Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Sunday, November 29, 2009

This makes me laugh everytime I go past it - if you look closely, you'll see there's a McDonald's on the ground floor and a gym right above it. I guess it makes it easy for those looking to work off all of those Big Mac calories after lunch....

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

As if we needed more Parisians in the world ;)

Last night, thanks to a tip from Notes from Noëlle, C and I headed out for a night at the theatre (to be said with a really British accent). We went to see Olivier Giraud's latest spectacle entitled "How to Become Parisian in One Hour" at the Théâtre de la Main d'Or in the 11th.

This is how his website describes the show:

Come and discover the only one man show in Paris
100% French humor
100% in enghish
100% easy to understand for french !!!!

You love Paris but you think that parisian are rude! You're right, they are!
You are too nice and you want to become arrogant!
Do not wait and come to my training :


After the show, you'll act like a real parisian in a shop, restaurant, taxi, metro, night club, in bed!

You'll learn the typical parisian language, facial expression !!!!!!!!!!!!

Your family and your friendswon't recognize you !!!!

Olivier Giraud, your teacher, can't wait to meet you !!!!!!!

I thought the show started off really slow, and was worried about spending the next 90 minutes bored out of my mind, but he really got into his groove after 15 minutes or so and I soon found myself laughing out loud. He lived in Miami for several years, so a lot of his show talks about the differences between the Americans and the French, though at times he does really exaggerate both nationalities. And a word of warning - the show itself is pretty graphic and a bit raunchy at times, so it's not really family friendly, nor for those who are of "a delicate disposition".

The one-man show takes place every Tuesday & Wednesday night, and was only supposed to run through the end of the year, but he announced last night that it will now run through June 2010. After which, he will be off on a world tour to cities such as London, New York and Brussels.

Here's a link to a piece done by the New York Times in September.

Tip #1: If you reserve your tickets at (and pay their 2€ fee), you can get 50% off of two tickets, making it 20€ for two people instead of 40€!

Tip #2: Arrive early - we got there at 7:30 and there were already about 30-40 people waiting in line. There is a bar inside though, so once you get past the ticket booth, you can have a drink while waiting for the doors to open.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys, Take 2.

Ha, how random - Sarko & Carla on the Simpsons!


Monday, November 23, 2009

For those of you in/near Paris looking to fill your Thanksgiving cravings, check out this comprehensive list over at the HiP Paris Blog - it's got stores where you can buy your fixins', restaurants serving T-day dinner, and even a cooking school offering a special Thanksgiving class in English.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

There's no bad publicity

I meant to blog about this a week or so ago, but completely forgot.

A French website called "Mailorama" announced a few weeks ago that it was planning on renting a few double-decker busses and then driving them around Paris on November 14, throwing out bags of money worth several thousand euros, in an effort to promote their site. They assured the public that a few security guards had been hired to maintain order. When the Préfecture of Paris got wind of this, they immediately became concerned and put the stop down. After much negotiation, it was decided that Mailorama would be allowed to distribute the money at one location near the Eiffel Tower.

Word got out, and people - to the tune of 5,000 - flooded in from the nearby suburbs. It was not the crowd of Parisian yuppies that Mailorama had been hoping to target - instead, it was mainly unemployed young men who were ready to fight for those bags of money. The préfecture decided to cancel the event for security reasons, and out of frustration, some of the crowd began throwing apples and oranges around, while others took their anger out on local cars and/or stores.

Mailorama has now said that they will give roughly 100,000€ to the "Secours Populaire". And while the event was a complete failure, I guess it's done what they hoped to acoomplish- ie. get people talking about them....

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Those of you who have been to my place before know that in order to enter, you need to give me a call and then I need to come down 8 floors and let you in. (None of those fancy digicode panels for the servants' entrance lol). But with my new "man friend", whom I'll call C, spending more and more time chez moi (and me being quite lazy), it's getting to be a regular inconvenience. So I decided it's about time I made a spare set of keys. Except my particular key costs a fortune in Paris, so C suggested I get a double made while out in the countryside this week.

This has proved to be much more difficult than originally thought.

I've spent the past three days stopping at any place that even looks like it might possibly make copies of keys - hardware stores, shopping centers, supermarkets, etc. You name it, I've tried (unsuccessfully) to get a key made there. Which begs the question - where do all of these people go when they need a key??

