August Events in France
Thursday July 31st 2008, 12:13 pm
Filed under: art/culture/design,events,news,paris,travel and places,travel tip

All kinds of fun events take place in France during August. Here’s a small selection:

August 1 – 3
20è Festival International de la Marionnette / 20th Marionnette Festival – Mirepoix – Every year the lovely arcaded medieval village of Mirepoix becomes a stage for puppets and puppeteers! More info

August 2
Fête du lac / Lake Festival – Annecy – Every year Annecy’s lake becomes the beautiful backdrop of this celebrated festival featuring music, dance and memorable fireworks festivities. More info

August 7
Course des Anes / Donkey Derby – Trouville-sur-Mer, 2pm-5pm – free – This is an annual event in the seaside town near Deauville called Trouville-sur-Mer. When fancy schmancy Deauville holds its posh horse racing, Trouville-sur-Mer offers a more laid back alternative. More info

August 9
Fête de la carotte / Carrot Festival – Créances, (Normandy) France – How can you pass up a festival dedicated to my farm fresh favorite juice-able veggie? Don’t miss the lunch or dinner, either. You probably know what’s on the menu. Call ahead to make reservations to attend the meals: Annie Auzou au 02 33 17 09 91.

August 10
La Pourcailhade / La Fête des cochons / Pig Festival – Trie-sur-Baïse – Starts at 9:30am – Time to pig out at this annual event with a pig squealing contest and sausage eating contest. More info

until August 15
L’heure du ciné – Movie Time - Nantes, 10pm Wednesdays – Free films every Wednesday 10pm in the Nante’s most verdant areas. Bring a picnic and enjoy dinner and a movie out in an open, lush space. More info Also: see Paris’ Open Air Cinema (La Villette) and Parc de Choisy

August 17
La Force Basque / Strongman Competition - Saint Palais – It’s all about muscle power in one of the most beautiful regions in France, Basque Country. Watch heavyweights lift a boulder! More info

August 23, 24
Fête de l’oignon rosé / Pink Onion Festival – Roscoff (Bretagne) – The regional AOC specialty of sweet, pink onions take center stage at this celebration of one of the most healthful and yummy veggies around. More info

August 28, 29
Rock en Seine – Domaine National de Saint Cloud – This rockin’ 2 day outdoor event is held in the Saint Cloud park just outside Paris. Showcase acts this year are: REM, Amy Winehouse, Rage Against the Machine, The Roots. More info

tags: , ,

Comments Off

Is Exporting Nuclear Power to the U.S. Such a Good Idea?
Thursday July 31st 2008, 7:39 am
Filed under: daily life,environment,news,politics,products,Provence

Excerpts from Motherjones:

“….events this month show that life as a nuclear-powered nation is far from la vie en rose. In mid July, the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) announced a leak from a cracked pipe at a nuclear fuel plant in the southeastern Drôme region. It said the leak was small and had not contaminated groundwater. Such was not the case, however, on July 7, when about 75 kilograms (165 pounds) of untreated liquid uranium were spilled at the Tricastin nuclear plant in the Vaucluse, north of Avignon. As the French began to repair to the countryside for their storied six-week summer vacations, those in this corner of Provence were being told not to drink the water—or swim or fish in it. One swimmer at a local lake told the Guardian that people had been ordered out of the water “as if there had been sharks in it.”

The incident was given a low rating in terms of risk, but the French nuclear watchdog group CRIIRAD (Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity) reported that the amount of radioactivity released into the environment was 100 times higher than the site’s limit for an entire year. The Tricastin facility was temporarily shut down, the water ban remains in effect, and the French government has begun testing the water around all 59 of its nuclear plants.

Such dramatic events were bound to make headlines, and even had some media predicting a chill in France’s long love affair with l’énergie nucléaire, which it embraced during the energy crisis of the 1970s and never let go of. But in fact, the idea of France as a model of safe, affordable nuclear energy is largely a myth, and the current situation hardly an aberration. Incidences of radioactive contamination are common in France, which has had no more success than any other country in solving the intractable problem of radioactive waste. At the Tricastin site, for example, about 770 tons of nuclear waste have been buried for the past 30 years, and four smaller incidents took place in 2007 alone, according to CRIIRAD.

