The Paris 6th: Favorite St-Germain-des-Pres Hotels

Written by admin on July 26, 2011 – 3:18 pm -

Most people who live in Paris have a favorite neighborhood and once they’ve bought or leased an apartment there, don’t even try to persuade them other quartiers exist for living. Parisians tend to stay close to home unless visiting friends, shopping or trying a hot, new restaurant just opened in another part of the city—that’ll send them hightailing it across town without a second thought.

Parisians and “wannabes” can be rigid. As soon as they’ve become “best friends” with the neighborhood butcher, baker, cheesemonger, dry cleaner, grocery store that delivers, and wine store where the salesman advises them about a little-known wine that happens to be a bargain, most people put down roots.

When they become regulars at a café and what they’d order is in front of them before they open their mouths, forget it. They’ll do nearly anything to remain in that neighborhood, even if they move around the corner to bigger or smaller digs. Remember, Paris is made up of villages. Left Bank people rarely move to the Right Bank and vice versa.

When people query me about where they should stay when coming to Paris, I usually select a hotel that’s near me since that’s where I feel the most comfortable. But, there are other neighborhoods and when opportunity presents, I try to spend time exploring them as if I were a local.Marche de Buci

Okay: I love the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area in the Paris 6th. It’s an exciting and hopping place without much need to speak French because merchants are accustomed to speaking English with foreign visitors who are everywhere.

Venturing to the Marché rue de Buci is always fun. You can buy fruits, cheese, vegetables and so much more for the perfect picnic if you’re in the mood to wander to a park or sit on the banks of the Seine.

Cafe les Deux Magots  courtesy of les Deux Magots

Some streets have been turned into pedestrian walkways that beg explorations and you’ll find café after café cascading down streets where people gather to meet, eat, see and be seen.

This part of the 6th is filled with art and antique galleries and if you’re in the mood to buy clothes or jewelry, you won’t have to look far.

Some must-sees: Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés (it has wonderful concerts). If you want to sit where the literary writers gathered, stop at Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore—bring money and expect waiters who have been known to be impatient because they see tourists coming and going. The Place de Furstenberg is where you’ll find the small museum where Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) lived, a haven of calm in the midst of what often feels like a frantic area.

Two more personal favorites are wine store La Dernière Goutte, which has tastings most Saturday afternoons, and wine bar/restaurant Fish Boissonnerie. They’re both owned by the same people and don’t worry if your French is less than perfect because Juan is American and Drew is from New Zealand.

Here are some favorite hotels in the area. Please note: All have air-conditioning, Internet and can be accessed by Métro stops Saint Germain, Odéon or Mabillon.

Hotel de Buci

Renovations at this hotel wrapped at the end of May 2011 and the 24 rooms (including suites) appeal to those who prefer classical décor to modern chic. If you like canopy beds and soft upholstery, this hotel is for you.

Click to watch video shot at the May 2011 reopening party after the renovation.

Madison Hotel

Many people like The Madison, housed in a 19th century former mansion, because its rooms tend to be somewhat larger than other Left Bank hotels. The 50 rooms are decorated in a combination of contemporary and classical furniture. If you ask, you may score a room overlooking Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Photo credit: Madison Hotel © Al Lada

Artus Hotel

This 27-room hotel attracts clients who want a more contemporary look and feel.  If you crave a sauna and a massage after a day of sightseeing and more, consider booking at this boutique hotel.

Mata Hari suite  photo courtesy of L'Hotel


I’ve always wanted to stay here because it’s totally unique and no two rooms are alike. Designed by Jacques Garcia, it’s a showstopper. In addition to having a one-star Michelin restaurant (plus one of the most romantic bars in Paris), there’s a tiny pool in the hotel’s basement. Reservations are required because the pool accommodates only two people. Oscar Wilde died at this hotel. If he’d seen today’s current prices, he might have checked out earlier.

Hotel Villa St-Germain-des-Pres junior suite   photo courtesy of hotelLa Villa Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Anyone who’s walked down the Rue Jacob knows it’s hard to get from here to there without stopping every five steps to admire the windows of many stores and galleries. La Villa is simply but elegantly designed in a contemporary fashion. It’s a hidden gem that may have your (reservation) name on it.

Click to watch video tour of hotel.

Hôtel D’Aubusson

If you’d like to stay in a 17th century mansion that’s been updated to today’s standards, voilà. Friends of mine who do wouldn’t stay elsewhere. They like the rooms and the fact there’s an interior patio where you can relax and think your own Parisian thoughts. During winter months, there’s a enormous stone fireplace in the lobby where people gather to warm up or wait until they’re ready for another expedition.

Junior suite at Hotel d'Aubusson   photo courtesy of hotel

The Café Laurent is especially enticing. It’s a welcoming place to have a cup of tea, a glass of wine or listen to jazz performers who appear Thursday through Saturday evenings.

Those are some of the things one can do on in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, but it’s an easy walk to Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris, Musée d’Orsay , the Louvre and many other must-see places. So many tourists use this area as a jumping off point.

And then there are those who never leave the neighborhood: let’s hope they return soon to the City of Light to explore yet another “village.”

