Our South 'n France logo mimics the form of a Parisian streetsign. Just like the Eiffel Tower, the azure blue plaques with white writing are a symbol of France and its capitol city. These iconic signs, which have remained the same since 1847, are unlike any other in the world and are amongst the oldest street signs still in usage.
In France, the first and the last house (or building) on each street bears one of these signs on the corner wall. If you visit South 'n France, you'll find one on our building. After all, we are the last house on the 800 block of Orange Street. The sign was made in France by Codifa Diffusion, a company that specializes in making street signs. Yesterday, I wrote about how children are named in France (blog link). There is also a well-defined system for naming streets in Paris. The biggest roads have "majestic names that are worthy of public recognition." Thus, major streets are often named for French national heroes (Victor Hugo, Charlemagne, Charles de Gaulle, Jeanne d'Arc, etc).
Smaller neighborhood streets usually follow a theme. The street names around the train station of Saint Lazare are named for European cities. Near the Pasteur Institute, the streets are named for famous scientists. For streets near churches, the names of saints and famous religious figures are given preference. Schools have bordering streets named after intellectuals. Streets with hospitals are named for famous doctors. My favorite of the street naming rules (established in the late 1800s) is that the names of French streets must meet the practical requirements of simplicity. They should be easy to spell, pronounce, describe and remember.
This doesn't mean, though, that all streets are named after dead philosophers and generals. Wander the streets of Paris, and you're sure to find some charming, imaginative street names that are indeed easy to describe and remember. Here are a few of my favorites:
Rue des Trois Freres (Street of the Three Brothers)
Rue du Chat Qui Peche (Street of the Cat Who Fishes)
Impasse des Deux Anges (Two-Angel Alley)
Rue des Bons Enfants (Street of the Good Children)
Rue des Bons Vivants (Street of the People Who Enjoy the Luxuries in Life)
Rue Princesse (Street of the Princess)
Rue des Cinq Diamants (Street of the Five Diamonds)
Rue des Mauvais Garcons (Street of the Bad Boys)