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NewsletterMay 2004

What have I learned lately?

  • The youngest regional council member in France is 19 years old. She represents the Nord-pas de Calais Region and is a member of the Communist Party.
  • Burgundy is rapidly becoming the Florida of France. Twenty five per cent of the population is over 60 and by 2030 the average age will be 47. Today the average is 40.
  • There are no milk subsidies in France. The government buys a large portion of the milk produced. This bulk buying ceases after this year.

Events in France

The American Club of Paris celebrates its'100th anniversary with a symposium on May 14th. For more information see - or e-mail .

Down on the (French) farm

During Easter vacation I had the opportunity to attend a cattle auction - Le Marché au Cadran located in the village of Moulins-Engilbert in the Morvan Department. The day we attended over 500 cattle (Mostly Charolais) were auctioned. Cattle were auctioned off at about one a minute.
The auctioneer didn't really talk that fast, like auctions I attended in the states. I was able to understand what he was saying and also follow the bids on the board over the auction pit where the cattle are shown.
Things moved really fast and the auction continued throughout the day without stopping. The cattle auction started at six in the morning; needless to say that's not when I arrived! I arrived around mid-day with my son. Bulls are sold in the morning, calves midmorning and early afternoon, and cows in the afternoon.
My brother in law Thierry, arrived at around 10:30 am, as the cows he wanted to sell could not be unloaded until 11 am. He ended up selling six of the seven cows he brought. It's possible at Le Marché au Cadran that a seller will take back an animal if the price is not deemed high enough, that is what happened with Thierry's seventh cow. He felt the selling price was too low and he decide not to sell.
Le Marché au Cadran has a cattle auction every Tuesday and a sheep auction every Monday throughout the year. This cattle auction is one of 22 that take place in France weekly.
To see photos of Le Marché au Cadran click here.


Here is one tradition in France that does not involve food, collecting Muguets (Lily of the Valley) on May 1st. I've known about this tradition for years but this is the first time I went out and collected Muguets in the wild. Muguets are small plants that give off a very nice smell. The tradition is: you go out and gather the Muguets and then put them in a vase to make your home smell nice.
To see photos of our Muguets hunt click here.

Only in France

Only in France can you find a reality show (Somewhat like Survivor in that each week one is voted off.) about people living on a farm. Then have a farmer's organization threaten, and attempt to close down the show.
That's what happened as the Confederation Paysanne (The confederation of peasants) tried to close down La Ferme Célébrités (Celebrity Farm) during the live reality show on April 30th. They felt that La Ferme Célébrités belittles farmers because it made a game out of farming.
The Confederation Paysanne was not successful but the show was disrupted.

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