Category Archives: French News Items

It’s now or never for 75W incandescent bulbs

Shoppers across Europe are panic buying the last remaining stocks of old fashioned 75W light bulbs before the traditional household items are banned in the EU next week.

Last year 100W incandescent light bulbs were outlawed, triggering the first wave of stockpiling by worried consumers who do not like the more expensive energy saving alternatives.

Now it will be an offence to import or manufacture 75W bulbs, although shops can continue to sell the model until stocks run out.

Veronique Skrotsky, a spokeswoman for General Electric Lighting’s French operations, said people do not like the energy saving alternatives.

She said compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which use a fifth of the energy needed for a conventional bulb, give off a sickly light.

“It’s clear that customers find the light they give off ugly, it’s really terrible,” she said.

The panic buying of light bulbs is expected to get worse when 60W bulbs are banned next year and all incandescent bulbs are phased out by 2012.

Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in order to meet the EU’s ambitious climate change targets to cut greenhouse gases by 20 per cent by 2020, but although the move will certainly save energy consumption, it will have no significant effect on greenhouse gas production, particularly in France, where 90+ per cent of the country’s electricity is generated by nuclear or other “green” methods.

The rabid Global Warming fraternity welcome the change, claiming that replacing the old fashioned lamps with more efficient models will save 30 million tons of CO2 “pollution” every year. (C02 is not a pollutant)

Jurgen Sturm, general-secretary of the European Lamp Companies Federation, insisted that the energy saving alternatives not only last longer and save money in the long run, but will improve in quality and range over the next few years.

  • Ferry bad news

    Another one hits the dust

    According to a story in “The Connexion” today, LD Lines are about to pull the plug on their Dover Boulogne fast ferry service.

    Personally I never used it.  I thought it seemed expensive and unreliable, and I found the timetable inconvenient.

    Perhaps they’ll have another go at it when tourism from UK to France picks up after the Gordon Brown recession has passed – maybe in about 30 years, then.

    Deal with Sarkozy gets Chirac off the hook

    We have heard very little from former President Chirac lately.

    Qui? Moi? Vous devez parler avec mon avocat

    His silence, during these times when he might normally have plenty of criticism of Sarkozy’s government, might have something to do with the fact that he has been busy negotiating a deal with the President to make the charges of corruption he faces disappear.

    Apparently a deal has been quietly agreed and it’s likely it includes a clause that will ensure M. Chirac’s silence for now, and possibly even his support for Sarko at the next election.

    Read about the Chirac case in the Telegraph

  • First Prize – Cock-up of the week category

    From the Daily Telegraph 18/8/2010

    Tourists travelling on a sleeper train from Spain to Italy woke up nearly 200 miles away in Switzerland after French railway staff made a signalling mix-up in Lyon.

    Holidaymakers expecting an early morning glimpse of the ornate spires of the Duomo, Milan’s landmark cathedral were instead greeted by Zurich.

    Passengers boarded the carriages of two trains on Sunday night in Barcelona – one was destined for Zurich and the other for Milan in northern Italy.

    The Elipsos train hotels travelled in convoy to Lyon in France where in the early hours technicians were supposed to split them and send them their separate ways. But they confused the destinations.

    Roll up for the Mystery Tour!

    The 135 passengers on the sleeper named Salvador Dali, which does the thrice-weekly Barcelona to Milan route, ended up in Zurich. Meanwhile the 105 people on board the Pau Casals, bound for Zurich, were sent towards the northern Italian city.

    The staff on the Pau Casals realised the mistake at the Italian border and the train was sent back, finally arriving at its destination three hours late. However, the Salvador Dali travelled all the way to Zurich before the error was realised and the passengers were sent back to Milan.

    “It was human error,” explained a source at Renfe, the  Spanish rail operator which jointly operates the overnight service with French counterparts SNCF.

    “Signallers made a mistake during the points switch in Lyon. The drivers of the two locomotives went the right way but they left Lyon with the wrong set of carriages. It must have been a bit of a shock for the people expecting to wake up in Italy. They were put on another train to Milan when they got to Zurich and apologies had been made.”

    The company offered a full refund to passengers affected by the error.

    An official Renfe spokesman added: “The orientation of the trains once they leave Spain is the responsibility of the French SNCF.  You’ll have to ask them why they got it wrong.”

    The Elipsos train hotel service is popular with British students who spend the summer inter-railing around Europe.  For a one-way fare of €180 euros (£150) travellers can sleep comfortably in a cabin, save on a night’s accommodation, and wake up in a new destination ready for a day of sightseeing.

    The company advertises with the slogan “Wake up to a new skyline”.

    If you go down to the Bank today…..

    From the Daily Telegraph, August 13, 2010
  • “Police in France are looking for two attractive female thieves who bared their breasts at a man at a cashpoint to distract him before stealing his money.

    The women in their 20s exposed themselves to the victim as he punched his pin code into an ATM machine in Paris. As he stared at one, the other then withdrew 300 euros from his account before the pair fled with the money.

