Economy and Exchange rates

Economy and Exchange rates, Understand France and the French

Can you believe this inflation in Paris: postage, gas, electricity

Wow! This is like post-war inflation, just when the European economy can least afford it. When I see 10-!%% increases in gas and electric, i wonder how this will get passed on to the consumer. Already, these charges looked more like the utilities bill of a 6000 square foot house in the United States.

Pre-buying stamps in Europe is always a good investment.


Buy your stamps today at a bargain -- the ones with no monetary amount printed on them, because tomorrow, the postal rates go up (information thanks to Eric Tolbert):

Letters within France increase from 56 centimes to 58.

Letters/postcards to US increase from 85 centimes to 87.

Culture, Economy and Exchange rates, In the News

New law on store openings on Sunday meant to woo US tourists

I can't imagine the fact that stores are closed on Sunday to be a reason not to stay an extra day in Paris, but I guess some people must be shopping all the time. As a student, I resented the Sunday closings because it just meant so much more to pack into a Saturday, but now I treasure the idea of one day where everyone is forced to really take the day off. ... TV, of course has ruined some of that nothing-to-do feeling already, but it's more than a bit sad to see the French put one more nail in the coffin of true leisure, which many of us has felt was at the very core of spending time in Europe.

Economy and Exchange rates

France is still the #1 tourist destination

This may be due to a flight to value, with people looking to spend less than they would on a hotel, or perhaps just because we've marketed our apartment for a few years now and are starting to get good word-of-mouth exposure for it. ... Some people may simply be passing through on the way to final destinations because of France’s central European location and airlines’ use of Paris as a hub. ... In spite of the global economic downturn, there was only a .3 percent decrease in the number of people who came to France in 2008 than in 2007.

Culture, Economy and Exchange rates, In the News

Class Warfare, French styleFrench executive held hostage by staff | World news | The Guardian

He wasn't exactly stuffed in the back of car and kept in a cave, yet it's hard to feel too much respect for the kidnappers in this case, no matter what the demands. ... Last year, the English boss of a car-parts factory in eastern France was held for 48 hours in his office, sleeping on a massage table and being provided with blankets and sandwiches. ... In another incident last year, police stormed an ice-cream factory in Saint-Dizier to free a manager who had been held hostage by workers over job cuts.

Economy and Exchange rates, Shopping, Tips and Tricks

Paris Goes on Sale

That marks opening day of this year’s winter “soldes” (sales), five weeks of frenzied bargain-hunting for the perfect Azzaro cocktail dress or the normally unaffordable monogrammed Noël bed linen — at between 30 and 70 percent off.

...Sales occur in Paris, of course, year around, but under French law, retail stores can only run public sales with big "SOLDES" banners only for several weeks in January and July.

...With charm and some good luck, you may be able to persuade the sales person to extend you the discount on the eve of the sales, or at least to set the longed-for item aside.

Economy and Exchange rates

Exchange Rates Graph (American Dollar, Euro)

Oil is down in the $70s risking to lull us again into energy complacency, and now the dollar is rising against the Euro. ... While Europeans have jumped in to address their financial markets issues more aggressively than the US, they have no central authority to target shoot the trouble areas. And any one country not stabilizing its own banks runs the risk of unwittingly being the weak link for the Euro as a whole.