column is intended to advise you about cultural events, news and happenings
or France-related events taking place in the United States
now and the publication of our next issue.
In the news:
[Read more about these trees in our Notes on Narbonne feature on page five.]
in France means that rules will be enforced and fine will be levied as
foreign-registered vehicles will no longer be immune from speeding fines
and other illegal motoring offenses. This begins in 2013, but EU
countries will now share traffic infractions with all the other countries,
meaning that collecting fines will be pursued. Fines will be handed out
for not wearing seat belts, drunk driving, speeding, under the influence
of drugs, illegally using the emergency lane, and much more
were increased from €11 to €17, but because of a loophole in
the law, fines may be canceled this summer because the forms used are out
of date, and if the traffic warden doesn't make a correction and sign it,
the ticket is invalid.
begin budget routes from France's regional airports. 54 routes in
all will be added to transport travelers to other French regional airports
or to airports in other European nations starting from €50 one way.
métro will be expanded with a 32 billion euro high-speed automatic
métro system around the city's suburbs with planned completion by
2018. The supermétro is part of the bigger 'Grand Paris' initiative
to improve connections between industrial and residential centers of the
Ile de France. Orly Airport will become part of the métro
system for the first time, and the new circular line will link the suburbs,
as well as a link between Orly and Versailles in 2015. A total of
200 kilometers of new tracks will be built serving 72 stations.
launch its river-bus network along the Seine in 2013 and will connect with
the rest of the city's public transport system. Boats will run from
Suresnes in the west to Maisons-Alfort in the east crossing the center
of the capital with 30 stop-off points.
are traveling less this year. A survey shows that 45% of the French
will not take a vacation this summer but will be staying near home visiting
friends nearby, working on do-it-yourself projects or gardening.
The reason is that many cannot afford to travel and others prefer to save
their money for other things.
air in the Dordogne may be one outcome of an experiment by French farmers
who are using duck fat to fuel their tractors. It is collected from
restaurants, heated to 120 degrees Celsius to eliminate the water, and
then alcohol and potassium hydroxide are added. After decanting,
it becomes biodiesel. 20,000 liters have been produced in the past
consumer protection watchdog, DGCCRF, is cracking down on mislabeled food
products, concentrating on those will false health claims. Up to €375,000
in fines will be levied for misleading advertising if claims are made that
cannot be substantiated. This new European directive will also ensure
clearer labeling of nutritional information on packaging.
threatens legal action against 14 towns and cities in France for particle
emissions in their air that were above the legal EU limit. These
fine particles from industrial emissions, household heating and car fumes
cause breathing problems.
France want an increase in their standard consultation fee from €23
to €25. The two unions representing these doctors say that the
increase will encourage young doctors to become GPs again, and they are
also calling for GPs to receive up to a €15,000 annual bonus for good
algae washing up on the shores of Brittany recently was blamed for the
death of many wild boars, a problem the government blamed on intense pig
farming in the region, resulting in runoff into coastal waters. The
fumes from the rotting seaweed are toxic, so many beaches were closed.
Now, Normandy's beaches between Utah and Omaha on the Calvados coast are
experiencing growing quantities of seaweed, about 60% of which is green
algae. The community has cleaned up about 5,000 tons this year, believed
to have been caused by waste from stables that makes its way into the water.
Farmers are being urged to drastically decrease their use of pesticides
which is another cause of the growth of the algae.
will be around a little longer - France's pre-internet device will be around
ten more months due to popular demand - until June of 2012. France
Telecom said this would allow businesses to migrate any remaining Minitel
service and account files to the Web. Since 1982 the Minitel permitted
the French to do instant messaging, gaming, online news, electronic bill
paying and more. It still had 2 million users in 2010 and brings
in very good revenue to the phone giant.
in the higher brackets will be paying a new tax come the end of summer.
The government is considering a 1% or 2% increase for some 30,000 wealthy
French residents whose net income exceeds one million euros. Other
tax breaks have been eliminated recently, so the French will be seeing
higher taxes very soon.
A disease is
overtaking the beautiful platane trees along the Canal du Midi in
France's southwest. This apparently unstoppable fungal disease has
resulted in cutting down the trees - something seen as a national tragedy.
