eating in paris

It’s important to eat well in Paris, even on a budget, and so I compiled a list of affordable but quality restaurants, where you can get a hearty  meal for 13 euros or under.  I was surprised (and delighted!) to find so many affordable restaurants in Paris, making it easier to go out more often and enjoy the dining experience. It’s worth getting off the beaten track, to find where the Parisian locals frequent, giving insights to the different social scenes and helping to uncover little gems that you are not going to find in the touristy areas.flks;lfk

C’est très important de bien manger a Paris, meme avec un petit budget. J’ai donc compilé une liste de restaurants avec de bons rapport qualité prix, ou on peut trouver de bon repas pour 13 euros ou moins.  J’ai été étonnée (mais ravie) de trouver beaucoup de restaurants moins chers à Paris.    Grâce à cela, on peut diner plus souvent et bien profiter de l’expérience du restaurant. Ca vaut le coup de faire des recherches et de manger où se trouvent les locaux.  Ca vous donnera un aperçu des différentes scènes sociales, et cela vous donnera l’opportunité de visiter des petits endroits que l’on ne trouve pas dans les quartiers touristiques.

Chez Gladines Chez Gladines is located at the buttes aux cailles, in the 13eme arrondisement, an area known for its Chinese community.   The buttes aux cailles is becoming well known for its funky and original bars, restaurants, and boutique shops.  This is a place where Parisians students and artists frequent and isn’t a touristy area, as it is far away from tourist attractions. Chez Gladines has hearty food; large portions at affordable prices.  The cuisine is French with a focus on the south-west and basque regions.  Steak, veal and duck dishes are prices between 11-13 euros, or the basque options include chicken and omlettes at similiar prices.  I tried a salad, a massive dish of lettuce, tomatoes, jambon, cheese, garlic potatoes, egg, which only cost 10 euros.

It’s always busy and lively at Chez Gladines, due to the great food served at low prices, so you will normally have a sangria or glass of wine whilst you wait for a free space.  The tables are communal and this adds to the fun atmosphere. Chez Gladines is located on rue 30 rue des Cinq Diamant, closest metro are Corvisart or Place d’Italie.  
Chez Gladines se trouve aux ‘Buttes aux Cailles‘ dan le 13eme arrondissement , un quartier connu par la communauté chinoise.  Les buttes aux Cailles est devenu connu pour ses bars, restaurants, et boutiques très originaux.  C’est un quartier d’étudiants et d’artistes. Il y a moins de touristes car c’est loin des attractions touristiques. Les plats sont généreux et chaleureux, mais les prix peu chers.  La cuisine est française, avec un influence sud-ouest et basque. Les repas avec ‘steak, veau et canard’ coute entre 11-13 euros.  J’ai goute une salade basque, avec des tomates, jambon, fromage, pomme de terres d’ail et oeufs.  Ca a été très bon et a seulement coute 10 euros. Les metros les plus proches sont Corvisart ou Place d’Italie.

bar at buttes aux cailles 1 225x300 On va manger ou a Paris?!salade at chez gladines at the buttes aux cailles1 225x300 On va manger ou a Paris?!

Le Jardin D’en Face A tiny, hole in the wall restaurant serving great french dishes at a fraction of the price in comparison to posher Parisian suburbs.  The ambience is cosy as it’s so small, and the decor is minimalistic, as the restaurant prime focus is serving great French food.  I normally start with the oeuf cocotte with foie gras, and the magret de canard as a main.  For the desssert, creme brulee is good with a pear digestif.  At 25 euros per person, for a shared entree, main dessert and wine; it’s almost too good to be true! On a long windy street in Monmartre, just a couple of streets away from the touristy areas of Sacre Coeur at 16 rue de trois freres.  The sister restaurant  Le Potager is opposite, a couple of doors down on the same street and has more or less the same menu.  The restaurant is open for dinner only.  It fills up quickly so be sure to book on this number – 01 53 28 26 20.  Closest metro is Abesses

