Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Word Of The Week


A clump of earth is called une motte. So is a big slab of butter from which smaller portions are carved out and sold. And that, simply, is the definition of motte. But, if you've been to Paris, you know that there's an avenue and a métro station in the 15th arrondissement called la Motte-Picquet. Have you ever wondered why? Me, too!

It's named for Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte (1720 - 1791), known as the Count of La Motte-Picquet, a French navy officer who led a battle against a British squadron of thirteen ships in 1779, destroying it and thus helping the Americans during the Revolutionary War.

So distinguished, he was promoted to Admiral late in his career. Since then, the Parisian avenue was named in his honor, as well as many ships in the French navy. Who knew?


  1. I have always wondered about La Motte-Picquet. Merci!

  2. I didn't know, and yet I live one metro stop away! Thanks for the tip.h


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