Category: education

May 18th, 2015 by Patricia

Some of us are lucky enough to live the City of Light, where romance permeates the air and where you are always surrounded by beauty. If you live in Paris, you know that it’s a lot different as a resident than as a visitor. Yes, you are living in one of the most amazing cities in the world but it’s not always easy to manage every day life. Take, for example, raising your family. Of course, you’ll be speaking French since it is the default language of France and most probably, your mother tongue especially if you were born and raised there. Your kids will be speaking it in no time but before they get too old, how about considering a second language (English, for example) for them to learn while it’s still very easy? Read more of this article »

Posted in advice, education Tagged with:

August 21st, 2008 by ptinfrance

From AP:

“France’s broadcast authority has banned French channels from marketing TV shows to children under 3 years old, to shield them from developmental risks it says television viewing poses at that age.

The ruling also ordered warning messages for parents on foreign baby channels that are broadcast in France _ such as Baby TV, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., and BabyFirstTV, which has ties to News Corp.’s Fox Entertainment.

The High Audiovisual Council, in a ruling published Wednesday, said it wanted to “protect children under 3 from the effects of television.”

France’s minister for culture and communication, Christine Albanel, issued a “cry of alarm” to parents in June about channels dedicated 24 hours a day to baby-targeted programming. In a newspaper interview, she called them “a danger” and urged parents not to use them to help their children get to sleep.

She was referring to BabyFirstTV and Baby TV, two foreign channels that can be seen in France on cable television.

The council’s ruling aims to prevent the development of such programming on French channels, by preventing them from marketing content as suitable for the under-3 age group.

It also orders French cable operators that air foreign channels with programs for babies to broadcast warning messages to parents. The messages will read: “Watching television can slow the development of children under 3, even when it involves channels aimed specifically at them.”

The ruling cites health experts as saying that interaction with other people is crucial to early child development.

“Television viewing hurts the development of children under 3 years old and poses a certain number of risks, encouraging passivity, slow language acquisition, over-excitedness, troubles with sleep and concentration as well as dependence on screens,” the ruling said.

When BabyFirstTV began airing in the U.S. in 2006, it escalated an already heated national debate. The American Academy of Pediatrics has said babies should be kept away from television altogether. Critics say such channels are used as a baby sitter.

BabyFirstTV and other companies say their products are designed to be watched by babies and parents together in an interactive manner.

Guy Oranim, chief executive officer of BabyFirstTV, said he “respectfully objects” to the French council’s ruling. He said the channel’s content is carefully screened to ensure it is positive and educational, and that the channel encourages parents to make sure their babies don’t go overboard on TV but include it in a balanced schedule.

“One of reasons we created BabyFirstTV is that we thought there was no good programming for babies on TV, and according to the research that is out there, most of the babies are watching TV anyway,” he said.

The three companies behind BabyFirstTV are Regency Enterprises, a film and TV production company that is a partner of News Corp.’s Fox Entertainment; Kardan N.V., an investment group based in the Netherlands and Israel; and Bellco Capital, a private Los Angeles-based investment fund.”

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Posted in articles, cultural differences, daily life, education, french laws, kids, news, politics, tv and movies

August 14th, 2008 by ptinfrance

Tucked away in Chennai, India (southeast coast of India in the northeast of Tamil Nadu), you’ll find an usual and unexpected establishment: a French baking school. The school was created by 25-year-old Alexis de Duclas, a graduate of Essec, one of France’s top business schools, and 24-year-old certified French baker, Antoine Soive, who had previously worked in one of Alain Ducasse’s Michelin star restaurants.

la boulangerie chennai india employs untouchablesTogether, they work toward helping the “Untouchables” in India,* (also called Dalits) the very bottom, absolute lowest level of the Hindu caste system. Their objective is to train and certify the untouchables in the production of French baked goods and pastries, so they will later be more fairly integrated into society and regularly employed. The inspiration to found the school came after a fateful meeting with Ducla and Father Ceyrac, a Jesuit missionary who had worked with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charities to support children and people in distress in India. Many, many months later, Ducla launched his baking school.

Ducla’s school is the epitome of corporate social responsibility, with social issues being the very core of the business, while still maintaining the ability to literally and figuratively “make dough.” Ducla wanted to prove that humanitarian projects can also be profitable. The school is run by the Charity Education and Rural Development Trust. Classes are also funded by philanthropists from India and France. Ducla’s business manages to make a reasonable amount of profit by selling their products.

