Welcome to our Brittany Blog
Monday, 22nd July 2019
Speed limit to be increased to 90kph in SOME departments
The speed limit on 400,000km of departmental roads across the country was cut from 90kph to 80kph in July 2018 - a decision that has proved hugely unpopular.
Motoring organisations and local government officials highlighted a lack of consultation at the time, and the gilets jaunes movement highlighted it as a main complaint when the protests first started in November 2018.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said last week that he would be willing to devolve the speed limit issue to local government offices.
But, any return to 90kph speed limits must be "systematically accompanied by measures" guaranteeing "the highest possible level of road safety", he added.
Many departments are now considering restoring the 90kph speed limits on secondary roads but they are concerned about the practical implications, new signage for example will be extreemely expensive.
The number of deaths on the roads in France dropped to a historic low in 2018, with 3,259 people killed, which the government claimed was a victory for the new measures.
However in January and February 2019, casualty figures began climbing again. The government said that vandalism of speed cameras was to blame for the increases.
Thursday, 11th July 2019
The hunt is on..... for a bald eagle.
An 18-year-old bald eagle with a 2.2-metre wingspan became lost during a display at the Aquashow animal park in Finistère.
Named Dana, the bird weighs 4.5kg, and is a “bald” eagle, meaning she has black feathers on her body, and a white feathered head.
She was born at the park, and has always lived there. She is used to captivity and is always fed by human keepers, and usually takes part in regular bird display shows at the park.
Park manager Pierre Poussard said that Dana habitually left the centre “two or three times a year” to fly further afield, but this is the first time that she has been gone for so long
He said: “It is during one of our demonstrations that Dana went. She must have ‘taken high altitude’ very quickly due to strong winds, and must have got lost.”
So, if you happen to be holidaying in Brittany this summer, keep an eye out for Dana!
Wednesday, 3rd July 2019
Breakfast clubs to be introduced in France
The French government have announced a €6 million initial funding for a free breakfast programme, which will be put in place in public schools in some poorest urban neighbourhoods and rural areas.
The programme will be expanded nationwide, and is expected to provide breakfast to as many as 100,000 schoolchildren once fully operational.
While many nutritionists would agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, an estimated 13 percent of students at France’s poorest areas arrive at schools in the morning on an empty stomach.
Yet studies have shown that skipping breakfast can leave children hungry and easily distracted, making it harder for them to participate in the classroom.
France is not the only country to experiment with offering free breakfast in schools. The United Kingdom found that students’ performance generally improved after rolling out a similar programme in 2014.
In England the results have been very positive, as well as reducing hunger, breakfast clubs were perceived to improve concentration and behaviour in class and to improve punctuality. Additional positive impacts are on pupils’ social development and the way in which they helped some pupils make wider friendship groups and become more confident.
There are now hopes that the programme in France will meet with similar results.
Monday, 24th June 2019
Phones and restaurants!
If I am eating at a restaurant (a very rare occurance!) and someone that I am with takes out their phone to take a picture of their food, that doesn’t annoy me. In fact, I am pleased that they are enjoying their food so much that they want to share it. But, if I am with someone and they start to have a conversation via social media then I am embarassed. I am not irritated, I don’t find it rude, I am embarrassed that I am such poor company!
According to a recent poll most people (69%) find it annoying when other diners use their smartphones in a restaurant, with men and those over 50 most likely to find it irritating. (That would be Mark!)
Yet, the same study showed that 40% of French people regularly use social media in a restaurant, and mainly do so to post photos of their food (29%), or to “check in” where they are geographically (15%).
Women aged 18-24 (45%) and women aged 25-34 (54%) were the most likely to do this, and were found to be the biggest fans of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Similarly, 74% of respondents said that they had previously shared photos of their dishes with their partner and friends via smartphone.
I think that there is a certain amount of hypocrocy going on here, 69% of respondants find it annoying when other diners use their smartphones in a restaurant yet 74% of respondents said that they had previously shared photos of their dishes with their partner and friends via smartphone.!
Friday, 14th June 2019
France to save energy by switching off electric publicity screens.
Electric Publicity Screens in French transport hubs could be switched off at night and in winter, after it was revealed that the annual energy use for one electric screen is equivalent to three family homes.
Electric “poster” screens are becoming more and more common in cities, especially in public transport stations. In 2017 alone, their presence rose by 16%; and in Paris there are now more than 600 of them.
They are generally replacing old-style static advertisement posters, and allow companies to project moving adverts on to large, bright screens.
The current debate is whether the screens should be turned off in the evenings when households turn up the heating, cook dinner, and load up the dishwasher and washing machine all at the same and during the winter months when the weather is colder and energy use in French households increases.
This would help to avoid the country having to use energy produced by coal, or having to import more energy from abroad, during the colder months.
Yet, the installers of the electric publicity screens argue that the technology is actually more energy-efficient than the traditional posters and screens are already [ecologically] better than sending someone in a car to change the posters.
The debate over the screens comes amid a tense time for the French government with regards to environmental campaigners, in the wake of large-scale protests against climate change
Thursday, 6th June 2019
A very good idea.
Women travelling on public buses after 22h in Strasbourg and Lyon will soon be allowed to ask the driver to drop them off between two stops, if it will mean that they have a shorter walk home in the dark.
Strasbourg and Lyon will follow scheme already in place in Paris and Grenoble. The system allows women to get off bus routes at the most convenient point, dropping them as close as possible to their home, rather than at a designated bus stop that is likely to be further away.
The idea is that women will have less distance to walk in the dark on their way back home, making them supposedly less vulnerable to attacks or harassment
The bus driver will still reserve the right to refuse the request, if it would be unsafe to stop, but will try to stop where possible.
Monday, 27th May 2019
How healthy is your junk food?
All food advertising in France must now show the food’s official “Nutri-Score” mark to let consumers know at a glance how healthy the product is.
The law will make it compulsory for any French media advertising - including online, on television, and radio - to clearly display the food’s “Nutri-Score” mark - from A to E.
The Nutri-Score system was first launched in France in November 2017, in a bid to make it easier for consumers to see the nutritional content of a given food, especially for pre-packaged, “junk food”, or processed items. A is the most healthy score, descending through B, C and D, with E the least healthy.
The new law will enter into force from January 1 2021, to allow the industry to prepare and adapt.
I am not quite sure how useful this ‘Nutri-Score’ will be. We all know that processed and junk food is bad for us but sometimes there just isn’t time for ‘a meal from scratch’ and other times quite frankly we just crave for Junk Food and an ‘E’ Nutri-Score just won’t stop us from putting that very attractive packet of processed food in the trolley.
I think the other parts of the law that in the end didn’t pass the legal ratification process would be much more beneficial to the nations health. The rejected elements were clauses on lowering acceptable levels of salt, sugar and fat; banning certain additives; reducing how much food advertising children are able to see; and introducing at least one hour of food education per week in schools and collèges (middle school).