Monday, September 11, 2006

Good Things About France No. 9: Unusual Street Names

Although there are a lot of streets and avenues in France named after ex-presidents and generals, there are still quite a number with more interesting names such as the one above which I snapped the other day in the medieval town of Provins, just to the south-east of Paris.

A grimpon is a short street that ascends rapidly. Also called a grimpette or a grimpillon, presumably derived from grimper which means 'to climb'. I found the meaning of this word in a fascinating website glossary of odonymes compiled by Frederic Wronecki and Valerie Habracken. An odonyme (from the Greek hodos or 'route') is the group term for words describing public highways.

Porc Epic does not mean spiced pork, as I first assumed, but is the French word for porcupine, a solitary animal and the symbol of King Louis XII of France.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Isn't a grimpon also something climbers use? May have that wrong. Great to have a word that describes something so precisely - it would be so useful as a metaphor. I wish there were the equivalent in English.