Tag: France

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The World's Worst Lines at the World's Worst Airports

June 1, 2012 at 9:54 AM | by | Comments (0)

There's something jarring about partaking in the miracle of heavier-than-air flight, of literally dining in a chair in the sky as you fly across an ocean, and then - upon arriving at your destination in mere hours - having to stand in some horrible airport's interminable passport control line. Really? We can build commercial jets that break the sound barrier but we can't figure out how to efficiently stamp people's passports?

Here's a list of three of the worst wait time offenders. We're hoping that - all other options having been exhausted - maybe sustained public shaming will get through to them. Two are in so-called Alpha++ and Alpha+ global cities, so you'd think they'd try something now and again, and one is in West Africa, because we just can't get over how bad it is.

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Did You Want To Use Your Credit Card In Europe? Sorry.

October 5, 2009 at 1:18 PM | by | Comments (0)

As if the cratering dollar wasn't enough of a problem for US tourists, the New York Times reports that even trying to use American credit cards in Europe is getting difficult. The problem is in the so-called chip-and-PIN verification technology that much of the world is adopting as an alternative to magnetic strip cards. Instead of swiping your card you're supposed punch in a personal ID that needs to match the one encoded on the chip. Only problem: US credit cards mostly don't have those chips.

The writeup manages to convey the issue with all the cosmopolitan awareness we've come to expect from the NYT Travel section. They relate the story of a passive-aggressive couple in Paris who—having had their cards rejected by bike kiosks—just walked around sullenly telling no one in particular how would awesome if they could ride a bike. Obnoxious. But that doesn't make the problem any less real:

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Date Night For The Super World Travelers in Antibes, France

Where: Antibes, France
May 21, 2009 at 9:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

Please welcome our favorite super world travelers back onto the scene. Tuesday night in Antibes, France, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had a romantic dinner at Michelangelo's restaurant. The two are in town while Brad promotes Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds at the Cannes Film Festival.

The restaurant, located about seven miles outside of Cannes, is known for serving a variety of Mediterranean cuisines and being a nice dinner escape for celebs at Cannes. Last night's entree came with more than just a dose of Brangelina; Twilight star Robert Pattinson also made an appearance at Michelango’s, although he was a third wheel, dining with Emile Hirsh and his girlfriend.

In other date night news, The new Captain Kirk, Chirs Pine, was spotted out with Audrina Patridge at the Red Lion Tavern in Silverlake, CA. The two are reportedly dating, or at least Chris wishes they were dating. The Red Lion is known for their extensive selection of German beer so maybe he can blame it on the alcohol and move on before he ends up a special guest star on The Hills.

Related Stories:
· Brangelina Hit Cannes! [Perez Hilton]
· Chris Pine & Audrina Patridge Couple Up? [Just Jared]
· Cannes Gets Ready for Another Brangelina Invasion [Jaunted]

[Photo: Just Jared]

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OMG, Baguettes Are Not French!

Where: 8 rue du Cherche-Midi, Paris, France
July 2, 2007 at 9:43 AM | by | Comments (0)

Our whole lives long we've been calling the baguette a "French stick." We munch on them when we visit Paris, thinking we're eating like a local. But here's the news: Baguettes are not even French, and an important French baker is urging the country to give up the crumbly white loaves (apparently they're actually Austrian) and focus on real French breads instead.

Apollonia Poilane, who inherited a famous French bakery from her parents, has been telling the world that the le pain Poilane is real French bread. It's a round loaf made from grey flour, sea salt, and dough left over from the previous batch. Doesn't sound quite as easy to snap off and snack on with your Camembert or Brie, but, when in France...

Related Stories:
· Hotels in Paris [HotelChatter]
· Jaunted Embedded Travel Guide: Paris Markets [Jaunted]

[Photo: mike fischer]

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Back of the Envelope Travel Guide: Le Mans 24 Hour Car Race

Where: Le Mans, France
June 6, 2007 at 9:10 AM | by | Comments (0)

Time to get ready for the Le Mans 24 Hour Car Race where drivers drive round and round and round the track near Le Mans for, obviously enough, 24 hours. It's on from June 16 to 17 and if you're keen to sniff some gasoline fumes, check our guide for the Le Mans craziness:

Where to Stay
The Mercure Le Mans Batignolles (17 Rue De La Pointe) brags that it's strategically located near the Le Mans race track, rather than right in the town center: this should give you the jump on other race-goers. During June the restaurant's closed on weekends, but that just gives you the incentive to check out some local eateries (or stay forever at the track).

