Category: daily life

September 24th, 2013 by ptinfrance


This photo was taken from the entrance of Le Big Ben Bar in Paris’ train station, Gare de Lyon.

Posted in daily life, paris, photos

April 17th, 2013 by ptinfrance


Just when you’re beginning to spot all the radars on the road, these show up. The new radars they’re installing all over France are higher up than the old box ones and they can do much more than their predecessors. For example, not only will they flash you if you’re speeding by it, they can also measure the distance between you and another car (so the tailgater, whether a local or not, will get ticketed). They come in two sets so they also can measure your speed based on the distance between the two radars. The ones we noticed were about 5 kilometers apart. In other words, if you’re not speeding when you pass the first radar but begin to speed afterward, if your average speed is above the limit you will get ticketed because the second radar is also watching you and clocks you. This means you can get ticketed even though you’re not speeding by the radars (but were in-between). I’m not explaining this very well but simply watch your speed and keep an eye out for these new radars. Of course, if you never speed while driving, you have nothing to worry about.

radar and flash
I’m not advocating that you join the ranks of formula one drivers (please drive safely!), and I realize that it’s best to stay within the legal speed limits. However, sometimes we’re not sure of the speed limit. It’s merely a heads-up because frankly, we just need to know.

For what it’s worth, there are surely apps to let you know where radars are and/or where you can inform them of new radar locations.

Posted in advice, cars/bikes/etc, daily life, news, tips, travel tip

March 3rd, 2013 by ptinfrance


At some point in time (I don’t know when because I wasn’t paying attention), the kebab places in France branched out and offered kebabs wrapped in flour tortillas (they call galettes) or inside the usual pita pocket bread. It made me realize that big tortillas were available in France somewhere! I had to find some for me to use at home. These are the large, flour tortillas that you’d find wrapped around a yummy burrito somewhere in the Mission district in San Francisco. You know, the gordos! They seemed impossible to find in France. The small, dried out tortillas in the supermarkets here just don’t do the trick.

So how can you get these tortillas since they still do not offer them in the markets? The most logical answer: your kebab place!


I got these (in the photo) from our kebab guy. They’re labeled as Dürüm ekmeği, which I think means (durum) wheat flour (wrapping) bread in Turkish. There are 18 halal tortillas and there are no trans-fats and they are easily freezable according to the packaging. Just make sure you place parchment paper in between each tortilla when freezing. I measured them (yes I have a ruler!) and they are 12 inches in diameter. Exactly one foot! Hmmm.

Posted in daily life, food and drinks, products, tips

October 31st, 2012 by ptinfrance

Martine Aubry, Harlem Desir et Jean-Marc Ayrault
…and to think our hard-earned tax euros are going to the French government so they can continue to torment us in our daily lives…

Click here to see more Dialogues

Posted in daily life, dialogue, people, politics

September 18th, 2012 by ptinfrance

There are so many gorgeous places in France, it’s hard for us to see all of them – especially if we keep returning to one place. We can’t help it. We find ourselves going back often to Annecy and its surrounding areas. We sat by the lake and I turned on my camera to capture the moment.

Posted in a day in the life, daily life, nature, Rhône-Alpes, travel and places, video

December 16th, 2011 by ptinfrance

drinking glasses in cafes in france perrier
After living in France for nine years, I just had a realization about the drinking glass sizes in a cafe. Better late than never, I suppose. Okay, what am I talking about? When I go to a cafe, I oftentimes order a Perrier with a syrup, for example, a “Perrier Cassis” (Perrier and black currant syrup). For the longest time, it annoyed me that they’d bring a glass with the syrup at the bottom along with a full bottle of Perrier. The entire contents of the Perrier would never fit in the glass so I’d have to drink it then when there was more space in the glass, I’d add more Perrier thus diluting the taste of cassis each time. I’d wonder why on earth they couldn’t give me a glass to fit everything at once. I now know why. They brought me the wrong glass. For nine years! So if it’s a bottle of Perrier, the glass has to be a Perrier glass. If it’s an Orangina, the glass has to be an Orangina glass. Same with other drinks. And so, if they match, everything fits perfectly. Thank you awesome cafe in Dijon. You’re the only cafe that does it right.

