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NewsletterApril 2014

Happy Fish Day!

In France, an April Fool's joke is known as Poisson d'Avril - April Fish. That's why the people in this postcard are holding a fish. This postcard looks to have been sent in 1908. The text at the bottom translates: 'When you receive our nice fish, you'll know we're always thinking of you.' April Fool's and Poisson d'Avril are more or less the same thing, other than the French are into fish :). The tradition in France is, along with practical jokes and fake news stories, putting paper fish on the backs of unsuspecting victims.
Here's a little April first trivia: What gritty 1970's police movie takes place in Marseille and starts on April first? Find out here.

Municipal Elections

Alas, the Municipal Elections were real, not a Poisson d' Avril for the Ruling Socialist Party, too bad, the Municipal Elections were not a real Poisson d' Avril for ruling Socialists. The Socialists lost about 150 town-halls (at the time of this writing the exact number is unclear) with a population of over 9,000 and saw the Front National (FN) win Hénin-Beaumont in the first round, winning 50.5% of the vote in a once Socialist stronghold. Probably President François Hollande will make changes in his government and possibly offer taxpayer rebates. The only good news for the Socialists, Paris stayed in their hands. Candidate, Anne Hidalgo was elected the first woman mayor of Paris.
The Municipal Elections marked a comeback for the FN and empowered its leader Marine Le Pen. Le Pen after taking over from her father, FN founder and longtime leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has soften the party's image. The FN is still anti immigration/anti EU but the rhetoric has changed to less anti and more posturing as standing up for the unemployed and those left behind by globalization. The FN is very popular among the French working class. Unemployment in Henin-Beaumont, once a coal region contributed to FN victory. Historically the area elected Socialists and Communist candidates. The FN is often referred to as the extreme right, but reality is much more nuanced and difficult to pin down.
Of course a lot of the FN's popularity is due to the fact it has never governed and doesn't have the burden of a record. That now changes and the FN, if it really is France's third largest political party, must prove it can govern. In the 1990's the FN also had success at the local level but had problems governing. Another point, the FNs success needs to be kept in perspective, on election night it could have upwards of 10-15 towns, but that's out of a total of thousands and the FN still has a problem finding candidates. Where I live - La Roche sur Foron the FN candidate, had to abandon the election as he couldn't find enough people to be on his list.
France 2's Des Paroles et des Actes had an interesting show between rounds about the state of politics in France.

Municipal Elections II

In La Roche sur Foron the incumbent mayor - Michel Thabuis wasn't reelected. The campaign didn't have the excitement of last time but a mysterious person did buy all editions of a local newspaper in one shop. A newspaper that had in depth article about Thabuis. I did a very informal facebook/YouTube poll and there was a major change between rounds. It seems that everyone 'likes' a winner and Thabuis who had lead in facebook likes, was over taken between rounds by new mayor Guy Flammier, who recieved the most votes in the first round, and then the second and was elected.

French Revolution

The Internet is now that much bigger. A new digital archive of the French Revolution is on line. It's a collaboration between Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Includes a handy timeline.


In my latest Hangout I talk with Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels: Author of Migrants or Expatriates?: Americans in Europe (Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship). We had an interesting discussion on American expats and how perceptions change after moving.


First French Essais: The e-book version of First French Essais by Kristin Espinasse is on sale for a limited time! Paperback edition can be found here.
Wine Auction Weekend: Spend three nights in Beaune and attend the world famous Hospice de Beaune wine auction - Americans in France readers get 5% off!
Online Survey: For a new business targeted at English-speakers looking to retire in France.
Jura Wine: The only book in English about Jura Wine is now for sale.


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.

Global Insurance Net: If you are thinking about moving to France you will need health insurance to get your visa. A great company that will help you with this is Global Insurance Net. I found out about Global Insurance Net in 2003 through another expat and have been recommending them ever since with no regrets. Carlos Perez the President, CEO of Global Insurance Net has always been very easy to work with.

Cote d'Azur Antibes: This beautiful apartment built in 1880 is 32 square meters or 220 sq.ft. and has been renovated with a full size bathroom, it is located in the old town district of Antibes. The apartment includes bedroom and living room with a sofa bed (sleep 3-4 people), air conditioning, cable TV, video, kitchen, large bathroom and three large closets, also the kitchen has double burner stove top, sink, under counter fridge/freezer, dishwasher, coffee maker, microwave, along with a washer/dryer.

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