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Hip co-working work spaces in Paris that have everything you need and more

7 Hip Coworking Work Spaces In Paris Where You Can Get Some Serious Work Done

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There are hundreds of coworking spaces in Paris but not all are created equal. Some are bare bones and depressing while others are hip, vibrant and offer additional amenities beyond basic WI-FI and printers. Those are the ones we care about. Whether you are a man or woman, artist or developer, ecologist, journalist, consultant or one-man startup, here are 7 collaborative workspaces with a little “je ne sais quoi”.

If you’re in Paris and need to find a place with WiFi where you can get a little work done, sometimes popping into a McDonald’s, Starbucks or similar will do.

The problem is those places are often loud, crowded, distracting- not a very peaceful or conducive environment to get some serious work done. If you need privacy, access to a printer, phones or other things usually available in an office, public places like McDonald’s or Starbucks just won’t do at all.

Instead head over to one of the many hip coworking spaces in Paris equipped with everything you’ll need to get down to business including coffee, snacks, desks, wi-fi, printers and more depending on which one you visit. Some even have lockers and cafeterias.

Not only can working in a co-working space help you be more productive but it can also help you increase your network according to the “2nd global coworking survey” conducted by Deskmag where over 1500 people from 52 countries were surveyed.

Here are 7 extremely cool coworking workspaces you can rent by the hour, day, week,  month or longer.

A coworking space is defined as a workspace where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting

1. DRAFT:

Is a co-working arts and crafts studio in Paris for budding designers and technology enthusiasts.

Draft is a coworking arts and crafts studio in Paris for budding designers and technology enthusiasts.

If you’re looking for a place that allows you to do more than type away on the computer, you’ve found it with Draft. You’ll pay € 15 and have access to the main coworking space for the entire day.

If however you are a budding architect, designer, crafter or creator and want to create a prototype for a client or for yourself, you can have access to their on site equipment at very affordable rates. The fees depend on the equipment you use. For example it’s €12 / hr to use the sewing machine and 3D Printer and €30 for the laser cutter. The carpentry workshop cost €65 / hour but considering you have access to saws, drills, sanders, dremmels and more, it’s still a great deal.

Draft Coworking website

Address:12, Esplanade Nathalie Sarraute, 18e Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm; Sat 2pm-8pm Transport:

Nearest Metro station: La Chapelle or Marx Dormoy

Price: €8 for a half day, €15 for a whole day and €120 for a book of 10 passes.

2. LE LAWOMATIC:

Is a trendy co-working office space in Paris which you rent by the month in the hip Canal Saint-Martin neighbourhood.

LE LAWOMATIC: is a trendy co-working office space in Paris which you rent by the month in the hip Canal Saint-Martin neighbourhood

For those nomadic workers who are spending more than a month in Paris, you can rent space at Le Lawomatic for an entire month. The founders of the space wanted a trendy co-working space where traveling professionals could find plenty of amenities. There’s high-speed connection as well as 24 hour access and a shared meeting room. There’s even a small cafeteria on location.

Le Lawomatic coworking website

Address:20 rue Jean Moinon,10e Paris

Opening hours: 24 hour access 7 days a week

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Belleville or Colonel Fabien

Price: €370 per month

3. HUBSY:

Is a peaceful pay by the hour co-working cafe space in Paris with plenty of snacks and hot drinks.

HUBSY: is a peaceful pay by the hour co-working cafe space in Paris with plenty of snacks and hot drinks

This coworking café space has soothing music as well as a cosy feel. It’s a coworking space with all the usual amenities and more- including wireless connections, plugs, printers and meeting rooms. Upstairs there’s also a small library for patrons. You can pay €5 / hour or a flat fee of €20 for five hours or more for the entire day. Everyone using the coworking cafe space is encouraged to help themselves to fresh coffee brewed in France, tea and various snacks like cookies, apples or cereal. There are plenty of great views at Hubsy too which is located directly across from the famous museum of Arts et Métier in the 3rd arrondisement.

Hubsy café coworking space website

Address: 41 rue Reaumur, 3e Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Sun 8am-11pm

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Arts et Métiers or Réaumur-Sébastopol

Price: €5 / hr and then €2 for each additional 1/2 hour after that. After 5 hours you pay a flat €20. Rent an entire month for €250.

4. BLUE OFFICE:

Is a great co-working space in Paris for someone who needs to be more professional or needs the quiet.

BLUE OFFICE: is great co-working space in Paris for someone who needs to be more professional or needs the quiet.

If you need a professional space for a day with everything you could ever need or want in an office Blue office might be for you. There are 5 co-working space across Paris to choose from. They have wireless connectivity, lockers, a small cafeteria, parking, telephones, printers and private meeting rooms for teleconferencing. This is  They are a bit more expensive than others on the list at €25 per day, but you also get separate parking spaces. Blue Office is located on 19 Rue de Vienne in Paris.

Blue office coworking website

Address:

1. MAISONS-LAFFITTE: rue 78600, 44 Rue Jean Mermoz, 78600 Maisons-Laffitte

2. MONTIGNY-LE- BRETONNEUX: 6 Avenue Gustave Eiffel, 78180 Montigny-le-Bretonneux

3. MASSY: 1 Rue Galvani, 91300 Massy

4. ALFORTVILLE: rue 94140, 5 Rue Charles de Gaulle, 94140 Alfortville

5. NOISY-LE-GRAND: 32 Avenue du Pavé Neuf, 93160 Noisy-le-Grand

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m. 7:30 p.m.

Price: €25 / day,

5. L’ANTICAFE:

Is co-working space in Paris for students and professionals who need coffee while they work but don’t want to go to a noisy, crowded Starbucks.

L’ANTICAFE: is a co-working space in Paris for students and professionals who need coffee while they work but don’t want to go to a noisy, crowded Starbucks.

There are 6 Anticafe locations, four of which are located in Paris, one in Rome and one in Aix-En-Provence. Customers pay €5 per hour or pay a €24 flat fee for anything over 5 hours. Each Anticafé has everything you need to get your work done- Wi-Fi, plenty of tables, plugs, printers, whiteboards as well as coffee, drinks and snacks which are included in your hourly fee.

Anticafé coworking space website

Address: 4 locations in Paris

Louvre Anticafé: 10 rue de Richelieu 75001 Paris

Olympiade Anticafé: 59 rue Nationale 75013 Paris

Bobourg Anticafé: 79 rue Quincampoix 75003 Paris

République Anticafé: 6 rue du Château d’Eau 75010 Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-11pm; Sat-Sun 10am-00am.

Price: €5 / hr or  €24 flat fee for 5 plus hours. Book an entire month for €240.

6. L’ARCHIPEL CAFE:

Is a co-working cafe in a converted chapel.

L’ARCHIPEL CAFE: Is a co-working cafe in a converted chapel

In what was formerly a chapel and convent, the L’ Archipel Cafe is now a coworking and event space. Along with the cafe, there are workshops, visiting food trucks and a huge book swap event. For those who need a quick nap, there are even hammocks in the alcoves. All the profits from the cafe go to charity too. The cafe is only open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the week. There are events at the cafe for those who are interested.

Address: 26 bis Rue de Saint Petersbourg 8e Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-10pm; Sat-Sun 11am-6 pm.

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Place du Clichy or Europe.

7. La Mutinerie:

Is a dedicated co-working space in Paris where young freelancers can collaborate and be more productive and a place where you can host your next workshop.

La Mutinerie: Is a dedicated co-working space in Paris where young freelancers can collaborate and be more productive and a place where you can host your next workshop

‘La Mutinerie’ is was created by a group of young freelancers fed up with the solitude of working from home. Their goal was to create a co-working environment that would improve your productivity and be a space where you could collaborate with other like-minded individuals. Like most co-working  work spaces, it has all the usual amenities including WI-FI, a scanner, a printer and even has lockers and private areas to make phone calls so you don’t disturb other people trying to work. If you need a place to host an even, conference or workshop, you can do that here too. Located on the Rue de Meaux in the 19th arrondissement, subscriptions range from €30-€390 for the month.

Mutinerie coworking website

Address:29 rue de Meaux 19e Paris

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Bolivar or Colonel Fabien sira cha

Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Price: €25 for a day pass or €225 for 10 passes
Monthly memberships:  – €290 / month for full time access, €180 for 10 days access / month, €95 for 5 days access per month.