Posted in daily life, food and drinks Tagged with: , , ,

August 5th, 2011 by ptinfrance

dessert in dijon france
Portions are undoubtedly getting bigger in France. This dessert is so huge you have to eat it with an ice cream scoop.

Posted in daily life, food and drinks, photos, travel and places Tagged with: , , , , , ,

May 30th, 2011 by ptinfrance

google it in french
Voila. This is how you say “Google it” in French. I thought you’d like this tiny bit of trivia.

Posted in daily life, language, tips Tagged with: , , ,

March 29th, 2011 by ptinfrance

savon de marseille soap french
Savon de Marseille

Posted in daily life, photos, products Tagged with: , , , ,

November 19th, 2010 by ptinfrance

I shot this video on a pedestian shopping street in Arles, France one day and just stood in one place with my camera while people watching. Sorry I ddin’t have a tripod so it’s a little wobbly! I really love how the video turned out with the live music (accordion, violin) in the background, the two guys shaking hands but not stopping to chat with each other (does that happen in the U.S.? I dunno.), every day flower buying in the foreground, but what I love especially here is that everyone ignored me completely. I love being ignored! Really. This is what I love about France haha. It sort of reminds me of New York (being ignored) except there’s prettier architecture.

Posted in a day in the life, daily life, Provence, shopping, travel and places, video Tagged with: , , , ,

