Local traditions and culture in France

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    Tour de France bicycle race

    by gwened Updated Jun 21, 2015

    Well In 2013 it passed by Versailles and now in 2015 it will pass by Vannes so close up adventures to follow, enjoy the race.

    The story of the most famous bicycle race n the world and a national past time enjoy by members of my family here that goes out to meet the tour. I have been with four rendevous so would to encourage all to see along the beautiful roads of France. This is the story:

    Around two thousand people swirled around the Inn Au Reveil Matin (the alarm clock) on July 1, 1903, at the 15:16 pm at Montgeron, 20 km from Paris. Sixty cyclists would start a tour by bicycle throughout entire France: 19 days to traverse the hexagon on the French map, in six stages, 2,428 km by unpaved roads, with machines around the twenty kilos of weight (more tools and food-filled bags), with a single fixed-gear, without possibility of change of bike, or receiving mechanical assistance or refreshment in career. The current Paris-Dakar Riete.Little more than one century ago, the French count Mede de Sivrac had invented in 1790 celerifero, with wheels of wood, without pedals. And was only fourteen years since it will host the first road test that record: London-Brighton, 96 km. won English Charlie Spencer, who completed the course in just over six hours, to 15 km/h.As always: the English invented the sport and the French make it reach all over the world. The first big race, of course, was held in France, in 1890: Paris-Brest-Paris, 1,620 miles nonstop. 575 Cyclists came out, reached four. Charles Terrot, Victor, took 71 hours.

    Then they'll come, among others, the Bordeaux (1891) and Paris-Roubaix (1896), races organized Pierre Griffard, director of Le Velo (bike), magazine specialising in cycling, with pages in green, which already published 80,000 copies at that time.

    Their advertising rates seemed an abuse to Gustave-Adolphe Clément, bicycle manufacturer, who persuaded the brothers Edouard and André Michelin to co-sponsor another magazine: L'Auto-Vélo, with yellow pages. They hired as administrator Victor Goddet (father of Jacques Goddet, then director of the Tour) and as director of the publication to Henri Desgrange, exciclista, journalist and director of the Parc des Princes velodrome.Griffard won the lawsuit and the new magazine had to remove from its headwaters the word veil, to stay only in l'Auto (in 1946 would become L'Equipe). It was a setback for the new publication that needed a bombshell to survive.On November 20, 1902, at coffee Zimmer (then Restaurant Madrid and now T.G.I. Friday's), in the Montmartre Boulevard in Paris, Henri Desgrange met a young 23-year-old journalist, Geo Léfevre, which you had hinted at the possibility of doing a cycling race around France. Lefevre has in his memoirs that his idea seemed to him senseless when Desgrange asked him if had been the economic cost, huge distances, control of runners, the refreshment at finish line.

    However, Desgrange decided to go ahead. He consulted with Victor Goddet and 16 February announcing career in l'Auto: "the Tour de France. The largest sports event". It was played from May 31 to July 5. But within a week of the close of registration have had only targeted fifteen cyclists. Desgrange lowered the fee of twenty to ten francs, created a diet of five francs per day for the first 50 who finished the test, increased the awards up to a total of 20,000 francs, reduced the distance and duration of three to four weeks, and postponed the beginning July 1, to finish 19th of the same month. Desgrange was raised that if fifty cyclists are not enlisting test would be suspended.Finally signed up 78 cyclists, which would start from 60 to 2,428 km in six stages, with home in Paris and goals in Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes and final at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Sixties would become 21 to the final goal. The best was Maurice Garin, born in Aviers (Italy), but nationalized French. He completed the journey in 94 hours, 33 minutes and 14 seconds, with an average of 26,450 km/h, and excelled to the runner-up, René Pottier, in almost three hours (2 h 59:21).GEO Léfevre was the only journalist to career. He was going to exit, took the train to get off halfway through stage one of the controls, assisted by collaborators of L'Auto, in which cyclists pounced to take the only pencil, sign before everyone else and restart the March, and had to be at the finish line, it was also the timekeeper. And then sent his Chronicles, in which described the plight of cyclists by dusty roads, night and day, thousand incidents that were submitted. It had only two employees, one that came out the day before to set controls and another that is responsible for giving the green light output and in goal.

    The race was a success from the start. In all cities, crowds thronged to see the arrival of cyclists. L'Auto went from selling 20,000 copies, to 65,000 and over the years was increasing its circulation to the 850,000 in 1933. Magazine thumped her veil and neither they endured competition sports publications that came out after (L' élan and Le Sport). L'Equipe remains the only sports daily of France, the largest circulation, including general information.The Tour reaches this year its Edition number one hundred (was suspended ten years because of the two world wars). Today, more than five thousand people make up the caravan of the race, including organization, equipments, journalists and advertising Caravan. More than seven million congregate in the ditches along the Tour and countless which sit before the TV for more than two hundred countries that is retransmitted.
    The spectacular nature of the race, has become of one of the greatest sports phenomena around the world.

