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NewsletterFebruary 2014

Blast from the Past

Full page of ads in L'Illustration dated September 21st, 1918. This issue focused on American troops in WWI. Including photos from the front, a portrait of General Pershing and articles. You can see another set of ads.

Love Life

French politics is many things but boring isn't one of them! I'm sure it's isn't news to anyone that French President Francois Hollande was reported to have a mistress. According to a French tabloid - Closer he was caught going to meet his mistress on a scooter (he wore a helmet but his shoes gave him away; the helmet, French made is now a best seller) not far from the Élysée Palace. Hollande didn't deny anything, he just said his private life was private. The French seem to agree with that idea, even if Closer, did sell out the edition (600,000 copies sold) that broke the story and published a second run.
Hollande has broken up with 'first girlfriend' Valérie Trierweiler and will be going stag to the White House to dine with the Obamas. France has no official statue for First Lady and no specific budget allocation for the post. Trierweiler had a relatively small staff that nevertheless did cost about €20,000 per month.
If all is true Hollande follows in the footsteps of President Francois Mitterrand, who had a long time mistress, with whom he had a daughter. Mitterrand had two separate families, both were at his funeral.
Where does this all leave Hollande? Well he isn't very popular and the French do see this as private, even if again, some are very interested in looking at the photos and reading about it. Most of the opposition followed the 'it's private' line, even if some did attack Hollande for looking foolish to the world. I think the reason the opposition gave Hollande a free pass was no one wants to have their personal life under the microscope. The French tend to be uncomfortable with politicians putting their spouses front and center. Even if the 'peopolisation' of French political life is much more prevalent than it was in the past. Peopolisation is the amount of relevance the personal life of public figures have. Old school was, it didn't matter what a politician did in his or her personal life as long as they got the job done. Hollande is putting that to the test, mostly because so far he hasn't gotten the job done and he lives in a facebook world.
The thought of resigning, I'm sure never crossed Hollande mind. There is a school of thought that this helps Hollande. As he looks like a seducer who was able to seduce a beautiful actress. But judging from some comments by female journalists cheating doesn't go as far as it once did.
A few days after Hollande's love life became public, he had a press conference were he announced a 'responsibility pact'. Hollande purposed payroll taxes be cut €30 billion and in return business would hire more workers. He also stated he was a Social Democrat. This is a bit of a right turn, at least based on how he campaigned but not really unexpected. Hollande comes from the right-wing (if one can call it that) of the Socialist Party. It will be interesting to see what the opposition comes up with in response. Now Hollande is taking from the French right's playbook. On national TV a small business owner called for national unity government. For now I don't think that will happen.

ACA & AARO

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Dorothy van Schooneveld of American Citizens Abroad (ACA) and Ellen Lebelle from the Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO). Both of these organizations are well worth joining if you are or would like to be an American oversees.

More Then & Now

Here are two videos, 15 sets each of then and now photos of France and Burgundy.

La Roche Bluegrass

The dates for the La Roche Bluegrass, my town's yearly Bluegrass Festival are set. La Roche Bluegrass will take place from July 30th - August 3rd 2014. See and hear past editions.

Never too Early

With taxes that is. If you want to get the jump on your tax filing. I work with American accountants, Barron Harper and Taxes for Expats LLP.

Mail Box

Chamonix Valley Photographic Walks February/March 2014: Unusual and secret itineraries for the curious photographer and world traveler. An ideal activity for non-skiers. Accompany the photographer Teresa Kaufman, and go behind the scenes to discover, taste and photograph the unique neighborhoods and hamlets of the Chamonix Valley.
Say Jeff Steiner sent you and get a 10% discount on the basic photo walk fee (not including meals) of €20.
My Grape Escape: Find out what happens when on a whim, a Franco-Canadian couple buy a ruin in the tiny Burgundian village of Magny-les-Villers.
From Here To Paris: Cris Hammond buys a Dutch barge in Burgundy and without killing anyone, takes it to Paris.
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly: A free monthly magazine for the English speaking community living or holidaying in the Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas of France.
Culture Shock Toolbox: Traveling overseas or studying abroad? Here are 5 quick tips to help you handle culture shock.

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