Students are chosen based on their “untouchability” therefore they must be from economically weak areas and they must be motivated. That is the criteria for selection to this unique school. Along with cooking lessons, the students are also required to take English, Tamil and Science lessons. The training is rigorous and students are required to wake up at midnight and work through the night. After two years of intensive training they should be ready and equipped to handle anything from a fancy gateau for a five star kitchen, to petit fours for a high end restaurant.
la boulangerie chennai india employs untouchables
A couple of years after the launch of the school, Ducla opened La Boulangerie, a French bakery/ cafe in Anna Nagar West in Chennai operated and maintained by Untouchables (15th Main Road, Anna Nagar West, Chennai 10 Tamil Nadu, India), serving, croissants, cakes, breads and sandwiches.

*Who are the Untouchables in India?

Untouchables in india are branded as impure from the moment of birth. Approximately 1 out of 6 indians (160 million people) live and suffers at the bottom of the Hindu caste system. India’s Untouchables are relegated to the lowest jobs, and live in constant fear of being publicly humiliated, paraded naked, beaten, and raped with impunity by upper-caste Hindus seeking to keep them in their place. Merely walking through an upper-caste neighborhood is a life-threatening offense.

Nearly 90 percent of all the poor Indians and 95 percent of all the illiterate Indians are Dalits/Untouchables, according to figures presented at the International Dalit Conference.

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Posted in bread, business / economy, education, outside of France, pastries, people, products, stories

July 13th, 2008 by ptinfrance

dialogue between florent pagny, zidane and xavier darcos
Known for his raspy voice and chart topping pop songs, Florent Pagny (left) sung his tax woes in the song, “Ma Liberté de Penser” (My freedom to think), and even though this happened long ago, France is rather merciless and never lets neither him nor anyone else forget about any of their past predicaments particularly if they involve stepping over legal lines.

Note: Xavier Darcos is France’s Education Minister (though it would’ve been more ironic if he’d been the Finance Minister…)


Posted in celebs, conversations, dialogue, education, music, people, sports

June 1st, 2008 by ptinfrance

fete du lait bio organic milk festival
This organic milk festival is today in Bretagne (Brittany). Sorry about the late notice.

Learn more about organic products and how their production respects the environment (non-GMO, no pesticides or chemicals) and animal well-being, via this festival that every department in Brittany is celebrating with concerts, theater plays, debates and more. This isn’t just the organic dairy industry. You’ll also find bakers, farmers and animals – and their products as well. Visit a number of participating farms to experience what “real food” raising and making (and eating!) are.

You can have an organic breakfast and meet the people who bring quality products to the public.

*Note: You must have a reservation.

La Fête du Lait Bio 2008 – Organic Milk Festival
June 1, 2008
Contacts by Department: Cotes D’Armor – Jean-Sebastien Piel; Finistere – Alex Lannuzel; Ille et Vilaine – Nadege Lucas; Morbihan – Celine Rolland
Admission: 5 €, 4€ Students and Unemployed, 3€ Under 12
Website: Fete du Lait Bio

Posted in Bretagne/Brittany, daily life, education, events, health, kids, nature, news

April 3rd, 2008 by ptinfrance

From counterpunch:

“Nicolas Sarkozy, allegedly the most Anglophile (or rather Americanophile) president of the 5th Republic failed his Science Po degree in the late 70s because his English was so poor that he was barred from sitting the politics exams. In the run up to the war in Iraq, the allegedly “Anti-American” Chirac was able to explain the French position in English before the US media, a small feat totally out of reach for the monolingual Sarkozy.

Sarkozy did not have to make small talk in English when he recently met the Queen in Windsor Castle since the British Monarch is fluent in French. On this occasion, some may have warned the Queen that Sarkozy’s French is generally most unceremonial: his crude crack at a person who refused to shake hands with him at a Paris farm show or the derogatory use of the “tu” form to address strangers (in the French context, not a cool way to behave, but rather a condescending or bossy one) have become Internet hits. Meeting youngsters from the banlieues a few months before his election, Sarko boasted to the kids: “I speak like you, I could be one of you”. “Bling-Bling Sarko” confuses familiarity with vulgarity. As one of his critics in the French media cruelly put it: Sarkozy is not small, but low.

Before Sarko, the Gaullist right was not quintessentially vulgar and anti-intellectual. Charles de Gaulle was a well-read man who had the good taste to choose André Malraux as Minister of Culture. Georges Pompidou was an Agrégé de lettres and a student at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. The apparently less highbrow Jacques Chirac is a great connoisseur of Japanese civilization (and, some cynics might like to add, of his banking system) [and leaves the splendid Branly museum as a monument, Editors]. Sarkozy breaks with the Gaullist tradition on that count: he is a self-professed idiot. To one of his advisers who suggested that he visit a museum during a trip in Madrid, Sarko replied: “The idiot thanks you!” (Le con te dit merci!). The ironic jibe fails to conceal Sarkozy’s deep insecurity with regard to the world of knowledge in general and to intellectuals in particular. Sarkozy admitted hating school and underachieved as a student. Recently, he was heard fuming in public against “those researchers who find nothing”.