 

Thanks to wanderlust15.com/ for co-creating this guest post with me here at www.AnnieAndre.com

Photo sourced from the respective co-working websites. Feature Photo source via StockUnlimited

French tattoos: french pigeon with Eiffel tower

25 Fabulous French Tattoos: ideas for men and women

Known as a country that produces superior wine, wonderful art and mouth-watering food; when it comes to French-themed tattoo inspiration, you‘ll never be short of ideas!

Tattoos that make you think of France

When you think of France what comes to mind?  The Eiffel tower?  A French baguette? Perhaps something less obvious like a sprig of lavender or a painting by Dégas?

Whatever images your mind conjures up when you think of France, they can easily be captured in a French inspired tattoo- and why not? France has been the most popular tourist destination in the world for over 25 years. So whether you’re a Francophile in search of immortalizing your love of France or simply like the look of an Eiffel tower tattoo, here are 25 tremendous French tattoos to inspire you.

1. Map of France Tattoo

Happy Bastille Day!

A post shared by nikki (@nicklesg) on

A cartographers dream tattoo if (s)he loved France. A tattoo of the map of France is not only a fun way to show your love for the country but also your wanderlust heart. It’s not overly obvious like a tattoo of the Eiffel tower- most non Europeans might not even recognize the famous hexagon shape which all Children in France learn at a very young age. But that’s OK because it’s a great conversation starter.

2. French Flag Tattoo

A photo posted by J Eden Storms (@j_ed3n_art79) on

As one of the most recognizable flags on earth, no one will have to guess which country this blue, white and red striped flag belongs to. The number of designs that can be dreamed up to make your ink look individual and distinct are endless.

3. Swallow tattoo

French inspired sparrow tattoo

Although swallow tattoos were originally made popular by British sailors of the past, thanks to famous French fashion designers like Coco Chanel who use the swallow in their designs and the fact that the swallow symbolizes travel, a tattoo of a swallow is perfect for anyone who loves France as well as travelling. Be careful when getting a swallow tattoo because it is often confused with the sparrow.

Coco Chanel French sparrow tattooCoco Chanel  swallow necklace Tattoo Photo source

4 .French perfume tattoo

French inspired Coco Chanel no 5 perfume tattoophoto source of chanel no 5 tattoo via Nyki Bell

Chanel No 5, Guerlain Shalimar, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne- are just some of the classical French Perfumes that have long been synonymous with wealth, class and of course, elegance! A tattoo of your favorite French perfume or even a generic photo of a perfume bottle is a classy way to elevate your tattoo style.

A photo posted by Dany Linhares (@dany_linhares) on

5. French Lavender Sprig Tattoo

Provence France is known for many things but most recognizable might just be the colour, the texture and the scent of it’s world famous lavender fields.

6. Lily Of The Valley Flower Tattoo: “Muguet”

Lily of the Valley flowers, known as muguet in France, have a very special place in French culture. You’ll find it in everything from perfumes to teas. It has long been customary to offer a sprig or bouquet of Lily of the Valley to friends and loved ones on the 1st of May to celebrate the arrival of spring and the good weather that goes with it.

See also: Why you shouldn’t go to France in May: 6 French holidays explained

7. French Fleur De Lis Tattoo

Fleur de lis, simply means”flower of the lily” and is a lily composed of three petals bound together near their bases. This classical French emblem was first used by French monarchs on their shields. English kings later used the symbol on their coats of arms to emphasize their claims to the throne of France.

8. French coq tattoo aka Gallic Rooster tattoo

Classic French rooster tattoo coq gaulois- gallic rooster tattooCoq tattoo photo source via David Hale

“Le Coq Gaulois” or the “Gallic rooster” is one of the most widely recognized and identifiable symbols of France. It has been used intermittently since medieval times on French engravings and coins and has become the hallmark of French country design. French brands which incorporate the coq in their logo include sports brand giant “le coq sportif” and “Pathé” cinemas in France.

9. French Poodle tattoo


Despite it’s name, French poodles are technically not a French breed however the French were responsible for helping in the development of the breed an boosting their popularity which may be why most people associate them with France.

10. French Bull Dog tattoo

What could be more French than a cute or scary French bulldog tattoo- called a “Bouledogue Français” in French.

11. French painting tattoo

Edgar Dégas and other tattoos inspired from famous French painters

Edgar Dégas ballerina tattoo photo source via Angie Leaf

If you’re into art from Famous French painters like Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall and countless others, there are literally thousands upon thousands of tattoo ideas out there waiting to be discovered. Just crack open an art book for inspiration.

12. Tattoos of famous cartoons and comics in France

Tattoos of famous cartoons in FranceAsterix tattoo photo source from LTW tattoo studio

If you’re into comics and cartoons, you have quite a few to choose from. There’s Astérix et Obilix, Les Aventures de Tintin, Lucky Luke and Les Daltons to name a few. Although many of the classic French cartoons are from Belgium cartoonist, they are nevertheless extremely popular in France and recognizable by all French people. Bet you didn’t know that the Smurfs was also a Belgium creation by the Belgian cartoonist Peyou. They’re called “Les Schtroumpfs” in French.

French Landmarks

France is filled with famous buildings and beautiful structures – all good artists should be able to draw any of these magnificent monuments onto your body in any style and size of your choosing.

13. Paris city skyline tattoo

Paris city skyline tattooParis city skyline tattoo photo source via Tatto.com

Home is where your ink is. If your love for Paris goes beyond any one thing or you just can’t get enough of Paris then a Paris skyline tattoo is an unmistakable way to say it.

14. Eiffel Tower tattoo

Eiffel tower wrist tattooEiffel tower wrist tattoo photo source via Travel Each Day

A photo posted by martin acosta (@grafotats) on

15.Notre Dame church tattoo

Tattoos for budding French chefs

Forget the stuffy clean cut image you have of French chefs. Yes they exist but these days there’s a new breed of tattoo wearing chefs. Tattoos have become a sort of status symbol, almost standard attire in professional kitchens. Just take a look at the famous French chef Ludo Lefebre who is covered in meaningful tattoos- like little badges of memory.

16. Butchers cut tattoo: beef, chicken or pork

A quaint way to express your inner chef is to dawn an antique looking butchers cut tattoo. Take your pick, beef, chicken or pork.

Classic beef cut tattoo idea like the great French chefs

photo source of beef cut tattoo: Juanita Mac Photographer

17. Chef Knife

If you’re a home chefs with mad chopping skills, a knife tattoo might be for you. One popular motif is to tattoo the French culinary phrase “Mise en place”- which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.”  In a professional and even a home kitchen, it’s the preparation of dishes and ingredients before the beginning of service.

French food and wine tattoos

France is the founding country of dozens of famous foods, and is known globally for its production of the perfect wines, brilliant cheeses and scrumptious breakfast pastries. If you’re a foodie then the possibilities are endless when it comes to French cuisine-inspired ink.

18. French macarons

French macaron tattoo

Photo source of French Macaron from The traveling McMahans

The French macaron, not to be confused with coconut macaroons are the delight of France. This sweet meringue-based confection is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling in every flavor you can think of. The color of the macaron always matches the filling- Brown ones are usually chocolate or coffee, red ones are strawberry, blue ones are blueberry and so on. Get a tat in every flavor and in full color to show your love of French confectionery.

19.Red Wine or Champagne tattoo

No explanation needed here. The French consume more wine per capita than any other nation of people- possible designs are endless. Just take a look in a wine magazine for inspiration. If you have a favorite bottle of wine or champagne, why not get a tattoo of that?

A photo posted by Matt King (@tattmattoo) on

20. Croissant Tattoos

A photo posted by Dane Tattoo (@danetattoo) on

21. French baguette tattoo

22. French Cheese

The French produce over 450 different types of cheeses. Pick one- anyone for your next tattoo.

A photo posted by Jade Ellen (@jadee.ellen) on

23. Yummy escargot tattoo (snails)

A pervasive cliché is that the French eat snails called escargot in French. Who doesn’t love escargot floating in butter and garlic?

See also: Weird French foods 

French Inventions

A little-known fact about the French is that they’re responsible for many important inventions and technological advances, including (but not limited to): The hot air balloon, the bicycle and the submarine!

