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NewsletterFebruary 2012

Boat on a River

This is the first shot in a time lapse video I took of the Saône River in Burgundy.

Frenchman’s Travels in the US

Not sure how I missed it, French globetrotter, Antoine de Maximy, made a film of his travels in the US. This 2009 documentary titled J'irais Dormir à Hollywood - Hollywood, I'm Sleeping Over Tonight takes Maximy from New York to the beaches of LA. Nothing is planned other than traveling coast to coast.
Maximy travels by himself, filming everything along the way with three cameras. His goal is to meet and if possible sleep in the homes of Americans, hence the name. When he arrives in Hollywood Maximy tries is to sleep in the home of a movie star.
Maximy has a show J'irai dormir chez vous on France 5. The idea is the same. He travels to countries at random trying to meet locals and if possible sleep in their homes. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t.

2012 Presidential Election

Here’s a difference between France and the US. The French Presidential Election is now starting to heat up, with just three months to go. The US election is also heating up with nine months to go. What’s more President Nicolas Sarkozy hasn’t even officially declared his candidacy. Even though his primetime interview on January 29th left no doubt. In the interview Sarkozy said he would raise the TVA (France’s value added tax). The tax increase would shift the tax burden away from employers. In France this is known as ‘TVA sociale’. The idea is to help French companies become more competitive. Right now most French social services are funded by payroll taxes.
Sarkozy also said he would push for more flexibility in France’s 35-hour work week and create a financial transaction tax. Historically TVA sociale isn’t very popular in France but François Hollande, the socialist candidate, is leading Sarkozy comfortably in all polls. Sarkozy doesn’t have much of a choice other than to try and paint himself as a man of action. A leader willing to do what it takes to get the job done. Even if it means enacting polices that are unpopular.
Hollande, announced his 60 point program. It includes raising taxes on the rich, the creation of 60,000 educational jobs over the next five years, balancing the French budget by 2017, rent control and legalization of gay marriage and adoption. All new spending is to be financed through new taxes or spending cuts elsewhere. Same with the creation of government jobs, Hollande stated he will keep the total number of civil servants the same.

Power and the Press

Another difference between France and the US is mixing of power and the press. Hollande is the former partner of 2007 presidential candidate, Ségolène Royal, they had four children together. Hollande is now the partner of journalist Valérie Trierweiler. This isn’t first time a French politician and a journalist have become couple. Other examples include former: Arnaud Montebourg and Audrey Pulvar, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Anne Sinclair, Bernard Kouchner and Christine Ockrent, Jean-Louis Borloo and Béatrice Schönberg.

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 August 1st – 5th 2012. See and hear last year's festival.

Never too Early

With taxes that is. If you want to get the jump on your tax filing. I work with American accountant, Barron Harper. Barron has just published an ebook tax guide for American expats. The cost is €10 but you can get a copy of the first chapter for free to have a look before you buy.
I also work with Taxes for Expats LLP and their over 20 years experience and 100% focus on the American expat community.

From my Website

The French make recycling easy thanks to public bins. Here's a recycling article I recently updated with new photos and a video.
Be prepared to make Crêpes for Fête de la Chandeleur on February 2nd.
The February 2012 traffic estimation for France.


B&B/Gîte in Normandy, France: The Haven is a small English-run guest house in rural Normandy, France, offering B&B and Gîte (Self-Catering) accommodation. We have renovated an attractive old stone farmhouse, to provide comfortable accommodation, whilst retaining many of the original features. The house is in an elevated and peaceful setting, south-facing, with an acre of garden and beautiful views. It is situated on the outskirts of a small hamlet, in unspoiled, rolling countryside, halfway between St Lo and Mont St Michel. The nearest market town is Villedieu-les-Poeles, less than 15 minutes drive away, and the Normandy Landing Beaches are about an hours drive away.

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