    Depart Versailles 2013 Tour de France
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    Grands Sites of France

    by gwened Written Jun 4, 2015

    This is another non profit organisation sponsored by the many government agencies to foster the best places of France. It welcome near 32 millions visitors. All from the initial 17 Grands Sites that were created in 2000, and now has 41 in 2015.

    They have offices in 9 rue Moncey 75009 PARIS Tél : 01 48 74 39 29 Fax : 01 49 95 01 87 and home office at Réseau des Grands Sites de France - Le Grand Pré 71960 SOLUTRÉ-POUILLY. The sites are of France and registered as a brand from 2003 and oversee by the Ministère en charge de l'Écologie (ministry of ecology). The logo (official photo) has been created by the law of the environment of July 12 2010.

    A way to see the France with environment in mind, and wonderful places off the beaten track too. Many as known to all as Carcassonne and others less known such as Aven d'Orgnac,located in the Gorges de l'Ardèche,underground natural site with four kms of galleries with huge spaces .

    Enjoy France, it has so much to offer, we need a lifetime and more to see it all

    I have it in the flip out in link, and you can see the sites on the left column, click and will give you more info in English too !

    Official logo of the organisation to look for it
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    Sacred Destinations of France

    by gwened Written Jun 3, 2015

    Sacred usually deals with religious places and areas of worship to many. France is loaded with that.
    There is even a webpage dedicated to it and other countries, not all included but many nice ones I like. Sacred Destinations is an educational and travel resource founded in April 2005.

    I have the link on France. The ones they have are a must see lineup of stars.

    The cities are Arles, Autun, Avignon, Caen, Chartres, Clermont-Ferrand, Colmar, Le Puy, Lourdesn
    Lyon, Narbonne, Paris, Poitiers, Rouen, Toulouse, Tours, Vaison-la-Romaine, and Vézelay.

    And some of the showcase places per town are in order with towns above, St-Trophime, Autun Cathedral and Temple of Janus, Palais des Popes, and Avignon Cathedral, Caen memorial and Abbaye aux Hommes, Chartres Cathedral, Church Notre Dame du Port and Clermont Cathedral, Church of St Martin in Colmar, Chapel St Michel d'Aiguilhe and Le Puy Cathedral, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Grotto of Massabielle, Basilica of the Rosary, and House of St. Bernadette all in Lourdes, Mosquée de Lyon, and Amphithéatre des Trois Gaules in Lyon, Basilica of St. Paul Serge, and Narbonne Cathedral; Church St-Germain-Des-Prés and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Poitiers Baptistery and Notre-Dame-La-Grande ; St-Maclou Church, St-Ouen, and Rouen Cathedral at Rouen; St. Sernin Basilica at Toulouse; Tours Cathedral and Basilica of St. Martin ; Vaison-La-Romaine Cathedral and Chapelle St-Quenin ; and finally but not least Vézelay Abbey .

    Notre Dame Cathedral Paris
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    Imperial cities of France

    by gwened Written Jun 3, 2015

    This is a joint association of all towns in France that had an imprint on the life of Napoléon 1er and Napoléon III. It dates from 2011 after the city of Rueil-Malmaison took the initiative.

    The cities and their dept number are
    Compiègne (60)
    Fontainebleau (77)
    Rueil-Malmaison (92)
    Saint-Leu-la Forêt (95)
    Saint-Cloud (92)
    Autun (71)
    Montereau-Fault-Yonne (77)
    Brienne-le-Château (10)

    more here

    They are all explained in detail in the link provided in contact here.

    Also, an official Imperial site concerning the heritage and amateurs of the Empire is here

    For an amateur of history and architecture associated with them and very much involved with many of the castles here I can only recommend a tour of these cities, make it an Imperial vacation to France!

    Chateau de Malmaison, Rueil-Malmaison
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    France is changing the map of it

    by gwened Written Jan 23, 2015

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    well wish did not have to write this but France is going full ahead with the idea of reducing the régions again from the current 22 to 13 by January 2016. So VT prepare, and as I have the 22 régions in my pages will need a major rework!!!

    The idea of the Republic erasing all the history of the treasure and traditions of France is worrisome, and it seems the more and more we will have less identity with these régions. How many times we are ask what are the popular traditional things from a region only to be told like from me, there is really not one, for example the much beloved Pays de la Loire often confuse with the castles is not and was created only in 1955!

    Now they are doing it again, reducing from the current 22 to 13; Council of the departments or Conseil départementaux will be done by 2020. The Assamblée National or house voted on it and now the Senat or senate ratified. Just needs the naming of the new capitals and so far only one is chosen as Strasbourg for the new region including Alsace, Lorraine, and Champagne-Ardennes, and only because it has the most opposition to these changes.

