French Pastries in Nyack, New York
Friday June 29th 2007, 1:31 am
Filed under: food and drinks,travel and places

french pastry shop nyack new yorkI must have some sort of French disease or something because since arriving in the U.S. (east coast) a few days ago, I’ve been on a mission for pastries of the French kind. Homesick for France so soon? I guess so.

Luckily, I could get my fix at a nearby, real French patisserie (French Pastry Shop) in Nyack, New York, which is in the lower Hudson Valley, just about an hour’s drive away from the city. Patisserie Didier Dumas is topnotch, as they say in France. They actually don’t say that but if French people did say topnotch, they’d certainly say it about this place. We selected about a half dozen pastries and each of the different kinds of viennoiserie (except the palmiers). Everything was wonderful. We sampled all the luscious desserts, oohing and ahhing between bites. I particularly loved Didier Dumas’ version of one of my faves, the Paris Brest. His is not typical in shape, so instead of taking on the form of a round “wheel” (since the original inspiration of the Paris Brest’s shape came from a bike wheel in the race that would, a few years later, be called the Tour de France), it was a straight sandwich of cream puff filled with a layer of hazelnut cream and a layer of whipped cream above it. It’s so good that I must say that it was better than many a Paris Brest I’ve eaten in France.

Note: Sorry I didn’t take a photo of the Paris Brest; you can probably guess how that happened…

Patisserie Didier Dumas
163 Main Street
Nyack, 10960 New York

Sicko, Health Care Alternatives, A Good Reason to Travel to France
Wednesday June 27th 2007, 2:31 am
Filed under: daily life,health,tv and movies

sicko and health care alternatives in franceJune 29 marks the U.S. premiere of Michael Moore’s much anticipated film, Sicko. (It’s also the official ship date of iPhone, fyi. Anyway.) The film is a “comedy” about how 45 million Americans do not have health insurance. There’s nothing funny about that but Michael Moore is one of a few people who can make you laugh all the while being incredibly disgusted (at the system).

If there’s one thing that the U.S. has ass &*%^$@# backwards, it’s their health care system. (I know, there’s a LOT more than one thing but I had to choose for the sake of this post.) It should be a right, not a privilege to have health care coverage. When someone has to pay $5,000 to stay in a hospital per day, which doesn’t even include surgery, doctor visits or medicine, that just seems entirely ridiculous if not tragic – not to mention that many people just don’t have that kind of money at their fingertips.

Speaking of fingertips, in the movie trailer for Sicko, a guy has an accident where the tips of two of his fingers are sawed off. Firstly: ouch. But more importantly, the costs are excessive and preposterous. One finger would cost $60,000 for surgery and the other would cost $12,000, and the guy has no health insurance. Ironically, the more expensive one is the middle finger. So, he opted to fix the other finger, though I sadly have to say that many people wouldn’t even have the means to do anything at all, and would just be without fingertips.

How does all this relate to France? The U.S. is ranked number 37 in the world for health care systems, next to Slovenia. Should that be embarrassing for one of the richest and most powerful countries on earth? Answser: YES. So, who is ranked number 1? The oftentimes much maligned France. Just remember that, France bashers.

Oui mes amis, ranked number 1 and having the best health care system in the world is, none other than our beloved France. Not only is everyone entitled to and covered with health care in France, the costs (if any) are negligible. Of course, France has a huge debt partly because of this but nevermind. Compared to the U.S., health care fees in France seem ridiculous only because they are so low. For example, while it costs thousands of dollars for a hospital stay in the U.S., in France, I believe it costs 14 euros (just under 20 bucks) per day. AND! You get reimbursed for most of that (if not all of it).

I’m simplifying this a bit but in general, you never pay more than you can afford in France. This means that poor people do not usually pay anything at all. For extremely grave interventions and diseases, everyone is 100% covered.

Unfortunately, the American guy with chopped off fingertips could only have one of his fingers fixed but I wondered what the cost would have been if he just flew to France, and had everything taken care of here, in the land of extremely low health care prices. Including his flight, hospital stays, transportation, food and surgeries, I can say with relative confidence that in France he’d probably pay a third of what he’d have to pay chez L’Amérique – Quite possibly, considerably less. Bargain basement prices! Even though he isn’t covered by French health insurance, at least he’d have only spent a fraction of what he would have had to pay in the U.S. AND! – have both fingertips back!

So if you’ve read this far, you’ll see what this all comes down to: Why Travel to France? Perhaps some American citizens should consider coming to France for health care. Don’t worry about language issues. You will surely find English speakers. Forget the hotels and just stay in the hospital. At 20 bucks per night, it’s a steal. Surgeries are cheaper and the meals are probably better than airline food.

Links: Michael Moore on Letterman, Sicko, Michael Moore

A Few Upcoming Events in France
Monday June 25th 2007, 12:26 am
Filed under: events,travel and places

rayon frais festival
Reality Does Not Exist

Roussillon Wine Fair – Perpignan
June 30, 2007 – 6pm to 10pm
I’m not sure why the festival of Roussillon‘s Wines isn’t being held in Rousillon but anyway. Celebrate Roussillon’s best wines and regional delicacies held on the Place de La Republique in Perpignan. More info

Paris Gay Pride – Paris
June 30, 2007 – Noon
Though the parade route is schedule to go from the Republique to Beaubourg via the Marais, final confirmation of the route is not usually given until the last minute, so this could change. Once it starts, however, it’s hard to miss! More info

Les Tombees de la Nuit – Rennes
July 3 – 8, 2007
When night falls in Rennes during this short week, the town comes alive and becomes a stage for musicians, poets and storytellers. A true renaissance faire except in a REAL medieval village. More info

Tour de France 2007 – France
July 7 – 29, 2007
Strangely the Tour is kicking off from London but moves to France on July 9th when étape 2 goes from Canterbury to Dunkerque. Try to pick one or more of the 18 stages of the Tour and root for your favorite team. I’ll try to catch stage 5 from Chablis to Autun. More info

Festival des Goudots Gourmands (Food Lovers’ Festival) – Aurillac
July 6 – 8, 2007
Always on the must-see list for the foodie people. Local foodfare, food preparation competitions, bread market, and more tasty treats. More info

Rayons Frais Festival – Tours
July 6 – 8, 2007
Although “rayons frais” means fresh food aisle, this festival is more about food for the soul: art and photography installations, concerts, performances, conferences and more. More info

Friday France Photo: Wisteria
Friday June 22nd 2007, 8:50 am
Filed under: nature,photos

wistera and a bee
and a bee

Thirsty AND Looking for a Date? Soif de Coeur
Thursday June 21st 2007, 11:59 am
Filed under: websites,weird,wine

Why not. Find romance in on a bottle of French wine. Soif de Coeur (A Thirst for Romance) offers wine with a possibility of finding your soulmate. Just buy a bottle of Soif de Coeur, gluggedy glug glug, peel off the bottle label and find a code and instructions on how to begin your soulmate search on their website. Just imagine, buy a 3 euro ($4) bottle of red, white or rosé wine, and who knows…maybe you’ll get a date!

I don’t think you necessarily need to buy any wine to participate in their online dating service, but I’m not sure. Maybe you do and the $4 you spend on a bottle is actually the dating service fee. Bargain! I really want to make fun of this; it’s so asking for it, but I’m trying to reduce the amount of invective I produce, so let’s just hope this is a good thing.

Soif de Coeur