Read more of this article »

Posted in articles, education, politics

September 3rd, 2007 by ptinfrance

le plumier pencil box

While Americans are lounging around this non-working Labor Day in the U.S., today the French are doing the opposite on what is called, La Rentrée, the big day where everyone “returns” to work or to school. It marks the end of all vacations. How sad.

In dedication to La Rentrée, I wanted to post about this plumier en bois (wooden pencil box) that my sweetie found for sale for 1 euro at a nearby Boulangerie (of all places). It’s an old-fashioned style box that apparently resembles the plumiers most students had many years ago – though I believe they were still popular until the end of the 70s (I’m not sure, though). I imagine a kid today wouldn’t want to have anything to do with it, and would instead, opt for a brighter, smelly plasticky one.

Anyway, I hoped that this photo would bring back fond memories for readers who had a plumier en bois filled with just sharpened pencils.

If this plumier en bois brings you horrible memories because you hated school, sorry about the reminder.

Posted in cultural differences, daily life, education, products

August 18th, 2007 by ptinfrance

french learning software and games puzzles

Amigo Software just released new French learning software for Mac and PC.From the site:

“Learn French vocabulary using games and puzzles. Amigos French Puzzles includes over 2500 French words and expressions, divided into 75 categories and sub-categories for easy learning. Create unlimited fill in tests, crossword puzzles, word search puzzles and word games from these words, or play a fun dice and board game. Amigos French Puzzles provides a unique and fun filled learning experience…” Find out more

Download “free to try” demos:

French Puzzles for Mac
French Puzzles for PC

French Conjugation Learning Software for Mac
French Conjugation Learning Software for PC

Posted in education, games/software/tech, language

March 17th, 2007 by ptinfrance

france wildlife film festival

The 17th Annual International Wildlife Film Festival begins tonight in Albert France, which is in the Somme Department (in the north of France, roughly between Paris and Lille, near Amiens). The festival features professional and amateur documentaries from all over the world that focus on the life of animals. Films are judged by a panel of respected entertainment personalities and internatinal film directors. Toward the end of the week, an award ceremony celebrates the winning films and filmmakers. For the program list, click here: Program.

International Wildlife Film Festival
March 17 – 25, 2007
Theatre du Jeu de Paume (seats 600)
80300 Albert, France
Website: International Wildlife Film Fest

Posted in education, events, tv and movies

February 3rd, 2007 by ptinfrance

But will they actually use it or erase it then download and store games? 😉


French authorities will give out 175,000 USB memory sticks loaded with open-source software to Parisian high-school students at the start of the next school year.
The sticks will give the students, aged 15 and 16, the freedom to access their e-mail, browser bookmarks and other documents on computers at school, home, a friend’s house or in an Internet café — but at a much lower cost than providing notebook computers for all, a spokesman for the Greater Paris Regional Council said Friday.

It’s a way to reduce the digital divide, said spokesman Jean-Baptiste Roger.

The sticks will probably contain the Firefox 2 Web browser, Thunderbird e-mail client, an office productivity suite such as 2, an audio and video player, and software for instant messaging, he said.

The exact mix of software will be defined by the company that wins the contract to supply the sticks, but will be open source, he said…

Read the full article (Yahoo News)

Posted in daily life, education, games/software/tech, news

December 10th, 2006 by ptinfrance
world map flash game

Do you know where the Kingdom of Lesotho is? Then, I think you’ll get a better score on this game than I did. It tests your knowledge of world geography. You will see a name of a country on the screen and you must locate it on the map (use the zoom in or out if necessary but work fast) and click on it. You have a certain amount of time and if you guess incorrectly, it takes away more of your remaining time. Try it and see if you actually know your geography as well as you thought. I think I need to study my geography a bit more as well as my history (my score was 52. I don’t think that’s very good because I think that is out of 100, I’m not sure. That’s an F+ if we were in class!) The only thing I wished this game did was to flash the correct country on your wrong answers, so you can know where they are.

Do you know the world?
Play Now

Posted in education, games/software/tech, travel and places, websites

August 22nd, 2006 by ptinfrance

veronicamarsgraduatesIt seems like the French lycée (high school) system is a no-nonsense educational entity in France and compared to the American public high school (at least  to the public high school I attended in California), let’s simply say that we might as well be talking apples and oranges. This is not to say one is better than the other; just that the systems are like night and day, both having their own advantages and disadvantages. I’m constantly finding myself asking my s.o. about what it was like growing up in France. I almost can’t imagine living in that French world as a teenager.

