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Strikes in France – what to know

France strikes - taken from The Economist (link below)

France strikes – taken from The Economist (link below)

Essential reading from The Economist (May 27)
Article here focuses on all that is going on in France.

Update May 27 from US Embassy Paris:

Full link to travel advisory

“…The following strikes have been announced for the week of May 30:

Rail – The national unions which represents rail workers renewed their call for strikes limiting rail services along the TVG, RER and SNCF networks. An “unlimited strike” is scheduled to start at 9 am on Tuesday, May 31 for a period of at least 24 hours.

Paris-area Public Transportation – The union representing the Paris metro area transportation (RATP) has called for an “unlimited strike” starting on June 2 of all public transportation services, including the Paris metro, buses, and RER trains.

Air – Air traffic controllers have also called for strikes Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5 which could result in delays or cancellations of flights originating in France…”

By now, you have probably heard that France has been undergoing rounds of strikes and protests over the past couple months. This is in large part due to proposed labor reforms. Of course most of you know that strikes and public outcry are a way of life in France that most people tend to accept with a shrug.

The Local France has an interesting piece on this cultural reality, as well as countless publications in the past including BBC and Slate. Even The Onion got in on the humor with a fake French protest image back in 2005.

But this time seems to be different: these are arguably the strikes with the most impact in 20 years. Taken with the ongoing “state of emergency” that France has put into place since the November terrorist attacks (and have extended), France has a palpable undercurrent of tension.

For now, what you should know about the strikes: 
These strikes are affecting transportation, oil refineries, nuclear power stations and more throughout the country. The BBC outlines the main points of the proposed reforms here along with more coverage of the action. I’ve laid those out at the end of this post.

The Economist also has an interesting piece on the strikes – anticipating action throughout the summer.

Another useful guide is from the great folks at The Local. Local resources in France for tracking news updates include the SNCF website, which currently states that traffic should start resuming to normal May 27 but to keep abreast of updates. Their travel agency Voyages SNCF also has a helpful resource for train travel updates.

You should also stay abreast of airline travel through your local airline. Aéroports de Paris does have general updates as well for Paris Orly and Paris CDG traffic.

BFM TV, Libération, France 24 and Le Monde are also great resources.

At the time of this being published, there have been clashes reported by protestors in Paris, Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux and other major cities. Your local embassy should be the best resource for expat nationals living and traveling in France for up to date security information. The US Embassy, for example, has contact info here and updates on their Twitter feed.

Want to brush up on your French travel vocabulary? Try About.com or FluentU.

If you have travel plans to France or are thinking of moving there in the coming year, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so – just do your research and travel intelligently. I have lived in France for 30% of my entire life at different times as an intern, student, grad student, English teacher and employee. It is a place that is dear to me, and I would love for you to also have those life-changing experiences.

Travel smartly, safely and avoid protest areas. Take a lesson from my French friends and enjoy life, drink some wine and sit back to see how this evolves. C’est la vie, enfin.

French labour reform bill – main points

  • The 35-hour week remains in place, but as an average. Firms can negotiate with local trade unions on more or fewer hours from week to week, up to a maximum of 46 hours
  • Firms are given greater freedom to reduce pay
  • The law eases conditions for laying off workers, strongly regulated in France. It is hoped companies will take on more people if they know they can shed jobs in case of a downturn
  • Employers given more leeway to negotiate holidays and special leave, such as maternity or for getting married. These are currently also heavily regulated

Lyon ranked best city in France for work-life balance

December 3rd, 2013 No comments

Bonjour, readers:

As you may know, I’ve lived in Angers, Lyon, Grenoble and Paris. While all of these cities have their qualities and drawbacks, Lyon particularly stands out to me as a wonderful city for work-life balance…not to mention its ideal geographic location.

Two recent polls rank Lyon highly for its business acumen and work-life balance.

“Business Friendly”
An October 2013 ranking carried out by the magazine L’Expansion-L’Entreprise found Lyon as the #1 “Business Friendly” city in France outside of Paris.
This ranking is available for download here: Le palmarès des villes les plus « business friendly »

Work-Life Balance
As published by the ONLYLYON organization that promotes Lyon in France and abroad, the business magazine Courrier Cadres seems to agree with me from a November 2013 poll of executives and managers in France.

