A Great Website About France

This past spring I had the pleasure of meeting Janice Chung in Provence. Jan runs the great website France Travel Tips, with information about things to see and do all over the country. I love reading her stories about hidden corners of France that most tourists never see. An example is this story about sculptured seaside rocks in Brittany.

If you aren’t already a subscriber to Jan’s website, you should be!

San Francisco, the Paris of the Pacific

San Francisco was known in its early days as the Paris of the Pacific. You might think this was because it was beautiful and sophisticated, like the City of Light, and you would be right. But it was more than that. It was also due to the city’s large French community.

Read about France’s outsized influence on early San Francisco at My French Life.

Taking Your Dog to France

Imagine a chic Française sitting at a Paris café with her chic chien. Now imagine yourself there with your own dog. Impossible? Non!

As the world’s most dog-friendly country, France is full of dogs in restaurants, hotels, boulangeries, on hiking trails, the Métro — you name it. So how American dog-friendly are they?

Learn the secret of taking your dog to France at Frenchly.

Driving in French

The French road system is excellent. The country is covered by a comprehensive network of autoroutes – similar to our Interstate Highway System – along with plenty of secondary roads. They are in uniformly good condition and are well-marked so you can find your way. If there is any downside to the French road system it would have to be…French drivers.

Find out why French drivers are NOT one of the glories of France at My French Life.

9 Reasons Why Provence is the Best Part of France

Everyone wants to go to Paris when they go to France. It’s one of the world’s great cities, with the Eiffel Tower, romantic cafés, great museums… what’s not to like? (Okay, the Parisians not so much, but the rest is great.) But you’d be wrong to put Paris at the top of the list. Instead, you should follow the insiders who know better and head south to Provence. Here’s why.

Read the rest of the story at Frenchly.

 

How to Make French Friends

Val and I are lucky–some of our best friends are French, people we’ve met while living in Provence.

We are sometimes asked, “How did you do it? Aren’t the French kind of standoffish?”

The answer is Non! There are wonderful people in France just like everywhere.

Having lived abroad twice now, we’ve learned a few things about making friends in a new country. Anyone can do it! If you’d like to know how, check out my article at The Planet D.

The French National Sport: Protesting

France is a very athletic nation, but is there a French national sport? There are certainly plenty of contenders.

It could be cycling. Or maybe soccer. And don’t forget pétanque–you get to drink pastis while you play! What could be more French than that?

But no. The real French National Sport is…Protesting. Millions of French people participate! And they love to play dress-up when they do.

You can read the whole article at Frenchly.

Fear the Beard

Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart

Once when I was in France my beard trimmer broke, so I went to buy a new one.

I found the tondeuse I was looking for in the same aisle that had hair dryers and curling irons and things like that.  Except that the beard trimmers were kept in a locked cabinet. What’s up with that, I wondered.

I tracked down a clerk and asked her to unlock the cabinet so I could get the one I wanted, one that only cost about $20.  She took it out but wouldn’t give it to me –

No, no, that would not be secure Monsieur!  Beard trimmers must follow a special security procedure!

Things went downhill from there.

You can read the whole story at My French Life.

Nutella: The Key to French Greatness?

Americans love peanut butter, just as Australians love Vegemite, and Brits love Marmite. We all have our national favorites.

For the French it’s Nutella, that sweet chocolate-hazelnut spread that kids grow up eating at breakfast. So it was shocking when French philosopher Régis Debray attacked Nutella , causing a national uproar. He might as well have gone after motherhood and the 35-hour workweek while he was at it.

Author and professor Mara Goyet responded with an essay explaining the ways in which Nutella is, in fact, at the very heart of French civilization. It’s very insightful and…hilarious!

You can read the full article at Frenchly.