Un tout petit restaurant avec des repas français traditionnels, pour un petit prix par rapport aux quartiers chics à Paris.  L’atmosphere est chaleureuse comme c’est petit, et le plus important pour ce resto, c’est de de servir de bons repas. Normalement, je commence avec avec ‘oeuf cocotte de foie gras’ et ‘le magret de canard’ comme plat principal.  Pour le desert, crème brûlée.  A 25 par personne, pour entree, plat, et dessert.  C’est presque trop bon, pour être vrai!

restaurant at monmartre 1024x682 On va manger ou a Paris?!magret de canard restaurant at montmartre 300x224 On va manger ou a Paris?! Creperie Josselin A charming Breton-styled creperie in the Montparnasse area, an area known for its high concentration of creperies.  You could easily be in provincial Brittany, with the traditional wooden style decor and lacy tableclothes that create a warm, welcoming ambience.  Not only is this restaurant attractive, but its practical, quick and affordable.  The kitchen is open plan, so you can watch the crepes been made right in front of you. Try a wholesome galette or also called crepe du ble noir, (crepe made of buckwheat), with jambon, egg and gruyere cheese, and wash it down with a traditional glass of cider.  Most of the crepes will set you back less than 10 euros at lunch and around 19 euros at dinner to have savoury followed by a sweet crepe.  There are sometimes queues but these move quickly.  Address is 67 rue du Montparnasse, 75014, closest metro is Montparnasse Bienvenue or Edgar Quinet

Crêperie Josselin‘ est une crêperie charmante dans le quartier de Montparnasse, un quartier connu pour ses crêperies.  On a l’impression d’être en Bretagne, comme le style est très traditionnel, avec des nappes en dentelle et un bel intérieur en bois.  Cela crée une ambiance chaleureuse.  Ce n’est pas seulement une belle crêperie, mais c’est peu moins cher et rapide.  La cuisine est ouverte, et donc vous pouvez regarder les crêpes faites en face de vous! Essaye une galette ou une crepe au blé noir, avec jambon, oeuf, fromage et avec un verre de cidre. La plupart des crepes coûtent pas plus de 10 euros et 19 euros pour 2 crepes, une salé et après une crepe sucre.  Quelquefois,  il y a des queues, mais ca passe vite normalement.  Crepere Josselin se trouve au 76 rue de Montparnasse. Les metros les plus proches sont Montparnasse Bienvenue or Edgar Quinet  001 1024x768 On va manger ou a Paris?!L’As de Fallafel Nice to try some simple take away food in the uber trendy area of Le Marais.  L’As de Fallafel is a little Israeli eatery, found in the characteristically Jewish section of the Marais, amongst Kosher butchers, synagogues and expert bakeries.  On the small, cobbled laneway at 34 rue des Rosiers is the small restaurant, where you can eat quality food in a comfortable environment.  Try a fallafel pita, with tahiny and hummous plus roasted eggplants, cabbage slaw, tomatoes and cucumber. All this for under 6 euros takeaway

L’as de Fallafel se trouve dans le  quartier branché du Marais.  C’est un tout petit restaurant israélien, qui se trouve dans la section juive du Marais, où se trouvent aussi des bouchers Kosher, synagogues et boulangers. Une fallafel pita est délicieuse avec du tahinny et du hummous, et aussi avec des aubergines, tomates et concombre.  Et ca coût seulement 6 euros à emporter. Bon appétit!

Secrets of Paris

This post is dedicated to some discoveries I had in Paris, that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with the Romantic city of lights, Paris!

1. Les bain douches

there is a building near between the Oberkampf station in the 10th arrondissement , that was where the poor Parisians would come for a shower.

2. Immigrants

There is a staggering amount of immigrants in Paris, coming from colonies in Africa.  20% of Parisian population comes from African immigrants. Immigrants from africa with their colourful dresses. i lived near the north of paris where there are lots of immigrants.  contributed to cheapest markets in Paris..alot of exotic food from africa was in the areas, dates, olives, eggs, all at very affordable prices.

