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The Birth of U.S. Naval Aviation on the Ile d’Oléron

On August 20, 2018, Ile d’Oléron (in the Charente-Maritime département) will be paying homage to the 383 U.S. soldiers who lived on the island during World War I. Posted more than 400 miles from the trenches, these pilots, sailors, and mechanics from the U.S. Navy were tasked with defending the French coast against German submarines. Located on the Atlantic Ocean...

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Flying Free: U.S. Pilots Saved by the Normans

American fighter planes and bombers supported the Allies in the Battle of Normandy from June through August 1944. During the war, some 2,700 pilots were forced to execute an emergency landing. Local inhabitants came to their rescue, and the soldiers were instructed to blend in with the French until the country was liberated. One such aviator, Major McLeod, went on...

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“Memoir of War,” an Excruciating Wait

Memoir of War is an adaptation of a semi-autobiographical work by Marguerite Duras. It recounts the novelist’s seemingly endless wait for her husband, Robert Antelme, who was imprisoned at Buchenwald during World War II. Director Emmanuel Finkiel offers a heartrending movie, out in the U.S. on August 17, combining literature and cinema. June, 1944. France is still living under Nazi occupation....

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“Francophones in Louisiana Lack Visibility”

An advertising expert in Louisiana is hoping a website and a simple word — “Bonjour” — will give the state’s 250,000 Francophones more visibility. Three weeks ago, Brian Clary was looking for a Francophone hairdresser in the Lafayette region. The Virginia-born advertising consultant moved to Louisiana at the start of the summer and could easily have patronized an Anglophone salon....

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Françoise Hardy, Aging Gracefully

She is the face of 1960s French pop. At 74, Françoise Hardy is also a style icon, and her (almost) tell-all autobiography has finally been published in English along with the release of a new album. Some evenings in the Parc de Bagatelle in the heart of the Bois de Boulogne, a tall, elegant, white-haired woman with an androgynous silhouette...

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Yann Castelnot, Remembering Native Veterans

Frenchman Yann Castelnot, a Quebec-based amateur historian, has identified thousands of indigenous soldiers who fought for Canada and the United States since the arrival of the Europeans in the 17th century. In recognition of his archiving work he received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from the Province of Quebec and was congratulated by the Canadian Minister of Veterans Affairs. Exactly...

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A Movie About the Lost Bayou Ramblers and the Rebirth of Cajun French in Louisiana

A documentary project about the Cajun rock band The Lost Bayou Ramblers has been awarded the French Culture Film Grant by the #CreateLouisiana industry-building initiative and the TV5 Monde television network. “On va continuer !” (We will go on!). These words conclude every concert played by The Lost Bayou Ramblers. The sound of his instrument is still resonating when Louis...

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French-American Commercial Feuds (5/5): Steel vs. Orange Juice

Franco-American history features a number of commercial and diplomatic disputes, from the “chicken war” in the 1960s to Donald Trump’s recent declarations about taxing steel and aluminum imported from Europe. With its boycotts and protectionist policies, we explore these conflicts through five episodes looking at the history of certain controversial products. Episode 5: Steel and Aluminum, a Historical Battle Trade...

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Two Bikers Ride Across America for the Armistice

Two French bikers have decided to cross the United States on a 1918 Harley-Davidson that first arrived in France with American troops in World War I. The two Frenchmen thunder down Interstate 65 on the way to Chicago. Pierre Lauvergeat leads the way at 55mph on a hundred-year-old Harley Davidson. His traveling companion Christophe de Goulaine follows closely behind in...

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French-American Commercial Feuds (4/5): The Mimolette and Saucisson Embargos

Franco-American history features a number of commercial and diplomatic disputes, from the “chicken war” in the 1960s to Donald Trump’s recent declarations about taxing steel and aluminum imported from Europe. With its boycotts and protectionist policies, we explore these conflicts through five episodes looking at the history of certain controversial products. Episode 4: The FDA Clamps Down on Mimolette Cheese...

