History

  • The Tower of Babel - How the French Learned to Speak French -

    By Sue Aran

    I have some French friends whom I refer to as the linguist police.  They never miss an opportunity to correct my pronunciation of their language nor my grammatical errors, often with a wagging finger and a stern reproach. It wasn't until I began to read, Robb Graham's The Discovery of France, one of the most wonderful historical, geographical and anecdotal accounts of France from the Revolution to the first World War, that I began to understand the pathology of their lingua franca.

    Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 February 2015 )
  • History of the Baguette: Legends, Laws, and Lengthy Loaves

    By Margo Lestz

    What could be more traditionally French than the baguette, that long slender loaf of bread that has become an instantly recognised symbol of France?  At any hour of the day, on the streets of any village, town, or city, you are likely to see the French strolling along with one of these elongated loaves tucked under their arm.  That’s because this ubiquitous bread can accompany their breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

    Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 February 2015 )
  • Belleville: Paris of the People

    By Allison Zinder

    At the crossroads of the 10th, 11th, 19th, and 20th districts, Belleville is known among Parisians as a miniature Chinatown and for its rowdy bars. But who knew that the area’s history was so rich in entertainment, and that the seeds of uprisings were sown right here in eastern Paris?

    Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 January 2015 )
  • Why Paris is the Fashion capitol of the World

    By Katja Kozlevcar

    We call Paris one of the four fashion capitals, together with Milan, New York and London, but truly Paris is nothing less but the only fashion capital of the world. We aren’t stating that just out of pure love for the City of Lights but merely as a fact. This magnificent city is the cradle of fashion.

    Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 December 2014 )
  • Étrangers à la Mode

    By Caroline Goldthorpe

    Since the 18th century France has been the leader of the fashion world for the wealthy, fashionably-dressed throughout Europe and the US. Cut off from France during the Napoleonic Wars, the English hurried back to Paris to catch up on the latest styles as soon as hostilities ceased and Americans too watched Paris for direction on all aspects of dress, from the length of their sleeve to the volume of their skirt.  Even Queen Victoria loved French silks and wore Parisian-made gowns.  And into this chic world arrived a young fashion designer from England named Charles Frederick Worth.

    Last Updated ( Friday, 12 December 2014 )
  • Nobility in Exile: The Little Prince

    By Barbara Becquiot

    “Paris martyrised...but Paris liberated”, shouted Charles De Gaulle upon arriving in Paris with Philippe Leclerc and General Patton's troops. This summer, ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the August 1944 Liberation of the French capital are in full swing.   After the French government's D-day reeactment in Normandy at the beginning of June and its August 15th “sound and light” show commemorating the allied landing in Provence, Paris has taken to the limelight.

    Last Updated ( Monday, 01 September 2014 )
  • La Bonne Fête de Muguet - May 1, 2014

    By Sue Aran

    Convallaria majalis, commonly known as Lily of the Valley, Wood Thrush or Muguet in French, has been the quintessential spring flower since the Greek god, Apollo, was said to have created it to bloom in the month of May so it would cushion the tender feet of his muses as they walked through the forest seeking inspiration.

    Last Updated ( Friday, 18 April 2014 )
  • 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 ( Wednesday, 30 April 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 )
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