Only Girls – A French All-Female Garage for Women Tired of Getting Ripped Off

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‘Only Girls’ is a new garage designed to make women feel comfortable, especially those who are tired of being shortchanged by deceitful mechanics. It recently opened in the Saint-Ouen-l’Aumone suburb of northwestern Paris.

The garage opened just a month ago and it has already had around 40 customers, two-thirds of which were women. The concept of an all-female garage stands to be a big hit because Only Girls aims to offer women motorists exactly what they need – respect. Many women claim to have a tough time getting their cars fixed at regular garages, because mechanics do not take women seriously and quote higher prices than they would for male customers.

“When you’re a woman, it’s like you’ve got ‘sucker’ tattooed on your forehead,” said Sandrine Hautenne, 42. “One time, I went round to three different garages, and got three different estimates. Since then, I’ve sent my uncle to get estimates and guess what? The prices have dropped!”

Only-Girls-Garage

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French Artist to Live inside Grizzly Bear Carcass for Thirteen Days

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Abraham Poincheval, a performance artist from France, specializes in confining himself to the smallest possible spaces for long periods of time. A couple of years ago, he spent a whole week buried in a tiny underground hole in a bookstore, with just a pile of books for company. Now he has fashioned a new task for himself – he’s spending nearly a fortnight (1 to 13 April) crammed inside the carcass of a grizzly bear, in a space measuring only half a square meter. He won’t be coming out at all, not even to eat, drink, sleep or relieve himself. Two cameras will be on him at all times, recording the whole experience.

The bear itself was excavated by Abraham and has been partly reconstructed to support the project, using plywood, plaster, foam and polystyrene tubes. The bizarre installation is completely covered with the bear’s original skin and fur. When empty, the entire structure weighs 115 pounds. Inside it is a semi-upright chair on which the 42-year-old artist will be spending all his time. Rubber exercise bands will help him get some movement and he has some room by his feet for a stretch. There’s also a kettle and an odd assortment of foods that only a bear could appreciate – frozen dried fruits, insects and worms. Too bad the bear isn’t Winnie the Pooh, or Abraham could have had some honey as well.

Abraham-Poincheval-bear

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French Student Sells Canned Fresh Country Air, Makes Big Profit

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Apparently, people will pay for anything as long as it’s packaged well – even a can full of nothing. French student Antoine Deblay figured this out over the summer, and is making huge profits from the idea. ‘Air de Montcuq’ costs 5.5 euros (that’s about $7.5), plus shipping. It is basically just a tin can that Deblay fills with air from his hometown – Montcuq.

22-year-old Deblay put up a proposal on French crowdfunding site kisskissbankbank.com. He didn’t really expect anything to happen, but the idea ended up raising over $1,000. The amount was perfect for him to set up a website and pay for packaging. When the French press got wind of the idea, they reported it extensively and helped the orders to roll in. Deblay started receiving more orders than he anticipated. He was shocked to report 1,000 orders in just three weeks. “Of course I knew it was going to sell, but not so much in so little time,” he said.

I think the popularity of Air de Montcuq has more to do with its marketing plan than the actual product. On the website, Deblay chooses to be funny with product descriptions. A blurb reads: “Air de Montcuq is 100 percent organic, it immerses you in the depths of the city to refresh your ideas. Ideal when you are in need of creative inspiration.” There’s a warning as well: “Attention, irreplaceable content, consumable once. Do not leave it open.”

air-de-montcuq

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Mas Provencal – The Perfect Restaurant for Flower Enthusiasts

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When you first step into Mas Provencal on the outskirts of Eze Village, you’re likely to mistake it for a greenhouse. Located close to the city of Nice in southeastern France, this restaurant has way more flowers than tables.

Mas Provencal’s interior décor is pretty special, perhaps even one-of-a-kind. Almost every square inch is covered with fresh flowers – roses, orchids, ivy, glads and more. There are plants everywhere and it takes some squinting to even spot the sign board. The large amount of flora either enthralls diners, or leaves them a bit overwhelmed. One tourist called the decorations “fabulously gaudy.” I don’t think I could have put it any better.

