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.
We were on our way to Lyon when we almost ran over this guy and his two Siberian huskies pulling him on his bike. Instead of running into him, we rode next to him to hand him a donation.
He’s Randolph Westphal and he’s been biking all over the world with his dogs for more than 14 years (around the world 4 times!) on a mission to share his experience as a cancer survivor visiting hospitals, hospices and clinics. More than two decades ago, his doctor’s told him he had about a year left to live because of his cancer but he’s still here 20 years later!
He’s been hit by an 18-wheeler, which put him in a coma, broke his leg, got attacked by a bear and more…and YET he continues.
A 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).
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.
French scientists have figured out the best way to pour champagne…Oui oui, a whole study (lab tests and all) was dedicated to the pouring of bubbly. I wonder how long they spent on this so-called study? *sigh*
“The scientists at the University of Reims say pouring bubbly at a slant, as you would a beer, preserves more of the tiny gas bubbles that improve the drink’s flavor and aromas…They say the study matters not just to Champagne drinkers but to glassmakers. They note that the industry is researching a “new generation” of Champagne glasses specially designed to control the release of carbon dioxide, the gas that gives the drink its sparkle.”
To open the festival dedicated to Impressionism in Rouen, 1,250 people held large fragments of a reproduction of a Claude Monet masterpiece (La Cathédrale de Rouen, effet de soleil, fin de journée) above their heads yesterday in an attempt to create the world’s biggest live Impressionist painting. Neat! Watch the video by clicking on the image.
The success of Restaurant Week in cities like New York, Dublin, Lisbonne, Madrid, London, Miami and Los Angeles has inspired cities in France to give a go to a week dedicated to affordable gastronomy. Hundreds of participating restaurants will offer a unique menu priced at 20,10€ for lunch and 35€ for dinner.
I was looking forward to checking out several restaurants in our region, including Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu, but it’s not on the list!
French TV channel, M6, recently preempted a documentary exposing McDonald’s unhygienic practices, but it’s available (for the moment) to watch online at Dailymotion (Click on the image to watch the video).
An employee at a French McDo’s took in a hidden camera and revealed the dirty procedures some of the chain’s restaurants practice. It’s in French so here are some main points emphasized in the documentary (besides the fact that the employee isn’t wearing gloves!) for non-French speakers:
* burgers that have been sitting out are sold 4 hours or longer AFTER the time they should’ve been thrown out
* burgers that should be thrown out, are instead, frozen, then thawed out and sold the next day
* employees do not wash their hands or wear gloves
* employees remove expiration stickers and replace them to avoid throwing out old food
Nicolas Sarkozy has been caught on film telling a man “don’t get cheeky with me” after spotting him wiping his hands on his clothes after shaking hands. Mr Sarkozy looked visibly rattled as the man in his 20s made the highly provacative slur, filmed and broadcast by French TV channel TF1. The French president stepped back and jabbed his finger at the culprit, repeating three times “Fais pas le malin, toi” – meaning “don’t get cheeky with me”. The presidential loss of cool comes a year after Mr Sarkozy told a man at an agricultural fair to…
For those of you stuck in Paris because of Eyjafjallajokull’s wrath on Mother Nature (the Icelandic ash cloud grounding airlines in Europe), as well as other travelers, why not chill and take a dinner cruise on the Seine? Your diner croisiere will take your mind off of being stranded and instead send you on a floating gourmet tour to see all the iconic landmarks the City of Light shows millions of visitors each year.
While Blue Seine specializes in group cruises on the Seine, they do offer individual packages as well. Inquire on their website and bon vent!
Telephone Number: 01 56 89 88 98
Well, it’s ALMOST an office. Think of domiciliation as a sort of Mailbox Etc. kind of place but with more amenities. There’s a secretary to answer your calls and help with administrative duties, a snazzy address near La Bourse, furnished offices to use for meetings (but they must be schedule ahead of time), mail forwarding, you know, having mail sent to your REAL office address, which might be in your parents’ basement. Of course you’ll have to share your little bureau with many, many other businesses but with a little planning well ahead of time, you can probably get “your office” in Paris and convince people it’s a fancy schmancy enterprise!
Cap Elysées International
25 Rue Ponthieu
Telephone : 01.53.89.11.89 – Fax : 01.53.75.15.66
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.
