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French airport strikes continue, though will likely improve

December 20th, 2011 1 comment

Great news out of France for travelers (including me tomorrow):

Several security service teams working at airports around France are striking to receive more benefits and a pay raise.

This has affected Lyon St. Exupéry Airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (Roissy CDG), Toulouse and this may soon expand to Nice, Bâle-Mulhouse (Basel-Mulhouse) and Rennes. Video below.

The Aéroports de Paris website states the following at 3pm today: “Paris-CDG: Industrial action by security companies, 3 pm update Paris-CDG Terminal 2 : 15 mn wait time at security checks, up to 60 mn at peak times. No flight cancellations. Paris-Orly : normal situation.”

Normally the strikes before were also in terminals 1 and 3 of CDG. The Lyon website says strikes should continue to cause delays today but should not result in cancellations. To be confirmed.

Now the French government is looking into having a law obliging airports to have minimum service during strikes. They’ve also named 2 official mediators to try to resolve the crisis.

For the latest updates, call your airline and please check the respective airport websites and France 24 for latest information.

I’ll be writing a bit less during the holidays. Safe travels and Happy Holidays!

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…

American Clubs Newsletter – expat events in France

You can check out the latest events all over the country here at the American Clubs website, where you can also sign-up to receive the free newsletter.

I’d like to highlight a couple events in particular. Happy networking!
an event on doing business in America (for French businesses), with a panel of experts in Lyon June 8
-The US Ambassador cocktail in Paris June 9
-The AmCham France Summer Party in Paris June 15

American Clubs Newsletter #11

November 21st, 2010 No comments

This edition of the American Clubs newsletter features events around France for end of November and December (Nov. 21-Dec. 5). Look for the next one in 2 weeks!

You can download the latest edition on this PDF I’ve made available.

I encourage you to sign up for the free newsletter from American Clubs. You can email them at contact@theamericanclubs.com to get on the list.

Where to celebrate Thanksgiving in France & Monaco

November 17th, 2010 No comments

Thanksgiving this year falls on Thursday Nov. 25. This is one of the most important American traditional holidays and being abroad can make one miss home being with family and friends. (French explanation here by US Embassy Paris, Thanksgiving guide by Lyon à la carte.)

Luckily there are many communities of expats in France and Thanksgiving festivities all over the country from Biarritz to Paris, even in Monte Carlo (Monaco). Here is a list below, non-exhaustive of course, as there could be events of which I’m not aware (especially in other cities). If this is the case, please feel free to list events as “comments”.

Many of these require reservations in advance and spots are limited, so get on it! Not all fall on Thanksgiving, they range from Nov. 17 to Nov. 28. Also, price ranges vary, anywhere from 20 to 80 euros a person usually. Parents with children ages 3-5, you may be interested by American Library in Paris having a story hour on Nov. 24.

cheers, and Happy “jour de dinde” (Turkey Day) en avance!

PARIS
Nov. 17: France-Etats Unis Paris (with talk on JFK)
Nov. 23: France Amériques
Nov. 24: American University Clubs of France
Nov. 25: Breakfast in America diner
Nov. 25: Katz’s American Diner, contact@katzparis.fr, their menu, their flyer
Nov. 25: AmCham France (American Chamber of Commerce)
Nov. 25, 26, 27: Le Saint-Martin
Harry’s Bar (not sure for 2010, contact them).
American Club of Paris (not sure, contact them)

LYON
Nov. 21: International Christian Community of Lyon (contact through site)
Nov. 27: American Club of Lyon. Info, PDF sign-up here.

MARSEILLE & Aix-en-Provence
Nov. 14 – ICCM English speaking church
Nov. 28 – Anglo-American Group of Provence

LILLE
Nov. 21: American Club of Lille

TOULOUSE
Nov. 20: France-Etats Unis Toulouse
Americans in Toulouse may have information on events.