3. Lack of space

Paris is one of the most cramped cities in the world.  there is a famous postcard that shows the size of Australia and the size of Europe, so you can get an idea of the huge population of Europe in comparison to the small population of Australian and get an appreciation of the different standard of personal space!.  Paris is cramped and apartment size are naturally a lot smaller that what you would find in Australia.  I lived in a tiny studio in Paris, where I the shower was so close to my tiny kitchenette that i could boil my eggs while having  shower!! i think the lack of personal space in Paris adds to making this a more stressful city.  and for people living there its important to escape the busy city to have relaxing weekend away.

4. Tabac

French smoke a lot in case you don’t realise and have a dedicated shop, ‘the tabac’ for this.

french are totally offay with queuing, and there are normally queues for buying cigarettes from the Tabac.

5.

5.

Ou mange-t-on a Paris?

It’s important to eat well in Paris, even on a budget, and so I compiled a list of affordable but quality restaurants, where you can get a hearty  meal for 13 euros or under.  I was surprised (and delighted!) to find so many affordable restaurants in Paris, making it easier to go out more often and enjoy the dining experience. It’s worth getting off the beaten track, to find where the Parisian locals frequent, giving insights to the different social scenes and helping to uncover little gems that you are not going to find in the touristy areas.flks;lfk

C’est très important de bien manger a Paris, meme avec un petit budget. J’ai donc compilé une liste de restaurants avec de bons rapport qualité prix, ou on peut trouver de bon repas pour 13 euros ou moins.  J’ai été étonnée (mais ravie) de trouver beaucoup de restaurants moins chers à Paris.    Grâce à cela, on peut diner plus souvent et bien profiter de l’expérience du restaurant. Ca vaut le coup de faire des recherches et de manger où se trouvent les locaux.  Ca vous donnera un aperçu des différentes scènes sociales, et cela vous donnera l’opportunité de visiter des petits endroits que l’on ne trouve pas dans les quartiers touristiques.

Chez Gladines Chez Gladines is located at the buttes aux cailles, in the 13eme arrondisement, an area known for its Chinese community.   The buttes aux cailles is becoming well known for its funky and original bars, restaurants, and boutique shops.  This is a place where Parisians students and artists frequent and isn’t a touristy area, as it is far away from tourist attractions. Chez Gladines has hearty food; large portions at affordable prices.  The cuisine is French with a focus on the south-west and basque regions.  Steak, veal and duck dishes are prices between 11-13 euros, or the basque options include chicken and omlettes at similiar prices.  I tried a salad, a massive dish of lettuce, tomatoes, jambon, cheese, garlic potatoes, egg, which only cost 10 euros.

It’s always busy and lively at Chez Gladines, due to the great food served at low prices, so you will normally have a sangria or glass of wine whilst you wait for a free space.  The tables are communal and this adds to the fun atmosphere. Chez Gladines is located on rue 30 rue des Cinq Diamant, closest metro are Corvisart or Place d’Italie.  
Chez Gladines se trouve aux ‘Buttes aux Cailles‘ dan le 13eme arrondissement , un quartier connu par la communauté chinoise.  Les buttes aux Cailles est devenu connu pour ses bars, restaurants, et boutiques très originaux.  C’est un quartier d’étudiants et d’artistes. Il y a moins de touristes car c’est loin des attractions touristiques. Les plats sont généreux et chaleureux, mais les prix peu chers.  La cuisine est française, avec un influence sud-ouest et basque. Les repas avec ‘steak, veau et canard’ coute entre 11-13 euros.  J’ai goute une salade basque, avec des tomates, jambon, fromage, pomme de terres d’ail et oeufs.  Ca a été très bon et a seulement coute 10 euros. Les metros les plus proches sont Corvisart ou Place d’Italie.

bar at buttes aux cailles 1 225x300 On va manger ou a Paris?!salade at chez gladines at the buttes aux cailles1 225x300 On va manger ou a Paris?!

