Plus de pied-à-terre!

Plus de pied-à-terre!

plewd peeYAY tah TAIR!  Click below to hear this pronounced!  

No more pieds-à-terre!

The French-English dictionary isn’t much help on this! Pied-à-terre translates as…pied-à-terre. So what is it, how did it get that name, and why aren’t there any more of them?

If you are riding horseback to get somewhere (remember, there was a time when this was pretty much your only choice), when you arrive, you dismount: vous mettez pied à terre. Literally, you put foot to ground. And then you need a place to stay, right? A pied-à-terre (in italics for the English, in bold for the French!) is a second or temporary lodging. If you are a jet-setter, you may have several pied-à-terre (notice that there’s no plural form in French!) in different countries. Even your vacation cabin in the woods is, strictly speaking, a pied-à-terre.

Well, that’s what it is and how it got its name. Now, why no more of them?

Actually, that’s only in Paris, and people will still have des pied-à-terre. They just won’t be able to rent them out! Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times (two pages…be sure to click to the second page) that explains the whole problem. There’s a law that the city of Paris is trying to enforce, forbidding renting apartments for less than a year’s lease. So you can own the apartment and  live there only occasionally, but you can’t sublet it by the week or the weekend to help cover your costs.

Ironically, the ads in the sidebar on that page are mostly for Paris short-term apartment rentals!

By the way, when you make a liaison with a d and a following vowel, the /d/ sounds like /t/. And plus de doesn’t mean more than; it means no more. Search on “plus” in the Search bar to the right for other Spk Frnch posts that deal with this somewhat ambiguous and complicated word!

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