French Coffee House Owner Refuses to Sell His Life’s Work – A Story of Courage

Although his is the only standing building in what used to be an old neighborhood of Roubaix, in Northern France, Salah Oudjani refuses to sell the coffee house he has worked in for the last 46 years.

The title doesn’t sound like anything special, after all, many people refuse to have their property demolished, at least in the beginning, until they get a good price or they notice everyone else is selling except them. But for the 71-year-old business owner neither of the above reasons were good enough. The two-story triangular building once located at the intersection of two streets appears to be the only survivor of a serious air raid. Everything around it has been turned to rubble and taken to local landfills, brick by brick, and Oudjani’s place looks like it’s the only sign of life in a wasteland. Like all the other residents, the café owner has received numerous proposals for his property, but he never even considered selling it. “I will not sell! I worked for it, this coffee house. They will not make me go, I’m used to pressure” Oudjani says, and everyone knows he means it.

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French Town Inaugurates Bubble Hotel Rooms in Local Park

The French town of Roubaix, has recently opened a series of portable hotel rooms in a local park. They can be rented by people who want to feel close to nature in the middle of the urban jungle.

The bubble concept thought up by French designer Pierre Stephane Dumas aims to redefine the term temporary leisure accommodation, and is based on the following principles: minimum energy, minimum material, maximum comfort and maximum interaction with the environment. The unusual bubble rooms were launched in 2010 and have since then been made available to people who want to enjoy a unique experience in the middle of nature, for around $700 a night.

In the French city of Roubaix, a series of bubble hotel rooms have been installed in one of the local parks. They come with a clear view of the sky and offer nature lovers to be close to their environment without having to travel to far away. The bubbles are made of recycled plastic and, once inflated retain their shape thanks to an airlock at the entrance and a silent pump which creates constant pressure. Outside noises are reduced to a minimum while inside noises are maximized, so the visitors are encouraged to whisper to each other, in order to create a peaceful atmosphere.

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Controversial Rent-a-Girlfriend Website Proves Big Hit in France

Spoil yourself, rent a girlfriend! This is the line French site Loueunepetiteamie.com uses to convince male visitors to legally rent a female friend, for an hour, an evening, a night or for a weekend.

Tired of being alone? Are you looking for a female companion who can spoil you and make you feel relaxed? Have you tried a bunch of dating sites that left you disappointed? Don’t worry, help is just a few clicks away – Loue Une Petite Amie, which translates as “rent a girlfriend” actually allows guys to rent female companions, legally! The French website assures its clients they have nothing to fear from the law, because this isn’t actually prostitution, but a simple case of renting a person…which apparently isn’t illegal in France.

According to the controversial website, men using Loue Une Petite Amie can find the most beautiful women, invite them to dinner, a song…a nice evening…and more, for anywhere between 20 euros and 540 euros. The site is apparently addressed to all kinds of men, from bachelors who need a break from social pressure regarding their status, married men who are bored of the routine of their private lives, and even people who dislike their sons’ girlfriends and want to find them someone more suitable.

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French Aristocrats Launch Luxury Condoms

The ingenious idea of creating luxury condoms belongs to French aristocrats Prince Charles Emmanuel de Burbon Parme and Count Gil de Bizmont.

Inspired by a trip through the French town of Condom the pair decided to create a sophisticated, chic, useful and  eco-friendly product that wouldn’t make its users embarrassed to carry it around or leave it on the nightstand. Considering the success of luxury brands in our society, luxury condoms might just be the next big thing.

Count Gil de Bizmont says: “There [is] always a need for quality, good taste and beautiful objects. It is sexy to care about yourself and to want to pamper and provide yourself with the very best.”

While the condoms themselves are said to be more upscale than the competition, it’s the packaging that makes them special, as they have replaced the ordinary foil paper with an elegant little black box, similar to those used for jewelry. Count de Bizmont explains: “The luxurious presentation of our product removes any negative stigma associated with a woman who cares enough about herself to be sure to carry along an Original Condom box in her purse, or for a male to leave it on the nightstand without perceptions shifting about expectations, as they definitely should not nowadays.” I must say the that the price tag reflects all this, as a box with three prophylactics costs $13,50, one with six $20, and refills can be bought for  $2 a piece.

Part of the earning will be shared with non-profits that fight AIDS and HIV and their commitment to an eco-friendly environment was demonstrated through the development of new rubber tree forests and the placement of their condom factories on a plantation to reduce carbon emissions.

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Bugarach – The French Village That Will Survive 2012 Armageddon

Armageddon, the end of the world predicted by the ancient Maya for December 2012, is  a very popular subject these days. In fact, it’s so popular that places considered sacred and safe have become the target of many esoteric outsiders.

This is also the case of Bugarach, a peaceful French farming village, located on one of the “sacred mountains” and, believed to be an “alien garage” where aliens await, underground, for the world to end. Many believe that by coming here, they have a chance to be rescued by the aliens, while the rest of the world goes down in flames.

It might sound funny to you, but for mayor Jean-Pierre Delord, this isn’t a joke, as he said in an interview “If tomorrow 10,000 people turn up, as a village of 200 people we will not be able to cope. I have informed the regional authorities of our concerns and want the army to be at hand if necessary come December 2012.” And with all the sites and articles on the internet talking about the UFOs and advising people to go to Bugarach to seek shelter, the army may have their hands full when the time comes.

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The Ideal Palace

Le Palais Ideal is one of the most popular examples of naive art architecture, built by Ferdinand Cheval, a French Postman, over a period of 33 years.

Cheval began building his Ideal Palace in April 1879. While he was on the job, the postman tripped over a stone and was impressed by its unusual shape. Inspired by the stone, he returned the following day and started gathering more rocks and putting them in his pockets. Over time he began carrying them in baskets and then, in a wheelbarrow.

With no architectural skills whatsoever, Ferdinand Cheval managed to build his Ideal Palace, combining several styles and using the Bible and Hingu mythology as inspiration. He spent 20 years on the outer walls alone, binding the stones together with lime, mortar and cement and decorating them with all sorts of chapel and temple models.

Cheval wanted to be buried in his Palais Ideal, but French law didn’t allow it. So he spent the last years of his life building himself an intricate mausoleum, in the cemetery of Hauterives. His palace was recognized as a masterpiece and is now a cultural landmark and one of France’s popular tourist attractions.

palais-ideal

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