Me: “What time did high school start and finish in France?”
SO: “It started at 8am and ended at 6pm, Monday through Saturday but only morning classes on Wednesday and Saturday.”
Me: “OMG those are LONG hours! We went from 8:30am to 3pm M-F. Saturday classes!? Yuck!”
Me: “Did you take any fun classes in lycée?”
SO: “Yeah, English and Math.”
Me: “THOSE aren’t fun! Especially MATH. I mean stuff like art, journalism, archery, horticulture, music, woodshop, sculpting, photography, football. You know, FUN fun classes.”
SO: “We didn’t have classes like that.”
Me: “WHAT? What if you wanted to learn how to play an instrument? Weren’t there classes to see if you would like to be a musician? Try out some instruments?”
SO: “No. No classes like that.”
Me: “Wasn’t there a band or orchestra? Or a chorus? What about a marching band?”
SO: “Nope.”
Me: “Well, I guess the marching band worked in conjunction with having a football team or other sports teams. So, did you have like a football team or tennis team or I dunno, a pétanque team?”
SO: “No, we didn’t have sports teams. We did have fitness class 3 hours a week.”
Me: “That’s all? So, what if you wanted to play an instrument or be in a band or play competitively on a sports team or learn how to make pottery or paint or draw?”
SO: “You had to do that outside of school, on your own, with clubs.”
Me: “Whoa. ok. Hmmmm.”
Me: “Could you design your own course?”
SO: “No.”
Me: “Did your school have a swimming pool?”
SO: “No.”
Me: “Did you have lockers?”
SO: “No.”
Me: “DId you have a student government?”
SO: “No.”
Me: “Did you have a graduation ceremony after you passed the Bac? You know, pomp and circumstance? Flipping the cap tassel and gowns and simultaneous cap throwing?”
SO: “No.”
Me: “School dances?”
SO: “No.”
Me: “A yearbook?”
SO: “No.”
Me: “A school newspaper?”
SO: “No.”
Me: “A school radio station?”
SO: “No.”
Me: “Did you have speakers in classrooms so that announcements could be made??”
SO: “No.”
Me: “Assemblies?”
SO: “Nyet.”
Me: “Lockouts?”
SO: “I don’t know what those are but most likely…no.”
Me: “Did you have detention? or other disciplinary action?”
SO: “Some punishments would be to sweep floors or clean classrooms. And Yes! I was collé / detained (literally: glued)”
Me: “A YES!!!!!”
SO: “Punishment is universal.”

Posted in cultural differences, daily life, education

July 27th, 2006 by ptinfrance

The part-time temp employment agency, Adia, launched a very eye opening and much needed awareness campaign encouraging employers to set aside their biases against people with physical differences, and instead, to adopt a more tolerant, compassionate and intelligent attitude. I hope prospective employers will see these ads, learn from them, then act accordingly.
adia emploi
Click on photo to enlarge.


(in large letters): This girl can not do anything
(in smaller letters): without passion. It wasn’t what you thought when looking at her, was it? However, at Adia, we can always offer her part- time jobs that meet the standard of her expectations and her strengths.
(tag line): Do not rely on appearances, rely on abilities.

This is the other poster ad from Adia I saw advocating tolerance showing a pregnant woman.
adia emploi affiche
Click on photo to enlarge.


(in large letters): This woman is (dead) weight.
(in smaller letters): a heavyweight of knowledge. With Adia, she lives her life according to her own rules, deciding her own schedule and availability. Today, she chooses to carry the weight of an ambitious project that will lead to a unique experience. Tomorrow, she’ll be able to count on us to find her a balance between her professional life and her family life.
(tag line): Do not rely on appearances, rely on abilities.

Last year, Adia collaborated with France’s state unemployment office, ANPE, and began a program to help disadvantaged youth having difficulty entering the French workforce. The barriers to entry for this group are colossal because of intolerance and problems linked to racism. Adia’s work is admirable and their mission to embrace the attitude of being as socially responsible as possible and to protect human rights, is not only brave but also crucially necessary.

Posted in accessibility and disabilities, advertising & marketing, daily life, education, people, signs

July 26th, 2006 by ptinfrance

If you’re a student, you can find flights to a number of destinations for mega cheap if you book with Student Universe. I just looked at this site and right now; you can find a roundtrip flight from New York to London for $205. LA to Paris is only $499. So cheap! How can you pass that up??!

From Student Universe:

StudentUniverse is the online travel service that enables students to travel for less. By negotiating with the major airlines on their behalf, StudentUniverse provides students with exclusive, significantly discounted airfares. From destination guides to a proprietary booking engine, StudentUniverse is the leading online resource that allows students to research and purchase reduced-cost travel products online. Founded as a student travel agency in 1992, StudentUniverse launched its online presence in January 2000.

