Welcome to our Brittany Blog
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
King Arthur..... Was he French or English ?
King Arthur was a British leader, wasn’t he?… Well, that is what I always thought, now I am not so sure.
We seem to live in the heart of ‘King Arthur world’. Every other street in Guer and Ploërmel are dedicated to the King Arthur legend.
Several episodes of the Arthurian saga take place in the magical Forêt de Brocéliande, which is just ten minutes away! In this forest you will find ‘Merlin’s tomb’, ‘the Valley of no return’ and The Église Sainte-Onenne which is steeped in Arthurian lore – its windows depict many scenes of Arthur’s adventures.
Being very diplomatic, I don’t think King Arthur was either French or English. The legends surrounding King Arthur date back to a time before there was a Britain or a France. Before France was unified, Britain (la Grande Bretagne) and Brittany (la Petite Bretagne) had very close ties. Legends may well have been exchanged, with several episodes of the saga having taken place in the magical and mystical Forêt de Brocéliande.
Mercedes ...... Born In The Côte d’Azur. So Is It Really French ?
The iconic German car brand, Mercedes was named after the daughter of a businessman who lived in the Côte d’Azur at the beginning of the 20th century.
Emil Jellinek was a successful businessman based in Nice. He was passionate about racing cars. He enjoyed the German Daimler cars but was frustrated with the slow speeds of just 24kph! He demanded speeds of 40kph.
In 1898 Damlier produced the first four cylinder engine car which could produce speeds of 35kph.
Jellinek used his position to advertise and sell these cars to the wealthy residents of Côte d’Azur and it was agreed that these cars would be called Damlier Mercedes after his daughter Mércédès