In Pictures: 17,000 turn out for the poshest picnic in Paris


In Pictures: 17,000 turn out for the poshest picnic in Paris
Photo: AFP
From: The Local France
This year’s “Dinner in white” – a chic, pop-up style picnic drew a record 17,000 diners all dressed in white. Here are some pictures of the impressive spectacle.

The annual “diner en blanc” picnic took place in Paris on  at the Esplanade des Invalides and drew a record 17,000 participants, according to organisers.

The location of the giant chic picnic is only revealed at the last minute. In previous years it has taken place outside Notre Dame Cathedral or the Louvre Museum.

The picnic is not authorised by authorities but “tolerated”. Although the organisers made an exception and asked authorities and police if they could hold it on the Champs-Elysées. But their request was turned down and they chose the Invalides as plan b.

Last month’s  attendance was twice the size of previous gatherings and the 17,000 picnickers also included 6,000 from abroad, who had come to Paris specially for the occasion.

The “diner en blanc” phenomenon  was celebrating its 30th anniversary. The concept began in France but has since spread to other cities around the world including New York and Sydney.

There are certain rules those attending have to stick by, notably they must wear white. They are also not allowed to leave behind any trace of rubbish and strong alcohol and beer are banned.

They are informed at the last minute about the location and have to bring fold up tables and chairs. Remarkably it only takes a few minutes to set up.

 

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Dear, Canada, Britain, France, Mexico, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Nigeria, Argentina,Japan, New Zealand and the rest of the world.


Dear, Canada, Britain, France, Mexico, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Nigeria, Argentina,Japan, New Zealand and the rest of the world,

Despite what you read and see on television. America and Americans haven’t lost our minds or our way.  We realize you are bombarded with negative sounds and images emanating from our great nation, leaving the impression we aren’t the welcoming nation we once were.

These aren’t the best of times for the United States

Our current President, businessman with no experience on the world stage    Who in short time, has become the President his competitors warned us about during our presidential primary.

He is easily played.   Compliment him and you’re in.  In his mind, he is always successful.

Like you, most Americans are in a constant state of shock .  Many Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of negative and often destructive news emanating from the White House.

Just when we think our President has reached bottom, he finds a way to go even lower.  He has insulted our neighbors ,Canada and Mexico.  Damaging long-term relationships with our Allies and forging relationships with enemies of our nations.    He is impulsive, and often acts without council and doesn’t fully understand protocol.

Most Americans (not all) are frankly embarrassed.

Its seems, by the hour he is dismantling, environmental laws in favor of business.  Relaxing and reversing laws that benefit the poor, laws that once protected women, members of the gay communities and people or color.

 Two America’s

This picture taken last Thursday in Montana,  gives the impression that Americans  overwhelmingly support the President and his policies.   The reality is far from the truth.  Look at the participants in this photo.  They are good Americans, however they do not represent the majority of Americans.

Donald TrumpImage result for president obama crowd

Compare this picture to the one above.  The participants represent the real landscape of America.

Donald Trump rarely travels beyond his fan base.  Our great cities  with their diverse populations, New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco,or Honolulu are not on his itinerary.

At these rallies, the Real Estate business man and Reality Television personality  is energized by his fan base.  Where he seems more comedian than politician, here in a friendly enviroment is where he is the happiest, places where he feels loved.

 His words and global intentions, are often designed to keep this narrow base happy.   Our Commander-in-Chief, goes his own way, he doesn’t like to be told what to do.  He oftens ignores the advice of those with decades of experience in global affairs, to spout conclusions that is loosely based on facts.   Which often confuses and angers our allies and friends around the world

He has often said, he and he alone have the answers to the worlds issues.  The Tariffs he is levying on our friends and neighbors and China, does not have the support from most Americans.   Politicians in both parties and the business community and yet he continues.

In Montana, he made fun of the #MeToo movement.  He insulted our war hero’s, Senator John McCain and former President Herbert Walker Bush, who are highly regarded members of his political party.  Both of these men are ill, one is terminally .

In the United States, he has always been a bit of a social media bully, who often acts differently when in the presence of the people he’s attacked.

While he insists upon loyalty, he hasn’t demonstrated any loyalties to anyone including those he appointed and placed in positions of power.

