Latest acquisition

My latest purchase of French cars which took part in the Le Mans 24 Hours over the years has just been delivered. I remember clearly being at the track when this car won.

Now I hesitate for the next purchase. I wish to go back further in time. The little Renault 4CV is very tempting but so is the Bugatti.

The older the cars, the more expensive the miniatures are.

I think I shall open up a list of all the models I wish to get. That should keep me busy.

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Daily Post – May 6th

Living through a pandemic

in the south of France

412 days in Carcassonne since

1st lockdown in March 2020



As of yesterday evening, there were no departements in France with an Incidence Rate larger than 400, this means that based on this information only, the announced deconfinement steps can go ahead in all regions.


I know a couple of people who received their “Carte de Séjour” today and a few more who are expecting theirs in the coming days.

In the event of an identity check or during administrative procedures, only certain official documents are valid to prove your identity.

By the way, this post is aimed at the Brits who do not really know what an national ID card is.

The point is that if you are of foreign nationality, you can, in the same way as the French, present an identity card or passport issued by your country of origin. Your residence permit / “Carte de séjour” is also a valid document.

It is probabbly a better idea to carry your Carte de Séjour in your wallet rather than your passport.


So yesterday May 5th was the bi-centennial commemoration of the Emperor’s death. Liked or not, he is an important figure of the past.

Yesterday, President Macron marked the 200th anniversary of his death by telling France the controversial former emperor “is part of us”.

This is very important for those aspiring to obtain French Nationality and again I know a few. Napoleon Bonaparte is a part of France. He is also an Emperor who revolutionised the way we live today.

Here are some 10 contributions that the child of Ajaccio has made that have changed France, Europe and the world.

▪︎ Street numbering
Like many people, your postal address is like “12 Rue de …”? The number that precedes your street name was introduced by Napoleon during his reign. The aim was not to improve the distribution of mail but to better organise the collection of the tax which was used to finance the countless wars that the Emperor was waging in the four corners of Europe.

▪︎ The sale of Louisiana to the United States

If the United States is the second world power today, it is thanks to Napoleon. He sold them the state of Louisiana, which belonged to France at the time. At the time, Louisiana represented half of the American territory as we know it today.

▪︎ The baccalauréat
The famous philosophy subject, the screams, the tears when the results are announced… the Baccalauréat is the diploma that traumatizes everyone. Stress for teenagers, frustration for parents who have to wait until July to go on holiday. What a surprise to learn that this diploma was invented by a decree of Napoleon in October 1808. Surely the Emperor wanted to keep the tourists away from Ajaccio when he used to go back to Corsica to recharge his batteries in his Milelli residence…

▪︎ The Civil Code
It is probably one of his most remarkable contributions to humanity. Under the Ancien Régime, each region of France dictated its own laws, which complicated relations between the different parts of the kingdom. At the beginning of the Revolution, the French deputies decided to draw up a common code for all citizens. This code was drafted in only one month, but it was not implemented until after the coup d’état of 19 Brumaire (10 November 1799), when Napoleon ended the Revolution and established the Consulate. As soon as he took power, he appointed a commission of four magistrates to synthesise the draft drawn up during the Revolution. After 109 sessions of discussion, the Council of State promulgated the Civil Code on 21 March 1804.

▪︎ L’Arc de Triomphe
The postcard of Paris was erected under the orders of the Corsican Emperor. This place had a double symbolic significance for him. Firstly, in the aftermath of the battle of Austerlitz, considered to be Napoleon’s tactical and military “masterpiece”, the aim was to perpetuate the memory of the victories of the French Army. Secondly, before the enlargement of Paris in 1860, the land on which the Arc de Triomphe was built was on the border of the city, and offered a privileged access to the Emperor’s residence, which was the Tuileries Palace, located at the end of the Champs-Élysées. In addition to the commemorative aspect, the Arc de Triomphe was also the gateway to the Emperor’s home.

The Arc de Triomphe was the scene of violence and damage during the “gilets jaunes” demonstrations on Decembre 1st 2018 . The damage was significant, one million euros of damage and five works of art damaged.

