121119-scottBonjour tout le monde! It’s Scott here and I’d like to welcome you to the third instalment of my On Location French blog!

Since I last spoke to you, I have once again been very busy, both studying and also taking every opportunity to indulge in various aspects of la culture toulousaine (“the Toulouse culture”). This week, I’d like to share with you my first experience of a very important aspect of this culture: le rugby!

Toulouse is a city which holds the sport of rugby in the highest regard and which is very proud and passionate when it comes to supporting the local team. Rugby is an extremely important facet of the city’s character, every bit as important as the renowned local food and wine, the River Garonne which flows through the heart of Toulouse, and even the red-brick architecture found on many buildings throughout the city which has led to Toulouse being christened “la Ville Rose” – “the Pink City”. Indeed, as one of my French friends told me: “Le rugby n’est pas qu’un sport; c’est un mode de vie.” (“Rugby isn’t just a sport; it’s a way of life.”).

I was fortunate enough to obtain tickets to attend my very first rugby match in France, supporting Toulouse against their fiercest rivals, Toulon. For both teams it was a particularly important match, as they were first and second in the league and the winner of the match would secure the top spot.

I arrived with my friends at le Stade Toulousain, the local stadium, and we were “blown away” – nous avons été “époustouflés” – by the huge roars from the crowd; these people really were passionate! The referee whistled for le coup d’envoi (“kick-off”) and the match got underway.

I soon found myself getting right into the spirit of things and joined in with the locals in their most favourite chant: “TOULOUSAIN, TOULOUSAIN, TOULOUSAIN…”! As the match progressed, the action start getting a little violent, and at one point some players got into a scuffle. Much to my bewilderment, the crowd seemed delighted at this but my friend told me a wonderful French saying which explained it all:

– “Le rugby est comme la dinde: sans marrons, il devient vulgaire.

This phrase features an amusing pun in the word “marron“, which can mean both a “chestnut” and a “punch”. And so, it might be translated thus

– “Watching rugby is like eating turkey: without punches/chestnuts, it becomes dull.”

In the end, our support seemed to have paid off as Toulouse scored numerous tries (“essais“), conversions (“transformations“) and penalties (“pénalités“) and produced a stunning victory of 32-9, propelling them to the top of the league. I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I will definitely be attending more matches to come!

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s blog and I’ll be back again soon with more On Location French. À la prochaine fois!

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