Local politicians are concerned that the removal of the trees will put
the canal's UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in jeopardy. French
authorities are hoping to be able to quickly replace the trees with young
ones to recreate the ambiance along this romantic waterway. The diseased
trees must be felled and burned along with the healthy ones beside them
for a total of 1000 trees lost due to this fungus. The disease is
thought to have arrived from contaminated wooden ammunition boxes of American
GIs in World War II. Sadly, the plan is to fell 4000 more trees next
year. The new trees will be from a more disease-resistant strain,
but it is estimated that it will take up to 40 years to replant the 200
kilometers of lovely trees.
will add the Cévennes mountain range, the huge natural park in the
south of France, and the Grands Causses limestone plateau in the Massif
Central to their list of World Heritage sites. They are being so
honored because of their natural beauty and for the efforts of the region's
shepherds who helped shape the landscape over the centuries. This
area covers some 3000 square kilometers of land shared by the Gard, Hérault,
Aveyron and Lozère départements.
and protected Cevennes
Up and Dressing Down in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Costume in Art
now through August 25 at Les Enluminures, Le Louvre des Antiquaires,
2 Place du Palais-Royal, Paris.
France are doing quite well, and reports in late July show that Renault's
first-half net profit was up 56% to 1.2 billion euros, despite losses in
the Japan earthquake. Danone's first-half net profits were up 2.7%
to 861 million euros. In recent days, however, the banking sector
is suffering do to the sovereign debt crisis in other European countries.
buying French real estate? There are many courthouses up for sale since
France reset its judicial boundaries for 200 courts. Desperate to sell,
many communes are open to offers, but keep in mind that renovating these
buildings might be costly and, if they are 'listed' historical buildings,
many restrictions to renovations will apply.
real estate, the famous Saint Nicolas Russian Cathedral in Nice, France,
now belongs to Russia! After the death of the last czar, Orthodox
church members took over the cathedral and more recently they rejected
ownership claims from the new Russian government. However, a judge
in the Aix-en-Provence appeals court ruled in favor of the Russian government,
giving it ownership of the cathedral, its land and the artwork inside.
It is a classified historic monument in France and is the largest Russian
cathedral outside of Russia. The congregation is not finished yet;
they say they will take the matter to a higher court claiming that Czar
Nicolas built the cathedral with his own money and not that of the imperial
treasury. We shall see what transpires next!
20th Anniversary Show at Les Enluminures, will take place in the
Paris gallery (opposite the Louvre) from September 6 to November 27.
A catalog and more information can be found at http://www.lesenluminures.com.
Festival in France begins September
23 with events throughout the country and online. Here is a sampling:
de la Gastronomie is a new national event launched by Secretary
of State for Tourism, Frédéric Lefebvre. Aimed to celebrate
French cuisine, the festival follows UNESCO's addition of the French gastronomic
meal to their prestigious list of World Intangible Heritages, which honors
the conviviality surrounding traditional French meals. For the festival's
first year, local cuisine, or terroir, will be celebrated within
the different regions of France, boasting food that is unique to each own
area. Details at (French only) http://www.fete-gastronomie.fr/fr.
19 to 25, France is hosting its own version of Restaurant Week, offering
special two-for-one deals at participating restaurants all around the country.
For the second year, celebrated chef Alain Ducasse is in charge of this
food-centric event called Tous au Restaurant. All different types
of restaurants, from everyday bistros to Michelin-starred destinations,
will partake in this event around France. In these participating locations,
diners can take advantage of enjoying two prix-fixe meals (including an
appetizer, main course and dessert) for the price of one. Click here
to search for a restaurant.
Soup from the
Markets of France - Each of the 1,000 markets of France will offer
a soup that is prepared with local ingredients. Anyone stopping by a participating
market can try the soup for free, and take home an exclusive mug designed
with the Fête de la Gastronomie logo.
A Special Bread
at Boulangeries-Patisseries - Many of the boulangeries-patisseries
all over France will serve a special bread in honor of the fête.
& Arts at the Vineyard . . .The Wine Chateaux & Monuments,
an association of exceptional vineyards and estates throughout France,
will host a special cultural event celebrating French gastronomy paired
with the arts. Artists will create a variety of works, from sculptures
to paintings, representing the chefs who cook with local produce. The selected
works will be showcased online until September 23, 2012.
and in Paris Tastings
in the Paris Airports - Tasting kiosks will be placed at the main arrival
terminals in Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly airports that will treat travelers
to some of the local cuisine of France. In the regions look for Fête
de La Gastronomie in Valence (Rhône-Alpes) restaurants
will offer special menus that utilize local ingredients, pastry chefs will
sell gourmet desserts at reduced prices, and a competition will be hosted
to see who can make the best version of the local specialty le Suisse.
A special dish called en terre drômoise will be offered at
restaurants with local wine and cheese.
Festival in Roanne (Rhône-Alpes) where the city of Roanne is
hosting a selection of events including an evening of tastings, a theatrical
performance, cooking workshops, a book fair and more.