24. French HotAir Ballon & Submarine Tattoo:

A photo posted by sarah-k (@sarahktattoo) on

Two French brothers were the first to successfully attempt the first manned hot-air balloon ascent in 1783.

 Although the French didn’t actually invent the submarine, the French Navy did create the first non human powered sub in 1863 called le Plongeur meaning “the diver”.

25. Bicycle tattoo:

A photo posted by @small.tattoo on

Invented in 1864 by Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement. What’s more French than a bicycle with a little basket? Not your style? What about a tour de France bike tattoo.

And Much More

French pigeon tattoo with Eiffel tower and baguette

French smoking pigeon with Eiffel tower, wine and bagueette tattoo: created by Shaw Hebrank

The more you delve into French culture, the greater the chance of exposing even more fabulous tattoo ideas. If you’re still short of ideas after looking through the article above, then other French tattoo inspiration is never far away, with books, magazines and French-themed websites available in the thousands just waiting to light your imagination.

Remember though – tattoos are for life. Make sure you’re certain that you want something inked onto your body forever and make sure you take care of your new tattoo as best as possible to ensure it looks beautiful for as long as you live.

 

Thanks to Authority Tattoo for co-authoring this post with me here at How to live in France
FB how to watch streaming video outside of the united states

How To Watch Hulu And Other Blocked Video Sites From Anywhere In The World

FB how to watch streaming video outside of the united states
Forget about watching Hulu from Halifax, Netflix from Nice or listening to Pandora from Paris. These and other sites are hiding behind locked doors the moment you try to access them outside of the United States. There are tools to get around these region blocked websites but before diving into those tools, it's useful to understand what is being blocked and why.

Who blocks websites?

There are thousands of websites blocked from being accessed by people around the world. Sometimes it's a country's government that censors websites and blocks it's citizens from accessing certain sites. Sometimes it's the sites themselves that block surfers outside a region from viewing their content and sometimes it's your company or school that blocks access to certain non-productive websites. I've discussed why sites get blocked here.

Over 25 countries worldwide block access to certain websites in their own country.

What do you mean blocked?

Let's clarify what it means to be blocked from these streaming video. In France Hulu is blocked to me because I am trying to view it from France or outside of the US. I will still see the Hulu website and I can surf around the site however the moment I try to actually play a video, the dreaded GEO-restriction popup message will appear. It usually says "Sorry, currently our video library can only be watched from within the United States. (see photo)

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

The first time I saw the restriction pop up for Hulu, I was stunned. I had no idea what was going on. I actually thought it was a mistake until I contacted Hulu customer service and they explained to me that Hulu was not available outside of the United States. ​I cancelled my membership right there and then and forgot about it because I thought there was nothing I could do about it.

A few months later, by accident, I discovered that there was something I could do to watch websites like Hulu which are normally blocked to me in France.  More on that solution in a minute. 

HBO-Go-Blocked

Another scenario you may run into is a US based site which serves you up a localized version of the website. It may even be an inferior version of that site simply because you are located in another region. Take Netflix for example. 

Unlike Hulu, Netflix is available outside of the US in certain countries. As of 2016, it is available in over 190 countries worldwide. But the Netflix you see outside of the US doesn’t have nearly as many movies as the Netflix USA. Just ask Canadians who have half the amount of videos on Canada Netflix.

Netflix France

How do sites like Hulu know I am outside of the United States and block my access?

All your computers and devices that access the internet have an IP address. Your IP is kind of like your street address or GPS for your location.

In a matter of seconds, sites like Hulu, Pandora, HBO Now and Netflix are able to determine where you are located by using their sophisticated software to sniff out your IP address and your actual location. 

There is a way to fool those sites into thinking your in the US so that you can view blocked websites. 

How to access MOST blocked and region restricted websites from France, Europe, Asia and beyond

To access your favourite online streaming video website or any website that you are blocked from using for that matter, you will need to use a VPN or proxy which will essentially trick sites into thinking you are in the USA. 

  1. VPN (Virtual Private Network)
  2. Smart DNS Proxy​

Smart DNS and VPN are very similar however there are pros and cons to using one over another. Your needs will determine which one you should use. 

Is it legal?

I'm not a lawyer and I can't tell you if the country you are trying to use your VPN or Smart DNS from allows use of anonymizers and proxies to access blocked sites. 

Use a little common sense and research it. If I were in a country where the internet was censored by the government like Pakistan, North Korea or Mainland China, I would probably think twice about using a VPN especially since some countries might actually put you in jail if they catch you using a VPN.

On the other hand, I am pretty sure it's ok to use a VPN or Smart DNS in countries like France, the UK, Canada, the United States and many many more countries.  In fact many universities and businesses use them. I used to use a VPN to access my companies servers from home.

So yes, it is legal in some countries. Just make sure you don't do anything illegal while using a VPN or Smart DNS.

See Also: List of US streaming video sites which anonymizers can unblock for you))

Which one should you choose? Smart DNS or VPN?

As I mentioned before, Smart DNS and VPN are very similar in that they unlock region blocked websites however each one has advantages and disadvantages depending on what you want. The below comparison should help you decide. 

CHOOSE SMART DNS if:

If you are not concerned about encryption or securing your connection like me because you will be connecting to wifi at home with a password protected internet box and you simply want the fastest connection possible to access blocked streaming websites like Hulu, BBC iplayer or HBO NOW than a Smart DNS is your best bet. It's also slightly less expensive than a VPN. 

There is also nothing to install other than changing your DNS on your computer and devices. It's always on so you can set it and forget it unlike a VPN which is slower, needs to be connected and disconnected each time you use it. The Smart DNS which I currently use is called Overplay and I love it. 

smart dns is easy to setup

CHOOSE VPN IF:

If security is more important to you and you want to add a layer of security, identity & privacy protection or encryption security against the prying eye of the government and hackers than you should choose a VPN. Keep in mind that VPN's usually slow down your connection and you have to download software or an app which you need to turn on and off each time you use want to access a blocked website.  OverPlay has a VPN which is extremely easy to install and use. 

Below is a the same information as above only summarized in a chart showing you the pros and cons between a smart DNS and VPN.

What are the Pros and Cons between Smart DNS and VPN


Smart DNS

Unblock websites: Access your favourite sites from anywhere.


SMART DNS PROS AND CONS

  • No security online in public WIFI connectors and unsecured hotspots.
  • Surf is not private or incognito.
  • Not all blocked websites for a country are available only specified websites. (usually this is enough, at least for me it is because I only access a few blocked streaming websites like Amazon, Hulu, crackle etc).
  • Can see content from multiple channels/countries at the same time or switch instantly.
  • Much faster, no loss of download speed which is great for video streaming.
  • Works on all your devices unlike VPN. 
  • Nothing to download
  • Easier to setup than a VPN. No technical knowledge necessary. Simply follow directions to change your DNS settings on your devices. set it and forget it. Takes 5 minutes to get going.
  • Unlimited devices: Use on multiple devices as long as they have same external IP. Which you will have at home if you are all using the same wifi connection.

SMART DNS CONS

  • Usually cheaper than a VPN

VPN

Unblock websites: Access your favourite sites from anywhere.


VPN PROS AND CONS

  • Enjoy security online even on public WIFI connections and unsecured hotspots
  • Surf Privately incognito with no trace.
  • Unlock all every website for a country not just a specific streaming website channel. Good if you want to use VPN to get cheaper airline tickets on different country sites because it does matter where you are buying from price wise. 
  • Need to dissconnect and reconnect each time you use VPN and you have to switch from viewing one country content to another. Cannot have US Netflix and French Google for example.
  • DOES NOT work with all devices. Will not work with Apple TV, Smart TV, Roku and other boxes without a VPN router. (if you are technically savvy enough than it won't matter)
  • VPN's are slower than Smart DNS which might make videos choppy or laggy. 
  • Can only see content from one country at a time. You must dissconnect from from one country and reconnect to a different country to view different content. i.e. US hulu to Dr Who on UK BBC iPlayer. Not so with Smart DNS.
  • More complicated to get running. Need to download and install software to get it running. Can be technically challenging to get it up and running on a smart phone or tablet. Not so for smartDNS
  • Usually More expensive than Smart DNS

Conclusion

If you are heading abroad and want to watch your US based streaming video shows or listent to your streaming music on Pandora than YOU NEED to get a VPN or Smart DNS installed and running on your devices before you go. The last thing you want to be doing while on vacation is fiddling with your settings to get things up and running. You need to decide whether you want full encrypted protection (VPN) or just a faster connection to stream video (Smart DNS). Both of which will unblock region restricted websites.