    The idea is to reduce government costs, as of now France has 101 départements, 36 700 towns, 22 régions ,and 2 600 intercommunity grouping or agglo areas

    These régions will remain the same Bretagne( yes but we will like to join the historic Bretagne with the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 Nantes), Centre (will be kept the same in area but rename "Centre-Val de Loire" to make sure you know where the castles are::), Corse, Île-de-France (Paris, Versailles, Fontainebleau), Pays de la Loire (Nantes), and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur or PACA.

    Those that will be merge and change will be (Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine), ( Aquitaine, Limousin, Poitou-Charentes), (Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes), (Bourgogne and France-Comté), (Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées), ( Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardie), (Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie). Clearly the big winners will be a united Normandy!

    The names of these new régions are not yet determine. The ultimate name will be decided after a period of notice by the Regional Council from the regional elections of December 2015. A decree into law by the Council of State will be needed before July 1, 2016.

    For the new capital cities of these new régions, still undecided it will mean the following sequence: They will have a temporary name done by decree before December 31 2015. This decree will take into account the recommendation of the Municipal Council of the towns in question and the regional councils in demand. The recommendation of the regional Council will be given in consultation with the economic Council,social and environment regional councils and after consultation with the representatives of the grouping of metro areas of the territories in question, consular organisms and Professional organisations. The capital that will be designated will be fix by a decree of the Council of State before July 1st 2015 after the advise of the regional councils that comes out from the regional elections of December 2015.

    It will surely be a year of strikes as there is some against these groupings and economic questions arise as well.
    Stay tune as this tip can be expanded ,and updated and eventually left for the history books ::) Maps courtesy of Les Echos business journal in France.

    the new map of France for January 2016 How the agglo areas will look after 2016.
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    The beers of France and drinking here

    by gwened Updated Jan 11, 2015

    Its not really a beer drinking country and most of the best is imported from nearby countries, the beers of France are almost 90% produced by big breweries. The two World Wars really damaged the local breweries causing concentration that really took off from 1945 onward. There are now about 650 breweries in France with a mix Outlook in 2014 onwards on consumption.

    Currently, the main beer-producing région of France are in the area of Strasbourg. These include those of Fischer, Karlsbräu, Kronenbourg, and Heineken International. Hops are grown in Kochersberg and in northern Alsace. There you have the Adelshoff brewery on Schiltigheim, founded in 1864.

    The next concentration is in the nord or flemish areas of France bordering Belgium. Pelforth is a French brewery founded in 1914 in Mons-en-Barœul. It was bought by Français de Brasserie in 1986, which was acquired by Heineken International in 1988. There are a number of small breweries in the area, mostly brewing long ageing beers as Bière de Garde. La Choulotte and Les Brasseurs de Gayant brew Abbey beers among other styles. Brasserie de Saint-Sylvestre brews seasonal beers as well as Bière de Garde; the Terken brewey does likewise. The original Trois Brasseurs ("Three Brewers") brewpub is in Lille (see tip in Lille Nord).

    Next comes where I live now, Brittany with a long beer brewing tradition, tracing its roots back to the 17C. Young artisanal brewers such as Coreff de Morlaix. Brasserie Lancelot at Le Roc Saint André , produces a number of specialities, including Telenn Du, a beer made, like Breton pancakes, from buckwheat, and many others like Lancelot and Duchesse Anne triple.

    Some well known French beers are
    Jenlain, Ambrée ,Blonde
    Kronenbourg, 1664
    Heineken (France), Edelweiss
    Pelforth, Blonde ,Brune
    Saint-Omer, Bière Bock
    St. Sylvestre, 3 Monts
    Britt blonde
    Lancelot blonde
    Gambrinus blonde, brune

    There is a great map (google style) displaying the main beers in France here

    You have another perso work that list most of the breweries in France here

    and more work here just click on the name and takes you into more info of the brand

    and last in French too of the listing of breweries in France

    Having said that, most of the beer that we consume is from Germany or Belgium here. There are very popular especially the Belgians and are available everywhere. Some of these are
    Stella Artois
    as well as sometimes a Corona, Heneiken, San Miguel, Desperado, Skol,and those in the pictures are the latest try and it never ends lol!

    better real cold !! great with a choucroute ::)

    choices we have choices!! Paulaner M��nchner Hell blonde Pecheresse, lemony flavor Blanche de neige or snowwhite K��stritzer brune ,dark

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    Easter in France

    by gwened Updated Jan 7, 2015

    The important date of Easter celebrating Jesus resurrection is held big in France, a historical Catholic country. Happy Easter or Joyeuses Pâques!!

    The date change a bit as it is from the first Sunday after the full moon following the 21 March on the Gregorian calendar. This year as I write is held on Sunday April 5. We do get the Monday april 6th off too. 2015.