Inside the restaurant, each table is done up with elaborate center pieces made of flowers. Exotic trees adorn the passageways and you can spot a few carnivorous plants in the crowd. Antique knick-knacks are scattered everywhere. A large glass enclosed waterfall containing ferns is also part of the décor. The best part – diners can munch on grapes and cherry tomatoes hanging from the ceiling at arm’s reach.

Mas-Provencal-restaurant

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French Restaurants Seat Guests by How Good-Looking They Are

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Looks are undoubtedly very important, but some people make too much of physical appearance. A group of restaurants in Paris is accused by two of their former employees of seating clients according to their good-looks. “The good-looking ones are led to the good places, where they can be easily seen”, claim the former employees, and “as for the non-good-looking ones, it is imperative that they be dispatched to the corners of the room”.

The restaurants accused of having such a shallow policy are strategically situated near popular tourist attractions: Le Georges is in the the famous Centre Pompidou, while Cafe Marly is located near the Louvre museum. Apparently, this marketing strategy has a lot to do with the way in which the two restaurants are perceived by those passing by them. In fact, the staff members in charge of placing the guests at their tables were allegedly confronted for seating less attractive people at the best tables. “What are these ugly mugs doing at this table? Everyone can see them when they come in. It’s very bad for our image,” the employees were allegedly reprimanded when they broke the rule.  The only exception to this rule are celebrities, who, regardless of their looks, are automatically offered the the best seats in the house.

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Made in France: French Patriot Uses 100% French Things for Nine Months

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When the economy is in the toilet and employment rates are going down, some patriots concerned about their country’s welfare adopt various strategies to tackle the undesirable situation. One French documentary-maker named Benjamin Carle is currently staging a nine-month “economic patriotism” experiment by eating only French food and using French-made products exclusively.

Carle says he was inspired to start his experiment after seeing France’s minister for industrial renewal, Arnaud Montebour, in a Breton shirt on the cover of Le Parisien magazine as a sign of supporting the French industry by purchasing items made in France. Although not particularly patriotic, the young documentary-maker agreed to participate in the “Monsieur Made-in-France” television program in an attempt to inspire others and together raise employment rates in their country. As a journalist, he was intrigued but what seemed to be a great idea at first proved to be a hassle considering that most of his furniture and other household items such as the fridge, washing machine and furniture were all foreign and had to be discarded. He also had to give up some of his favorite clothes because they had been ordered from English or American websites. Moreover, he indulged in eating various kinds of exotic fruits and vegetables, regardless of the season, and enjoyed drinking his morning cup of coffee, pleasures he had to renounce for the whole nine months. Even his favorite music, by artists like David Bowie, Radiohead and The Smiths was replaced with French hits, and instead of Hollywood blockbusters Benjamin began watching French movies.  After eliminating all things not French, his small but expensive Parisian apartment contained only a chair, a table and Loon the cat, thankfully born in France but named after The Who’s British drummer Keith Moon “the Loon”.

MADE IN FRANCE

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Robinson Crusoe 2.0: French Entrepreneur to Run Business from Uninhabited Island for 40 Days

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French businessman Gauthier Toulemonde plans to isolate himself on an uninhabited island in Indonesia for 40 days and run his company via solar and wind-powered computers and satellite phones.

Fascinated by the novels of Jules Verne and the expeditions of famous explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, during his childhood days, Gauthier Toulemonde always dreamed of going on his own little adventure in an exotic paradise. He’s definitely not the only person in the world to have such a dream, but while others would consider the experience a break from their everyday lives and, more importantly, their jobs, Toulemonde plans to work a full 8 hours a day, managing his company 10,000 km away. On October 8, the 54-year-old French entrepreneur, who runs Paris-based philatelic publication services company Timbopress, will be transported to a 700 meters long, 500 meters wide island somewhere in Indonesia, where he will spend the following 40 days alone, keeping in touch with the world via the internet and a satellite phone. For safety purposes, the modern-day Robinson Crusoe has decided not to reveal the exact location of his temporary home.