I have lived in the United States  my entire life.  When one group is attack , we react!    Many Americans are currently outraged by the treatment of children, who were stripped from their parents.  Simply to intimidate those who want to immigrate to the United States.  This has never been a policy of America to separate families.  Again, this was done to appeal to some of the  Presidents supporters, many of whom have long wanted to limited the number of  individuals immigrating from south of our Border.

Many of family members and friends who live outside the United States often asked ,how was he elected?   I believe the fault lies with our leaders. 

The day Donald Trump announced he was running for President and then went on to insult Mexican American and citizens of Mexico.  There was no major outrage from either party.

In 1968, George Wallace the former Governor of Alabama ran for President.   Wallace supported segregation and was outraged by the Passing of the Civil Rights Legislation.  The Governor stood at the entrance of the University of Alabama to prevent a black student from enrolling .

Forty eight years later, both parties were relatively silent.  Presidential candidate and former Governor of Florida, (Father George HW, and his brother George W,  were both Presidents of the United States)  Jeb Bush, whose wife is Mexican American, and has three bi-racial children and other bi-racial family members  wasn’t outraged enough to speak against Trump.    Not one candidate from either party, went in from of the Cameras and screamed “The statement made by Donald Trump goes against everything that America is!  They were all playing politics.   There was an assumption, Donald Trump would never be elected president.

Today, most members of the Republican party remains silent.  Unlike most of the world, the United States, has primary elections then ,General Election in November.   In the majority of the states.  Members of a party can only vote for members of their party in the primary election.  Only in the General Election can citizens vote for any candidate.

Because of our electoral system, and Donald Trump’s current popularity in his party. members of his party is choosing him over party and country.   To criticize him could mean losing in the primary.    While his actions go against many tenets of the Republican party and against many conservative views of the party.   Most Republican bite their teeth and support the President even though his views and actions are not only damaging to the Republican Party and the United States, it’s having a negative effect on our friends and allies.

His insistence in meeting in Vladimir Putin is a slap in the face to Prime minister May  after several Russian based poisonings in the United Kingdom.

If the Russians intent was to destabilize the Western Alliance by meddling in the US election then they were successful.  Our friends very concerned.  Nothing would make Putin happier than a dismantled Nato.

The majority of his party are afraid to speak out against him  because they need to survive the primary .  Even though his practices conflicts with the party and is damaging to the country.  The few member of his party who are critical of him and his policies are not running for re-election.

There is a bright high!     After the initial shock and disappointment,followed by proposed ban on Muslim immigrants.   Americans are angry!   People are all walks of live are getting involved , in numbers we haven’t seen since the 1960’s

The challenge, unlike the 60’s, it’s not just the Vietnam war,  it’s not just civil rights.   There are so many issues,created by this president we are overwhelmed.    We are less confident.  Conventional wisdom says ,with all of this outrage by the American public, there will be a change after this fall’s midterm elections.    However, conventional wisdom said, Donald Trump could never get elected.

To our all of our friends in:  Canada, Britain, France, Mexico, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Nigeria, Argentina,Japan, New Zealand and the rest of the world. .  America is still America, the land of immigrants and the place where dreams can come true.   America is at a crossroads, many American are disappointed with our government.

For nearly 10 years, there has been a civil war within our government.  A war of a zillion words which has been damaging to Americans as our needs have been ignored.   Many frustrated Americans wanted something different, something new, as the old guard had placed their political ambitions and party over the needs of its citizens.

Something you maybe currently experiencing in your country.  In America, we basically have a two-party system, this was deliberate.   The Republicans and the Democrats have made it difficult for other parties to participate in the system.  There are many political parties in the United States.   However, Americans are unlikely.  to hear from them.  They are not allowed to participate in public media debates.

 As a result, we have limited choices in this great nation.   Some, angry americans chose, a business man whose “business” reputation is so poor, he cannot get a loan from an american bank,   A man who had well known credibility problem, a man whose family has a legal history of not renting to people of color,and a man who has little respect for women, over the status quo.  Despite all the money in world, spent to prevent him from being elected,  Donald Trump became President of the United States.

I do not represent all Americans in my views.  But I am sorry.

