Ça tape usually pronounced sah tap – literally translates to ‘it taps’ or ‘it hits.’ The verb being used is taper, which means to hit or slap, and colloquially can be used to seek monetary support from someone. It is also the verb for ‘to type.’ But when spoken, this phrase does not involve violence, financial assistance, or note-taking.

Ça tape is a way to say ‘it’s scorching’ and complain about the hot weather or the search for shade. If someone uses it under a hot sun, and they say “ça tape”  or “ça tape fort” they’re referring to the particularly violent, piercing heat.

It can also be used to say something is intense, particularly in relation to music. It bears a similar colloquial meaning to the English informal phrase “it hits” or “it’s banging.” For example, you might be at a loud concert listening to a particularly passionate DJ – this might be a good scenario to employ ‘ça tape.’

The first meaning, which refers to the heat, is more commonly used across generations, whereas the second might be heard more from a younger audience. 

 Use it like this

Dès que je suis sortie de l’appartement et que je suis entrée dans la rue, j’ai dit “Ça tape !” car le soleil était si fort.– As soon as I stepped out of the apartment and into the street, I said to myself “it’s blazing!” because the sun was so strong.

Ce festival est incroyable, tout le monde est dans le même esprit. Ouh t’entends cette basse ? Ça tape !  – This festival is amazing, everyone is really in the same mood. Do you hear that bass? It’s banging.

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