This is actually not very funny to me but hey, whatever. C’est la vie as they say in my quite possibly soon to be ex-host country. This is not an isolated case. Not only are American businesses in France going to suffer, French small businesses will feel the wrath as well (if they don’t already feel it). If you’re in France or you visited recently, I’m sure you’ve seen many places out-of-business. This is why a lot of people have moved to England. It’s not a new thing; the tax/social charge system in France for entrepreneurs/independent business owners is dysfunctional and always has been; it’s just going to get worse. The state of the economy doesn’t help, either, and we’re not prepared to take on continous and conscientious struggle. It was really fun and good while it lasted (10 years!), so thanks for the good times. If, by chance, something miraculous happens in our favor, we’ll stay. Otherwise, it’s going to be a reluctant au revoir très bientôt. By the way, this website may be up for sale soon so send me offers!
Jacques Chirac: Yo Bruno, what kind of animal is that over there?
Bruno Le Maire: Since when do you say, “yo,” Jacques?
Chirac: It’s always been a part of my vernacular. BTW, you can call me Monsieur Chirac, and don’t change the subject.
Le Maire: Just because I’m the Minister of Agriculture doesn’t mean I know anything about agriculture. I actually hate animals and nature. Didn’t you see me on Canal Plus yesterday? I don’t even know what a turkey sounds like. I just wanted to be Minister and agriculture was the only one available. I took it because I knew les grands surfaces (large supermarket chains) would give me huge bribes to not denounce them because they’re fleecing farmers and French consumers.
Chirac: You sort of suck, Bruno. Of course, bribes are kind of nice.
I couldn’t resist posting this hilarious video. (Click on the image to watch the video.)
Carla Bruni Asks for a Finger Up Her Butt, in Seven Different Languages
France’s first lady is tres embarrassed that an old, raunchy episode of a talk show called Eurotrash has surfaced online. Now the French government is scrambling to get it yanked from YouTube. Here’s what they don’t want you to see.
Apparently the French government fought to remove a longer version of this video—in which Carla showcases a pair of “hot international sex guides” that teach international tramps how to say phrases like “Do you like my titties?” and “Put your finger in my bottom” in seven European languages—from YouTube. Eurotrash hosts Antoine de Caunes and designer Jean-Paul Gaultier (in the hot pink sailor suit, obviously) ooh and aah at the multilingual promiscuity of “Italy’s most elegant export.”
The yanked version apparently showed Carla discussing celebrity affairs with Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton. The Daily Mail reports Carla is “shocked and dismayed” at the video’s “sudden reappearance.”
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…
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]
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..
Yesterday wasn’t the best time to go to Dijon, let alone any city in France because of the farmer protests. We usually know about these things in advance, but silly us, we didn’t watch the news on Thursday (or lately for that matter), like we usually do! Needless to say, when we arrived in Dijon, the traffic was très pertubé, and that wasn’t the only thing perturbed. The farmers were all over the city setting fires in the roads, throwing around trash, hay and animal poo (It smelled!), lighting huge bomb firecrackers, and making a huge mess causing hours of traffic delays. Once we got parked, which took forever, I took these photos. I’m lucky I had my old little camera in my purse.
And we noticed that the police were hiding far away from the rowdy agriculteurs.
Following Sarkozy’s horribly embarrassing nepotistic naming of his 23 year-old son to the powerful political post inside EPAD, the reactions are numerous. Many college students are requesting to be adopted by Nicolas Sarkozy so they’ll have a better chance at “finding” a good job; people are outraged, defenders are insisting little Sarkozy got elected! Whatever. WHY do you think he was elected? A few words: HIS DAD’S URGING. Duh,people.
Anyway, this one’s my fave. It’s a hilarious spot advertising a fake iPhone app called, “L’application Jean Sarkozy pour L’iPhone.” You don’t need to speak French to understand what that’s all about.
Twenty short people were ordered to stand behind French President Nicolas Sarkozy to make him look taller while delivering a televised speech.