▪︎ Rubbish collection
At the end of the 17th century, the hygienist movement began to suspect that the air carried all sorts of viruses and microbes that could be dangerous to health. It was by a decree published on 15 October 1810 that Napoleon introduced the collection of rubbish in order to reduce the risk of viruses created by the bad smells in the air.

▪︎ The Lycées
In 1802, he created the first lycée so that fathers could concentrate more on their work and less on the education of their sons. This education was provided by the state with the aim of making the child fit for military or administrative duties, or to help his parents in the performance of their tasks.

▪︎ The Universities
After the progression of secondary education made possible by the creation of the Lycées, Napoleon wanted to go further by creating a strong institution that bore his name: the Napoleonic University. The first French universities were created in 1806, more than 40 years after Pasquale Paoli opened the University of Corsica.

▪︎ The departments
To facilitate administration within the kingdom, the Assembly decides to divide France into 83 départements. Their size is established so that each citizen can reach his or her capital within a day’s ride.

▪︎ The Legion of Honour
Finally Napoleon Bonaparte created the National Order of the Legion of Honour on 19 May 1802. The aim was to reward the merits of citizens, whether civilian or military, for the good deeds they had established. More than 200 years later, more than 93,000 people have received the Legion of Honour.

▫️ MUSIC OF 1969

Another top hit in France at the time.

🎶 / 🎶 / 🎶



▫️ EU NEWS From our correspondant in Allegan County, Mi 🇺🇸

A farmer in Belgium inadvertently changed geography by moving his country’s border with France. The farmer was driving a tractor and apparently got annoyed by a large stone blocking his path,BBC News reports. So, he slightly moved it.

Another person recently walking in the forest noticed the stone had been moved. The history enthusiast knew it wasn’t just any stone — it was there to mark the boundary between the two countries. The marker had moved about 7.5 feet, according BBC News, effectively giving Belgium more land. 

“He made Belgium bigger and France smaller, it’s not a good idea,” David Lavaux, mayor of the Belgian village of Erquelinnes, told French TV channel TF1. The move could cause a problem for private landowners — and neighboring countries, Lavaux said. But people in both Belgium and France had a good laugh over it. 

“I was happy, my town was bigger,” the mayor said, laughing. “But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc didn’t agree.” The mayor of a neighboring French village told La Voix du Nord “we should be able to avoid a new border war,” BBC News reports. 

France and Belgium share a 390-mile border, which was established under a 1820 treaty signed after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo five years earlier. The stones were placed when the border was first decided in 1819. 

Belgian authorities plan on simply contacting the farmer and asking him to return the stone but if he doesn’t, the Belgian foreign ministry could open a Franco-Belgian border commission, something that hasn’t happened since 1930, according to BBC News. The farmer could also face criminal charges if he doesn’t comply.

“If he shows good will, he won’t have a problem, we will settle this issue amicably,” Lavaux told Belgian news website Sudinfo.

© CBS News


It says cloudy for today but we have a brilliant sunshine for the time being.


🔸 Why do Americans die earlier than Europeans? (Guardian)

🔸 Gummy Bears and Candy Bars Are Casualties of the Pandemic (Wired)

🔸 The man on a remote island keeping Napoleon’s flame alive (CNN)

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Day out

The plan was to drive to the coast, now that it is allowed again, and go for a walk on and around the “Plateau de Leucate” which we particularly like and have a picnic watching the sea from the top of the cliffs.

Good plan, execpt we did not take today’s extremely strong wind into account

No fear, there is always a plan B and since we were in the area why not go and check on the construction’s progress of the beach bungalows in time for the season opening in 2 weeks.

Well, there is no sign of any activity on the one we like in Port Leucate… What is going on? In fact the beaches are completely deserted. The wind?

Back in the car for a drive past a couple of boats we know

One on the sand

and one on the water

We decide to pay a surprise visit to our friends in La Soler but first a stop in the old town of Perpignan to have a sandwich, al restaurants are unfortunately still closed). I really like this more-Catalan-than-even-Barcelona town.

Our friends are home, time for a coffee and catch-up chat

Fairly short 1 hour+ drive home tobeat the rush hour and curfew

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Not too crowded

At the coast.