Where to Eat
Splash out on some hearty French cuisine at Le Flambadou (14bis, Rue Saint Flaceau). In the winding alleys of the Old Town, the cassoulet landaise always gets a big write-up--you'll find ingredients like beans, sausages and preserved duck or goose on your plate.

Where to Get Drunk
We'd like to find a totally automobile-freak bar in Le Mans, but we can't. So go quirky and hit the Paris Texas Cafe (21 rue du Dr. Leroy) for a crazy cross between France and the Wild West. Or for a full-on French discotheque night to get in training for the 24 hour car race, try the Le Select (44 pl.de la Republique) with plenty of noise and lights.

Related Stories:
· Le Mans Hotels [HotelChatter]

[Photo: Eelke Blok]

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Newsflash: Trains Arrive On Time!

May 16, 2007 at 9:01 AM | by | Comments (0)


In the ongoing war between budget airlines and good ol' train travel, the Eurostar train line is busily pumping out its own good PR. Eurostar trains generally travel between London and Paris, with a few trips to Brussels, Euro Disney and the south of France. They reckon they're fast, convenient, and recently, punctual.

Yep, punctuality is the big Eurostar news of the week. Between May 7 and May 13, 98.5% of trains arrived on time (or early!). And the big news: on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week, 100% of the Eurostar trains were punctual. Eurostar is quick to point out that performance like this "easily outstrips airlines." Add to that the assumption that the carbon footprint is smaller and it almost seems logical to take the train. Except when you see an airfare for just a couple of pounds.

[Photo: lazytom]

Related Stories:
· Eurostar Records Best Ever Punctuality [Flightmapping]
· One or One and a Half Tickets, Sir? [Jaunted]

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Learn to Be As Rude As the French

Where: Paris, France
January 9, 2007 at 9:45 AM | by | Comments (0)


So the French have this reputation about not wanting to speak to tourists, unless you happen to speak perfect French. Whether or not this is true is now irrelevant because the Paris Tourist Board has given up on fronting friendliness and come up with a compromise. Launched with the Cop the Parisian Attitude website, this new campaign is designed to tell the visitor how to really communicate with Parisians - for example, by learning the Gallic shrug:

1) Stick out your lower lip, 2) Raise your eyebrows and shoulders simultaneously. Use it to deny knowledge, agreement or responsibility.
You can also learn the French body language for "I'm fed up, let's go," "bad luck" and the special Parisian "shut up." If you're mature enough, there are even a set of "red card" gestures to learn. Sounds a whole lot easier than swotting over a French grammar textbook before your next trip. Most likely a lot more useful, too.

[Photo: malias]

Related Stories:
· Tourists Given Guide to French Rudeness [Australian]

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Movie Set Travel: Marie Antoinette

Where: France
October 20, 2006 at 3:03 PM | by | Comments (0)


Sofia Coppola's directorial efforts return to the big screen today in the long-awaited (and much written about) Marie Antoinette.

Kirsten Dunst plays Marie, France's ill-fated queen in this biopic that covers everything from her forced marriage to Louis XVI, to her social rejection by royal family members, to her (ewww) beheading, and everything in between.

As the film was shot all over some of the most beautiful parts of France, today we offer you some of the country's must-do's and see's. Pack your corset and hit the road!

Where To See a Castle:
Chateau de Chantilly
See where many of the actual castle scenes were shot at this amazing chateau originally built in the 1500s in Chantilly. Owned by the Institut de France, it's now open to the public for your visiting pleasure. Features include one of the world's most impressive art galleries, libraries (a copy of the Gutenberg bible is here), and gardens. And yes, you might recognize it previously from the Bond flick, A View to a Kill.

Where To Pretend To Check In:
Hotel du Soubise
Ok, so you can't really stay here as a guest (it's now a historic site), but this former city palace was once the home of the Prince and Princess de Soubise, and is right in Paris. The prince arranged for a complete remodeling in 1704, and the building now houses the Museum of French History. Close your eyes and imagine snoozing here while your multitudes of attendants wait in the hallway outside.

