While Most Places Businesses in France are the Best and Most Beautiful Places in the World, There are Other Places Businesses Worthy of Note
Saving The Day In California

Saving The Day In California

As a popular travel writer, I thought I had seen it all. It wasn’t until today in sunny Southern California that I realized how wrong I was. Who knew one of my biggest adventures was still yet to come. Even more shockingly, who would have guessed it would come in the bathroom while house sitting. I will spare you the details and let your imagination do its thing but let’s just say as of this morning the sink, toilet, and shower will need to be completely remodeled. On a positive note, Tuscany tile is so out now, right? Maybe it was time for an update anyway? We will have to see what the homeowner thinks when they return. In the meantime, the impending bathroom remodeling is upon me.

The first step in the remodel process will be to hire a professional because quite frankly I don’t know the difference between a screwdriver and a wrench. I call down to the local Sherwin Williams paint store and tell them I need a remodeler recommendation. My requirements are they need to be available in 10 minutes or less. The manager tells me he knows just the guy and like magic, they arrive at noon tool belt and all.

The contractor politely informs me that this quick turnaround is going to cost me a right arm. I say that’s fine I’ve always been left-handed. He laughs and tells me the first step will be to gut the bathroom. We’ll be starting from scratch, and if I want it done before my traveler friend returns home I’ll be lending a hand. We go to work demolishing the bathroom and a few hours later it’s like it never existed. A naked room sits before me and I’m feeling nervous. My new best friend, aka my contractor, says the next step will be to go shopping for some tile, fixtures, and ceramic. We head to the local Home Depot and inform the employee we need all on hand and in stock items. They get us set up with new light gray paint, marble floor tiling, gray subway tile for the backsplash, and a white ceramic shower, sink, and toilet.

My contractor tells me it’s after dinner time and he will return in the morning with his crew to install the tile and ceramic but the painting will be my responsibility. So, as the sun begins to set I get to work. By about 10 PM I have a newly painted, completely empty bathroom and a lingering thought in the back of my mind that I might actually pull this off before the homeowner returns.

The next morning my contractor arrives, coffee in hand, and a whole team in tow. They set to work retiling and installing the ceramic. Around noon I pop in with some sandwiches, mostly just being nosey about the progress of the project and to my happy surprise, it’s a miracle the bathroom almost resembles a bathroom again. My contractor updates me officially on the progress and says he thinks they’ll be wrapped up by tonight. I thank him and scurry off to get out of their hair.   

5 PM rolls around and it’s a Christmas miracle, the bathroom is flawless, just in time for the homeowner the next morning. I cut my contractor a hefty check, breathe a sigh of relief, and vow never to watch HGTV again.

You can find these amazing contractors here:

Inspired Remodels, Inc.
20992 Bake Parkway, Suite 108
Lake Forest, CA 92630
(949) 716-1938

The Happiest Day On Earth…Almost

Bonjour mes Amis!

Pierre here again, your friendly Frenchman, with more travel adventures to share. If you’ve been following my adventures so far, then you’ll no doubt be on the edge of your seat for whatever I might stumble into next. As I had stated before, my work had brought me to the west coast, land of sunshine and stardom. I must say, the west coast is definitely the best coast. There are so many rich cultures and peoples here, it truly is a unique area of our world.

I spent my first few days here on the west coast in Southern California, mostly for selfish reasons I must admit. I’ve always wanted to visit the beaches, try my hand at catching a few waves, and watch the sunset as the waves crash along the shore. Of course, I’ve also always wanted to visit the happiest place on earth…Disneyland!

Not sure how happy one can be after the price of admission into this place, but nevertheless I just had to go. There is definitely something magical that you cannot put into words in regards to that feeling you have when you step through the entrance gates and first gaze upon the castle. It’s like stepping through a time warp and instantly becoming a kid again. At this point, nothing else really mattered. With my newly granted ability to be a kid again, I ran around the park with a smile plastered on my face. I certainly didn’t want to leave this place, nor did I want this wonderful feeling to go away. But alas, life has a certain way of showing up when you least want or expect it. C’est la vie!

