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De Gaulle: 40 Years On, France still Widowed

De Gaulle: 40 Years On, France still Widowed

Stunned crowds on the streets of Paris that cold November day 40 years ago, watched in dismay and disbelief while TV screens in local cafes relayed the sombre words: “General De Gaulle is dead, France is a widow”. The words as spoken by his successor Georges Pompidou, in a voice heavy with grief, were: “Le général de Gaulle est mort. La France […]

Tea Time, Will France Have a Party?

Tea Time, Will France Have a Party?

With President Obama hobbled by his country’s Tea Party revolt, are there any signs of equivalent rage in Europe? Might voter anger at fiscal irresponsibility, cross the Atlantic to shores where 24 million Europeans are out of work, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and the UK are garbed in austerity hairshirts and bankers are once more pocketing […]

Hungry? Try this Super Marmite

Hungry? Try this Super Marmite

Super Marmite — that’s as in French for cooking pot not the ubiquitous spread — is the latest techno French food fad to hit Paris. This mobile phone app-driven dream is for hungry, time-starved and IT savvy young Parisians who would prefer their neighbour’s wonderful cooking to their own assuredly less able efforts. The idea, […]

From the Archive: Euro Crisis – Avoiding the Collapse, Salvation In the Hands of Germany?

From the Archive: Euro Crisis – Avoiding the Collapse, Salvation In the Hands of Germany?

Salvation for the Eurozone lies, or not, in the hands of Germany, the EU paymaster. Indeed some political commentators believe it is Germany’s telephone that Washington calls when it wants to talk to “Europe”, though for historic reasons, Berlin is most reluctant to acknowledge any such role.   Note the reprint below is dated February […]

CittaSlow: Hail Segonzac’s Snail

CittaSlow: Hail Segonzac’s Snail

Go slow, made a lifestyle virtue by Italians, has arrived in France where Segonzac, pop 2200, is first in the country to gain a CittaSlow (say “CHITTA-Slow”) snail award, a close cousin to Italy’s Slow Food crusade. Segonzac, in the cognac heartlands (Charente region, 16130), now wears the burlesque jibe of Rabelais’s Pantagruel as a […]

From the Archives: Eric Cantona Calls for an Organised Bank Run

From the Archives: Eric Cantona Calls for an Organised Bank Run

French football star and actor Éric Cantona is one of the more vociferous talking heads of a movement known “The Organised Bank Run”.  As shown in this subtitled YouTube movie, those supporting this protest are urging the French to withdraw all they can from their accounts via bank ATMs on December 7th. Here is Cantona, […]

From the Archive: Will Europe Move Toward a Single Tax System

From the Archive:  Will Europe Move Toward a Single Tax System

As France and Germany move closer to aligning tax policy how long before the rest of the EU follows suit? According to Les Echos, emphasising President Nicolas Sarkozy’s call for “fiscal convergence”, Germany and France have taken the first steps to coordinating their tax policies.  The two Finance Ministers pictured after the historic Franco-German call for […]

Is the French Fashion World Racist?

Is the French Fashion World Racist?

Is racism really a blot on the copybook of the French fashion world? This is certainly the view of some 2,573 supporters of a Boycott Guerlain Facebook page, who are professing themselves to be fragrantly “angry and offended” at an unpleasant odeur created by the perfumer. This Facebook page, set up by “toutes les organisations […]

Escargot and the Price of Pension Unrest

Escargot and the Price of Pension Unrest

With escargot at the top of the menu it has been an expensive meal of unrest for the French since the end of summer — 3.2 billion euros lost so far to the economy and rising. Two days after the senate overcame a socialist-led filibuster and approved a widely-contested pension reform bill, Finance Minister Christine […]

Grab a Bottle of ‘Vin de Merde’ – it’s a Sellout

Grab a Bottle of ‘Vin de Merde’ –  it’s a Sellout

They label it “Crap Wine” and litter its packaging with flies but this year the expensive Languedoc Cuvée will sell 100,000 bottles – nothing cr…ppy about that. Jean-Marc Speziale the 45-year old Herault restaurant owner behind the “Le Vin de Merde” brand — fly-blown catch line “the worst hides the best” — says: “I know […]

Viva Green Bardot for President of France

Viva Green Bardot for President of France

French Greens are agog at the news that 60s sex symbol Brigitte Bardot might run as their candidate — on an anti-halal ticket — against President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 election. The Bardot Belle, now a long-standing and feisty activist in all matters animal, has reportedly written to the incumbent president saying she may […]

Radio France with an Accent Anglais?