Le Jardin D’en Face A tiny, hole in the wall restaurant serving great french dishes at a fraction of the price in comparison to posher Parisian suburbs.  The ambience is cosy as it’s so small, and the decor is minimalistic, as the restaurant prime focus is serving great French food.  I normally start with the oeuf cocotte with foie gras, and the magret de canard as a main.  For the desssert, creme brulee is good with a pear digestif.  At 25 euros per person, for a shared entree, main dessert and wine; it’s almost too good to be true! On a long windy street in Monmartre, just a couple of streets away from the touristy areas of Sacre Coeur at 16 rue de trois freres.  The sister restaurant  Le Potager is opposite, a couple of doors down on the same street and has more or less the same menu.  The restaurant is open for dinner only.  It fills up quickly so be sure to book on this number – 01 53 28 26 20.  Closest metro is Abesses

Un tout petit restaurant avec des repas français traditionnels, pour un petit prix par rapport aux quartiers chics à Paris.  L’atmosphere est chaleureuse comme c’est petit, et le plus important pour ce resto, c’est de de servir de bons repas. Normalement, je commence avec avec ‘oeuf cocotte de foie gras’ et ‘le magret de canard’ comme plat principal.  Pour le desert, crème brûlée.  A 25 par personne, pour entree, plat, et dessert.  C’est presque trop bon, pour être vrai!

restaurant at monmartre 1024x682 On va manger ou a Paris?!magret de canard restaurant at montmartre 300x224 On va manger ou a Paris?!  Creperie Josselin A charming Breton-styled creperie in the Montparnasse area, an area known for its high concentration of creperies.  You could easily be in provincial Brittany, with the traditional wooden style decor and lacy tableclothes that create a warm, welcoming ambience.  Not only is this restaurant attractive, but its practical, quick and affordable.  The kitchen is open plan, so you can watch the crepes been made right in front of you. Try a wholesome galette or also called crepe du ble noir, (crepe made of buckwheat), with jambon, egg and gruyere cheese, and wash it down with a traditional glass of cider.  Most of the crepes will set you back less than 10 euros at lunch and around 19 euros at dinner to have savoury followed by a sweet crepe.  There are sometimes queues but these move quickly.  Address is 67 rue du Montparnasse, 75014, closest metro is Montparnasse Bienvenue or Edgar Quinet

Crêperie Josselin‘ est une crêperie charmante dans le quartier de Montparnasse, un quartier connu pour ses crêperies.  On a l’impression d’être en Bretagne, comme le style est très traditionnel, avec des nappes en dentelle et un bel intérieur en bois.  Cela crée une ambiance chaleureuse.  Ce n’est pas seulement une belle crêperie, mais c’est peu moins cher et rapide.  La cuisine est ouverte, et donc vous pouvez regarder les crêpes faites en face de vous! Essaye une galette ou une crepe au blé noir, avec jambon, oeuf, fromage et avec un verre de cidre. La plupart des crepes coûtent pas plus de 10 euros et 19 euros pour 2 crepes, une salé et après une crepe sucre.  Quelquefois,  il y a des queues, mais ca passe vite normalement.  Crepere Josselin se trouve au 76 rue de Montparnasse. Les metros les plus proches sont Montparnasse Bienvenue or Edgar Quinet   001 1024x768 On va manger ou a Paris?! L’As de Fallafel Nice to try some simple take away food in the uber trendy area of Le Marais.  L’As de Fallafel is a little Israeli eatery, found in the characteristically Jewish section of the Marais, amongst Kosher butchers, synagogues and expert bakeries.  On the small, cobbled laneway at 34 rue des Rosiers is the small restaurant, where you can eat quality food in a comfortable environment.  Try a fallafel pita, with tahiny and hummous plus roasted eggplants, cabbage slaw, tomatoes and cucumber. All this for under 6 euros takeaway

L’as de Fallafel se trouve dans le  quartier branché du Marais.  C’est un tout petit restaurant israélien, qui se trouve dans la section juive du Marais, où se trouvent aussi des bouchers Kosher, synagogues et boulangers. Une fallafel pita est délicieuse avec du tahinny et du hummous, et aussi avec des aubergines, tomates et concombre.  Et ca coût seulement 6 euros à emporter. Bon appétit!

