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Bateaux-Mouches -what is the translation?

Bateaux-Mouches -what is the translation?

Dec 2nd, 1999, 09:37 AM
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Bateaux-Mouches -what is the translation?

Sorry for the lack of knowledge of the French language but someone told me that Bateau-Mouches translated into something like bat flies. Could that be correct?
Dec 2nd, 1999, 09:55 AM
Brian in Atlanta
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I'm almost certain that it translates to: Wash-Cloths
Dec 2nd, 1999, 10:11 AM
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Bateau(x) = boat(s)
Mouches = (house)flies

Somewhere down the line, somebody decided that these boats looked like (house)flies sitting on the surface of the water.

It is not considered derogatory, at least not as long as I've been traveling to France (30 years) - - remember, this is a country in which "mon petit chou" (my little cabbage) is a term of endearment - - so calling a boat a housefly doesn't mean they aren't fond of them!

Best wishes,

Dec 2nd, 1999, 10:16 AM
martha python
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Chou also = cream puff

Dec 2nd, 1999, 10:25 AM
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The translation is literally fly boats (bateaux being boats, mouches being flies). My colloquial French isn't up to par, but I think it's an affectionate term. Either that, or it does mean washcloth
Dec 2nd, 1999, 11:32 AM
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It does mean fly boats, but the origin isn't slang/colloquialisms. These type of boats originally were built and used in Lyon; I believe they still have them cruising on their river, as Paris does. They were made in the part of Lyon referred to as the "Mouche" quartier (in the southern end of the city, I believe)-- this was an area where there were abattoirs (ie, slaughterhouses), hence the nickname. This area of Lyon still has this nickname, I think although now it is built-up and has a conference cnenter, I'm pretty sure. Anyway, I believe that is the most historically-accepted position on the name "bateaux-mouches", although some say they just became known as that due to their lightness and speed. This type of transportation was authorized for the big Exposition around 1870 in Paris (think that's the date) when Paris needed to beef up its transporation for all the visitors; these boats were already built in Lyon for a few years, and were authorized for use because they were lighter and quicker in transport than other passenger boats (I'm not a transportation buff, but technically, I think it's because they are propeller, not steam, driven--at least that was their original innovation in the 1860s). The main company (Compagnie de Bateaux-Mouches) is just about 50 years old; this mode of transportation was restarted after WWII when that company was founded.
Dec 2nd, 1999, 11:35 AM
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Rex, thank you so much for the memory! After reading your message, I remembered a book I had when I was little called "Mon Petit Chou" that taught you how to say my little cabbage in different languages.

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