Things are so spread out around here that I had to get a rental car for my jetting around, which, was no problem. The problem came as I was leaving the happiest place on earth. It can definitely be tough to find your way around in a new place but add on top of that some seriously bad traffic and some seriously bad drivers and chaos can certainly ensue.

So I was heading home, smile still plastered on my face, when the dreaded flashing lights appeared in my rear view mirror. Confused by what I had possibly done, I pulled over and awaited my fate. Rather than just sit in the silence and go over in my head what I possibly could have done to deserve this interruption in my evening, I figured I’d be preemptive and pull out my passport and other forms of ID. To my surprise chaos was about to ensue because I had FORGOTTEN MY PASSPORT at the hotel! The police officer approached my window shortly after this moment of panic and before he got out a word I blurted out that I was a foreigner and had forgotten my identification. While I’m sure this officer is capable of understanding people’s plights, in this instance he played it by the book. My fate was to be transported to the station where I would have to deal with immigration to sort it all out. That is not the sentence you want to hear as a foreigner visiting a country. Things went from bad to worse and I found myself in a bit of a tough situation. What was I to do?! What could I, should I do?!

Luckily we have this thing called technology and I was able to do a little research and find an immigration lawyer in Southern California. After a little searching, I had found the perfect person.

Let me tell you, the smile that was stolen from me was returned! I had nothing but a smooth and easy experience with them. They were extremely knowledgeable and assured me that nothing would happen and they would sort it all out. Within an hour or so I was saved from my sticky situation and allowed to return to my regularly scheduled program. Lessons were learned and I met people I’d like to see again and others, not so much. After such an ordeal I decided it was best to move on to my next adventure.

Until next time my friends, au revoir!

K Nair Law Group
31897 Del Obispo St Suite 225, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 493-4150

To Ride or Not To Ride

To Ride or Not To Ride

Bonjour! It is me again, Pierre.

Today, I am going to get on my soapbox for just a moment and rant about something.

I try…I try so hard to be an environmentally conscious traveler. When I can I walk to see the sites. I only travel on plant powered trains and airplanes that run on biofuel. I always eat locally and I limit my beef intake. I go to great measures to protect this beautiful world that we live in.

So naturally, I have been extremely excited about the rise in popularity of electric vehicles over the past ten years or so. I can get to my site seeing locations much quicker taking a car than walking which allows me to see more wonderful sites and locations on my trips, although it is still nice to walk now and then, especially on a nice warm summer day.

I had run into a pretty significant problem though with my electric vehicle. It all started when I was traveling in Orange County. I was looking for EV chargers to charge my new Tesla Model S. The OC is beautiful and I was having a great time driving around seeing all of the beaches, but my battery started to run low and I had to find a spot to charge. I looked up the closest charging station and it was 15 miles away! This would never do. I had to leave the beach and head back inland to charge my car. It ruined my day as I didn’t have enough time to get ice cream by the pier.

Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox now because I was able to help figure out a solution.

That night I was staying in my Airbnb and talking with my lovely host about this issue. They were telling me about some of their friends that were having the same issue with their electric car. There simply were not enough charging stations around and many of the homes didn’t have the proper setup in their garages to charge cars. We didn’t even know who to call to try and resolve the problem. So, we started by looking for an electrician in Orange County and it turns out that some of them install EV chargers right in your home for a pretty reasonable price.

Well, my host was excited because they had been looking for a way to stick out among the other Airbnb listings and their figured having a garage specifically fitted for an electric car would be a big selling point. They called the electrician and they came out the next day and installed everything that was needed. And I was happy because that next night I was able to charge my Telsa and had enough battery to drive all the way down the highway to San Diego and back.

Thanks to that great electrician, myself and others can now be even more environmentally conscious than we were before. Helping our world one little step at a time.

If you’re in Southern California and you are looking to get your garage set up for an electric car, you can check out the guys we used. They did an amazing job!

The Tradesman Electrician
(949) 378-8334

The Benefits of American Firearms

Bonjour mes amis!

It is I again, Pierre, your friendly travelling Frenchman. I have to share with you what happened to me this week. It was one of the craziest experiences I have ever had! And this is coming from a guy who once Ran with the Pigs, this is the semi-famous event that happens every year before the famous Running of the Bulls. It is the premier event for pig runners all over the world.