They were bused in after being “vetted” by aides of the French President who made sure none were more than his own height of 5ft 5ins.
The extraordinary scene unfolded at the Faurecia motor technology plant in Caligny, south of Caen, in Normandy, last Thursday.
Despite Mr Sarkozy’s lack of inches, he looked far more statuesque than usual as he posed in front of the group of white-coated technicians on a specially erected stage.
In a broadcast on French television on Monday, a woman researcher admitted on camera that she had been chosen because of her small size.
Asked by the TV journalist Jean-Philippe Schaller if it was necessary for her to be no taller than the President’s 5ft 5ins – a height which rises to around 5ft 7ins thanks to his stacked heels – she replied: “There you have it.”
Pictures were then shown of the 20 workers on board a coach which brought them in from other parts of the three-mile-square Faurecia site.
All admitted that they were among the smallest members of the 1,400-strong Faurecia workforce, and had been selected to replace the usual workers in the unit where Mr Sarkozy made his speech about the car industry.
Chinese tourists are avoiding France because of President Nicolas Sarkozy and his country’s attitude toward Tibet, a senior Chinese tourism official told AFP on the weekend.
“Chinese tourism to France has reduced a lot because they (Chinese tourists) don’t like what Sarkozy did before the Olympics and afterwards,” Ji Xiao Dong, the vice president of China’s Chamber of Tourism, said on the sidelines of a global tourism conference in Brazil.
Ji said he was referring to pro-Tibet protests in France in the lead-up to the Olympic Games held in China last year, and to talks last December in Poland between Sarkozy and Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
When asked to quantify the fall in Chinese visitors to France, the world’s number one tourist destination, Ji said “it’s not clear yet what the number is, but there are many fewer.”
He explained that France was still the preferred European destination for Chinese tourists, but said many were miffed by Paris’s approach to Tibet, which is under Chinese rule.
“Ordinary Chinese people don’t like politicians or politics,” Ji said, adding that “how the Chinese think about France” has changed in recent months.
France and China have ostensibly mended relations since Sarkozy’s meeting with the Dalai Lama.
But Beijing warned Paris early this month against more “errors” after a spokesman for the Dalai Lama said the Tibetan spiritual leader may be made an honorary citizen of French capital during a June 6-8 visit.
China opposes any government figure meeting the Dalai Lama, whom it accuses of being intent on achieving independence for Tibet after 58 years of Chinese rule.
The Dalai Lama however says he only wants autonomy for the Himalayan region.
“Chef Emile Jung of famed French restaurant Au Crocodile will be cooking lunch today and tomorrow for The Obamas at the NATO summit meetings in Strasbourg, France. The Chef is the proud recipient of two Michelin stars for his restaurant, and today he will be prepping a “working lunch” for Barack and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which will be served in the Chateau des Rohan, an 18th century castle next to Strasbourg Cathedral. Tomorrow, Mr. Jung will prepare a buffet for all the NATO leaders during the summit meeting.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Mr. Jung said he was “pretty sure” that Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the first ladies, will be present at today’s lunch. He also said he was not “allowed” to reveal details of the full menu, but did say that it would be French with a touch of Alsatian cooking:
There will be Alsatian pinot Gris but no choucroute [sauerkraut]; we will use seasonal produce. Right now it’s the time for asparagus and gigot d’agnelet [baby milk-fed lamb]. I can say no more.
At Au Crocodile, Mr. Jung’s specialty is foie gras, which may present a touchy “ethical” problem for FLOTUS and POTUS. Their hometown, Chicago, is one of the few cities in America to actually ban the sale of foie gras, after a years-long war among city officials. Mr. Jung does three fab versions of the dish: “froid”, “croûte en sel” and “aux pommels.” Menu details to come….”
“The holding centre planned for the port of Calais has been the subject of frenzied claim and counter claim in recent days with the French government publicly denying that it has been given the go-ahead.
Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, was left out on a limb by his French counterpart Eric Besson when Mr Woolas revealed details of the project last week, with the French minister claiming that he had no knowledge of it.
But a letter from the UK Border Agency to the Director of Migration in Paris seen by this newspaper reveals that British and French officials discussed the centre in detail a few weeks ago and agreed “joint action”. It has been costed, given planning permission and a building contract awarded for its construction, according to the letter.
The 500,000 euro (£470,000) detention suite will be similar to the one at Heathrow Airport and contain a number of police cells designed to hold immigrants until they can be deported. It replaces a temporary structure now in place at the port which is barely more than a temporary building.
It will be half-funded by the British with the Calais Chamber of Commerce among those having offered to put up the rest of the money.
The plans are revealed in a letter from Brodie Clark, head of Border Force at the Home Office to Francis Etienne, Director of Migration at the Migration Ministry in France.
The letter says: “I am very pleased to be able to confirm, on behalf of the UK Border Agency our contribution to fund 50% of the 500,000 euros cost estimated by the Calais Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) which will enable work to start.
“I believe that planning permission has been granted and that a building contractor has been chosen through a tendering process run by the CCCI, whom we believe had previously made an offer for funding this facility.
“We look forward to having a purpose built facility that provides a safe, secure and appropriate method of holding clandestines for short periods.”
The plans are an attempt by ministers to stop migrants and the gangs who smuggle them into northern France from continuing their journey to Britain and instead returning them swiftly to their own country. At present, immigrants from Afghanistan, Kurdistan and Africa exploit European law to evade expulsion by trying repeatedly to enter Britain, being arrested and released several times, until they get through.
A senior Labour insider said: “We have to have a process to return these people to their own country rather than just releasing them into the French countryside and this building is the first part of that process.”
It is thought the French initially denied the plans because of fears it could be compared to the notorious Sangatte camp. British officials were baffled by their reaction because it would have been easy to explain that the new centre will be a small detention suite rather than a large residential camp.”
Mr Sarkozy, a man often ridiculed in France for preferring fitness to literature, has frequently expressed his disdain for “La Princesse de Cleves” (The Princess of Cleves), a novel by Madame de La Fayette which was published in 1678 and is taught in most French classrooms.
Now, French readers have adopted the book as a symbol of dissent: as Mr Sarkozy’s popularity falls, sales of the book are rising. At the Paris book fair this week, publishers reported selling all available copies of the novel, while badges emblazoned with the slogan “I am reading La Princesse de Cleves” were a must-have item that sold out within hours.
Mr Sarkozy’s views on the novel are hardly new. As far back as 2006, before he became president, he made a comment that left no doubt that his school memories of it were not happy ones.
“A sadist or an idiot, up to you, included questions about ‘La Princesse de Cleves’ in an exam for people applying for public sector jobs,” he said, adding that it would be “a spectacle” to see low-level staff speak on the challenging work.
Since then, Mr Sarkozy has repeatedly criticised the tale of duty versus love at the 16th century court of Henri II, suggesting that knowledge of it was not useful.
Over time, his attacks have bolstered the book’s popularity, and even given it a new role as a symbol of dissent at a time when public anger over Sarkozy’s economic policies is high.
Public readings of the work have proliferated at universities like the Sorbonne in Paris, hit by protests over government reform plans, and at theatres.
The cultural weekly Telerama this week published results of a survey asking 100 French writers to list their 10 favourite books. “La Princesse de Cleves” came third in the overall rankings, after masterpieces by Marcel Proust and James Joyce.
Telerama commented that it was unlikely Madame de La Fayette would have done so well before Sarkozy’s jibes.
” Seven French politicians, including President Nicolas Sarkozy, have received death threats accompanied by live ammunition, the Independent reports. The letters, which included 9mm rounds, were signed by an unknown group called Solidarity Earth. Though the name perhaps suggests an environmental group, and anti-terrorism officials are investigating, those in the know attribute the act to a “disturbed individual.”
