Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Off to the Big City!

If you read this blog, you know I love Aveyron and my little corner of la France Profonde. But I think I could have been a city girl, and I do miss the excitement of les grandes villes. So I'm happy to announce that I'll be in London until May 1st!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Thirty Seconds From Work

Rodez, 7:45 am, Thursday April the 20th. I am less than a minute away from my job in Bourran, the city's new business district. To my right, apartment buildings are sprouting at an alarming pace. But to my left, I get a reminder that Rodez is still part of the countryside...for now.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Millau sans Viaduct

Most of my American readers have never heard of Rodez, but thanks to its viaduct, Rodez's rival Millau has gained worldwide fame. But what about the town of Millau itself?

I hadn't been to Millau for years but made the trip last weekend to see my daughter sing in a concert. Now I've made a resolution: I must go back more often. Do I really live only 45 minutes away from this colorful town "qui chante le Midi"? (which sings of the South of France.)

Next time I hope it will be a sunny day...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

France Looks Like This Too -- But Not For Long

Few buildings in France are as horrifyingly ugly as the huge "hypermarkets" built in the 70s and 80s. My local "LeClerc" has aged terribly and will soon be replaced by a new, even more enormous store in a galerie marchande, or mall.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Signs of Spring

Although morning temperatures have been freezing in Rodez the past few days, we can see signs of spring. Employés municipaux have clearly been busy decking out public areas, as we can see in this photo taken in Onet-le-Chateau just outside of Rodez.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Where has the bird flu crisis gone?

Fifteen years ago, the French media were known for balanced, high quality coverage. But they have learned from their British and American counterparts: they can get into a frenzy with the best of them.

Isn't it funny we aren't hearing any more about the bird flu crisis that so dominated the press a month ago? Could the First Employment Contract (CPE) be a successful vaccination against the disease?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ségolène Again

In a January post, I predicted that Ségolène Royal would be the next Présidente de la République. The Ségolène buzz hit the British press in March, and has now reached the New York Times, where you can "read all about it" and see a great photo of the future candidate.

The French may be ready to elect a woman, but I have noticed one intriguing detail. The public always calls French hommes politiques by their last names: Chirac, de Villepin, Sarkozy, Jospin. But Mme Royal is known as Ségolène.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Odd Couple

In French villages, there are so many 19th century crosses scattered around that I don't pay much attention to them. Perhaps the town hall employees didn't notice this one when they placed the trash container.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Main Street

What happens when a village in la France Profonde isn't that picturesque and has a highway running down the main street? The buildings are abandoned, some eternally for sale. The company that sold "tout pour la construction" was probably booming at some point, busy building homes outside of the village center.
(Photo courtesy Thierry Jouanneteau)