Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Knickerless ??

When I was very young we were dressed in such things as ankle socks and kilts, little boys wore short trousers. Anyway young boys must have really looked forward to when they could wear long trousers and feel more grown up.

When I was in my teenage years I had a dress, but it was actually a pair of culottes too, so it was ideal for a girl who hated to wear dresses.

This morning on my way back from the bread shop I took note of a plaque on a wall for the umpteenth million time, and said to myself I will look up that name on the Internet. Well one lead, leads to another, and my research takes me deep into civil war and revolution. I find that many battles and skirmishes were fought right here between the Chouans and the Republicans.

The next thing I read about is how there were people called Sans culottes. The poor working classes wore long trousers pantalons!. The posh didnt wear long trousers but wore fashionable knee britches known as culottes, of course many of these chaps lost their heads in the guillotine!

Seems to me that wearing the long trousers was a lot safer than the culottes!

On my walk towards the bread shop (verylong way round)

And so there was this term Sanculottism for the patriotic French working classes. Click on the link if you want to read more.

Our Boulangerie.

Blinds down on Monday, day of rest.

You can have your bread sliced for a little extra money, oh and the guillotine was last used in 1977!!! not that long ago eh!

These days if you are shopping for culottes you would be buying underwear or as the Anglais call them knickers! So sansculottes nowadays could mean no knickers.

The French word for without or absent is sans.
The French word for skirmish is échauffourée.

Etymology for the word skirmish.


Robyn said...

Such an interesting post! I'm amazed the guillotine was last used in 1977.

LadyFi said...

Well, at least they can get their knickers in a twist!

Those knee-length knickers - I think I'd call them knickerbockers to distinguish them from modern day knickers...

Now - I wonder why it is called a knickerbocker glory?

Henry the Dog said...

Your posts are always so informative. We had never heard of that term before. As for the guillotine. My mum remembers her own mum going on a field trip to Paris around 1971 (probably) when my mum was still a little girl and she was terrified that her mum would be guillotined. Don't ask why. Just a kid thing. I think mum thought that the French just grabbed folk off the street.

Carol and Chris said...

Fasinating post hon!!! 1977? Really? I find that a bit scary!!

Knee-length knickers...is that not what surfers wear these days?

C x

claire p said...

1977! Within most of our lifetimes, that send a shiver down the spine.

Your post certainly gives a new meaning to the expresion 'big pants'. And why is a knickerbocker glory called that?

French Fancy said...

Fascinating post. I learnt about the sans-culottes a few months back in my French Revolution month but I never thought about it being 'knickerless' before.

here's a secret for you - once, during a very very hot summer, I too went sans-culottes and it was very nice, much freer.

~vagabond~ said...

I miss the taste of fresh hot bread straight out of a boulangerie...it's my favorite memory of visiting France several years ago. Beautiful photo taken on the way to the boulangerie...love the silhoutte of the tree branches against the sky.

Blu said...

Got you all thinking about no knickers or even big knickers.

Glad you like the Trees Vagabond.