I hope you learn from our mistake.  I believe in choosing a leader, demand experience, and integrity, empathy and heart.   Avoid, shiny objects, with promise, but doesnt have a history of performance or you may just elect a Donald Trump

Better days to come

CityFella

 

 

 

Snow pics: France’s most famed sites like you’ve never seen them before


Snow pics: France's most famed sites like you've never seen them before
The stunning Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley. All pictures AFP
Have you ever seen the Iron Lady dressed in white or the Chateau de Chambord and Versailles Palace under a blanket of snow?

The famous tourist sites in and around Paris are photogenic enough but under a rare covering of snow they look even more spectacular.

We’ve dug out some photos of some familiar attractions that have been given a white makeover in recent days.

First lets start with the Iron Lady

The Jardin des Tuileries, Paris

The Palais Royale

 

The Arc de Triomphe

Notre Dame Cathedral

Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur

And just to remind you what it normally looks like…

The Bridges of the River Seine

Versailles Palace

The Chateau de Chambord, The Loire Valley

From the Local: France

 

Zzzzzz Your next-NEXT car will be Electric!


Yes, your next NEXT car will be electric.   A report from research firm,Bloomberg New Energy Finance says by 2022,” the report says, the cost of ownership of battery electric vehicles will fall below that of an internal combustion engine vehicle.  Bloomberg projects by 2040 25% of the cars globally will be electric.

In 2016, nearly 160,000 electric vehicles was sold in the US . Last year Toyota sold nearly 390,000 Toyota Camry’s

Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than an internal combustion vehicle.

The current challenge for electric car production is the availability of batteries which currently accounts for one third of the cost of the vehicle.

California Clears The Air

Automobiles are responsible for more than 40% of air pollution.

Air pollution exposure can trigger new cases of asthma, exacerbate (worsen) a previously-existing respiratory illness, and provoke development or progression of chronic illnesses including lung cancerchronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema.

1.2 million die each year in India to diseases related to Air Pollution.  In China over 2 million people die annually.

In 1967, The State of California established the Air Resources Board(CARB).  One of the goals of CARB is maintaining air quality.  One of CARB’s responsibilities is to define vehicle emissions standards.  California is the only state permitted to issue emission standards.  Other states can choose to follow CARB standards   There was a time when Automakers  built two engines, one designed for California and the other for the other 49 states.

A few years ago CARB set a mandate for cars sold in the state. By 2025,15% of all cars sold in California must be zero polluting vehicles.  These would include, Electric, fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen.

Naturally there was resistance by auto manufacturers.  How committed was the state to implement this programs in 2006 there were a few charging stations and no hydrogen stations.

To build an electric vehicle from the ground up would cost the industry billions without a guarantee of acceptance by the public.

To meet this mandate, Auto manufactures modified existing vehicles adding an electric motor.  The problem is these cars had a very limited range(most were less than 100 miles) and to completely charge the cars took 8 hours or more.  The electric vehicles were based on a compact or subcompact platform, the average cost for these electric cars was $40,000 (before state and federal incentives) The manufactures lose money on each electric sold.   As for styling ,automakers seems to be dragging their feet, building something to meet the requirements.

Image result for bmw i3 price

BMW I-3

The worlds best selling electric vehicle in the Nissan Leaf.   The Leaf was introduced in 2011 and more than 250,000 Leafs has been sold worldwide.   The current Leaf has a range of 107 miles.

Image result for nissan leaf

 

 Tesla Brings Sexy

Founded in 2003 The Palo Alto, California based Tesla started building electric vehicles in 2008.,  A two seat Roadster with a range of 200 miles.  It was the first production automobile to use the lithium-ion battery.

In 2012, Tesla introduced the model S.

Image result for 2012 tesla model s

  Unlike the other automakers,the S was built from the ground up as an electric vehicle.  The batteries are larger and is a part of the cars structure. thus having a considerable longer range (265 to 351) than other electric vehicles .

The S was an instant hit.  With a price range from $80,000 to $100,000 its style attracted buyers who would normally purchase premium luxury cars from Mercedes Benz, BMW and Jaguar.

In 2015, Tesla introduced the model X, SUV.

Tesla has a network of high-powered Supercharges located across North America, Europe and Asia for Tesla vehicles.  Software within the vehicles navigation directs Tesla to charging stations.  The company also operates a Destination Charging program, under where shops, restaurants and other venues are offered fast chargers for their customers. As of  December 2016, Tesla has nearly 1000 stations globally, and 6,400 and charging locations. 