    In France , the bells are made silent during Holy Thursday so that they sound during the two following days. During Lent, it fails to sing the glory to God, as a sign of penance. Then, play when comes the Easter Vigil, is ringing bells to express the joy that was out of penance while we sing. In France in the region of Alsace and the Moselle department as well as in Martinique, French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Réunion, Easter Monday is accompanied by other holiday: "Karfreitag", or Friday. Easter looks like Christmas and it is not uncommon that people offer gifts between them on this occasion.In Alsace , it manufactures a biscuit in the shape of lamb called Osterlammele or Lamala. This Catholic Alsatian tradition of the Lammele is attested by the Catholic theologian Thomas Murner in 1519: the fiancé offered a Paschal lamb to its promise. It is also offered to children at the back of the mass of Easter day. After the time of lent, this egg-rich biscuit was used to drain the accumulated before Easter eggs stock and whose consumption was discouraged, waiting for Easter.
    The Easter egg became a symbol of the resurrection. It also marks the end of the hardships imposed by the lent.
    The first painted eggs appear in the 13C in Europe. They are often painted red - referring to the blood of Christ - and adorned with drawings or currency. The Renaissance, in the Royal courts, hen eggs are replaced with eggs in gold. Decorated with precious metals, precious stones and paintings by famous artists, these objects have their peak at the Court of Russia, including the eggs of the jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé.

    In some French regions, it is explained to children that they are the bells ringing that provide Easter eggs. In fact, if we enter the bells in this legend of Easter for the youngest, it is because they play a special role. So, just before Easter, upon on Holy Thursday, the bells of the Catholic churches must be in silent mourning. For children, it has long told that the bells were parties to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. A less repeated legend today. The bells are recovering in activity and ringing again on the night of Saturday to Sunday from Easter to celebrate and announce the resurrection of Christ. The bells 'return" so for Easter, and, according to legend told to children in certain regions, they brought the eggs, they led the way.

    Its a time to spend with families, and do the famous Easter bunny hunt with the younger ones, at work, families were getting out early Friday to do the shopping. The roads are heavy and trucks are not alllowed in cities, millions hit the road to find their families and spent the weekend together. We exchange gifts I have my France Football/soccer federation cup full of bunnies and chocolates, Easter eggs decorated with surprises Inside for the rest, and a big meal with rabbit in a mustard sauce! and of course good wine from the Médoc/Bordeaux.

    The Catholic Church page on Easter in French

    Easter eggs and figurines !!! the wonderful strawberry cake done by the house the great chocolates of monbana for Easter the ap��ritif of porto red and the family movie, English is Frozen,the title
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    Galette des rois ,France

    by gwened Written Jan 4, 2015

    This is all over France, and it is something we follow religiously.
    Tradition has it that it is the opportunity to 'shoot the Kings' to the epiphany: a bean is hidden in the cake and the person who gets the bean becomes the King of the day and has the right to wear a Crown of fantasy. In the commercial circuit, in the second half of the 20C, bakers provide with the galette a golden crown in recyclable paper carton.Traditionally we keep the small porcelain stone figurines from year to year to hide in the galette and given to the baker to do so for us. It is the youngest of the guests, hidden under the table, which decides on the distribution of the shares.

    In our private life the French, Legrand writing as early as 1311, it questioned a pastry cake in a Charter of Robert II de Fouilloy, Bishop of Amiens. Often, it was paid seigneurial dues with a cake of this kind. Thus, annually, at Fontainebleau, may 1, forest officers gathered at a place called «the table of the King», and there, all officers or vassals who could take to the forest for wood , and there to graze their flocks, came to pay tribute and pay their fees. The newlyweds of the year, residents of some districts of the city and those of a whole Parish were all for a cake. Similarly, when the King was in their city, the Burghers of Amiens were required to submit a cake.

    The origins of this goes back during the Saturnalia (Roman festivals on the end of the month of December and the beginning of January), the Romans selected a slave as "King for a day". The Saturnalia were indeed a celebration of role reversal in order to thwart the adverse days of Saturn, Chthonic deity. During the banquet (at the beginning or at the end of the Saturnalia, according to different eras of ancient Rome) in each grand family, the Romans used the bean in a cake as "voting rights" to elect the "Saturnalicius princesses" (master of the Saturnalia or King of the disorder). This allowed to strengthen the domestic affections and empowered the "King for a day" to fulfill all his desires during the day (as to give orders to his master) before being put to death, or more probably to return to his servile life at the end of it. To ensure a random distribution of parts of the cake or galette, it was the custom that the youngest is placed under the table and named the beneficiary of the share which was designated by the person responsible for the service (which is the use still today of the reversal of the roles or "draw the Kings".