I finally decided to ask my client, who suggested I try a few places in a town 20km away. Rather than drive all the way there only to find out none of them had the proper machinery, I decided to make a few calls during my lunch break. And lo and behold, one of them tells me they actually make keys! So after work, I hop in the car and head all the way over there. Only to have the following conversation:

Me: Hi, I'd like to have doubles of these two keys made.
Clerk: Sorry, that's not possible.
Me: ????
Clerk: We don't make keys on Wednesday
Me: But I called earlier and you told me that you made keys.
Clerk: We do.
Me: But just not on Wednesdays.....
Clerk: Nope.
Me: And that would be because???
Clerk: *shrugs*
Me: I just drove 20km to get here. You couldn't have told me this on the phone when I called earlier?
Clerk: You didn't ask.


But she's right. I'm now a French citizen* - shouldn't I know these things? And it's not like I'm fresh off the boat or anything. So how on Earth could I have made such a rookie mistake?

*As a side note, Fab has not found the letter yet, so I still have yet to actually see it with my own two eyes. Le sigh.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm just going to throw out my little plug for Charles de Gaulles/Roissy's oft-forgotten sister airport, Orly. I've flown out of there several times in the past six months and it *almost* makes flying in France enjoyable. Unlike at Roissy, the terminals (of which there are two - West & South) are clean, modern and well-marked. They're small as well, meaning it's easy to get around. And for those of us in central/southern Paris, it's also cheaper (6.40€ vs. 8.50€) and faster (20min vs 40min) to get to.

Orly offers flights all over France and Europe (and some abroad as well). The fares are pretty competitive as well - I booked a month in advance, and it only cost me 10€ more to fly than it would've to take the train. Though to be fair, the train would've won by a long shot if I'd booked two months ahead of time. But flying cut about 3 hours off of my travel time, so I guess it depends on how much of a hurry you're in. Another positive is that you get to board directly and thus avoid needing to take a shuttle to get to your plane - which also means that you spend less time waiting around for your baggage after landing.

Just to give an example, this morning I checked in online before leaving my apartment at 7:10am. I got to the Airport at 7:40 and had checked my bags by 7:50, which left me just enough time to grab a quick breakfast before my 8:15am flight. Had I been leaving from CDG, I probably would've had to leave an hour earlier - you never know what's going on with the RER B or if you're going to get a slow or a fast train. And I don't know about you guys, but at that time of day, I can use any extra sleep I can get!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just a little update to let y'all know that Yes, I am still alive and that No, I did not die of a heart attack after learning I was finally French. (Though I may die of one soon if Fab does not find my currently "misplaced" citizenship letter.....)

But things have been busy over here at chez ksam, leaving little time for blogging or blog-reading. Our mini roadtrip went well and I was relieved to find that I was not tired of the man (nor he of I) after several days together non-stop. The gîte was absolutely lovely and it was nice to play "Grown-up Couple living in a Real House" for a few days. We were also really lucky with the weather - while it did rain off and on throughout the week, the sun always came out just as we were ready to leave. And considering that no one really goes to Bretagne in November, it meant we had pretty much every place we visited all to ourselves.
Besides those few days of calm and repos though, time has absolutely been flying by. Work has been busy as usual and with the exception of Thanksgiving week, I will be traveling pretty much every week between now and Christmas. But at least my travels usually bring some blog-worth happenings....


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Trop la classe, notre p'tit gite

(Celebrating in style)

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Allons enfants de la patrie....

Today is one of those days I will remember forever. I woke up today as a French citizen (though technically speaking, I was granted French nationality on October 22 - I just didn't find out until late last night). It's a beautiful day out too, especially after yesterday's rain. In many ways, it reminds me of the day I found out my dad had died. I was in a similar situation - living abroad, high up in a tiny room. That day, as well as this morning, I looked out my window and down on all the people below, thinking about how my life had just changed in an enormous way. And there they all were, going about their daily business as if nothing had happened.

I shed a few tears when I found out - all the emotions of the past 18+months just bubbled up - but in a way, it all felt sort of anti-climatic. I'd been trying to use positive manifestation for some time now, and part of the process has you spending so much time imagining what your chosen event will feel like when it happens, that when it actually does happen, it's not really a big deal. I don't necessarily believe in that kind of stuff, but I do know that focusing on putting positive energy out there has really paid off for me these past few months or so. Things are really going well for me both personally and professionally, and now this is just the cherry on the cake.

It will still be up to another six months before I can get my French ID card, so I can't exactly cut all ties with Fab yet, but it's a relief to know that there's an end in sight and that I will no longer be dependent on him for anything. And that one day soon I will finally be able to start living my life 100% as my own.

Either way, I couldn't have asked for a better start to my roadtrip/week away with my lovely new Frenchman. :)