Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
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NewsletterJune 2016

Ballooning in the Alps

The above is a photo from my early May balloon ride above Praz-sur-Arly looking towards Megève and the French Alps. There was little wind during the ride, so we didn't travel far. But there was lots of sun! You can see more photos and a video.

Strikes in France

France has been going through labor strife over the last few months. Things got a bit hectic near the end of May when refinery strikes caused panic buying of gasoline, including yours truly! There was so much demand that stations run out of gasoline and/or had to cut back their hours so as to not be overrun. In short the 'gasoline panic' was more a disruption than the strikes. France has at least three months reserves and the government can call in the army for distribution, so a total sudden lack of gasoline and diesel is highly unlikely. Unions have planned more strikes that will likely effect public transport (trains, Paris metro) and possibly flights, as air traffic controllers are planning to take part. As I learned from the gasoline panic, don't rely or be influenced by the social media rumor mill. Check directly with the French train company SNCF if you're taking a train or the Paris metro system. Also remember there can be strikes and still trains. By law public transport companies offer minimum service.
Most of the conflict centers on the Loi el Khomri, a proposed new law related to changes in the work code. The big sticking point is article two, that lets company wide labor agreements supersede sector wide agreements. In France, less than 10% of the workforce belongs to a union, but just about all employees, even professions like doctors and lawyers are covered by a convention collective - collective bargaining agreement that's negotiated by, in part unions.
This law is part of the present government's efforts to reform the labor market and help lower France's stubbornly high unemployment rate. This law is named after Minister of Labour, Myriam El Khomri.
The union leading the fight against the Loi el Khomri is the CGT - Confédération générale du travail. The CGT wants the law dropped. To a certain degree the CGT is fighting for its survival. Not only in its ability to influence the labor law but in its fight with the CFDT - Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail, a union that supports the Loi el Khomri. In the most recent professional elections the CGT just edged out the CFDT as Frances largest labor union.
If you're taking the train check the SNCF website before starting out to see if your train is still running. For the Paris metro see the RATP website (in French), for gas stations see the Essence website (again in French) and see my French Strike Vocabulary page for useful lingo. These and other links can be found on my Strikes in France Update page.

School Lunches

In Michael Moore's latest movie Where to Invade Next, he takes a trip to France to discover French school lunches.
Doing my own investigation I discovered that water is the only beverage served with school lunch in France. French students do eat a portion of cheese, sometimes a choice between cheese and dessert is given. Legally the lunch break must be at least 1.5 hours. Also school systems try to buy locally grown food when possible. Not all lunches are prepared on site. Many systems use a central kitchen that cooks all meals and then meals are delivered to the schools.

Open Wine University

Université de la Vigne et du Vin pour Tous is back for 2016. This free online course started May 19th, but you can still register. To get an idea of the course, here's 'homework' from last year. This course is 5 weeks and consists of videos in French with English subtitles.

Jan & Jeff

It's been another busy month for Jan and Jeff, the regular Hangout I do with fellow American Jan Malleval.
Open Wine University + Roots & Wings
Ballooning in the Alps & Medical Translation Guide
French School Lunches, Burgundy & Flea Markets
Strikes in France

Sales in France

The 2016 summer sales in France (Soldes d'été 2016) start nationally on June 22nd and run six weeks until August 2nd. The exceptions are departments Alpes-Maritimes and Pyrénées-Orientales that start July 6th until August 16th and on Corsica sales start July 13th and run until August 23rd.

Mail Box & Reading

Private French Lessons in Paris: Why struggle months or years when you can learn faster and more effectively with a dedicated private French teacher?
VIP Nannies Agency: If you are looking for a French speaking nanny or governess, we currently have very experienced French or Bilingual nannies and governesses, looking forward to working for high profile families.
Teresa's Photo Walks: Discover Chamonix and the Chamonix Valley in the French Alps as only a local can.
Medicarte: A pocket-sized spiral bound pack, on each page is a English common or not so common medical problem and the back there is a French translation. Americans in France readers get €7 off their purchase with coupon code: medicarte40.
ChampsÉlysées Film Festival: After four successful editions the ChampsÉlysées Film Festival, created by the producer, distributor and exhibitor Sophie DULAC, celebrates its fifth anniversary from the 7th to the 14th of June. Bring the best of French and American cinema to audiences.
THE HARVARD DIN & TONICS: Wednesday June 15th at 8pm 30. Salle Polyvalente Collège International de L'Esplanade. Free!
F Is for France: A Curious Cabinet of French Wonders Exploring a culture filled with arcane laws, historical incidents, and bizarre paradoxes, Piu Eatwell's follow up to her award winning and critically acclaimed mythbuster.They Eat Horses, Don't They is a delightful exploration of France's quirky, literary, and culinary heritage.
Provence and the Cote d'Azur: Discover the Spirit of the South of France Take a journey through the dreamiest regions of France: the enchanting villages of Provence and the magnificent coastline of the Côte d'Azur. From the author of Paris, this gorgeous lifestyle guide steers readers away from crowded tourist destinations to reveal hidden gems at every turn: overflowing markets, chic ateliers, quaint cafes, cobblestone streets, sweeping vistas, and exceptional galleries.
A Traveller's Guide to D-Day and the Battle for Normandy Kindle Edition: Covers the period from June to August 1944 when the Allies stormed ashore, fought their way through the bocage country of Normandy, and eventually broke out through the Avranches gap.


Travel Wifi: Your own WiFi hotspot during your travels in France. Includes support for up to 10 devices with unlimited Internet access. 4G for all of Paris and other major cities and 3G for the rest of France. Americans in France readers get 10% off - use code LITYRZZ9K.

An American In Brittany: 'Bienvenue Chez Moi!' Cheryl Ward welcomes you to her home and B & B. Located in the beautiful Cotes d'Armor region of Brittany, France, 30 minutes from the Roscoff ferry arriving from England, 25 minutes from Gare Morlaix, arriving from Paris, and directly along the GR34 national coastal walking and bicycle routes.
This cozy four bedroom 'Tables d'hotes' is a Breton stone home located directly across from the sea, bordered by a river and forest. Its country garden, butterflies and birds beckon you to stay awhile, breathe deeply, and step away from everyday life. Whether you stay one night, or many, experience France's well kept secret paradise…the beautiful Granite Rose Coast, while creating memories to last a lifetime!






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