Escape to Deauville –Trouville

beach, deauville, parisian rivieria

Deauville resembles a romantic postcard from a long lost era, with long stretches of shoreline and misty clouds making its scenery so picturesque.  On the beach you will find many beach umbrellas neatly decorating the shore and gorgeous Norman style mansions line the wide streets around the beach.

The famous beaches of Deauville and Trouville have being frequented by Parisians for years, and it’s well known as the ‘Parisian Riveria’ or otherwise as the ‘queen of the Norman beaches.’  It is also the most convenient beach escape for Parisians, so it’s no wonder they flock here throughout the year to for some fresh air

norman style mansions, deauville

Deauville is a hot spot for the wealthy and high society families, who invest in the Norman style mansions with beach views. Coco Chanel opened her first boutique for leisure-wear in Deauville in 1913. YSL favoured Deauville as a place to unwind from the stresses of life in Paris.

How to get there

The coastline is now more accessible with the extension of the freeway, making the trip only 1.5 hrs from Paris and also with a convenient train station in the town centre. Book trains here.

To do

There is much to do in Deauville, enjoy long walks on the stunning beaches or some people watching in the beach cafes.

Watch horse races at the Hippodrome or try some golf in the lush courses over looking the beaches.

The shopping is chic with beautifully presented high-end boutiques shops. Some of the famous brands are Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Dior and Sonia Rykiel.

Deauville is a small village, making it very easy to navigate and see everything in one weekend.

cafe culture, deauville

Where to stay

Normandy-Barrière is a Tudor style hotel, situated on the beach.  It is one of the most striking hotels I have seen, built in 1912.  Prices will set you back 349 euros per night, for a double room.

 Hotel Normandy Barriere

Trouville

It’s easy to walk from Deauville to Trouville.  Trouville has a slightly more relaxed atmosphere.  Many families play on the beaches and frequent the down to earth restaurants located near the beachfront.

In the Belle Époque era, painters and writers such as Flaubert and Monet, frequented the areas seeking inspiration in the beautiful seaside surroundings.    The village retains its practicality as a fishing village, selling many types of fish.

beach, deauville-trouville

To do

It’s worth visiting the market at Trouville, which is open on Wednesday and Sundays.  The seafood is amazing with the most impressive St Jacque (scallops) I have ever seen.

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you had a great party to bring in the New Year. I, as with many Melbournians, celebrated on the Peninsula Coast, a popular spot for Melbournians to have beach houses to take advantage of the hot Summer weather and great coastline. The freeway has been improved so the commute is pretty much one hour, making an easy getaway for weekends.

My grandparents really appreciated a good view, as a place where they could sit and enjoy their regular evening drink at 6pm!  We enjoyed many Summers watching the boats go past in the evening twilight.  Here is the view from the 2 storey house my grandpa project managed to completion.  Or near completion, if you could see how many weeds are on the tennis court!

DSC_0328 Beaches

There are many beach spots to choose from, including surf beaches.  The Sorrento back beach is popular with surfers and body boarders for the great waves it attracts.  On New Years Eve Day however, to avoid the crowds we went to Flinders beach, a quieter spot which backs onto the Bass Strait, driving through the picturesque golf course that over looks the beach.

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The front beaches of the Melbourne Bay are calmer and there places to enjoy fishing or just simple gold fashioned sun baking…

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Wineries

The region of Balnarring and Red Hill (just a short drive away away) are famous wine regions in Victoria.  There are many wineries and restaurants in the tree lined dirt streets in Red Hill, where you can enjoy great views of the beach and the luscious green rollings hills, over a award winning meal. These wineries hold free testing so you can be sure to sample a few and ask questions, and buy if you likeit.  Recently at Max’s, I tried the oysters as entree and duck with truffle sauce, which were very good.

