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Month: August 2017

Ch. 11 teaser

Right is wrong. That’s not a political statement. It’s the reality of driving in France: they look one way before crossing the road.

A 1910 law is still on the books, striking fear behind the steering wheel.  Chapter 11 of French License details this bankrupt (get it? Ch. 11?) and archaic rule of the road.

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Ch. 12 teaser

Ah, seasons!  You miss them in California, unless you live in the mountains to the East.  Our first New Year in France brought snow to our front door.  Then, global weirding made it mild again.  My son and I go outside.  In chapter 12 of French License, a runaway kite leads to a chance encounter.

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Ch. 13 teaser

There are many forms of transportation, and I seem to get in trouble with all of them.  Bike follies II is the second chapter of French License exposing my foibles with la petite reine.

Meanwhile, Paris is attempting to become more bike-friendly.  Where currently, bicyclists must jockey for position with busses, taxis, parked cars and motorists driving selfishly, soon they’ll have their own dedicated and protected bike lanes.  A very long one is going up on the rue de Rivoli (parallel to the Louvre), and another along the Seine for several kilometres of the voie Georges-Pompidou.  While this is fantastic for two-wheelers, practically everybody else is incensed at the mayor.

Hidalgo has arbitrarily done a land grab without consulting citizens, businesses that need to have goods delivered, commuters, or even the police who worry about being slowed down, or completely cutoff from coming to the aid of people.  Her way of doing things has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.  A book will be released this week detailing her actions and reactions: Notre-Drame de Paris, by Airy Routier and Nadia Le Brun.  No wonder Airy Routier is against her.  Hidalgo is anti-car, and ‘routier’ means ‘truck driver.’

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Escape from Paris

Escape games have become all the rage.  What better activity with family or for a business team, than to work together to resolve puzzles, enigmas, riddles, labyrinths and word games?

In Paris they’ve flourished.  Folks here love to solve mysteries, and they’re quite good at it.  I’ve participated in games in New York and Paris, and the main difference is that New York is more theatrical, Paris is more cerebral.  In our Paris run, we encountered at least twice as many enigmas, lock combinations, and such as New York.  The larger the group, the better to be able to solve all the problems in time.

Here is a round-up of where you can get yer Sherlock on in the City of Light:

HintHunt (can do game in English)
58 rue Beaubourg

(métro Arts et Métiers or Rambuteau)

Boulevard Saint Martin, 75003 Paris
(métro Strasbourg Saint-Dénis lines 4, 8, 9)

Mystery Escape
métro Courcelles


Virtual Room

(English possible)

93, rue de Turenne, 75003

T Break M

in the CNIT at La Défense
More for Younger kids, possibility to complete it in English

Victory Escape
21 rue de la victoire, Paris
four games derived from films

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Ch. 15 teaser

France has more Radar speed cameras than any country in Europe, maybe in the world.  The fines from these cameras generate more revenues than any other state.  That’s because they flash for the smallest bit over the speed limit, which is impossible for the most careful driver to respect all the time.  In France, the limit can change four times in the space of 1 kilometre.  Radar money, indeed auto money, has become such a big part of the budget of the French state that they have become dependent on it.  So, while the radar cameras haven’t prevented road fatalities from increasing for the last four years IN A ROW, the response has been to release even MORE radars.

What is a populace to do facing this problem?  This chapter of French License sizes up the menace, shows what people are doing about it, and offers  what could be much more effective solutions to increase road safety.

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Ch. 16 teaser

People live a long time nowadays.  Especially French folks.  Lifer is the name of this French License chapter, revealing an unbelievable aspect of the pink permit.  It’s longer than a grandfather clause.  More like a great-great-grandfather clause.

Cultural differences are explored here in the perception of the driving document on both sides of the Atlantic.  One side sees a driver’s license as a necessity.  The other side sees a hunting permit.


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Ch. 17 teaser

Prospective readers ask “It’s not all about getting a driver’s license, is it?”  No, Virginie, the book French License is about my adventures in France, with bureaucracy as a backdrop.  Proof: here we are at chapter 17, Driver’s Ed signup, and I’ve only just begun.

A lot happened before I bit the bullet.  What led me to the straight and narrow?  The ‘i’ word.  Most Americans detest it, and the French love it most of all.

My hope is that all the ludicrousness before, during and after shines through, making for an entertaining read.  There are figures to surprise you, characters to chuckle at, and a quest to complete.  Won’t you join me?

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Ch. 18 teaser

The story of our Dodge is a Greek tragedy in three acts.  This is Dwayne I of French License.  He’s like me, an American, far from home, bumbling about, hoping to avoid falling into traps.  This picture was taken on a drive to Brittany.  Vacation.  Better days.  You can see his California plates on the roads of France.  What an advantage that was!  That brief window allowed us carefree cruising, a fleeting chance to look at the world outside our windshield. After the window closed, we became like all the other drivers here- head down, eyes riveted on the speedometer, and fearful of oppression.  This chapter explains why.

One last pause now, at that picture of Dwayne, when he was younger, and symbolised the promise of pleasure.

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Ch. 19 teaser

It’s the hokey-pokey with the administrationé.  I put the paper in, they throw the paper out.  I put another paper in, and they shuffle it all about.  It’s called the Driver’s Ed paperwork shuffle in this episode of French License.  I liken it to the voyages of this little guy:

Here’s a shuffle that I much prefer:

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