Check out: Student Universe

[via travelpost]

Posted in education, news, travel and places, websites

July 5th, 2006 by ptinfrance

Awareness for environmental issues have never been more imperative. The subject is so vast, where do we begin? How do we instill the importance of “green living” early in our kids? How can we make it “stick” and not go in one ear and out the other? Playing games, is an effective way to instruct and enlighten. French-based games portal, Jeux Mac, believes that fun games can teach kids about many things including how to be kinder to the planet.
recycle game
Specifically designed with children in mind, Recycle takes bright and inviting colors and combines them with two activities focusing on games that are related to the subject of recycling. These games were created to stimulate the child’s hand/eye coordination while easing them very early in life into recognizing the importance of recycling. As a game, Recycle sets an essential precedent that encourages kids to recycle and puts them into a natural mindset incorporating the idea that life requires recycling, which is vital to the preservation of the environment: theirs and those of future generations.

Recycle is free of charge and available for the Mac platform (A PC version is planned for later release.)

Click here to: Download Recycle (3 MB)

Posted in daily life, education, environment, games/software/tech

April 22nd, 2006 by ptinfrance

The devastating impact of global warming has already begun. Think of all the victims of Katrina, tsunami in Asia, increasing mosquito-borne diseases, droughts and other earth changes. Those events are directly related to the environment and greenhouse gases. How many times have you talked about how weird the weather has become where you live? Remember the heatwave in France, Italy and other countries that resulted in thousands of deaths? What does it all mean and why are all these things happening?
earth day
Part of the problem is that people are not fully aware of the consequences of global warming. Please try to change that by learning more about it.

There’s a film to be released on May 24 in the U.S. called “An Inconvenient Truth” (watch the movie trailer) that is a reality check we need to stop ignoring.

We can’t continue on this downward path.

Things you can do – Learn more about your planet and teach your kids about it:

early warning signs of global warming, greenhouse gases, what you can do, clean power, your carbon footprint, what you can do (tips), climate solutions, alternative fuels, what businesses can do, things that schools can do, green products, yahoo’s 10 tips

More Resources
For kids: So What’s the Big Deal?
Learn more about the earth
Energy Star
All about global warming at Wikipedia

Posted in daily life, education, environment, events, health, nature, news

April 21st, 2006 by ptinfrance

Inspired by Pretzelbug’s comments in yesterday’s post, here are some tips and links if you happen to find yourself wanting to get a crash course in French before coming to France, Belgium or other French-speaking countries.

Free Online Resources to Learn French – There are several internet sites that offer free online French courses you can take at your own speed, one of the best ways to effectively and quickly (from home) grab a lesson or more. Below are some sites:

French Assistant
The French Tutorial

Online French Vocabulary and Verb Conjugators – Without a vocabulary base, how will you learn French? These sites will help you learn some words and help you figure out how to conjugate them.

French Verb Conjugator
Le Conjugugeur
Vocabulary Builder
Elisabeth’s vocab builder in French every other Sunday

Listen to French
– Get your ears used to hearing French. Even if you have a French music or movie in the background, it helps to have it on so your brain can get used to French so when you arrive, it won’t sound totally foreign.

1) rent and watch movies in French and set the subtitles to French too. Oftentimes, you can check out music and dvd’s at public libraries.

2) French radio (click here for French internet radio sites and podcasts);

3) Read French papers or books. Go online to read the European news (in French) that will get you used to reading and also help to be familiar with recent local news.

—Here are free online books in French: Gutenberg Library, and Classics and Social Sciences
—Here are French newspaper sites: Agence France Presse, Le Monde, Liberation, Paris Match (like People Mag)

4) Listen to Music in French

Find Native French Speakers in your Area
If possible try to do a language exchange with a native speaker of French. Or try to find a French conversation group to sit in.

10 important phrases in French to know while traveling – You already know the most obvious, right? (merci, bonjour, oui, non, s’il vous plait, au revoir)

1. Where is the toilet? / Où sont les toilettes?
2. It’s an emergency! / C’est une urgence!
3. I don’t like ______. / Je n’aime pas (find out the words for what you don’t like.) i.e., Je n’aime pas les’escargots (I don’t like snails).
4. Do you accept credit cards? / Acceptez vous les cartes de crédit?
5. A carafe of water, please. /Un carafe d’eau s’il vous plait (for free water)
6. Excuse me, the bill please./Excusez moi, l’addition s’il vous plait.
7. There’s an error. / Vous vous etes trompé.
8. I’d like to change rooms. / Je voudrais change de chambre. (because you’re not satisfied with your hotel room.)
9. N’essayez pas de m’arnaquer!/ Don’t try to rip me off!
10. I need something for diarrhea. / J’ai besoin d’Immodium (Immodium is the product you need from the pharmacy)

If all fails:
I don’t know how to say it in French / Je ne sais pas le dire en français
I don’t speak French / Je ne parle pas français
I don’t understand / Je ne comprends pas
Do you speak English? / Parlez vous anglais?