© Paris New Media, LLC

Posted in Paris |

News from France: DSK, Gaddafi, Greece, Politics, TDF

Written by admin on July 26, 2011 – 3:15 pm -

Cadel Evans. Photo: Pascal Pavani-AFP-Getty Images

Dominique Strauss-Kahn saga continues

Lawyers in France and the US may share evidence in two sexual assault claims against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. In what have become part of a legal living saga and the end of DSK’s chances of entering the race to be president of France in 2012, the two cases are by no means near settling.

The Independent reports New York City’s district attorney, Cyrus Vance, plans to question Tristane Banon, the 32-year-old French writer who accused DSK of sexually attacking her in a Paris apartment in 2003.

Ms. Banon’s lawyer, David Koubbi, and Mr. Vance met in New York to discuss similarities between Ms Banon’s claims and the accusations of Nafissatou Diallo.

Diallo, the housekeeper who worked at the New York City Sofitel Hotel, alleges the former head of the IMF sexually assaulted her last May. There have been discussions of Tristane Banon, goddaughter of DSK’s second wife and a former friend of his daughter Camille, going to Manhattan to be deposed.

François Hollande, Socialist presidential contender, was questioned about whether or not Tristane Banon had told him about the alleged sexual attack by DSK as Banon contended. Hollande said no, according to RTT News, adding he wanted no further involvement in the case. Hollande alleges the police interview was politically motivated and warned against politicizing the issue further.


The French government is now saying Moammar Gaddafi could remain in Libya if he agrees to renounce all leadership roles. According to The Washington Post, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé has stated Gaddafi must relinquish his roles as military and civilian leader before France would back a cease-fire or termination of NATO’s bombing. Negotiations have not started but Juppé said U.N. envoy Abdul Elah al-Khatib has been asked to coordinate meetings with Gaddafi’s representatives.

Bailout for Greece

Seventeen heads of government in the euro zone met this week and agreed to have their countries’ banks participate in several programs to reduce Greece’s debt. Proposed plans could include exchanging existing bonds for new bonds with lower interest rates and longer maturities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed the 109-billion-euro aid package, The New York Times reported. Private investment is also expected.

Politics and Finances

Reuters reported yesterday that a poll by Ifop shows President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 36-point approval rating at its highest rate in nearly a year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, although the French presidential elections aren’t until May 2012, public finances will invariably take center stage with the deepening euro zone debt crisis, as France attempts to control its deficit.

The French finance and budget ministers have issued three separate statements that pick holes in the proposals made by France’s Socialist Party.

The sparring began when Finance Minister François Baroin published a statement criticizing comments made by François Hollande in a newspaper interview. Hollande, one of the leading candidates in the Socialist primaries, reportedly said France should balance its budget as soon as 2013, while the government has committed to reducing the deficit to 3% of GDP in 2013.

Tour de France: Yell for Cadel!

Congratulations to Cadel Evans, the first Australian to ever win the Tour de France. Today’s last stage of the race is a ceremonial ride; results were determined at the finish of yesterday’s stage. The race starts today in Creteil with winners raising rolling Champagne toasts on their bikes while en route before swarming paparazzi following cars. The excitement builds with three laps on the Champs-Elysées cobblestones before thousands of cheering cycling fans in Paris. Experts called this year’s edition of the world’s top cycling event one of the best in years. Andy Schleck is in second place, his brother Frank Schleck is in third. France’s Thomas Voeckler has delighted France with his 4th place finish and the winner of the last three Tours, Alberto Contador, ends in 5th place.  Watch for Aussie fans bearing yellow “Yell for Cadel!” signs in Paris.

Air France Strike Called Off

Yesterday Air France cabin crews called off a strike that would have created chaos on July 29th, one of the heaviest travel weekends of the year, according to Reuters. Flight attendants and management have reached an undisclosed agreement on terms related to reorganizing flight attendants’ work at regional hubs.

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Posted in Around the World, Paris |

News from France: DSK, Tristane Banon, Lagarde, Haute Couture Shows

Written by admin on July 26, 2011 – 3:13 pm -

Anne Sinclair & DSK on 05July after court   Photo credit: ABC NewsDominique Strauss-Kahn

Dominique Strauss-Kahn continues to make the news. Last Friday, he was released on his own recognizance and his bail was lifted after his accuser’s credibility was found to be more than suspect. Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance and his team found their case crumbling.

On Friday the Telegraph [UK] reported DSK and a “mystery woman” can be seen on hotel video captured in a hotel elevator at 1:20am on the day of the alleged attack. The woman did not work at the hotel and she reportedly declined to speak to investigators. Whatever may or may have not happened, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was served breakfast for one that morning.

France 24 reported prosecutors are probing an attempted rape claim filed in Paris by 32-year-old French writer Tristane Banon. Her complaint alleges that DSK attempted to rape her in 2003 as she was interviewing the then-finance minister. Even though Banon has publicly discussed the incident, she didn’t file charges until now.

This past week Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers continued to push for case dismissal and they stated the former head of the IMF would not consent to a plea bargain.