The letter specifically threatens Sarkozy, Justice Minister Rachida Dati, and Interior Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie. “You think that you own our lives,” the threat reads. “No. We own your lives and those of your friends and family.” Alliot-Marie, a conservative, has warned of a surge in “ultra-leftist” violence.”
It’s been reported that Pierre Bergé, the long-time companion and business partner to the late Yves Saint-Laurent, began putting up articles for auction, artwork and artifacts owned by the late designer. Proceeds are to be designated to the AIDS foundation he founded. The auction began despite China’s demands to halt it. China claims that two valuable Qing Dynasty bronzes, a rat and a rabbit, worth about $12 million each, belong to China. Chinese officials claim the items were stolen from Beijing’s Imperial Summer Palace by British and French forces in 1860.
Bergé, as the legal owner of these bronzes, will not relinquish the bronzes to China UNLESS China meets certain demands of his own.
Here’s what Mr. Berge has declared, “Moi, je suis prêt à offrir ces têtes en bronze au gouvernement chinois, tout de suite…Il leur suffit de déclarer qu’ils vont appliquer les droits de l’homme, rendre la liberté aux Tibétains et accepter le dalaï-lama sur leur territoire.”
Translation: “I am ready to offer the bronze heads to the Chinese government immediately… They simpy have to declare that they will enforce human rights, give freedom back to Tibetans and allow His Holiness The Dalai Lama entry into Chinese territory.”
If not, Pierre Bergé invites China to say, “ au revoir rat and rabbit heads!”
Just a heads up to those interested: There will be a huge strike on Thursday, January 29. Everywhere. Nearly Everyone. La Grève générale ! A general strike. I hope there will be a huge turnout. What is is about? Pretty much everything: the financial crisis, weak purchasing power, human rights, etc. It is basically the reaction of La rage du peuple! Be prepared to face some huge perturbations especially if you need to get anywhere. The syndicates are saying this will be absolutely immense, bigger than ever before.
“Two months after America’s 44th Presidential election, Obama-mania is as palpable as ever in the City of Lights. So, fittingly, there are several good options for those who want to watch live as Barack Obama is sworn in on January 20th (at around 6PM Paris time).
Democrats Abroad France is sponsoring a “President Barack Obama Inauguration Celebration,” a two-part event starting at the cocktail bar Le Queenie at 8:00 pm. Hang out here for a few hours before moving on to nearby danceclub Queen, (doors open at 10pm) to watch the inauguration live on big screen TVs and dance till the sun comes up. Le Queenie is free, but there is a 15 Euro cover charge to enter Queen after midnight. You don’t have to be a registered member of Democrats Abroad France in order to attend– but they do request that anyone who plans to come RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Le Queenie, 5 rue des Berri, 75008 Paris, Metro George V. Queen, 102 Avenue Champs Elysées, 75008 Paris, Metro George V).
Bar, exhibition space and concert venue Bizz’ Art is open from 6pm to 2am for “Obama Day–Yes, We Can!.” This is a multi-media event featuring a display and sale of Obama clothing silkscreened by designer Xuly Bet, as well as a photo exhibition, and soul music concert by several groups including Chicago musician Sean Haefeli. The inauguration will be replayed on a big screen throughout the night. (Bizz’ Art, 167 quai de Valmy, 75010, Metro Louis Blanc, http://opusclub.free.fr/).
On the casual end, a selection of Paris’ s Anglo pubs and restaurants are, as on Election Day in November, hosting coverage. The inauguration can be viewed live from 5:30pm at The Highlander Pub (8, rue Nevers, 75006, Metro Pont Neuf or Odeon) and 4:30pm at Carr’s Irish Restaurant and Bar, (1 Rue Du Mont Thabor, 75001, Metro Tuileries, parking at Place Vendome). American-style diner Breakfast in America will turn on its TVs at 4pm to catch the pre-inauguration festivities, just ahead of American restaurant Joe Allen, tuning in at 4.30 pm (BIA, 17 rue des Ecoles, 75005, Métro: Cardinal LeMoine or Jussieu. Joe Allen, 30 Rue Pierre Lescot, Paris, 75001, 014236 7013).
