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NewsletterJanuary 2008

Photo of winter

Christmas Day 2008 in Burgundy France.

Taken on Christmas Day in Burgundy.

Americans in Euroland

Much has been made over the last year or so about the fall of the American dollar, most notably in relation to the Euro. Anyway you slice it; France continues to be more expensive if you are spending dollars. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t move or travel in France. Or even do both if you want!

If you are thinking of moving to France one way to soften the pain is to use a company like HiFX. HiFX can help to minimize your currency risk, in HiFX’s words: “protection against adverse currency market movements.” For example you can open a currency contract now and fix your future exchange rate. This protects your money before you move to France. You don’t have all the money just yet. A minimum 10% is enough to start your account.

To find out more about the currency services HIFX provides, simply contact Jody Cracknell direct on (415) 321 6384 or e-mail or visit Please remember to say referred by 'Americans in France'.

If on the other hand you are a tourist, or a future expat wanting to see France you still can do it without breaking the bank. Here are a couple of tips:

Ask Around: Wherever you are, ask the local tourist office for any free or special bargains that are taking place nearby. For example recently, in the Île-de-France, RER suburban trains and the métro were free on the Saturday before Christmas.

Museums: The 23 national museums in Paris (including the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay) are free for those under 18. Check individual museums for admission free Sundays sometimes scheduled during the year (usually first Sunday of the month. This page on the Paris tourist web site has more information. In Strasbourg you can buy a one day pass to visit all the city museums for 6 euros. In Dijon, where I once lived, the local Fine Arts Museum is free.

Food: This is France you don’t have to always have a sit down meal to eat well. Most bakeries will sell sandwiches, slices of quiche, pizza etc., along with pastries. Meaning you can eat well at an affordable price. You can also buy lunch, or dinner at any French supermarket. During lunch time there are often hot dishes ready to be sold – and eaten!

Accommodations: Believe it or not the Paris area isn’t the most expensive city in the world for hotel rooms. I found a hotel for my recent trip just outside Paris for 61 euros a night, that’s about 90 dollars. That’s for a double room. This doesn’t include breakfast at 7.50 euros, a little less than 11 dollars per person or parking at 10 euros or about $14.70. My point, these prices even in dollars are about what you would find in the US. At least that was my experience during travels in the USA last summer. If you are going to be in the French countryside, seriously give thought to a Gîte (rental home) or B&B. With a Gîte you will have your own kitchen so you can do your own cooking and save money. With a B&B you of course get breakfast included in the price and I’ve found that generally B&B’s are cheaper than hotels. I have a few B&B’s listed here.

Here are some other articles on saving money during your travels:
Dollar-Saving European Travel Tips for Americans
European prices: not so outrageous after all

New Airport Web Sites

Over the last few months I’ve created three new airport web sites. They are for the Annecy Airport, Beziers Airport and Nimes Airport. Beziers and Nimes are cheap flight airports with Beziers having a seasonal service to Bristol and Nimes having flights (some are seasonal) to Brussels (Charleroi), Liverpool, London (Luton) and Nottingham East Midlands. Nimes is also going to be served by Eurociel, with flights to a number of other countries. The Annecy Airport at present isn’t served by any low cost airlines. There is regular service to Paris-Orly West. With flights up to four times a day.

Municipal Elections 2008

France will have municipal elections on March 9th and 16th 2008. This means that all of France’s over 36,000 mayors are up for reelection. I’ve written about the campaign so far in the town where I live La Roche sur Foron.

Skiing in France

Just a reminder that my good friend Mike Beaudet, aka Megeve Mike, is ready to help with your skiing needs. Should you be a beginner or advanced, Mike will make skiing even more enjoyable. Mike is based in Megeve very close to the Mont Blanc, for more info see - Ski Pros Megeve.


Barge Rental with Johanna Charters

Anyone looking for a relaxing week in France should consider the ‘Johanna’. The Johanna is a Dutch barge built in the1920’s. The barge was converted ten years ago into a floating rental home with space for up to 8 people. The Johanna has four single cabins; one two-tier cabin and a saloon with a double bed, there are two bathrooms with washbasins and a shower. There is a fully functional kitchen, so you can prepare your own meals, buying at local markets along the way. Or eat in local restaurants if you prefer.
For more information please see - Barge Rental with Johanna Charters.

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