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Welcome to our Brittany Blog

Friday, 13th July 2018

Childrens names need approval

In England are the authorities, whoever they may be, allowed to reject the name that you have chosen for your child?
Probably not.

You won't be surprised to learn that in France the 'authorities' can reject the name that you have chosen for your child.

The Brittany regional council of Quimper refused to allow parents to call their child Fañch as the ñ was not recognised in France, BUT they did allow Der'chen as apostrophes are allowed. There must be a very big rule book somewhere!

children

 

 

Friday, 6th July 2018

The French get fit.

When we arrived in France fifteen years ago gyms in our part of rural Brittany did not exist. I assumed that the reason was largely due to lack of demand. It didn’t bother me in the slightest as I had ( and now I have!) no intention whatsoever to join a gym!.

Well, I have now discovered that the lack of gyms was not only in rural areas but in towns too. Gyms are a relatively new phenomenon and they are gaining popularity at an alarming rate!. In 2017, France had 5.5 million gym members but it is still trailing behind the UK which has 9.2 million and Germany with the highest gym membership in Europe of 10million members.

However, this gap is closing as more and more gyms open to satisfy the growing demand. One of the reasons that gyms have been slow to gain popularity is that France has a very strong culture of depending on local associations to provide sport and fitness opportunities. French ‘associations’ are basically non profit making clubs. Every small town will have a huge raft of ‘associations’ ranging from Pilates, dance, judo, archery, knitting, sewing, swimming.... the list is endless. Because the ‘associations are non profit making, subscriptions are very reasonable. Joe belongs to a Mountain Biking association and they meet every Saturday afternoon. A years’ subscription is €60.

The capital set up for a gym is expensive so it is tricky for associations, hence the increase in private clubs. A year ago there were just 5 gyms in our closest largest town, Rennes, now there are 25.

gym

 

 

Friday, 29th June 2018

The French don’t moan or complain, they engage in verbal jousting.

The French have got a bit of a reputation of being a bit stroppy about almost everything really!
I don’t think they are grumbling really, I just think that they like a good discussion, the more heated the better. The French want a better world and they don’t see why this is not possible and they love to debate what their better world would be like.
In fact I think they love to debate everything, except weather and money. Politics and religion are popular discussion areas, which we British steer clearly away from.
French families have the most heated discussions. I have been in the crossfire of several French family arguments about politics. It gets SO heated, they are so passionate, everyone is trying to get their point across. From my viewpoint there seems to be more shouting than listening! But as soon as the subject has been exhausted everything goes back to normal and they talk about the special offers at SuperU or Mme Hoeux arthritis.

arguing couple

 

 

Friday, 22nd June 2018

Will the ‘bise’ disappear in France?

A Mayor is refusing to ‘faire la bise’, the daily cheek kiss for colleagues. In the past she has even arrived late for meetings so that she does not have to kiss everyone in the room.

Aude Picard Wolff, mayor of Morette has emailed all of her colleagues to say that she no longer wanted to ‘faire la bise’, but she would rather shake hands with them as men do.

The bise and the handshake are an important part of daily life. Children from 11 start to ‘faire la bise’ between girls and between girls and boys and boys when they meet always shake hands.

But, it may very slowly be changing. Iona said yesterday that if a friend is sitting down when she arrives they may shake hands but if everyone in standing the she will always ‘faire la bise’. 

bise

 

 

Monday, 18th June 2018

Foodies all over France are getting a little excited!

A rare black truffle was growing on a rooftop garden in Paris.
Truffles normally grow further south than Paris but a black winter truffle weighing a little less than an ounce was recently found growing at the base of a hornbeam tree in a rooftop garden in Paris. Gardeners and mushroom experts were shocked to hear that a truffle was just growing there as nobody has ever found a wild truffle growing in Paris before.
Mushroom expert Marc-Andre Selosse said it was remarkable, and that if one truffle was growing on a Paris rooftop, there could be more.
Black winter truffles are not nearly as expensive as white truffles, but they are still quite pricey. This year prices are reportedly up to more than $2,700 per pound.

truffle

 

 

Tuesday, 12th June 2018

Fighting a loosing battle.

Language officials have advised that we can no longer use the word ‘smartphone’. The correct word is ‘mobile multifonction’.
In the past language officials have tried to replace the word ‘smartphone’ with ordiphone or terminal de poche.
Neither ordiphone nor terminal de poche were taken up by the French public and they continue rather brazenly to use the word ‘smartphone’.
I don’t think mobile multifonction will fair much better.
I think it may be a little to late to impose a French word.

smartphone

 

 

 

 

Friday, 8th June 2018

Mitterrand’s rock protected.

A landscape made famous by former President François Mitterand has been listed for protection by the Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot.
The whole area around the Roche de Solutré in Burgundy is now a site classé.

I wasn’t aware of the significance of this rock until very recently. Mr Mitterand would return to this area every Pentecost and would climb this spectacular rock which overlooks the Pouilly-Fuissé and Saint Véran vineyards. He did this in fulfilment of a vow made during the Second World War. A Resistance member during the Second World War, the former president, his wife and his bother-in-law first climbed the rock in 1946 along with other résistants who had sworn during the war to climb it every year once peace returned.

The Environmental Minister said that the listing will ‘guarantee the quality of this site with its unusual and picturesque scenery’. Any development changing the appearance of this area will need special permission.

However, although a nice story I don’t think the the Environmental Secretary can really list a site because Mr Mitterrand used to climb the rock!.
So the official reason that this site has been listed is because it is a ‘remarkable site that merits national recognition’. This site is home to a wide range of rare plants and animals and is also one of Europe’s most important prehistoric sites.

Mitterand rock