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NewsletterMay 2015

Off the Beaten Path - Passy Market

This indoor market, in the once village of Passy (now a neighborhood in Paris) is one of my top 10 hidden travel gems. Find out what the others are.
Regarding Paris: for anyone traveling between Paris and CDG, EasyBus has a new service with seats at €2 - one way.

Brain Drain or Outward Looking?

One popular subject I've run across many a time on social media and in the press, is the perception that France is suffering from 'brain drain'. Perception based on the young, well educated, leaving the country. This is often viwed as a sinister admission by France's youth that France has failed them. For a better life, they flee the country to find employment, career opportunies, etc.. There is some bases for this criticism, London is reportedly the sixth largest 'French' city. I think that there are lots of reasons that some leave France, not all bad and some even envious. On social media the reasons tend to be negative, mostly having to do with high unemployment, few job opportunities and the general funk France is going through. They're flamed by some newspapers and web sites. The low point being the 'The Fall of France' article in Newsweek that was even picked up by the Le Monde and rebutted.
It's worth digging deeper here and trying to understand what's going on. I think the biggest reason French youth leave is very simple, they can. Just like Americans can pickup and move to another state, the French in the EU of today can move and legally live and work in 25+ countries. Another reason, and I think it's almost as important as the first, no student loans. In France public universities run about €300 per year. Imagine going to medical school for €300 a year and graduating debt free! That doesn't include room and board, that's traditionally picked up by the parents. There are also grants available to help with other miscellaneous costs and/or room and board. I've always felt that one thing France does right is putting education costs on the state and not directly on students. This gives young graduates a tremendous amount of freedom. The downside of course is higher taxes.
What this means for a young French university graduate is that they have a freedom that many can only dream of. Ask yourself, if you were young, educated and debt free wouldn't you be open to thinking about seeing the world and try living in another country? Getting back to London, as English is the world's de facto language, wouldn't it be smart in terms of career to spend some time learning English there?
To a certain degree France is a victim of its own success. As a founding member of what is now the EU, France helped create a zone where over 300 million people in 25+ countries have almost total free movement and can live and travel as they like. In those terms is it such a bad thing that some of its young leave France? Many, by the way do comeback. Or does it show a people open to the world and outward looking? One rap on the French is that they don't like globalization. For some that's true, but the system they have created for its youth, lets them fully profit from globalization if they so choose.

Jan & Jeff

It's been a lively month for Jan and Jeff. We did four Hangouts and covered subjects from Easter food to language faux pas. Here are April's shows:
April 3rd: Jambon beurre sandwiches, best baguette in Paris and the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Grand Palais.
April 10th: Easter snack, farm food and French doggy bags.
April 17th: Fast food, Burger King and home cooking.
April 24th: Language faux pas and French word origins.

I also did a Hangout with Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels about her survey of citizenship renunciation intentions among US citizens abroad.

Web & Events

Full-day trip to Zermatt: In the footsteps of Edward Whymper & Michel Croz. We will follow in the footsteps of these two great 19th century climbers as we make our way to Zermatt. Once a small village of mountain country folk, Zermatt is now a world-famous alpine destination.
ACA Online Auction Fundraiser: Starting on May 21, 2015, American Citizens Abroad Global Foundation will be auctioning off a number of fun and unique items to bid on to raise money for our organization. The more items we have the more money we can raise, so we're asking for your help! ACA is also hosting a Town Hall evening near Geneva.
At home in the Luberon: Small group tours in Provence: Enjoy an insider’s view of Provence, its history, culture and cuisine: outings with people who know the area, its people and secrets. Eat at local restaurants and houses, visit local craftspeople, abbeys, gardens and shop at local markets. Places available 27 June-July 4; 5-12 Sept.
Bleu Vins: Specialist wine tour operator offering a large selection of wine holidays, wine trips and wine day tour to beautiful wine regions in France for both private and corporate clients.
Combining the discovery of a rich heritage, authentic landscapes, local food and of course wine tasting; learning about wine has never been so attractive!


Prelude to Waterloo: Quatre Bras: The French Perspective: The Battle of Quatre Bras was critical to the outcome of the Waterloo campaign – to the victory of the allied armies of Wellington and Blücher, the defeat of the French and the fall of Napoleon. But it has been overshadowed by the two larger-scale engagements at Ligny and at Waterloo itself.
A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light: Abounding in secluded, atmospheric parks, artists' studios, cafes, restaurants and streets little changed since the 1800s, Paris exudes romance. The art and architecture, the cityscape, riverbanks, and the unparalleled quality of daily life are part of the equation.
A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France [Kindle Edition] Told by a proudly-feminine and sophisticated travel writer, an expert in all things French, searching for harmony and true love with her super-cyclist boyfriend. A Tour of the Heart will keep you bien captivé through its many twists and turns.


Chalet Bibendum: A unique holiday home for winter ski & summer holidays in Chamonix. Open year round. Ideally located in the tranquil, picturesque Savoyard hamlet of Les Bois, a 5 minute drive from the center of Chamonix and a short walk to La Flégère lift. La Flégère is well known for skiing and snowboarding in winter or hiking, mountain biking or golf in summer. The 300-year-old Chalet Bibendum is a tastefully renovated holiday home, where the comfort of a luxury hotel service meets the magic of a bygone time. The spacious chalet enjoys a beautiful sunny exposure and is designed to deliver panoramic breathtaking views - it is like living in a postcard!

Domaine la Fontaine: B&B and cottages in the beautiful Charente-Maritime. Domaine la Fontaine is situated at the edge of the small village of Soubran in Southwest France. Domaine la Fontaineis in a peaceful area, with an impressive view over a large valley, where one can enjoy the things that make life worthwhile. Five fully renovated rooms, each with individual bathroom (1 with bath), tasteful furnishings, in a charming 19th century Charentaise House. Cosy salon (TV, fireplace, piano etc.) for common use. Four comfortable and cozy gîtes (cottages). Come and see for yourself, it's worth a visit. Check out our Wine & Cognac Tour for 2015!

La Maison du Curé: Self catering gîte in the popular village of Cormatin in Southern Burgundy. Built in 1823, it use to be the home of the village priest. This cosy holiday cottage is available all year. It has 3 bedrooms sleeping 5/6 people. The sitting room overlooks the enclosed garden with its sunny eating area. We have table tennis and bicycles. Guests have the use of free WiFi and free telephone calls to the US.

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