Image result for tesla supercharger station roseville

Tesla Supercharing Center, Rocklin, Ca

Earlier this year, Tesla briefly surpassed Ford and General Motors in market capitalization for a couple of months, making it the most valuable American automaker.

An Electric World?

The Government of Norway intends to ban internal combustion engine cars fueled by gasoline or diesel by 2025.

  Sweden, Japan and the Netherlands do not have an official mandate, however,their governments are  looking at 2025.  Implementation in Japan and the Netherlands would not be difficult. In the Netherlands 6% of the cars sold are electric.  In Japan 14%

China, home to some of the world’s most polluted cities has a mandate similar to California requiring manufacturers to sell a minimum of 8% “new energy vehicles” by next year.  Virtually every car company argued the time table was too aggressive. Even though sales of the low or zero emissions vehicles are higher than in most other countries, except Norway, they still account for less than 3% of the Chinese new car market.

There are now strict limits on the number of new vehicles that can be registered in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, but qualified NEV models are exempt, encouraging buyers to shift. With some of the world’s most polluted cities, some observers believe China could call for an outright ban on internal combustion technology in the not-too-distant future.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       India wants all its cars to be battery powered by 2030 — and that means it not only wants to end the sale of internal combustion vehicles but convert or replace all other vehicles already on the road by the end of the next decade, a goal few see possible.

France and Germany, the ban is expected to be far more contentious. Auto manufacturers in both countries have condemned the moves by their respective governments to ban the internal combustion engine, saying that it would make the economy less competitive. European automakers have lagged behind Japanese and American ones in both hybrid and all-electric car technology, as conventional

European gasoline based and diesel cars already have high fuel economy. In response to so-called range anxiety, in which an electric car’s limited range may leave the driver stranded on the motorway, the Holland administration is expected to pair the proposed phaseout with national investment into charging stations as well as additional investment into TGV lines, to make it easier to travel long distances in France without a car.

Germany may also push to end sales of gas and diesel cars by 2030, but there is strong opposition, especially since half of its electricity comes from coal. Yet German automakers are launching major drives to electrify and that could help build momentum for a switch.

Volvo Leads the Way

In July, Volvo told the world ,all the models it introduces starting in 2019 will be either hybrids or powered solely by batteries.

Volvo headquartered in Sweden, is owned by Geely Automobile Holdings of China, which already produces battery-powered cars for the Chinese market. The decision by Volvo to focus on electric vehicles could ultimately give it and Geely a head start if, as many analysts expect, sales of battery powered cars begin to take off. China is already the largest market for electric vehicles.

Next!

With the American automakers focus on the very profitable SUV’s  will they have the billions necessary to build electric vehicles?  Currently every electric vehicle sold in America loses money.

Last year General Motors introduced the Chevy Bolt, the first car built from the ground up as an electric vehicle.   The car has been well received by the press.  Car and Driver says the Chevy Bolt ” is so cutting edge that it makes all other affordable electric vehicles seem irrelevant.”  At 238, it has more electric range than any car on the market with one exception, Tesla. It actually has a greater range than the highly anticipated Model 3

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Nissan just announced their next generation Leaf will have a range of 150 . Hiroto Saikawa CEO of Nissan says a Leaf with a range of 300 miles is possible within 3 years.

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Unlike Tesla, this car is affordable. its very quick and roomy AND it starts at $38,000 (before incentives) $40,000 less than the current Tesla model S.   If there is one problem with the car, its the styling.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

 

It not ugly or Toyota Prius Quirky.   Tesla gave buyers a reason to trade in their BMW’s and Mercedes . One would expect more from the General.

Related image

Waiting in the wings is Tesla’s people’s car the  Model”3”. Tesla began building the car in its Fremont, California plant in July.    Pricing for the “3” begins at $35,000(before incentives), if its the “3′ you want, you’ll have to get in a very long line as 450,000 people have placed deposits on the “3”.  Based on Tesla’s track record the 400 thousandant should receive his “3” by 2020   Tesla has an Apple like, cult following and those people are willing to wait.

Game Changer?