October 11th, 2010 by ptinfrance

corn on the cob in france
Me: WHY can’t we find corn on the cob in France? I want to bbq some during the summers!
Him: We can find it, cherie. Didn’t you see them in all the fields around? I’ll just go pick some for you.
Me: What??! No, dude. They might be the GMO, pesticide ladened, industrial, poisonous varieties.
Him: Anyway, corn on the cob is pig food.
Me: Yet. French people eat canned corn.
Him: Yeah, so?
Me: Canned corn comes from CORN. ON. THE. COB.
Him: Corn on the cob is for pigs.

~~~

…and people wonder why I have to make fun of France. Back to corn. Did anyone notice that canned corn is labeled differently? I remember when canned corn always had instructions to rinse the corn before consuming it. I always did that, never realizing that it was probably because of the Bisphenol A (BPA) inside the can (or dirt). These cans still have BPA but the labels to rinse them first have disappeared! Weird, but I guess it alerts consumers that there’s something wrong with the corn. And, as most evil industrial minds reason, the solution is to remove consumer information so they don’t know there are risks. Yea, keep them in the dark! It’s like the law that was just passed in the U.S. where salmon does NOT need to be labeled that it’s genetically modified so people won’t know that the salmon they’re eating is not only bad for them, it’s also potentially dangerous to their health. écoeurant.

Posted in conversations, cultural differences, daily life, food and drinks, weird Tagged with: , , ,

September 23rd, 2010 by ptinfrance

lockers for whole shopping carts in france
Shouldn’t you go to the little shops BEFORE you buy all your groceries? Nevermind, these “lockers” for shopping carts are still a great idea. Just leave a deposit and get it back when you return the locker key.

Posted in daily life, shopping, tips Tagged with: ,

September 22nd, 2010 by ptinfrance

je twitte! twitterA quick note to let you know that I’m on Twitter, especially for the people reading RSS feeds. Please look for me there because I definitely tweet more about France than I blog, for what it’s worth. You can find me here: PT Ford on Twitter (ptinfrance).

Posted in daily life, news Tagged with: ,

September 11th, 2010 by ptinfrance

le gay choc boulangerie in parisLegay Choc has named itself France’s first gay boulangerie (bakery). The business is best known for its baguettes, brioches, meringues and chocolates in phallic forms.

I just found out about them but they’ve been around for years. They also have a sandwicherie but I’m not sure what shape those come in.

Legay Choc
45 rue Ste Croix de la Bretonnerie
75004 Paris France
Telephone: +33 (0)1 48 87 24 61
Email : info@legaychoc.fr
Metro: Hôtel de Ville
Open: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm

Posted in bread, chocolate, daily life, food and drinks, paris, pastries, tips, travel tip Tagged with: , , , ,

September 7th, 2010 by ptinfrance

velo electrique electric bike paris 25% off up to 400 euros
Although the government is about to reduce the subvention amount for environmentally smart home energy, it began offering a different incentive for electric bikes. Receive 25% off (up to 400 euros) if you purchase an electric bike in Paris. For the moment this offer is restricted to Paris and Paris residents only, which means you’re supposed to have a Parisian address to qualify. We were lucky to receive this offer when we purchased our first vélo électrique, which is awesome. We bought this bike here.

I’m not sure if this offer will apply to other French cities.

For more information: see velo electrique (French)

Posted in cars/bikes/etc, daily life, environment, news, paris, shopping, tips Tagged with: , , , , ,

April 16th, 2010 by ptinfrance

The following massacred French recipe was committed by the folks at that omnipresent family cafeteria/restaurant in France, Flunch, not me this time around.
american galette at flunch in france
We strolled by a Flunch yesterday and saw this huge sign for a new offering: The American Galette. While you’d think it would resemble a French sandwich américain, with its nonsensical bratwurst, grilled veggies and fries inside a baguette – surprisingly, La (chouette/nice)  galette américaine sort of makes sense (in a Frenchy way) sporting basically a burger and its fixings inside a galette (a savory crepe usually made with buckwheat flour). Is it any good? I dunno but I think it needs fries inside!

Posted in cultural differences, daily life, food and drinks, funny, recipes, restaurants, tips, weird Tagged with: , , ,

April 6th, 2010 by ptinfrance

stencil art on paris sidewalk yes you were good in bed
Seen on a sidewalk in Paris. Our story: it’s a message from an anglophone to a French lover. Now, hopefully that person can read English. If not, here’s what it says, Oui, t’était un bon coup au lit.

Posted in art/culture/design, daily life, paris, signs, travel and places, weird Tagged with:

April 5th, 2010 by ptinfrance

foie gras and baguette le grenier a pain charcuterie christian durant
My sweetie HAPPENED to be in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris’ Best Baguette of 2010 and grabbed a couple of warm baguettes to see how spectacular they are. A few shops down, he found an award winning charcuterie for their fromage de tête, Christian Durant Charcuterie, and picked us up some artisanal foie gras (I wouldn’t have minded some of that award winning fromage de tête but oh well!) Both baguette and foie gras were pretty fantastic. A slight bémol regarding the baguette. It could’ve been perhaps more airy inside but that’s how I personally like them. They were, in any case, deliciously thin and crispy on the outside and soft in the inside – and paired with the foie gras, a perfect and typical French indulgence for any time of the day!

