• International Women's Day - March 8, 2014 - Inspiring Change

    By Sue Aran

    I have a vague memory of the Napoleonic Code from world history classes in school.  I never bothered to read about it in depth until recently when I was looking for information about taxes and wills in France.

    Last Updated ( Friday, 28 March 2014 )
  • A Love Story - Valentine's Day in France

    By Sue Aran

    As Valentine's Day nears I've been wondering why the French seem to hold an exclusive copyright on the language of romance.  Why is Cupid's quivering arrow poised to pierce French hearts first? After a lot of fascinating and sometimes titillating research, it appears the French have, indeed, invented LOVE.

    Last Updated ( Friday, 14 March 2014 )
  • La Galette des Rois, Twelfth Night Cake

    By Barbara Becquiot

    Whether “Parisian style”, a light and flaky puff pastry pie, plain or filled with frangipane almond paste, or the Provencial orange flavoured brioche cake adorned with candied fruit, the Twelfth Night Cake and its crown is an essential part of the holiday tradition in France. Intended to celebrate the week of January 6th or Epiphany, a date marking the visit of the three Kings to the manger, the word itself betrays its pagan origins.

    Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 February 2014 )
  • You Can Make History in France. But You Should Hurry.

    By Robert Korengold

    France is embarked this month on a special project to commemorate the nation's participation in the 1914-1918 world war erroneously dubbed, for a time in French, "La Der des Der," or, essentially, "The Last of the Last" of such conflicts.

    Last Updated ( Monday, 18 November 2013 )
  • How the Catacombs Built Paris

    By Barbara Becquiot

    Speak about “underground Paris” and visitors usually think of the Catacombs. But few visitors to the city know that these same Catacombs were once quarries used to extract the stone that built Paris throughout the centuries.

    Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 January 2014 )
  • Swamps to Kettles -- How Paris got its Name

    By Barbara Becquiot

    Who would deny that Paris stands out today as one of the most historically and culturally attractive cities in the world?   Every street and neighbourhood seems to have its story to tell.  But for all of its monuments and museums, its language and arts, where did it all come from?  What was Paris really like way back “when”…before it came to be known as “the City of Light”?

    Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 January 2014 )
  • Bourges, the City of Vercingetorix

    By Barbara Becquiot

    A two and a half hour drive south of Paris, the city of Bourges’s narrow streets, majestic 12th century cathedral and over 400 timber framed houses dating back to 1487, remain one of France’s best kept secrets today.

    Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 January 2014 )
  • Vézelay -- From Scorpions to Mary Magdalene

    By Barbara Becquiot

    The history of Vézelay goes back to Neolithic times.  Once called Mount Scorpion because, seen from above, the town looks like a scorpion with seven rings and a dart, the village actually began in the nearby village of St Père at a place called les Fontaines Salées (The Salted Fountains).

    Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 January 2014 )
  • From Onion Soup to Harlots – Les Halles de Paris

    By Barbara Becquiot

    Maybe it was the hopelessly entanglement of traffic that brought everything to a stop on a busy commute morning.   Or merely the abundant supply of impertinently bold rats accustomed to waiting patiently to be hand fed by local street vendors.   The decision fell like an auctioneer’s hammer.

    Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 January 2014 )
  • Storming the Bastille

    By Nick Hilden

    We locked the bar doors and watched as Rue La Fayette became a solid stream of angry protesters. I had seen a good many demonstrations in my time, but this march was unlike any I had known. Usually they involve drumming and chanting and megaphones, but these people were chillingly silent.

    Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 July 2013 )
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