20 July 2011

Now it's turned cold

The high temperature today is supposed to be 18ºC, which is about 64ºF. What a change from last week! I feel like I'm back in San Francisco. It's been raining, too, and quite a bit.

Another reason I feel like I'm in San Francisco is that we have friends visiting from there, and we're sitting around talking about life back there vs. life here in France. J. & C. are doing a house exchange with some people who live just outside Paris. They've been watching French television a little.

J. wanted to know if there is any Arabic language programming in France, aimed at the large immigrant populations from North Africa and the Middle East. No, there isn't — at least not that we are aware of. That's not part of the French mindset, or government policy. If you live in France, you are expected to "integrate" into French society. You are supposed to speak French. You are supposed to eat French. You are supposed to participate in the mainstream culture.

One of the questions asked about Walt and me when we applied for French resident's cards was whether or not we spoke French. The fact that we do made a big difference. The authorities also asked the mayor of the village we live in whether we were involved in the community. She told them we were, so we got the residency cards.

It's a little maddening to us that British and other European immigrants, for example, don't get asked any such questions. They don't need residency cards. They often live on a different track, remaining fairly separate from the French society around them. Many British immigrants here in France don't speak very much French at all. The situation highlights the contradictions between long-standing French policies and new European realities.

Okay, off to do some sightseeing today...


  1. Union Européenne = Tour de Babel ?

  2. It is 26 degree here at my town... I couldn't stand that cold...But I dream to visit a country that has cold weather.

  3. Bonjour cousin,

    Speaking of Tour de Babel, have you noticed the different versions of documentation that come along when one buys an appliance in France ( I guess it must be the same m.o in the other EU countries)?

    And then we are told to live "GREEN".

  4. Bonjour cousine,

    What I noticed is that everything is complicated whatever the language. Pourquoi faire simple quand on peut faire compliqué? Lol!


  5. I saw on Walt's blog that it is 59 degrees at 4 pm; very chilly for July.
    I think there used to be arabic channels in France but they had to have them removed because it was inciting Arabs to violence against France. It doesn't seem like it was so long ago.

  6. How about that? Saint-Aignan has turned into Seattle before your eyes. I am really sorry for you. Looks like my family and I left Europe just in time a few days ago. As for immigration requirements, things are complicated around the world, and as I remember getting a Green Card, and later on a US Passport was no piece of cake either. I often wonder if my "integration" in American society would have been so smooth had I not spoken English fluently when I arrived... ;-) Have a great day! Veronique aka French Girl in Seattle

  7. But if Véronique had moved to the UK instead, all she would have had to do was apply for a National Insurance number - a mere formality as a French person moving within the EU.

    There is no need for the French government to provide an Arabic language station, as everyone can get Al Jazeera.

  8. "[...]I think there used to be arabic channels in France but they had to have them removed because it was inciting Arabs to violence against France.[...]"

    To my knowledge, the CSA never gave permission for any arabic public or private TV channel to go on air. Most of the Africans coming to France can speak French anyway. Those wishing to ear and watch arabic programs just need a satellite dish.

    As far as I am concerned, I do not see any reason why you should promote a foreign language in your own country.

  9. Jan and all, the comparison is with the U.S., which is a multi-cultural society with no official language. There are Spanish-language television channels available nearly everywhere now.

    But the fact is that in France you can get at least limited TV in many languages — English, German, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Polish, etc. etc. — if you have a satellite dish and decoder. I'm not sure everybody in France can get Arabic-language TV broadcasts, Al Jazeera or others...


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