BBI Boulogne-Billancourt Information talks about Bill & Rosa’s Book Room

BBI Boulogne-Billancourt Information - it's a pretty dull title for a magazine, but a really nice municipal publication just like Boulogne-billancourt is a really nice town. We read it every month to see what is going on in sports, culture, politics, business and best of all the history pages of our city. Julie Fagard, the journalist who interviewed us, clearly enjoys her job. She was lovely, interested and asked some great questions. She very much liked the concept we have put forth. The Book Room is rather unique in Boulogne as there are no English book shops and no used book shops in this town of nearly 110,000. The article has already brought in a dozen customers on the first day we were open after publication! I looks like we've hit a chord. We're happy to give back to Boulogne-Billancourt, the second largest city in Ile de France after Paris (and 30th largest in France), as it is a great place where people are friendly and smiling. There's great shopping on the vibra…

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International Bookstores in Paris

The most recently opened of the bookstores in Paris is our own Bill & Rosa's Book Room is composed mainly of used English books (about 4500). We also have a certain number of French language books (about 500). And when we also received books in other languages Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Polish we were reminded as to what a cosmopolitan city Paris is. In fact we read recently on the city of Paris' website in carefully inclusive French that the population of the city is composed of 22% Paris-born, someplace else we saw 26% foreign-born and the rest of Parisians are non Parisian French. The international community stems from 176 nationalities. And 3/4 of Parisians think the ideal city is multicultural. This got us to thinking that there must be bookshops that deal in other languages beyond English and French so we set out to see what we could find and composed this list. After the foreign language shops there's a list of English bookstores in Paris and a f…

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A Passion for Complication

A slightly adapted excerpt from Demystifying the French: How to Love Them and Make them Love You, published by Winged Words Publishing, 2019. Copyright Janet Hulstrand, all rights reserved.

It’s best, whenever possible, to give the merchant exact change when buying something in France. “I do not know why, but I do know that French people really, really, really want you to give them exact change if you possibly can. They just do,” I tell my students.

This can lead to a confusing situation for Anglophones, because the word for “change” in French is monnaie. So if a French person looks at the money you have given them and says “Vous n’avez pas de monnaie?” you might understandably be confused. After all, haven’t you just given them monnaie?

But no, you see, you have not. You have given them argent, which means, literally “silver,” and is the word used for money. Or you have given them espèce, which means “cash”: but you have not given…

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Having a baby in France

This is the third of a three part series of articles about being Pregnant and having a baby in France

Part 1 Pregnant in France: Healthcare and procedures

Part 2 Having a Baby in Paris: Baby Products Made in France

Part 3 Having a Baby in France: Resources groups, apps and books that could be useful if you are having a baby in France! 

Being a parent is not always easy and it can feel quite lonely if you don't have enough support. It can be even more difficult if you are an English speaker having a baby in France! The support group Message started in 1984 with a few young English-speaking mothers wanting to connect with others for support in raising their children while living away from local customs, traditions and family. In the past 35 years, it has grown into a vibrant and thriving community of parents who continue, year after year, to support one another, share openly, forge new friendships, and build bright futures for families in France. You…

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Why is it called? Part 1: French Pastries and desserts

Why is it called … Part 1: French PASTRIES and DESSERTS Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Why are croissants, pain aux raisins and pains au chocolats called viennoiseries for example? How do things get named? Here is a short list of French pastries and desserts and how they got their names. We invite readers to add their own favorite pastries and dessert to the comments. Viennoiserie A pastry was created in Vienna in celebration of the end of the Turkish siege of 1683 in the shape of the Turkish crescent (croissant). An Austrian army officer named August Zang and his associate Ernest Schwarzer, a nobleman from Vienna opened the Boulangerie Viennoise at 92 rue de Richelieu in Paris in 1838. They were the first to make the pastries which were to become known as viennoiserie. Ironically even though the French name viennoiserie makes a reference to Vienna which is the origin of the pasrties, in English these baked delights are called D…
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Les Maréchaux?

