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France Travel News 12/29/2010

  • Train across France completes ‘hell on wheels’ journey

    A night train on France's famed SNCF rail network arrived 13 hours late after a series of unfortunate events delayed its journey across the country. The fate of the 4295 train and its 600 passengers, travelling from Strasbourg in the north-east to the Spanish border at Portbou, made national headlines. Bad weather, a late driver, a bad engine, a blockage on the line and disruptive drunks all played a part.

  • Truths about sparkling wine bubble to the surface

    We tend to call any sparkling wine "champagne," a tribute to the region that even today defines the genre. But that's unfair, not only to the makers of true champagne, who deserve the right to protect their product's image, but also to producers elsewhere, by denying their sparkling wines their own character and identity.

  • First Lady Carla Bruni is voted France’s most irritating celebrity… and her husband doesn’t do much better

    First Lady Carla Bruni has been voted France's most irritating celebrity in a nationwide poll of 2010's most annoying people. And her husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, is one of France's most irritating politicians, the study found. Ms Bruni topped the list of media personalities at got on French people's nerves, with 52 per cent of people saying they found her presence 'highly grating'.

  • Brazil orders Air France to pay compensation to crash families

    A Brazilian court has ordered Air France to pay 540,000 euros to relatives of a Brazilian family that died in the June 2009 accident of a flight from Rio to Paris. More than 200 people died in the crash.

  • Discover the Most Beautiful Villages in France

    With its excellence in selling itself, the French encourage visitors to enjoy some of France's most elegant and photogenic villages. Highlighting villages with populations of less than 2000 people that boast at least two historic monuments or sites and striking architecture, unique culture or natural beauty, an initial book published in the early 1980s led to an association of around 150 villages that proudly call themselves The Most Beautiful Villages in France.

  • C’est quoi une disquette ?

    You don't need to know French to watch this hilarious video of little kids being made to guess the functions of such ancient technology as floppy disks and 8-track players. Note: some ads on this otherwise friendly site NSFW)

  • French Village Wants Army to Keep Apocalyptic UFO Weirdos Away

    The tiny farming village of Bugarach, in southwestern France, is home to 189 people. But lately it has been overrun with crystal-toting tourists looking for aliens, and many locals aren't so happy. Most of the visitors believe that when the Apocalypse comes in December 2012 the mountain, Pic de Bugarach — which is currently an "alien garage" — will be spared the fiery, miserable fate of the rest of the earth.

  • The markets of Montpellier — C’est Christine

    This is a guest post I did for a blogger friend who used to live in Nice. Get your market on!

  • Secret cocktail events in Paris, blue attire required

    Residents and visitors to the Italian town of Ferrara may be able to enjoy its secret, pop-up Street Dinner events on occasion, but French consumers can enjoy something similar every month. Specifically, Les Terrasses Bleues holds a free gathering for drinks each month for a select group of invited guests.

  • In Paris, public fountain serves up sparkling water

    The French are among the world's top consumers of bottled water, taking in an average of 128 litres each in 2009, according to a recent report on Reuters. Presumably with the resulting 262,000 tonnes of plastic waste in mind, Eau de Paris — the city's public water company — recently set up a new water fountain that dispenses sparkling water.

  • Hostages freed as siege ends at French nursery

    French police have ended a hostage siege at a nursery school after a youth armed with two swords released four children and their teacher. Earlier on Monday he had taken about 20 children hostage at the nursery in the eastern city of Besancon, but most were released as police moved in. The 17-year-old youth was arrested by police. His motives are not yet clear. French media say the teenager is known to be suffering from depression.