    The incident was captured on CCTV at the cash machine on Paris’s Left Bank, but the women could not be identified, a French police spokesman said.

    “We would advise anyone withdrawing cash from a machine to focus on what they are doing and not allow themselves to be distracted, however attractive the view,” the spokesman added.”

  • Carla to appear in CSI

    Fans of the TV crime series CSI will be delighted to hear that Carla Bruni Sarkozy has been offered a part in a forthcoming episode.

    Producers have asked the French First Lady to accept a role after she wrote to Hollywood executives telling them she was a fan of the show.

    Carol Mendolson, a producer from the show, said she was preparing to make a two-hour long CSI television movie set in Paris.

    “Carla Bruni wrote to us to say she absolutely adored our show,” she told France’s Pure People.

    “So we would be delighted to offer her a part in our CSI film set in France.”

    She may live to regret the offer however after it emerged Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy recently took 35 takes to get a scene right in a walk-on role in Woody Allen’s latest film Midnight in Paris.

  • French car for sale – £4 million

    One of the most flamboyant cars ever built is going on sale in California this month, and it’s French.  It is expected to fetch around £4 million.

    Mind the Dors - here comes Diana!

    The car, a turquoise 1949 Delahaye Type 175S Roadster, was bought for the young actress Diana Dors by Sir John Gaul, a friend of Prince Rainier of Monaco and a resident of Monte Carlo. Dors was just 17 years old at the time. See video pictures

    By the time Diana Dors died in 1984 the car had long been sold and taken to Colorado. It has been completely restored in the last decade, including its original six-cylinder, 165-horsepower engine and “four-speed electro-mechanically actuated Cotal Preselector gearbox”.

    Its bodywork was designed by Jacques Saoutchik, a Ukrainian-born furniture maker.  Alan Squindo of RM Auctions describes it as combining “the French curves of the thirties… with more modern baroque ornamentation. There was a tradition in France and other parts of Europe in which coach-building companies would take a chassis and engine and do the bodywork. This car was made when this coach-built era was almost at an end, but it is one of the most spectacular and outrageous examples.”

    Apparently the spectacular and curvy Diana Dors (real name Diana Fluck – yes, honestly it’s true) could not drive at the time she was given it.  No doubt her kind benefactor, Sir John, desired nothing more than to see her pass her test in comfort.

  • Two cross-channel trips for the price of one!

    From BBC News – Kent Aug 4, 2010

    Forgotten Eurotunnel passengers taken back to England


    Eurotunnel is investigating after passengers were taken from Folkestone to France and back again without being able to get off the train.

    Seven vehicles were left on the train on Saturday because staff forgot to unload one of the wagons.

    The error occurred after a fuel spill meant one of the wagons was left empty.

    When the train reached Calais, staff unloaded the front cars but did not realise there were more cars behind the empty wagon.

    Train crews realised what had happened while they were on the way back to Kent and made an announcement but were not able to do anything until they got back to Folkestone.

    The passengers, who had to wait a further two-and-a-half hours to reach their destination, have been given a refund and offered a ticket for the next time they travel.

  • Specialist website designers gain new gite client

    Website design business Bravonetco, which claims to have had considerable success in designing sites for gite owners, has announced the launch of a new site for clients Carl and Lisa Webb, the owners of a gite in Huby St Leu.

    The Pres De La Foret website designed by bravo

    Although the Près De La Forêt site is still partly under development, it is already working and receiving holiday enquiries.

    Bravonetco say they have been able to use their knowledge and experience of the gite holiday business and search engine optimization techniques to ensure that Yahoo and Google are already placing the site in a high position in relevant searches.

    Other gite sites developed by bravo include Sandboys, Bonjour Gites, and 7 Valleys B&B

  • Hold the front page! French Week is coming!

    France’s first English-language weekly is coming out on Friday July 30th 2010 and every Friday after that. Called French Week, it is for all those who still love the feel of a real newspaper and want to keep abreast of French affairs, news and culture.

    What? No Carla?

    French Week is independently owned so its main journalists can offer robust and unfettered views of French affairs. Editor Miranda Neame has lived and worked in France since her late teens, spending the past 15 years in publishing. News editor Robert Harneis is a seasoned observer of French and European affairs; he has published a biography of Ségolène Royal and translated Nicolas Sarkozy’s best-seller ‘Témoignage’ into English.

    French Week’s 50 or so bilingual correspondents, all well-implanted around France, will be delving into the country’s politics, administration, arts and lifestyle. The aims: to help French and English speakers understand each other; to get to the nitty-gritty of readers’ concerns and to whet the curiosity of all residents and lovers of France.

    Distributed in newsagents throughout France, price €1, and by subscription throughout Europe.

    For further information visit the French News website

  • Fun all night at the Firemen’s Ball

    After nine years living in France I clearly still have a lot to learn about the country.  I was intrigued to learn from this article on the Radio France Internationale website, that it’s traditional for fire stations to open their doors to the public on the night before the Fete Nationale for what look like some seriously fun parties.

    It’s not clear if this is just in Paris or elsewhere in France, too.  It’s too late this year, but next year…..

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