Le Grenier à Pain
The Best Baguette in Paris 2010
38 rue des Abbesses
75018 Paris France

Charcuterie Christian Durant
30 Rue des Abbesses
75018 Paris France

Posted in bread, daily life, food and drinks, paris, photos, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , ,

April 4th, 2010 by Patricia

This is a guest post from Why Travel to France contributor, Patricia. (Thanks, P!)

I thought readers would appreciate this funny, French item I found in a supermarket the other day. It made us laugh out loud but somehow I’m not sure any French person would notice it. It’s an ironic twist on air fresheners: a foot! Just guessing, but I have a feeling who ever came up with this item, was another marketing exec who had no idea that some consumers (like me) might see it as “funvertising.” I mean, using a foot to freshen a car … is brilliant, isn’t it? I love it. Frenchies, you are priceless, and you made my day when I found this Smelly Foot Air Freshener.

Maybe the tagline should be: Rafraichissez l’intérieur de votre voiture avec un pied qui pue...

Wait a minute. Do French people LIKE the smell of feet? I didn’t think of that.

Posted in cars/bikes/etc, daily life, products, shopping, tips, weird Tagged with: , , , , ,

March 27th, 2010 by ptinfrance

no sarkozy day signs
The second round of No Sarkozy Day demonstrations will take place March 28, 2010 at Place Denfert Rochereau at 3pm.

Posted in daily life, paris, photos, politics, tips Tagged with:

March 27th, 2010 by ptinfrance

yes we can obama no weekend sarkozy
Travailler plus pour gagner moins.

Posted in daily life, photos, politics, signs Tagged with:

March 24th, 2010 by ptinfrance

baguette
From parisnotebook:

Today marked the 17th “Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris” which translates to the “Best Baguette in Paris” contest. By luck of the draw, I managed to be selected as one of the jury members and spent an incredible 4 hours sitting next to Ghislaine Arabian tasting close to 150 baguettes.

It may seem hard to believe, but a lot of mediocre bread can be found in France. Walk into your average corner bakery and if you don’t know what to look for, or to ask for, you risk walking away with a very average, and at times inedible, baguette.

Bread has a long and intricate history in France and was once the main sustenance for… read the rest of this post

Le Grenier à Pain
The Best Baguette in Paris 2010
38 rue des Abbesses (in Montmartre)
75018 Paris France

Posted in bread, daily life, food and drinks, news, paris, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , ,

March 13th, 2010 by ptinfrance

ikea furniture in the paris metro france
Ikea has moved into four Parisian subway stations for two weeks only. Cute idea, but will they have to burn the furniture later? Oh, maybe they’ll go in the “As is” sale section! [via]

Posted in advertising & marketing, daily life, funny, paris, products, weird Tagged with: , , , ,

March 11th, 2010 by ptinfrance

forehead tittaes by marion cotillard
Here’s Marion Cotillard introducing a new, revolutionary product to help women in the work place. Click on the image to watch the video.

Posted in celebs, daily life, funny, weird

March 8th, 2010 by ptinfrance

ces impossibles francais
We barely watched any of the Winter Olympics this year but did catch a few minutes of the biathlon (target shooting, cross country skiing) one night. The French athlete, 23 year-old Vincent Jay had apparently been in the lead for a long time and remained in first place as the race continued. Then, my sweetie says, “He’s going to crack and lose.” Me: “Wha? Don’t you want him to win?” “Yeah, but he’s going to lose. I know it and everyone in France watching right now are saying the same thing.” Me: “They said he just won the gold medal yesterday.” Him: “He got lucky. The French ALWAYS lose.” Me: “No they don’t.” Him: “Yes they do.” Me: “Where is your Olympic spirit!? I want him to win! You know, this collective Franco-negativity consciousness is going to MAKE him lose.” Him: “Wish all you want, It ain’t gonna happen.”

It turned out in the end Jay dropped to third right before the finish, but at least won the bronze medal. Him: “See, I told you. The French choke in the end.” Me: “!!!” Him: “You should’ve known.” Me: “Living here this long, I’ll eat pizza with a fork and knife, and I’ll drink morning coffee from a bowl, but expect failure without exception? NO.” Him: “What can I say? C’est plus fort que moi.”

This was another one of many clashes of cultures we experience: American Optimism (realistic or not) vs. The Undying French Pessimism (among other things). I call it “Ces impossibles Français,” which happens to be the name of a book recently released. I had to get it once I heard about it, although I haven’t gotten too much into it yet. Written by a French Canadian (Louis-Bernard Robitaille) who has been living in France for over 30 years now, it promises to be a light-hearted, warm and funny read, I think particularly for expats living with an impossible Français, or any expat living in France. Note: The book’s in French.

Posted in books/magazines, cultural differences, daily life, people, tips Tagged with: ,

March 5th, 2010 by ptinfrance

seriously strong cheddar cheese in france