Radio France with an Accent Anglais?

In just a few short weeks a fluently French-speaking Brit with an unmistakeable accent, has provoked uproar among an elite Radio France audience who prefer the erudite to the trivial. Since the rentrée in September France Musique’s Musique Matin flagship slot has been presented by Alex Taylor, a 52-year-old polyglot, raised in Cornwall, and now […]

Seen elsewhere…..

Seen elsewhere…..

Merkel says German multicultural society has failed The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel says: “lmmigrants should learn to speak German”. Attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany have “utterly failed”, Chancellor Angela Merkel says. She said the so-called “multikulti” concept – where people would “live side-by-side” happily – did not work, and immigrants needed to […]

Now Law – Burqa Ban Passes Last Hurdle

Now Law – Burqa Ban Passes Last Hurdle

After six months of debate France’s highest legal authority the Conseil Constitutionnel has cleared the way for the promulgation of legislation that “prohibits the concealment of the face in the public space”, a measure targeting non-European forms of dress such as burqas and niqabs. However the Council said the measure may not apply to public […]

You Have 177,000 Years to Pay, Mr Kerviel

You Have 177,000 Years to Pay, Mr Kerviel

The Paris court order for former Société Générale trader Jérôme Kerviel to pay the largest ever damages awarded against an individual in French judicial history, has sharply divided public opinion. Kerviel who brought the bank close to collapse when it was revealed that he had lost 4.9 billion euros in illegal betting on financial markets, […]

A Post Scriptum to an Eco-fascist blog

A Post Scriptum to an Eco-fascist blog

When a top American physicist pens a resignation from his professional body in the terms used by Harold Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics at University of California, Santa Barbara, it is akin to Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door. No wonder the good people of Languedoc are up in arms […]

Brava: France’s Grand Opera Season is Here

Brava: France’s Grand Opera Season is Here

Opera fans in France should keep eyes firmly on opera houses around the country where the tradition of lyric arts remains strong, impressive and currently embracing cinema and new technologies to expand reach and influence France is a generous host to Bel Canto and the magnificence of opulent Opera For while the capital Paris is naturally the most richly endowed, good […]

Paris Welcomes the Return of the Sweatshop – the Art of the Sewing Recycle

Paris Welcomes the Return of the Sweatshop – the Art of the Sewing Recycle

So farewell then Cybercafé and hello Singercafé, at least that’s what they’re saying in the capital’s 10th arrondissement after France’s Vogue magazine, no less, praised the initiative of two Paris residents for bringing back the sweatshop. The worktop in the Couture Café Except … its not a sweatshop, despite what its url says, it’s a very 21st […]

Geert Wilders’ Free Speech Trial Starts

Geert Wilders’ Free Speech Trial Starts

As we blogged here way back in April 2010 Geert Wilders, the conservative Dutch “Party for Freedom” Member of Parliament is now on trial in a Western democracy, for freely expressing his opinions. This space is not the place to offer blow-by-blow coverage — the news agencies and the Internet will certainly do that. However […]

Aluminium Scare, is it Poisoning Vaccines?

Aluminium Scare, is it Poisoning Vaccines?

