13 October 2010


Our drive over to Tours and back yesterday was uneventful. Good, in other words. If anything, there was less traffic on the roads than we might have expected. The weather was beautiful. And the shopping was good. We got most of the things we needed.

Meanwhile, the consensus in the French press this morning is that more people than ever turned out to protest the government's plan to raise the retirement age. Some organizers claim that 3.5 million people participated in marches and demonstrations.

The rightist Sarkozy/Fillon government says that the Socialist party did everything it could to get a lot of students to take part, in effect "instrumentalizing" them, or using them in a cynical effort to jack up the number of demonstrators.

Politics, eh?

The strike actions continue this morning. You can always tell when there's a strike by turning on France 2's Télématin news and information TV show in the morning. The sound is a little tinny, the sets are minimalistic, the weather reports show only static maps, and the hosts' and guests' make-up looks slightly amateurish. All the support and technical people stayed home, but the show must go on.

If you turn on France Inter radio, you get music only, with no hosts and no news features. No talk shows. It's not dead air, but when you've been through it before it's obviously a strike day.

Refinery workers are on strike. There may be gas and diesel fuel shortages in a few days. Only one in three TGV trains is running, and only two out of five TER regional trains. Looks like it's still raining down on the Mediterranean coast, by the way.

It's a good time to stay home and work in the garden. Here in central France, the weather is dry and starting to feel chilly. The house is cooling down. That means cooking good comfort foods for lunch. Staying home and conserving fuel by not driving.

But for us, that sounds pretty normal, actually.


  1. Thanks for the info, Ken. We will be travelling to the Loire on Friday and we usually fill up on the French side of the channel because it's slightly cheaper than in the UK. I think that this time we'll fill up before we make the crossing, just in case there is a shortage in France.

    If a lack of fuel prevents us from getting back home at the end of the week, however, tant pis !!

  2. wow! how do you think something like this would go over in the states? do you think folks here are much less tolerant of being inconvenienced? or is everyone mad and they are happy to be part of it, even if its watching?

  3. French workers love to strike. The worst was when I was on holiday in Martinique when the garbage collectors went on strike for a few days, seemed like weeks. It was a mess! Even when I was in Paris many years ago there was always some strike on.

  4. Thanks to Ken's information, and Mary's mention yesterday of a box of 3 at Costco (US$20), I was able to get some silicone mats today. Thanks, y'all.

    Now, to go use them.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?