Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A day in (French) life

Yesterday, I had a long RER ride out to Evry for our masters project, and I spent a lot of that time reading the free metro newspapers.  There were quite a few interesting tidbits in there, so I thought I'd share some of the stuff I came across in a blog post.

The cover was of course about the horrible happenings in Boston, but that was followed up on the next page with an article about one of the "Toddlers & Tiaras" participants.  I'm telling you, it's the beginning of the end once T&T makes the news in France people....

Right next to it was another article explaining the French expression "Fumer comme un pompier".  I used to use this to describe Fab (and some of his family members), so it was interesting to read the origins of it.  Apparently at the end of the 18th/beginning of the 19th centuries, firefighters would coat their uniforms with a sort of fatty grease, which would help protect them from the high temps once inside a burning building.  But the heat would in turn cause the grease to smoke, so when they could come out of the building, there would be all kinds of smoke barreling off of them, hence the expression "To smoke like a fireman".

Next up was a rather unfortunate trend as of late - apparently many Parisian construction sites (especially in the banlieu), are being robbed of materials. That in itself is not news - it happens on construction sites all over France - but these robberies are now happening in broad daylight instead of at night, so the construction workers themselves are being put in danger.  There are also mafia-style groups out there offering "protection", in exchange for exorbitant payments.

For the Grand Palais fans out there - after turning it into an ice rink last fall, they have now decided to turn it into a gigantic drive-in movie theater.  Except you won't really drive your car in - the hall will be filled with 500 convertible Fiats that you can rent out for 19€ a piece, from June 10-21st. They don't specify however if that's for one person or for the entire car though...  There were also be a diner on site, as well as a roller skating rink and a dance floor.  Tickets go on sale April 26th.

McDonald's plans on investing 200 million euros in France this year, with half of that money going to open 40 new restaurants.  McDo in France is always an ironic topic for me - the French accuse the Americans of eating there daily, yet you never go by an empty French McDonalds.  They are always crawling with people, no matter where you are in France.  It reminds me a lot of the US in the early 90's, when it was one of the only places that young families could afford to go out and eat (and the kids could play), and where teens could have their first dates on a limited budget.  But still, why so judge-y France?   Take a look in the mirror!

Orange, SFR & Bouygues have all announced plans to roll out their 4G networks.  This will not help those of us who suffer from regular dropped calls, but it will improve internet & download speeds - it will take 1 second to download a picture, 5 to download an application and a minute to download an entire movie (versus 31 minutes for that same film with 3G).  Coverage is still extremely limited for now - only Lyon, Montepellier and La Défense are available for SFR clients for now for example, but the operators will be legally obligated to provide 4G to 25% of France by 2015, and to 60% of the country by 2019.  Though most people probably don't even have a 4G-ready phone right now anyways, so the current limited coverage isn't really a big deal.

If you've been in France for a while, you've probably heard or seen one of the "managerbouger" slogans at least once. It's a government initiative that is designed to encourage people to eat their fruits & veggies, limit snacking and exercise regularly.  Their latest project is a website designed to help you find a healthy menu to prepare for tonight. (An app will be available shortly). They have uploaded over 2300 recipes that can be sorted by ingredient, price and ease of preparation - so if you're having a panne d'inspiration for tonight's dinner, check out 

Lastly, for the FroYo lovers out there, two young Frenchmen have opened up a Yogurt Factory in the Marais (and one in Marseille as well).  Their fat-free fro you can be eaten as-is, with toppings, or it can be made into a smoothie.  Could be a nice alternative to Gelato, now that the sun is finally out in Paris.



Blogger Diary of Why said...

It's good to catch up on the French news, thanks! I wish I was there--I want to go roller skating and watch a movie in a Fiat!

April 17, 2013 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Diary of Why said...

Just went to that website to get some recipe ideas, and found this hilarious one for "banane":

"Ingrédients (pour 4 personnes) : Bananes : 4
Préparation :

Casser la queue de la banane, l’éplucher et déguster."

There was also a "recipe" for purée de pomme de terre, in which they instruct you to remove the film from the container of mashed potatoes, and heat.


April 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM  
Blogger Ksam said...

Omg, I am totally dying over here! That is so hilarious. I laughed so long and loud that my neighbor across the street actually looked out her window to see what was up. I wonder how many of their 2300 recipes are like that?

April 17, 2013 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Canedolia said...

Along with UHT milk, the way the French so often use instant mashed potatoes instead of making the real thing is one of the things which totally contradict that "best food in the world" reputation that France seems to have. That and the never-empty McDonald's you mentioned, Sam!

April 17, 2013 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger L said...

I wonder of frozen yogurt is the new trend in France. There's a place that opened up down the street from the university about 3 weeks ago. It's good, but tastes like Petit Suisse (I'm undecided if I prefer American frozen yogurt or French)

April 17, 2013 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger The Paris Chronicles said...

Can you link us to the FroYo place? I know there is a pseudo Pinkberry in the Marais; I think it is rue du Temple. Is that it?

Also, re the rip-offs occuring in the banlieue housing projects: Not only are the materials being stolen, but once the construction is up and inhabited, some tenants will rip out the new flooring and toilets and sell them off. And you wonder why the 93 has a sale reputation.

April 18, 2013 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

Here you are: - looks like it's right in between Hotel de Ville et Rambuteau!

April 18, 2013 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Sara Louise said...

The Grand Palais drive in sounds amazing! I wish I could go!
And yeah, McDo... I've never been in one that wasn't crowded! They freaking love it!

April 19, 2013 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger The Paris Chronicles said...

Thanks! I'll check it out!

April 19, 2013 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

@Diary of Why - I actually randomly heard an interview with one of the dietitians who planned the site, and the interviewer asked why they were explaining how to cut up an apple. And she said it was because they also had some exotic fruits in there that people might not know how to eat, and it was decided that it would be weird to give explanations for some foods and not others, so they just wrote up descriptions for all.

April 25, 2013 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Le Piou said...

P'tain y'a un super Kebab a la gare d'Evry-Courcourronnes...
Enfin y'avait... Souvenirs, souvenirs...

May 2, 2013 at 5:17 AM  

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