What does the word l'hexagone
mean ? Who is Johnny
Halliday ? Why would you not want to book a night in
the hotel des
impots ? And what happened on the huit mai ? Here are
the answers to these and other questions about French words or
names beginning with H.
: Publishing company, today, as Hachette
of France’s biggest media and publishing group, the
Lagardère group. Hachette is the largest, and one of the
publishers in France. The company was founded in 1824 and today
publishes some of France’s best-known imprints, including
Hatier and Larousse. Hachette is also a major international publisher,
and the second largest publisher in the UK, where it owns Chambers,
Cassel, Hamlyn and a number of other publishers.
Médias: The magazine, newspaper and audio-visual
publishing branch of the Lagardère
empire. HFM publishes a
significant number of France’s most popular magazines,
including Elle, France
Dimanche, Paris Match
it also owns two regional
dailies in the south of France, Nice
Matin and La Provence, as well as the photo agencies Gamma
Halliday, Johnny :
Iconic French rocker, who first came to fame in the early sixties as
the French answer to Elvis. Though essentially a singer of
rock 'n' roll, Johnny - real name Jean-Philippe
Smet - evolved like a chameleon through changing fashions and
modes in music, remaining one of France's most popular singers through
four decades. Born in 1943, he officially announced his retirement in
2007, though was still doing the occasional concert in 2008.
popular form of creche, providing day-care for infants until they can
have a place at kindergarten (école maternelle).
Harkis, les : In
France, the term Harki is used to define Moslem Algerians who, during
the Algerian war of independence, fought with the French
army against the independentists. At the end of the war in 1962, and
although the French tried to stop their exodus, about 90,000 Harkis
managed to escape to France. Many of the thousands who remained in
Algeria were massacred. In France, the situation of the Harkis was for
many years brushed under the carpet. Thousands of Harki families were
accommodated for years in internment camps and forestry
camps, the most notorious of these being the Camp Joffre, near
Perpignan. It was not until the 1990s that the French government began
to officially recognise the injustices done to the Harkis; most
recently, in 2007, President Sarkozy announced further measures in
favour of Harki families, but stopped short of recognising any French
responsibility for the fate suffered by Harkis after the war.
fonctionnaire (see also Fonction Publique)
: Senior civil servant, person occupying a senior post in the French
public administration or in the corridors of power.
: The Ecole des Hautes
Commerciales, a grande école located in
is France’s top business school. Founded in 1881, it is
now (since 2008) part of a larger organisation called
“Paris Tech�?. HEC is run by the
Paris Chamber of commerce (see CCI),
and is reputed
as one of the best business schools in the world, indeed classed top in
the Financial Times European business schools league table in 2005,
2006 and 2007.
HEC offers 380 places per year in
its first year of study, and with almost 4,000 candidates per year is
the Grande école with the most competitive entry. The degree
which includes at least 20 weeks abroad, and an internship, lasts 3
years, meaning effectively that most students do not graduate until
five years after their baccalaureate (2 years of prépa
to prepare for entry, then 3 years of HEC once accepted). HEC also
offers MBA qualifications.
Robert : (1920 - 1996) Hersant was the
greatest press baron, or newspaper magnate, in France in
the second half of the twentieth century.
During the Second World War, Hersant collaborated openly with the Nazis
and with the Vichy Régime,
a collaboration for which he
was condemned post war to ten years' national indignity. However,
following the 1952 amnesty, he launched into a career both as a press
baron and as a politician. At the peak of its expansion, Hersant's
press empire controlled 38% of France's national press, and 26% of the
press; among the flagship titles owned by Hersant were the daily Le
Figaro, and the daily evening newspaper France
Soir, two of France's best-selling newspapers.
Although he was
first elected to the French parliament as a socialist, Hersant went on
to sit as a centrist conservative in Valéry Giscard
d'Estaing's centre right UDF party.
l' . The Hexagon, a name frequently used to describe continental
France, normally including Corsica. The name stems
from the vaguely hexagonal shape of France. Consequently, the adjective
is sometimes used with the meaning of French.
Hollande, François :
born 1954. President of France (2012 - ) Candidate of the
French Socialist Party for the
presidential election, he ousted incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy in
a closely fought runoff..
A graduate of HEC
business school and of the ENA
school of administration,
Hollande worked at the Cour des
Comptes before becoming elected as a
député for the Corrèze - the same
department as Jacques Chirac
- in 1988. In 1997 he was elected first secretary of the
Socialist Party, a most he held until 2008. At the time he was
considered as rather a soft-liner, the rather dull partner of
by whom he has four children.
However since Hollande and Royale split up, and Hollande was
ousted from the leadership of the Socialist party, he staged a
considerable comeback, building an image as a serious candidate with
whom the French economy would be in safe hands.
As president, he promised to be a
"normal" man, but the normality soon came back to haunt him. Unable to
fulfil his election pledges of a drastic cut in unemployment (it rose
continually during the first half of his term) and a rapid cut in
France's budget deficit (he failed to meet EU deficit reduction
targets), Hollande saw his popularity ratings slump to an all-time low
for a president of the French Fifth Republic. In order to try
and turn round the situation, in 2014 Hollande (just like Mitterrand in
his first term) made a major policy U-turn, ousting left wingers and
bringing in a centre-left government under a new prime minister,
Spanish-born Manuel Valls. The ensuing economic packages put forward to
try and bring French industry out of the doldrums were decried by the
far-left of his own party as "ultra liberal", and by the conservative
opposition as "half measures", and Hollande's popularity ratings
continued to fall. By early 2015 had an approval rating of under 20%.
This shot up briefly on account of his good
handling of events surrounding the terrorist attacks in Paris in early
January. But with France's economic situation showing only limited
signs of stabilisation, the president's popularity sank back down
again. In the departmental elections of March 2015, the Socialists lost
almost half of the French departments they previously governed.
Hors gabarit :
gabarit sign, sometimes seen on French roads, means that
the road - or some structure along it - is closed to vehicles exceeding
normal height or width. Hors
gabarit litterally means "exceeding the dimensions".
Hôtel de Ville
Town hall, the official building in a French town, in which ceremonial
duties are carried out; this is often distinct from the Mairie, which
houses municipal offices and services.
leader of the French Communist Party (PCF) from 1994 to 2002.
During his time in office, the PCF lost some 40% of its membership, in
spite of Hue's attempts to modernise the party. But the decline was
more due to changing times than to Hue's leadership.
Huit mai : The 8th
May 1945, known as VE Day in the UK, was the day on which Nazi Germany
capitulated, bring to an end the Second World War in Europe. It is a
public holiday in France.
Humanité, l' A
daily newspaper, founded by jean Jaurès in 1904. From 1920
to 1994, it
was the official newspaper of the French Communist Party (PCF); today,
it remains very close to the PCF.. At the peak of its popularity, the
paper sold 400,000 copies a day; today, the figure is a little over
See under Khâgne and Classes
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