The American Clubs of France (a newsletter and website) brings together expat networking events scheduled every month around France.
You can see a list of upcoming events on this dedicated page. I also have the link to this page on my blogroll on the right-hand menu.
Paris, Montpellier, Lyon, Grenoble, Sete, Clermont-Ferrand, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Lille, Caen…conferences, films, concerts, networking, book readings, dinners, cafés…the list is quite complete.
You can sign up for their newsletter here.
This just in from the US State Department…
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
August 29, 2011
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Paris, France September 1 to participate in a senior-level meeting of the Contact Group on Libya. The Paris meeting will build on the productive Libya Contact Group meeting in Istanbul on August 25 and will provide the international community with an opportunity to further coordinate our financial and political support for the TNC. The days and weeks ahead will be critical for the Libyan people, and the United States and its partners will continue to move quickly and decisively to help the TNC and address the needs of the Libyan people. Libya’s transition to democracy is and should be Libyan-led, with close coordination and support between the TNC and its international partners. The United States stands with the Libyan people as they continue their journey toward genuine democracy.
I have an article in the latest edition of Bonjour Paris about the European fiscal crisis, French-German talks and world market instability which you can read here.
I loved this BBC News look into interrailing around Europe (from a British perspective). I know that as a student in Angers, France from 2004 to 2005, and since then, I’ve been able to visit many countries in Europe. But the Angers year was more akin to backpacking with friends and staying in hostels. There is excitement, new discoveries, self-reflection, learning about new cultures and languages, accompanied by the occasional logistic problem, cultural barrier, perhaps pickpockets…but it’s all part of the adventure.
If you’re lucky enough to do it, go for it.
This particular article talks about the differences (modern technology, nicer hostels, the Euro…) that have changed backpacking today…but much remains the same. My favorite passage is below. What are your experiences in traveling Europe this way?
“…The essence of an interrailer is constant, Matthias Schwender, who runs an independent hostel in Prague, said to me.
“Someone who is independent-minded, that can connect to other people, that is culturally aware, wants to learn about new cultures and cities, they want to know where the locals go. They know the value of taking some time off in your life for travelling.”
Another interrailer, Titi, argued that you learn about Europe’s tumultuous history by being there, understanding what happened, rather than reading about it in books.
As most of you have seen in recent days, world stock markets have been manic depressive, going through ups and mostly downs due in large part to widespread worries that the US debt downgrade from S&P and the fiscal debt in countries such as Greece, Italy, and Spain will result in worse market conditions for investors.
There was a market backlash against French debt and enormous market losses for French banks like Société Générale, BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole (exposed to Greek debt and other European sovereign debt) that is making investors increasingly anxious about France’s debt. Indeed as The Economist writes:
“France’s debt stood at 82% of GDP last year, from 64% in 2007. This is one of the highest of any AAA-rated country. That, investors fear, means it could be the next target for a downgrade, especially if already anaemic economic growth falters further. The extra yield required by investors to hold French debt instead of German Bunds jumped to almost triple the average level of 2010 while the cost of insuring against a default by France reached new highs during the week.”
Moreover, as The Telegraph writes, “French banks have €410bn (£360bn) of exposure to Italy alone according to the Bank for International Settlements. The twin crises in France and Italy are now intimately linked and appear to be feeding on each other.”
How will France proceed? According to a great, in-depth Bloomberg interview (embedding not allowed) with Philippe D’Arvisenet, global chief economist at BNP Paribas SA, France initiating austerity measures is “inescapable”. They go on to discuss France’s exposure to European sovereign debt, reform plans to cut spending but keep tax rates at current levels (though with elimination of some 500 tax loopholes).
The same Telegraph article states, “French president Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered a “general mobilization” to slash France’s budget deficit in a frantic effort to safeguard the country’s AAA rating and head off a downgrade by Standard & Poor’s.”
We will see how this plays out…for now, the markets will likely continue to be manic depressive. Hang on tight!
I leave you with this passage from the Telegraph article:
“…Marchel Alexandrivich from Jefferies Fixed Income said investors are worried that the latest contagion to France could bring the eurozone’s bubbling problems to a head in a dramatic fashion.
“If France is dragged into the problem, then we will hit crisis point. They will either have to move to a full-blown eurobond — and German politicians are set against that — or face a break-up. There is a significant chance that the euro will no longer exist in its current form within twelve months,” he said.
President Sarkozy said France would include a “golden rule” in its constitution to restore fiscal probity, adding that the fiscal targets for 2011 and 2012 were “untouchable”.
The new budget measures will be introduced on August 24 and are expected to include the closure of 500 tax loopholes.
The IMF said France has the highest debt ratio of any AAA state this year at 85pc of GDP and may have to tighten further next year. Like the US, France has also built up huge pension debt and contingent liabilities.”