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NewsletterNovember 2008

New School

School in France

Samuel’s School

Early in October I had the pleasure to participate in the inauguration of my son’s new school – L’Ecole du Bois des Chères (Photo above). I got to walk around and see my son’s classroom; it looks a lot like a classroom in the U.S. There is both a language and computer lab (computers are also in classrooms) and the school looks great. Tax euros at work!
What’s interesting is that the school L’Ecole du Bois des Chères, in part replaces L'Ecole Plain-Chateau has been the location of a school off and on since 1569. What’s more the original building was erected when the school was founded - 1569 and stood until 1903, when the original building was torn down and a ‘new’ school built.
L’Ecole Plain-Chateau was at first run by clergy, including for a time Jesuits. During the French revolution L’Ecole Plain-Chateau was closed and then reopened in 1801. In 1807 philosophy was first taught and 1837 girls were admitted.
As the name suggests L’Ecole Plain-Chateau is next to a Chateau, or what is today left of it. This includes a 13th century Counts of Geneva Tower that offers a 360° view of La Roche sur Foron and a more ‘modern’ Chateau is not far a way.
The building that housed L’Ecole Plain-Chateau will be turned into a library. L’Ecole du Bois des Chères was part of a larger project of neighborhood redevelopment including new apartments and street work that created bike lanes.


As the U.S. Presidential election is taking place soon, or over by the time you read this, I thought I’d offer some observations I’ve noticed about France in terms of politics.
There are many cultural differences between France and the U.S. with politics the first major difference I’ve noticed is that the political spectrum in France is to the left of the U.S.
An example: French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who to the French is on the right, doesn’t act very right wing to an American. He has created new taxes to redistribute funds to groups (like fishermen) who have demanded government aid. Thanks to the economic crisis Sarkozy wants to recreate capitalism ‘a nouveau’ suggesting greater government control. He also supports affirmative action, what the French call positive discrimination.
To me the kicker is unlike in the U.S. the right in France sees the usefulness of a social net. No one in their right mind in France wants to get rid of France’s national (read socialized) health system. I find it funny when I read about how some on the right say that Obama wants to create European socialism in the U.S., when in fact things like national health care, free education (in France that includes university), paid vacation (in France all employees get 5 weeks paid vacation) are so popular.

The Last Flight of a B-26

As I have done over the last few years I would like to share with you the story of an American B-26 that crashed in November 1944 near Plottes in Burgundy, killing all nine crewmembers. The morning of November 13, 1944 was foggy, rainy and cold, not flying weather, especially not for a B-26 bomber, known as a 'widow maker'. Under certain conditions, such as icing, the plane could vibrate violently and become unstable. Bad weather was not unexpected by the crew, but it may have meant something else to the B-26's US Army pilot, Richard Hisey; A native West Virginian. Hisey was used to winter weather back home. But the Burgundy weather he was flying in, was heavy fog and zero visibility, common in late fall or early winter. Hisey keep flying his plane, despite being advised to stop in Marseille, to secure a weather update. Continue reading.


Le Canard au Parapluie Rouge - Is a comfortable cozy country home and B&B. You will immediately feel welcomed and right at home. It is surrounded by fantastic medieval villages, stunning countryside, rivers & lakes, fishing, hiking trails, antique & ‘brocante’ shopping, chateaux and much more! You can fill every moment with these delights or by relaxing, reading, snoozing and just enjoying the sounds of country life. The location is perfect! Located in the Limousin with easy access from the A20 – Exit 19, it is right in the heart of Centre France. A perfect spot for a good night’s rest during your travels in France or stay awhile and explore this undiscovered gem of an area!

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