The full article and study are available on the Courrier Cadres website here. There were a variety of questions asked and sub-categories that the article develops in full detail. An excerpt from the ONLYLYON article is below, and the overall ranking graphic is at the bottom.

ONLYLYON
LYON, VILLE PRÉFÉRÉE DES CADRES
24 nov. 2013 par Marine Lanceron

Le magazine Courrier Cadres s’est intéressé aux villes préférées des cadres. La rédaction a réalisé un sondage pour savoir quelles régions et communes étaient à leurs yeux les plus attractives d’un point de vue professionnel comme sur le plan de la qualité de vie.

Ce sondage nous apprend que près de 8 cadres sur 10 seraient prêts à faire des sacrifices professionnels pour vivre dans un meilleur environnement et 4 sur 10 sont prêts à partir de leur ville ou commune actuelle.

Lyon arrive en tête des villes qui réunit les critères d’opportunités professionnelles et de qualité de vie (24% des sondés), devançant ainsi Nantes (13%), Toulouse (11%), Bordeaux (10,5%) et Paris (6%). Elle semble donc être la ville la plus attractive pour changer de région.

Lyon, ville préférée des cadres pour allier carrière et qualité de vie, selon notre sondage exclusif Par Aline Gérard, le Jeudi 28 Novembre 2013

Lyon, ville préférée des cadres pour allier carrière et qualité de vie, selon notre sondage exclusif
Par Aline Gérard, le Jeudi 28 Novembre 2013

Full disclosure: I’m an unpaid volunteer “Ambassadeur ONLYLYON” for promoting Lyon.

U.S. Embassy France important update for citizens

November 17th, 2013 No comments

I wanted to let my readers know that the U.S. Embassy in France recently posted this update regarding its citizen services in its offices outside of Paris. It will affect particularly those near the cities of Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse. Please visit their website for more information.

U.S. Embassy
Paris, France

Effective January 1, 2014, American Presence Posts (APPs) in Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse will no longer accept applications for U.S. passports and birth registrations, Social Security numbers or other federal benefits, or provide notarial services. After January 1, 2014 passport and birth registration applications and notarial services for U.S. citizens in those consular districts can be scheduled at either the U.S. Embassy in Paris or at the U.S. Consulate General in Marseille. Please contact the Federal Benefits Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Paris for information on applications for Social Security numbers and other federal benefits.

The U.S. Mission to France will schedule periodic visits by consular officers to provide routine services to American citizens in the districts of APP Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse. We will publicize these visits to citizens actively listed in our Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP), so please ensure that you are signed up in order to receive notices about such services as well as other messages from the U.S. Government. U.S. citizens can enroll online at https://travelregistration.state.gov.

Thanksgiving in France: where to celebrate (15 cities)

November 22nd, 2011 1 comment

NB: full disclosure – I have no vested interest in any of the listed restaurants or bars, except I do write on occasion for My American Market and Bonjour Paris. Just spreading the word!

Just because you’re in France doesn’t mean you have to do without Thanksgiving. In fact, I know several of my French friends (in their 20’s) who will celebrate it because they love the holiday.

There are places all over the country to feast with family and/or friends, usually hosted by restaurants or organizations with expatriate roots.

The great website Bonjour Paris has a listing of some places to go. I’ve included Karen’s recommendations below and organized the listings according to city. Thanks to the American Clubs of France, too.

Of course if you have recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comments section. Many of these require reservations, so call to see or RSVP email in advance. Others like The Great Canadian and WOS Bar do not require reservations, but it’s better to show up earlier.