Banon must provide evidence of attempted rape rather than just sexual assault. In France attempted rape charges can be brought as long as ten years after the event. Assault charges expire after three years. France 24 provided more background information about Tristane Banon.

According to Reuters, “An opinion poll carried out as a result of Banon’s complaint this week found two thirds of respondents did not want Strauss-Kahn to be a candidate in the 2012 election. A larger sampling of the poll believes he will not choose to run.”

This week, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife Anne Sinclair gave notice to vacate their Manhattan premises.

Christine Lagarde

On Tuesday the former French Finance Minister assumed the role as the first female head of the International Monetary Fund.

On Friday France 24 reported that the French courts again delayed their decision about whether or not Lagarde will face a criminal investigation. Mme Lagarde is facing claims that she abused her authority in 2007 when she intervened in a dispute between French businessman Bernard Tapie and Crédit Lyonnais.

Tapie, former head of sporting goods company Adidas, has long waged a legal battle claiming he was cheated by Crédit Lyonnais, which handled the 1993 sale of his stake in the company. Crédit Lyonnais, once publicly owned, had been wound up and its liabilities were taken over by a state-operated consortium. Tapie’s claim was initially written off as bad debt.

In 2007, Lagarde intervened and ended the court dispute by ordering a special panel of judges to arbitrate. In 2008, arbitrators awarded Bernard Tapie a 580 million euro payment, according to the NY Times. The out-of-court settlement scandalized opposition politicians.

According to the Financial Times, the decision by the Court of Justice of the Republic has been postponed until August 4.

Paris Fashion Week Show Highlights

Fashion lovers gathered in Paris this week for the Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2011 presentations. Fashionistas saw collections from designers including Valentino, Giorgio Armani Privé, Givenchy and Jean-Paul Gaultier. Reuters reported that Galliano’s absence was felt at the Dior haute couture show.

Chanel dazzled with a set recreating a life-size Place Vendôme and the clothes were pronounced classically beautiful. Giorgio Armani Privé dedicated his collection to victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Emerging French talent Alexandre Vauthier’s collection was dominated by dramatic head-to-toe red outfits.

TDF riders in rain. Photo credit: PA Photos-ESPNTour De France

The first week of the Tour de France saw pounding rain and nearly a record number of spectacular high-speed crashes for a starting week that forced several injured favorites out of the race. American team RadioShack was essentially wiped out when injuries forced team leaders Chris Horner and Janez Bracevic to drop out; and crowd favorite Belgian Tom Boonen also withdrew because of injuries. The race leader after a week is Thor Hushovd, but that could change next week when the race moves to the Pyrenees and Alps mountain stages. Alberto Contador, winner of the last three TDFs, is a climber and watch for him to dominate there, especially in stages 12 and 14. Cadel Evans and Andy Schleck will no doubt be hot on Contador’s pedals. Watch for our weekly recaps on Monday in our France Daily News section.


According to The Connexion, forty-five percent of the French won’t be going on vacation this summer or will have stay-vacations. The main reasons cited were finances, saving money for other things, choosing to visit relatives or simply doing things at home.

Paris Plage returning to Seine quais

The City of Paris announced that the Paris Plage will be installed for a month starting July 21. This is the tenth time tons of sand cover the quai cobbles to create a beach on the Seine. France 24 news has an English-language interview with the designer with footage of past Paris Plage scenes and future plans for Paris pedestrian Seine quai walkways you can watch by clicking here.

Who knows what will be in next week’s news from France.  Even though it’s summer, it’s doubtful it will be boring.

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Posted in Around the World, Paris |

News from France: DSK, Lagarde, TDF, France arming Libyan rebels

Written by admin on July 26, 2011 – 3:11 pm -

Anne Sinclair and Dominique Strauss-Kahn after his release Friday photo credit David Karp/APDominique Strauss-Kahn freed from house arrest

News of the possible collapse of sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn stunned France on Friday. And it’s not only DSK’s lawyers who are claiming their client’s innocence.

According to the New York Times, New York City prosecutors have reportedly found serious discrepancies and repeated lies in the 32-year-old housekeeper’s allegations. It’s also been reported she has possible links to people involved in criminal activities, including drug dealing and money laundering.

On Friday, DSK was released on his own recognizance and his bail was lifted.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. didn’t drop the case as some legal experts expected. Another court hearing is scheduled for July 18.

France Socialist Party presidential nominee candidates must file by July 13 in advance of the October primaries. As the July deadline approaches, some have started lobbying for a suspension of the process to give Strauss-Kahn a chance to re-enter the race.

According to The First Post, with the possibility of DSK returning to France before too long, some are saying he should be given a chance to apply for the presidency of the Socialist Party, a position he was expected to win before the claim of attempted rape was made. This in turn would allow him to run against current President Nicolas Sarkozy in France’s national elections next year.

Christine Lagarde will head IMF

Christine Lagarde was named chair of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), vacating the post of France’s minister of finance. When she assumes the IMF post on July 5, she will be the IMF’s first female leader [see France 24 video]. As a result, President Sarkozy named a replacement for Mme. Lagarde on Wednesday.