I know there are tons of others so feel free to add your own phrases and hints in the comments.

Posted in daily life, education, language

April 12th, 2006 by ptinfrance

The Sécurité Routière, France’s Department of Road Safety has just released a spot for television that is so shocking and traumatizing, it’ll leave you in tears.

During the last several years, France has been trying to reduce their embarrassing statistics regarding the amount of fatal automobile road accidents due to drunk driving and negligent driving such as speeding. They’ve decided to take drastic measures and from the looks of this PSA, it far surpasses anything resembling “drastic.” In fact, the word drastic never seemed so tame in comparison.

It is so effective, you may never have the desire to ever step foot inside a car again.

To view the spot, go here: Sécurité Routière and click on the 90 sign, then click on the poster in the scene (like the one below) then click on “SPOT TELE.”

Posted in cars/bikes/etc, daily life, education, health

April 11th, 2006 by ptinfrance

Travel to 45 cities all crammed into one cityscape! Maybe that needs some rephrasing.

Are you a world traveler? Think you know your geography and history and related trivia? Are you certain about that because I vaguely recall you often cutting all your classes and going to the beach or to the mall or anywhere that didn’t resemble an educational institution. Oh. Maybe that was me.


City Love the Cities Game over at Lonely Planet is a trivia game with an attitude, and challenges your knowledge and love of cities. Hover your mouse over objects in the city scene. These objects are symbols that represent particular places on the planet. Appearing next in a pop up screen will be a hint or question with choices listed from which you must choose the answer. If you pick the right city with your first guess you earn a whole two points! Second correct answers receive one point. There are 45 cities hidden in the cityscape.

Play the Cities Game now

[via Nag on the Lake (thanks, maribel)]

Posted in education, games/software/tech, travel and places

March 30th, 2006 by ptinfrance

SIDA in French means AIDS.

Every year in France (March 31, April 1 & 2), there’s a fund-raising event for AIDS awareness, prevention and assistance called, Sidaction organized by a not-for-profit organization with the same name.

Their mission is to fight against AIDS and to improve the quality of life for the people touched by AIDS. All funds collected are distributed as follows: 50% for research programs and 50% for programs related to prevention and assitance to patients.

Please consider contributing to Sidaction. You can do so by:

1) telephone – dial 110. (France only)
2) donating online by clicking on this link: Donate online
3) purchasing items from their Online Store
4) mailing a check to Sidaction (Download their form, fill it out, then mail it with your check to the address below)

Sidaction (website in French)
228 rue du Faubourg St Martin
75010 Paris FRANCE
Tel: + / Fax: +

Posted in daily life, education, events, health, news, people

February 10th, 2006 by ptinfrance

remember the famous words of france’s emperor napoleon bonaparte?” ne te laves pas, j’arrive! (don’t wash, i’m coming!) ok, so he wrote that to josephine (and eiuw) but it works here. sort of? maybe not. anyway, napoleon is coming!

the podcasting network (tpn) has just released news that napoleon is taking on podcasting. in this podcasted napoleon series, there are 15 episodes featuring all you ever needed to know about the “little corsican,” narrated by historian and Napoleonic scholar J. David Markham. for more info and to download the podcasts: napoleon podcasts

[related website: time traveller’s guide to napoleon’s empire]

[some books about napoleon to read: napoleon, 1812: napoleon’s fatal march on moscow, the rise of napoleon bonaparte, and napoleon bonaparte: a life]

Posted in art/culture/design, education, games/software/tech, history, people

January 20th, 2006 by ptinfrance

buzzing on the french blogosphere lately: the story of a montpellier-based blogger named Garfieldd who blogged about his life as a closeted gay man. he was also a high school principal until some teachers at a neighboring school recognized him on his blog. he was then reported to the region’s education administration, who then launched an inquiry which resulted in the decision: immediate dismissal, under the grounds that his site was “pornographic with obscene writings and images” (which it wasn’t).

Garfieldd has applied for clemency, with the option to take the matter to the courts if his appeal is rejected.

yesterday the department of education released a statement declaring that Garfieldd’s dismissal could be reversed (with a lesser sentence).

it sounds like a witch hunt and a clear case of institutional homophobia.

