Welcome to our Brittany Blog
French Resist Rising Dental Charges
In France, one in five people opt out of dental care because of the cost.
The government plans to pay dentists more for preventive treatments but also plans to cut the prices for crowns. The dentists are TOTALLY opposed to these suggestions and are threatening strike action.
The governments (Assurance Maladie’s) payments to dentists for basic work, such as a filling (€16.87 for a small filling up to €40.97 for a large filling), €28.92 for a descale, €81.94 for root canal and €33.44 for a tooth extraction have remained the same since 1988. These prices are capped.
Dentists say that they cannot make enough money with these capped prices.
However, Assurance Maladie pays €107.50 for a crown but there is no cap, so dentists can charge what they like, and they do!
Dentists argue that they need to charge inflated prices for crowns and implants to make a living.
So, in France, the state pays 70% of what the Assurance Maladie states the treatment is worth. So, if your dentist charges €1,000 for a crown (and some do!) the State will pay €75.25 (€107.50 * 70%) and you will need to pay €924.75, unless you have very very comprehensive health insurance.
It is therefore no surprise that the French public are not proceeding with expensive dental care.
The dentists and the government agree that the system has to change and the most obvious way would be to increase the capped charges for preventative treatments and to introduce a capped price for crowns. But as always, the devil is in the detail....
The French Develop A Flying Car
Airbus is working with Ita lDesign to produce a two person prototype, called PopUp by 2027.
This prototype will combine the functions of a car, a plane and a train.
The PopUp will be autonomous. As Bill Ford once said, ‘Self driving is a must for any flying car. Most people can’t drive in two dimensions, let alone three’. Hmmm, as far as my driving is concerned he certainly has a point!..
However, PopUp does have a couple of issues that may put a spanner in the works, noise and downdraft (plus a few other issues)
French Restaurants Now Catering For Smaller Appetites
Gastric band operations have quadrupled in France in the past 12 years, which means that many people can now only eat very small portions.
A website, Bariachef (taken from the French word for gastric band operation, chirurgie bariatrique) has been set up to offer a list of restaurants offering smaller portion sizes at cheaper prices !!
Fantastic idea, people with smaller appetites and enjoy eating out without wasting food......... not sure if it's made it to Brittany yet though !
Free Drug Test Kits
The mayor of Béziers, Hérault is a strong supporter of penalising drug use and has offered the parents in his commune free cannabis test kits.
Parents can then check if their children are using drugs.
Struggling to see the effectiveness of this move. I can’t see that any of these kits will EVER be used.
OK, as a parent you suspect your child is taking drugs so you go to the Mairie for a free drugs kit. There will probably be a register at the Mairie which lists all the families that have requested a drugs kit so whether or not your child has taken cannabis, their name will be on ‘a list’.
You have the drugs kit on the table. Your child gets home. Just how will the conversation go ?
The child ownes up to taking drugs. The test kit is not needed.
The child denies taking drugs, so by presenting them with the kit you are saying you don’t believe them, so whether or not they have been taking drugs it is highly unlikely any teenager will trot off to the bathroom to provide the necessary urine sample.
Or is Is it just better to provide information and lessons at school about the risks of drug taking plus offering free unbiased counsel and advice ?
Brittany Has Another Good Idea
French children start school quite young, at 3 years old and when Iona and Joe were in the 'Maternelle' class (from 3 - 7 years old) throughout the year there would be numerous events that bought the youngest and the oldest people of the commune together.
The Mardi Gras 'carnival' was always a great afternoon!. The children would dress up and walk round the village whilst the older members of the village would prepare crepes and hot chocolate and wait for the children to barge into the village hall!. Everyone would then sit at long tables eating crepes and drinking hot chocolate (I seem to remember that the older folk would also knock back a fair bit of rosé !!) The elderly would admire the childrens' costumes and the children would speak so easily and freely to the older people. Everyone benefited from these occasions.
A retirement home in Brittany has taken this idea one step further. When the commune could not meet the parents demand for a crèche the retirement home offered part of its building to be used as a crèche. Within the building there are some communal areas where the elderly residents and the children and meet and share stories!. They also enjoy joint workshops on cookery, arts and crafts, and music.
Care home residents find the children give them back their joie de vivre and the crèche workers have seen that the children are a lot calmer and gentler when they are with the elderly residents.
Working Factories Increase in Popularity
Finding out just how things are ‘Made in France’ is a growing tourism sector with many businesses now opening their doors to visitors.
Websites and guide books have been produced promoting venues from traditional crafts such as pottery, cheese, wines and olives to heavy industry including car, boat and plane manufacturers.
The idea is that tourists will look up these factories in the same way that they seek out museums and historical monuments when they go on holiday.
As the number of manufacturing companies declines people have less day to day contact with industry and they are keen to find out how everyday items are produced. The companies involved also see this as a way to promote their businesses.
We have visited many working factories in Brittany and I would really recommend La Belle-Iloise Conserverie à Quiberon (sardines), The Airbus factory at Saint Nazaire and The Biscuiterie à Muzillac
The French would (quite rightly) argue that they aren’t rude. Foreigners just don’t understand the codes of French conversation.
Basically French society has different codes of behaviour and standards of what is considered polite. In day to day interactions with the French, you could be breaking any number of those rules without even knowing it.
One of the most important words in the French language is ‘Bonjour’. Yet, this simple word is frequently disregarded, or used improperly by foreign visitors to France. You can’t have any interaction with the French unless you say bonjour, you say it in a meaningful way, and you give them a chance to say bonjour back.
By not waiting for a bonjour in return before you ask a question, you’re not giving them time to acknowledge or give you permission to continue the conversation.
Given France’s history of revolution and motto of egalité, you can imagine why they may be a little touchy when they feel like they’re being spoken down to