Snapshots of Lutetia – Les Sous du Pont de Bercy

Pont de Bercy

There are many words in all languages that you hear quite often, but will never be taught in whatever language lesson you take. No, I am not talking about the obvious obscenities, but more about colorfull ‘street’ language. The French have not only a very rich official language, but they also like to play with it. Verlan is only one of the examples. Another word you will hear quite often is sou (or maybe sous). It indicates money. As in “J’ai pas des sous”. While I was looking for some information on the pictured pont de Bercy, I learnt that the current bridge replaced a suspension bridge, for which the payment of toll was required. The price was “one sou (5 centimes) for pedestrians, 3 sous per two-wheeled cabriolet (including persons transported) and 5 sous per car with four wheels attached to two horses.” And there it is, the origin of the use of Sou, which apparently is similar to a nickel, or stuiver in Dutch.