Arrogant storks

Sorry, there’s no other word to describe it. Stop in any rest area in the Alsace area of France, and you’ll be sure to see plenty of storks strutting around.

But, try to walk up to one. They won’t attack you. They won’t run away. Instead, they shrug their shoulders and turn their heads away, to send a “oh pleeeeeeeease” message: I am a stork, you idiot, haven’t you seen a stork before? Just go away, you jackass, and let me look for some tasty frogs to eat.

Baccarat

Even if you are not rich and famous, you’ve probably heard of the finest in French crystal, known as Baccarat Crystal.

Well, it gets its name not from the most famous company that manufactures it (Baccarat Crystal) but from the village of the same name.

The village is nestled deep, deep within the Vosges Mountains of Eastern France – and it’s quite a bit like Appalachia, in the United States. Yes, you can come here. No, nobody will try to stop you. But let’s just say, if you were to ask the French Gendarmes about the wisdom of your decision, they would probably encourage you to go somewhere else.

Here is a snap from the village:

And here is another snap:

And here is another snap:

French cow

Since the times of the Holy Roman Empire scholars have continued to ask whether it is possible to take a bad photograph of a good cow – and despite the best efforts of the finest religious scholars and philosophers, the answer is – always – time and time again – a resounding NO!

I took this snap in the south of France, Les Pays des Portes du Haut-Doubs, just a few kilometers from the border to the Jura region of Switzerland.

FAKE – Alsace drainage

As artistic a snap as I thought I could take of water pouring out of a drainage canal in Alsace, on its way to the Rhein river:

Just for the record: the photos I post are never in any way retouched or enhanced or changed – except for cropping. OK, and maybe a very simple color correction a la Google.

But in this series of blog posts entitled FAKE I publish some rather interesting images I have enhanced in some way. This picture was enhanced using a more severe color correction option offered by Google Photos.

The strange houses of Soulac-sur-Mer

Nestled on the far left side of Europe sits the country of France, and nestled on the far left side of France sits the little village of Soulac-sur-Mer, and nestled on the far left side of Soulac-sur-Mer sits a tiny residential neighborhood where all the houses have ceramic facades and – unbelievably – names!

The name of this house is Les Bleuets:

The village sits right at the top of the Cote d’Argent, so probably this is an attempt by the local chambre de commerce to draw tourists.

Zombie Readiness in France

I’m quite shocked that the prevalence of Covid-19 is as high as it is, because there is no other country in the world that is so well prepared for a zombie apocalypse as France. I’ve written about the robo-hotels, the robo-food, the robo-stores – as well as the zombie-proof outside laundry machines.

Here’s another snap to continue the series, showing not only an outdoor laundry but also robo-bread and robo-pizza capabilities!

Donzenac – an incredible medieval French village – 2

Continuing the series, as everyone knows France is filled with incredible villages dating back to the Middle Ages.  Many of them are famous and they get lots of tourists.

But . . . some of them are so remote that tourists have never visited. When small children in these villagers happen to see an “outsider” (in French: étrange éetranger) they recoil in fear because they think they are the only people on the planet – and some of them later need professional counseling.

Donzenac is one of these villages. You probably won’t find it on Apple Map or Google Earth – it is located so deep within France that – even if you knew what you were looking for – it would take you many hours and a lot of luck to come across this place, and of course any locals you might stop to ask would refuse to acknowledge that this place even exists!

As you can see, even the signs are written 100% in French, because they assume that no étranges étrangers would ever come here:

Well, OK, maybe 1-2 Germans have been here – but certainly no more than that!

Bordeaux Man

I took this snap in front of some kind of big monument in Bordeaux. I never stopped to read who this was – nor do I particularly care – what is the sense of trying to show a historical figure who is wearing a rain coat?

Anyway, I liked the way the light bounced off his face so I am quite happy with how this snap turned out!

Le Verdun-sur-Mer Flowers

Probably my favorite aspect of travelling is visiting places that no other tourists are likely to go. Recently, I had to chance to visit a very remote section of western France, a tiny (almost microscopic) village of Le Verdun-sur-Mer, where the confluence of the Dordogne and Caronne Rivers form a delta with the Atlantic Ocean,

Interestingly, it reminded me very much of the delta where the Mississippi River in the U.S. empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

An awful, terrifying French secret: the Third Bordeaux Pod of Justice

Continuing the series, I took this snap in the Mariadeck neighborhood of the Western French city of Bordeaux.

I call them “Pods of Justice” – but I am not sure anyone else does. The building is the Tribunal Judiciare de Bordeaux and according to rumors unlike any other civilian building it’s guarded by a detachment of the French special forces.

There are three pods in the building.

For two of the pods closest to the street, you can find photographs online that show how they are used.

But for the third pod – you will NEVER find any photographs, and entrance to the pod is guarded by a special layer of security.

As you may know, the guillotine is a French invention to carry out a death sentence with an absolute minimum of pain and suffering. As you may also know, capital punishment in France has been eliminated, with the last execution by guillotine in 1977.

Nevertheless, it is very important to the French government to maintain readiness at all times. According to rumors, this third “highly restricted” “Pod of Justice” contains a very modern guillotine. According to rumors, the guillotine is not very tall – it uses a powerful electromagnet – but it is very long, with the idea that multiple executions, if required, can be carried out sequentially.

I spent quite some time trolling the “dark web” and the “deep web,” and after quite some time I found a picture that some people (who know these things) was built on commission for the Tribunal Justiciaire de France, and is now mounted in the third pod:

Could this be the “modern French guillotine” that is rumored to be housed in the highly secure third Pod of Justice? According to my sources in the Dark Web, it is.