I also recomend T’Gallant with has a slightly more relaxed approach, but equally an enviable menu and a very pleasant outdoor eating garden.  At the Spuntino Bar, enjoy a wood-fried, Roman style pizza, which is so authentic, you may think you are in Tuscany for a moment…

The McCrae Lighthouse

This was previously used as the turning point for ships coming into Melbourne from Port Phillips Heads, the lighthouse was the point where ships turned for Melbourne. These days, however, un-operational.

DSC_0359

DSC_0298

5 things to do in Melbourne

A born and bred Melbournian, here is my list of must do attractions for Melbourne for a short stay

1. The Royal Botanical gardens

After 7 years of cultivation and care, the Titan Arun flower, which  blooms only every 3 years, flowered in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne on Christmas day.   The flower only lasts 3 days and I was lucky to see it in action today.

The flower is also known as the ‘corpse plant’ for the odour it omits, rather like rotting flesh.  The queues were massive with Melbournians curious to catch a glimpse of the rare form and the bizarre smell.  I too was impressed by this large, unusual and original-looking flower.

The flower originates from Sumutra, Indonesia, and grows in rainforest normally, however is becoming rarer and rarer as Indonesians continue to chop their forests.  The flower is found in the tropical section of the Botanical gardens.

titan arum, corpse plant

Aside from ‘very special’ guest flower appearances, there are plenty of activities for kids and adults, like  Wind in the Willows which is an outdoor theatre that is set against the  lake and park.

Or you can simply take a picnic on  a warm summer’s day and enjoy all the beautiful flowers/plants and lakes in this oasis, that is within walking proximity of Melbournes’ CBD and Yarra River.

At nightime enjoy the Moonlight cinema which start as the weather becomes nice in December and runs through to March 31st.   Bring your own picinic and drinks, and watch your favourite movies on a massive screen set against a  gorgeous garden backdrop with views of Melbourne’s CBD skyline.

DSC_0141

botanical gardens, melbourne

2. The Beach

There is nothing like going to the beach on a hot summers’ day.  I like the cafe culture and walking the pier at St Kilda beach, where you can see view of the city.  A good spot on the St Kilda beach is Republica, for a drink at night time or daytime coffee.  For eating, I recommend the Stokehouse, also on the St Kilda foreshore.

Elwood and Brighton are lovely spots where the water is crystal clear and you can enjoy swimming easily.

3.  Shopping on Chapel st

For the trendy fashionista to the punk rocker, you can find it all on Chapel st.  The large street dedicated to serious shoppers, spans over a couple of suburbs.  Start from the Toorak rd end of Chapel st for up market, posh fashion labels, and continue towards Prahran and Windsor where the vibe is grittier, with many shops on offer, from trendy fashion to pawbrokers to stylish vintage shops.  There are many eclectic bars and restaurants that spice up this end of Chapel st, too.

I prefer the hipster end of Prahran, but Toorak has someting to offer also, with many good French restaurants on Toorak Rd. I recommend Le Petit Francais, a creperie/restaurant.  The waiters are French and you can even practice your French with them!  It’s well priced and offers traditional French food.

Toward the Prahran end, I like the pub, The Windsor Castle, just behind Chapel St. A great pub, with good food and a massive, lively beer garden.

4.  The National Gallery of Victoria

‘Ballet and Fashion’ is now showing at the National Gallery of Victoria, a joint piece from NGV and the Australian Ballet Company.   The exhibition displays the most successful fashion designer created costumes for the ballet world.

Designing for ballet requires a different look with designers trying to incorporate the classical tutu but with a twist, giving a modernised look, influenced by fashion.   The costumes have changed dramatically from decades ago,  where the classical tutu, was so heavily relied on.  Many designers are featured, including the likes of  Valentino and Christian Lacroix.

This exhibition is free and is open until May.

See a list of what else is on at the NGV, at the official site.

