There are few things more fun than wandering around toy stores in France to see what they have here that they don’t have in the U.S. In most cases, however, I find few original French games; I suppose it’s much easier to sell games that are translated rather than creating new ones, but that is okay, and even fun, too. Here’s the ever popular board game, “Operation.” Remember that one? I do. I love what the French called it: “Docteur Maboul.” Docteur Maboul means Doctor Crazy (and crazy doctor). It’s not funny but it cracks me up for some stupid reason.
Posted in daily life, games/software/tech, kids, products, shopping
Apparently parents haven’t been too concerned about kids’ safety on the internet because I’m afraid some unpleasant things have been taking place in France, and Europe in general. I don’t know the specifics and we probably don’t really WANT to know what’s been going on, but the government is on to something and has produced some public service announcements called ““Où est Arthur ? La sécurité des enfants et des adolescents sur internet”” (Where is Arthur? Childrens’ and Teenagers’ Safety on the Internet). The spots have been translated in 12 European languages and will be airing on TV and radio during Christmas time.
This PSA, created by Le ministre du travail, des relations sociales, de la famille et de la solidarité, should be a frightening reminder to parents that there are lots and lots and LOTS of scary and CRAZY people out there that can easily get into contact with their kids. Beware, please! Click on the photo above or here to watch the video.
tags: france, french, internet safety, french psa
Posted in advertising & marketing, advice, cultural differences, daily life, kids, news, tips, websites
Here’s some kooky celeb trivia in France from bittenandbound:
“Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are eligible to receive $2592.81 in parenting subsidies [for 6 kids] each month as residents of France.
The Jolie-Pitts moved their family into Chateau Miraval in the south of France just before the births of twins Knox and Vivienne.
Pitt registered the family at the town hall in nearby Brignoles, qualifying them for the benefits which are available to all families, regardless of income.
Although it is unlikely Brad and Angelina will cash in, they are technically eligible for a “nanny payment” of $975.84 a month to help with childcare, and an “orphan allowance” of $508.97 for each of their three adopted children. The $2,592.81 total would be payable by check each month.
“We do not discuss individual benefits cases,” said a spokeswoman for the Brignoles council, “But [we] can confirm that all resident local families with young children are eligible for certain benefits.”
Jolie gave birth to twins Knox and Vivienne on July 12. The couple have three adopted children – Maddox, six, Pax, four and three-year-old Zahara, and a biological daughter, Shiloh, who was born in Namibia two years ago.”
tags: france, Chateau Miraval, CAF, Brignoles, jolie pitt, child support
Posted in celebs, cultural differences, daily life, kids, news, people
“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.”
tags: france, television, france bans tv for babies, baby first tv, baby tv
Posted in articles, cultural differences, daily life, education, french laws, kids, news, politics, tv and movies
The life of animals according to man. Funny French vignettes here. (You don’t need to know how to speak French to understand these.)
tags: france, La vie des animaux selon les hommes, comedy, skits, french
Posted in daily life, funny, kids, nature, tv and movies
Visitors from other countries who’ve come to France know that it’s expensive here. But guess what? It’s expensive even for the people living in France! Prices have skyrocketed nonstop since 2002 and even the prices for the items that were usually very affordable, like vegetables, have increased exponentially. Over the last six years, it’s been continually increasing, and over the period of this last year alone, the cost vegetables increased by 18%. The media reports that the industry is blaming the bad weather.
People stopped buying because of the these recent high prices, so now the prices are starting to drop. A little.
Still, for many of us, times are precarious financially, so the best course of action would be to be very careful about how we spend our money without resorting to the high caloric, trans-fatty, cheap, processed foods. Here are some ideas to help reduce your monthly grocery bills while trying to stick to healthful alternatives. Feel free to contribute anything I’ve missed.
1. Shop locally. If possible, within a distance where you can walk to the store and back. This saves enormously on gas if you don’t have to drive. Bring a rolling cart if necessary. There are so many now that are actually cute.
2. Shop alone. Studies show that when you shop with someone, you spend more.
3. If you have to drive to the market, consolidate your trips and buy more so you don’t have to make as many trips.
4. Before going to the market make a grocery list even if it’s short. Bring it with you and make sure you stick to it. This will focus your shopping task and not allow for whim items. Not on the list? Don’t get it!
