French Florist Spends 15 Years Decorating His Shop with 800 Water Cans

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Bruno Geyer, a passionate florist from the quaint village of Rougemont Le Chateau , in the Franche-Comté region of France, has been decorating his flower shop with water cans for the last 15 years. He currently has around 800 of them hanging from the walls and roof of his shop, and even covering a nearby hillside.

It’s hard to miss Bruno Geyer’s unique shop when passing through Rougemont Le Chateau. If the colorful flowers and climbing plants outside don’t give it away, the hundreds of hanging water cans definitely will. They are virtually everywhere and make the place look like it came out of an Alice in Wonderland illustrated book. And with new additions being installed every few days, you could say it’s a work in progress.

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French Man Sues Former Employer Because His Job Was So Boring It Made Him Depressed

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While most employees complain of being overburdened at work, one Frenchman is suing his former employer for not giving him enough to do. According to Frederic Desnard, his job as a manager at perfume company ‘Interparfums’ had him suffer a “bore out” between the years of 2010 and 2014. He is now seeking €360,000 (approx. $400,000) in compensation and damages.

Desnard told Agence France-Presse that during his stint with the company he was given tasks that had nothing to do with his original responsibilities, leaving him “destroyed” with “serious depression.” He claimed that the lack of stimulation at work even triggered an epileptic fit one time, while he was driving. He was then signed off work for seven months, and the company later used his “prolonged absence” that “disturbed the smooth working” as an excuse to fire him in September 2014.

“I went into depression,” he said. “I was ashamed to be paid to do nothing. The worse part of it was denying this suffering.”

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French Engineer Converts Old Cars into DIY Poor Man’s Teslas

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French engineer Marc Areny didn’t let his financial status get in the way of owning a Tesla – he simply built a DIY version for himself.

A resident of Romania since 2011, Marc was driven by the idea of making “an electric car that anyone could afford, not just elites.” So he started off with Romania’s national car, the low-cost 2005 Dacia Logan by Renault, and got rid of all the parts that worked on petrol. Instead, he replaced them with batteries and an electric motor. The result was a reliable and fast vehicle that does the job pretty well, albeit without all of Tesla’s bells and whistles – touchscreens and other gizmos.

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French Baker Sells His Business to Homeless Person for Just 1 Euro

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In a heartwarming display of generosity and gratitude, French baker Michel Flamant recently sold his boulangerie to a homeless man for just €1. The man, Jerome Aucant, had previously saved Flamant from suffocating to death inside the bakery, during a fire.

Flamant admits to being a rather “piggish character”, but he’s proven that his heart is in the right place. In fact, long before his brush with death, he would greet Aucant outside his establishment every morning and treat him to a cup of coffee and a croissant. And his kindness eventually paid off on that fateful day in December when he nearly died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“If Jerome wasn’t around that day, I would have been a goner,” said Flamant, 62, recalling that a defective oven had started leaking carbon monoxide that morning. He was asphyxiating from the odorless fumes when Aucant noticed Flamant staggering around the bakery and immediately called emergency services. It took 12 days in the hospital for Flamant to recover from the ordeal, but he survived.

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Restaurant Owner Bans Bankers after Being Denied Loan

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A restaurant owner in Paris is thoroughly miffed with bankers, so much so that he’s banned them from entering his establishment. A sign outside the place reads: “Dogs welcome, bankers banned (unless they pay an entry fee of €70,000).”

Alexandre Callet’s obvious displeasure towards bankers stems from the fact that many of them turned down his request for a loan of €70,000 ($77,273) to open a second restaurant. He said that he felt humiliated because the amount he asked for is “nothing” compared to the €300,000 turnover of his Michelin-ranked restaurant, Les Ecuries de Richelieu. In fact, most of the bankers who turned him down know Callet and have actually dined at his place.

“I believe in reciprocity,” the 30-year-old said. “They have treated me like a dog, so I have denied them access. As soon as I see a banker that I recognise I won’t let them enter my restaurant. This is not just a kebab shop. My restaurant is in the Michelin guide and film stars come in.”

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French Homeless Man Becomes Bestselling Author after Writing Book on Being Homeless

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After being homeless for nearly three decades, Jean-Marie Roughol’s life is about to change for the better. The 47-year-old’s memoirs about begging on the streets of Paris has become a national bestseller this holiday season, selling nearly 50,000 copies and earning him cult status.

The 176-page book, titled Je tape la manche: Une vie dans la rue (My Life as a Panhandler: A Life on the Streets), tells Roughol’s story from his rough childhood to winding up on the streets of Paris. He recalls how he was abandoned by his mother and brought up by an alcoholic father, ending up on the streets in his early twenties after losing his job as a waiter.

Roughol started writing the book two years ago, sitting on park benches, making notes in school exercise books. He got help with writing and editing from a long-time friend, former French Minister of Interion, Jean-Louis Debré. The two met many years ago when Roughol offered to look after Debre’s bicycle as he shopped on the Champs-Élysées, a sweet tale that is also included in the book. He compares meeting Debré to winning the lottery.

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Company Wants to Turn the Scent of Missed Loved Ones into a Comforting Perfume

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Thanks to a French company, it might soon be possible to store the comforting scent of a loved one forever. They plan to launch their new line of perfumes made from fragrances that people leave on their clothes, in September.

The idea for the perfumes belongs to French insurance agent Katia Apalategui. She came up with it seven years ago, when she was devastated about losing her father. At the time, she wished there was a way she could store his scent in a bottle. Apparently, her mother felt the same way: “I also miss the smell and do not want to wash his pillowcase,” she had told Katia.

Intrigued by the idea of preserving odor, Katia began to investigate if she could actually make it happen. She tried researching but met with little success, until she came across an innovation agency called Seinari, in Normandy. They put her in touch with the department of organic and macromolecular chemistry at the University of Le Havre. Researchers there were able to explore the possibilities of bringing Katia’s idea to life. After much trial and error, they actually developed a technique to extract the odor out of a person’s clothes, and reconstitute it as an alcohol-based perfume in only four days’ time.

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Homeless Bodybuilder Uses the Streets of Paris as His Gym

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50-year-old Sayagh Jacques has a rather unusual hobby for a homeless man – bodybuilding. Although he’s been living on the streets of Paris for years, he hasn’t let his homeless status stop him from training harder than most people, and maintaining his six pack abs. I suppose it goes to show that if you’re really passionate about something, you can make it happen under any circumstances.

Jacques has no qualms about working out right in the middle of the street. When people give him money, he doesn’t use it to smoke or drink. Instead, he tries to eat specific foods that will help him gain muscle. He’s also managed to procure a few pieces of makeshift equipment – a cable and a few ropes – that he ties to lamp poles and park fences. He uses these to do basic bodyweight exercises like pull ups, push ups, pullovers and rows.

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This Artist Is Literally Looking for a Needle in a Haystack

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Italian performance artist Sven Sachsalber is basing his latest work on an age old figure of speech. He’s going spend two whole days looking for a needle in a haystack. Well, people have been talking about it for so long, I say it’s about time someone actually gave it a try!

For two days this week – Thursday and Friday – 27-year-old Sven will be combing a stack of hay in search of that elusive pre-inserted needle, at Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary art gallery in Paris.

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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!”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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”.

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