After having left the south of France for Burgundy, finding cheddar cheese where we live  was ambitious if not impossible. We’d resort to grabbing a huge block of it from Phillippe Olivier in the north of France. Of course, that meant that we’d have to drive a long seven hours to get there. (Nevermind that I could visit my in-laws at the same time!) Now, it’s a little easier, seeing that I’ve stumbled upon Seriously Strong Cheddar cheese (from Scotland) at a nearby supermarket, which is part of a huge chain.

For an industrially produced cheese wrapped in plastic, it’s actually pretty good.  It’s crumbly, which supposedly means it’s a high quality cheese. (Info I’d gotten from a cheesemaker in Vermont). The one I bought said it was aged for 12 months, and while its brand name claims it’s strong, I didn’t find that it was particularly strong at all, but that’s okay it tasted good. I’m not fond of when the cheese is so sharp, it stings the palette in your mouth. In any case, this will be good for cheeseburgers, Mac n Cheese, Cheddar Cheese scones and just with bread or whatever, when you’re looking for variety away from the home grown French cheeses.

By the way, mature hard cheeses (Mimolette, Comté, Beaufort, Tome de Savoie, etc.) develop their sharpness in flavor because of the millions upon millions of dust mites inside them (not just on the rind). In fact, many of the master cheese makers trade these microscopic bugs, which has been a well-hidden trade secret for a long time…and for obvious reasons!

Posted in cheese / fromage, daily life, food and drinks, news, shopping, tips Tagged with: , ,

March 3rd, 2010 by ptinfrance

potatoes
More about this news here: EU Approves Genetically Modified Potatoes (in English) and En autorisant la pomme de terre OGM, Bruxelles ne suit pas ses propres directives (in French)

Posted in daily life, food and drinks, news, politics Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

February 25th, 2010 by ptinfrance

From the telegraph:

France’s reputation for culinary genius has traditionally set the standard to which all other countries aspire. It has always been synonymous with outstanding cooking, with its kitchens as important a part of Gallic culture as its art and language.

Not any more, according to a devastating investigation behind the kitchen doors of restaurants in Paris.

Rather than master chefs and fresh ingredients, restaurants in the world capital of haute cuisine are increasingly relying on microwave ovens and deep freezers to feed their customers, it found.

Industrially produced ready-meals, “flavour sprays” and untrained catering staff are all part of an unsavoury mix which is dragging down standards in French cooking, according to a documentary shown on France’s Canal+ station at the weekend.

It sought to prove that such deception is becoming increasingly common. Using hidden cameras and even searching dustbins, investigators found numerous restaurants trying to pass off third-rate food as the real thing.

Read the full article

Posted in daily life, food and drinks, news, restaurants, tips, weird Tagged with: , , , , ,

January 16th, 2010 by ptinfrance

The last year or so in L.A. has proven that food trucks not only have evolved far past their “roach coach” days but also have inadvertently contributed to reducing people’s carbon footprints. These roaming restaurants that come to you, offer anything from gourmet Korean tacos, grass-fed beef hotdogs, cupcakes, Banh Mi, BBQ, sushi, crepes – you name it, you can probably find the meal on wheels you’ve been looking for. I like the idea of the Green Truck running on vegetable oil, using biodegradable containers and serving organic food. The only glitch is that the food is not local, which is understandable in L.A.

France has had food trucks for many years in the form of pizza trucks in the south and French fry trucks in the north, not to mention the awesome cheese trucks, butcher trucks, bakery trucks… oh! and roasted chicken trucks and more. Aside from the pizza and fries trucks, I haven’t seen much innovation in rolling fast food until recently, and this one is pretty cool.
hippo facto france french food truck organic
Taking food trucks to a whole new level and incorporating today’s “green” needs, Christopher Mauduit and Fabrice Vanderschooten launched Hippo Facto last November near the city of Caen, which is located in north west France just about 10 miles inland from the English Channel. What’s not to love about it? Pulled by Percheron draft horses and dedicated to sustainable living and organic, local products, Hippo Facto couldn’t be more brilliant. Respecting the environment and serving fast organic and local fare that’s simple, healthful and creative, you can order fruit/vegetable juices, tartines, soups among other offerings. The containers are also compostable.

You’re right, I can’t imagine a food truck like this in a megalopolis such as Los Angeles. Picture the road rage of people behind the horse and buggy! Hippo Facto seems to work where they are. Of course, it takes them two hours to get to Place de la République in Caen. That’s all good considering there’s no fossil fuels involved, they don’t live in a speedy world and besides, some people commute longer than that in cars every single day. Now THAT’S crazy.

Hippo Facto
Every Wednesday & Friday
Place de la République – Caen France
On Weekends, they’re on the coast:
Bernières-sur-Mer, Lion-sur-Mer and Courseulles
Website: Hippo Facto

Posted in Basse-Normandie, cultural differences, daily life, food and drinks, health, news, restaurants, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , , ,

December 19th, 2009 by ptinfrance

welcome bikers mesvres france
What, you’re only welcome if you speak English? AND you’re a biker? Seen in Mesvres, France (Burgundy).

Posted in Bourgogne/Burgundy, daily life, funny, photos, weird Tagged with: , , , , , ,