Concerns about human aluminium poisoning through food and medicine additives, a controversy that dates back more than 40 years, have been reignited by a Paris medical research team from the INSERM medical institute, worried about aluminium salts in vaccines. A book Quand l’aluminium nous empoisonne, (When aluminium poisons us) by French journalist Virginie Belle and […]

Eco-Fascists and a YouTube shocker

Eco-Fascists and a YouTube shocker

Is this eco-helpfulness or just plain eco-fascism? Considerable outrage has greeted the latest efforts by the green movement to reanimate their planetary-disaster-awaits message after the ClimateGate scandal earlier in the year seriously eroded unfounded “science is settled” arguments. Alarmed climate change sceptics on the Internet have highlighted the “dangerous authoritarianism” reflected in the highly controversial […]

Moonlighting Thieves Strip Vines Overnight

Moonlighting Thieves Strip Vines Overnight

Police have photographed and sampled the mud tyre tracks left by mechanical grape harvesters in a bid to trace those responsible for spiriting away 30 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes harvested from a Hérault wine farmer’s vineyard on the night of a recent full moon. Roland Cavaillé a wine grower in Villeneuve-lès-Béziers told Le Parisien […]

Opera buff but stuck in the sticks?

If you’re an Opera buff, out in the sticks but happily hooked into the Internet, thanks to France’s enlightened nationwide roll-out of high speed broadband service, you’re in luck. Just plug an Internet radio into your router (what France Telecom brands its LiveBox) and you can listen all day long. The programme supply is vast […]

The Battle of the Limes of Yonne

The Battle of the Limes of Yonne

In the Yonne département (Burgundy region, 89), an epic three year battle pitting a scarabée of protected habitat against officialdom, ecologists, a 300-year-old avenue of tottering limes, and the exasperated châtelaine of the Tanlay heritage site, has ended in victory for… a species of hermit beetle that may not actually be there. The tale caused […]

Manga Makes Château Le Puy a Bestseller

Manga Makes Château Le Puy a Bestseller

Bordeaux winemaker Jean-Pierre Amoreau, 72 , the unassuming owner of Château Le Puy, an estate run by his family for 400 years, has become a manga hero and a celebrity in Japan despite himself. Still heading the business at the family’s 25 hectare vineyard, with its Côtes de Francs appellation, he has, without warning found […]

Ban on night-time shopping divides France

Ban on night-time shopping divides France

French cosmetics maker Sephora said Tuesday it would appeal a court order to close its flagship Paris store by 9 pm after it became the latest casualty of a much-contested law banning late-night work. In a case that has reignited debate over French…

Satellite Tracks Toulouse Dog Poop

Satellite Tracks Toulouse Dog Poop

You thought GPS was for mis-guiding you down dusty byways to the wrong gite in rural France, well think again. In Toulouse GPS is for tracking unscooped dog poop – all 455,000 shovels full! Pierre Cohen, the Socialist mayor of Toulouse – leader of high-tech cities in France – has unveiled his latest weapon for […]

Languedoc Opposes 180 Wind Turbines

Languedoc Opposes 180 Wind Turbines

The State and EDF-Energies Nouvelles (a subsidiary of the national energy utility) want to plant 180 wind turbines in the sea between Cap d’Agde and Gruissan off the Languedoc-Roussillon coast and the locals are up in arms. Why you may ask is France — world leader in nuclear energy — so keen on hugely expensive […]

Might France be Right on the Roma?

Might France be Right on the Roma?

“Sarkoleon Bonapartheid” is what his detractors now call the French president, even though in a recent poll, 69% of those asked, support his policy of expelling illegal immigrants who just happen to be Roma gipsies. Unpleasant and outrageous insults are flying around the chancelleries of Europe, the European bien pensant are furious, President Sarkozy and […]

An Invitation to Doodle While You Lunch

An Invitation to Doodle While You Lunch

Peckish and a doodlebug? Well here’s just the restaurant for you – Le Jardin de Naris is the oldest and most bohemian establishment in the small port town of Marseillan (34340 – Herault, Languedoc Rousillion).  “A customer “doodle” at the Jardin de Naris Spilling artistically out onto 24 Bvd Pasteur, the restaurant has been run […]

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