Some 33 years after the last head rolled in France, the guillotine is back—as a cutting-edge display item in a Paris museum exhibit about crime and punishment. The former instrument of death was displayed at the request of Robert Badinter, the politician who ended the death penalty in France, who was thrilled to see his “old enemy” reduced to a museum object.
But with France currently facing overcrowded prisons and high rates of recidivism, not everyone shares Badinter’s view. “I think it’s a shame this stops at 1981,” one museum visitor told the Guardian. The 14-foot device had a long tradition in France, from the rolling heads of 18th-century revolutionaries to the final guillotine execution, in 1977, of convicted murderer-rapist Hamida Djandoubi in Marseille.
“March 20 is the Jour du Macaron in Paris. This annual celebration, dreamed up five years ago by the famed pâtissier Pierre Hermé, finds pastry shops giving their meringue-y little delights away for free.
Customers are encouraged to make a charitable donation on their way out the door. It’s a sweet idea in celebration of spring and in support of research to treat rare diseases.
The crowds will be large this Saturday at Pierre Hermé, with fans lining up to choose any three of his famous macarons. Tempting flavors for spring 2010 include white truffle with grilled hazelnut and foie gras with chocolate, along with traditional favorites like coffee, caramel, and three kinds of vanilla. But Hermé isn’t the only one sharing his cookies. Heavyweights Jean-Paul Hévin and Sadaharu Aoki are also taking part. Bon macaron!
Free macarons on March 20 at these participating pastry shops
Pierre Hermé: six locations, including 4 rue Cambon in the 1st arrondissement, 72 rue Bonaparte in the 6th arrondissement, 133 avenue des Champs Elys ées in the 8th arrondissement (inside the Publicis drugstore), 40 boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement (inside the Galeries Lafayette), 185 rue de Vaugirard in the 15th arrondissement, and 58 avenue Paul Doumer in the 16th arrondissement.
Sadaharu Aoki: three locations, including 56 boulevard de Port Royal in the 5th arrondissement, 35 rue de Vaugirard in the 6th arrondissement, and 40 boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement (inside the Galeries Lafayette).
Jean-Paul Hévin: four locations, including 3 rue Vavin in the 6th arrondissement, 231 rue Saint-Honoré in the 1st arrondissement, 23 bis avenue de la Motte Picquet in the 7th arrondissement, and 40 boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement (inside the Galeries Lafayette).
Laurent Duchêne: 2 rue Wurtz in the 13th arrondissement.
Arnaud Larher: two locations, including 53 rue Caulaincourt and 57 rue Damrémont, both in the 1″
Yesterday’s round one primary elections resulted in a whopping 53% absenteeism! Did that many people just not care? Have the French given up? Are they so dismayed and disgusted with the current ruling party (UMP) and it’s little leader? Or, have they surrendered to the fact that the evil industry leaders are so powerful they can easily push greedy corrupt politicians to pass self-serving, destructive laws? [via]
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!
The 15th-century alabaster statues – considered treasures of medieval Europe – have never before left the city of Dijon, where they march perpetually around the base of the tomb of John the Fearless and his wife Margaret of Bavaria.
Now they can be seen walking two-by-two down a plain catwalk in the heart of the Met in the exhibition The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy.
Carved over a 25-year-period by Jean de la Huerta and Antoine le Moiturier, each statue represents a mourner – mostly ecclesiastical figures such as a bishop, a choirboy and rows of monks from the Carthusian order.
In their normal setting in Dijon they are only partially seen, as they are positioned between miniature Gothic arches lacing the base of the wealthy and powerful couple’s black marble tomb…
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.
It’s clear that who ever was responsible for this anti-smoking ad for teens in France was in search of shock value. The article from the telegraph says it shocked France, but I doubt that. It’s definitely in poor taste and has a lame sexual innuendo but I believe people here would just do their Gallic shrug and unexcitedly say, “Pffff.” I’m sure these anti-smoking ads will not in the slightest deter teens from smoking, in any case.
Here’s an excerpt from the telegraph:
The adverts, presented earlier this week, show an older man in a suit pushing down on the head of a teenager with a cigarette in her mouth, in a position that suggests oral sex. Another version of the advert shows a teenage boy in a similar position. The accompanying slogan reads: “Smoking means being a slave to tobacco”.