With all the luxury manufacturers taking aim at Tesla. Jaguar, a company known for its stately vehicles, is introducing a compact luxury electric SUV called the I-Pace( Est arrival is first quarter 2018).  Its engineering comes from Tesla’s play book.  The batteries anchor the car with two electric motors, one at each axle.  Jaguar says the range of the I-pace is estimated at 220 miles.

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The SUV, will be built in Austria and the platform will be used on other Jaguars as the company says half of its vehicles  will be electric by 2025  The cost for I-Pace begins a tick under $100.000.

If $100,000 seems hefty.  Tesla sells to variations of the Model S for $100,000 and the Model X SUV sells for over $100,000.    If Jaguar is remotely successful, expect the automakers to quickly follow suit.

Perhaps with the assistance of Tesla’   Tesla build a Gigafactory, outside of Reno Nevada.  Panasonic is currently building car batteries in a section of the uncompleted building and Tesla will eventually build cars there.

  Cummins, known for diesel trucks recently introduced its first application for inthe first electric commercial truck

The truck has a range of 100 miles and is capable of hauling a 22-ton trailer.  Cummins electric power train is being targeted at urban delivery vehicles (like a beer truck or food delivery truck) as well as for short haul trips in and around ports and other terminals. It can be recharged in about an hour at a 140 kWh charging station, and Cummins’ goal is to get that down to 20 minutes by 2020, reducing down time for its business customers. Production begins in 2019.

There are challenges ahead for the industry.  There isn’t a standard for charging. In Most charging stations uses Level 2 J1772 charger.these will work on all electric cars. Those charging stations are fairly slow, often requiring hours to fully charge your vehicle.  If you own a Tesla you can drive from coast to coast due to their network of superchargers where owners can charge their cars in as little as 30 minutes. Those charger are exclusive to Tesla vehicles.

The other challenge is much greater.  Is  our national electrical (grid) prepared for an  increase of electric usage?  As a result of individual scharging their vehicles at home?

Your next-next new car is likely to be an electric car.  With ranges considerable more than the cars of today.

Like your cell phone, charge it and drive.

CityFella

Ten hidden gems in France you should visit this summer


Ten hidden gems in France you should visit this summer

There’s a whole lot more to summer travel in France than the Eiffel Tower, the Riviera, and Mont-Saint-Michel.

By:Nicola Williams/The Local

Travel guide publishers Lonely Planet, whose writer on France, Nicola Williams, has helped uncover some must-see sites that are rarely on the radar of most visitors.
1. Neuf-Brisach, eastern France
No foray into France is complete without a stroll around a citadel. Vauban built a load of them in France, but Neuf-Brisach on the French-German border is the one to target – it’s the country’s least-known Unesco World Heritage Site.
Louis XIV commissioned the fortified town to be built in 1697 to bolster French defenses. Its red sandstone walls were constructed in the shape of an eight-pointed star and the sleepy Alsatian town sits inside.
2. Nernier, eastern France
Lake Geneva is not all Swiss. Much of its southern shoreline is French. And while tourism has made some in-roads – on sunny Sundays Genevans motor to the medieval walled chateau-village of Yvoire for lunch – this lakeside stretch is uncharted tourist territory.
The sweet spot is Nernier, a shoreline village with cobbled streets, a pebble beach, and a quaint port where you can lunch at Restaurant du Lac and set sail on the lake in an old fashioned steamer.
3. Le Brame du Cerf, central France
The autumnal rutting season at Château de Chambord is a fabulous way of rediscovering the most famous Renaissance chateau in the Loire Valley – sans crowds. There is nothing more magical than creeping into the dewy forest at dawn or dusk to watch serenading stags, boars and red deer from hidden watch towers.
The domaine (estate) is Europe’s largest hunting reserve (there for the exclusive use of the French government no less).
Photo: Michal Osmenda
4. Musée d’Art Moderne, Céret, Roussillon
It’s been around since the 1950s, but this outstanding modern art museum in the Pyrenean foothills of south western France is one of those inspirational spaces where you can still lose yourself in a mind-blowing collection stuffed with Chagalls, Braques and Matisses.
Picasso donated 57 works to the museum and the town itself is a compelling mix of sun-blazed old stone and bon vivant living over Catalan sangria and tapas
Photo: Museum’s Facebook page. 
5. Refuge d’Art, Haute-Provence
The French Riviera is a magnet for modern art lovers, but few make it as far as the cinematic limestone ridges, ravines and gorges of the Réserve Géologique de Haute-Provence, a sun-blazed wilderness near Digne-les-Bains in which British artist Andy Goldsworthy exhibits the largest public collection of his work.
His dramatic outdoor works of art – rock hives, cairns, stone sculptures you can sleep in – are dotted along a 150km hiking trail.
Photo: Refuge d’Art
6. Alésia MuséoParc, Alise-Sainte-Reine
This remarkable historical site in Burgundy only opened in recent years and remains undiscovered by the non-French tourist set.
Walking around the rebuilt fortifications in the reconstructed Roman camp of Alésia, it is amazing to think this was the very spot where Julius Caesar thrashed chief of the Gauls Vercingétorix once and for all in 52 BC. The actors dressed up as Roman legions and battle demonstrations are particularly entertaining.
7. Arbois and Pupillin, eastern France
Wine tourism is a big reason to travel in France and this little known twin-set of addresses in the remote Jura region in the east is pure, unadulterated joie du vin.
Alongside a cellar full of regular wines, vineyards around Arbois produce rich nutty Vin Jaune (yellow wine) and Vin de Paille (‘straw wine’), made from grapes laid out to dry on straw mats. End with a tour of the wine cellars in the village of Pupillin, built entirely from yellow stone.
Arbois. Photo: marydoll1952/Flickr
8. Postman Cheval’s Palais Idéal
One of France’s strangest attractions, the Palais Idéal, in the Drôme department is an extraordinary example of architecture and the story behind it is just as astonishing.
The palace was built by postman Ferdinand Cheval, who had the idea after tripping over a stone in 1879. For the next 33 years he collected single stones to construct what he called a Temple of Nature. The palace was finally classified as a historical monument in 1969.

