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France Travel News 08/31/2011

  • Bungee Jumping – The Joy of Falling

    The heart-stopping story of bungee jumping in France – IN FRENCH.

  • Conjoncture : La nouvelle vie des ampoules sur le Net

    Today marks the incandescent bulbs of 40 watts are officially withdrawn from sale in France. The planned withdrawal of such lamps began in 2009 with those of 100 watts or more and has continued since, for every 20 or 25 watts. They are now replaced by the linear lamps "low consumption".

  • Sarkozy took envelopes of cash from Liliane Bettencourt

    Liberation's front page will make unwelcome reading in the Elysee – they publish extracts from a book by the judge who worked on the Liliane Bettencourt case – including witness testimony saying Sarkozy received envelopes of cash from the billionaire. La Croix concentrates on shocking new statistics showing 1 French person in 7 lives under the poverty line – while Le Parisien's reporters have visited Alabama to look at what a bankrupt town looks like. Le Figaro concentrates on Libya – analysing why Algeria has agreed to take in the Gaddafi family.

  • MPs call for school textbook discussing homosexuality to be withrawn

    EIGHTY French MPs have called for a school textbook with a chapter discussing "sexual identity" to be withdrawn. The book, published by Hachette, provides information to lycée students on "becoming a man or a woman" and sexual orientation. MPs have written to the education ministry to complain about the controversial textbook. The letter made reference to a specific chapter explaining that even though our biological sex determines whether we are male or female, it does not necessarily mean that we should be classified as "masculine" or "feminine". The MPs reject the idea that sexual orientation is the result of the social and cultural environment.

  • Survey reveals low confidence in SNCF

    A SURVEY conducted by consumer watchdog CLCV has revealed high levels of discontent with the French rail network. The SNCF was criticised mainly for delays, prices and lack of information. Half of respondents had experienced regular delays and one in three found price information very vague. Prices were the main cause of disappointment as 87.1% of participants said that they were expensive. The recent fare increase in July did not help, but most critised what the CLCV said was a pricing "lottery". As many as 20 different fares can be quoted for the same journey, which is very confusing for passengers.

  • Charlemagne: Among the dinosaurs

    The oddity is that almost everywhere the European left is in decline. Among the large countries, Socialist parties rule only in Spain, where they look likely to lose November’s election. The only big place where the left has a good chance of returning to power is France, at next spring’s presidential election. Yet France’s Socialist Party also stands out as Europe’s most unreconstructed. Hence the contorted spectacle of a party preparing for power at a time when the markets are challenging its every orthodoxy.

  • Lost in the debris of our culture, a woman of valor

    How is it a woman can live for 98 years, be a war hero decorated by five countries (England, France, the United States, Australia and New Zealand), write a book about her experiences (“The White Mouse’’), have books written about her ( “Nancy Wake: A Biography of Our Greatest War Heroine,’’ Peter Fitzsimons; “Nancy Wake: SOE’s Greatest Heroine,’’ Russell Braddon), inspire a movie (’’Charlotte Gray,’’ starring Cate Blanchett), yet die unrecognized by a nation full of people who know the most trivial things about the most trivial people? (Think “Jersey Shore’s’’ Snooki.)

  • Google Reaches Deal With 2nd French Publisher

    A second French publisher has reached a deal on digital books with Google to settle a copyright lawsuit in exchange for control over how its out-of-print, copyright-protected works are scanned and sold. Such works account for the vast majority of the world’s books, and they are central to Google’s ambitions of creating a universal digital information repository. But its digitization project has prompted numerous lawsuits by publishers seeking to enforce their copyrights. On Thursday, the French publisher La Martinière said that it had agreed to split revenue from digital sales of these books with Google. The accord comes after a similar agreement between Google and Hachette Livre, the largest French publisher.

  • France’s tax musketeers have done the decent thing

    The day before the announcement of France's austerity budget, 16 prominent French CEOs have called for rich people like themselves to be taxed more. Call them "patriotic millionaires", as they do in the US, or simply responsible citizens, these tax musketeers want to help get France and Europe out of their economic misery. You might say that it is only fair and that those CEOs with stratospheric incomes and bonuses are actually one of the causes of the current financial problem the western world is facing. However, it is always nice when the rich do the decent thing. Parfum de scandal heiress Liliane Bettencourt of L'Oréal is even among the signatories. After being accused of evading taxes, it was high time she proved that France was, indeed, worth it.

  • The Culture Behind the Food

    Contributed significantly to Western cuisines, the criteria for French cooking has become a standard in American culinary schools. While a learned chef can absolutely create flavors and pairings within French standards, in Wilmington there is a host of authentic French chefs who have that natural je nais se quoi thanks to roots growing in and of the culture itself. Drawing inspiration from their hometowns, these restaurateurs have brought the art of French cuisine to our own culinary scene and in three different forms.

  • Many relieved, others outraged, that DSK rape charges dropped

    When the news first broke in May that former French finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn had been accused of raping a hotel maid in New York, shocked French politicians immediately suspected a trap. Conspiracy theories abounded, with some saying that opposing political parties had orchestrated the whole affair to preemptively bring down the front-runner for the French presidency. "There's a general feeling of a media, a judicial fury — of a lynching," Jack Lang, France's former minister of culture and education and a Socialist Party lawmaker, told Europe 1 radio May 17.

  • Serge Gainsbourg Biographical Film by Joann Sfar

    Mr. Gainsbourg, who died in 1991, is not your standard biopic subject. He is best remembered in the United States, if at all, for “Je T’Aime … Moi Non Plus,” recorded in 1969 with his girlfriend, the British actress Jane Birkin. But in France he is a towering culture hero whose American equivalent is impossible to conjure: a chain-smoking, alcohol-fueled singer-songwriter with the musical importance of Bob Dylan, the literary reach of Leonard Cohen, a chain of romantic conquests to rival Warren Beatty’s and the smutty, provocative persona of Howard Stern.

  • Entente cordi-ale for French brews at Peterborough Beer Festival

    FRENCH beers have hopped across the Channel and are proving a hit at the Peterborough Beer Festival. Le Brewery, in Normady, is the first producer to sell draught beer brewed outside the United Kingdom in the 34-year history of the festival. The firm is based in Joue-Du-Bois, in the middle of a national forest in Normandy, France. However, worried traditionalists need not worry too much – the brewery is owned by a former teacher from Peterborough.

  • Strike action by French Eurotunnel staf

    A NUMBER of unions representing workers at Eurotunnel have said strike action will take place on Saturday 27 August and Sunday 28 August, 2011. At present no information is available on the Eurotunnel website as to what passengers with tickets should do, although some tickets can still be booked for travel on Sunday. There is no information on the Eurostar website as to whether their services will be delayed