An A-Z Dictionary of France


Notre Dame
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Photo above: Sculpture on the portal of Notre Dame cathedral, Paris

What is a numero vert ? Or what are the functions of a notaire? Here are the answers to these and other questions about French words or names beginning with N.

N.C. See Nouvelle Calédonie

Navigo: Carte Navigo - The electronic smart-card system used for travel concessions on the public transport systems of the Ile de France (Paris) region. Navigo cards can be applied for free online. Alternatively, "Navigo découverte" (Navigo discovery) cards can be purchased for 5 € at metro stations and other approved points of sale. A passport-style photo is required. Anyone can apply for a card, there are no local residence requirements. The card can then be credited for weekly, monthly or annual use, providing ticketless transport on all or parts of the Ile de France public transport network (buses, metro, RER, suburban trains). Sample prices: in October 2019, a day pass for travel in zones 1 and 2 cost 7.50 Euros, a month's pass covering zones 1-4 cost 75.20 €. Navigo fully replaced the Paris Carte Orange travel cards in 2010. The system is similar to London's Oyster card system.

NF: Normes Francaises. The NF label on a product means that it complies with French standards. See AFNOR.

Niches fiscales :  a raft of tax avoidance mechanisms designed to allow those with high income to pay little or no income tax, thanks to careful investment in a range of fiscally attractive niches, including investment in French overseas territories,  small firms, newbuild property for rent, the French cinema, and many more. The reduction of niches fiscales is seen as one of the means of bringing down France's massive mountain of debt.

Nids de poule : expression sometimes seen on roadsigns in France, translating litterally 'hen's nests', but meaning that there are potholes in the road.

NMPP : Nouvelles Messageries de la Presse Parisienne : NMPP , former name, until 2009, of Prestalis .

Nord– Pas-de-Calais : The northernmost region of France,  and after the Ile de France (Paris) region, the most populated. The region lies between Belgium, the North Sea/Channel coast, and Picardy. Capital Lille. See Nord Pas de Calais area guide

Nord, Gare du.  Paris mainline railway terminus, serving destinations in central northern and northeast France, including Amiens, Lille and Valenciennes. It is also the Paris terminus for Eurostar services to London, and Thalys high-speed services to Brussels, Amsterdam and beyond. See rail travel .

Normandie : historic region in the middle of Northern France, between Brittany and Picardy. Today, the historic area of Normandy is divided into two administrative regions, Basse Normandie (capital Caen) and Haute Normandie (capital Rouen). For further details see Normandy regional guide .

Notables: Local VIPs, people with considerable power or influence in local affairs, either through election or through connections. See Elites.

Notaire : A notaire is a type of solicitor or notary, whose function is to formalise procedures, usually on behalf of private individuals; these include conveyancing (buying and selling property), the drawing up of wills and testaments, drawing up contracts of marriage. Notaries are self-employed professionals, holding public office.

Notat, Nicole : Born 1947, former leader (1992 - 2002) of the large CFDT Trade Union, the first woman to attain such a senior position in the world of French trade unionism.  As a union leader, she was remarkably open to dialogue, and as such was considered as weak by more militant hard-liners.

Notre Dame de Paris : the cathedral of Paris, one of the finest medieval gothic cathedrals in the world, located on the Ile de la Cité, in the heart of Paris. The cathedral suffered from a major fire in April 2019, and is currently closed for extensive renovation.  See Paris tourist attractions.

Nourrice :  also called Nounous or Gardes d'enfants, are unofficial child minders, not officially recognized but allowed to look after babies in theuir or the parents' home.

Nouvel Observateur : See Obs

Nouvelle Calédonie: French overseas territory in the south Pacific

November 11th , le Onze novembre :  Armistice day (World War I), a national holiday in France.

NRJ (Pronounced Energie) : one of the first, and now one of the biggest, private music radio stations in France. NRJ was founded in 1991, immediately following the liberalisation of broadcasting by the newly elected president François Mitterrand.

Numéro azur :  National phone number for which all calls are charged at local rates (the difference being paid by the company or the organisation, not the caller).

Numéro vert (green number). A toll-free phone number, usually starting with the prefix 0800. Other special rate phone numbers include the numéro azur (0801 or 0810), charged at local rate, and numéro indigo (0802 0820 0803 or 0830) charged at premium rates


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