Nuclear contamination even threatens the twin sacraments of French life, wine and cheese. In May 2006, Greenpeace reported that low-level radioactive waste from a nuclear dumpsite had been found in the groundwater near the Champagne vineyards of eastern France. A report released earlier the same month on contamination from an older nuclear waste facility in La Hague, Normandy showed radioactivity more than seven times the European safety limit in local underground aquifers, which are used by farmers for their dairy cattle in a region renowned for its Brie and Camembert.

…Several studies have found elevated levels of childhood leukemia around the Normandy site.

…President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has made it clear that he wants France to become an ever-bigger exporter of both nuclear-generated electricity and nuclear technology… In a speech given just days before the Provence nuclear spill, Sarkozy said: “More than ever, nuclear is an industry for the future and an indispensable energy source….We can be electricity exporters when we have neither oil nor gas. This is an historic chance for development.”

The head of French Greenpeace’s nuclear campaign recently accused Sarkozy of behaving “like a traveling salesman for Areva.”

Read the full article: 4.5 Billion Years in Provence

Paul Bocuse is Reinventing French Fast Food
Tuesday July 29th 2008, 9:20 am
Filed under: celebs,daily life,food and drinks,MOF Meilleur Ouvrier de France,news

Excerpt from the latimes:

“…On the menu – There’s not a burger or Happy Meal in sight. Instead, rigatoni with boletus mushroom sauce, a fresh chèvre sandwich on sun-dried-tomato ciabatta with olive-tomato tapenade, and a nicely balanced strawberry tart. Other sandwich offerings, all about $6.75, included sweet and prosciutto-style cured ham on pain de campagne (country bread), sliced roast chicken, and smoked Norwegian salmon (both on ciabatta). Crudités are served with tapenade and lemon tartar sauce (about $8.65); the daily entrée special on a recent visit was sliced chicken in a French Basque-style sauce of tomatoes, onion and sweet red Espelette pepper, with rice and salad (about $15).

For that same price there are also formules (combo menus) — sandwich, salad, quiche (such as onions, mushrooms and lardons, or bacon) or pasta (such as farfalle with a seafood sauce made with squid and mussels), plus frites, a drink and dessert. Gaufres, anyone? The waffles are served plain, or with powdered sugar, chocolate sauce or Chantilly cream. Wines include a Guyot Côtes du Rhône and Georges Duboeuf Mâcon Villages. Service is fairly friendly and the clientele varied — a recent drizzly weeknight drew a large group of twentysomethings and various twosomes and threesomes ages 16 to 60…” Read the rest

Comments Off

Spectacular Deadly-Looking Spider But Harmless
Tuesday July 29th 2008, 8:25 am
Filed under: daily life,garden,photos

yellow stripe spider harmless garden variety

Last night’s untimely tempest left the garden marvelously wet and alive this morning so I stepped outside early to take photos before work. Just above my blueberries was this spider, which caught me by surprise and created a blood curdling scream (from me), the kind of scream that shatters anything shatterable. If anyone in the neighborhood was still sleeping beforehand, they certainly weren’t after that.

There are actually two webs side by side with another smaller spider, so after googling “scary striped yellow spider” I was relieved to discover that these are very undeadly garden spiders. Whew.
2 spiders

According to wikipedia, the smaller spidey is the male and the larger (photographed above) of the two is the female. When they do this side-by-side web thing, it means they’re getting ready to mate.

After mating, the female lays her eggs, placing her egg sac into the web. The sac contains between 400 and 1,400 eggs. These eggs hatch in autumn, but the spiderlings overwinter in the sac and emerge during the spring. The egg sac is composed of multiple layers of silk and designed to protect its contents from damage; however, many species of insects have been observed to parasitise the egg sacs.

Aren’t you happy you came to my blog today? Ew. Over a thousand of these creepy crawly things in my garden. Of course, I shouldn’t complain because at least they aren’t deadly.

This ends today’s arachnaphobic Arachnid lesson of the week.


Dialogue Entre Barack Obama et Nicolas Sarkozy
Monday July 28th 2008, 12:18 am
Filed under: conversations,dialogue,paris,people,politics

barack obama nicolas sarkozy

Previous Dialogues: Johnny Hallyday and Sylvie Vartan, Tom Hanks and Jean Reno, Daniel Balavoine and Francois Mitterrand, Florent Pagny, Zidane and Xavier Darcos

tags: ,