It was crazier than the time I wrestled with that bear in Russia. For the record, I beat the bear, but I also came away with a broken arm. In fact, it was even crazier than the time I met Andre the Giant’s stunt double and beat him in a game of wits!

Okay, onto the story. As you know, I typically write reviews of local American businesses while I travel. It is my goal to one day return to France and start my own business and I am hoping to learn as much as I can from meeting with small business owners.

It all started while I was traveling in Nebraska. A pretty uneventful place for the most part.

Well, let me tell you, it wasn’t earlier this week.

I was scheduled to meet with a local bank manager. I arrived at the bank a little early and sat in the lobby to go over my interview questions for the manager. All of a sudden, a man with a stocking over his head comes barging through the door, waving a gun, yelling “Everybody down! Now!”

People started screaming and running as he fired some shots up in the air.

Now, lucky for me, I had just completed my concealed carry weapon training and was well prepared. While everyone else was running and screaming, I calmly pulled out my weapon and subdued the potential bank robber. The rush of adrenaline was unreal. Afterwards I was interviewed by the local news station and the mayor gave me a key to the city! It turns out that the bank robber was on the FBI’s most wanted list. His name was Smokey McSmokeFace and he had been robbing banks around the midwest for the past twenty years.

For those unaware, in the United States you can get a license to carry a concealed weapon (hence the CCW). You have to take CCW Classes in order to get your license though, they don’t just hand those out to anyone.

There are a lot of places where you can take CCW Courses. If you search for them online, you’ll be able to find some good ones in your area. I recommend checking the Yelp rankings and reading some reviews before you go in.

Well, after all of that commotion, I never was able to meet with the bank manager. I had to head out of town the next day and so I wished him well and I hope that one day our paths will cross again. I do have a key to the city now, so I will probably be back in town at some point.

The next day I had to head out to the West Coast to meet with the next business I am going to review. Until next time my friends, au revoir!

Improving the Workspace One Desk at A Time

So here we are again, tackling another topic in everyone’s day to day life where France does it better than just about everyone else. Your job. For some, they find what they love doing and get paid for it. Luck them! For the rest of us, we get a job we think is good and grind through the day to ensure we keep getting those pay checks in order to facilitate general living and hopefully some fun. The work grind can be bearable enough but the longer you grind, the less happy you become. There is only so much of a thing we tolerate that we can keep doing. Eventually tolerance runs out and grumpy and unhappy people become the product of their workplace. France has seen this as a problem and decided to do something about it. ‘Life is balance’ seemed to be the motto in use when France implemented a change to what it meant to work a full time work week. What was 39 hours as the minimum requirement is now 35 hours a week, effectively freeing up an additional 4 hours a week for personal time for full time workers. Here is what businessculture.org had to say about it:

“A law to reduce the statutory working week in France from 39 hours to 35 hours was introduced in 2000, for companies with more than 20 employees and, in 2002, for companies with 20 employees or fewer. Studies by the Office of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) suggest that France is below the OECD average when it comes to hours worked and consequently French employees have above average leisure time on an average day. Approximately 15 hours per day are dedicated to personal care and leisure (eating, sleeping, etc).

With regard to a reduction in working time, one of the recommendations from France’s National Economic Planning Agency, was that working time should be in line with other demands on time, generated by people’s social and private lives. In this respect, the 35-hour working week appears to be having an impact. An evaluation report submitted by the government shows that the reduction in working time has generally affected employees positively, in terms of both their work and home lives.”

Boom. France does it again leading the way into a brighter future for its citizens by making sure their lives can remain balanced.Whats America doing you ask? Well I am glad you did seeing as I always enjoy making the comparison. The US isn’t anywhere close to making the revolutionary movements in the workplace that France is but they are making improvements that I simply can not ignore. Many new US companies are creating work space environments that help people feel more happy while they are at work. So even though the US is not reducing time are work, companies are taking it into their own hands to create a culture at work that feels good to be at regardless of the menial job that may be required there. So how are they doing this? Well they are turning to office furniture companies that are supplying the necessary furniture and designs that make people comfortable, happy, and productive. We can look at an office furniture company in Orange County that is doing just this! They are called Creative Office Design and they make sure they help their customers from design to delivery. Are you looking to update your office in the US so your overworked employees might feel a little better about working there? These are your guys! Wouldn’t you want your office to look like this:

I know I would. Id feel all important I think. Oh wait, I already do because my country takes care of me. But, if I were to work in the US, I would want to work for a company that was supplied by these guys. If your in town, stop by their showroom to see what I am talking about! That’s all for now. Until next time, don’t ever forget… Viva La France!