Nothing is full proof. Results can vary based on your location, your connection the weather? I had to go through several services to find the ones that worked for me. I will list other services which I have tested and know work by linking to them here. (coming soon, I'm currently testing out a few dozen services. )

Overplay.net as I mentioned above, is the service I use at home and am extremely happy with. If you can't decide between a VPN or DNS of if you would like to have the option of switching between Smart DNS for a faster connection for streaming video at home and a VPN when connecting to an unsecured and or public hot-spot in hotels and airports, you can get both as a bundle package over at  Overplay for less than $10 USD per month. 

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

Why Are Sites Like Hulu And Facebook Blocked Outside Of The US Region?

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

Instagram in North Korea? NOT!    Hulu in France? PFFFFFT     Pandora anywhere outside of the US? In your dreams!   These are but a few of the websites which you are blocked from using outside of their region (The US). But where and what sites are being blocked and why?

Why are websites blocked?

If you live in the US, you probably take for granted the fact that you have access to websites that many people around the world wish they had access to but can’t. Not necessarily because they don’t have access to the internet but because they are being blocked from viewing those sites- like Hulu, Netflix, Pandora and Facebook to name a few. Let’s explore why, what and where sites are blocked.

1- Government Censorship Of Internet Sites

Freedom of speech in China doesn’t really exist, at least not in the way that most westerners think it should. No surprise, the government of Mainland China censors the internet drastically by blocking access to over 3,000 websites including Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, Wikipedia and the Wall Street Journal. Porn sites don’t stand a chance in China.

North Korea’s DOMESTIC ONLY intranet system called Kwangmyong offers no links to the outside world whatsoever. It only connect cybercafes, libraries, universities and various other institutions with websites and email. 

Then there is North Korea, described as one of the few remaining “internet black holes” which doesn’t allow it’s citizens access to the outside world at all. With the exception of a select few high ranking government officials and visiting foreigners, all North Koreans have no access to the world wide web.

But it’s not just Mainland China and North Korea that block websites.

British surfers are banned from viewing almost 100 websites, most of which are blocked because they contain or deal with illegal pirating of music and video or copyright and counterfeit sites.

France is also believed to block over 280 sites at the time of this writing. 60 or so are blocked because they relate to terrorism and more than 250 because they deal with child pornography.

Schools, universities and companies can block their users from accessing certain websites.

2- Streaming music and video websites that block their own content to anyone outside of their region / country for licensing or copyright issues

What you may not realize is that streaming video and music websites like Hulu, Pandora and HBONow are all blocked to you once you leave American soil. Blocked by the sites themselves usually due to licensing and copyright issues which do not extend past the American border. It makes no difference whether you are a US based paying customer trying to accesss Hulu while on vacation abroad. You will be blocked.

By the way, it’s not just sites from the US that block access to their content abroad. For instance, you can’t watch BBC iPlayer outside of the UK.

Related: How to watch blocked video streaming websites from outside the United States (legally). 

What does region blocked look like? The dreaded restriction pop-up

If you visit one of these region restricted websites outside of it’s region / country, you won’t get a scary notice with a menacing red hand threatening legal action. No one will come knocking down your door and take you away in handcuffs. Unless of course if you visit one of those countries where the gouvernement has banned that site. I’m just speculating here; my imagination goes a little crazy.

You will however get an annoying, and very frustrating geo-restricted message which looks different depending on which website you are trying to view. Here are a few examples of what you might see from Spotify and Hulu.

spotifyblocked.jpg

 

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

Different version of a website (country specific version)

Netflix, Cartoon Network and a few other sites are the exception because they are available outside of their region (the United States) however the version seen in other countries is different.

For instance, in France where I normally access Netflix, I get the French version. I can still watch the shows in English if I want but I can also watch them in French if I want too. The main difference between the American version of Netflix and other country versions is the selection. There are far more shows available on the American version of Netflix than there are on the French version and other country versions. I am not sure how much more but it could be as much as 50 percent.

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

Is there a workaround to access blocked US websites like Hulu and Netflix and is it legal?

Yes there is a work around which is legal in most countries except maybe in countries like China where the government censors the internet but I know people who still do it. However in most other countries like Canada, the UK and France, there are no law forbidding the use of tools/ software to access these sites blocked outside of their region. The US may have laws but I have never heard of anyone being arrested from accessing Hulu outside of the USA. In fact there are hundreds of services you can use to circumvent these restrictions which will give you access to most if not all region blocked websites.

If you want to learn more about how to watch region restricted and blocked video streaming websites abroad, you can read about it here .

Exactly which streaming video and music sites are region blocked abroad?

To keep this list somewhat short, I compiled a list of streaming sites which you can’t view outside of the United States. It’s in no way complete but it should give you an idea of all the sites which are not available to people around the world.

Read it and weep!

Online Video, Movie & TV Websites

Hulu
Netflix (USA version)
Fandor
Shudder
Amazon Instant Video
FandangoNow
CinemaNow
HBO NOW
Crackle
Pluto TV
Popcornflix
LogoTV
ShoutFactoryTV
VUDU

Anime

Crunchyroll
FUNimation

International TV & Movie websites

Drama Fever
Telemundo
MundoFOX
SoompiTV

Websites as part of cable package

FYI Network
Oxygen
USA Network
HBO
GO
HGTV
DirecTV
SyFy
Lifetime
Showtime
Showtime Anytime
DirectTv

TV & Cable Channels

ABC
Bravo TV
CBS
NBC
Spike
FX Networks
TNT Drama
TV.com
CWTV
TV Land
CNBC
AMC
A&E

News, weather traffic

CBS News
ABC News
FOX
WBTV

Educational TV And Movies

Smithsonian
History
National Geographic
PBS

Kids TV And Movies

PBS Kids
Disney
Cartoon Network
Nick
TeenNick
Nick Jr
Disney Junior
Disney XD

Comedy

Comedy Central
Adult Swim
Simpsons World
TruTV
ConTV

Music

CMT – Country Music Television
Pandora
MTV
Radio.com
Playlist
iHeart
Rhapsody
Spotify
Slacker
Samsung Milk Music
VH1
Vevo
ZUUS

Sports

CBS Sports
Eurosport
Tennis Channel Everywhere
FL GamePass
NBC Sports
PGA Tour Live
Golf Channel
FOX Sports
NCAA March Madness
FOX Soccer 2Go
ESPN
WWE
NHL Vault

How to buy a great, fast charging universal USB car charger

How To Buy A Fast Charging Universal USB Car Charger

How to buy a great, fast charging universal USB car charger

Between your iPhone, your Smartphones, the kids tablets and any other of your devices that need ON-THE-GO charging, a universal USB car charger is a must have. Especially for people like us who rely heavily on the battery draining GPS function of phones and tablets to help them navigate..

Over the last 4 years, I have gone through several car chargers and for the most part they were pretty much all the same. They did the job but they were nothing really special; they either broke apart at the plastic seams, they just stop charging all together for unknown reasons, took forever to charge a device or couldn’t keep our demanding devices charged faster than it was consuming battery life.

Broken car charger- a common problem

Then I came across the ZUS smart car charger which put an end to all of my charging on-the-go woes.  Plus it does something no other car charger can do. It has a special feature which allows it to double as a car finder. More on that in a bit.

Here is a list of everything I love about the ZUS car charger. Even if you don’t buy the ZUS car charger, use this list as a guide for everything you should look for in a great USB car charger and why.

1- Buy a car charger that can charge multiple devices at once

Why fight over who can charge their device in the car?  That little cigarette lighter in your car is more than capable of providing enough juice to charge multiple devices.  The Zus USB car charger comes with 2 ports so you can charge 2 devices at the same time. You could go for a charger with 4 ports but I think that 2 is perfect. Four port car chargers tend to be TOO big and seem to break more easily.

Even if you only have one device, you never know when you’ll need a second port for a friend sitting shotgun with 5 percent battery or your kids tablet that you forgot to charge the night before your long road trip.

