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Let Us Have Our Brioche and Eat It, Too

4-1-12miamitoparisAir France flight Path between Paris & Miami

4-1-12traveloysterblogThe Travel Oyster Blog

4-1-12Romney-Santorum-Split-Iowa-Romney and Santorum

4-1-12hollande sarkozyHollande & Sarkozy

4-1-12Marie-Antoinette-movie-05Marie Antoinette – the movie


Let’s face it. American Airlines just ‘ain’t’ Air France. First, they refused to let my carry-on be carried on because it was a bit tight getting it into the metal frame designed to test for carry-ons. Then, the electrical system on the plane was out, so my iPhone flashlight app is how I managed to read a book and eat the pathetic dinner. The movie played on the screens overhead, but there was no sound — a shame it wasn’t L’Artiste, this year’s silent film sensation. Then, a big oafish flight attendant almost knocked my head off as he came down the aisle (not as cute and handsome as the Air France ‘boys’) and the bathrooms smelled.

Stick with Air France. They know how to treat a passenger.

The new year in Paris has already started off with a bang as old friends come to town. Each year Travel Oyster blog writer, Geraldine Kaylor, and her University of Michigan Professor of Mathematics husband, Jeffrey Rauch, descend on Paris for two months…and have virtually every year since knowing them (1998). They often travel on New Year’s Eve to arrive on January 1st — as they did this year. Geraldine immediately wrote about their arrival on the first day of 2012 in her blog with some of her great stories — things just seem to naturally happen to her that don’t happen to other people — or maybe they do, but they don’t tell their stories as well as Geraldine. Be sure to read it.

This morning’s news was not at all about France, but about the U.S. Mitt Romney’s and Rick Santorum’s Iowa Republican caucus campaign…Romney beating Santorum by a mere eight votes! One of them is destined to be in the final ring with Barack Obama in the upcoming elections.

There is a good profile on each candidate at MSNBC Elections — and I can tell you from the point of view of a liberal democrat living in France (where we have universal health care, quality education and less of a gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’), these guys are about as far from the way the French think about life as one can get. Quite frankly, they scare the pants off me.

Meanwhile, French Socialist rival François Hollande attacked President Nicolas Sarkozy in the news, accusing him of “economic and moral blunders” during his five-year term in office and calling him the “president of the privileged.”

This all makes me chuckle (if not cry). While the U.S. rallies around the “candidates of the privileged,” aspiring to be like them, the French may just well put Hollande in office in a reaction to Sarkozy’s “bling-bling” presidency with “nouveau riche penchants — aviator sunglasses, expensive gaudy watches, adulation of rich friends, and his very public courtship of supermodel turned pop singer Carla Bruni.”

Americans in France often find themselves in the middle — our left being the French right. Sure, I can’t speak for all Americans in France, but in talking politics with friends, it’s clear we all share similar left-wing sentiments and would like to see a little more blending of both sides to make for a better balance. We Americans in France can enjoy the benefits of this socialist democracy — we love the great health care at bargain prices, our kids attend quality schools at no cost except their supplies, the roads are beautifully kept and well marked, public transportation is amazingly efficient and inexpensive, etc., etc., etc.

People in France aren’t earning oodles of money, but they don’t need it, nor do they seem to care…as long as they earn ‘enough’ for a high standard of living and quality lifestyle…which they do. Our American upbringing doesn’t agree with the word “enough” — since we were taught never to be satisfied with what we have, but only with what we can ultimately achieve…and so contrary to the socialist point of view, we wish there was even more of Sarkozian entrepreneurship ideals, since doing business in France is a bureaucratic and non-profitable nightmare!

So, you see, we find ourselves in the middle — wanting to “have our cake and eat it too.” (No, it wasn’t Marie Antoinette who coined that phrase. She said “Let them eat cake” [“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”] when she learned the peasants had no bread.)

Yep, we want the best of both worlds — it’s one reason we’re here, and why shouldn’t we have it?

A la prochaine…

adrian2 NY2011Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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4-1-12wvillage-3P.S. When I was in New York over Christmas, I stayed in my daughter’s “Cool & Comfy Studio in the West Village” (with a perfect view of the Empire State Building)…and now you can, too! It’s available for vacation rental February 14 to 20 — a sweetheart getaway perhaps? — for as little as $170/night or $900 for six nights. Visit Cool & Comfy Studio in the West Village to learn more or email [email protected]


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