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LIVING IN FRANCE

Desserts, scams and air-conditioning: 6 essential articles for life in France

From summer travel tips to air-conditioning, via scam warnings and and delicious dessert recipes, here are six must-read articles for living in France.

Desserts, scams and air-conditioning: 6 essential articles for life in France
Check out the best French desserts. Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP

If you’re planning on taking a road trip in France this summer, there are certain weekends that should be avoided at all cost.

There’s also other things to think about, from city traffic pollution rules to fake police officers and where to find the cheapest fuel.

8 things to know about driving in France this summer

For many, just the mention of the stifling heat and the influx of tourists that take over Paris in August is enough to make them want to leave the city and head for the beach.

But Evie Burrows-Taylor argues that there are good reasons to stay in the city.

7 reasons why you should stay in Paris in August

Let’s be honest. The long sultry days of summer are usually fairly quiet in France, as parliament breaks for the summer and huge swathes of the population head to the beach. But 2022 is not an ordinary year – here’s what changes in August.

What changes in France in August 2022

Sadly, crime never sleeps or goes on holiday… From computer hacking to phone calls, a new report reveals that scams and frauds are unfortunately on the rise in France and the criminals are getting more sophisticated – here are some of the most common frauds to be aware of.

Warning: 6 of the most common scams in France to watch out for

Meanwhile, as the climate and energy crisis continues, officials are starting to act. It will soon be illegal for air-conditioned stores to keep their doors open, while government offices will only be able to put on the cool air if it is hotter than 26C indoors.

How France is legislating the use of air conditioning

But let’s end on a positive note. France is of course the home of patisserie, which means you are spoiled for choice when it comes to rounding off your meal with a sweet treat. Here are some of the best – including how to make them.

8 of the best French desserts (with recipes)

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LIVING IN FRANCE

Life in France: 5 plants that (allegedly) repel mosquitoes

Summer in France brings lots of good stuff and some deeply annoying things, like mosquitoes. But did you know that there are plants that you can add to your garden or balcony that will repel these deeply unwelcome visitors?

Life in France: 5 plants that (allegedly) repel mosquitoes

If you’re one of these people who are attractive to mosquitoes then you’ll know the misery of spending the summer covered in itchy red lumps – and the bad news is that the rising global temperatures mean that ‘mosquito season’ in France now lasts longer.

It’s a common problem and in the summer French florists and garden centres often sell ‘anti-moustique‘ plants.

We’re not promising a 100 percent repellent rate, but these are some plants that apparently help.

In good news, most of them are small enough so that you can grow them on your balcony or in a window box if you don’t have a garden.  

Mint (menthe)

A common herb that many people might already have in their gardens, but mosquitoes apparently hate the lovely, fresh scent of mint.

And even if it fails to ward off the bugs, at least you can use the leaves to garnish food or make a nice big jug of Pimms (which might distract you from your horrible, itchy bites).

READ MORE: France’s most toxic plants and berries to watch out for

Marigolds (Rose d’inde, sometimes known as Souci)

These are a popular choice to add a touch of colour to a window box or balcony, as well as to a garden, and have the added benefit of warding off mosquitoes.

Gardeners like them because can boost the growth of other plants when planted together.

Rosemary (romarain)

Another aromatic herb that humans love and mosquitoes apparently hate.

If you’re planting it in the garden use a container because it has a tendency to spread and take over your garden. If you don’t want to grown it, or don’t have the space, you can always add a couple of sprigs to your grill when barbecuing to help keep the mosquitoes away as you dine outdoors.

Lemongrass (citronelle)

You’ll certainly be aware of citronella scent from various mosquito-repelling products including oils and candles, but you can also grow it in the your garden.

It grows quite big so might not be suitable for small gardens or window boxes.

Even if it doesn’t succeed in keeping insets away, you can use it in cooking to add a lemony flavour.

Wormwood (absinthe)

The final one on the list is usually said to be the most effective, but should be used with caution as it is toxic if eaten.

You can grow it in your garden or in a window box, but take great care that it doesn’t end up with your edible herbs as it will make you sick – if you have a garden when children or animals are present then it’s probably best to avoid this one altogether, but on the plus side its pungent scent will keep mosquitoes away.

As the French name suggests, wormwood is one of the main ingredients in the drink Absinthe and is what gives it the distinctive green colour.

Legend has it that wormwood is the active ingredient that makes people hallucinate after drinking absinthe, but in fact the drink is not hallucinogenic and never was. It is extremely strong though, which might explain some of those ‘visions’!

Other tips

Mosquitoes like to hang out and to breed in water or long grass, so you can help keep them away by eliminating their favourite spots. For example;

  • Keep lawns trimmed
  • Eliminate sources of stagnant water eg old plant pots that collect rainwater
  • Keep your gutters clear
  • If you have a pond consider installing a small fountain or pump, as mosquitoes usually won’t lay eggs in moving water
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