Yet Again, France is a Part of Doing It Best – Building Termite Resistant Structures

What is considered Europe today has been around for a long time. We have had quite some time to get things wrong and then learn from our mistakes. As anyone who reads my forum can probably guess, I believe France has almost always been the best at learning from its few mistakes and then implementing some great solutions to keep any mistakes from recurring. One front that this seems to be the case is building structures that seem to be resistant to most bugs that could destroy it. What do I mean? Well almost everything we build is made from concrete, stone, and steel. All things that keep the bugs out and structures standing strong. Its not wonder that Europe has the lowest variety of termites, the biggest culprit of structure destruction. There really isn’t a whole lot of structures that they can eat! We have become pretty good at repelling pests in general… Yes we learned from the black plague. While you still have rats, they are under control for the most part or at least just as under control as our neighbor across the Atlantic. Yes, I like picking on the US because they are always claiming to be the best at stuff when they aren’t. While I concede that I don’t know who controls their rat population better, I do know we are better at keeping termites at bay. Check the stats!

“Termites are found on all continents except Antarctica. The diversity of termite species is low in North America and Europe (10 species known in Europe and 50 in North America), but is high in South America, where over 400 species are known.[34] Of the 3,000 termite species currently classified, 1,000 are found in Africa, where mounds are extremely abundant in certain regions. Approximately 1.1 million active termite mounds can be found in the northern Kruger National Park alone.[35] In Asia, there are 435 species of termites, which are mainly distributed in China. Within China, termite species are restricted to mild tropical and subtropical habitats south of the Yangtze River.[34] In Australia, all ecological groups of termites (dampwood, drywood, subterranean) are endemic to the country, with over 360 classified species.[34]

If you want to learn more, check it out here.

So yes the US and Europe are the top two at keeping these pests under control but we obviously take the cake! Now that I have backed my concerns with facts, I can give my suggestion. For all my friends that are making the poor choice of living in the US, at least they are living in California. Its bearable because its beautiful but not devoid of termites and right now is the season! If you find yourself in creepy crawly situation out there, I came across a business out that way that seemed to have an answer for me. It was an exterminating business that specialized in termite extermination that was all natural. In Garden Garden, you can find them slaying bugs left and right while also not poisoning the residents of that beautiful place. So, for those people that I do know that live in the area, head my advice and reach out to these guys. They will keep your buildings standing for longer than they would on their own. Just never forget our buildings have been standing for longer and will continue to do so. That’s all for now! My generosity for advice giving is at its end. Until next time, Viva La France!

Are People Around the World Becoming Less Dedicated to Love?

It is no secret that the divorce rate in the United States has been steadily climbing for a long time now. On my travels, I like to observe as much as I can to see why this might be the case. What is making people abandon the promise of “til death do us part”? Is the ever increasing polarization of political standpoints? Perhaps the decline in the practice of religion has something to do with that? Perhaps the stress and anxiety that American news always seems to spout is keeping people from ever really feeling happy so everyone ends up blaming their partners for their unhappiness and discomfort. I haven’t spent enough time in the US to really make a determination myself. All that I do know is that France, per usual is doing better at not abandoning such promises. In fact, France is one of the countries with lower divorce rates than a lot of Europe. Yes yes it is true that much less of us decide to get married. Common, this is France, the land of love and lust. It’s hard to think to limit down all your love to only one person. We are just smart enough not kid ourselves by trying marriage out in the first place.

While we have fewer people that get married, the percentage that does has historically had lower amounts of divorce rates until recently. Apparently over the last decade, our divorce rates have gone up by 40%! I suppose this falls in line with the global trend of higher divorce rates. While this number seems alarming, it still keeps France well behind the leaders of divorce around the world. Regardless, France should have the best remedies for this increase in numbers.