5. Don’t go to the market hungry. Eat beforehand. This will curb your impulse buying reducing any items you don’t need.
6. Get a basket. If you don’t have much to get, don’t get a cart because you’ll fill it up unnecessarily.
7. Shop in the periphery of the store. Usually, this is where your healthier options lie. You will find some cheaper items hiding but if not, this area will house the fresh produce.
8. Eat less and eat out less. This may be hard for some people. If that is against your beliefs and just HAVE to go out to eat, go out to lunch instead of dinner. You usually spend less.
9. Meat Eaters – reduce the frequency of meat. From eating meat every day, eat meat just once a week.
10. Pay special attention to price per unit. Some items are cheaper if you buy the smaller amount than a larger amount. This is a dirty trick by our beloved commercants.
11. Forget coupons. Some people swear to them but in France, the coupons are not that great of a deal (i.e., 10 cents off or so). Besides, many couponed items are for expensive and unhealthful processed foods.
12. Be wary about what is on “promotion” (on sale). Oftentimes it is not a deal at all. Other times, something on sale is not edible, meaning near rotten or expired. Remember: cheap doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. Be particularly vigilant with meat.
13. Eat leftovers. Do not waste any edible food! Get creative with it and if you don’t know what to do with leftovers, try to find online recipes with items you have.
14. Grow your own, raise your own. Plant a garden of veggies, herbs, sprouts and fruit. This is late to start now and this is not a feasible option for some city dwellers. If you have the space, next year plant a potager/veggie garden, you will not regret it. Your veggies will be delish, you can skip toxic pesticides, and you will save so much money. And, if at all possible, have your own chickens for eggs.
15 Reduce and if possible eliminate junk food. Junk food is expensive, very unhealthful and puts on pounds. I know! This is hard.
16. Buy dry goods in bulk. Like dried beans, lentils, peas, rice and other grains. Know your beans, too. These are high in nutrients, usually a better value, and you can store them for quite a while. Plus, you don’t participate in wasteful packaging.
17. Eliminate eating at Fast Food places: MacDo’s, Quick, the American fast food joints, even Flunch. Ok, Flunch and other chain restaurants like it are cheap but….just leave them out, will you?
18. Check your receipts carefully. Sometimes money is wasted on mistakes.
19. If you grow your own fruit and vegetables, think about preserving them (mason jars) or dehydrating them – so they can last all year.
20. Eat produce that is in season. They are always cheaper in season.
1. Wine – This comes from my dad-in-law, who is a wine connoisseur. Some of his favorite wines are half price at Aldi, so that could be a good resource for wine people. He’s seen the exact wines twice as expensive in Carrefour and Auchan. These aren’t just run-of-the-mill wines. Be flexible because they don’t often carry the same wines.
2. Negotiate for vegetables/fruits at Outdoor Markets – Merchants are really ok with you negotiating a better price. It’s no big deal. Besides, they know they’re overcharging you, so get them down in price as much as possible. Also, if you show up at the outdoor market before closing, you can get a really great deal. Many of them do not want to bother putting what’s left back into their trucks, so you can really bargain. In some cases, they just leave perfectly good veggies and fruit for the taking.
3. Make your own salad dressing – Most people I know do this already but if you buy the premixed version, try making your own at home. It’s less expensive, it’s better for you and you don’t have the same kind every time you eat a salad at home.
4. Frozen veggies vs. canned – If you can’t get fresh veggies, opt for frozen ones as opposed to canned. They tend to have more vitamins and nutrients.
5. Buy less expensive cuts of meat. If you’re used to getting, for example, filet mignon, faux filet or entrecôte, opt to get a bavette or ground beef. The bavette is a bit on the tough side so you might use it for stews and other long and slow cooked meals.
6. Don’t buy already skinned and de-boned pieces of chicken. Get their skinned versions as well as the pieces with the bone included. It’s much cheaper.
france, grocery shopping, Ways to Save Money on Food
Posted in advice, daily life, food and drinks, health, kids, shopping, tips, wine
By now, you’ve probably heard about a correlation between cell phone use and cancer. But geez, you can’t listen to those things because you absolutely love your cell phone. Who doesn’t? You were so freakin’ relieved to find out that those popcorn popping celphones were a hoax. Don’t lie. This love you have for your cute electronic companion has conveniently ousted from your head any negative publicity your mobile beloved has received. You really want to ignore them! Here’s you, “cell phones are dangerous??? NAH….. Don’t be silly! Cancer? Pfff. That is ridiculous. I use mine all the time and I’m fine!”
