Certainly you’ve heard of french fries, but how about French leave (i.e. without permission, such as from the army) or French tickler (look it up)? Courtesy of Le Monde, we find that there’s a new concept of “French shopping” arising Down Under.
“In Australia, the French consul is ashamed of his tourists.” So much so that this consul-general has issued an open letter pleading for better behavior, now that “French shopping” has become a by-word there for shoplifting. (Actually, the letter addresses French citizens residing permanently, asking them to set any visitors from the Home Country straight.)
The problem is a wave of French backpackers visiting Australia – 22,000 there at last count – many of whom don’t know how to behave themselves. While they are mostly there taking advantage of a one-year combined tourist/work visa that allows them to seek employment even as they explore the country, they’re also cultivating a reputation for drunken, loud behavior and, yes, petty pilfering. The low-light so far was the French guy who in January (the height of summer down there) apparently did something nasty to the Cenotaph memorial in Sydney honoring Australian war dead.
There is of course coverage of this new French plague in the Aussie papers themselves. For example, in his treatment in the Sidney Morning Herald writer Robert Upe brings forth the phrase “French nickers” – without any initial “k,” so don’t get too excited or yours in a twist, “to nick” is Commonwealth English for “to steal” (cf. US “to swipe”).