François Baroin named new France finance minister

François Baroin will take over as French finance minister. French President Nicolas Sarkozy Wednesday named Baroin finance minister, installing him at a pivotal time in the Greek crisis and giving him responsibility for sustaining the French economic recovery while significantly reducing France’s budget deficit.

France supplying Libyan rebels with weapons

France 24 reported that the French government admitted on Friday that it has supplied Libyan rebels with weapons and ammunition, a move some claim violates UN Resolutions. Initially the French government didn’t confirm the claim.

On Friday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said his country’s NATO partners and the U.N. Security Council were told about France’s decision to supply weapons to the Libyan opposition.

“We believe that within the frameworks of [UN Security Council] Resolutions 1970 and 1973—and 1970 as a whole—it is clear that all means are legitimate for protecting peaceful civilians,” Juppé said on Friday in France’s defense.

French journalists freed by Taliban

Two television journalists, who were held in captivity by the Taliban in Afghanistan for nearly 18 months, were released and returned to France Thursday. Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier were kidnapped in December 2009 while reporting east of Kabul. On Friday France 24 and other major media reported large ransoms were paid to the Taliban for the release, a claim the French government denies.

Tour de France is rolling

The 98th Tour de France began Saturday and will end in Paris on Sunday, July 24th. It promises to be an exciting race with 21 stages that take racers on a scenic but grueling race through France.

Saxo Bank A/S, a Copenhagen-based online trader and asset manager, increased its backing of three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, who was jeered by TDF fans at a Thursday public event held in Le Puy du Fou in the western region of Vendée.

Contador, who has won all the Grand Tours including the Giro d’Italia for the second time in May, tested positive for clenbuterol at last year’s race.

He has been cleared by the Spanish authorities, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will decide in August whether his claim that the positive test was due to contaminated meat is valid.

There’s an increase in riders from the US and Canada who grew up with Lance Armstrong as their idol. Ten Americans and a Canadian will be in the competition. Lance Armstrong will be at the Tour de France as a spectator.

The news from France seems to be filled with surprises these days and we’ll be on the watch.

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Posted in Around the World, Paris |

News from France: Politics, Paris Air Show, Chirac & Galliano Trials, Tour de France

Written by admin on July 26, 2011 – 3:09 pm -

Francois Holland and Jacques Chirac ©Jean-Pierre Muller-AFP

This past week’s news from France hasn’t been boring and so it goes.

French Politics: will Chirac endorse Hollande?

Now that Dominique Strauss-Kahn appears to be out of the running as the Socialist Party candidate to replace President Nicolas Sarkozy, former Socialist Party leader François Hollande has announced his candidacy for the 2012 race. Former France President Jacques Chirac was there, joking that the Conservative might endorse the Socialist, a swipe at Sarkozy.

Among his competitors is Ségolène Royal, his former partner and the mother of his children. Another contender is Martine Aubry.

According to sociologist Denis Muzet, “It’s too early to predict a disastrous Socialist campaign or masterful Sarkozy comeback. Anything can happen in eleven months prior to an election. Still, history suggests Sarkozy, who has lagged in the polls, has his work cut out for him.”

Paris Air Show sales soar, Airbus sales set new world record

Airbus celebrated a $72 billion book of orders, including the biggest single airliner order in history on Thursday. It was a clear victory over US rival Boeing.

“This success sets a new record for any commercial aircraft manufacturer at any air show ever,” an Airbus spokesperson said, after confirming that Malaysia’s AirAsia would buy 200 of its A320neo fuel-efficient medium-haul jets.

According to Bloomberg , “All the growth is in the Asia-Pacific,” said Neil Hansford, Chairman of Strategic Aviation Solutions, a Sydney-based industry consultant.

Former French president Chirac faces September corruption trial

France’s former leader Jacques Chirac will be tried in September for corruption relating to his time as the mayor of Paris in the 1990s. Presiding judge Dominique Pauthe said the long-delayed trial of the popular politician, now aged 78, will take place in Paris between September 5 and 23. This will be the first trial of a former French president.

John Galliano trial concludes, verdict in September

John Galliano, former creative head of fashion house Christian Dior, had his day in court last Wednesday. Galliano was fired following his arrest for a series of incidents earlier this year in which he made racist and anti-Semitic remarks. He faces a charge of “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity.”

His attorney claims Galliano was in the throes of a “triple addiction to alcohol, benzodiazepine [Valium] and sleeping pills” at the time of his arrest, and Galliano testified that he did not remember using the inflammatory language. The verdict will be announced in September.

According to Vogue, Galliano will return to rehab for substance abuse.

Tour de France

Ready, set, go: The 98th Tour de France begins on July 2 and ends in Paris on July 24. Twenty-one stages will cover 3,430 kilometers or 2,133 miles and the route can be seen here. According to the Guardian, Mark Cavendish is the man to watch. He’s set on being the first to cross the finish line in Paris.

However, the favorite is 
Alberto Contador (Spain) who’s touted to be the best climber in the world. During the past four years, he’s won six grand tours. In case you’re wondering, Contador has been cleared of doping chargesThe Washington Post weighs in on the top contenders. May the best cyclist win.