Do you say that because you don’t WANT it to be true? You can want all you like but just because you don’t want it to be true doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
No one WANTED cigarettes to be the leading cause of death, cancer, heart disease and lung disease (among other things), did they? Many cigarettes smokers said, “they smoked all the time and they were fine!”
No one wanted to believe that the building material called asbestos would kill them. No one wanted to think that anything was wrong with their PVC window frames? Check your hospitals, do they have any PVC? Answer: No. “But the PVC pipes and windows were so cheap,” people say…
Hospitals also don’t allow cell phone use, or wifi for that matter. Do people wonder WHY? I wish they did.
The warnings have been around for a long time but it has been in French news more and more this year. I mean, you can’t let your peeps keep doing harmful things to their bodies, can you France?
French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin also went on France 2 TV and rehashed the well-worn theory connecting cell phone use with cancer.
In the U.S. neurosurgeons can’t admit that cell phones are dangerous and cause brain cancer, but they WILL admit that they NEVER put a cell phone up to their heads. Ever! What do BRAIN SURGEONS know, anyway!??!
Hang on. Aside from being rant-errific, I do have some useful information that might prompt you to reduce the amount of risk to which you subject yourself.
Both Europe and the U.S. have defined safety limits for exposure to radio frequency (RF) energy produced by mobile devices. The SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) or DAS (débit d’absorption spécifique) in France is a measure or index of the rate at which RF energy is absorbed by the body when exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic field.
In the United States the FCC requires that phones sold have a SAR level at or below 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) taken over a volume of 1 gram of tissue.
In the European Union, the SAR limit is 2 W/kg, averaged over ten grams of tissue. For whole body exposure there is a limit of 0.08 Watt/kg averaged over the whole body.
What you can do: Find out the index of your mobile phone then act accordingly. If it’s too high, get a different phone that is safer. Here’s a chart with a list of phones and their SARs.
As an example, the new 3G iPhone’s SAR (or indice DAS in French) is 1.388 W/kg. The first generation iPhone was 0.974 W/Kg. Other examples: Motorola Razr2 v9 is 0.52. The Samsung SLM is 0.48. As low as some of the phone’s indices are, neurosurgeons STILL won’t put them up to their heads!
What you can do: Like neurosurgeons, DON’T put the cellphone up to your head. Use speaker phone mode. Note: Bluetooth devices and unshielded wired-earphones amplify the signal. In other words, they radiate more, NOT less.
What you can do: Remember that the industries will ALWAYS deny the existence of any dangers. Not only that, they are responsible for those “counter” studies that come out after researchers warn about the dangers of a product. Scientific studies have been suppressed by the cell phone industry and the government to protect their profits. Do not buy that game.
What you can do: Reduce your cell phone use to a bare minimum. Keep conversations short.
What you can do: Don’t let kids use the phone at all if possible. If they must, not for more than a minute at a time. Ideally, they should never use them or use them only for emergency situations.
What you can do: Turn your cell phone off when it isn’t needed and especially when you are driving your car. When driving with your cell phone on, the waves ricochet inside the car because cars are metallic, creating a Faraday Cage.
What you can do: When possible, keep the cell phone as far away from your body as much as possible.
Links: SAR, Get Little Kids Away from the iPhone and iPod Touch, Cell Phone Dangers Revealed, Patents Prove Cell Phone Dangers from Wired, Hidden Dangers of Cell Phone Radiation, Chemical and Cell Phones, Harmful Effects of Cell Phones, Hazards of the Wireless Age, Reduce Risks, Mobile Phones more dangerous than smoking
france, How to Reduce Your Cell Phone Risks, cell phones and cancer, SAR, Indice DAS
Posted in articles, daily life, french laws, games/software/tech, health, kids, news, politics
“France Telecom’s Orange said Thursday it will launch Apple’s much anticipated iPhone 3G in France on July 17th with prices starting at 149 euro ($233) for the 8GB model.
Handset prices and plans
The exclusive French carrier of the touch-screen handset said the 16GB model will fetch 199 euro. Both subsidized prices require that customers also purchase a subscription to one of its existing “Orange for iPhone” plans (below), or its Origami Star (from 3 hours), First or Jet plans.
