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French Connections

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National stereotypes die hard. Despite France?s poor showing in a recent list of the world?s top 10 restaurants, only one against the Britain?s four, the French still view England as a place with appalling weather and even worse sustenance.

THE CLOCKS went back over the last weekend in October. I used to have a small problem remembering which way they went until an American taught me a simple mnemonic: Spring Forward, Fall Back. Very useful if you speak English, but not much cop in F

IS DESERT Island Discs still on the go? You know, the radio programme where the guests are invited to list the music they'd take with them if they were in for a long stay on a desert island? Years ago I used to listen to it occasionally when it wa

IT TAKES extra helpings of courage and ingenuity to convert an old Citroën garage into a restaurant. For many years M. Planès had run his repair shop in a solidly built and capacious shed, the sort of thing the French call un hanga

Service d'été, they call it, summer timetable. It comes in about May and lasts until la rentrée in early September, when summer holidays end and the schools go back. Service d'été means

YOU'VE GOT two minutes. Two minutes to write down all the French words you can think of that we use in ordinary everyday English speech. Nonsense, there are hundreds of them. You've got pencil, paper and watch? Right, head down and off you go.

BY THE time you read this you'll know the answer: did France vote oui or non for the European constitution?

A few days ahead of the vote it's impossible to say which way it might go. I wouldn't stick my head out that far. I'm always wrong a