Welcome to our Brittany Blog
Tuesday, 13th March 2018
In the future ferries could be powered by wind.
Imagine, no engine noise when you are trying to sleep in a bunk bed from Portsmouth to Saint Malo. Just quiet, no noise (apart from the bickering children in the cabin next door!).
Well, we may not have to wait too much longer!
A Toulouse start-up company is creating a prototype for a gigantic kite-style sail that could help larger ships cut fuel consumption by up to 20%.
Massive sails will be attached by a 400m cable to large ships and cargo vessels. The sails will use wind power to pull the ships behind them.
Friday, 9th March 2018
Discover French Forests with your phone.
France has over 15.5million hectares of forest. The Office National des Forêts is keen that the forests are enjoyed by everyone. So, to reach the younger and more tech savvy population they have created a series of apps to help us discover the hidden features of the French forests!
Apps have been created for different departments and specifically relate to the forests within that department. For example, the Charente Défi Forestier app provides a guide to the Braconne forest whilst the Forêt de Fontainebleau app gives walking circuits as well as the history of the forest.
There are also more general apps, Clés de forêt which cover all of the French forests and teaches the user how to identify trees by their leaves, fruits and nuts and we can all become animal trackers as all of the animal footprints we may find in the forest are clearly shown.
So, if you are a keen walker or nature lover then check out these apps on Discover French Forests!
Monday, 5th March 2018
Floating zebra crossings!
Watch out for these floating zebra crossings!.
France is trialling these 3D effect pedestrian crossings in an attempt to slow down traffic in residential areas. The use of colour and perspective is very effective in producing a very convincing 3D effect! When drivers approach these new style pedestrian crossings they will see what looks like a row of blocks floating on the road.
Wednesday, 28th February 2018
Firemen to stop paying road tolls.
Autoroute tolls can be pretty pricey. We are lucky in Brittany, due to some ancient law there aren’t any road tolls in Brittany. The advantages of living in Brittany are just endless.....
Anyway, I had never really considered energency services and road tolls. I guess that I had always assumed that the gerndames and pompiers just whizzed through ‘always open’ dedicated toll booths. But no, as with many of my assumptions, wrong. Up until now the emergency services have had to queue up and pay the relevant toll just like the rest of us. Can you believe that, these men and women are racing to save lives but they have to queue to pay an autoroute toll. Ridiculous!
Happily, MP’s agree and now emergency service vehicles will be given free passage on French motorways as part of the 2018 budget. It is now up to the government to negotiate this free travel with the autoroute companies which make an estimated profit of €1.5 billion a year.
Saturday, 24th February 2018
Brittany’s standing stones may become a World Heritage site.
The Culture Ministry is keen to promote Brittany’s astonishing pre-historic heritage. They will be promoting Carnac’s alighnment of nearly 4,000 standing stones plus many other sites to UNESCO to add to its list of World Heritage sites.
Each year France puts suitable projects to UNESCO for their consideration. A management plan is currently being drawn up to establish the credibility of the standing stones and reasoned arguements as to why they should become a World Heritage Site
This is very exciting as we live just a kilometre away from an important standing stone site at Monteneuf
There aren’t quite 4,000 standing stones, but there are lots of stones and they are standing
Monday, 19th February 2018
Is the French language about to become ‘inclusive’ ?
‘Inclusive language’ in a new school textbook has sparked outrage at the Académie Française, who claim that such innovations are putting the French language in ‘mortal peril’. It is safe to say, they aren’t happy!
‘Inclusive language’ refers to new ways of writing aimed at making French less biased towards the masculine. For example, if there is a group of 10 women and one man, the standard French would be, ‘ils sont arrivés.’
The Acadèmie Française are worried that changes to make the French language more inclusive would make the French language more complicated to learn. To my befuddled mind, the French language couldn’t get more complicated!
The issue becomes even more complicated when past participles and adjectives are thrown into the mix, where traditionally the masculine form ‘takes precedence’. This dates back to the 17th century when writers used the arguement that, wait for this staggering piece of reasoned logic ’the masculine is more noble because of the superiority of the male.’
Various options of inclusive writing are being considered such as combining il and elle to give a more neutral iel.
However the French language develops I cannot see it getting any easier.
Thursday, 15th February 2018
Knowing when you are Priority!.
No apologises. This is a VERY boring subject, la priorité à droite (giving Priority to the Right).
I am writing about this because giving Priority to the Right is increasingly being used in towns and villages to slow down traffic.
The “priority to the right” rule on the roads of France is very complicated.
My simple rule is, if I am unsure as to who has priority, which is pretty much all of the time, I slow down, look right and if there is a vehicle coming towards me, I GIVE WAY!
I am not, as you have probably gathered an expert on this subject, but my understanding is that if you refuse to give priority to a car entering the main road from the right you will be responsible for the accident. If you have a French Drivers licence you will receive 4 points, a €135 fine and a 3 year driving suspension. I don’t know what the rules are if you have a UK licence.
So here are some examples of this rule in action!..
1) Simple crossroads.
Here, the red car 1 must give way to the green car and red car 2 must give way to red car 1.
The only car that does not need to stop is the green car.
2) Crossroads with Priority to the right.
In this example the red car 1 wants to drive straight on, but he must give way to red car 2. BUT, red car 2 must give way to the green car.
The only car with priority is the green car.
3) A ‘Y’ junction.
The red car must give way to the right.
The green cars can both continue without giving way.
There are many many roundabouts that still use the Priority to the Right Rules.
When you approach the roundabout you can enter it immediately but once on the roundabout you must let cars onto the roundabout from the right. So, red car 1 must give way to green car 3.
However, some roundabouts give priority to the vehicle already on the roundabout.
If in doubt, give way!...
I think the most dangerous situations when the priorité à droite rule applies is when you are driving along a main road at 90km/h and cars from small side roads can join the main road without stopping, because you have to give way. This rule certainly does slow the traffic down.
Now for the road signs :-
1) A black cross in a red triangle means that you have to give way until further notice.
2) A yellow diamond means that you have priority.
3) The third sign in the picture below indicates to the user that those who arrive from the right and from the left are not a priority.