Why are the boulevards on the edge of Paris (where the Tramway and PC bus run) referred to as “Les maréchaux“? This ring of roads, which totals 33 kilometres and connects the portes de Paris, has different sections each named after a French field marshal. Lannes, Brune, Kellerman… Les boulevards des Maréchaux were originally the military route that gave access to the ramparts, built by Thiers in 1840, which circled Paris protecting it from invaders and sieges. In 1860 Paris annexed the towns on the periphery as well as the ramparts and glacis (A glacis is the open grassy slope on the outside of the ramparts – As with many military terms we use the same word in English, but it comes from Old French glacier ‘to slip’, from glace ‘ice’, based on Latin glacies) which created a wide gap in the urban landscape. The gap was gradually filled in by the ramshackle housing of the less fortunate. In the 1920s the ramparts were removed and the area since called «la zone» was rebuilt with lo…
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BEWARE THOSE FAUX AMIS 

BEWARE THOSE FAUX AMIS (WORDS THAT LOOK ALIKE IN TWO LANGUAGES BUT HAVE DIFFERENT MEANINGS, SOMETIMES DANGEROUSLY SO) AND INACCURATE TRANSLATIONS! You’re the Chief Information Officer of the French branch of a sprawling multinational, and you’ve been told to upgrade the entire system. Everything. The Works. There are hundreds of thousands of euros to be spent on software, hardware, related staff training and, in conjunction with the Marketing Department, a glossy communication campaign to let the universe know how ultra-wired you are. With almost puerile excitement you grab the phone, call the most renowned supplier in the world and are transferred to an eager young French sales-rep delighted at the opportunity to practice his English. You explain what you’re after. The young man says he’s thrilled to help but his own system is out today. Could you call back tomorrow, he asks, when he’ll hopefully have access to the documents he needs for his pitch. You call the next day. “T…
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Villepreux a microcosm of French history

During the confinement we had a lot of time to walk around our town, Villepreux, 11,000 people situated in the Yvelines department west of Paris. A usually quiet, non-descript town, we hadn’t thought too much about it before but there were a couple of spots that intrigued us while out walking within one kilometer of the house. One of them was the path that we walked called the Chemin entre Deux Murs or the path between two walls. What two walls? what was that all about? Then there’s the old village with a couple of houses that look pretty old including one with visible half timbers. There’s a chateau, in fact there are two, plus centuries-old farms and a neighborhood called the Prieuré or priory. The new center of town is a 1960s construction out of cement. Town houses and a shopping area that hasn’t worn very well over the years. The first impression is that Villepreux is a rather ordinary suburban bedroom community of Paris or closer Versailles. But once you start lookin…

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Planète Gascogne by Perry Taylor

If you are headed to south west France for your summer vacation or if you've already been smitten by the area or if you appreciate rural France you'll get a kick out of the drawings by Perry Taylor - as he interprets life in Gascony through a whimsical British lens.

Perry Taylor was born in Oxford, England. He was a graphic designer and art director at design studios and advertising agencies in London and Amsterdam for 25 years. He now lives with his wife and chickens in the Hautes-Pyrénées, at the edge of the Gers. The tender and amusing observations of this renowned ‘Anglo-Gascon’ artist, capture the spirit of South West France in his warm and witty drawings, that always contain mischievous details of the locals, their lifestyle, culture, heritage and sports. Drawn in Indian ink and watercolor, his pen strokes provoke smiles from the French, who recognize themselves, as well as the international visitors who have discovered this special part of …

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Having a baby in Paris

This is the second of a three part series of articles about being Pregnant in France and having a baby in Paris

Part 1 Pregnant in France: Healthcare and procedures

Part 2 Having a Baby in Paris: Baby Products Made in France

Part 3 Having a Baby in Paris: Resources groups, apps and books that could be useful if you are having a baby in France! 

This first part is about products. All the products mentioned here are made in France. (For more Made in France companies not related to babies we also have a series of articles on FUSAC :https://fusac.fr/category/made-in-france/ )

And the real story of an accidentally French baby

Diapers

– What's more essential than diapers? It comes right after milk! Finding the right diapers can be quite difficult especially as we know so much about the toxicity of some of them and it is extremely worrying. Luc…

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