Sarkozy follows Obama’s lead, prepares to pull troops out of Afghanistan

President Nicholas Sarkozy endorsed President Obama’s announcement of accelerated troop withdrawal in Afghanistan. France will begin a phased pullback next month of the 4,000 soldiers sent there as part of the allied effort.

International Monetary Fund interviews Lagarde to replace DSK in top post

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde appeared before the executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday to present her qualifications as the next IMF leader.

She met privately with IMF executive directors and then had a three-hour-long meeting with the 24-member board in the afternoon. She stated she would promote reforms to make IMF more representative of the world’s economy. It’s clear she’ll most likely replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned May 18th to fight sexual assault charges in New York.

Lagarde has the backing of Europe, which holds seven of the 24 seats on the executive board. It’s thought she’ll be designated the new managing director by consensus.

European Central Bank

European Union leaders appointed Italy’s Mario Draghi as the next president of the European Central Bank (ECB) on Friday, a move that gives investors much-needed certainty over who will lead the institution in its pivotal role in the fight against the crippling debt crisis.

Jean-Claude Trichet, current head of the ECB, will leave the post on October 31st. The ECB is the central bank for Europe’s single currency, the euro. Its primary task is to maintain the euro’s purchasing power and monitor its price stability in the 17 European Union countries that adopted the euro in 1999. For additional information, access here.

French ex-minister charged with rape

Former French minister Georges Tron has been charged with rape and sexual assault after allegations that he attacked women who worked for him. Tron resigned recently to focus on his defense. To read more about what appears to be a French epidemic, access the Guardian.

Same Sex Marriage

Some people who turned up for Saturday’s Gay Pride Parade in Paris were saluting New York State’s legalization of same sex marriages and would like to see France follow suit. The parade attracted some leaders from France’s political left, which has rallied around equal rights for gays _ notably marriage and adoption rights _ and put the issue in their platform for the 2012 presidential election race.

France Weather

Meteorologists forecast excellent and sunny weather in France after a colder than usual June. After this news, please enjoy it.

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Posted in Around the World, Paris |

News from France, DSK, the G8 Summit, the IMF, Air France Crash, the French Open and Macarons

Written by admin on July 26, 2011 – 3:08 pm -

DSKThe news from France continues to hold center court and there are few, if any, dull moments.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is staying under police watch in a rented $50,000-a-month luxury townhouse in the Tribeca section of Manhattan. He can order dinner delivered by the finest restaurants, which angers those who claim DSK is receiving special treatment because he’s wealthy and can buy creature comforts while awaiting trial on sexual assault charges.

According to the Guardian [UK], lawyers for Strauss-Kahn say they have information that could “gravely undermine the credibility” of the hotel maid who has accused him of attempted rape. In a letter to Manhattan prosecutors, Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers William Taylor and Ben Brafman complained that New York police publicly disclosed prejudicial information about the case that could jeopardize their client’s right to a fair trial. The French, whether or not they believe DSK is guilty, are discussing the dramatic differences between the American and French justice systems.


It’s looking very much as if French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde will become head of The International Monetary Fund. Even though there’s been a great deal of lobbying for someone from a developing country to be appointed, The Washington Post reported European leaders are backing Lagarde’s candidacy and wrote that supporters call her a “formidable negotiator, a key to uniting a bickering Europe in the quest to save the euro and manage the debt crisis that has rocked the continent over the past 18 months.”

G8 Summit in Deauville

World leaders met in Deauville for G8 summit. The official attendees included French President Nicolas Sarkozy, American President Barack Obama; UK Prime Minister David Cameron; Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy; Dmitry Medvedev from Russia; Japanese Prime minister Naoto Kan; Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the EU Commission and Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Group of Eight industrialized economies endorsed a blueprint for financial assistance for Arab Spring nations in the Middle East and North Africa. They also decreed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should “stop using force and intimidation against the Syrian people.”

According to the Voice of America: U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and France have resolved to “finish the job” in Libya, as NATO presses for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to step down.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy greeted the heads of State in a white slightly tented Chanel dress. It was the First Lady of France’s first official appearance since her father-in-law confirmed her pregnancy to the German media. She chose not to attend the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival where she appeared in Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris.

Air France Crash

Air France’s Flight #447 between Rio de Janeiro and Paris crashed after the Airbus A330 lost speed and stalled before beginning a 3-1/2 minute plunge into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people on board on June 1, 2009, according to Bloomberg News.

ReutersReuters reported on Friday that French investigators have learned that pilots wrestled with the controls of the jet for over four minutes, French investigators said on Friday.

Aviation industry sources also told Reuters pilots appeared to have acted contrary to normal procedures in raising, rather than lowering, its nose in response to an alert that the plane was about to lose lift or, in technical parlance, “stall.”

The black boxes were retrieved and while data analysis is not yet complete, the latest media reports blame pilot error for the crash.