9. Abbaye de Valmagne, Languedoc
This awe-inspiring abbey in southern France fuels two great French passions: wine and architecture. Built in the 12th century, it was inhabited first by Benedictine monks who cultivated vines on the estate.
With the French Revolution, the abbey church was deconsecrated and sold to Monsieur Granier-Joyeuse, a wine grower who turned the soaring Gothic stone church into a magnificent wine cellar. Never has wine tasting been so good.
10. Ventabren, Provence
The whole point of Provence in the south of France is to laze away inordinate amounts of time lunching – exceedingly well. Enter Ventabren, a drop-dead gorgeous Provencal hilltop village just 14km from tourist-rammed Aix-en-Provence.
After roaming empty golden-stone lanes and chateau ruins, there is only one place to lunch al fresco with a sweeping view: La Table de Ventabren.
Photo: Allie Caulfield

Thirteen sure-fire ways to lose your French friends


Thirteen sure-fire ways to lose your French friendsPhoto: nullplus /Depositphotos

If you want to keep your French friends, then DO NOT do anything on this list.
There’s a myriad of irritating things you could do to put off potential friends pretty much anywhere, like ordering the most expensive thing on the menu and asking to split the bill, or retelling that one story no one laughed at in the first place.
But there are some that might particularly get on the nerves of French people and are best avoided, unless of course your aim is to use this list to intentionally annoy your French coworkers, friends or partner (which we’re not condoning).
Do all of these and you’ll be on track to being the least popular Anglo at the soirée.
1. Get sloshed at an apéro
Photo: contrabland/ Flickr
Although “le binge-drinking” is alive and well in France, apéro culture is a whole different ball game. Don’t mistake this for a house party, at the apéro (short for apéritif), the nibbles aren’t just there to help you absorb the alcohol, and you’re actually meant to have a civilised conversation.
Downing liqueurs like shots and dancing on the tables might firmly cross you off the guest list for next time.
2. Sit inside at a café, meaning they can’t smoke
Photo: razvanphoto/ Deposit photos
Every season is terrasse season in France. When it comes to siting to eat or drink outside while having a smoke or watching people go by, the French become impervious to the elements.
Your French friends might not appreciate making them move inside, so make like the locals, wrap yourself up in a big scarf and find a spot near the heater if you can.
3. Insist bien cuit is the proper way to eat steak
Photo: Michael Stern/ Flickr
It might physically pain a French person to cook a steak until it’s bien cuit or “well done”. In France, it’s the bloodier the better, and asking for steak beyond à point (rare to medium rare) is only for tourists who ‘”ruin” the flavours.
If you really want to lose their respect, ask for très bien cuit, we dare you.
4. Refuse to go and watch French films in the cinema
France is proud of their cinematic heritage, so watch your popularity plummet as you decline their invitation to go see the latest French art house film saying you’d rather go watch Die Hard on DVD at home.
Photo: wavebreakmedia/ Deposit Photos
5. Laugh at their French accent
We might think the French accent is sexy and cute, but the French can be quite sensitive about it.
They tend to mock each other for having imperfect English accents, so what you might have meant as a light teasing could go sour.
6. Think it’s funny to say ‘sacre bleu’, ‘zut alors’, ‘mon dieu’ 
Photo: kues/ Depositphotos
French people really love when you say hackneyed phrases no one really uses to them. Try it out and see how many eye rolls you get from your French pals.
7. Break with cheese etiquette
