Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
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NewsletterJanuary 2006

Riots (Continued)

France seems to have returned to normal after the rioting that took place in late October and early November of last year. We now seem to be into the government reaction phase. The proposal that received the most press is the one proposing to lower the apprentice age from fifteen to fourteen years. Whether this will have any real impact on the problems facing those in the cités, suburban housing projects, is debatable. As I stated last month education and training are not really the problems. The problem is finding a job.
I know from personal experience finding work in France is not easy. If you are ‘outside the box’ i.e. have a degree no one understands, my case or have the wrong sounding surname finding employment is extremely difficult.
In France origin is very important, where you come from and school attended, heavily influence your career/employment opportunities. Schooling is especially important anyone that attends a grand ecole is just about set for life. I heard the story of a graduate of a grand ecole who after listing his personal information on his resume listed the grand ecole he went to. As if that was the most important thing about him.
I think this is part of the problem because this also works in reverse. I saw on the news the story of a young man that lived in a cité. He spoke Japanese and spent time living in Japan. His recommendations letters included both the French ambassador to Japan and the Japanese ambassador to France. Yet he could not find work. Why? The area he lives in has a bad reputation, this is enough to make employers reluctant to hire him.

Christmas in France

I am writing this on Christmas Eve so this ‘Christmas in France’ is about to happen. We mix French and American cultures, this year for the family feast we are doing stuffing as in Thanksgiving stuffing. We also mix the cultures around the Christmas tree not only do we hang stockings but we also put out shoes. Thus Santa Claus can put the presents next to our shoes, as is the French way.

New Web Sites

Over the last few years or so France has seen an explosion of low-cost airlines offering cheap flights to a number of destinations. Including Paris, the South of France and the Alps. The only problem is that these low-cost airlines use unknown regional airports. In response I have created three web sites:, and Each is an ‘unofficial guide’ offering the visitor practical information ex: airport access, hotels, airlines …

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