Tuesday 30 October 2007

Strikes in France

velib girls
Originally uploaded by malias.

The two things that can impede your life in France more than anything else are the bureaucracy and the strikes. I’ve already grumbled at some length about bureaucracy. As for strikes October has been a prime month.

Earlier this month France was paralysed by a strike caused by 8 transport unions over changes to pension rules. Most of the SNCF network was down and in Paris the Metro ground to a virtual standstill. It was practically impossible to get anywhere even the Velibs were all taken. Most people had to either stay at home or trudge long distances on foot.

At the moment some workers in the public sector can retire as early as 50 which the government believes is economically unsustainable. Air France flight staff have also been on strike this week causing chaos at the airports. More transport strikes are planned for November.

The bicycle industry seems to be the one growth sector in France.

Saturday 6 October 2007

Nuit Blanche Paris 2007

Originally uploaded by malias.

Today is nuit blanche an all night free art festival which runs through the heart on of Paris. With art installations inside buildings and outside on the street.

This year's nuit blanche follows the Metro line 14 from Batignoles in the north of Paris through the centre of town to the new station at Les Olympiades in the south.

There'll be buckets full of art to enjoy from both emerging and established artists. For more details see the website


Friday 5 October 2007

Free wifi in Paris

Wifi In the Park
Originally uploaded by malias.

The Marie de Paris has installed free wifi in all the gardens, publc squares, libraries, municipal buildings and even museums.

The initiative covers Paris and the ile de France. In total 260 different locations have been provided with free wifi hotspots.

Given that many cafes already offer free wifi I think we can finally say that Paris is a (free) wifi city.

I travel to London a lot and most of the hotspots there you have to pay for. So for once Paris is a step ahead of London.

For more details of the free wifi hotspots in Paris (in french) follow this link Paris free wifi hotspots

Tuesday 2 October 2007

Rugby World Cup Paris

Rugby at Hotel de Ville
Originally uploaded by malias.

Just in case you've been on the moon or something the Rugby world cup is taking place in France at the moment. There has been a great atmosphere in Paris during the tournament fans have been boisterous but always good natured. Compare this to the football world cup where the vast majority of fans are well behaved but there is always a small element of violent, nationalistic thugs that try and spoil it for everyone else (I witnessed this first hand in Stuttgart last year when some English 'fans' were causing trouble).

If you are in Paris and you don't have a ticket for a game then you can catch the matches on giant screens such as the one at Hotel de Ville.

Even if, like me, you are not a rugby fan it's still watch a game at a bar or at one of these venues.