2-Buy a charger with (slightly) illuminated  USB ports

buy a car charger with illuminated usb ports

I really like car chargers with ever so slightly illuminated USB ports. Not so much that the light from the car charger is obnoxious or distracting during night driving.

This might seem like a petty thing, but it’s really convenient to be able to find the USB port in the dark without having to turn on the lights in the car which can be disruptive to the driver or to other people who might be sleeping in the car.

The ZUS lights are great because they actually have the perfect amount of illumination. Not too much and not too little.

3-Buy a charger that can charge your devices fast(er)

Buy a car charger with atleast 2 amps of power PER USB port Never buy a car charger that outputs a measly 1 amp of power per port. 1 Amp might have cut it a few years ago but today, that weak output will barely keep your phone charged especially if your running GPS or music apps like Spotify.

Your cars cigarette lighter can put out about 10 amps of juice so take advantage of it’s full capability. (Amps are the current that’s supplied to your device. If Amps were a river, then amps would be how fast that river flows.)
Look for a charger that advertises at least 2 amps per port. To figure out the amps per port of any car charger is simple enough. Just take the total advertised amps and divide it by the number of ports. For example, the ZUS car charger has 4.8 amps output which means it puts out 2.4 amps per each of it’s two USB port.

How fast can ZUS’s 2.4 amps per port charge? 2.4 amps of power can charge two iPhones in about 2 hours vs.. 3 to 4 hours of a lower amp charger. This can mean life or death for your devices.

4- Get a USB car charger built to last

Buy a solid well built USB car charger that won't break unexpectantly

ZUS is the only car charger that meets US Military Standard. It’s all metal, titanium coated and can survive temperatures as high as 100ºC.  There is nothing worse than being in the car with dying devices and suddenly your car charger decides to just die too. Every single one of my car chargers have started to break after several months of use with no warning whatsoever, which I can only assume is because of their poor build quality.

The ZUS charger feels solid in the hands and was built to last. (I tried to pull it apart just to see if it would break and it didn’t).

5- Never lose or forget where you parked your car

Buy a car charger that helps you find your lost car

I live in an area where we don’t have dedicated parking. So everyday, we have to park the car in a new location which can be confusing day after day. I can’t tell you how many times we parked our car and walked away, totally forgetting where we left the car.

The ZUS USB car charger can actually help you find your car.

Whenever you park your car, ZUS will save your car’s location automatically. To find your car, just open the ZUS app (which you can download here)and be guided back to your car like magic.  No need to pin your location on a map before getting out of your car. The ZUS App automatically does it all for you.

It was really easy to pair with my phone. When I first got the ZUS car charger, I just plugged it into  my car cigarette lighter, installed and opened the ZUS App while in my car and it connected everything automatically.

I don’t know of any other USB car charger that has this functionality but it is really nice to have.

Go get one

Now that you know a thing or two about why one charger is better than another, you can shop with confidence.  Or pick up your very own ZUS car charger that doubles as an automatic car locator.

Fabulous French Gift Ideas for Francophiles

15 Fabulous French Gifts For Francophiles Obsessed With France

15 Fancy French Gifts For Your Francophile Friends Obsessed with France

Need to buy a gift for someone who happens to be a Francophile and loves all things French?  Forget cheesy souvenirs, I’ve put together a list of unique French gifts any self-respecting French wannabee would love to receive. All of which, you can easily find and order online or in some cases find locally.

1- An Authentic French Beret

An authentic French beret is a fabulous French Gift to give your Francophile Friends Obsessed with France

A French beret………What could be more French? You could buy that French loving friend of  yours a run of the mill beret but…..If you want a truly classic French beret made in France the traditional way (mostly by hand) then check out Laulhère.  They’ve been making hats for over 175 years.  Prices vary but usually start at 35 USD.

2- Oyster Knife

A French made oyster knife is a fabulous French Gift to give your Francophile Friends Obsessed with France A good quality oyster knife to shuck oysters is a great gift for any sophisticated shell-fish loving Francophile. Why?  Because the French love oysters on the half shell. Every year about 80 thousand tonnes of oysters (les huitres – “lay zueetr”) are consumed in France.  Mostly during Christmas and new years.  If you can’t find a store near you that sells an oyster knife, just order a Laguiole oyster knife online. It will set you back about 20 to 40 USD but it’s a gift they will cherish because Laguiole is a French brand well-known for quality knives and cutlery.

3- Real Champagne

Authentic French Champagne is a fabulous French Gift to give your Francophile Friends Obsessed with FranceTo put it simply, Champagne is sparkling (bubbly) wine from the Champagne region of France otherwise it is NOT REAL CHAMPAGNE and by law it cannot be called champagne. Instead sparkling wine made outside of the Champagne area must be called by another name. For example sparkling wine made in France but outside of the Champagne region is called Crémant. Other names and countries that produce Champagne like drinks include Prosecco in Italy, Cava in Spain, Sekt in Germany and of course sparkling wine in English speaking countries.

Beyond the world-famous and extemely expensive Dom Pérignon there are quite a few brands to choose from.  Veuve Clicquot, Tattinger, Moët et Chandon, Pommery, Ruinart, Roederer, Mumm, Canard-Duchêne, and Charles Heidsieck. Other French champagnes less known are Bollinger, Legras, Lanson, De Castellane, and Krug to name a few.

BTW, French Champagne and oysters on the half shell are two things that go well together in France. Especially during the Christmas and New Year Holidays.

See also: Can you stomach New Years Eve In True French Style? Weird Foods!

4- A Fancy Slate Cheese BoardA fancy slate cheese board is a fabulous French Gift to give your Francophile Friends Obsessed with France

Why not offer your cheese loving Francophile friend a very chic slate cheese board with some chalk so they can serve and label cheese at their next diner party. If your local store does not have one, you can pick up a slate cheese board online for about 20 to 25 USD.

5- Cheese Baker For Camembert  and/or Brie

Baked Brie or Camembert Cheese baker is a fabulous French Gift to give your Francophile Friends Obsessed with France

“A lovely gooey baked Camembert with loads of crusty bread for dipping is always a winner ” Jamie Oliver.

Let your friends re-create the classic French favourite, baked Camembert or baked Brie by giving them a stylish and beautiful cheese baker made to look like an actual cheese round. Make sure you get one big enough to take a standard 8 oz round of Camembert or Brie cheese.

6-Lego Eiffel Tower

A lego Eiffel tower kit is a fabulous French Gift to give your Francophile Friends Obsessed with France

The Lego Eiffel Tower (~40$) is the perfect gift for all your French Francophile Friends (that’s a mouthful) who like to build things. Dare I say nerds?   Equally great for youngsters interested in France as well.

7-Wooden Crepe Making Tool set

Wooden Crepe tool-set spatuala and rake are a fabulous French Gift to give your Francophile Friends Obsessed with France The secret to cooking great crepes is having the right tools. A normal spatula just won’t do. Instead, your crepe loving friends should use a wooden crepe making set (20$), which includes a spreader to help spread the batter in your pan to get your crepes super thin and a thin wooden spatula to make it easier to flip and serve without tearing those super thin crepes. Sure you can still make descent crepes without these tools but it’s so much easier with the right tools. I speak from experience.

8- Crepe Pan

Crepe pans are a fabulous French Gift to give your Francophile Friends Obsessed with France Don’t stop at the wooden crepe making tool set. Get your crepe lover a proper crepe pan or an electric one like this Eurolux electric crepe griddle. These truly make a difference in your crepe making production.

9-Fleur De Sel From Guérande

Fleur de Sell is an inexpensive but very classy thing to give to your Francophile Friends Obsessed with FranceWhenever people talk about the BEST salt in the world, Fleur de sel de Guérande usually comes up in the conversation. Collected by hand from the salt marshes of Bretagne in Guérande France. Fleur de sel de Guérande is normally used while cooking and at the table to enhance flavours. You should be able to find it in many well stocked grocery stores North America or online and should set you back 15 to 20 USD.

10- Le Coq Sportif

imageIf you really want to get on the good side of a sporty Francophile then get them  something from the French sports brand “Le Coq Sportif” (LUH- COK-Spor-TEEF) which means “The sporty Rooster”.  You’ll recognize the brand by the rooster logo.

