Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sleep like royalty…

…or at least sleep near where royalty used to live.

Sometime next year a luxury hotel will open on the Château de Versailles grounds. So those of you with a few extra euros can book a room overlooking the Orangerie or a lake.

Following the same theme, a BBC article discusses luxury hotels in relation to poverty in Paris. It points out that new Paris hotels feature suites costing over 20k euro per night while over a tenth of Parisians live below the poverty line.

Click here to read about the Versailles hotel and here to read “Parisian luxury hotels mask city's growing poverty”.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Naturalized Framerican

As the next step in my frenchification process, I had to attend a naturalization ceremony. I’ve never been one for ceremonial hoopla but since attending was mandatory to receive the documents proving that I am now a frogette, I braved the cold and traipsed to Rue des Ursins in the 4th.

I’m used to anything having to do with the prefecture taking a long time. Even when you receive a letter stating to arrive at X hour, you usually have to take a number and wait. So I decided that it would be a good idea to get to the location early. It wasn’t. Another lady and I arrived at 12:30 (the letter stated 13:00) only to be told to come back 5 to 10 minutes before 13:00. Have I mentioned that I’m not a fan of cold weather?

When I went back around 12:50, there were a lot of people waiting outside. We were directed upstairs and after waiting in a small room, we were brought in 3 groups into the naturalization room. We watched a film on what it means to be French and the Sous-Directeur (I can’t remember his name) went on and on about the many famous French people who were originally from elsewhere. We stood and sang La Marseillaise. Fortunately, the words were provided since I don’t know anything past “le jour de gloire est arrivé”.

After singing the national anthem each person’s name was read in alphabetical order, and we went up to get our packet and kiss the Sous-Directeur (the men gave a handshake). We numbered about 100, and there were a lot of people from the Maghreb countries. The rest were from other parts of Africa, Asia, South America and a few were from Europe. There was even one man from Italy. Not surprisingly, I was the only American.

To see the video on what it means to become French click here and to view photos from a previous ceremony click here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter calling card?

I was on my way to have dinner with a friend last night, when I noticed a name written in the snow on one of the cars. As I kept walking I saw other names on other cars. I don’t know if the same person wrote all of the names or if someone did the first and others followed the example. Either way, I thought it was amusing.