A universal constant is that lawyers are expensive. While they are necessary for many things to be solidified in the legal system, no one really likes having to pay their large fees. When a married couple gets divorced, things are no different. The attorney fees from both parties end up amounting to a ton of money. So how can France figure out a solution that will keep it ahead of the rest of the world in the category of being better at figuring things out? Well, what country would have the best remedies for such issues? The ones with the highest divorce rates. The good old US of A. After doing a ton of research into what parts of the United States has the worst divorce rates, I am happy to inform you that Orange County is up among the top. Yes, the one place so many claim to be the most beautiful in the world for both their beaches but also their people can’t seem to keep a marriage going. That’s what they get for making such claims. Everyone knows that France has the most beautiful places and the most beautiful…. structures in the world. Anyways, since they have such high divorce rates, someone has thought up a remedy that circumvents lawyers and their fees. Mediation! For a fee much less than the combined fees of attorneys from both sides of a divorce, you and your soon to be ex can meet with a divorce mediator and work out who gets what and how. Once its all settled, the mediator can file all the paperwork.

Now I have no idea how couples in Orange County that are falling a part can agree to both see the same mediator but I do know that if we have something like that here, our soon be ex’s would be much more open to the idea of using a divorce mediator to ends things cordially. So while I hate to admit that the US does anything better than France, the family law mediators in Orange County seem to know what they are doing. I’m honestly kind of happy that we aren’t the best at it. It would mean we had a problem with marriage as big as the US. PSshhh. Yes we are taking something from another country and using it for our own benefit. Consider it a fraction of the repayment for French Fries US. You are still welcome.

Here’s an example of a divorce mediator that knows what she is doing when it comes to family law mediation. I’m sure all of France would be happy to have her.

A mountain home is a mounted tome

Sprawling mountains are hard to appreciate through a distracted worldview. When the world is flat, what is a mountain if not a spike or valley in a graph. A honeycomb is not built into a hive by an individualist bee that wants the biggest chunk of honey for itself. Self-interest does not necessarily build monoliths that stand for generations. Amazingly so, it takes a collectivist push to make something monumental. The American opus cries foul pointing to some of the great thinkers and innovators and industrialist titans that brand their names into history books. The oddities stand out and mutation at the micro or macro are what bring about mass change. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about nature is its ability to pull in such randomly moving and needlessly antsy creatures as humans to settle in obscure places. I say obscure because there is nothing truly objective that makes Laguna Beach any more or less beautiful than Davenport or Everest or Beijing. A place is just a place yet humans have such a capacity for comfort and self acknowledging (or self loathing) desire that they assign extremely specific – albeit arbitrary – numerical values to different corners of this vast and beautiful planet. Perhaps just to satiate some need for variety, the mountains have been labeled as particularly desirable by city folk wishing to escape geometrically flush concrete caves. The mountains surrounding Colorado are considered by some humans to be the most beautiful mountains in the United States and historical figures have agreed. Living in Summit County is something like living in the pit of an old opera. The music – like the scenery – rarely changes but that consistency creates a deep and abiding comfort, pulling crowds night after decade after generation. Beautiful homes adorn the region by modern architectural standards. Local fauna may disagree with the aesthetic but perhaps the most praiseworthy characteristic of Summit County is its limited spread. It does not clamor over the top of everything in its path for the sake of industry. Certainly cities displace some of the natural order but one gets the feeling when visiting Keystone CO that the city is a guest in an expansive and brilliant mountainside. It is fortunate that the giant spinning carnival wheel of prizes (prices) landed on a high number for much of Silverthorne and Keystone, lest the mountains would be seen as a nuisance to parking and commerce. It is truly unfortunate that bogs have received such a bad reputation amongst the upright walking apes for they harbor so much more life than coniferous forests. Yet coniferous forests get the nod of national part protection and bogs get the cement truck. While it is still possible to enjoy spacious nature, take the time to visit Summit County.


Fall in love with the place that remembers we are humans living on a gorgeous planet. Sure a mountain scape is just as arbitrary to worship as a salty ocean but regardless of the reason, find the time to exist in a natural space without the pressures of individual achievement. If you are lucky, there may even be a space just for you in a dwelling right in our price range.

