In the News

Amazing story: Infant in Paris falls 7 stories, bounces and lives!

An astounding story of fast thinking and fantastic luck.

A baby boy survived a fall from a seven-story window in Paris by bouncing off a café awning and into the arms of the doctor who saw the infant fall Monday evening.

The 18-month-old toddler was playing unsupervised with his 3-year-old sister when the accident occurred.

[From Doctor Catches Infant Who Fell Seven Stories | AHN]

If you click through, the other amazing coincidence is that the cafe was closed for a holiday and the awning should have been folded up. It had jammed and had been left open.

Books, Books on France, Culture, Museums and Monuments, Travel, Understand France and the French

Mona Lisa in Camelot

Two ladies in Camelot..... Who knew... Just read in the Vanity Fair article of how the 1963 American exhibition of the Mona Lisa in New York City and Washington, D.C., was America's first blockbuster art show. The writer Davids recounts in numbing detail the negotiations, preparations, flummoxes and successes of the exhibit. The exhibition was masterminded by the diplomatically savvy…read more
Culture, In the News, Understand France and the French

French spend most time in bed France is world’s most sleepy country – Odd News |

A study into the leisure habits of people from 30 countries found that the French spent by far the longest amount of time sleeping. ... American's were found to be almost as fond of their beds - with 8.5 hours - said researchers from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It seems to me the researchers have jumped from 'time spent in bed' to 'time spent sleeping' a bit too quickly ... remember this is the French we are talking about.

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.

Culture, Museums and Monuments

France returns Matisse painting stolen by Nazis

200811280714.jpgPARIS (Reuters) - France returned to its rightful owners on Thursday a painting by French master Henri Matisse which was seized by the Nazis in 1941 after its Jewish owner fled anti-Semitic persecutions in Germany. ... In a story right out of the 2007 film, " The Rape of Europa ," the heirs and the painting were only paired after a German art historian made the connection using an internet database set up for this purpose. Anyone interested in the great art of Europe must see "The Rape of Europa" The film tells the story of the Nazi theft of thousands and thousands of artworks from private and museum collection before and during World War II, and details a lot of the destruction of priceless treasures due to the war.


AutoLib!? A joke?

While Velib seems like such an organically (in more ways than one) good idea, AutoLib sounds like a dumb idea, and not one that would solve the major issue of traffic congestion in Paris. ... THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: July 29, 2008 PARIS (AP) — Parisians and tourists so eagerly embraced a citywide bike-sharing plan that was begun a year ago that Mayor Bertrand Delanoë is proposing a four-wheeled version, using electric cars. Under the plan, a driver could pick up a car on the Right Bank, snake up the slopes of Montmartre, then drop it off — and pay only for the minutes spent behind the wheel.


Adieu to the 35-hour workweek in France

Sarkozy came in promising to make changes and this one was a big one for many of our friends who came to see 35 hours as being symptomatic of a decreasing work ethic in France. ... Unfortunately, for many white collar workers, who were forced to be out on vacation enough to make the 35 hour math work out, they had to make up the time by increased output at other times, either by staying late or working more elsewhere. ... It was a well-intentioned blow for the worker to get back something from "the man," but ended up hurting French society and decreasing further a positive business environment that fosters the very productivity the workers want to have a share in, threatening the long-term French economy.

Understand France and the French

Op-Ed Columnist – Roger Cohen – France on Amphetamines – Op-Ed –

A few decades back, when we were young, Joni Mitchell sang of “sitting in a park in Paris, France” but dreaming of California because “I wouldn’t want to stay here; it’s too old and cold and settled in its ways here.” ... All our friends saw Reagan era-like restructurings and firings as an immediate effect of a Sarkozy win, but even most leftists felt that a dose of tough love was necessary to bring the young and the unionists to their senses. ... , Sarkozy has circumvented the 35-hour week by slashing taxes on overtime, freed up universities, downsized the state functionary community (and mentality), spurred small businesses, cut public spending and set in motion a radical reform aimed at creating a 21st-century army.