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The French-Canadian Conspiracy to Invade the United States

Between 1840 and 1930, a million French-speaking Canadians crossed the U.S. border, many seeking work in the textile mills of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. This wave of migration scared the United States, argues researcher David Vermette, a Massachusetts native, in his book, A Distinct Alien Race: The Untold Story of Franco‑Americans. Newspapers ran violent articles against French-Canadian...

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Varda by Agnès: The Last Documentary

In this autobiographical documentary filmed in 2018, the iconic New Wave director who passed away on March 29 at the age of 90 takes one last look at her life and work. The movie will be released in a selection of American theaters starting on November 22. “I'm disappearing into a blur, I’m leaving you.” These prophetic words accompanied by...

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Michel Houellebecq: The Writer Behind the Phenomenon

The French writer published Sérotonine last January at the age of 62. His latest work, which was recently translated in English and published in the U.S., offers another take on his favorite character, the depressed white male. While less political than Submission, the new novel with a print run of 320,000 copies made the front pages in France, despite the...

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The River That Saved Notre-Dame

In a powerful afterword to her latest book, The Seine: The River that Made Paris, written for the November issue of France-Amérique, New York Times writer Elaine Sciolino recounts the dramatic story of how water from the depths of the Seine saved Notre-Dame from destruction during the devastating fire in April 2019. On April 15, 2019, the night of the great Notre-Dame fire, crowds...

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When New York Was Called Angoulême

Before being colonized by the Dutch, who renamed it New Amsterdam in 1624, New York was actually called Angoulême. Forgotten by the history books, this homage to King Francis I, Count of Angoulême, was revealed in 1950 in a thesis by historian Jacques Habert. An investigation-style documentary looks back over this French odyssey in America. A former officer from the...

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Marcel Duchamp Finds a Home in Washington D.C.

Thanks to a major gift, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. will offer unprecedented access to the work of one of the most pivotal and thought-provoking artists of recent times. Marcel Duchamp once observed that “a technique can be learned, but you can’t learn to have an original imagination” — a perfect mental note for visitors to Marcel Duchamp: The...

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Jean-Paul Dubois, the Worried Observer of America

With a dozen novels, short stories, and essays to his name, Jean-Paul Dubois has created a profoundly human body of work inspired by his experience in America, where he worked as a correspondent for Le Nouvel Observateur for 15 years. His latest novel, Tous les hommes n’habitent pas le monde de la même façon, won France’s top literary honor, the...

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If You Please, Draw Me a Watch!

The Swiss watchmaking house IWC Schaffhausen has been working with the descendants of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry since 2006. Inspired by the aviator and author of The Little Prince, the brand creates timepieces in homage to the fictional prince and his philosophical adventures. American actor and director Bradley Cooper spent the most important evening of his career accompanied by the Little...

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Renoir: The Body, The Senses

This exhibition opening on October 27 at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, uses Renoir's fascination with the human — especially female — form as a common thread to examine the trajectory of the artist’s career and his complex legacy. As one of the founders of Impressionism, Pierre-Auguste Renoir remains most closely associated with that movement. Yet during...

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The Spy Who Spoke French

A Parisian playboy, a Foreign Legion veteran, and a French gangster on the run in Florida were just a few of the identities used by Franco-American Marc Ruskin, who worked as an undercover agent for the FBI in the United States for 25 years. Jean-Marc is wearing a long woolen coat and a cap similar to the one sported by...

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By the Grace of God in U.S. Theaters

François Ozon's latest film, an investigation of the pedophilia scandal in the French Catholic Church, will be released in U.S. theaters on Friday. When Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud), a family man and practicing Catholic, learns that the priest who abused him as a boy is still working with children, he decides to report him to the religious authorities of the diocese...

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On the Trail of French-Speaking Migrants in North America

We know everything about Jacques Cartier, the French sailor who discovered the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada in 1534. But we know far less about the other Francophones who settled in North America from the 17th century onwards. This is the ambitious objective of a transatlantic research project set to finish in 2026. Des Moines in Iowa, Traverse City...

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Fashion & Faith: James Tissot in San Francisco

A new exhibition at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor invites audiences to reassess the multifaceted oeuvre of James Tissot — or discover it for the first time. The 19th-century artist James Tissot’s name is emblematic of his English Channel-spanning life and career. With a foot in two cultures, a style that refuses categorization, and a dramatic late-career shift in subject...

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On the Road (to the Elysée): Jacques Chirac in America

Before becoming president of France, Jacques Chirac was a vagabond in America during the 1950s. At least, that was the story he liked to tell. Jacques Chirac, who passed away on September 26, was a friend to America and would tell anyone willing to listen. One such person was President Bill Clinton, whom he met in Washington in 1995 less...

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When the Free French Forces Trained in the U.S.

During World War II, more than 4,000 French pilots, navigators, radio operators, machine-gunners, bombardiers, and mechanics were trained in the United States. A little-known chapter in the history of the French Air Force. Boston, June 23, 1943. The French soldiers disembarking from the U.S.S. West Point were ashen-faced, having spent two weeks aboard a luxury ocean liner that had been...

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Lubin, the French Perfumer That Won the West

From Marie Antoinette to the Gold Rush and Grace Kelly, the French perfume house Lubin has gone down in history and left its mark on generations of wearers. Produced by Sonia Medina and directed by Myriam Touzé, the documentary Lubin, un parfumeur d’excellence retraces the story of the genius behind the perfumes and explores the rebirth of the brand from...

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Family Business, French Comedy on a High

Available on Netflix in the United States, the French series Family Business revisits Jewish humor and stoner comedy, an American genre that features gags with characters under the influence of marijuana. A six-episode comedy series directed by Igor Gotesman and produced by Netflix, Family Business follows the ups and downs of a Parisian Jewish family, the Hazans. Their members include...

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Isadora Duncan, Reborn in a Graphic Novel

Ninety years after her death, long-forgotten American dancer Isadora Duncan is now back in the spotlight. Franco-American actress Lily-Rose Depp played her in the movie The Dancer three years ago, and she is now the lead character in a graphic novel published in France by Dargaud in 2017 and translated into English this week by SelfMadeHero. Isadora retraces the fanciful...

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How Charles de Gaulle Rescued France

As Julian Jackson insists in the preface of his biography, published by Harvard University Press in 2018 and translated in French by Seuil, De Gaulle is “everywhere” in modern France, its undisputed hero. This claim, like some other confident statements in the book, may strike a reader as both narrowly true and what a French thinker might call metaphysically false. His...

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Henri Dauman, a Creator of Icons

Without knowing him, we all recognize his photos of Elvis Presley and John Kennedy. After emigrating to the United States at the age of 17, French photographer Henri Dauman helped develop American photojournalism. His work can be viewed at the Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta until December 30, 2019. Finding himself orphaned after World War II, Henri Dauman, born in...

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French Is Back in Maine, and So Is the Alliance Française

The inauguration of the Maine branch of the Alliance Française in Portland on August 29 is a testament to the resurgence of French in a state welcoming increasing numbers of immigrants from Francophone African countries. One quarter of the residents of Maine are of French-Canadian heritage, and yet the French language very nearly disappeared from this state. Quebecer immigrants who...