For those in the Paris area interested in making recipes, you can check out:

The Real McCoy (49, avenue Bosquet 75007 Paris) and McCoy Café (194, rue de Grenelle 75007 Paris)
Thanksgiving Paris (20, rue Saint Paul 75004 Paris)

-You can also buy products online at MyAmericanMarket.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Paris
American Church in Paris
Thurs. Nov. 24, 12:15pm
Sat. Nov. 26, 7:30pm
65 quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris

France-Etats Unis Paris IDF
Thurs. Nov. 24 (more info on website above)

American Club of Paris
Thanksgiving Gala Dinner : American chef Diane Anthonissen
Fri. Nov. 25, 7pm (members only)

Bistrot Le Saint-Martin
Thurs. Nov. 24, Fri. Nov. 25, Sat. Nov. 26
25 Rue Louis Blanc 75010 PARIS

Joe Allen’s
Thurs. Nov. 24 (call for time, reservation)
30 rue Pierre Lescot 75001 Paris

Le Ralph’s (Ralph Lauren’s Paris restaurant)
Thurs. Nov. 24, 6:30pm AND 9:30pm (filling up fast)
173 Boulevard St Germain 75006 Paris

Breakfast in America
Fully booked but you can sign up for waiting list

Kat’s American Diner
(usually has Thanksgiving, call them for information)

The Great Canadian
Thurs. Nov. 24, 7pm.
25 Quai Grands Augustins 75006 Paris, France

The WOS Bar
Thurs. Nov. 24 (call them for time, number on website above)
184 Rue Saint Jacques, 75005 Paris

First Avenue (Thanksgiving “after work”)
Thurs. Nov. 24, 7pm-midnight
119 Boulevard Pereire, 75017 Paris PARIS

Kay Bourgine quartet – Thanksgiving Dinner : Concert & Potluck
Thurs. Nov. 24, 9pm
Café Universel, 267 rue St. Jacques 75005 Paris

Lyon
American Club of Lyon – Thanksgiving Dinner
Sat. Nov. 26, 6:30pm
L’Espace Brasserie, 26, Place Bellecour – 69002 Lyon

Marseille and Aix-en-Provence
France-Etats Unis Marseille
Fri. Nov. 25, 7:30pm
Yachting Club Pointe Rouge (info on website above)

Anglo-American Group of Provence
Sun. Nov. 27, 4pm
(contact for details)

Grenoble
France-Etats Unis Grenoble
Sun. Nov. 27, 1-5pm at L’ATRIUM
1 ter rue de Moulin, Le Fontanil
(info and RSVP info on their site under “Calendar”)

Pumpkins restaurant
33 rue d’Alembert 38000 Grenoble
(not sure but they usually organize a dinner)

Tours
France-Etats Unis Tours
Sat. Dec. 3, 7:30pm
St. Cyr

Nantes
France-Etats Unis Nantes
Thurs. Nov. 24, 7:30pm
« Le Hublot » 3 Rue Albert Londres – 44000 Nantes

Toulouse
Americans in Toulouse
members only, but contact for information

Strasbourg
Americans in Alsace
They hosted an event last year, contact them

Lille
American Club of Lille
They hosted an event last year, contact them

Bordeaux
Association Bordeaux-USA – Traditional THANKSGIVING DINNER
Thurs. Nov. 24, 7pm
38 Allees d’Orleans, (Place des Quinconces) 33000 Bordeaux

Monaco/Nice/Cannes
The American Club Riviera
Thurs. Nov. 24, 7pm
7 Avenue Gustav V, 06000 Nice

Rennes
Institut Franco-Américain
Thurs. Nov. 24, 7:45pm
7, quai Chateaubriand – BP 90446 – 35104 – Rennes

Caen
France-Etats Unis Caen
Thurs. Nov. 24, 8pm
Restaurant Inter Administratif – 6, boulevard Aristide Briand – Caen

Biarritz
France-Etats Unis Biarritz
Sat. Nov. 26, 8pm
Hôtel du Palais

France has 9 cities in Top 100 Global Innovation Cities ranking

November 15th, 2011 No comments

France’s strong tradition of research and innovation, as well as growing FDI and domestic investment in pharma, nanotechnology, cleantech, biotech, and other innovative sectors seem to be gaining worldwide recognition.