NGV ballet fashion exhibition

NGV ballet fashion exhibition

5.  The Great Ocean Road

A famous strip of Melbourne coastland, frequented by tourists and Australians alike.  The roads hug steep cliff edges and you can see spectacular views of the surf beaches from your car.  If you have the time, its worth making it to the Apostles, where you can see amazing rock formations.   On the way back to the Melbourne city,  you may be lucky to see some koalas in the gum trees, if you looking hard enough!

great ocean road, Melbourne

great ocean road, melbourne

koala great ocean road -

koala great ocean road -

great ocean road apostles

great ocean road apostles

How to get there

The Great Ocean Road is located about an hour or so from Melbourne.  From Melbourne CBD, take the Westgate freeway and then the Geelong freeway.  Check out maps on the official site for more details.

Staying there

See the official site for accomodation if you want to properly see the  Great Ocean Road and the surrounding towns

Aussies or Frenchies – Who has the best work life balance ?

The French have a little ‘savoir faire’, when it comes to their work/life balance attitude.   They do work hard, but know the balance, so that they can enjoy their lives outside of work too.

Holidays

I have never had so many  holidays in my life, as in  France with 7 weeks each year, plus bank holidays.  The French are lucky to benefit from these holidays, and whilst they work hard during work hours, they can enjoy long holidays, particularly in August and come back to work  refreshed and energized to start working again.

In May and August, there are so many bank holidays one has the impression of not working much at all, as you continue to re-start work then stop work for the holiday.  Whilst Australians may fight to have the day off before a public holidays to have a long weekend, in France, it’s normally an imposed RTT day off.   The companies automatically allows employees to ‘faire le pont’ or ‘make the bridge’ to have a 4 day weekend.  It seems the working rights are in favour of the French worker, rather than the other way around.

August is a great month to see Paris as most Parisians are on holidays in the south; it’s quieter with less people about.  Many shops close down for the entire month of August, which demonstrates how the French value quality family time and holidays over extra profits.  Enjoying this time for holidays is apart of their lives, and some extra profits made in this month doesn’t tempt them at all.  Well, good on them then, it doesn’t sound too bad actually!

Subsidized lunch with ticket-resto

The french are one nation to take their lunchtime seriously; where the pressure is to get your chosen brasserie/restaurant by 12.30 to secure a table.  Eating out for lunch is popular and you have to be on time.  It’s normal to go over 1 hr during lunch and  I think the French have the right attitude with a proper lunch break.   Mentally, it’s good to have a change of scenery, to eat well and be refreshed for the afternoon.

Most large companies give ticket-resto cheques, which are 50% company funded and 50% from your salary.  So, you have an extra incentive to eat out and have a proper lunch break.

Transport

Normally companies pay for half your transport costs, which is a basic need, that wasn’t covered in my workplace in Australia or the UK.  This indicates again how attitudes are in favour for the worker in France.

The 35 working week 

The 35 hour week was introduced by socialist government in 1998, and has changed over time as France lacked competitiveness with world markets.

Polls show the French are fond of their 35 hr week, so governments are unlikely to remove this completely.  However, modifications have been made to allow for overtime work, which should in turn help France’s productivity and economic growth.

Nowadays, working over time is compensated with RTT days off and the overtime rate has been reduced from a normal 25% to 10%, so workers are getting used to the idea of working more for a lesser reward.

In Germany, the working week is also 35 hrs but companies are asking employees to work more or otherwise told that the jobs would be outsourced to Hungary, Poland and or potentially China.

Recruitment

In France, once you have  a peramanent contract, it is difficult for your company to fire you, as the French law protects the employee.  This means that the recruitment process is long and employers prefer to put you on  a temporary contract CDI before starting the permanent CDD contract.

So in answer to the question of work life balance, I think the French do  know a few things, how to work hard, and at the same time, not be afraid to spend time with friends and family on long holidays.  The French make sure their work life  can fit in with their lifestyle.  So whilst, Australia is a beautiful country where Australian always have a positive outlook on life, on the work life balance, I think we can learn a little from the Frenchies!

Parlez-vous Francais?!

In September 2011, when I arrived in Paris, trying to understand the news was a nightmare; it was just noise.  A complicated noise, that no matter how hard I tried to understand, or how I tried to separate out single words, I couldn’t make sense of it.