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Iconic: The Vuarnet Sunglasses

Originally destined for high-altitude resorts and adopted by city-dwelling fashionistas and celebrities, the French brand will open on July 14 its first U.S. boutique in the SoHo neighborhood of New York. Take a look back on this French success story. In the late 1950s, French optician Roger Pouilloux teamed up with the skiing superstar of the day, Jean Vuarnet, to...

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“Gauguin”: Voyage to Tahiti

French director Edouard Deluc devotes his latest movie to the Fauvist painter and his exile in Tahiti, in U.S. theaters from July 11. After Cézanne and I by Danièle Thompson last year and the recently released Rodin by Jacques Doillon, a third biographical movie has now arrived in theaters. This time the subject is Gauguin, another leading, 19th-century French artist...

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French-American Commercial Feuds (3/5): Freedom Fries Flout the French

Franco-American history features a number of commercial and diplomatic disputes, from the “chicken war” in the 1960s to Donald Trump’s recent declarations about taxing steel and aluminum imported from Europe. With its boycotts and protectionist policies, we explore these conflicts through five episodes looking at the history of certain controversial products. Episode 3: Freedom Fries Flout the French The United...

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Le Tour: An Epic Ride Across Rural France

Part sporting epic, part media extravaganza, part assertion of national identity, the Tour de France cycle race will depart from Noirmoutier-en-l'île in the Vendée region on Saturday, July 7. What makes this barnstorming annual event so compelling? Held every July, the Tour de France — literally "tour of France" — is an epic, 2,200-mile cycle race lasting 23 days. It is...

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Serge and Beate Klarsfeld: “We Will Keep Fighting as Long as We Are Alive”

Serge and Beate Klarsfeld have spent their lives hunting former Nazis, war criminals, and high-ranking officials of the Vichy regime. France-Amérique met with these “militants of memory,” 82 and 79 respectively, while they were promoting the English publication of their autobiography, Hunting the Truth. “He was over 6 ft. 5 and had a revolver in his pocket. I was also...

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French-American Commercial Feuds (2/5): America Goes Crackers with Roquefort Tariffs

Franco-American history features a number of commercial and diplomatic disputes, from the “chicken war” in the 1960s to Donald Trump’s recent declarations about taxing steel and aluminum imported from Europe. With its boycotts and protectionist policies, we explore these conflicts through five episodes looking at the history of certain controversial products. Episode 2: Hormone-Grown Beef vs. Roquefort Europe bowed to...

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“Custody,” a Portrayal of Domestic Violence

The first feature-length movie by Xavier Legrand offers an intimate depiction of a couple in the midst of a divorce, and picked up two awards at the last Venice International Film Festival. A striking work combining documentary, thriller, and social drama genres. The film opens with a scene set in a judge’s office. Miriam and Antoine Besson are going through...

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1918, the Beginnings of Jazz in France

During World War I, Afro-American musicians posted to France popularized a new form of music. This “syncopated ragtime” was the beginning of jazz. An exhibition organized at the New Orleans Jazz Museum through November 15, 2018, takes a look back over this period. “Here, on February 12, 1918, the first jazz concert was played on European soil.” This declaration is...

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French-American Commercial Feuds (1/5): The Chicken War

Franco-American history features a number of commercial and diplomatic disputes, from the “chicken war” in the 1960s to Donald Trump’s recent declarations about taxing steel and aluminum imported from Europe. With its boycotts and protectionist policies, we explore these conflicts through five episodes looking at the history of certain controversial products. Episode 1: The Chicken War In the middle of...

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From New York to Paris… by Car!

As part of the 110th anniversary of the legendary New York-Paris automobile race, six vintage vehicles will be leaving Rhinebeck, New York on June 20. The first stop is in Oakland, California, before they make their way to France! The roaring of the eight-cylinder engine drowns out any conversation at the start of the phone interview. On the other end of...

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Iconic: The Espadrilles

Once a working-class shoe, then the footwear of choice of Spain’s Franquistas, this rope-and-canvas sandal has attracted eccentrics such as Salvador Dalí, fashion designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, and in recent years, luxury and ready-to-wear brands. Basic and affordable, the espadrille has long been labeled the poor man’s shoe. The Basque country and Catalonia each claim to have invented...