[read the full story in english at dangerousetrilingue or here’s the HUGE list of Garfieldd subject blog posts (mostly) in french]

Posted in education, news, people

December 18th, 2005 by ptinfrance

just as english uses french words incorrectly, (i.e., in the u.s., “rendez-vous” has more of a connotation of a tryst or a (romantic) date – in french, you can have a rendezvous with the dentist, a simple and innocent appointment) – inversely the french will sometimes use english words incorrectly. i guess i shouldn’t really say that’s these words are incorrect because well, in france, they are correct. i find them really adorable. note: they may or may not be in the dictionary (i didn’t check) so, while they might be shunned by the stuffy academie francaise elite, they are definitely spoken in real life. (i’ve heard them!)

FOOT – “il va faire du foot” means he’s going to play soccer. this makes sense (in france) since “soccer” in french is football. my SO says americans are weird to call american football, FOOTBALL, since they play with their hands :-)

FOOTING – means jogging. in french someone might say, “je vais faire du footing.” (i’m going jogging/running). when i’ve heard this, i confused it with FOOT (see above). all those times someone said they’d go FOOTING, i thought they were going to play soccer. i’d thought, man, a lot of people play soccer around here!

FLIPPER – nope, flipper does not mean everyone’s favorite dolphin from the 60s, but instead, in france, means PINBALL (the old arcade game). sure there are flippers in there but i guess the french did not get into the old rock musical, TOMMY. 😀 – somehow, HE’S A FLIPPER WIZARD doesn’t sound right.

PEPS – like the word PEP in english, in french PEPS means a boost of energy. i heard a teenager on tv recently say, “j’ai du peps.” (i have energy) – the S is always pronounced in french, which makes it sound strange to my ears.

RUGBYMAN – this one’s not too far out there. it does mean RUGBY PLAYER but more than one rugby player is RUGBYMANS (the S is not pronounced).

PLAYBACK – if someone on tv pretends to be singing over a recording, in france they’ll say, “ah, il chante en playback.” (oh, he’s singing in “playback”). in english, we’d just say he’s lip syncing. while technically, saying “playback” is correct, in english i’d say most people would say “lip sync.”

TALKIE WALKIE – a “talkie walkie” in french does mean walkie-talkie, so it’s not too incorrect (just mixed up a bit), but always makes me laugh out loud when i hear it. (i know, it doesn’t take much)

there has got to be more of these; i just can’t think of any right now. do you have any examples?

update: more Les faux anglicismes

Posted in cultural differences, daily life, education, language

December 11th, 2005 by ptinfrance

founder of Emmaüs, 93 year old abbot pierre, (who recently released his book, my god why) has released a CD called, “avant de partir” (before leaving). on it he recites 14 short passages from the bible followed by the lord’s prayer. the “spiritual testament” is his recited voice with a background of music by french composer, erik satie and canadian composer stephen mulin. the CD is now available in french stores. [via tf1 (in french)]

Posted in books/magazines, education, news, people

November 29th, 2005 by Angry B


“…the myth of color-blind France is complex and flawed.
Nonetheless, it has exercised a powerful attraction upon both
[B]lack Americans and the French themselves.” ~
Tyler Stovall, Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light

“In Paris, I lived in all parts of the city–on the Right Bank and the Left, among the bourgeoisie and among les misérables, and knew all kinds of
people, from pimps and prostitutes in Pigalle to Egyptian bankers in Neuilly. This may sound extremely unprincipled or even obscurely immoral: I found it healthy. I love to talk to people, all kinds of people, and almost everyone, as I hope we still know, loves a man who loves to listen.”
James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name

You could visit Paris hundreds of times and get a completely unique idea of it each time depending on your own curiosity and volition. mileage will vary. For example, someone might simply want to see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Amelie’s Montmartre, while others would be in search of something deeper and looking for more of a complex experience, an experience that is rooted in an entirely different aspect of Paris’ history – such as “Black Paris.”

Unknown to most of the millions of the tourists that visit the Cty of Light each year, there are tours and courses available particularly focusing on Paris’ history as it relates to the Africans, black North/South Americans, and black Europeans, who, for political and/or personal reasons made Paris their homes.

It’s an opportunity to find out about why so many blacks (Africans, African Americans and Europeans), many of them famous writers, artists and musicians, expatriated to such a complex and paradoxical space, Paris – and what it was like for them to be there.

