Friday France Photo: Saint-Brieuc Street Art
Saturday May 31st 2008, 12:44 am
Filed under: Bretagne/Brittany,photos,signs

saint brieuc street art brittany bretagne france
I almost didn’t notice this fun street art in the pedestrian shopping area of old town Saint-Brieuc, Brittany France, and would’ve just walked by without taking a picture. Good thing I did a double-take!


The Neolithic Menhir Alignments in Carnac, France

There’s an article in today that reveals the greatest mysteries of Stonehenge, namely, what the giant brooding stones represented. Apparently, the location was a a burial ground for several generations of a single, elite family.

This is interesting because a similar idea dominated our conversation when we were visiting the “French Stonehenge” in Carnac, in Brittany, France just about a week ago.

Carnac isn’t Stonehenge, clearly, but the place is 6000 years old (older than Stonehenge) and there is a dense collection of menhirs (standing stones, nicknamed the “Stone Army”) as far as the eye can see. Approximately 3000 of these standing stone relics are aligned in rows amidst the vast area of fields close to the Atlantic Ocean in Brittany. It is impressive too see them.
standing stone alignments menhirs megaliths carnac france
All sorts of theories and speculations popped up in our conversations about the stones’ origins: a challenging game, a landing field for UFO’s (hee), an endurance activity for physical stamina, to name a few – but what emerged as the most likely, was the cemetery theory. Not really far fetched since the dolmens and cairns in Brittany served funerary functions.

So many have ruled out the idea that the menhirs were part of a cemetery. We just have to respectfully disagree with that. Granted, there are no remnants of skeletons here, which is a reason researchers rule out a cemetery, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a cemetery! Our theory is that it WAS a cemetery, or perhaps, more accurately, a memorial for the thousands of Gaulois soldiers who left Carnac to fight against Romans their enemies at sea – and never came back. THAT is why there are no skeletal remains! Besides, doesn’t it look obviously like a veterans’ cemetery, Neolithic stye?

Later when researching this a little, I found some other theories. In the 50s and 60s, Breton children chanted the legend to tourists: All the stones were part of a Gaulois cemetery. The richer the dead person, the bigger then stone. Another theory tells the tale of Saint Cornelius. He was pursued by pagan soldiers all the way to the seashore, and with no boat to flee, his defense was to turned them into stone.
standing stone alignments menhirs megaliths carnac france
In any case, Carnac, is a well worth a visit but you will need a car to reach it. The largest city close by is Rennes, where we began and it took about one and half hours to reach Carnac from there. You can stroll among the menhir alignments freely from October to March, 9am to 5pm. During the busy season from April to the end of September, you are not allowed to pass the fenced and rock barriers – to protect the vegetation around the stones.

Links: Official Carnac website, DVD: Global Treasures: Carnac Stones Bretagne, France

TV Shows Available on iTunes France
Thursday May 29th 2008, 10:49 am
Filed under: games/software/tech,news,products,tv and movies

From applegazette:

“Apple announced today that television programming is finally coming to iTunes France. Top French networks like TF1, France Télévisions, Arte, Mediatoon’s Dargaud TV and Dupuis TV and US shows from The Walt Disney Company and MTV Networks are all available in the iTunes Store in France now.

Customers can now purchase and download primetime hits like “La main blanche,” “Les Contes de la Collection Chez Maupassant,” “Coeur Océan,” “Spirou et Fantasio,” “Lucky Luke” and “Le dessous des cartes,” as well as Emmy Award-winning US programs “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Ugly Betty” and “South Park.”

Apple, again, shows us that they are moving to the variable price model. Television shows are priced at €1.49, €1.99 and €2.49 per episode.”