Paris News

Construction of The Greater Paris Express has been approved after three years of planning by national, regional and local transit authorities. It will cost over 30 billion euros and the future network will be a large loop around outer Paris that links La Défense, St. Denis, Villejuif and Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports. The “supermetro,” as it is known, will have approximately 72 stations, 200 km of track and it’s projected to serve an estimated two million passengers each day by the finish date in 2025. Is that realistic? According to Pedro Ortiz, Directeur Général d’Urbanisme et Planification Régionale for the Government of Madrid between 1995-1999, the answer is yes. “Madrid was able to construct a subway system in four years,” Ortiz stated.

The French Open

As usual, The French Open at Roland Garros has been a sold-out event where people have come from all over the world to watch the world’s best tennis stars battle each other on the famous red clay courts. On Saturday, Rafael Nadal snagged his fifth French Open Men’s Singles title.

Mothers’ Day in France

Pierre Hermé salutes mothers by creating three new flavors of macarons:  The Coeur IspahanCoeur Origine and the Coeur Montebello.  Isn’t it nice to be able to end the news on a light note albeit calorie-laden.

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Posted in Around the World, Paris |

News: Japan, Libya, Syria, Politics, Price Hikes & Wine

Written by admin on July 26, 2011 – 3:07 pm -

In France as well as worldwide, the news has been varied and ongoing. This week’s highlights include Japan, Libya, Sarkozy, FN Marine Le Pen, and price hikes—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Japan: After two weeks, the death toll mounts in Japan and there has been slower-than-expected progress in controlling a two-week-old crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Elevated radiation levels have prompted a new round of worry in the international community.

Some of the reactors at the power plant continue emitting smoke and there have been problems cooling them. People living within a 30-kilometer radius of the plant have been asked to evacuate their homes. And there have been bans placed on selling much of the food raised in the area.

People are giving up hope of finding family and friends who have disappeared. The death toll from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami has reached more than 11,000 with 17,443 people still missing, according to the national police.

Libya: NATO has agreed to take over enforcement of the no-fly zone over the country. Alain Juppé, France’s foreign minister says the international military operation against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces may last days or weeks — but not months.

Juppé says he hopes the campaign in Libya will serve as a warning to autocratic regimes elsewhere, including in Syria and Saudi Arabia. France’s President Sarkozy helped lead the diplomatic push for a U.N.-sanctioned no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians from Gadhafi’s forces, and French warplanes fired the first strikes in the campaign. Both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have sent planes to be part of the coalition.

There will be another meeting of world leaders in London this week to coordinate the strategy and military operation against Gadhafi’s forces. French President Sarkozy is very much in the forefront.

Syria: Protests spread across Syria on Friday, challenging the rule of the Assad family after its forces killed dozens of demonstrators in the south. The question is very much as to whether or not the Assad family may be overthrown. It’s felt that the people have been inspired by recent events in Tunisia and Egypt and there could potentially be a revolution.

Politics: In the political arena, Front National leader Marine Le Pen is giving the party a fresh look, attempting to dispel her father’s far-right party’s nationalistic, xenophobic mantra. She’s targeting middle-class voters, who are disappointed with President Nicolas Sarkozy’s economic record.

According to a poll released by consultancy Ipsos last week, Ms. Le Pen would beat Mr. Sarkozy in the first round of the presidential vote if Strauss-Kahn runs on the Socialist ticket. Survey results indicate Ms. Le Pen would  attract 19% of votes, contrasted to 18% for President Sarkozy in the first round, while Mr. Strauss-Kahn would take 33% of the vote.

Rising costs: Get ready to pay more for flour, coffee, oil, bread, butter and pasta as commodity prices have soared worldwide and the supermarkets aren’t going to eat the increases.
 We’re talking just two percent, but that masks a range of increases that range from 15-20 percent on flour and 10-20 percent on coffee, which are products where the raw material price is a major part of the purchase price.

EDF confirmed it will raise its rates by five percent beginning in July and warned that prices are due to rise 30 percent by 2015.

Beginning in May, the price of using Paris’s Vélib’ rental bikes is scheduled to increase by up to 70 percent. The cost of day tickets will go from €1 to €1.70, while a seven-day pass will rise from €5 to €8. 

Users pay a subscription for a day, week, month or year, during which time they can use the bicycles free of charge for up to 30 minutes.

Wine: In the event you were wondering, and much to the chagrin of French wine growers, the French are buying less and paying less per bottle. Gone are the days when people drink wine at lunch. 

People describe themselves as weekly or monthly drinkers, with just 15 percent admitting they are daily drinkers, the majority of whom are men who are over 60.

The shift away from drinking in bars to drinking at home has been happening for years, but the smoking ban and the economic crisis have accelerated the trend. 

The average household is also spending less on drink but buying better: spending on average €0.30 more for each product than in 2007, up from €3.90 to €4.20 per liter.

Posted in Around the World, Paris |

News from France, Politics, Burqa Ban, Libya, Syria, Immigration and Measles

Written by admin on July 26, 2011 – 3:05 pm -

French Politics: A new poll shows the Far Right could squeeze out Sarkozy in next year’s presidential elections. Marine Le Pen is more than holding her own against rivals in a hypothetical presidential match-up. Mme Le Pen, who took over the far-right party from her father in January, is ahead of all other potential candidates with the exception of French Socialist and International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The poll, conducted by the French polling agency Harris Interactive, spells bad news for Sarkozy. The president would only advance to the second round if the candidate representing the main opposition Socialist Party were Ségolène Royal, a former presidential candidate. The word on the street is that Royal doesn’t have sufficient support to be a viable candidate.

