Bicycle visibility – Darkness is coming

Darkness is coming - Bicycle visibility (for joggers too)! When daylight savings time ends and you have daylight from only 8 am to 4 pm there's a lot of bike riding to be done in the dark. How can you put the odds of being seen on your side? Bicycle visibility! Some things are pretty obvious: florescent shirt or jacket, reflective vest, headlights and tail lights. That's the minimum. But you can do more and with more panache too! I ride with multiple forms of light and reflectors and for that matter I use all of my visibility techniques during broad daylight too. The way I see it you can never be too visible. http://www.saintgermainenlaye.eu/en/pages-speciales/detail-decouvrir0/article/security-of-cyclists-well-seen-well-protected/ Fashion? Yes you can! Ugly yellow construction vets? OUT! OUT! OUT! Put on something with style like a well-fitted multicolored vest from Rayon Jaune.

Who is Rayon Jaune? Béatrice: Ingénieuse ès produit. Béatrice worked i…

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A tongue-in-cheek look at the French Education System

If you have children in France, there’s a good chance that you might possess at least the stirrings of the beginnings of a stab at understanding it. Then again, you might not. If you don’t have children in France, there’s a mega-chance that your quest for grasping it will prove even more futile than your search for a short line at La Poste. No, we refer not to The Meaning of Life. We refer to…..the French education-system. So, here is a very incomplete (in the interest of space), extremely simplified (in the battle against cerebral overload) exploration of pedagogy as known and--sometimes not--loved in France and beyond. Which brings us to our first point: the “beyond” part. The French system of elementary, middle and high schools not only graces Gallic soil but also extends throughout the world in what is recognized as a unique offering that accommodates the needs of French expats and follows the same curricula, administers the same tests and delivers the same degrees as …
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How to get to the Paris airports ?

How to get to the Paris airports ? Going away is always fun ! However, going to the Paris airports can be a lot less fun … It’s always difficult to choose how to get there since there are so many options : bus, metro/RER, taxi…Here are all your best options so that you can easily choose according to your budget, how much time you have, etc. There are 2 main Paris airports – Orly and CDG (Charles De Gaulle) / Roissy so first make sure you know which one you’re going to ! Be careful if you ask someone for directions to get to Charles De Gaulle as you'll have to be a bit more specific... indeed if you ask for Charles de Gaulle some people may send you to Les Champs Elysées thinking you want to go "Charles de Gaulle Etoile metro station" which is on line 1 / RER C by the Arc de Triomphe!! Most Parisians refer to the Paris airport as "Roissy" which is the name of the town is in, so ask them how to get to "Roissy Charles de Gaulle". Confusing! For general Paris airports inform…
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Useful telephone numbers

Useful telephone numbers for France: English speaking, emergency and helpful services. Vocal Spam: Had enough? Make a complaint. Have you ever received an SMS from someone you don't know who invites you to call them back urgently at a number that is costly to call (it might start with 08 or it might be a 4 digit number) or to click a link or respond by SMS to a 5 digit number? You might be alerted that you have a package or that you won something, etc. It is likely to be spam and expensive if you respond. UNlike the spam on your email you can actually report a spam sms. First transfer the message to 33700, they will respond and ask you to then sms the phone number that sent you the sms. Voilà, easy as that to report and if there are enough complaint they spammers will have their phone number cut off! CPAM / Assurance Malade, or “Ameli” which is the French administrative body that manages healthcare has English-speaking service numbers: 36 46 or 08.11.36.3…
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Recycle Please don’t just throw everything in the garbage

Zero waste

There's a Zero waste boutique in Paris, 3 rue Charles Nodier 75018, which proposes ateliers, information, products and ideas for moving your day to day towards zero waste. The association Zero waste France which runs the boutique has all kinds of different campaigns to reduce waste most of them are initiatives to not use containers or distribute flyers in the first place. The association is also a great place to volunteer or make monetary a contribution.

But sometimes we have waste, we have to get rid of things no longer useful to us. So here's some ideas as to how to clean up and clean out by sending things you are don't with to either proper disposal facilities or recycle and pass them on to others who just might find your garage to be just what they need.

