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All posts from France

La dynamique fran?aise

Bordeaux, FR (View on map)
Posted 25 Nov 2007:

Nine down, eighteen more to go! I exchanged Spain for France this morning and will spend the next 15 days or so in the country of frog legs and smelly cheeses. I am happy to arrive just after a wave of strikes paralysed the country. The railway strike came to an end last week, so I should not have any difficulties reaching Luxembourg before the end of the year. I am looking forward to hearing people from Angoul?me, Tours, Le Mans, Caen, Paris, Lyon, Belfort and Strasbourg tell me about local French life.... Read more

High speed travel

Bordeaux, FR (View on map)
Posted 26 Nov 2007:

Earlier this year, the French railway company SNCF broke another world speed record for electrical trains. A TGV train then reached a velocity almost 600 kilometres per hour on the new tracks connecting Paris to Germany. The French have a taste for prestigious projects and the TGV proudly features on the list of France`s favourite toys. A profitable toy though: a TGV connection with Paris is a guarantee for economical progress for all regions that are hooked up.... Read more

Voyage, voyage

Angoul?me, FR (View on map)
Posted 27 Nov 2007:

The Spanish surprised me by their modest appetite for traveling internationally. On average, they enjoyed staying in their own country, and anybody having seen more than three different countries is considered truly international-minded. The French are different. Their country is directly connected to no less than nine countries, and they take pride in jumping across borders to measure the degree of civilisation on the other side.... Read more

French fiesta

Le Mans, FR (View on map)
Posted 28 Nov 2007:

The French are known for being food-loving philosophers. While the Spanish spend their weekend evenings drinking and dancing, the French eat and converse. Apart from participating in a French soir?e myself today, I have been asking a few people what a regular night out looks like. Well, here you go:... Read more

Social elegance

Caen, FR (View on map)
Posted 29 Nov 2007:

`Style over content` would be a nice stereotype to describe the French, or to make fun of them. Even though the modernisation of society has weakened the influence of the traditional `etiquette`, elegance and sophistication are still important values in France. Here`s a quick look into how the French expect their conversation partners to behave:... Read more

La vie parisienne

Paris, FR (View on map)
Posted 1 Dec 2007:

Paris, the city of love.. You for sure see more people kissing and embracing each other than in a random street of Estonia. But it`s not all gold that blinks. Living in Paris is not something everybody is made for. Life is speedy and expensive, the streets are full and people are not always friendly to one another. Pale faces would make visitors believe that Parisians have grey blood and small weights in their face to expose their wrinkles to the maximum gravitation possible. They can even be recognised by their walking speed! Metro-boulot-dodo (Metro-work-sleep) quite well sums up what living in Paris mainly consists of. ... Read more

Flashy pharmacies

Paris, FR (View on map)
Posted 2 Dec 2007:

Being ill is never pleasant but the French can take pride in being quite well off. France`s health care system covers a wide range of treatments and is accessible to anybody living and working in France. Like many other industries in France, health care is managed under strict supervision of the state but they seem to be doing an OK job. Life expectancy is very high, for French women even the second highest in the world.... Read more

City guerrilla

Paris, FR (View on map)
Posted 3 Dec 2007:

77,78,91,92,93,94,95. They may be random numbers to someone who is not from France, but a French person will quickly associate them with the departments directly surrounding Paris: the `banlieue`. Some parts of the banlieue provide their inhabitants with reasonably quiet life at affordable prices. Other parts regularly appear on national and international news for their frequent outbreaks of violence, with Villiers-le-Bel as a recent example. The issues in the banlieue may be extreme at times, they do reveal problems that haunt all of France under the surface: unemployment, segregation, racism and poverty. ... Read more

French students

Lyon, FR (View on map)
Posted 4 Dec 2007:

Everybody in France can go on strike, even people who do not (yet) have a job ? students included. Over the last few weeks, many universities closed down because they were blocked by students, protesting against reforms in the education system. The French government is taking initiatives to allow companies to invest in universities, which students see as a threat to the independence of higher education. They are scared that tuition fees will go up from hardly anything today towards English or even American standards in the future.... Read more


Lyon, FR (View on map)
Posted 5 Dec 2007:

EU co-founder France sent a shock wave through Europe when its citizens rejected the proposed European Constitution in 2005. Three days later, The Netherlands also cast a negative vote on the plans, sending the whole project back to the design stage. Since then, a group of wise men has been working on a new 300-paged document which will be integrated within existing EU treaties. They thereby avoid having to consult their citizens before being allowed to sign the deal. How does France feel about European integration in the meantime?... Read more

Language labyrinth

Lyon, FR (View on map)
Posted 6 Dec 2007:

The French love for art goes well beyond paintings and sculptures alone. It applies in equal proportion to gastronomy and language. The ability to engage in vivid conversations, no matter how trivial the subject, is not just a skill but a vital part of French life. Count yourself lost without it. The French furthermore take pride in creating complicated structures, coded expressions and heaps of abbreviations. Welcome into the labyrinth of the French language.... Read more

French media

Metz, FR (View on map)
Posted 7 Dec 2007:

While Saudad describes the innate tendency for a Portuguese to feel nostalgic, a French person could not be properly French without being philosophical about life, politics and art. Some inform themselves properly to have at least a basic insight in what they are talking about, others don`t and you can hardly tell the difference from the way they talk about whatever they talk about. I am trying to find out how people inform themselves about what happens in society: which TV programs and newspapers and websites they read to keep up with the news ? and which ones simply serve to keep them amused.... Read more

EU birth ground

Strasbourg, FR (View on map)
Posted 8 Dec 2007:

The French Alsace province has all ingredients to position itself at the centre of the European Union. Nevertheless, the Alsacians have created a small island in the north-east of France, with only Strasbourg serving as an accessible exception. Strasbourg is the part time basis of the European parliament, which twice every month picks up all its paper mess to move from Brussels to the Alsacian capital and back again. This traveling circus was installed to satisfy French demands to have EU institutions on their territory, even while many French don`t even consider the Alsace region to be part of France.... Read more

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