France

Preconceived ideas…..

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20130415-100534.jpgI have always been a lover of a good cup of tea – not the sort of tea from a tea bag, that is just a drink (and I do lots of that!) – a proper cup of leaf tea – earl grey or Darjeeling! Equally I have always thought of tea as a very British thing, something that we do more than any other country of the World.

However, a recent visit to Paris suggests that the French drink lots of proper tea – this tea shop was frankly amazing. The selection of teas was huge and they have shops all over France (this one was in the Carousel next to the entrance to the Louvre).

I would love to think that we have educated the French in the ways of tea – sadly I don’t think this is the case though!

Interesting how wrong our preconceived ideas can be….

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More French flair

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20130409-201238.jpgI am a fan of the French (really! – despite what I said yesterday) and the way they do things – they have a certain flair and also appear to get things done! I realise this is not a generally held view in the UK, we love to bash the French – I really don’t understand why……

A classic example of the flair that the French have can be seen in the design of the metro station at Arts et Métiers which has its roof finished in a ‘copper style’ – it feels like something out of a Jules Verne book or Captain Nemo’s Nautilus (perhaps that is the idea), whatever the reason for the effect it has a real impact when you first see it and just adds to your day.

You’ve got to love the French………

A ‘proper’ photovoltaic park

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I am a big fan of renewables and hope to see a much greater use of them in the UK – if we don’t we are going to have problems in the future (even with nuclear power). It is great therefore, to see what some of our European cousins are achieving in this field.

As usual the French are not slow in adopting any form of free energy (I blogged before about their wind farms), they have now opened a huge photovoltaic park in the South of France – one of the largest in Europe.

impressive!

The park in Les Mées, lies in the southern department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and is spread across 36 acres. It has been built by Belgian firm Enfinity, and joins several other plants built on the vast Puimichel plateau.

By the end of 2011, solar panels will cover 200 hectares and produce around 100MW, making it the biggest solar array in France. Enfinity’s €70m investment has included work to preserve the landscape with space for grazing and a system without a concrete foundation, making this a very ‘green’ development.

I am not sure we can do anything on this size (or if we have the weather for it) but it is hugely impressive!