For those looking for something calmer (or cheaper), the American Church in Paris may be the place for you. Starting at 7:30 pm, the American Church will host a special 30-minute worship service–with a gospel choir–followed by a live viewing of the inauguration. A free reception with music, food, and drink rounds out the evening (The American Church in Paris, 65, quai d’Orsay, 75007, Metro Pont de l’Alma or Invalides). The American Library is open as well, with live coverage of the inaugural address starting at 5:30 and, at 7:30, a discussion led by political analyst Thierry Leterre on ‘The 2008 election viewed from Europe: A world ballot?’ (The American Library, 10, rue du Général Camou, 75007, Metro Ecole Militaire or Alma-Marceau).
The French capital’s most formal inauguration event is also the hardest to get into. The Mairie (Town Hall) of Paris will be hosting its Inaugural Celebration of the 44th President of the United States at the Hotel de Ville, from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Tickets are required in order to attend– and Democrats Abroad have already run out of theirs. However, there may still be some available through Republicans Abroad. Email Stuart.Haugen@RepublicansAbroad.fr as soon as possible for further information.”
Since we’re on the subject of Obama, I thought I’d mention these very cute T-shirts created by Chris Bishop, who is based in the DC Metro area. The T, called “Barack O’Unicorn” features Obama riding a white unicorn. They are only $17 plus $3 shipping in the U.S. until Obama takes office officially. After that, the price goes up. We ordered some and they took only a week to get to France. Get yours now!
Some time during the 90s, Europe passed legislation that alllowed driver’s license holders, experienced with at least 2 years of driving, to also legally drive scooters up to 125 cc. If the scooter was less than 80 cc, you didn’t need a license or training at all (So it was very common to see 14-year-olds driving these scooters on the road…). This is about to change because of the non-negligible percentage of traffic death due to scooters (scooters and motorcycles account for 10.1% of all traffic accidents and 18% of all traffic deaths.) I believe the number of scooter drivers increased particularly in the last few years because of the sudden inflation, rising gas costs and exorbitant price of getting a car driver’s license.
Strangely, a new law was passed during the wee hours of the night on Christmas eve 2008, and just a few days later, the law became in effect January 1, 2009. That’s probably one of the quickest passed laws in France, ever.
So, here’s the result: The Ministry of the Interior has enforced that car drivers (with Type B permit and 2 years of driving experience and driving a scooter 51 cc to 125cc) either get a motorbike license (Type A) or follow a specific, 3-hour scooter training, involving emergency breaking and balancing alone and with a passenger – which costs between €110 to €180 depending on the moto école.
“In addition to their more admirable accomplishments, the French are generally considered the world champions of public protesting. Whether it’s transport workers striking against tightened pension regimes, fishermen outraged by high operating costs, students battling education reform or even lawyers picketing over court closures, it seems scarcely a week goes by without some section of France’s population taking to the streets. Given that, it should come as little surprise that one boisterous French group is planning a protest rally on the evening of Dec. 31 — and demanding that the world refuse to shed 2008 to make way for a troublesome-looking New Year.
“We’re saying no to the tyranny of time, no to the merciless onslaught of the calendar, and yes to staying put in 2008,” says a man who identifies himself as Marie-Gabriel, a militant member of the Fonacon group, which is organizing its fourth annual anti–New Year protest under the slogan “2009 Stays In Its Shell.” “Last year we warned a mocking world that 2008 would be horrible compared to 2007, and we were right. This time everyone acknowledges 2009 will be terrible, so now is the moment to unite together and refuse this new, rotten year!”
As seriously bleak as 2009 is expected to be, a call to mount barricades and bar the New Year’s arrival sounds like a gag even in strike-happy France. That’s because Fonacon’s protest is decidedly…”continue reading