BORDEAUX
Association Bordeaux-USA (not sure for this year, contact them)

STRASBOURG
Nov. 28: Americans in Alsace (looks like members only, contact through site)

GRENOBLE
Nov. 25: France-Etats Unis Grenoble (under “calendar”)
Pumpkins restaurant (contact them)

NANTES
Nov. 28: France-Etats Unis Nantes

MONTE CARLO (MONACO)
Nov. 25: Stars ‘N’ Bars

NICE and CANNES
Nov. 25: Expat Meet-Up Nice
American Club of the Riveria (I’ve heard they hold Thanksgiving, but call to confirm).

CAEN
Nov. 25: France-Etats Unis Caen

BIARRITZ
Nov. 26: France-Etats Unis Biarritz (soirée gala, Thanksgiving dinner)

September 23 France strikes: Your city-by-city survival guide

September 23rd, 2010 3 comments

Well, after the Sep 7 strikes, the unions have called for another day of protests in order to get the government to cede some more territory in the reform on pensions and retirement. But Sarkozy has vowed to not budge on the key issue – raising the age from 60 to 62 for retirement and from 65 to 67 for full pension access. As Labor Minister Eric Woerth was quoted by Reuters:

“We haven’t changed. We are very firm on the core of the reform, which is (the retirement) age.”
The government says the legislation is essential to erase a growing deficit in the pay-as-you-go pension system, curb rising public debt and preserve France’s coveted AAA credit ratings, which enables it to borrow at the lowest market rates…”If you don’t reform it, it simply won’t be viable and we won’t be able to pay French people’s pensions,” Woerth said.

This is turning out to be quite a fierce battle, and even though Sarkozy has been speaking around the country showing some concessionary measures (for arduous jobs like firemen and policemen, and taking into account the situations of working mothers), the core of the reform is on the table. It has been adopted by the National Assembly and is awaiting approval in the Senate.

So the unions are once again preparing for a day of “action” and even speaking about strikes in early October possibly touching weekend traffic. That’s just great. This is like protesting against the force of gravity and economic common sense. The unions are like little whining children. Let the adults do the work. Tomorrow’s strike will affect schools, the post office, some banks but especially public transport systems around the country.

RATP, the Parisian region transport authority, has posted updates for tomorrow’s traffic here. SNCF, the national railway operator, has posted information as well here. You can find information for other metro areas transport below, mostly in French. Le Figaro presents a great special report on the retirement reform here.

Other major cities and their transport systems below with relevant updates:
Lyon, Grenoble, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Lille, Nice, Nantes, Rennes, Dijon, Brest, Caen, La Rochelle, Le Havre, Montpellier

With all of these disruptions, what you are planning on doing? Luckily in Paris, there will be 75% traffic on buses, so I’ll be OK. But for those opting for the Velib bike rental system in Paris, here is an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how Velib has been preparing for a day where they see a significant increase in bike usage (20-30% more on Sep. 7 than normal days, over 130,000 rentals per day).

UPDATE FROM BBC:

The walkouts are expected to hit transport the hardest. Only one in two trains will be running nationally and disruptions to services had already begun on Wednesday night….About half of flights at Paris Orly are to be cancelled, as well as 40% at the capital’s Charles de Gaulle airport, and 40% at other airports throughout the country, said the DGAC civil aviation authority…

….The pension reform bill has already been passed by France’s lower house of parliament. It will be debated from 5 October by the upper house, the Senate, where it is expected to pass comfortably.

France’s retirement age is lower than many countries in Europe. Under current rules, both men and women in France can retire at 60, providing they have paid social security contributions for 40.5 years – although they are not entitled to a full pension until they are 65.

The government says it will save 70bn euros (£58bn) by raising the retirement age to 62 by 2018, the qualification to 41.5 years, and the pension age to 67.

Unions and opposition politicians say the plan puts an unfair burden on workers, particularly women, part-timers and the former unemployed who might struggle to hit the 41.5 year requirement….

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