    In the kingdom of France, that was then divided in language of oc where always was a cake of the Kings (varied dough recipe following regions: flamusse of Bresse, the Périgord patissous, hull of Kings stew, Kingdom of the cevennes, garfou of Bearn, goumeau of Franche Comté, etc.) and language of oïl where is preparing as early as the 15C a shortbread dessert stuffed with almond cream which later became a named yeast gorenflot dough.It took a push during the reign of Louix XIV, and what we have today its the galette (more frangipane cream puff pastry) appeared in the 17C, Anne of Austria and her young son Louis XIV in shared a la eve of Epiphany of 1650.

    marmiton is one of our favorite sites for cuisine done at home, its in French but it can be translated elsewhere in Google or bing.

    it goes well with a sweet or semi sweet wine from Monbazillac, Bergerac, as with us, followed by a good chicoree, coffee or tea.

    And if by Paris some of the best in 2015 there are :
    Galette agrumes & anis Dominique Saibron. 77, avenue du Général Leclerc, XIVe. Tél.: 01 43 35 01 07. Available from Dec 26 to Jan 31 2015.
    Galette Chocolat Rêve Arnaud Larher. 53, rue Caulaincourt, XVIIIe. Tél.: 01 42 57 68 08 .Available from Jan 2nd 2015.
    Galette Infiniment Citron Pierre Hermé. 72, rue Bonaparte, VIe. Tél.: 01 43 54 47 77. Available from Jan 2 to 18, 2015.
    Galette des rois Eugène. 11, rue Guillaume Tell, XVIIe. Tél.: 01 42 27 65 24.
    Galette Ananas Coco at classic Fauchon.24/26, Place de la Madeleine, VIIIe. Tél.: 01 70 39 38 00. Available from Jan 2 2015
    . http://www.fauchon.com/fr/galette-ananas.html

    our local galette des rois Bergerac moelleux sweet wine
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    New Year in France

    by gwened Updated Dec 31, 2014

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    This is a festive day and lots of parties all over, the roads are heavy and a bit dangerous so we have opted in the last few years to stay home.

    The smaller towns like where I live now there is not much than some association doing their own thing in a Church or hall, while in the big cities there are célébrations on the Streets. The event is known here as the jour des étrennes or given a small gift to people around you friends, Neighbors and family. In the Merovégian period it was done in March 1st, with Charlemagna it was the day of Christmas ,and the Capetians rulers gave it the day of Easter. Finally it was the king Charles VII who designated the day as January 1 in 1564. Today is the day of Saint Sylvester and many towns do a jogging /running event as well.

    The main one is Paris and for the first time since 1981, there is a video reflection on the Arc de Triomphe in the ave Champs Elysées. This is organised from 23h30 by the merchant association group Comité des Champs-Elysées. The public transport are free from Métros, bus, trams and RER from 17h Dec 31st to midday on Jan 1st 2015. Metro will run to 02h15 but will not stop at alll stations so check the site RATP, after 02h15 ,the lines 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 ,and 14 will not run

    The metro lines that will be working are:
    Line 1 : Bastille, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, Château de Vincennes, Châtelet, Concorde, Franklin D.Roosevelt, Gare de Lyon, George V, La Défense Grande-Arche, Nation, Pont de Neuilly, Porte Maillot.
    Line 2 : Anvers, Barbès-Rochechouart, Belleville, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, La Chapelle, Nation, Père Lachaise, Pigalle, Place Clichy, Porte Dauphine.
    - Line 4 : Barbès-Rochechouart, Châtelet, Denfert-Rochereau, Gare de l’Est, Gare du Nord, Les Halles, Mairie de Montrouge, Montparnasse, Porte de Clignancourt, Porte d’Orléans, Saint-Michel, Strasbourg-Saint-Denis.
    - Line 6 : Bercy, Bir-Hakeim, Boissière, Cambronne, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, Denfert-Rochereau, Kléber, La Motte Picquet-Grenelle, Montparnasse, Nation, Place d’Italie, Trocadéro.
    - Line 9 : Alma-Marceau, Franklin D.Roosevelt, Grands-Boulevards, Havre-Caumartin, La Muette, Mairie de Montreuil, Nation, Oberkampf, Pont de Sèvres, Porte de Montreuil, Porte de Saint-Cloud, Saint-Augustin, Strasbourg-Saint-Denis, Trocadéro.
    - Line 14 : Bercy, Bibliothèque-François Mitterrand, Châtelet, Cour Saint-Emilion, Gare de Lyon, Madeleine, Olympiades, Pyramides, Saint-Lazare.

    The trains will be running every 15 minutes, and night bus service Noctilien, in service from 0h30 to 5h30,will be adapted this night according to need and volume of people. The lines of the beltway N01 and N02, and the traverse lines N11 toÌ N16 will not be working. The lines terminus at Chatelet will be moved to N21/ N122 Gare Montparnasse, N22 to Place d’Italie, N23 to Gare de l’Est, N24 to Gare Saint-Lazare. The terminus to the Gare de l’Est will be change as well ,the N144 to Gare de Lyon ,and the N145 to Gare Montparnasse

    Again check RATP or Transilien service link as on different years it may change.