Photo: Reddit/Facebook
Having cheese as a starter, asking if they have any crackers, cutting the cheese however the hell you like. All big no-no’s according to French norms on cheese eating and could provoke the ire of purists, like when one French mum broke with convention on Camembert cutting (pictured above).
8. Say you love France (when you only mean Paris)
Photo: tsyganek/ Deposit photos
Little will rile non-Parisian friends more than equating the capital with the whole of France, they might snap back at you with the old phrase “Paris is not France and France is not Paris“.
9. Say the bread at the supermarket and boulangerie tastes the same
Photo: grafvision/ Deposit photos
There’s a reason the fresh bread section of the supermarket is so small, strictly for emergencies and convenience only.
Bread from supermarkets like Carrefour is not to be compared with “the real thing” from the numerous local bakeries.
10. Say you’re envious of their ‘easy’ 35-hour work week
Photo: AFP
Everyone knows the 35-hour week is a myth, the average French person puts in 39 a week and certainly won’t thank you for bringing out the old “French workers are lazy” stereotype.
11. Turn your nose up at French cuisine 
French people, by and large, will tell you they’re proud of their country’s cuisine, so wrinkling your nose at a boeuf bourguignon and asking if you could go get sushi or tacos instead won’t make you many pals.
12. Tell them you’re a vegetarian (or worse, a vegan)
Photo: p.studio66/ Deposit photos
Meat free diets are gaining in popularity in France, especially in bigger cities, but in the wrong crowd, telling French people you can’t share their planche mixte might get you some concerned looks.
13. Make jokes about them going on strike all the time 
“Hey if you don’t like it, why don’t you strike about it! Because you’re French…get it?”
Your French friends are unlikely to be impressed by your spot on observational humour. Unless they work in the transport sector, they’ve probably never been on strike in their lives. Save the jokes for friends who work in SNCF or AirFrance where they might at least hit the mark.
By Rose Trigg

Will the next President of France be a Conservative? Eight things to know about Fillon – ‘The French Thatcher’


Eight things to know about Fillon - 'The French Thatcher'

 

After winning the rightwing presidential primary, François Fillon will now be installed as the favorite to win next year’s presidential election. Here’s what you need to know about the open admirer of Margaret Thatcher.

He’s a big fan of Margaret Thatcher

Openly saying you are an admirer of the former Conservative British Prime Minister is normally risky business for a Frenchman.

She and Ronald Reagan are often seen as the bad parents of the neoliberal economic revolution in the 1980s that France has never really adjusted to.

But Fillon, who was Prime Minister under ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy for five years, likes the Iron Lady because according to him she got her country back on track.

“She is the symbol of an inflexible political determination to stop a situation of decline,” said Fillon back in 2014.

And in the run up to last Sunday’s first round vote Fillon hit back at his rivals who compared him to Thatcher in a bid to turn French voters against him.

“Some candidates wanted to be unkind by calling me Thatcherite, but it pleased me,” Fillon said. “At least she left her mark as someone who straightened out her country.”

“She’s a woman who has been elected three times. There is not a single president of the French Republic who has been elected three times, so she had the confidence of the British.”

Franois is the only candidate to deeply admire Margaret Thatcher and say it out loud. Quite unusual in France, to say the least.