With other plans (except time-cutoff and pay-as-you-go), the 8Gb iPhone will sell from 199 euro and the 16Gb model from 249 euro, Orange said. For instance, customers can get the 8GB model for 199 euro with a one-hour Origami Star plan that costs 32 euro and offers up to 500MB of monthly internet access.
Meanwhile, “Orange for iPhone” plans (below) start at 49 euro per month for a plan that includes 2 hours of normal talk time, 2 hours of late evening and weekend minutes, and 50 SMS text messages. The most expensive plan is priced at 149 euro and includes 12 hours of normal talk time, 12 hours of nights and weekends, and 1000 SMS messages. All “Orange for iPhone” plans include Visual Voicemail and up to 500MB of monthly data usage. ”
Orange will also offer the 8Gb 3G iPhone from 199 euro and the 16Gb version from 249 euro with a 24-month contract under its loyalty upgrade program.
Preferential upgrade offer
As part of the carrier’s “Change your mobile” promotion, Orange customers who purchased an iPhone before 12 June 2008 and are using it with an Orange plan (except time-cutoff, Initial and Mobicarte) will be able to buy the 3G iPhone for 99 euro through a 100 euro refund valid until 31 October 2008. The offer requires a 24-month contract.
iPhone 3G for business
The 3G iPhone will also launch for Orange Business Services clients on July 17th. Business clients will also be eligible for the “Change your mobile” offer.
Orange said its 3G network currently covers over 66 percent of the French population.
tags: france iphone orange
Posted in Bretagne/Brittany, events, food and drinks, kids, paris, people, religion, travel and places
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 02.96.74.75.65; Finistere – Alex Lannuzel 02.98.25.80.33; Ille et Vilaine – Nadege Lucas 02.99.77.09.46; Morbihan – Celine Rolland 02.97.66.32.62
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
The French documentary, “Le Monde Selon Monsanto / The world according to Monsanto,” directed by independent filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin, airs tonight on ARTE.
The film paints a grim picture of a no-holds-barred evil corporation with a decades-long track record of environmental crimes, health scandals and endangering the population of the entire world.
It will open your eyes to many things and you’ll never look at food the same way again.
Read about it at ARTE (in French) More about it here (in English)
See the movie trailer here
Posted in daily life, environment, garden, health, kids, nature, politics, products, stories, tv and movies
A letter of love sent by a French 13-year-old to her late mother, addressed to “Paradise Street, Heaven,” was returned to sender with a postage fine slapped on, a report said Thursday.
On the second anniversary of her mother’s death the young girl from central France, named as Anais, wanted to send her a “message of love, like a bottle in the ocean,” according to the Journal de Saone-et-Loire newspaper.
But two days after she slipped it into a local postbox, marked with her mother’s name but no stamp, her missive was returned as a mistaken address — along with a 1.35 euro (two-dollar) fine for unpaid postage.
Asked to explain the mishap, the French post office said there really was a town in the area called Heaven — “Ciel” in French — but that the street was unknown.
Posted in Bourgogne/Burgundy, kids, news, people, weird
“Mr Rude, a new Mr Men character with a French accent and a flatulence problem, is threatening to put the wind up Anglo-French relations, reports said Monday.The new bright orange cartoon is the first with a foreign accent to join the children’s book and television series, whose more traditional characters include Mr Happy and Little Miss Helpful.
“Oh, parr-donne me!” says the ball-shaped figure in a heavy Gallic accent, after noisily breaking wind in a game where children are invited to pull his finger on the Mr Men website www.mrmen.com/uk.
“Oh, don’t seem soo sur-praased,” he adds, before emitting another fart. “You pulled it.”
A new series of the Mr Men show, featuring the classic childrens’ characters, will start later this month on television channel Five, which insists it did not intend to offend the French.
“Mr Men is a comedy show for four to seven-year-olds … The fact Mr Rude has a French accent is meant to be light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek and no offence to the French people is intended,” a Five spokesman told the Daily Telegraph.
The French embassy in London refused to comment, but a source quoted by the daily said: “It is obviously meant in a light-hearted way but it won’t improve Anglo-French relations.”
A spokeswoman for Chorion, the new show’s makers, defended the use of a French accent. “It is a kids’ comedy show, it is not meant to be offensive or anything like that,” she said.
In the late 19th century a French baker, Joseph Pujol, who could break wind at will, played to packed houses with an act that included imitating animals and blowing out candles, styling himself Le Pitomane, or “fartiste”.”