Started back in 1882, Le coq sportif has been around for over 130 years and has become one of the world’s most prestigious brands, renowned for its clothing, footwear and sporting equipment. A little known fact- the founder, émile Camuset invented the sweat suit and sweat pants.




11-Humorous Books About France And French Life

If you know a Francophile who likes to read and has a good sense of humour than consider getting them one of the countless books written about French life such as “A year in the Merde” which means ” A year in the shit.

12- Crème brûlée torch and ramekins

Creme burlee making kit. perfect for your francophile friends

Give your Francophile foody friend the tools they need to re-create Crème brûlée, the classic French desert with a wonderfully crunchy sugar top. The secret to getting that crispy caramelized sugar topping is the blow torch while serving the desert in cute little ramekins just make it look oh so elegant. You would be surprised at just how easy it is to make Crème brûlée. 

13- Raclette Table Top Grill

raclette table top girill is a great gift to give your Francophile friend

When a friend invited our family to their house to “Manger la raclette”- Eat Raclette, I had no idea what to expect. What I learned was when someone in France says they will be serving raclette, they usually mean melted raclette cheese (which you melt yourself) served over various sliced cold meats, potatoes and cornichons. Raclette is a type of cheese, originally from Switzerland and typically used in this meal.

Think Fondue only each person melts their own cheese by placing a slice of raclette cheese on a mini pan which they place under the electric tabletop raclette grill, usually placed in the centre of the table so everyone can melt their own cheese. 

Raclette grills would make a wonderful gift for someone who loves to entertain or wants a fun way to serve family dinners. Having said that, raclette cheese is hard to find outside of France so feel free to substitute with your favourite cheese. I have used Cheddar, Swiss, Gouda and even Parmesan and serve over grilled veggies and potatoes. Watch the video below to see how it’s done.

14-French Inspired Shower Curtain

A shower curtain might seem like a strange gift to give to someone but think about it. Who doesn’t need a Fresh new shower curtain every so often? So the next time you need to buy a gift for someone’s house warming party, instead of getting them a potted plant that will eventually die, look for a French inspired shower curtain.

15-French Lessons

Every Francophile’s dream  is to be able to speak French so why not gift them online French lessons?  Personally, I think online French lessons have come a long way and you can actually learn a lot more than you can from a French text-book. With online French lessons, they’ll be able to watch videos, listen to audio, take self-directed tests. Plus, online French lessons are much more affordable than one on one lessons but almost just as good.

C’est Tout

In reality there are literally thousands of things you could buy for your French loving friends but I hope this list of 15 French gifts for your Francophile Friends inspires you to pick that perfect something that enchants their little French hearts.

Online gambling in France: Is it legal

How To Legally Gamble Online While In France!

Online gambling in France, is it legal

In France you can enjoy all kinds of gambling from casino- style card games and slots, sports betting and betting on horse racing. In fact, the French have a long history with gambling.

  • In the 1500’s, the French were the first to add the Queen to the deck of cards.
  • In the 17th century, the French mathematician Blaise Pascal invented the roulette wheel, which later led to the introduction of the popular game of roulette.
  • The game 21, “vingt-et-un” is thought to have originated in French casinos around 1700 A.D. and migrated to the United States around the 1800’s.
  • Even Blackjack is thought to have originated from a French card game called “chemin de fer” which translates to “railroad”.
  • In 1997, the gambling age was lowered from 21 to 18.
  • In 1988, slot machines became legal after previously being banned.

Today most forms of gambling are legal but the French gambling industry is strictly regulated.

As of 2015, there are about 188 casinos in and around France. In an attempt to stop gambling from becoming an addiction, the Justice Ministry only allows gambling at specific times and in specific places.

However, when we look at online gambling in France, it’s a completely different story.

In March of 2009, France proposed new laws to regulate and tax Internet gambling. “Rather than banning 25,000 websites, licenses were given out to online gambling sites who respected public and social order. These new gambling laws have come under criticism as the new law only allows sports betting and betting on horse races, with all other traditional casino games still being illegal.

In June 2010, the government implemented significant changes to the national gambling laws again to allow for both the regulation and taxation of foreign-based internet casino, online poker, bingo and sports betting sites. Prior to this, only national companies were given permission to operate gambling sites online, with Francaise des Jeux and the PMU being market leaders.

France has since issued dozens of licences to offshore gambling companies, so that their services can become available for French players.

Players in France feeling frustrated -unable to access their online gambling and poker accounts.

However, due to the fact that French law doesn’t allow unlicensed online bookmakers and poker rooms or any kind of online casino, many players in France have been left feeling frustrated- unable to access their online gambling and poker accounts. Furthermore, the punitive tax regime adopted by the government has proved to be very detrimental to poker operators. Players are required to pay 2% on all cash game pots, with sports betting attracting a 7.5% tax on each bet placed and horse racing bets attracting an 8% levy. In addition, 33% corporate income tax is also payable.

Some players have managed to find ways to bypass the legislation:

  • Using a foreign postal address
  • Hiding their IP address
  • Using third parties to make deposits for them
  • Changing their IP address- a tactic that is often used by British holidaymakers who still want to access their UK accounts while visiting France.

Can I play online bingo in France?

The French online bingo industry is still very much in its infancy, although the recently modified laws have helped to facilitate its growth. To take advantage of the legislation changes, online bingo operators in France have introduced some French variants, which have proved to be very popular with the local population. If we look onside the UK online bingo industry we can see the potential – very popular and busy. Many small operators operate and take a nice piece  in the market share. One very popular online bingo sites is lucky Touch Bingo which emphasise the brits in the name. Two of the most popular online bingo sites in France are Maria Bingo and Bet365 Bingo.

Lucky Touch Bingo

What happens if a player tries to bet on an unlicensed site?

If you try to access an unlicensed site while in France you’ll probably find one of the following things will happen:

  1. You’ll be unable to access the site
  2. You’ll see a message advising you that you’re not allowed to join the particular site.
  3. You’ll be directed to the French equivalent, if available.
  4. You may be able to register if you use a UK address. Most UK bookies will allow you to register and won’t acknowledge your location, although most operators to take steps to identify your location once you have registered.

How can an operator verify my location?

When you sign up with an unlicensed bookmaker, three piece of information can be used to identify your location.

  • Your IP address
  • Your registered home address.
  • The address registered on your credit card

You’ll also receive an email asking you to prove that you’re in the UK, with some operators choosing to suspend your account if you can’t do so, with others giving you a period of up to two weeks in which to provide proof of address. You’ll also be asked for a reason for using a French IP address.

Is it possible to disguise your location?

It is possible to get around the IP address check by changing your IP address to mask your PC’s location. Some players have also discovered a way to obtain a postal address in the UK, and use various forms of secure payment methods, including pre-payment options to avoid giving details of their French bank accounts.

In spite of the restrictions placed on the online gambling industry in France, it still manages to show signs of modest growth.

15 Bizarre Tour De France Facts YOU Didn’t Know But Should

tour de France facts you didnt know but shoult

It may come as a huge surprise to you to discover, once upon a time, the Super Bowl on two wheels we call the Tour de France, which requires athletes to be in tip-top shape, used to be just a bunch of cigarette-smoking, booze-guzzling men riding around on bikes on unpaved roads through the French Alps.  That’s not all, read on to learn more quirky and interesting Tour de France facts that will have you scratching your head in amazement.

Then vs. Now: The Tour De France

For those of you who are a bit clueless or fuzzy about “le Tour de France”,  let me first give you the skinny on the fun and quirky beginnings of the Tour de France.

1- The Tour de France Was Originally A Sales Gimick!

1903 Newspaper announcing first tour de France

In November of 1902, Geo Lefevre, a journalist from the newspaper L’Auto had an idea to boost circulation of the newspaper. The idea was the Tour de France. Two months later in January of 1903, the very first Tour de France was had but the circumstances and details were very different than what they are today.

  • There were only 6 fairly flat stages over the course of 18 days vs. the 21 rather mountainous stages over 23 days of today.
  • There were 60 entrants in the 1903 race vs. the nearly 200 entrants of 2014.
  • 39 riders, roughly 60% of the 60 entrants of the first Tour de France of 1903 did NOT complete the race while only 18% of riders of the nearly 200 entrants completed the race of 2014.