Picnic in Burgundy
the tourism office of Burgundy is hosting unique picnics from September
23 through 25 where they will serve local specialties. The locations are
still being determined, but may be in a vineyard, outside a historic monument
or by a port.
Contest - The first culinary social network, cuisineaz.com,
is hosting a contest for the best recipe. Prizes include cooking classes,
utensils, gourmet baskets, aprons, and more.
Musée Granet will host L'Exemple de Cézanne
through October 2, an exhibit of the acquisitions from French art collector
Jean Planque. Works by Cézanne, Degas, Renoir, Monet, Van
Gogh, Gauguin and 20th century paints such as Picasso, Braque, Dufy, Léger
and Klee- some 150 to 300 works - will be on display.
Sèvres Cité de la Céramique presents
en Oeuvre: Le quotidian et l'exceptionnel sous l'oeil du design illustrating
the creation of ceramics including turning, molding, modeling, and painting.
Through September 26. Location and detailed information at http://www.sevresciteceramique.fr.
In the US
& Canada . . .
David Downie's book Paris,
which we reviewed in our Spring issue (and, we were the first publication
to review it!) has gone into its 4th printing at Random House in New York
- in just 3 months! The world now knows about it, and we are so happy
to have played a small part. Congratulations, David, on an indispensable
guide to some of the most interesting Parisian neighborhoods and for your
great success! Click here
to order your copy from Amazon.com.
Rodin and America: Influence and Adaptation 1876-1936 is the
exhibit from October 5, 2011 to January 1, 2012 at Stanford University's
Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts. The exhibit focuses
on Rodin's influence on American artists and is comprised of 132 works.
Admission is free. For more information: http://www.museum.stanford.edu
or telephone 1.650.723.4177.
New York's Morgan Library and Museum will present Illuminating Fashion:
Dress and Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands through September
4. More information at http://www.themorgan.org.
Pissarro's People is running through October 2 at the Sterling and
Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. About
100 paintings and other work on paper spanning the artist's career will
be on exhibit. Details from
The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde
is an exhibit of the collection of Gertrude Stein and her family now in
private and public collections around the world. This show brings
together 200 masterworks once owned by these patrons of the arts, including
family photos, letters and other archived materials. Until September
6 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. For more information
Montreal, Canada's Museum of Fine Arts will host an exhibit entitled
Fashion World of Jean-Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
the 35th anniversary of his first prêt-a-porter collection.
Some 120 outfits, many never before exhibited, will be on display through
October 2 at the museum. Details at http://www.mbam.qc.ca.
Chanel: Designs for the Modern Woman is an exhibit of suits,
evening wear and accessories from the 1920s until today. Coco Chanel
died in 1971, but her house of fashion has continued to the present time
under the direction of Karl Lagerfeld. Through December 31 at the
Mint Museum Randolph, Charlotte, North Carolina. Information at http://www.mintmuseum.org.
by Barbara Beaumont
those who think that the United States has a good healthcare system, I'll
be the one to break that bubble. Michael Moore was right: you just
can't beat the French system!
say that because I lived in the south of France for seventeen years and
was able to benefit from it. The basic difference between the French
system and that of the US is that in France (and pretty much everywhere
else in Europe) healthcare is NOT for profit. They feel that everyone has
the right to affordable care, and that is why the government controls the
cost of health care. Everyone who works pays into the system (at
nowhere near the US cost) so everyone shares in the expense. Obviously,
this is not the case here.
examples: in France a visit to my GP cost me €7 and to a specialist,
€12. I had rotator cuff surgery and the total cost (two nights
in the hospital, anesthesia and a surgeon who was allowed to charge above
the norm because he was renowned) was €300. I have heard many
misconceptions about the French system, such as the idea that you can't
choose your own doctor (not true) or that you have to wait a long time
to see a doctor (also not true).
back in the United States for a year now, and I think the thing that I
miss most is the French healthcare system. I was forced to wait thirteen
months here before I could have Part B of Medicare, which basically left
me without insurance. No one in France is without health care,
even if they don't work. What a civilized idea! Just one more
reason to love France . . .
operated Jaunts in Provence, a full-service company that
arranged hotel and
airport or TGV pickup, and other services for a relaxing and enjoyable
stay in Provence.
moved back to the United States and is living in southern California
- a place
with a climate similar to Provence. She has contributed articles
to FRANCE On Your Own
in the past,
and we hope she will continue to do so in the future.
[After a bit
of research into whether this topic was one word or two,
that the spelling of 'health care' as two words relates to the care of
as one word is the system providing that care. - Editor]