Where To Eat:
Le Francois
Head to Fontainebleau and dine at Le Francois on Chef Bernard Crogiez's cuisine, which has been heralded. Of course, the fare is classic French: hare, duck, partridge, snails--you get the picture. The terrace is a great choice for a decadent lunch on a nice day.

[Photo: MSNBC]

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Makin' French Mates

Where: Paris, France
October 16, 2006 at 8:34 AM | by | Comments (0)


A culturally-sensitive way to travel is, of course, to meet and mingle with the locals. But say you're traveling through France and you want to meet real French people: should you just walk up to local people in a Parisian supermarket and tell them you want to be friends?

Of course not, and that's why someone came up with the idea of Meeting the French. This website can set you up with a host (matching your age and interests, naturally) who will invite you into their home for a meal. Your side of the deal is to choose the menu (ranging in prices), foot the bill in exchange for the hospitality, and the agency delivers the food to the happy (English-speaking) hosts. You can preview some of the available hosts, one of whom has the admirable goal of wanting "to demonstrate that french people are not so haughty and unbearable." Next time you're dropping through Paris, test out the haughtiness level yourself.

[Photo: digital_trash]

Related stories:
· Meeting the French [Official Site]
· Makin' German Mates [Jaunted]

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Members Only for Croatia

September 26, 2006 at 5:31 PM | by | Comments (0)



Croatians cannot be happy right now. Despite the fact that the Dalmatian Coast is on everyone's list as one of the top places to visit (well, for this past summer anyway), their accession to the European Union is more in doubt than ever before. Bummer.

After agreeing today to admit Romania and Bulgaria under rather harsh terms--certainly the stiffest for any new member states in the EU--the French PM, Domenique de Villepin asked "How far can we go without rendering the E.U. inefficient?". That's not good for the Croats (or Serbs, Turks, Montenegrins and Albanians), who were hoping to join the EU in 2009. Maybe if they promise to act with more of a French attitude, they'll be admitted? We say, toss those burek and start baking some baguettes.

[Image via Miguel Pereira/Flickr]

Related Stories:
·   Europe Set to Endorse Romania and Bulgaria [NYT]

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TGV Rolls On

Where: France
September 20, 2006 at 11:30 AM | by | Comments (0)



The French may have had a tough year, what with the rioting in Paris and losing their Olympic bid, but they have something to be proud of these days: Fast trains. Yup, this year is the 25th anniversary of the TGV, France's high-speed train that first linked Paris and the south of the country.

We didn't know, however, that there culture of commuting there--a byproduct of the TGV. According to the Times of London, 400,000 people a day use the TGV to commute to work. The Times also notes that the comparison with the English rail network is a bit depressing: in two hours, you can get between Paris and Lyon by train, but in the UK, two hours by train only gets you to Newcastle. Newcastle is golden compared to the U.S.--two hours on a train from New York will only get you to Poughkeepsie.

[Image via mainblanche/Flickr]

Related Stories:
·   TGV Anniversary [Times of London]

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Ethnic Slur = Quality Marketing

Where: France, France
August 7, 2006 at 8:04 AM | by | Comments (0)


Do we love the French? Does anybody love the French? Well, officially, no, but having heard about their new wine names, we're ready to cut them some slack. It seems the French, in dire marketing straits with too many grapes and not enough customers, have developed a sense of humor about their wine.

And that's why it is now possible to guzzle a wine called Le Freak. Apparently the "freaky" thing is that it's white and red wine mixed together, although that sounds like what any sensible people do when there's not enough left in either bottle for a real drink.

But wait, there's more. Much more. Another marketing genius decided that Elephant on a Tightrope would help sell some "well-balanced" wine. But the one we like the best comes from the south of France in both red and white varieties, bearing the lovely name Arrogant Frog. Ironic really, since with names like that, it seems they're not so arrogant anymore.

[Image via Kym.Flickr]

Related stories:
French Wine Labels Get Funny [Times Online]
Mixed Doubles Offer Freaky Sipping [Straight.com]