Tag: France

The EU Fab Four sings the blues

Tuesday, 26 June, 2012

Walter Russell Mead: “The ‘Fab Four’ (Spain’s Mariano Rajoy, France’s Francois Hollande, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Italy’s Mario Monti) reaffirmed a pre-existing agreement to make some mostly symbolic adjustments to European policy, whomping up an air souffle that the Club Med countries plus France can claim is a “growth” package, but it is mostly made […]

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Marie Louise O’Murphy, mistress, survivor

Tuesday, 29 May, 2012

A holiday Monday in Munich and a visit to the Alte Pinakothek art musuem. There, in the upper floor gallery reclines Marie Louise O’Murphy, once mistress of Louis XV of France. Born in 1737 in Rouen to Marguerite Igny and Daniel O’Murphy de Boisfaily, an Irish soldier who had taken up shoemaking, she was the […]

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Name the country at the end of the rainbow!

Wednesday, 14 March, 2012

“Here’s something you probably didn’t know: X today is the richest country in the European Union after Luxembourg.” Baffled by the location of X? Try these clues: “Yes, the country that for hundreds of years was best known for emigration, tragic poets, famines, civil wars and leprechauns today has a per capita G.D.P. higher than […]

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Side by side: John Lynch & John Talbot

Sunday, 4 March, 2012

John Lynch emigrated from Ireland to France in 1691 and his son Thomas founded the Château Lynch-Bages winery in Bordeaux in 1749. Some 200 years later, Jean-Charles Cazes bought the estate and it’s been owned and run by the Cazes family since then. Sir John Talbot, Governor of Aquitaine and Earl of Shrewsbury, acquired what […]

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Winters pass

Friday, 10 February, 2012

The artistic legacy of Edward Thomas was determined by the First World War: He enlisted in the British army in 1915 and was killed in action during the Battle of Arras in 1917, soon after he arrived in France.

Thaw

Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flowers of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass.

Edward Thomas (1878 — 1917)


Three stars for those Michelin apps

Monday, 23 January, 2012

Chapeau! Last year, a total of 1.4 million Groupe Michelin applications were downloaded from Apple’s App Store and three of them were among the 2011 bestsellers. ViaMichelin Mobile in the navigation category for iPhone, Restaurants in the France – The Michelin Guide Restaurants 2011 in the lifestyle category for iPhone and the MichelinFrance map in the navigation category for iPad.

Michelin Guide Although Michelin is not exactly a startup (it was incorporated in 1888), the company has always been at the cutting edge of innovation. After all, its core product, tires, are complex things with an evolving role in the safety and comfort of the driving experience. Talking of driving, those who find themselves in the centre of France this year should visit L’Aventure Michelin, which recounts the company’s historic journey from Clermont-Ferrand to the App Store. The secret of its success is that Edouard and André Michelin weren’t just great innovators, they were marketing geniuses and superb businessmen. Their big insight was that if people took more trips, Michelin would sell more tires. To encourage motorists to hit the road, they got into the content business and Michelin became famous for its roadmaps, for its Red Guides that grade hotels and restaurants, its Green Guides on regions and countries and the literary Guides Bleus, which offered cultural interpretation of destinations. And when smartphones came along, Michelin was well positioned to port its award-winning content onto the new platforms.

Now, it seems a more radical shift is in the works. According to a report that appeared in Le Monde on 14 January, “Michelin dans la tourmente” (Michelin in turmoil), the days of the Guide Michelin are numbered… in paper form, at least. The company is contemplating making it available digitally only. Why? The venerable Guide sold 107,000 copies in France in 2010, which is a drop of of 22 percent compared to a decade ago when sales topped 400,000.