Libya: President Sarkozy has vowed to intensify raids against pro-Gaddafi forces in order to back rebels and protect civilians. Sarkozy met with Moustapha Abdeljalil, the head of the Libyan Council of National Transition (CNT) and stated there would be an escalation of international air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces. Gaddafi is behaving like business as usual and doesn’t appear to be cracking, in spite of the worldwide pressure.

Photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed Wednesday, while others were wounded, during a mortar attack in Misurata, Libya.

Syria: There’s turmoil everywhere. Even though President Assad announced a number of reforms, including rescinding the emergency laws that repressed Syrians for the past 50 years, his efforts have failed to stop the opposition movement. Protestors have been killed by Assad’s troops and police.

The Burqa Ban: This is a law that has different sides and many ramifications. As of now, the French police have given some warnings to women who insist on wearing the full head scarf. Some Muslim women feel it’s a right and a responsibility. Other people feel many husbands mandate it. The government says there are security and human-rights issues involved.

Islamic Groups: Foreign Minister Alain Juppé has committed to speaking “to everyone, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which is Egypt’s most powerful opposition group.”  This is a major shift since France, like most Western countries, has been suspicious of popular Islamic movements.

Italian Border: The French government has taken a hard stand against North Africans entering France with Italian visitors’ visas that do not give them the right to work. Some feel this tests the EU border system. According to E.U. Immigration Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, “This would be dangerous because Schengen is one of the foundations of free movement in the European Union.” The Schengen agreements were intended to create a borderless Europe.

Nuclear Plants: French state-controlled power group Électricité de France SA is understaking massive safety checks on all its nuclear reactors EDF owns and operates in France. Clearly, the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan on March 11 has made this a necessity.

EDF, which owns and operates 58 nuclear reactors and is currently building a 59th, presented nuclear safety agency Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire, or ASN, with measures ranging from the assessment of technical and human resources for accident situations through the establishment of a special task force in case of crisis and an in-depth review of the design of its power stations.

Measles: According to the World Health Organization, many European countries are dealing with outbreaks of measles.  There have been at least 6,500 cases reported so far; there have been approximately 5000 in France. An estimated 30% of those who contracted measles have been too young to receive the vaccine. Still, it’s definitely a souvenir you don’t want to bring home from a vacation or a business trip.

Sports: The soccer team Lille OSC will be contenders in the Coupe de France finals that will take place at the Stade de France on May 14th.

That’s enough for this week … and probably more than enough.

(c) Paris New Media, LLC

Posted in Paris |

News from France, Japan, Sarkozy, Libya, Ivory Coast, Immigration, Balloons and Pollution

Written by admin on July 26, 2011 – 3:04 pm -

©Daily Mail [UK] ©PAJapan:

News about Japan is in everyone’s hearts and minds.  On April 7th, there was another earthquake in the Tohoku Province that measured 7.4 on the Richter scale.

Sarkozy leading the pack:

Nicolas Sarkozy appears to be one of the western world’s most aggressive heads of state when it comes to going to war. During recent years, France has maintained a pacifist policy.

In January, Sarkozy said, “A colonial power—even after several decades—is never justified in judging the internal affairs of a former colony. You know it, and everybody knows it.” He was referring to Tunisia at the time; he consequently changed his policy.

Last week, French forces attacked the presidential palace of another of France’s former colonies, the Ivory Coast. The Élysée Palace issued a statement saying the operation was carried out to destroy the heavy weapons that belong to its incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo. Gbagbo has refused to recognize Alassane Ouattara, who won that country’s presidential election.


Foreign military intervention, backed by the UN resolution to implement a no-fly zone in Libya, is entering its fourth week. Prolonged conflicts between pro- and anti-government forces have made humanitarian efforts more difficult as coalition forces have increased air strikes targeting Muammar Gaddafi’s troops.

The first meeting of the Contact Group on Libya will be held on April 13th in Doha, the capital of Qatar.  French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said France is trying to persuade the African Union to be present for the upcoming meetings.

The Ivory Coast:

The situation has become critical with violence erupting and massacres in the west of the country. Pro-Gbagbo forces have regained areas of Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan, where both the incumbent leader and his rival Alassane Ouattara are holed up. Authorities report fighters have attacked the French embassy, provoking counter-strikes.

Border and Immigration Issues:

Italy and France are clashing over Tunisians attempting to enter France after they’ve been issued temporary Italian visas. France has clearly stated that it does not want a “wave” of Tunisian immigrants and will send them back to Italy unless they also have valid identity papers and sufficient funds to support themselves in France.

Balloonists celebrate Channel Feat:

A fleet of 50 hot-air balloons succeeded in crossing the Dover Strait within four hours of setting off. A world record is set to be confirmed for the largest number of hot-air balloons to cross the English Channel to France. Balloonists who successfully made the crossing landed in France and were feted by a Champagne celebration. The record has now been verified by Guinness World Records.