Please don’t just throw everything in the garbage - recycle

Some items need a few minutes reflection for proper waster disposal and to recycle. For example according…

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Employment in France: French English glossary

Employment in France French English glossary: Here are some of the terms you'll come across while looking for employment in France, interviewing and being hired. Elements of a CV (read more about the CV in this article): Nom de famille - last name Prénom - Given or first name Situation de famille -  Marital status, as well as number and age of children

célibataire - single marié(e) - married divorcé(e) - divorced pacsé(e) - civil union veuf (veuve) - widowed

Language skills

Notions  - basic or elementary knowledge Maîtrise convenable, Bonnes connaissances - Conversant Lu, écrit, parlé - Proficient Courant - Fluent Bilingue - Bilingual Langue maternelle - Native language (often written EMT = English mother tongue)

Centres d'intérêt, Passe-temps, Loisirs, Activités personnelles/extra-professionnelles - Interests, Pastimes, Leisure Activities, Hobbies ------- Acompte sur salaire - Pay a…
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Smoke detector countdown

  We have had a smoke detector in our suburban Paris home for many years – it seems “normal” to me, but I realized how unusual its actually was when my housekeeper reported a mouse sound coming from the landing one day while we were on a trip. Thinking that we probably didn't have mice, but not wanting this sound to go without investigation I asked a neighbor to stop by. They couldn't figure it out. The next week my housekeeper saw nothing new and yet heard the peep again. I was quite perplexed, but since there were no other signs I did not pursue the matter. Upon arriving at home and going upstairs I immediately heard the beep of the the smoke detector reminding us to change an expiring battery. A few mintues later I burst out laughing as I realized that the smoke detector was the mouse. The incident made me realize that smoke detectors were not very common. In fact, in France only two percent of homes are fitted with detectors as opposed to 97 percent in Norway and…
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French letter writing logistics

In high school French class you learned how to conjugate the obscure pluperfect-subjunctive. In college you memorized the name of every Gallic king going back to Charles the Bald. Your graduate courses included reading La Chanson de Roland and La Quête du Graal in their original Medieval idiom. BUT NO ONE TAUGHT YOU THE LOGISTICS OF WRITING A SIMPLE FRENCH LETTER-and are you going to be surprised at what you missed! Here-to save you from wrath of civil servants, rejection by potential employers and, especially, ridicule by your mother-in-law-are the basics of French letter writing: Placement (1)  This is done the opposite of the Anglo-Saxon way: Your name, professional title and address go on the top left of the page (or in a centered frame at the top of the page)...and ...the recipient’s info goes on the right, slightly lower than yours. (Note that words like rue, avenue, boulevard, place, allée, etc. are not capitalized, although the name of the rue, avenue, etc. …
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French money: New Euro banknotes

French money: New 5 Euro notes 5 Euro notes have always been floppy and very worn, rather like dishrags. They are rather scarce too. Maybe that will all change with the introduction of a redsigned bill. This month the new € 5, the first of the new "Europa" series, was simultaneously released in all the countries that use the Euro. Have you seen it yet? It took us 3 weeks before we saw the first crisp new bill. Why make a new bill? To keep ahead of conterfeiters! The Euro notes are some of the most secure bills around, but after 10 years of circulation it was time for an update. Here's what's new. Security features have been improved and make notes more safe. The security features built into all new notes are easy to check with the method of "touch, look, tilt". Look for the new watermark and hologram showing a portrait of Europa, the character from Greek mythology who gave her name to the new series of banknotes. Tilt to see the large new number 5 change color from e…
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Honest Advice about Moving to France

I don't want to be the one to crush people's dreams. Really, I don't. But when I get emails from people asking, "Do I really need a visa to stay in France? Why can't I just buy a one way plane ticket and move there?" or "I don't speak a word of French, how hard will it be for me to find a job?", I just have to say...really? In this day and age, I have a hard time believing that people can still be that naive about Moving to France. And in order to answer those kinds of questions, I choose to be brutally honest. Which often doesn't go down very well. Of course it's my own fault. I'm the one who asked the should you move to France question, and I wrote the Moving to France Tutorial and shared my trials and tribulations of attaining French citizenship. So I'm the one who opened the door. Also, I love helping people who have done their homework. Moving to a foreign country takes a lot of courage, but it also takes a lot of research, and unless you hire someone t…
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