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France Travel News 07/26/2010

  • Saudi clerics exempt women from wearing veils in France

    Two Saudi clerics have declared Muslim women are exempt from wearing full veils in France, which is planning to ban them, but added they should avoid visiting it as tourists. The comments, by Islamic jurisprudence scholar Mohamed al-Nujaimi and author and cleric Ayed al-Garni, come two weeks after French lawmakers passed a bill under which women could be fined for appearing in public with the all-covering burqa or the niqab, which leaves the eyes exposed.

  • French Nuns to Sing on Lady Gaga Label

    The nuns of the Abbaye de Notre Dame de l'Annonciation near the southern French city of Avignon were chosen after worldwide search for female Gregorian chant performers. Their debut album, "Voices – Chant from Avignon," will feature an ancient style of the Gregorian Chant which the nuns at convent sing at least 8 times a day starting before dawn.

  • France Suspends Entire World Cup Squad

    In the wake of that massive mental and behavioral meltdown that was their World Cup 2010 campaign, a show of bad football and even worse insubordination, the French Football Federation has suspended the entire World Cup squad for their next game at the request of new head honcho Laurent Blanc.

  • Let them eat… brioche?

    Marie Antoinette did not actually use the phrase "let them eat cake" when she heard that the French peasantry was starving due to a dearth of bread. The phrase was first published in Rousseau's "Confessions" when Marie was only 10 years old and most scholars believe that Rousseau coined it himself, or that it was said by Maria-Theresa, the wife of Louis XIV. Furthermore, although the proclamation may sound callous, it was actually made out of generosity and economic logic. What Rousseau or Marie-Theresa actually said was, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche," essentially meaning that the peasants should be able to eat brioche, a sweeter egg-based bread instead of their normal fare. In fact, French law mandated that bakers sell their brioche at the same price as their cheap bread if their cheap bread ran out.

  • Cool Airline Perks

    Air France uncorks 900,000 bottles of champagne annually, and is the only airline to offer free champagne to all passengers on long international flights. To boot, the cabin crew is bubbling with knowledge—including how to serve wine and the origin and classification of each bottle.

  • Air France jet returns after bathroom woes

    Air France says a Rio-to-Paris flight was forced to return to Brazil six hours after taking off because of malfunctioning bathrooms. The airline says in a statement that Tuesday night's Flight 443 returned to Rio de Janeiro because of a "technical flaw in some of its bathrooms." The flight lasts nearly 11 hours.

  • French Air-Traffic Controllers Go on Strike

    Air-traffic controllers in France, angry about a European plan to create several large air-traffic control regions, went on strike late Tuesday, causing hundreds of cancellations. Four of the nine French air-traffic control unions said their members wouldn't turn up to work until Thursday morning to protest the plan, which they fear will cost jobs.

  • Air France Flight Attendant Accused of Stealing From Sleeping Passengers

    [T]he 47-year-old stewardess, referred to as Lucie R., went through business passengers' bags on 142 long haul flights out of Paris. Police were alerted in January after five passengers on a flight to Tokyo lost the equivalent of around $10,000 in foreign currency. The complaints sparked a six-month long investigation as detectives cross-checked cabin crew rosters with further theft reports. Police say she confessed to 26 separate thefts, but believe she committed dozens more. They also found she had a bank safe-deposit box full of jewelry as well as credit cards, cash, blank checks and travelers' checks at her home.

  • 4 questioned in L’Oreal scandal in France | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Headline | International News

    Police investigating the heiress to the L'Oreal cosmetics fortune on allegations of tax evasion and illegal political donations detained four of her associates for questioning Thursday. The scandal has touched the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy after a former accountant for heiress Liliane Bettencourt said that envelopes of cash for the 2007 presidential campaign had been given to Eric Woerth, the treasurer of Sarkozy's party.

  • Faux French Foreign Ministry Explains Prank – The Lede Blog –

    [S]omeone impersonating a French government official announced this week that France would reimburse Haiti money it was forced to pay in exchange for its independence in the 19th century. The hoax announcement was made on a Web site,, that was designed to look almost identical to that of the French foreign ministry.