A fuel tank loaded with E85
Please pay attention when visiting French fuel stations. Apart from gasoil and regular unleaded fuel like Euro 95, more and more fuel station will sell E85. The French minister of industry François Loos will inaugurate tomorrow the first car that drinks E85, thus legalizing this tax free fuel. Most of the fuels ingredients is bio ethanol.
According to L'Express, the only sad thing is the first car is a Ford. While the American car builder already produces cars that make use of E85 for eleven years, no French car producer does. The difficult thing is to build a flex fuel engine, that can use both regular fuel and E85. Renault hopes to do so by the end of this year.
Mister Loos hopes France still can get Europes leading party in the use of E85.
Posted by Peter at 07:20 AM [2 reactions]
France is threatened again by animals from Italy. After the the wolves, the american grey squirrel may invade France. Based on a report by the universities of Torino and Newcastle The Euopean Squirrel Initiative (ESI) claims within the century millions of grey squirrels will live in France. The ESI has one advice: exterminate the Italian populations before it's too late.
Now wait before you call Animal Protection. From own experience in the States, I know these squirrels love to settle in your tent. A ranger even told me she had to get them out of her laundry machine regularly. Even worse: these rude yankee-squirrels will win the competition with our shy, red European squirrel. This species will vanish. Even more worse: the grey squirrel will eat all our cereal harvests.
We've been warned.
Posted by Peter at 07:19 AM [2 reactions]
Third life for an ancient road
Of course, you may visit the Grotte (cave) des Echelles in the Chartreuse area by car. However, that would be foolish. You would miss the most gorgeous part of the Voie (trail) Sarde, an ancient road from Lyon to Chambery. Hee, at the border of the Isère county and the former kingdom Savoie, starting at the old bridge of Saint Martin, you hike into an impressive ravine.
This road, already used by the Romans, was given a second life by King Charles Emmanuel II of Savoie, who paved the trail. A monument of bizarre dimensions still honours him.
Early in the 19the century the road lost its importance when they built a tunnel nearby. Nowadays, hikers give the Voie Sarde a third life.
Posted by Peter at 07:11 AM [What do you think?]
If the glamour of the Loire is getting to much
Along the Loire river are so many glamourous palaces, it might get to much. When you really get tired of all the 'grandeur', make a stop at Decize. No glamour here, not even a glossy website. The tourist office does have a site thanks to the local computing club, that put some some stuff on the web. However, the site does make it clear Decize is just a nice town to stroll around. City walls, nice towers, a lovely gate and an abby with arcades.
and of course, there's a church with the crypte of Saint Arï¿½. Arï¿½ was the bisshop of Nevers way back in the sixt century. Just before he died, he told the people they should lay his body on a boat on the Loire and bury him where the boat would strand. Amazingly, the boat went upstream for 35 kilometers to strand in Decize.
Posted by Peter at 07:19 AM [What do you think?]
No wife, no home, no job, still a prince
More then half a year after the riots in the suburbs of paris, most rioters have spend some time in jail. Some of them spoke to Le Monde. The result wasn't exactly a joyfull story. Take Belkacem N. (20) for exemple, saying: ,,I've got no wife, no home, no job, no drivers license. that means i've got no future. Still the younger ones take me for a prince, just because i've got mony.''
Posted by Peter at 07:38 AM [2 reactions]
Yet another museum in Paris
Like they didn't have enough museums in Paris already. On june 23, next to the Eiffel Tower the Musée du Quai Branly will open for public. The French have build 5 years to construct 10.000 square meters of exposition space for, among other things, a permanent collection with 3.500 objects. Among them a 5.600 kilogram stone from Senegal, used by astrologists.
The museum is dedicated to non-European cultures. Most important is the african collection, but other parts of the world will not be forgotten.
As from the opening, the museum will have no less than three temporary exhibitions at the same time. They start with a challenging idea: how do the four worlds look at the human body? Further more, they take a look into the everyday life in a Vietnamese village, about 60 years ago. To end with, they show a fine collection of small statues of gazelles, made by three tribes in the African country of Mali.
Posted by Peter at 07:43 AM [What do you think?]
New trail from Biarritz to Spain
the French finally completed a coastal trail from Bidart near Biarritz to Spain.
In Bidart, women and men are seperated in church. It is said this seperation (men upstairs)has a remarkable good effect on the quality of singing. In Saint-Jean de Luz, the hiker will notice all houses at the coast are to be reached by stairs to the first floor. This is a result of the fight against the sea the people of Saint-Jean had for ages.
Two warnings. One: it's best to do this hike at low tide. Two: Some parts of the trail are forbidden for dogs.