“The campaign trivialises sexual abuse – worse, it implies guilt on the part of the abused,” read one angry comment on the website of “Droits des Non-Fumeurs” (“Non-smokers’ Rights), the organisation behind the campaign.
Droits des Non-Fumeurs said the posters showed neither rape nor abuse, but were meant to shock.
The adverts, which will be published in newspapers and bars, are designed to target young people in France, who are beginning to smoke in increasing numbers despite a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.
Velib bikes are fine and all but ever since trying out a bunch of different kinds of vélo électrique (electric bikes) at an expo a couple of years ago, I can’t go back to regular bikes. It’s not that I’m lazy (ok, maybe I’m lazy at times), it just seems like an obvious choice to have options in life: to pedal or not to pedal, that is the question. The ideal situation for me is to be able to both pedal when I want, then to switch to electric power when I need! Those latter situations being up a hill, on a long, straight stretch of road or when I’m tired. Or perhaps when dire consequences call for it, like being chased by a rabid French poodle. You never know.
This bike folds up all nice and neat so you can just bring your bike “package” with you instead of leaving it outside.
There’s a shop in the 13th arrondissement of Paris that is worth a looksee. Buzibi offers the quintessential vélo électrique for people who might share the same sentiments as I do about riding bikes in general. Purchase one or better yet, rent one at reasonable prices: 5 euros an hour or 49 euros for the weekend. (See the rates for exact pricing and long term rental information.) Or! Go to the vélo électrique store yourself to see all the models and to test drive one and see what you think. I can say with confidence that you will not ever want to go back to the old fashion versions. Vive le vélo électrique!
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.
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.
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
NOTHING about Châteauneuf-du-Pape is sleek or polished. It’s a rough-and-tumble wine, sometimes ungainly and fierce, but just as often warm, open, generous and full of pleasure.
It can be intense and complex — it’s not at all simple. Yet it sometimes can be as friendly as a big good-natured dog. Occasionally, it’s too friendly.
I was thinking about the overbearing side of Châteauneuf recently after the wine panel had completed a tasting of 20 bottles from the 2007 vintage. For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by two guests, Vanessa Treviño Boyd, sommelier at Adour, and David Gordon, wine director at Tribeca Grill, which offers what is most likely the widest selection of Châteauneuf in New York.
We found some wines we liked very much, yet on the whole the 2007s left me unexcited. Stylistically, they presented Châteauneuf’s too-friendly side. Châteauneuf is always a big wine, but these wines were huge — full of lush, opulent fruit with powerful, jammy flavors.
The film, “La France change, ma région doit changer” (France is changing, my region should change) shows an eco-friendly house with solar panels on the roof, smiling schoolchildren and a mother hugging a little girl in a sunny garden.
A voice-over boasts about Mr Sarkozy’s achievements since 2007, and the benefits of living in France.
But the French TV channel Canal+ has discovered most of the footage was bought from Getty Images, and shot thousands of miles away in the US.
The family house used in the video is in Escondido, California – and UMP party bosses even failed to spot that a car parked outside it has US number plates. The class of happy schoolchildren from a mix of ethnic backgrounds live in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. And the mother with her child in the garden is really in..
Some people seem to have a need to know what it’s like to live like a hamster, and if you’re one of them, here you go. Hamster Hotel! Located in Nantes, live like a king hamster, eat seeds, run in a hamster wheel and sleep on hay, all for the *bargain basement* price of 99 euros. Free wi-fi, hamster people!
2, rue Malherbes
44000 Nantes, France
Pack up your car with your friends and family to spend some time in England. For their 15th anniversary, Eurotunnel is have a sale, and it’s pretty good. For a month from November 17th to December 17th (it should’ve been from the 15th to th 15th!), a roundtrip from Calais to Folkestone (or vice versa) and traveling on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, will cost 15€ only. The sale is good for same day trips but if you want to stay longer, just buy a second roundtrip ticket from the other direction (provided it’s during this month and on a qualifying day.) If you’re coming from England, it costs £15. This fee is per car so if you have many people in your car, it still only costs 15!