The word “Thatcher” was trending in France the day after the first round  in a sign the French public were trying to find out just how much Fillon was a fan.

Left leaning newspaper Liberation made it clear on their front cover exactly what Fillon means for France.

He loves Thatcher because…

Fillon’s love for all things Thatcher is linked to his desire for a “total rupture” as a means to pull France’s struggling economy into the 21st century.

Like Thatcher Fillon wants to cut back state spending, or more to the point completely shred it and impose liberal economic policies.

He says he wants to make €100 billion of savings in five years. To do that he wants to cut 500,000 jobs in the French civil service, raise the retirement age to 65, scrap the 35-hour week for the private sector and raise the legal working week to 39 hours for civil servants.

In terms of the working week, he would simply set a maximum of 48 hours in line with EU law.

Some 20 percent of the €110 billion worth of cuts will be made by local authorities. Fillon also wants to put a lower cap on unemployment benefits.

He’s also a friend of business and wants to cut levies on firms to the tune of €40 billion and implement €10 billion of tax cuts for households. He also wants to scrap France’s wealth tax on the richest residents, called ISF.

To cover for these cuts, he wants to raise VAT by two percentage points.

Fillon also wants to scrap most of France’s labor laws, and leave disputes to be sorted out at sector or company level, to try and break the power of the unions.

Last month French right wing magazine Le Point made it clear it too was in favor of a dose of Thatcherism to turn the country around.

Fillon’s a follower of Trump when it comes to Russia

Not many mainstream French politicians have anything in common with Donald Trump but François Fillon does. He too is a fan of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and favors an alliance with Moscow to battle Isis in the Middle East, which the current French administration under François Hollande has avoided, due to Russia’s support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

“It’s clear Russia has its own interests in the region, but who in the Middle East doesn’t? Fillon wrote in Marianne magazine recently.

Fillon saluted Putin’s “cold and effective pragmatism” in the region.

For Fillon Islam is ‘a big problem’

The former prime minister might not be as obsessed by identity and the role of Islam in France as his former boss Nicolas Sarkozy, but Fillon still has fairly strong views that will not make the country’s Muslim population feel at ease.

“There are no problems with religion in France. There is a problem linked to Islam,” said Fillon.

In his essay “Conquering Islamic Totalitarianism” Fillon says the “bloody invasion of Islamism in our daily lives could provoke a third world war.”

However Fillon is not in favor of banning religious symbols like the Muslim headscarf in public, as Sarkozy suggested he was.

Earlier this year he provoked ire and ridicule dismissed the idea that France should feel guilty about its colonization of North Africa, saying “there was nothing to be ashamed about France just wanting to share its culture.”

“For Fillon, colonialisation was just like Erasmus,” read one sarcastic reaction on Twittter.

He’s anti-gay marriage and a conservative at heart

Fillon was the preferred candidate of the once influential “Manif Pour Tous” anti-gay marriage movement in France because he closely reflected their views.

Although Fillon says he will not try to overturn the legalization of gay marriage that was brought in in 2012, he does want a change of the law to prevent gay couples from being able to adopt children.

Fillon is also against surrogacy and medically assisted births for lesbian couples. On Monday feminists were reminding France that Fillon has said he regrets saying abortion was a “fundamental right of a woman”.

But he does want to boost family allowances and make the payments universal rather than linked to salary as they are now.

He does not believe France is multicultural

Fillon has insisted his vision of France was not as a multicultural country.

When asked whether he saw the future of French society as multicultural he said: “the answer is no”.

France has a history, a language, a culture, of course this culture and language have been enriched by the contributions of foreign populations, but it remains the foundation of our identity,” he said.

When asked during Thursday night’s debate if France was already a multicultural country Fillon said “No, in any case it’s not the choice we made, we did not make the choice of communitarianism and multiculturalism.”

“When we go to somebody’s house, we don’t try to take power,” said Fillon adding that immigrants must respect France’s cultural heritage.

He thinks colonization was just “sharing culture”

Fillon provoked anger and ridicule in equal measure earlier this year when, in a speech to supporters, he said that Franec should not be guilty of its colonial part in North Africa, because it was all just about “sharing culture”.

He also said he would change the history curriculum so pupils would “not be taught to be ashamed of their country”.