Posted in kids, news, outside of France, tv and movies, weird
Oftentimes people will refer to their region’s department by a number, which totally perplexes me since I just have no idea what they’re talking about. I just don’t know them. Also there are numbers on license plates that indicate where the driver is from, so if you know which number represents their corresponding department, you’ll know where they’re from, for what that’s worth. (For now, at least. I heard they will be getting rid of these numbers on plates, so you won’t know where that driver is from.) With all of France’s regions, departments, numbers, etc., and there are a LOT to know (for a relatively small country), it might or might not help you to learn some of them. So if you’d like to get to know France more intimately, play this game. Here, you’ll get quizzed on French prefectures, regions and departments (by name, by number), and rivers. It’s hard! But, it can be helpful when reading the news about France and when someone, say at a party, tells you about 21. You can happily respond, “You’re from Cote d’Or? LOVE that department.” Or something to that effect.
Play a game or two at Geographix
Posted in games/software/tech, kids, websites
It’s already December, which means you have a couple of weeks to get in all of your holiday shopping. I don’t mean to nag, but you should do that now, unless you like doing that last minute crazy psycho shopper madness. Since this is a site about France, I’ll be suggesting France/French related items. Here’s Part I. I got this idea from my very good friend’s 5 year old daughter, who fell madly in love with Paris and France after reading the classic children’s book, Madeline. I started looking for other books and DVDs about France for kids and came up with these:
|This is Paris
This is Paris takes kids on a really fun tour of famous buildings, beautiful gardens, cafés, and the Parisians-artists, and even thousands of cats. Young readers will travel along the banks of the Seine, through the galleries of the Louvre, and to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
|The Little Prince Fun and Adventure
Inspired by the famous tale by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, kids will discover a whole galaxy of board games, mazes, connect-the-dot puzzles, finger puppets, masks, coloring pages, and more activities – all the while learning about everyone’s favorite little prince.
|Postmark Paris: A Story in Stamps
Ten-year-old Leslie tells her story of living in Paris for a year, illustrating this appealing odyssey with postage stamps.
|Monsieur Saguette and His Baguette
Monsieur Saguette, on the way home, transforms his ordinary baguette into something extraordinary. (No matter how tempting it is to find an innuendo here, just remember this is really a kids story…)
|The Magical Garden of Claude Monet
A great way to introduce kids to famous artists, this is a story about a little girl who thinks that Monet is the gardener and is immersed in his gardens at Giverny.
|The Truffle Hunter
The story of an inept pig who is abandoned in the forest where she finds true love in the form of Raoul, a wild boar. Raoul teaches her the lost art of truffling, whereupon she returns to her home with a fine chef. But she has also learned the value of freedom.With charming style the book tells of problems that reveal hidden opportunities.
|The Cat Who Walked Across France
A cute cat in France travels through lavendar fields, palatial castles, canals, Paris and beyond.
A bicycle riding Parisian mouse named Anatole makes his living by tasting the cheese in a cheese factory and leaving notes about its quality. This story makes me wonder if it was the inspiration for Ratatouille.
|Katie and the Mona Lisa
Katie convinces a sad Mona Lisa to leave her portrait in order to regain her famous smile. Katie leads her to several other famous Italian Renaissance works.
|Let’s Learn French Coloring Book
This introduces kids ages 3 to 6 to every day French vocabulary using the same simple techniques that help children build vocabulary in their native language.
|French for Children
Cute, catchy songs and the humorous, serial adventures of SuperCat captivate the imagination and foster language acquisition. The set in the series contains an 80-page full-color activity book coordinated with two 60-minute CDs as well as a Parent/Instructor CD packed with helpful tips.
Click here for more kids books about France
Posted in art/culture/design, books/magazines, daily life, kids, paris, people, shopping, travel and places
This year’s Christmas stamps and cards are not as cute as last year’s (here too) but there are some other fun items just released from the post office in France. Adorable holiday-themed stationery, playing cards, snow globes, stickers and figurines are being sold online at La Poste, as well as some cartoon-network-esque T-shirts. For every order at La Poste, one euro will be donated to UNICEF.
Lastly, a reminder that French Santa writes back to kids and adults (how nice of him) who send him a letter or email by December 18. Email him from here and check out the other goodies for kids there too.
La e-boutique du Père Noël
Posted in daily life, kids, products, shopping