As a result of the Tour de France, not only did Geo Lefevre succeed at boosting circulation of the newspaper, he created a cycling event that would go on to become one of the biggest racing events and perhaps in the world of sports altogether.

2- The Tour de France is more popular than the American Super Bowl And The Summer Olympics

Even if you’re not an American football fan, you probably already know that it is one of the biggest sporting event in the US and one of the biggest American television events.  Each year millions of Americans tune in to watch the Super Bow. Even non-football fans tune in just to watch the commercials and the  half-time show which now features some of the biggest acts in music.

But did you know that the popularity of the Tour de France makes American Football look like a drop in the bucket? Mainly because the world does not share it’s love for American football. In fact, the most passionately followed sports worldwide are not really all that popular in America at all. The Super Bowl looks at best like a runner-up when it comes to global television viewers.  Let me put it into a little perspective for you.

The 21 day Tour de France race attracts a total of 3.5 billion television viewers, 15 million alone watch the final stage.  That is huge if you consider the fact that the US population is roughly 322 million or that China has a population of around 1.4 billion and China 1.3 billion.

  • Super Bowl ( 114.4 million) : In 2015 the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks set a new viewership record. The Sunday night  broadcast of the Super Bowl averaged 114.4 million viewers per minute becoming the most watched event in American TV history.
  • Winter Olympics (500 million) : Not nearly as big as the summer Olympics, the winter Olympics has nearly 500 million viewers- mostly from Canada, Scandinavia and Russia.
  • Italy’s cycling Grand Tour (775 million) : This 3 week long annual race which takes place between May and June not only attracts millions of live spectators, it is also watched by a yearly average 775 million people.
  • The summer Olympic games ( 2 billion): Loved the world around, the summer Olympic games attracts nearly 2 billion television viewers.
  • FIFA World Cup 1 billion): Football or rather soccer as Americans like to call it has its own version of the Super Bowl called the Fifa world cup which occurs every 4 years. The Cup’s final game is usually the single most viewed sporting event on earth. In 2014, the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina set a record and drew a record number of 715.1 million television viewers worldwide.

Like any popular sporting event, the stakes are high when it comes to winning the tour de France even for betters on sites like William Hill Tour de France.

3- How long is Le Tour De FranceHow long is the tour de France?

The route of the course, and the total distance of le Tour De France changes every year, however the 20 – 22 competing teams of 9 riders from around the world can expect to cycle over 2000 miles (3,500 kilometres), up and down many hills and on routes that alternate between clockwise and counter clockwise circuits of France. In the original 1903 tour, the length was 2,428 kilometres.

4- How many calories do riders burn during the Tour de France?

The average Tour de France rider burns an average of 7,000 calories per day or put another way, a  whopping 123,900 calories over the course of the 21-day race – 123,900! That’s the calorie equivalent of eating 1,625 apples, or 872slices of cheese pizza from pizza hut, or 252 McDonalds double cheeseburgers, or 619 original glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

5- How much sweat does each rider produce during the Tour de France?

Over the course of the roughly 3,500 kilometres tour de France, a cyclist will sweat about 1.5 litres per hour totalling 130 litres for the entire race. That’s enough to flush a toilet 39 times. That’s a lot of sweat.

6- Why Did The Tour de France Riders Drink Alcohol?

riders used to drink alcohol during the tour de France. it was considered a stimulant

Two riders having a break on the steps of a tavern during the Tour de France: In the early 1900s beer was commonly drunk during endurance performances.

There is no doubt that the Tour de France is a physically challenging event which only the fittest of athletes can compete. With this in mind, that’s what makes the following fact even more incredible. For a long time, until the 1960s, it was common for tour de France riders to slug a drink of alcohol during the race. Not only did they drink alcohol to dull the pain but they considered it a real performance booster. As you know stimulants are banned and so was alcohol eventually because it was considered a stimulant.

7- Did Tour de France Riders Really Smoke During Races?

Some Tour de france riders used to smoke while cycling

Yes it’s true, In the 20’s it was not uncommon for riders to share cigarettes while riding. Believe it or not, it was believed that smoking would help “open the lungs” before big climbs. Hah!

8- How many tires do riders use?

It turns out that the Tour de France isn’t just a test of physical endurance for the riders; the Tour de France bikes suffer too. During the three-week challenge, riders combined can wear out a total of 792 tires.

9- How Fast Are Cyclist Able To Cycle?

Since the very first tour de France in 1903, average speeds of cyclist have almost doubled. The average speeds for the tour of 2003 was 40.94 kilometres per hour compared to 25.67 kilometres per hour in 1903. The increase in speed is made possible mainly due to the dramatic changes in equipment, diet, roads, training, Tour rules and sometimes even doping. (source)

10- Sexism and Why Are There No Female Cyclers In The Tour De France

If you are a woman and want to join the tour de France alongside other male cyclists, you can forget it. Only males can participate in the race but there was a version for women held each year between 1984 and 1989. Unfortunately It went largely unnoticed. Another event for female cyclists, dubbed “La Course by Le Tour de France,” was held in 2014.

11- What Countries Typically Win The Tour De France?

As of 2015, the French have pretty much dominated the Tour de France with the most wins (36), followed by Belgium (18), then Spain (11), Italy (7), Luxembourg (4) and the US (1). And no the one US winner is not Lance Armstrong. He lost or should I say he was stripped of his 7 titles due to doping. See the cheating section below to learn why.

winners of the tour de France by country

12- How Much Money Do The Tour Winners Receive?

The overall winner of the race receives a purse of €450,000 (about 600,000 USD) which he will usually split with his team-mates.
The total prize money that is awarded for the entire race (stages, sprints, overall classification) is about 4.3 million US dollars.

13- Has Anyone Ever Died During the Tour de France?

A total of 3 tour riders have died while competing in the Tour. A fourth rider died during a rest day  and 20 plus spectators were killed in an unfortunate accident. Below are the details.

  • The very first fatality occurred in 1910 but the victim, Adolphe Helière did not die during the race instead he drowned during one of the rest days.
  • The first rider to die while actually racing in Le Tour De France was Francisco Cepada in 1935, a Spaniard who lost control of his bike on the descent of the infamous Col du Galibier in the Alps when he crashed into a ravine.
  • In 1964, a tanker truck lost control as it came around a bend too quickly and crashed through a wall of spectators over a bridge and into a canal. The accident took the lives of 20 people, and is one of the biggest tragedies in French sports history.
    1964-tour de France crash
  • In 1995, Italian rider Fabio Casartelli, 1992 Olympic champion died after crashing into a concrete pylon when he failed to make a turn descending down the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France at more than 55mph. At the time, it was not compulsory to wear head gear but many people speculate that he probably would not have survived even had he been wearing head gear.
    FabioCasartellicrash.jpg
  • In 1967, Tom Simpson showed us just how dangerous doping can be when he collapsed and died of a heart attack 3km from the top of Alpe d’Huez. In his jersey pockets there were an array of pills and three different empty vials. His autopsy showed alcohol and amphetamines in his system as well as extreme dehydration, lack of oxygen and over-exhaustion. Apparently Simpson drank a bottle of brandy to get the meds down and tricked his body into not knowing when to quit. Tom-Simpson died during the tour de France from a heart attack

14- Have Tour cyclist been caught cheating?

The most famous and high profile cheating scandal is without a doubt the doping scandal surrounding Lance Armstrong who won seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005, but was stripped of his titles in 2012 after a protracted doping scandal. Lance wasn’t the only person who was caught cheating during the Tour de France. Apparently cheating and the Tour de France go hand in hand and its not a far stretch to say not a year goes by in this sport without a rider being accused of less than honourable behaviour – cheating.

Here are just a few of the more notable cheats in Tour de France history.