In the latest rankings of Innovation Cities released by the company 2thinknow, the United States has 23 cities in the Top 100, Germany has 16 and France has 9, making it third among countries in the poll. One of my favorite cities, Lyon, even makes it in the Global Top 10. Congrats to Lyon! The following French cities are in the Top 100:

#3 Paris
#8 Lyon
#27 Strasbourg
#37 Nantes
#39 Marseille
#41 Bordeaux
#44 Toulouse
#63 Montpellier
#96 Reims

After the Top 100 but within the overall ranking of 331 benchmark cities, France has several other cities featured within Europe: Nice, Lille, Cannes, Rennes. Although I’m personally surprised that Grenoble, a city known for its research and nanotechnology, is nowhere to be found…

Newly rich Chinese investors buying French vineyards, gaining recognition

October 27th, 2011 No comments

With the growing economy of China making many citizens into upperclass consumers, they are increasingly consuming fine wines and enjoying other pleasures of the “high life”.

Some have even bought up French vineyards. In fact, according to this article on BBC News, “Chinese investors have bought six estates over the last three years.” But their activity is not limited to France, as China has been developing its own wine industry that is gaining recognition. It’s also well known that Hong Kong is a developed wine hub.

Excerpts from the article are below. Click on link above for full article.

For those of my readers with personal experience in winemaking and/or China, and how do you see this development?

Chinese buy their favourite Bordeaux by the vineyard
By David Chazan
BBC News, Bordeaux, France
26 October 2011

With its fairytale turrets and a 15th-Century tower, Chateau Latour Laguens is surrounded by vineyards in a region steeped in European tradition.

But this chateau, south-east of Bordeaux, is also at the cutting edge of Asia’s growing economic might.

The staff who tend the vineyards and make the wine are still French, but this is now a Chinese-owned domain.

It has been taken over by the Longhai group based in eastern China, which has created a subsidiary to run it called Chateau Latour-Laguens (Qingdao).

The Chinese are developing a new taste for French wines these days.

And in addition to buying them by the bottle or the case, the Chinese have also started buying the vineyards where their favourite Bordeaux vintages are produced.

Chateau Latour-Laguens was the first estate in Bordeaux to be bought by Chinese investors three years ago, but at least five others are now also Chinese-owned.

“We’re looking for the know-how, French technology and culture,” said Yilain Xu of Chateau Latour-Laguens (Qingdao).

“Bordeaux is a famous place to make high-quality wine and in China we have more and more people who drink wine, as lifestyles are changing.”

The new owners of Chateau Latour-Laguens have invested in the latest wine-making technology, and are renovating the chateau itself, which was somewhat run down before they took over.

But they have been careful to keep the French workers, and have hired an experienced French oenologist, or expert in the science of winemaking, to manage the operation and improve the quality of the wine…

The American Clubs of France – events in September

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.

Happy networking!

American Clubs of France newsletter: events in France

The American Clubs has an extensive list of expat networking events across the country. You can check out the latest listing here. You can sign up for the newsletter on the website. Happy Networking!

Events in the following cities:
PARIS, AIX-EN-PROVENCE, ANGERS – SAUMUR, BIARRITZ, BORDEAUX, CAEN, CANNES /NICE, CHANTILLY, CHARTRES, CLERMONT – FERRAND, DUNKERQUE, GRENOBLE, LATTES, LILLE, LYON, MARSEILLE, MONTPELLIER, NANTES, NARBONNE, ORLEANS, SETE, TOULOUSE, TOURS

The American Clubs: networking events in numerous French cities

You can find out about networking events throughout France at the American Clubs newsletter (PARIS, AIX-EN-PROVENCE, ANGERS – SAUMUR, BIARRITZ, BORDEAUX, CAEN, CANNES, CLERMONT – FERRAND, GRENOBLE, LATTES, LILLE, LYON, MONTPELLIER, NARBONNE, SETE, TOULOUSE, TOURS). Happy networking!

The American Clubs: networking in several French cities

You can see the latest American Clubs newsletter of cultural events (debates, conferences, cocktails, cross-cultural training, etc) organized by different clubs around France. They all bring together French and expats with the goal of fostering cultural exchange and networking opportunities. Yuo can sign up for the newsletter on the site. Happy networking!

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