Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Printing, Then and Now

Imprimerie Colomb, what did you print? What was your first job 132 years ago? Newspapers? Notices? Postcards?

You must have been proud of your new, modern printing machinery -- just like I'm proud of the fancy new equipment in my office.

Imprimerie Colomb, what would you think of the technology I've used to print this short text about you?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rodez International!

It is absolutely smashing -- as my British readers would put it -- to be able to take the plane directly from Rodez to London Stansted. Here's a shadowy glimpse of Rodez International and eager Aveyronnais tourists off for a long weekend in the big city.

The contrast between Rodez International and Stansted is striking. I often wonder how it feels for British visitors to arrive from the sprawling Ryanair hub to our tiny but welcoming airport.

I know, at least, that tourists from across the Channel will immediately be introduced to our "brilliant" -- as my British readers would put it -- local food products:

So now you know -- I just traded in a week of Roquefort, Marcillac wine, aligot and country-style bread for Starbucks iced mochas, Italian and Australian wine, Japanese food, and club sandwiches. And I'm certainly none the worse off for it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Neighbors

These are our new neighbors. They just moved in last week. So far, they're a little noisy but otherwise we're getting along quite well.

In fact, I think we've seen them before. Do they ring a bell to you?

They invited me over for cookies and milk this weekend, but I'll be leaving Thursday on a big-city adventure and won't be back until next Tuesday, so I can't make it. I moo hope they won't be offended.

If you're curious where I'm going, I've left a few hints over on And So Forth...

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Road Not Taken

"I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Local Election Results

If you don't know what to do on the Internet this morning, especially if you live in France where you're enjoying a day off to commemorate the Allied victory in World War II, you might want to peruse your favorite French towns' election results in Le Monde's "Edition Spéciale."

For example, you can see that Rodez, Aveyron's main city, voted this way, whereas Laguiole, a smaller town in very rural North Aveyron voted that way -- and how!

Aveyron gave the majority to Nicolas Sarkozy, but not overwhelmingly despite the department's conservative reputation.

Enjoy the function while it lasts, because Le Monde's features are only available free for a week or two.

(Related post on And So Forth)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Train Tripping to Tours

La Gare de Rodez
6:40 AM, Saturday April 28th 2007

I bet a lot of you first hopped around France by train.

Europasses, anyone?

"Limoges, Limoges, trois minutes d'arrêt. Correspondances pour...."


On my first trips to France, it seems like I spent about half of my time in trains. Now I seldom travel that way -- I think the last time was in 2000. And I rarely travel alone. But in late April I went up to the Tours area, sans famille, to see an old friend who is moving back to the States next summer.

I won't blog about Tours as much as I did for the Tarn, but expect a few posts about my trip hither and thither. And definitely a few more train shots.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Google Bayrou, Find Sarkozy?

I was just writing to my parents in the USA about the French presidential race, and I wanted to send them the name of the new party François Bayrou is forming. I couldn't remember if it was "le mouvement démocratique" or "démocrate", so I did a Google search for Bayrou, and this is what came up at the top of the page, the day before the election between Sarkozy and Royal:

Sarkozy-Royal au 2nd tour Réactions, interviews, commentaires Suivez l'événement sur Europe1
Le Vrai Sarkozy Ce que vous ne savez pas de Sarkozy Son expérience et son talent

All right, Bayrou isn't in the race anymore, so maybe the first link is legitimate. But how did this extremely pro-Sarkozy YouTube video come up in second place on a search for "Bayrou" the day before the election? Well, first I suppose I should point out that it's a commercial link. But doesn't it seem a little wrong for Google to sell space for that link under searches for Bayrou?

By the way, by not removing the actual links above, I am not in any way trying to work as a secret force for Sarkozy! I'm just "showing it like it is."

In a country where equal media time for the candidates is controlled to the second, it's interesting to see how the world's biggest search engine has been harnessed in a last minute attempt to reach out to Bayrou's voters.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

She's Always There Somewhere

I wasn't looking for her the other day, but she just peeked out at me.

What would Rodez be without its cathedral? And why is it not that well-known?

Personally, I'll take it over any French cathedral I've ever visited. Of course I can't pretend to have seen them all! You probably have your own favorite and I'd love to hear about it.

My Michelin guide gives the town of Rodez itself only one star ("Intéressant") but the cathedral rates two stars ("Mérite un détour") out of the maximum three.

I have news for the Michelin writers -- you can't dissociate the two.