There’s also a course being offered next summer that sounds like it’s going to be not only a fascinating learning opportunity but also a unique “lived experience.” During 4 weeks in paris, students from Indiana University, Bloomington will examine the politics of migration, the motives, implications and consequences of transnational life – all this though text, lectures, field trips, guest speakers, music and film. to be discussed: “Why Paris? is it a refuge from racism?”; “Who are the historical and contemporary black internationalists?”; “How does black Paris fit into the black experience in europe?” “What is the OTHER Paris?” “the Paris riots” and more. Black paris is a timely and significant topic in african american and african diaspora studies not to be ignored.

The Course: Black Paris: Migration and Cosmopolitanism in the City of Light
June 12 to July 7, 2006 – Paris, France

Tours: discover african-american history in paris, black paris tours, the insiders guide to black paris.
Other Sources: Cafe de la Soul


Posted in education, history, paris, people, travel and places

November 23rd, 2005 by ptinfrance

a cool tidbit about exam questions for the french high school diploma (the bac) – via Yahoo and AFP:

“When France’s high school students sit next June for the exam that determines if they graduate, culture-and-arts majors will be quizzed on a song by 1960s drugs-and-love rock icon Jimi Hendrix, according to the education ministry…”

Read the full article

Posted in cultural differences, education, weird

November 17th, 2005 by ptinfrance

wine fanatics everywhere are probably already filled with beaujolais nouveau right now as i write this post! today is the official release of the beaujolais region’s (lyon to the south of burgundy) special wine (vin de primeur) made from gamay grapes and released the third thursday of november every year.

how is it different than other wines? the process: beaujolais nouveau is produced by carbonic maceration followed by pasteurization (bypassing the malolactic fermentation process in other wines) and therefore takes a mere six weeks to produce after harvest. it is a type of wine that does not last and is best consumed within a few weeks. it is, in other words, INFERIOR WINE made from some of the worst vineyards and crop yields of the year.

half of the beaujolais nouveau is exported. last year (2004) japan was the top importer of beaujolais nouveau over the u.s. (about 1 million cases – that’s roughly 50% of the beaujolais exported from france!) and that nearly killed them in airfreight costs alone.

by far the most popular producer of beaujolais nouveau is georges duboeuf, the king of beaujolais, made the king by his own pimped PR machine and the well-known flowery bottle labels. though, there are better beaujolais to be had.

mike steinberger from slate magazine says it best with some wise advice if you’re looking for a good beaujolais:

“Should you find yourself succumbing to the hype over the next few days, here’s a suggestion: Skip the Nouveau, bypass the Duboeuf (the king does not need your money), and instead look for a Cru Beaujolais. They generally run between $10 and $20, and the best are brought in by the following importers: Louis/Dressner, Alain Junguenet, and Kermit Lynch. Some wines to look for: Chateau Thivin (from the Côte de Brouilly appellation), Jacky Janodet (Moulin-à-Vent, the most esteemed appellation in Beaujolais), Marcel Lapierre (Morgon), Domaine Diochon (Moulin-à-Vent), Jean-Paul Thevenet(Morgon), and Michel Tete (Juliénas).

Not every good Beaujolais is necessarily a fancy growth, however. A personal favorite is Dupeuble, a wine of low pedigree that is made by a conscientious producer whose ambition is not to suck every bit of life out of his vineyard but to fashion a quality quaffer. That he does: The wine, which retails for around $10, is everything good Beaujolais should be—fruity, sprightly, utterly charming. If I owned a house and had a house wine, Dupeuble would be it.”

[via slate, tizwine, the japan times, wikipedia]


Posted in advertising & marketing, education, events, food and drinks, shopping, weird, wine

November 9th, 2005 by ptinfrance

cnns wrong map
i often run into europeans who SWEAR that americans have no concept of GEOGRAPHY, not knowing where anything is. i usually try to defend that generalization to an extent stating that is overly exaggerated to declare such biases – but after seeing this “map” of “france” on CNN as was reported by french television 2, DO YOU BLAME THEM?

first of all, according to CNN, the WORLD LEADER OF NEWS, the city of toulouse, normally found in southwest france, is now cavorting around northern italy! (possibly switzerland). was there an earthquake i missed? lyon has moved too! strasbourg, usually found in the alsace-lorraine area of france, has shifted to germany. yes, yes, strasbourg SOUNDS german but that doesn’t mean it’s in germany! since when did france spread to POLAND? cannes is miraculously situated where perpignan normally hangs out. (a rough 400 miles off base along the coast). where did perpignan go? anyway.

tags: france

Posted in education, weird

October 21st, 2005 by ptinfrance

a law was passed in france to put a positive SPIN in textbooks related to its painful colonial past, making it mandatory to enshrine in textbooks the country’s “positive role” in its colonies.

do i hear revisionism? since when is colonialism POSITIVE?

[via France Orders Positive Spin on Colonialism]

Posted in books/magazines, education, history, news, weird