For members


French phrase of the Day: Les tracances

You might have seen some French media reports dealing with this new phenomenon.

French phrase of the Day: Les tracances
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know les tracances?

Because you might find yourself mixing up your private and professional life while on holiday.

What does it mean?

The word comes from French Canadian and is the merger of the French words travail (work) and vacances (holiday).

The pandemic made télétravail (remote working) more prevalent but this summer some employees have been taking it a step further – working remotely from a holiday location. Why? Because it means they can enjoy being away from home for a bit longer than just their annual leave, and enjoy views of the beaches or mountains while working.

So les tracances takes place during the contractual working time and not during annual leave, but are perhaps most common in July or August when French people like to leave the cities and head to the seaside or the country.

The irony of the word tracances is that it echoes the word “les tracas” which mean trouble or worry.

Use it like this

J’ai prévenu mon employeur que je serai en tracances la semaine prochaine dans les Alpes – I told my employer that I will be working remotely next week in the Alpes.

J’ai loué une villa sur la Côte d’Azur car je vais être en vacances pendant quinze jours et en tracances pendant un mois – 
I rented a house on the Côte d’Azur because I will be on holiday for 15 days and home working for a month.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Le Fisc

You probably don't want to get on the bad side of the Fisc.

French Expression of the Day: Le Fisc

Why do I need to know le Fisc?

Because you might have heard it mentioned in slightly ominous tones.

What does it mean?

Le Fisc – pronounced luh fisk – is a term used to reference the French institution in charge of levying taxes. It’s a shorter, more casual version of the phrase l’administration fiscale (the fiscal administration).  Often, it refers specifically to the“Direction générale des Finances publiques which is the French public finances administration.

Though it may look like a shortened version of the feminine noun ‘fiscalité’ (which refers to the set of laws related to the tax collection system in France), le Fisc is a masculine noun with a different definition that refers specifically to the government body doing the tax collecting.

The closest English synonyms to this expression might be ‘the taxman’ or ‘tax authorities.’  

The term le Fisc comes from the Latin word “Fiscus” which means “basket” and by extension went on to be used interchangeably for ‘treasure’ as well. 

In ancient Rome, the name for the public treasury was ‘fiscus,’ which is the root of the French terms le Fisc and fiscalité.  

Often, you’ll see this word used in newspapers or by politicians when referencing matters related to the national budget and taxation.

Use it like this

Le Fisc va récupérer €10 millions de plus cette année dans les piscines non déclarées. – The taxman will recover more than €10 million in taxes this year due to undeclared swimming pools. 

Le Fisc a pris connaissance du fait que l’acteur omettait de déclarer une partie importante de ses revenus en France. Il sera probablement condamné à une amende. – The tax authorities have become aware of how the actor was failing to declare significant portions of his income in France. He will likely be fined.