    Some of the places by district are
    PARIS 1er
    •New-Year Party au Blok Paris, 31 Dec
    •Réveillon new year 2015, Spécial Back To The 90’s, at 1979 with Grand Réveillon Groove Spécial Back To The 90's.
    PARIS 2e
    •American New Year's Eve 2015 at Players Bar
    31 décembre 2014.
    •Anti-Crise New Year 2015 at Bizen, 31 Dec Anti-Crise New Year 2015.
    PARIS 5e
    •Petit Réveillon 2015 at Péniche Henjo
    •Crazy New Year 2015 at Roméo Club
    PARIS 6e
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at the Alcazar Club
    PARIS 7e
    •« Boat Party 2015 » at the boat peniche Concorde Atlantique
    PARIS 8e
    •Bal Masqué chez Régine, mascarade party
    •Le Réveillon for those over 30 at the Pink Paradise
    •Le Réveillon "Désirs" at Crazy Horse cabaret with caviar and champagne !
    •« Opération Séduction » at Showcase
    •VIP New Year « Champs-Elysées » 2015 at Planches
    •Réveillon du nouvel an 2015 at club MadaM
    •« Champs-Elysées » New Year’s Eve 2015 at Hobo
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at Zig Zag Club with several artists including Jérôme Pacman. A night of From Disco to House!
    PARIS 9e
    •Ultimate VIP New year 2015 at Club Haussmann
    •Le Réveillon of the 80's at Bus Palladium
    •Night Fever 2015 at the Palace
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at Hard Rock Cafe Paris
    PARIS 10e
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at concert hall New Morning
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at Belushi's bar with a Full Moon Party
    •Génération 80-90 at Globo
    •Réveillon Electro Swing at La Java
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at Bizz'Art Club
    •One More : Lola ED Takeover at Rex Club
    PARIS 11e
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at Tribar
    •The Magnificient 2015 at the La Favela Chic
    PARIS 12e
    •Le Plus Gros Jour de l'An de France 2015 or the biggest day of the year in France at La Chesnaie du Roi
    •American Borderline in the island île du Chalet de la Porte Jaune with more than 1400 partygoers!
    •Playboy Official New Year on the island île du Chalet de la Porte Jaune, the most sexy night
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at Bateau Les Flots
    •Un Réveillon 2015 at the Baraque
    •Happy New Tropical Night Fever 2015 at the Péniche L’évènement
    •Réveillon 2015 Royal at the Salons Vianey
    PARIS 13e
    •Réveillon 100% Latino at the Nix Nox
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at Wanderlust with the mixes of Robert Owens, Dactylo, Sven Love or Richie Reach.
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at Petit Bain, the team of La Blogothèque are back from 22h
    PARIS 15e
    •BIG Party at Back Up
    •Boat Réveillon Party at (boat peniche) Bateau Louisiane Belle
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at Brasil Tropical
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 on the boat Péniche Maxim's
    •Famous New Year Party at the Red Light
    •Réveillon at the 7ème ciel
    •Rooftop New Year's Eve 2015 at the Electric
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at Tout le Monde en Parle
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 on the boats Tivano and Mistral
    PARIS 16e
    •"Aquarium’s New Year Tour Eiffel"
    •Réveillon New Year 2015 at the Manoir de Bagatelle in the Jardins de Bagatelle
    •Mon Incroyable Réveillon 2015 at River’s King
    •Le réveillon électro 2015 from the new label « Special » by the Art Department, Davide Squillace or The Mekanism.
    PARIS 17e
    •Wonderful New Year 2015 at Palais Maillot
    PARIS 20e
    •Nouvel An Swing 2015 at La Bellevilloise

    Paris is by far the best for these sort of things, an international city remove from French traditions per se; the places above can be found in internet and they are usually the same every year but need to check first.

    Other major towns have ones but in lesser force and smaller. Mostly associated with hôtels or upscale properties. Some of these cities are Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille,Montpellier,Nantes, Orléans, Rennes,Strasbourg, and Toulouse.
    You can change the city of Paris link in helpful resources to English but in French will give more info.

    So come and party if you like, and be merrier , Happy New Year, or Bonne Année, Meilleurs Vœux à tous.

    and of course Christmas chalets continues Line up at home and the apero will be long ! French can can dance on popular TV prog here
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    Christmas markets in France

    by gwened Updated Dec 31, 2014

    on arriving on the season to be merrier Christmas, lets see how the Christmas market have taken off here.

    As most know, the famous one at Strasbourg which this year will have more than 2 millions visitors and oldest is a dandy worldwide. However, France has the second most Christmas markets in the world according to the Le Parisien newspaper article that got me started on this tip.

    From Avignon, Toulouse, Nice, Paris, Le Havre, Arras, Metz, all over they are wonderful to be in. This year our family will try a new one at La Rochelle. We have been to all those above and more.