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Daily Post – May 5th

Living through a pandemic

in the south of France

411 days in Carcassonne since

1st lockdown in March 2020



As of yesterday evening, there were no departements in France with an Incidence Rate larger than 400, this means that based on this information only, the announced deconfinement steps can go ahead in all regions.

In our own Aude departement, the incidence rate is also receeding and stands at 185,45


I mentionned yesterday a TV program following the lives of a few British people living in Occitanie. I have found the link on France TV where you can catch up with it.

The program is called


“For the British who live in Occitania, the Brexit is a bad surprise. Everything risks becoming more complicated: travelling between France and England, getting medical treatment, working, trading, studying… The Brexit will change the rules of the game for the 27,000 English people living in Occitania.
With humour, energy and sensitivity, whether they are winegrowers or students, retired, musicians or bistro owners, they explain their choice of a life made in France, in the Hérault or in the Gers, and their desire to remain European. What are they all looking for in Occitania?”


The official reopening is scheduled for May 8th just in time for the re-opening of the terrasses of the bars and bistrots on May 19th. The 10 days are needed to set up all the tables and chairs within the new layouts. Question: do the bars and restaurants also have new furniture?

▫️ MUSIC OF 1969

Another number 1 in France at that time.

🎶 / 🎶 / 🎶




Quite a bit of a downturn compared to yesterday but apperently it is much nicer at the coast and therefore this is were we are heading shortly.

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Great Lakes

I always have had a certain attraction to Chicago for many reasons. One of them is the fact that the town is on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan.

Here follows a few interesting facts about the Great lakes

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La Celle St Cloud

More comments to come

Old photos found on the web of the town where we grew up

Ecole Pasteur where I started my school years
Before Elf. If you were to turn 90 degrees left, you would see Petula Clark’s house
A côté de l’église

And finally where “La Bande” came to life

Lycée Pierre Corneille


Du côté de chez Sem

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Daily Post – May 4th

Living through a pandemic

in the south of France

410 days in Carcassonne since

1st lockdown in March 2020


▫️ COVID 19

Last week I showed another picture with many “departements” with an incidence rate bigger than 400. Well there are only 3 left and they are all in the Paris suburbs area.

▫️ DIY

I have given another coat to my desk and we are getting there as far as matching the colours are concerned. I do not think it will get better. Maybe with regular polishing. I have put up my background new poster I had made of one of my favorite town. It is almost like staring at the window from the hotel I sometimes used there.

▫️ MUSIC OF 1968

Another Top Hit in France at that time. Number 1 in fact at summer and very much the top slow dance in the night clubs on holiday.

🎶 / 🎶 / 🎶


I think I make good use of my deezer subscription. I did not realise I listened so much to Neil Young last month.




Another very pleasant day today…


🔸 The Robot Surgeon Will See You Now (NYT, $)

🔸 ‘It’s like a rotting carcass of its former self’: funeral for an Oregon glacier(Guardian)

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Daily Post – May 3rd

Living through a pandemic

in the south of France

409 days in Carcassonne since

1st lockdown in March 2020


▫️ COVID 19

A week after the start of the school year for schoolchildren, secondary school students will also begin to return to their classrooms this Monday morning. After two weeks of distance learning, interspersed with two weeks off, high school students are going back to school in half class, with alternating face-to-face and distance learning classes. For secondary schools, the start of the school year will be face-to-face, except for 4th and 3rd grade students in the fifteen departments most affected by the pandemic. This Monday also marks the end of travel restrictions: no more need for a certificate to travel beyond 10 kilometres from home. The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units was stable on Sunday, at less than 5,600, after several days of slow decline, according to figures from Santé publique France.


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▫️ MUSIC OF 1969

Another Top Hit in France at that time

🎶 / 🎶 / 🎶




▫️ FUN


Prediction in the local press say it will be an early and very hot summer…

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I have just cancelled my Zoom subscription which was going to renew automatically on May8th.

The features available with the prescription are very good but no longer necessary now that the hard confinement periods appear to be over. Not worth the 139€ per year. The basic free of charge subsciption will do for now.

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