Archive for December, 2009

I’m often told that I moan, so for once today I am going to sing the praise of a French company !

Last night I was looking to book a nice hotel in Paris close to the Eiffel Tower but all the nice little boutique hotels on my favourite website were fully booked or excessively out of price range (more than 300 Euros for a 1 night stay when all we want is somewhere to put our heads down for a few hours and also not including breakfast!) so quite disappointed I booked a Best Western Hotel which are fine, but not quite as snazzy and upbeat as I’d been hoping.

Not being very familiar with Paris, I sent the hotel an email asking for directions, not to the hotel but from the hotel to the airport. I didn’t really expect an answer. But at 9 am this morning, I received an email in reply giving me detailed directions and a link to the RATP website with the exact map on it! I rarely come across customer service like this in France so a big well done to the Best Western Alma in Paris, thank you!

Nb. Now just need to hope my stay goes okay!

Eiffel Tower from-Montmartre

Eiffel Tower from Montmartre

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I’ve always been quite surprised to hear English swear words in songs played on the radio in the daytime in France. At the moment its common to switch on the radio to hear Lily Allen’s singing F**k You and to hear people singing the exact same words. Do they really not know?

But, my biggest moment of shock horror was when I was sitting in the rush hour traffic one morning this week, listening to Virgin Radio’s breakfast show. They were playing a Christmas tune as background music; They kept playing it over and over again. I turned up the radio to listen and was absolutely horrified by the words to the song: “I’m going to f**k him up the a**e this Christmas.”

I’m really sorry, I know these words are totally vulgar but these are the words to a song playing on a National French radio at 8:30 in the morning!

The French may not think that they are particularly good at languages, but for goodness sake, surely people can understand the words? Especially when they are played over and over again. Not to mention why anyone would like to use those type of words for a Christmas jingle anyway?

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Vélo’v’s (pronounced Vayloves) are an extremely cheap (most of the time free actually) and easy to use public bike service which originated in Lyon. Paris also introduced a similar service called the Velib and there are even talks of a similar system being introduced in London.

Velov's at the Part Dieu

Velov's at the Part Dieu

I’ve never actually been on one until this weekend as I couldn’t see the attraction and to be perfectly honest was scared of riding a bike through Lyon’s traffic. You see, I’m not a very good bike rider and tend to be very wobbly so just the thought of trying to stay by the side of the road is actually quite scary.

But Saturday night was an exception. With plenty of Dutch courage in us, we were definitely too drunk to drive home but (and this is debatable) not drunk enough to try and ride a bike home…

The bikes were fantastic and with no cars hardly on the road at 3am, there’s nothing better than the wind in your hair to sober you up. Or, seeing 3 unmarked police cars full of police who are looking you up and you start wondering whether it is illegal to ride a bike when you’re drunk and whether they can put points on your driving license?

I’m still not sure on this one and after looking at the Vélo’v website and finding nothing in their T&C’s about drink driving I still don’t know, but I do know that I was less of a danger to anyone else riding a bike on the pavement at that time of night than if I’d tried to drive a car home.

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