Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Take a video trip to the Millau Viaduct

A number of my readers have expressed interest in the Millau Viaduct, so I thought you might enjoy a trip around it in a convertible bus. Click here for a link to a France 3 video of delighted tourists trying out the new vehicles. (Once on the site, you have to click on the video link, identifiable by a little video camera.)

Everything's in French of course, but the pictures tell the story...have fun! Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Pink-framed Door

I think one really could spend a lifetime taking photos of French doors. This one in Rodez is framed with the most beautifully colored stone. Some find Rodez drab, but when I look for color, I find it. We could almost imagine we're in La Ville Rose.

Doors, windows, storefronts, shutters: take a look at the collection of strikingly artistic photos on the subject taken by my fellow American-Aveyronnais expat friend Tom Smith-Vaniz.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Another Type of Pool?

Speaking of swimming pools, which I just did for Expatica, more and more Aveyronnais are having them built. I recently took the plane from London to Rodez, and as we were descending toward Rodez, I could see so many swimming pools that I wondered if we weren't landing in Toulouse.

It looks like this local resident has found another solution for cooling off over the summer.

(photo courtesy Thierry Jouanneteau)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Coming out....of my pseudonym

When I started my two blogs five months ago, I was reluctant to reveal my real identity. I wasn't that clever, though. How many Americans with the initials B.C. have been living in Aveyron for 11 years? Just me, myself and I -- as far as I know.

With the publication of my first freelance article on Expatica, which includes a bio linking to this blog, the gig is definitely up.

Au revoir, bcinfrance. Hello, Betty Carlson.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Field Art

Was the farmer aware of the patterns he was making as he ran his tractor over this field?
(photo courtesy Thierry Jouanneteau)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Aveyron Number One -- if you're "a certain age"!

I know I am living in a gorgeous, unspoiled part of France. Often I think Aveyron has got to be one of the greatest parts of the country. Yet, as you know, I am drawn to big cities and frequently have the sneaking suspicion that there is a whole French world out there that I'm not experiencing.

Now I know why. According to a major study just released by L'Express magazine, Aveyron is indeed the best department to live in in France -- for senior citizens! Overall, we come in 26th, which is pretty respectable, but I can take comfort in knowing the situation will improve with each passing year of my life.

So why is Aveyron so great for the elderly? Take a look at the chart that ranks the department (out of 95) on different criteria:

Rankings for Aveyron

Commerce 61
Coût du logement (Price of housing) 21
Culture 68
Dynamisme économique 44
Enseignement supérieur (higher education) 77

Internet 89
Météo (weather) 26
Offre de soins (available medical care) 80
Puissance économique (economic strength) 74
Réussite au bac (success rate in the Baccalauréat exam) 18
Sécurité 5
Environnement 4
Situation sociale 2
Santé des habitants (Residents' health) 1

So despite medical offerings towards the bottom of the list, Aveyron's residents are the healthiest in France. We live in a "secure" atmosphere -- read little crime -- and have an excellent "social situation", whatever that means -- I won't even attempt a translation! And the department is green and clean.

If only I were 75 years old, I could appreciate all of this more fully!

(If you live in France, you may enjoy checking out how your department ranks by clicking here.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Nature Adjusts

Wouldn't you say nature has a mysterious way of adjusting to its surroundings?

(photo courtesy Thierry Jouanneteau)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Spring springs up in surprising places

Warmer weather and rainy spells mean that greenery is growing everywhere. I'm not sure how this gargoyle feels about the mini-lawn sprouting up on his back, though.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Haircuts of Days Past

As you know from my "Time of the Signs" posts, I love French signs. I always get a little thrill from finding one for some long-forgotten shop or business.

Andrée must have been quite the hair stylist in her day. I wonder what became of her and her salon.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Big City Bis

My blogging friend Emily from What's for Lunch, who lives in Paris, took me to task in a recent email for saying that I just had to get out of the sticks! She dreams of the countryside, but I dream of the big city -- much as I love Aveyron. So don't be surprised when you hear that three days after getting back from London, I headed off to Montpellier for the day.

I was able to get a peek at some of the city's inner courtyards, but also, as always, the unfortunate "artistic" creations of the city's taggers. I don't know if all French cities are this full of tags, but in Montpellier, you can see this urban phenomenon everywhere.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Back from the Big City

Yes, I did go to London and had the most fabulous of times.
Yes, I am having trouble getting back into the swing of work, housekeeping, family and daily life...and blogging.
No, I won't bore you with amateurish photos of my trip.
Yes, I will soon get back to writing about the main subject of this blog, Aveyron and life in la France Profonde.