Foto: haven van Saint-Jean de Luz. © CRTA/J-J. Brochard
Posted by Peter at 07:23 AM [What do you think?]
Corsica without cars
Corsica will be free of cars whitin days. Caused by a conflict between newspaper boys of the local newspaper Corse matin and their boss, the Corsicans not only miss their newspaper for over a month now. Strikers also have blocked the two fuel depots on the island. Now, nearly every fuel station has run out of fuel.
Posted by Peter at 07:12 AM [What do you think?]
Everything for the kingdom
Looking for the memories to disappaered religious groups inthe south of France, most people talk about the Cathars who were killed by order of Rome. Much less known is the history of the Templars, who also lived in the Aveyron province between 1100 and 1300. These knight-monks highest purpose was the kingdom of Jerusalem, that was necessary to protect the grave of Jesus. By farming, they earned lots of money for the kingdom. Meanwhile, they build walls around their cities to protect themselves. In some cases, like in Viala, they only build a huge tower to hide in. However, they got richer and richer, sending less and less money to the kingdom. Other people got so jealous, Rome finally decided to dismantle the Templars.
The Conservatoire Larzac not only does scientific research after the Templars in Aveyron, it also made a touristic tour along the remaining cities and fortifications of the Templars. Some of them are amazingly well conserved. Next summer, there will again be medieval games in this historical scene.
Posted by Peter at 07:38 AM [What do you think?]
Sunday in France: don't pray, don't work
For ages, ora et labora (pray and work) was the common peoples device Not anymore in rance, where the device has changed in non orêre, non laborêre: don't pray, don't work.
France 2 reports only to 25 percent of the French sundays do have a religious meaning no more than six percent prays on sundays.
Meanwhile, nearly two third says working sundays is not a good idea. Most French use sundays to visit family and friends.
Posted by Peter at 07:03 AM [What do you think?]
Mair condemned for setting fire
Under the head Some camping people are more welcome than others we already made notice of the mair of Ensisheim (Vosges), who gave order to burn down a gypsy camp. He had to appear in court.
He defended himself in vain, saying he had no other way to end unsafe situations in the camp. According to L'Express the mair was condemned yesterday to six months jail, but released on probation. Further more, he has to pay a fine of 5.000 euro.
Posted by Peter at 07:04 AM [What do you think?]
Cheap trip to Marseille
Those longing for a cheap trip to Marseille will have to wait a bit. Ryan Air announced opening direct connections with the ancient harbour city from London Stansted, starting november 8th. Glasgow and Dublin are already connected by Ryan Air. Air fares will be from one euro, but taxes, fees and charges are not included. To give an idea: For UK citizens, Rian Air also sells tickets for flights from Eindhoven Holland to Marseilleat one euro a ticket. In Holland, the same ticket goes for 27.70 euro, tax included.
Posted by Peter at 07:48 AM [2 reactions]
Pregnent? Don't drink alcohol
Do you ever look at the tiny images on cans and bottles, sggeting you should throw empty ones in a basket? French government does expect pregnent women to, and look at the small images next also. As of next summer, beer breweries, wine traders, destilleries and so on will be obliged to place a new picture, warning pregnent women that alcohol is really bad for their babies.
Do I hear anyone shouting everybody knows this in the year of God 2006? Not so. According to the Nouvel Observateur the government makes this rules after being sued by tghree mothers of handicapped children. They claim the government should have made more efforts to warn them for the dangers of alcohol.
Posted by Peter at 07:31 AM [3 reactions]
The problem with collections
You start by not throwing away stuff, just because it's nice or might be handy someday. Before you know, you've got a collection. Next step: you don't even know what is in your collection.
It's like this with all the links on this website. Good thing they're stored in a database now. So, finally I know how many unique links I have now: 1420. Sorry, 1421 now.
Not all of these links are available in English right now, but I'm working on it (like I plan to translate all of my site into English. Actually, I'm translating the section with links to national French sites. The first part can be visited already.
By the way, I woudn't be a real collector if I didn't invite you to send more links about France.
Posted by Peter at 07:19 AM [What do you think?]
Citizens, make art!
Anybody who thinks the great days of contemporary French should visit the Grand Palais in Paris before June 26th. Yesterday, prime minister De Villepin opened an exhibition “Aux arts, citoyens” (Citizens, make art) in this recently renewed museum.
He made this exposition almost with his own hands. L'Express explains: French contemporary art is, from an international point of view, in low esteem for more than a decade now. At the last Biënnale of Venice, they allowed only one French artist. Time for a change. This explains the name of the exhibition, a rather predictable variation on the revolutionary slogan “aux armes, citoyens” (citizens, get your weapons).
