Understand France and the French

Op-Ed Columnist – Roger Cohen – France on Amphetamines – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com

A few decades back, when we were young, Joni Mitchell sang of “sitting in a park in Paris, France” but dreaming of California because “I wouldn’t want to stay here; it’s too old and cold and settled in its ways here.” ... All our friends saw Reagan era-like restructurings and firings as an immediate effect of a Sarkozy win, but even most leftists felt that a dose of tough love was necessary to bring the young and the unionists to their senses. ... , Sarkozy has circumvented the 35-hour week by slashing taxes on overtime, freed up universities, downsized the state functionary community (and mentality), spurred small businesses, cut public spending and set in motion a radical reform aimed at creating a 21st-century army.

General

‘Hyper-Chouette’ in France

I love it that their top celebrity is " BHL" as he is referred to in France, France's most visible public intellectual. ... Beautiful branding, logos, colors, matching decks and designed scenes, along with water sprays, a sandy beach, a nautical motif ship for the little kids, and a climbing wall for the older kids.

Food

French Toast: A Salute to Our Favorite Parisian Things for Bastille Day – a blog posting from SeattlePI.com

This short article in Seattlepi.com is a mixture of the definitions of five pastries (good for anyone afraid to point at what they are slobbering over) and then a mixture of five other things to love: Markets, Bakeries, La Duree, and something called "Bagels and Brownies." ... The posting is worth it to just get a quick reminder of beautiful and tasty pastries on every street corner, just a few thousand miles away. ... An iconic-looking pastry, the Religieuse is apparently named for its resemblance to a nun's habit, although we're not sure if there is any further religious association with its invention.
Travel with Kids

Velib rental bikes update

They are grey, ugly, and heavy, but there is nothing like like a ride down an empty Paris street in August to invigorate the soul and make you feel like you're in another age or time. ... The stations are only some 300 yards apart, and there are four times as many as there are subway stations, even in a city so well served by its metro system.

...Cost of the bikes, which are made in Hungary, is $3460 3 People have died in Velib accidents, a 7% increase over a year ago, but bike ridership is up 24% .

Books, Books on France, Travel

Bastille Day is Monday – Remember the Blue, White and Red!

If you happen to be in France this year for the 14th, or just have an interest in revolutions, here's a good "revolutionary" walking tour that starts in our favorite neighborhood and ends at the Madeleine. ... Start your tour in Rue St André-des-Arts, which remains as narrow and dense as it was at the time of the Revolution This year, as you will have noticed, is the 40th anniversary of 1968. ... So let us ignore 1968 and turn instead to the real French Revolution, the one of 1789: the one that overthrew an absolute monarchy, turned France upside down and set the template for revolutions (and totalitarianism) to come.

General

Eating Out with Kids

This is the time of the year when our friends call us for tips on travel, especially on eating out with kids. Basically how to continue to have some semblance of the good life they used to have B.C. (before children). Especially for the foodies. It is possible. It's not true that children are second class in Paris compared to…read more