    You even have a site dedicated to them in French here in helpful resources. And another here in French too, but they offer more info in French of course

    As you know the first ones were in Germany back in the 1434 as the market of Saint Nicolas at Dresden. In France, Strasbourg is celebrating its 444th this year. Others there very much in vogue are in Kaysersberg, Neuf-Brisach, Mulhouse, Munster, Riquewihr and Sélestat.

    Other those mentioned above some nice ones to see here are in Champagne-Ardennes at Châlons-en-Champagne ,and Charleville-Mézières.
    Dordogne at Sarlat
    Ile de France other than Paris at Noisy-le-Grand, Marne-la-Vallée/Val d'Europe, near Disneyland Paris, and Disneyland itself.
    Lorraine at Plombières-les-Bains ,and Nancy ,and Sarreguemines
    Provence at Marseille.
    Pays de la Loire at Angers
    In the Centre region at Theillay and Tours.
    Poitou Charente and the La Rochelle
    Aquitaine at Bénesse-Maremne, and Bordeaux.
    Nord-Pas-de-Calais at Arras, Béthune and Cambrai.
    Picardie at Beauvais and St-Quentin.
    Rhône-Alpes at Lyon, Saint-Étienne ,and Grenoble. Trévignin, on the hills of Mont Revard, at Aix-les-Bains,jointly with the neighboring German town of Olfen (Odenwald) .
    Bretagne at Lamballe and our favorite Rochefort en Terre.
    Seine et Marne at Jouarre and sentimental favorite at Meaux .

    Some of the tops by several travel publications here and I concur are Strasbourg, Montbéliard, Amiens, Reims,La Defense, Avignon, Nantes, Lille, Metz, Colmar.

    Enjoy them and the season will indeed be merrier. Merry Christmas to all.

    carrousel and chalets at La Rochelle Our Christmas tree 2104 the ranking with France at No 2 our nightime Christmas tree the chalet ville entrance at Arras
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    Liquors of France

    by gwened Written Dec 18, 2014

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    Been a country of apéro and digéstif and good food renown all over the world and Unesco world heritage inmaterial site in gastronomy and wines, France is very rich in liquors.

    The list could be inmense and might missed some, but will give you the ones I like most.
    Chambord, made from raspberries and herbs,
    crème de cassis ,made from blackcurrents
    Leroux coffee flavors brandies
    various crèmes de liqueurs of various flavors like from Marie Brizard and Combier
    crème de violette and rose
    Cointreau ,from oranges et al
    Grand Marnier, from oranges et al
    Anisettes like Ricard
    Pastis like Ricard
    Bénédictine, 27 herbs and spices
    Chartreuse, with as much as 127 different herbs
    Lillet of Bordeaux
    Mandarin Napoleon
    Liquor de Paris from prunes
    Kirsch, from cherries
    Noyau de Poissy ,almonds and abricot
    Poire Williams from pears
    Suze with gentiane

    They go back to the middle ages.
    Today there are four varieties of liquors. One base on plants and herbs, (verveine, tilleul, menthe, violette, jasmin, rose), the monastic liqueurs with a base of fruits,nuts etc (orange, cherry, banana, strawberry, abricot, mirabelle, blackcurrents, genièvre, etc), they can be from monastic or countryside such as base on grains (café, cumin, anis, girofle, coriandre) or with a base of scorces and roots (orange, lemon, mandarine, gentiane).

    Enjoy it in good health and responsable moderation. Keep the tradition going!

    mandarine Napol��on some others of cognac fame ::)
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    Heritage days in France

    by gwened Written Aug 29, 2014

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    or Journée de Patrimoine are a ritual that started here and the EU took and now is taking off everywhere. It is the days designated by the Ministry of Culture that would be open to the general public when usually they are not.

    The official site is in resources no 3 here in French, there are other places you can find info in English or other language.

    For instance, this is for Paris area again in French and free

    it has given me many opportunities to see wonders of my France and also, to be involved in community activity as volunteer and get to know these places up close and personal.

    This year 2014 the dates are September 20-21, each year may differ so need to check the site, in French better its the official page and provides more information. YOu can tranlated too with Google or bing.

    and this is my beloved Versailles, do come to see the Osmothéque trip, (my tip in Versailles page)

    and from Paris transports RATP , the old metro and trains of Paris tour

    and some useful advise from the Paris tourist office in English on how to do these days

    Church Saint Elizabeth, Versailles
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    Elections in France,municipales

    by gwened Updated Mar 30, 2014

    today, it is the Municipales 2014 election, time to get out and vote to do your civic duty.

    I am priviledge with my multi passports to vote in several countries when resident or by proxy; in France I have voted on every élections from municipals to nationals. First , I was registered in the Yvelines dept 78 when lived in Versailles. Once moving to this new region in 2011, I immediately thought out to register again in my new district. I did ,and got my voting card just a week ago.

    So today was the big day, and my first voting experience in Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh. First , a bit of a national scope. In France, the élections are low key, not as in some other countries like the USA where it has become a Hollywood contest. Here is all low key and politics are kept private.