  • The very first scandal in the history of the Tour de France involves the very first  person to win the Tour de France, Maurice Garin. It occurred during the Tour’s second edition in 1904 which Maurice also won but was stripped of his title for cheating, along with five other participants: Allegedly Maurice and the other disqualified participants took the train during the alps part of the race. A claim confirmed by a cemetery attendant who, as a boy, heard Garin tell his stories as an old man. MAURICE-GARIN- The first winner of the tour de France and the first cheater
  • While some riders in 1904 were accused of taking trains or using cars to pull their bikes up hills,  Hippolyte Aucouturier tried to be a little more discreet. Aucouturier, tied a piece of cork to a long piece of string and tied the other end to the back of a car. The idea was for Aucouturier to bite down on the cork and let the car tow him all the while hoping his teeth didn’t get ripped out of his mouth and hoping that no one would see the string. Guess what. someone saw the string. Hippolyte-Aucouturier: cheated during the tour de France by having a car pull him from a string he put between his teeth
  • In 1904, after cyclist Antoine Fauré passed through his hometown,100 of his fans ran out into the street to block his opponents. Riders had to get off their bikes and find their way through the crowd to get by.
  • The winner of the 1947 Tour, Jean Robic nicknamed “the hobglobin” for his slight stature was a strong climber but his weakness was on his descent. He became famous for taking bottles filled with lead mercury from his team car at the peak of a climb which gave him the weight he needed to descend the summit at incredible speeds.  (source)jean-robic-cheated by carrying lead bottles on his bike

15- What technology differences existed?

Prior to 1937, riders had to get off their bikes to switch gears because bikes did not have a derailleur before then.

The bikes of 1903 were much heavier, made of heavy steal and wood which could weigh as much as 18 kg (39 lbs) vs. the carbon/alloy bike frames of today which weigh about 7 kg (15 lbs).

Summary

I was never a big fan of the Tour de France but after living in France for years, I’ve been exposed to all it’s glamour and fanfare making me in the least a little interested in it. It’s an amazing sport that very few people can ever imagine competing in.

Why Is April Fools Day In France Such A Fishy Affair?

How the French celebrate April Fools day in France

Surprise, in addition to the hot air balloon, the sexy little black dress, photography, the French also invented April Fools’ day by accident. Discover how this happened and how to properly celebrate it in France. 

Past and present April Fools’ Day traditions in France

When I was a kid, I used to love playing pranks on friends and family for April fools’ day.

Silly things like putting a whoopee cushion under someone’s chair or some other ridiculously silly prank. Then after the prank was done, I gleefully shouted April Fools’”  as I scurried away laughing and looking for my next victim. Oh how I loved the annoyed looks on peoples faces.

Now as an adult and a confessed prank lover, I still love to play practical jokes on people for April fools’ so when we moved to France, I was not entirely sure if my pranks would go over well with the French. I wasn’t even sure if April Fools’ day was celebrated in France.

As luck would have it,  yes, April Fools’ day is in fact celebrated in France much like it is in the US and Canada with one small variation which involves a fish.

Present day April Fools’ traditions In France

On April fools day, kids in France like to tape a paper fish to the backs of their friends as a prank

Simple office pranks to elaborate hoaxes are just as much part of the French tradition for April Fools’ day as it is in the US and many other English speaking countries however, it’s not called April fools’ day.

Instead, those lucky victims who are fooled on April 1st are called a “Poisson d’Avril” (April Fish) and a common prank, especially among school aged children is to stick a paper fish on the back of some unsuspecting person. Then when that person discovers the fish, he or she is declared a “Poisson d’Avril.”

This year, I drew a fish and stuck it on our daughters back before she went to school. When she got to school, her friends had a good laugh when they saw the fish taped to her back.

Print your own fish

printable paper fish for April Fools day in FranceYou can draw your own fish if you like but you can also print one out from the internet.  Here is a link to a printable paper fish from my favourite toy maker (Moulin Roty pictured above). http://www.moulinroty.fr/blog/poisson-davril/.  You can stick it on the backs of your friends and family for fun and let them walk around all day clueless.

Past April Fools’ day French traditions

At the beginning of the twentieth century, people in France used to send cute little illustrated post cards of small fish on April 1st, to wish love, friendship and happiness! A tradition that is not so popular today which is too bad because the vintage cards are adorable. Here are a few I found.

Old post card people used to send for April fools day in France

Old post card people used to send for April fools day in France

Why April 1st and where it all began!

The origins of playing pranks on April First is debated but one theory which many people believe is that April fools’ day actually began in France.

Around 1562, following the Gregorian calendar, King Charles IX decided to change the new year from the end of March / April (Equinox) to the 1st of January. Many people found it difficult to get used to the new day for the new year while others were not even aware that the date of the new year had changed! (news travelled slowly back then).  As a result, many people continued to offer gifts on the old new years date but were ridiculed, teased and had pranks played on them.

Voila, the beginning of April fools’ day in France which eventually spread throughout the world or so some believe this is how it was spread.

April Fools’ Day in the UK, North America and beyond

It wasn’t until around 1752, over 100 years later that Great Britain finally changed over to the Gregorian Calendar, and April Fools’ Day began to also be celebrated in England and in the American colonies. In Quebec Canada, an old French colony where my own family is from, the poisson d’Avril is celebrated much like it is in France.

Today April fools’ day is celebrated in many countries around the world including Switzerland, Denmark, Italy, Canada and many more.

Why a fish on April first?

There are several explanations as to why the French equate a fish with April Fools’ day.

  • One explanation is that people gave fake fish to fisherman as a cruel but funny prank. Apparently April is the breeding period of fish and fisherman were prohibited from fishing during this time so the act of giving fish was a way to torture them? Who knows.
  • Another more recent and maybe more plausible explanation is that since the date of the old “New years”in April was also during the same time as lent, a period which people were only allowed to eat fish, people gave fish as gifts (for new years).

Vintage printable April Fish

There you have it. April fools’ day or rather poisson d’avril in France and it’s ties to the old New years date before the Gregorian calendar in France.

Isn’t it funny how we sometimes celebrate things but have no idea why we celebrate them?

ps

I love vintage design and thought you might like this vintage printable fish.  Happy Poisson d’Avril

3D printable fish for April fools day in France

Meme Living in France: What I really do

Living In France Travel Meme: What People Think I do vs What I Really Do

Travel Meme Living in France:

People have all sorts of contorted ideas about what it’s like for North Americans to live in France. Most of these ideas are based on stereotypes spread through the media and Hollywood.  I created a travel meme called “What I really Do” to show all the different preconceptions that different groups of people have about living in France. Enjoy and please share it on Facebook and Pinterest. 

What’s it like living in France travel meme?

What’s it like? Simple, it’s just like anywhere else except in France, they speak French and eat lots of cheese and baguettes; no lie, not a stereotype. But seriously, it is really just like living anywhere else.

  • Like anything new, it’s fun and exciting at first but then you adapt, overcome and slip into a routine.
  • There are cultural differences, different foods, belief systems, styles and more but for the most part my day to day routine looks a lot like it id when I lived in North America.

Luckily I travelled extensively and lived abroad a few times before we decided to spend a year in France, so I knew full well that my preconceived ideas about living in France might be far fetched or completely wrong. Yes, luckily I knew all this before moving to France and I adjusted my expectations, otherwise I think I might have been pretty disappointed.

What my family thinks I do

My Canadian relatives don’t see me that often so they probably think I spend my days strolling around the champs Elysée and hanging around the Eiffel tower.

What society thinks I do

Society in general has so many stereotypes about the French. I know I did before moving to France. It’s only natural that people think I wear striped shirts, dress to kill, wear a beret and look smoking hot as much as possible on my Vespa with a cigarette hanging from my mouth after i stop for a glass of wine and cafe.

What my friends think I do

Like my family, my friends get a healthy dose of my life in France but again, they only see the fun, happy stuff. So they see pictures of me at the beach, smiling, holding my hubby and eating baguettes with the kids.  All are things we do but not nearly as much as they think it happens.

What I think I do

What I think I do is a mixture of what I do and what I want to do more of.  More friends, more fun, more laughing. This is what my mind chooses to believe I do.

What the French think I do

Ok, how shall I say this. The French have this distorted idea about Americans that is very skewed, thanks to the media and Hollywood.  For example, they think Americans are rich and love guns. But the one thing 99 percent of French people think is that ALL Americans just gobble up McDonald as much as possible.

What I really do

Living in France is not all baguettes, cheese and wine. I work a lot.  Working for myself as a freelancer means that I spend a lot of time on my computer, writing, finding clients,  marketing and basically trying to make a living. As a result, my laptop is my best friend.

Your experience living in France will be much different than mine but one thing will be the same. Life in France will be like nothing like you imagined.

That’s a good thing.

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