From ‘Just Looking’ to ‘Make the Offer’ in real estate

Close Close Close shake my hand 5 4 3 2 1 now DO IT NOW!

Boy those agents can sure be pushy when their back is against a wall and they have to make a quota before the month is out otherwise they’re stuck with a box of steak knives or a pink slip. You know where the real difference lives? Right in your neighborhood. When you’re going to buy a home you need someone you can trust that is willing to chat with you about the sale rather than throw you some sleezeball pitch and run off to keep clicking his website’s sign up button in hopes others will follow.

Get yourself a real agent who is willing to sell you a home you want to buy rather than the one he wants you to buy. Down in San Clemente, there’s a self-proclaimed celebrity who sells real estate. In San Clemente, real estate prices make a pretty penny in commissions, she just happens to land on some interesting lists from men with bad hairpieces.

There’s a guy down in San Clemente that is one of the last honest agents in real estate

Aloe Real Estate agency yelp review


In general real estate in France is out of your price range, and you’re asking about San Clemente? It’s a much nicer area and it doesn’t always smell of cheese and old strips of canvas. The people are also quite a bit tougher. If you do decide to live in some of the most desirable beach property in the world, San Clemente is waiting. When you’re an important enough community, you wait for no one.

The real sales person waits for the client to be primed and ready to buy. Then offers the sale, rather than demands it. ‘Make the offer’ says the client and this guy is there ready to finish the sale
Aloe Real Estate
158 W Avenida RamonaSan Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 290-1082


Check the site out

New Communities and Old

Being young has the advantage of excuse. At any point in time a young project, community, idea, neighborhood can simply claim ignorance on lack of experience and receive a pass. At what point does youth run out as an excuse? People are a different sort of excuse but in the real estate sphere, how long can a neighborhood or city go on messing up internal affairs blamed on newness? Supporting local business, education, and public safety are pretty much the core functions of any city but in many cases these affairs are pushed by the wayside because he change in landscape is enough to put city planners on their heels, reeling back what they thought they knew of the task only to realize that cities are fundamentally different places, requiring drastically different management solutions.

Take for example, the city of Irvine that was only really grown from strawberries into raspberry pies (comp sci joke) in the early 80s because Silicon Valley got tired of having all the fun. Meanwhile the champions of the industry thrived on turning turnip farms into tech space and innovating on the cheap land in ways that would make river valley civilizations hang their heads for dreaming too small. Swing by many of the older businesses plazas in Irvine, Mission Viejo, Laguna etc and you’ll realize the running trend is that the infrastructure behind the walls has been swapped and updated several times over as spaces changed hands over and over. In Laguna Niguel for example, the city hardly had a local economy to speak of until real estate developers realized that if they built affordable living, a crowd of support laborers and lower socio-economic townspeople would move in. Their solution was just to build expensive homes. After a predictable dip in 08, Laguna Niguel homes today are worth more including inflation adjustment than they were when they were first built. Few markets can boast such bragadocious claims because few homes are built as well or with as much planning ahead of time. Luckily Laguna Niguel was not a pioneer city like Irvine so it could rest on the tempered confidence of city planners from surrounding, better established cities. The real estate market in some places was the original only reason for them to exist and if we’ve learned anything from the Spanish, it’s not to set up those kind of seed towns hoping for something to germinate – because all it takes is one or two idiots in office to bury the city shovel and all for generations to come.

While novice mistakes do tend to slow the growth, establishment or progress of smaller cities like Laguna, some old communities that are then ported into large, modern metropolitan like Sarasota Florida are forced to adjust their classic ways over to the demands of an ever shifting citizenry. Living within the city limits of Sarasota means recognizing the historical significance of the west coast of Florida but simultaneously keeping up a Los Angeles / Malibu type party vibe so your other vacation home owner neighbors can see both your oxford and FSU sides. Sarasota real estate markets are not quite as evanescent as those of Southern Orange county simply because of its age, niche and reputation but in any case they sure do draw a crowd when spring break hits and youth transition from pseudo-responsible right back to infancy. It’s almost poetic how fitting the gorgeous beaches on Siesta Key draw a crowd representative of the space itself as a piece of real estate. Aged to know better but playing young to get away with stupidity.