    First, your voting card does not mention your party or political leanings, and they are kept as private as your love ones. Political discussions are kept to the family or some very close friends. At work, we simply touch base on a general sense of direction but the détails of our thoughts are kept private too. In Spain, they are all out and it becomes very tense discussions. We like to argue there and take sides, typical of our many régions.

    We are today face with 926 068 candidates for the 2014 municipales élections out of 44,8 millions registered voters including about 280 000 members of the EU living in France. All are call to vote in the first round of the municipales today, there will be a second round with the top vote getters on March 30th. There will be elections in 36 700 towns and villages of France. The booths will be open from 8H to be closed by 18H, 19H or 20H depending on the size of the town. Some far away confines of France such as New Caledonia or Nouvelle Calédonie, had begun Saturday at 22h, and from Sunday at 5h to 6h mornings it will the turn of La Réunion and Mayotte.

    Some entertainement aspects of the élections is the contestation or complaints that the election was not done correct, such as already is happening as I write at Corbeil-Essonnes (93) . There is the question of folks that voted that were not propertly identify to be eligible to vote lol!!! The principals figures already voted and the President of the French Republic did so today at 11h in his old mayor’s town of Tulle in the region of Corrèze . The canditates for the Paris post did so at 9h08 in the 14éme arrondissement and the 15éme arrondissement.

    So far the election voters percentage is at 23,16% or slightly more than last years nationally. Where I am it was more so, no figures yet but the talk in the gym is that more people seems to be out. I voted by 12h midi here, and the Stream of folks was constant. I have a couple of pictures of the gym where the voting for my district took place and the office or bureau where I put myself in the private cabins to vote. You are advise to carry all voting docs with you as to not reveal the who you are voting for , and put in your Pocket those not in your favor ,and deposit in the urn the one you vote it for; lol!!! French discretion is at a must.
    my town élections news, see contact 3 for national scope from Le Figaro newspaper

    March 30th second and final round, divided vote in my city with 71% participation on second round wow!!! , and the vote came 1925/1908 and the seat splits 22/7 in the city Council. Yes the numbers are small, I am in a small town now lol!!!

    gym Marie Joseph le Borgne for town voting the inside gym voting booths by districts
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    What if I can't speak French?

    by Beausoleil Updated Oct 10, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A lot of folks tell me they are afraid to visit France because they don't speak French. I agree that it is very nice to speak French, but most Americans don't have a foreign language option in school and if they do, it is Spanish. That shouldn't keep you from visiting France.

    Most younger French people speak at least a little English and many speak it fluently. The French love to help people so if you are struggling with the language, they will help you. If they don't speak your language, they will find someone who does.

    It helps if you start the exchange with, "Parlez vous anglais?" (Do you speak English?) This gives them a chance to mentally switch to English and you'll both be fine. English is a second language in many French schools. However, near borders, that changes. In Alsace near the German border, the second language is German and English would be a third language. In the Catalan regions of France near Spain, Spanish is the second language. In southeast France, Italian would be the second language taught in schools. Many will speak some English but it's difficult for them so be patient and willing to try your questions in several different ways.

    We've learned a lot of French over the years but we've discovered when we start with "bonjour" that we are nearly always answered in English. Try to learn hello, good-bye, please and thank you if you don't learn anything else and you will be fine, especially in the cities.

    Here's a good on-line translator if you want to experiment. Reverso Translator Online

    You can also often highlight text, right click on top of it and scroll down to "Translate with . . . . " and get a pretty good idea of what you are trying to read.

    When you write to Tourist Offices in France for information, feel free to write in English and you will probably be answered in English. I try to write in both English and French hoping they will understand one of them and nearly always get my answer in English

    Don't avoid France because you can't speak French. It's lovely if you can, but it is simply not necessary. The French are very helpful and will do whatever they can to assist you.

    Paris at dawn St. Genies in the Dordogne Collioure in southern France near Spain
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    Nice - Liberation Day commemoration

    by ant1606 Updated Sep 20, 2013

    On Aug 28, 1944, the city of Nice was liberated from German occupation by the Allied Army to put the end of WWII in this area. A commemoration ceremony is held every year by the Monument to the Fallen in Quai Rauba Capeu. It's a special occasion for collectors to ride valuable military vehicles of the period, including heavy tanks, into an organized parade. Original uniforms, civilian clothing of the 40s, plenty of flags and the low passages of a P-51 Mustang aircraft over the beach are worth to be seen.

    2013 Video 1
    2013 Video 2
    2012 France3 TV

    Nice, Fete de la Liberation - Aug 28, 2013 Nice, Fete de la Liberation - Aug 28, 2013 Nice, Fete de la Liberation - Aug 28, 2013 Nice, Fete de la Liberation - Aug 28, 2013 Nice, Fete de la Liberation - Aug 28, 2013

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