In the News

Health and Safety, In the News

France wants to sell millions of surplus flu shots – they can send 4 directly to our house!

We haven't gotten any shots out here in far-flung San Francisco, so we've been waiting anxiously for a wave of swinish flu to break over our shores. So far, lot's of other childhood coughs and sniffles, but no porcine fevers. However, to be on the safe side, and be four more defense links in the chain, I'd love to get us all innoculated. ... France wants to sell millions of surplus flu shots PARIS Sun Jan 3, 2010 PARIS (Reuters) - France is looking to sell millions of surplus vaccines for the H1N1 flu strain after ordering many more shots than it actually needed, officials said on Sunday. [From France wants to sell millions of surplus flu shots | Reuters ]

In the News, Museums and Monuments

UPDATE: Most Paris Museums Reopen After Strike

As reported in NYT, PARIS | Nearly all of France’s main museums and monuments were open to the public on Wednesday, including the Louvre, after a museum workers’ strike had shut their doors. The Musée d’Orsay was also open, with protesters blocking access to ticket booths. At Versailles, the royal apartments and temporary exhibitions were open at full price, though some rooms, like the Dauphin apartments, were closed. The Pompidou Center, the Arc de Triomphe and the Château de Compiègne remain closed.

... I hope the strike at gave some tourists motivation to see some of the "second tier" museums in Paris, many of which we would build a temple around if they were in the U.S.

In the News, Museums and Monuments

Alert 12/2/09: Many Paris museums closed due to strike

PARIS — On a gray, drizzly day just made for a Paris museum visit, workers at the city's premier art institutions went on strike Wednesday, leaving tourists out in the cold and some residents worried about the image that France projects. The Pompidou Center modern art museum and the Musee d'Orsay, with its famed paintings by the Impressionists, were closed Wednesday after workers angry over a government cost-cutting measure voted to strike. Workers at the Louvre, the crown jewel of Paris museums, also voted to strike, but by midmorning parts of the sprawling complex had been opened to visitors. The museum reduced its euro9 ($13.50) to euro6 ($9.00) for the day. [From The Associated Press: Many Paris museums closed due to strike ]

In the News, Understand France and the French

Sarkozy, the Left and the reburial of Camus at the Pantheon

Imagine a conservative President in the United States embracing a leftist intellectual figure (or several) in order to burnish his own intellectual credentials and position himself as a worthy heir to the 20th Century intellectual tradition of France. ... Given the Panthéon's function as the final repose for France's greatest heroes, it's perhaps not surprising that efforts are now afoot to relocate the ashes of writer and philosopher Albert Camus to a site beneath the 18th century Paris building's cupola. ... President Nicolas Sarkozy said last week that he wanted to add Camus to the giants of French history who are buried at the Panthéon — figures like Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola and Louis Pasteur — as a way of revering an author whose defense of the downtrodden and veneration of the individual over the oppressive forces of society earned him fame and respect around the globe. But the announcement outraged Camus' son, Jean, who saw a motivation of a different sort — an attempt by Sarkozy to "requisition" the legacy of a ferociously independent thinker who has long been a hero of the intellectual left.

...As for myself, as a long long time fan and student of Camus, I think anything that keeps the memory of this thinking and work alive in the minds of the French and foreigners is a good thing.

Food, In the News, Museums and Monuments, Restaurants

McDonald’s restaurant to be placed inside food court at Carrousel du Louvre

The first is that the Louvre, in a situation they can't control, will have to co-exist with the odeurs of a MacDo in its midst. ... PARIS — French culture and American convenience will come together in December — thanks to plans by the McDonald’s restaurant chain to hang its shingle in the shadow of the Louvre. ... The McDonald’s will be installed in the food court of the underground mall adjoining the museum, known as the Carrousel du Louvre, as the fast food chain fetes its 30th anniversary in France, McDonald’s France said.

Culture, Economy and Exchange rates, In the News

New law on store openings on Sunday meant to woo US tourists

I can't imagine the fact that stores are closed on Sunday to be a reason not to stay an extra day in Paris, but I guess some people must be shopping all the time. As a student, I resented the Sunday closings because it just meant so much more to pack into a Saturday, but now I treasure the idea of one day where everyone is forced to really take the day off. ... TV, of course has ruined some of that nothing-to-do feeling already, but it's more than a bit sad to see the French put one more nail in the coffin of true leisure, which many of us has felt was at the very core of spending time in Europe.

In the News

Contador wins 2009 Tour de France, Armstrong takes third

From what I've read about Armstrong, I doubt if he's happy "just to be in it," but still for us over 40 or 50, it's still amazing to see these guys get so close, even if they don't take away the final trophy. I'm sure in France, older French men were cheering for Lance this year, even if he had to pop little blue pills to make it to the finish. ... The 26-year-old Contador outdueled Luxembourg's Andy Schleck and seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong, who finished third in his comeback after four years away from the race.

In the News, Travel with Kids

Things to do in Paris on July 4 – The annual Paris Treasure Hunt

Sitting in my office in San Francisco, I feel smug that I already had Clue 1 (below) for the 6th figured out without leaving my chair. I wish we could be there for this.200906290951.jpg   On July 4th, the 4th annual Paris Treasure Hunt will take residents and visitors alike on a day-long quest through the streets of Paris. ... Each district has its own quest and a variety of “enigmas” - the story that leads you along the path - to put people on different paths to the finish line.