Now relocated in Melbourne, I watched the French news on SBS, (shown every day at 10.30), and it was rewarding to see progress from one year ago.  The efforts with French friends, reading newspapers or watching a movie, was all worthwhile.  The pleasing moment where a long phrase on the TV makes sense, where you have satisfaction of understanding what is happening on the other side of the world, you can read into and appreciate another culture, and all in the comfort of your own living room. These feelings of reward make me want to understand even more.

I believe the best way to learn a language (and the most enjoyable), is to immerse yourself, by living in the country and appreciating the culture etc.  This is not an option for everyone.  Luckily, there are so many things we can tap into to help with languages.  If you are studying French at school, or university or simply have a passion for picking this up, see below my shortlist of recommendations.

SBS – Daily French news program; French and world news with one special feature per episode  normally, (shown at 10.30 Melbourne time).

SBS – Click here for the online radio exercepts

Library- Offer good services, ask for the international section, where you could find bi-lingual books

Movie/TV series – Select the French version with subtitles; this can be a pretty fun way to learn

Podcasts or YouTube videos- I came across Yabla offers videos of interest (travel, cuisine style) with the French and English transcript on the same page;  I found this one particularly neat!  See example video, skiing in the Alpes

Mango languages – online service for beginners, where you can learn about grammar and vo-cab in an interactive way, $79 per month

Newspapers and magazines-Check the international section of your newsagent

Join a meetup group in your chosen language

Or just organise a holiday to the country of choice for some inspiration or practice!

6 things to do in New York

1. Brunch at Bagatelle
The new brunch craze in Manhattan, where people ditch Saturday night to have a boozy Sunday brunch instead. Book a table at Bagatelle in the Meatpacking district, enjoy a French inspired menu, and why not have a cocktail or two?! In the afternoon, the black curtains are drawn, the dj turns up the music, and its a pumping nightclub!
things to do in new york
Starts from 12.00
2. Walk the Highline
A converted train line, previously used for freight, the skyline provides great views on the city’s West Side, starting at Ganesvort street in the Meatpacking district and goes up to West 34th Street.
Check location here
things to do in new york
Things to do in New york
3. Do some celeb spotting
Near the Grand Central station, I noticed major streets barricaded off, masses of police cars and undercover SUVs swarming the streets, sirens blaring.  I wondered what on earth the commotion was for? And then I saw the Cadillac with the American flags.  Barak Obama! How cool to be so close to him in NYC.

Later that day, walking towards the Met, I noticed a woman very prettily dressed. I was so busy noticing the gorgeous fabric she wore, but glanced up quickly to see her face.  Hello Helena Christensen! If you are going to see famous people, NYC is not bad!

4. Bridal shopping in the Big Apple
Not normally on the ‘to do’ list, however, I was visiting an Australian friend, who was planning her wedding. She was having a hard time with a dress maker who wasn’t understanding her vision at all, and thus was considering a dress off the rack.    Interesting to see how wedding dresses in the US are competitively priced in comparison to Australia.  I came with my friend to the dress fitting in the garment district, between between 5th and 9th, from 32nd to 42nd street.   We planned to quickly do this during lunchtime, before dashing off to the play Warhorse.  We ran out of time after waiting more than one hour.   Both disappointed after not seeing the dress on, we came back later just in time, to see the dress on.

We then visited a fabric shop down the road, to sort out the type of silk for the hand made dress, only to discover that the designer was way off the mark with her choice of 2nd grade fabric, for a dress that should ultimately be the most special dress in a girl’s life.  This was an interesting insight to the district, and how you need to roll for getting your wedding dress in order in NYC.
5.If you have the time, consider the ballet. It was very easy to select seat tickets and buy tickets online.
Ballet in New York, things to do

5. Cycle around Grand Central Park
A great way to orient yourself in this city, pop past Carrie’s house in Sex in the City and why visit the famous Seinfield restaurant.
Bike riding in New York, things to do in New York