Gauthier-Toulemonde

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Awesome Dad Sends His Kids’ Toys into Outer Space, Records the Whole Trip

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Children make all kinds of ridiculous requests, and sometimes parents agree to them, even if they don’t plan on keeping their promises. But not Nicholas L., a French father-of-three who in order not to let his kids down actually sent a couple of their toys into outer space.

Last December, Nicholas’ three children asked him to send their favorite toys into space. Without giving much thought to what he was getting himself into, the young father agreed. Later he realized he didn’t want to be the kind of parent who disappoints his kids by not keeping his word, so he embarked on an incredible project to fulfill their wish. In the beginning, the Frenchman had no idea how he was going to pull it off, but after spending four months researching online he had a list of necessary equipment to fly the toys into outer space and retrieve them, as per his kids request. He ordered a weather balloon from a US army surplus store, and had the parachute and GPS tracker shipped all he way from Hong Kong. He was ready for the big test, but he needed proof to show his kids he had actually sent their toys into outer space, so he installed two GoPro waterproof cameras on his DIY flying device to record the entire journey.

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A Strong and Silent Husband – Australian Woman Marries a Bridge in Southern France

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For the last 10 years Australian artist Jodi Rose has traveled the world recording the vibrations in bridge cables with contact microphones and using them to create experimental music. You could say she has an almost intimate relationship with bridges, and recently she decided to make it official by marrying a mysterious bridge in the south of France.

Le Pont du Diable (Devil’s Bridge) is a 600-year-old stone bridge built over a steep-sided gorge in Céret‎, but for Jodi Rose it’s simply “The One”. After visiting dozens of bridges all over the world, for her Singing Bridges musical project, she decided this was the one she wanted to celebrate her love for bridges with. Although he is made of stone, the resonance of his being is very present, and I feel at peace in his strong embrace,”Jodi said.  ”He makes me feel connected to the earth and draws me to rest from my endless nomadic wanderings. He is fixed, stable, rooted to the ground, while I am nomadic, transient, ever on the road. He gives me a safe haven, brings me back to ground myself, and then lets me go again to follow my own path, without trying to keep me tied down or in thrall to his needs or desires. I am devoted to him. The perfect husband… strong and silent!”

Jodi-Rose-bridge

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French Haunted House Auctioned Off on eBay for Just 1 Euro

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A listing on the French version of eBay recently went viral after being picked up by major news outlets. Apparently, someone is selling a haunted house in Arbresle, Rhône-Alpes region, for just 1 euro.

It’s true that the place doesn’t look like much, if the photos are anything to go by, but still 1 euro for a 110 square meter home and a 350 square meter piece of land is really cheap. Maud69620, the person who listed the house does have her reasons for basically giving away the house for free. According to the description on eBay, a horrible murder took place there sometime during the 1950s, and now it’s haunted by troubled spirits. Paranormal phenomena observed inside the house include knocks on windows, strange voices and murmurs, weird noises and moving objects. All that’s missing from a complete haunted house package is a ghost. But Maud is not in the mood for jokes. In fact she specifically asks those who think her listing is a fake not to contact her, as the ad is only addressed to those who believe in the spirit world.

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French Company Offers Thrill-Seekers the Chance to Be Kidnapped

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A basic abduction package in France will cost you about $1,300. No, not the ransom, but actually getting yourself kidnapped.

If you’re looking for an experience straight out of a Hollywood movie, Eastern France is the place you need to be, where a small company called Ultime Realite provides the unique service. The basic package consists of being seized by strangers, bound, gagged and bundled into a car, and kept in a dark cellar for four hours. Advanced packages include tailor-made services such as boat chases, helicopter escapes, and being kept for longer periods of time.

