Wednesday, January 09, 2008

meanwhile, back in france

I know it's been all about me here for a while (and honestly, isn't it supposed to be like that on my own blog? but I digress...) but there have been some interesting developments here in France recently. For example:

France goes non smoking Last year smoking was banned from public places such as malls, businesses, grocery stores (!) and hospitals (!!!), but last Wednesday the new non-smoking rules went into affect, targeting bars, cafés, restaurants and nightclubs. Actually, for Stéph and I, this couldn't have come at a better time. Before we quit smoking, we actually fretted about the ban - "where are we going to go for a coffee and a smoke? how we will enjoy our dining experience?" but since we quit we've been avoiding our local café so as to resist the temptation of buying a pack of smokes and lighting them up right there. Now we feel like we can go wherever we want, and it's lovely. Plus, a lot of people predicted that the cafés would curl up and die with their smoking patrons gone, but I'm glad to report that last Wednesday, strolling around Troyes, they looked pretty busy to me.

Sarkozy gets a girlfriend So if you're not up on French current events, a few months ago, Sarkozy and his wife split up, making him the first President to be divorced in office since... well Napoleon, actually. Never mind the fact that the separation was announced right at the beginning of a massive transport strike in a very "no! look over here at the shiny toy!" kind of way. But now the President is dating Carla Bruni, an Italian model and singer, and the French media has gone absolutely apeshit. Not only has the "legitimate" press been following them on excursions to Disneyland Paris and Egypt, but at Sarkozy's first press conference, the second question was about his relationship with the model. I'm pretty sure we can expect a wedding announcement at the next financial or strike crisis.

It's the soldes! Today marks the beginning of the bi-annual shopping sales, which will last about three weeks or a month or so. Today is kind of like Black Friday in the States, where crazy shopping freaks actually staked out what they wanted to buy yesterday so they would be able to swoop in today and grab what they want without the time consuming hassle of trying it on. Typically we like to wait until at least the first week is over before we go see what's left - it's not that we couldn't use some new things but the crowds are so ridiculous, especially here where we have two major outlet shopping centers, that it just isn't worth the bother.

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