Technology and Privacy Concerns:

The Internet industry is protesting a new rule proposed by the French government that would require all Internet companies operating in France to maintain a record of all user data for one year and turn it over to law enforcement agencies if requested. Google, Facebook, eBay and more than 20 French ISPs have banded together under the French Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC) to oppose the new rule in a French court. According to FastCompany, the new rule will require e-commerce, video, music, and email web sites operating in France to store email records, user passwords, as well as mailing addresses, password hints, pseudonyms and telephone numbers.

Banning old cars:

Many French cities are considering banning older cars that emit pollution. The European Commission has threatened to take action against France if it does not improve the air quality in large cities. Other European cities, including London and Berlin, have already banned polluting vehicles from their cities’ centers. 

Cities that have enforced the ban have seen an improvement in their air quality: Berlin has seen a 25% drop in pollution, while Stockholm reported a reducion of 40% plus nitrogen oxides cuts of 10%.

Posted in Paris |

News from France: Libya, Japan, Nuclear Power, Politics & Wine

Written by admin on July 26, 2011 – 3:03 pm -

The news from France has been hot and heavy this week. U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton was in Paris and returned here briefly Saturday to discuss the situation in Libya, plus met privately with President Sarkozy and Alain Juppé. In addition to Libya, Japan, nuclear power, French politics, Peugeot-Citroën and wine have been major topics.

Libya: Following Thursday’s vote at The United Nations, which approved a resolution authorizing a no fly zone in order to protect civilian areas, France announced it was going to initiate military strikes on Libya. This followed Muammar Qaddafi’s threat to storm the rebel bastion of Benghazi.

Following a Saturday summit, which was held in Paris and included 22 participants, there was unanimous agreement “to do everything possible to make Qaddafi respect a U.N. Security Council resolution mandating a cease-fire.” On Saturday morning, Sarkozy authorized French jets to target Qaddafi’s forces. On Saturday night, they fired on Libyan military vehicles. Later that evening, the U.S. and British militaries launched missiles against Qaddafi’s forces. U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles hit Tripoli and Misurata, a Pentagon spokeman reported.

The French military announced in Paris on Saturday that they would deploy more than a dozen ships to assist the two frigates currently stationed off the coast of Libya, as France continues to deploy forces to assist in the military intervention.

France was one of the most strident countries against the invasion of Iraq so it’s unusual to see that country taking the lead in the strike against Libya, according to NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley. Still, the French seem to be proud of how diplomatically Nicolas Sarkozy has handled the effort. The French president has said that there are some risks, but they are calculated and there is great moral authority to go in and protect people.

According to the New York Times: American and European forces began a broad campaign of strikes against the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Saturday, unleashing warplanes and missiles in a military intervention on a scale not seen in the Arab world since the Iraq war.

The Pentagon said American forces were mounting an initial campaign to knock out Libya’s air defense systems, firing volley after volley of Tomahawk missiles from nearby ships against missile, radar and communications centers around Tripoli, the capital, and the western cities of Misurata and Surt. Early Sunday, the sound of antiaircraft fire and screaming fighter jets echoed across Tripoli, punctuated by heavy explosions.

Speaking on Libyan state television, Colonel Qaddafi said the international action against his forces was unjustified, calling it “simply a colonial crusader aggression that may ignite another large-scale crusader war.”

Japan: The tragedy continues and as time lapses and weather deteriorates, there are fewer chances of recovering bodies after last week’s series of earthquakes. The global financial markets have been shaken and the safety of nuclear power plants is being monitored. The French Embassy in Tokyo has instructed French nationals to leave the country and Air France has been helping evacuate people.

Nuclear power: France is the world’s second largest nuclear power and more than 75% of its electricity is generated from the 58 plants that are situated throughout the country. President Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered tests on nuclear reactors’ security systems and stated the results would be made public.

French politics: According to a poll by Ipsos Logica for the daily Le Monde and radio Europe 1, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is likely to face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the second round of France’s presidential election. The survey is the second that indicated President Nicolas Sarkozy would be edged out of the running before a second round of voting in France’s two-stage presidential election in April and May 2012.

If Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), were selected to stand for the Socialists, he would win 33 percent of the vote in the first round, ahead of Le Pen with 19 percent and Sarkozy with 18 percent.

Employment: Peugeot-Citroën plans to hire 4000 new employees in 2011. Europe’s second-largest car manufacturer has a workforce of 199,000 worldwide, of whom 50% are based in France, and half of them are blue-collar workers.

Wine: The U.S. passed France as the world’s largest wine-consuming nation for the first time, because of its larger population and an interest in wine-and-cheese culture among young Americans. Wine shipments to the U.S. climbed 2 percent to 329.7 million cases last year, according to Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates, a wine-industry consulting firm. That compares with 320.6 million cases in France.

While the French still dramatically surpass Americans in per capita consumption, the U.S. wine industry is benefiting from a domestic population of more than 300 million people—five times the size of France’s. There’s been a surge of young people who have become wine drinkers. Social media is being used to target a new generation of consumers.

More news to follow….

(c) Paris New Media, LLC

Posted in Paris |
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