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NewsletterApril 2012

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The Voie Verte in Late Winter

The above photo was taken on the Voie Verte bike path in Southern Burgundy near Cormatin, best known for its Châteaux. Most of the Voie Verte was once railway lines, now converted into a bike path. What's great about the Voie Verte is that it's closed to cars and long enough that you don't get lots of traffic. It zigzags from the far west of Southern Burgundy starting in Cronat, then goes south to Paray-le-Monial, then north to Remigny, passing by Le Creusot TGV station (one hour and 18 minutes from Paris).Once in Remigny it goes south again to Macon and then ends along the Saône River.
A few of the old railway stations are now rest stops: example Saint Gengoux le National and Massilly.
The Voie Verte web site for Southern Burgundy. There are many other Voie Vertes in France and a planned Avenue Verte from Paris to London - video.


I'm sure all of you heard about the killings in Toulouse and the standoff with the killer that ensued. Needless to say this event shocked France and changed the complexity of the presidential election, that was suspended for a few days. But it quickly heated up again. President Nicolas Sarkozy is proposing a new law, making it illegal to repeatedly visit web sites that support terrorism. Also hard-line clerics would be banned from entering France.
It remains to be seen if the events of Toulouse will change the campaign permanently. The main topic is the economy, not law and order. Voter concerns remained focused on this polls show.
There's an historical precedent with the election of 2002 and the killings in Nanterre. Those killings led in part to Jean-Marie Le Pen knocking out Lionel Jospin and making the second round. The difference between 2002 and 2012 is law and order was already a big part of the 2002 campaign and the killings reinforced that. In 2012, up until the events in Toulouse, main issue is the economy. It remains to be seen if that will change or not.

Election II

France has a rather interesting presidential election system. To get on the ballot candidates need signatures of 500 elected officials, out of 47,000 . For 2012 the official candidates are Eva Joly, Marine Le Pen, Nicolas Sarkozy, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Philippe Poutou, Nathalie Arthaud, Jacques Cheminade, François Bayrou, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and François Hollande. The most notable name missing is Dominique de Villepin, who couldn't get the needed 500 signatures.
Another interesting fact is that during the first part of the official campaign period - March 20th to April 9th candidates are given the same amount of time on TV and radio. This might sound great to some of the smaller candidates but what happens is that stations run repeats of interviews or rallies late at nigh or early in the morning to even out the time.
From April 9th to 20th all candidates will continue to have the same amount of TV and radio time but each has to be given the same type of air time. In other words if one candidate is interviewed on the evening news all other candidates with be interviewed for the same duration and at the same time.
The first round of the election is April 22nd, with the second on May 6th.

Free Tax Ebook

Barron Harper from Barron's International Tax Service is offering his 30 page ebook free to Americans in France readers. Barron specializes in doing tax returns for expats and this ebook covers questions like who must file a US tax return, what forms to use and filing deadlines.


It's been a busy month with Podcasting. I talked with Americans Harvey Morgan and Nancy Dawson. Harvey lives in Talence near Bordeaux and Nancy lives in St Avit-Senieur in the Dordogne. Harvey has just started a blog.
My podcast can also be found in the iTunes Store.

Mail Box

Eat Smart in France: A culinary travel guidebook for eating in France. Covering restaurant dining, home cooking and shopping in a local produce market in France. Online directory of English speaking businesses in France, with everything from English speaking accommodation and builders to English speaking Estate Agents and Help Lines. Whatever you're looking for, you're sure to find it on
Yabla: Learn French through videos from Yabla. An online video magazine for French learners who wish to improve their language skills.


Artémis en Provence: In the heart of Provence and the ochre that gives its name to the village of Roussillon, Artemis en Provence is an environmentally-friendly solar house with two self-catering rental units designed to also welcome visitors with physical and visual handicaps. The two apartments of 40m2 are entirely equipped. Dine or have drinks on your shaded terrace. Contemplate the stars. Tinkle the ivories, jump on the trampoline. Guidebooks and maps suggest sites and trails. Four bikes are available for guests’ use. The enclosed swimming pool measures 12 by 5 meters. There is a floatation device for physically challenged guests. You may arrange for guide service as well as for meals to be delivered. Apt with its Saturday market and Lacoste, where Pierre Cardin has succeeded to the Marquis de Sade, are fifteen minutes away, Avignon and La Roque d’Anthéron within an hour, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, and Marseille an hour and a half, making Artemis en Provence convenient for the summer festivals and for seasoned cyclists to ascend the Mt. Ventoux (1909 m.) Golf, horseback riding, acro-branch, observatory, and hot-air balloon ascension, pottery, and painting nearby. Gay friendly. Open year ‘round.

Domaine la Fontaine: B&B and cottages in the beautiful Charente-Maritime. Domaine la Fontaine is situated at the edge of the small village of Soubran in Southwest France. Domaine la Fontaine is in a peaceful area, with an impressive view over a large valley, where one can enjoy the things that make life worthwhile. Five fully renovated rooms, each with individual bathroom (1 with bath), tasteful furnishings, in a charming 19th century Charentaise House. Cosy salon (TV, fireplace, piano etc.) for common use. Four comfortable and cosy gîtes (cottages). For all guests there is a large garden, a heated swimming pool, parking and free WiFi. A few times a week we offer dinner and you are more than welcome to join us. Dinner is of course accompanied by a good glass of wine. Domaine la Fontaine is in the Charente-Maritime department, a beautiful region with a wide range of activities (Atlantic coast, Bordeaux, famous wineries, nature, village markets, golf courses, etc). We speak your language.
Come and see for yourself, it's worth a visit.

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