When Will the French Demonstrate Against the Escalating Food & Gas Prices?
Tuesday May 27th 2008, 1:23 pm
Filed under: cultural differences,daily life,food and drinks,politics,products,shopping,weird

truck driver strike in france
For a country that is King of demonstrating against injustices inflicted on its people, I honestly don’t know why no one has done anything about the unreasonably high food prices, and now, gas prices. The fleecing of France by merchants charging exorbitant food costs began 6 years ago with the introduction of the euro. This is when we moved to France from the U.S. It has just gotten worse since 2002 and now we pay insane prices for food and well, pretty much everything. Food prices have increased by 45% in some cases. I recently saw peaches selling for 8 euros/ kilo (about $12 for 2 pounds of peaches). I like peaches, but not THAT much. (and those weren’t even organic.)

I’ve noticed in many cases, organic food is less expensive than the industrial food in large supermarket chains. When we’d shop in our organic store just a couple of years ago, there’d be few others shopping. Now so many more people (who have realized that organic is cheaper or the same price as industrial AND tastes better) shop in this organic market. Anyway.

So today in London, an awesome thing is happening: truck drivers are blocking the highway demonstrating their unhappiness about the increasing fuel prices. This makes it hard to move goods in and out of the city. When will this happen in France?

People in France are talking about how others should be demonstrating (like the truck drivers!), but thus far, no one has moved an inch except the fishermen but no one cares about them too much. However, there is something almost tangible is in the air and there’s a definite restlessness in the hexagon. Many people we know in France have begun to stockpile groceries in the event that truck drivers will paralyze the roads in France, and markets will not receive their regular deliveries. We stocked up on some extra things, too – just in case. Everyone is hoping, in fact, that this massive strike will take place despite an enormous inconvenience. Us, too because something needs to happen. The system absolutely HAS to change.

If not, we at least have extra provisions to last a while, which will save us unnecessary fuel used for trips to the market.

By the way, in France we pay about $8 a gallon for gasoline, so consider yourself lucky if you have to pay ONLY $4!

Never Ignore an M.O.F. in France

laurent le daniel patissier meilleur ouvrier de france rennes
Last week in Rennes, we ALMOST met miserable misfortune by NOT stepping into this place, Le Daniel, a patisserie. My sweetie stopped abruptly and said, “M.O.F.!”


“M.O.F.! M.O.F.! We HAVE to go into Le Daniel; he’s an M.O.F.”

“We just ate and I’m not very hungry. How do you know? And…What the heck is an MOF, anyway?”

“Meilleur Ouvrier de France! It’s on the window. He’s the best.”

By some miraculous and divine intervention of nature, my sweetie, who usually can’t find butter in the frig (when there’s only butter and nothing else in the frig), noticed the small print with “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” on the window whilst the three of us walked by briskly on our way to fnac.

“NEVER ignore an M.O.F. THAT is just crazy.”

So, we entered and sampled some things.

Before I go on with this story, I have some explaining to do about the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France.” It means “Best Craftsman (or Worker) in France” and this is a coveted award only given to the very best artisans of France every 3 years (since 1924). There’s a long list of categories so the M.O.F.. can be a pastry chef, a furniture maker, painter, saddle designer, all kinds of “craftsmen.” There’s a stringent process to earn this ranking and those who succeed keep their title for life. Their work is absolute pure quality, the best France has to offer. The people who earn this rank are all passionate about what they do and it shows in their work. So now I know that I should never ignore an M.O.F. You shouldn’t either, especially if you see an M.O.F. who makes pastries!
le daniel mof rennes france pastries

There are lots of very good patisseries in France (except near our house) but some really go beyond the call of duty and are ahead of others by giant leaps and bounds. Le Daniel was a true M.O.F. When the three of us ate our pastries, there was total silence. It was that good. I got a large salted butter caramel macaron and there are simply no words to do it justice.

We already want to go back. We have to check out his chocolates and ice cream!

By the way, do you know any M.O.F.s??? PLEASE tell me about them!

Le Daniel
13, Galerie du Théâtre
Place de la Mairie
35000 Rennes
02 99 79 33 81
Website: Le Daniel