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French Artist Buries Himself in a Tiny Hole for Seven Days, to Read

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How far would you go to find some peace and quiet for a nice read? French artist Abraham Poincheval stayed buried for a whole week in a tiny underground hole in the underpinning of a Marseille bookstore, with books as the only company.

On September 20, Abraham Poincheval began his unique performance, aptly entitled 604,800 seconds. Equipped only with a headlamp, some water, freeze-dried food, a camera and most importantly a small stack of books selected by the booksellers at the “Histoire d’un Jour” bookstore, he descended into a 62cm-wide and 1.7m-deep shaft dug in the underpinning of the Marseille venue. The size of the hole meant he couldn’t sit or stand up, making the claustrophobic experiment all the more difficult. He was covered with a stone lid and started enjoying his seven days separated from the outside world by reading. During all the 604,800 seconds he remained buried under the bookstore, Abraham filmed everything he did (which obviously wasn’t much, since he could hardly move), and the images were projected on the walls of the bookstore/gallery. He also stayed in touch with civilization via a microphone and speaker, which helped him communicate with visitors.

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Utopix – French Family Turn Barren Field into Outsider Art

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Jo and Dominique Pillet’s home ‘Utopix’ is like something right out of a fairy tale. They started work on it about 30 years ago, and although it was completed as of 2010, it continues to evolve. The beauty of the house is not just in the construction, but the patience and perseverance put in by its builders, given that the land it stands on was considered to be barren. Utopix is located on an 11 hectare (27 acre) plot in Causse de Sauveterre, Lozere, France. Causses are sparsely populated plateaus of limestone. The limestone soil does not hold water and so the terrain is very much like a desert, but that didn’t stop this French family from fulfilling their dream.

The Pillets got married in the 70s and purchased their plot of land with the intention of building a beautiful home. Being artists themselves, they wanted to create something that was both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It’s been a long journey with several hurdles, but the couple has managed to complete the task and quite beautifully in fact. The construction project was started in 1979, and Jo Pillet mostly worked on it alone, or with the help of a few friends. He mostly made use of the abundant limestone in the region, structuring it in the form of igloos. The domed structures were then reinforced with concrete and wood, and later covered with stones to give them a cave-like feel. After two whole decades, the building finally began to take shape in 1992. Utopix has been quite popular since then, with local newspapers carrying stories, and several visitors coming to see it regularly.

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Hamster Villa Lets You Experience Life as a Small Rodent

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According to French scenographer Yann Falquerho, sometimes people really do want to live like their caged pets. I’m not sure I do, but Falquerho must be right, because his creation – the Villa Hamster – is immensely popular. The hotel allows you to experience exactly what the life of a caged hamster is like.

42-year-old Falquerho had always felt that the hotel industry did not pay any attention to the animal transformation niche. So he decided to open his own hotel designed with a hamster theme. Villa Hamster opened in 2009 and has been very popular ever since then. Located in Nantes, western France, the hotel opened with a room tariff of $150 per night, but this was soon increased in accordance with the demand. “We have a lot of success with this little house. It is because of the concept to transform into an animal,” Falquerho told the press just a couple of weeks after the hotel was inaugurated.

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La Maison a Vaisselle Cassee – Outsider Art in Louviers, France

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La Maison a Vaisselle Cassée or The Broken Crockery House, is a very special place located in Louviers, France. I took a look at a few pictures and couldn’t help being reminded of the gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel. Of course, you can’t eat this one and there’s no evil witch living there.

This was the home of Robert Vasseur and his wife, who abandoned wallpaper and painstakingly decorated their home with mosaics made from broken crockery, seashells, twinkling china and glass. Born in 1908, Vasseur was a milk transporter and also worked in textiles. His strange passion for mosaic decoration started way back in 1952 when he first got the idea while doing repair work in his kitchen. He embellished an old cement kitchen sink with broken crockery mosaics and never looked back. Starting with that old sink, he expanded his idea to the interior of his house, the backyard, then the garden and later even the dog house. This went on for the next 50 years or so.

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