While De Villepin means it so well, the Grand Palais national museum obviously doesn’t agree with the prime minister. It doesn’t even mention the exhibition on the museum web site...
Posted by Peter at 07:37 AM [What do you think?]
Washing without rubbing
Ask for Persil at the vegetables department of such a huge supermarket and they will show you the parsley. Eh, yes, persil is the French word for parsley, so don't be offended.
So, is you're looking for Persil, you must tell it's meant for laundering: pour le linge. The French do know the detergent very well. After all, it's a French invention. Jules Rionchetti invented it exactly 100 years ago. He combined perborate and silicate and took the first letters of both words to give it a name. Thus, for the first time in world history women were able to wash without rubbing clothes.
Unfortunately, a year later a German by the name of Henkel made the same invention en gave it the same name. He got the right to use the name in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The Persil that is sold in France and the United Kingdom is made by the Anglo-Dutch Unilever company. It's different from the Persil sold elsewhere.
Posted by Peter at 07:13 AM [4 reactions]
Slush money: France looses its prime minister
If prime ministers are like football managers, French prime minister De Villepin is going to be fired soon. According to Le Monde, rumours about the prime minister being sacked were so strong president Chirac was forced to tell the the press he had all confidence in De Villepin. It is said the porime minister will be replaced by his most important opponent, interior minister Sarkozy.
De Villepin is under fire in the Clearstream affaire, in which lots of high placed French were suspected of having slush money at the Clearstream bank in Luxembourg. Among them: Sarkozy. However, the list of people with suspect bank accounts turned out to be false.
Now, the question is not only who made the list. Everybody wants to know what role De Villepin played. Fact is that he personally gave an order to released an arrested man from Libanon who was involved in the Cleartream-case too. Another fact: Sarkozy and De Villepin are not just political opponents; they drink each others blood.
Posted by Peter at 07:25 AM [1 reaction]
New page: how about living in France
This site is about holidays in France. However, some people like holidays in France that much, they want to live over there. Good idea!
Now, there are some problems to be solved. I made a small introduction to help these people out.
Posted by Peter at 11:21 PM [What do you think?]
Fuel price comparers claim too much
In france, even fuel price comparers do compete. However, some of them don't play the game really fair. Carburant Malin claims to have 13.443 fuel stations in its database. Opponent Zagaz says to have 100 stations more. Now, these claims may be true, but they don't have the prices of most of the stations. In these cases, they only have adresses. At least, sagast tells honostly they only have prices of about 2000 petrol stations. Number three, Carbeo, doesn't give any numbers at all. This isn't as open as might be aspected from a price comparer.
However, main thing is we are able to save money while driving on French roads. So, who cares?
Posted by Peter at 07:45 AM [What do you think?]
Oops, that was too fast
It happened so fast, we didn't even notice, however, in Les Arcs they're so proud we still want to mention: at the end of the ski season on april 20th, Italian Simone Origone got a world record on speed skiing. He fell down with 251 kilometers per hour.
Four those who think sports for disabled aren't for real: the same day, also in Les Arcs, one-legged Mikael Milton came downhill with 213 kilometers per hour. That was a little bit faster then two-legged people on monoskis.
Posted by Peter at 07:53 AM [What do you think?]
The ultimate Corsican experience
Discovering Corsica by car is an exciting event. This sunbathed island is loaded with nature and history. However, the ultimate Corsican experience is a 125-Miles hike: the Grande Randonnee 20 or GR20.
You walk nearly coast to coast from Calinzana to Conca, nearly always through a mountainous nature reserve. Be sure to bring enough memory cards for your camera, because like Joost de Wall (who made the picture that goes with this message) you will hardly be able to stop shooting pictures.
Especially in the hot summer season it’s essential to have your tent with you. Mountain cabins are scarce and crowded. Camping in the wild is forbidden, but you may camp next to the cabins. On several sections, you must have enough food and water for several days. Take good care of your food supplies. Wild pigs are everywhere to share dinner with you.
Posted by Peter at 07:02 AM [2 reactions]
Please, I'm a lady too...
In france, it's still normal to adress an unmarried woman by the word mademoiselle (miss). Not for long anymore, if we support a business woman only known by the name Mathilde. Everybody calls her madame, until they find out she's noty married. Now, she thinks it's nobodys concern if she's married or not. Even worse, being a miss she has to fill out her 'young girls name' in official forms.
She could solve her problem by having a baby, because unmarried mothers are called madame... However, that's not really a good reason to give birth to a new human being.
So, she choose to petition on the internet. The word mademoiselle must be banned. If necessary, she will fight at the European Parliament.
Posted by Peter at 07:50 AM [2 reactions]