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The Bastille Key, a French Relic in America

The Bastille key is a symbol of the French monarchy and the prison that was taken by Parisian revolutionaries on July 14, 1789. Today, it is exhibited in the United States at a museum south of Alexandria in Virginia. Mount Vernon, George Washington’s plantation located on the banks of the Potomac River, is now a museum home to the final...

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The Ups and Downs of the Tour de France

Sporting prowess, heroic riders, and big business: Despite doping rumors, the Tour de France, which will be held this year from July 6 through 28, remains a major spectacle enjoyed worldwide. The Tour de France is a paradox. Created in France in 1903, it has long embodied an authentically French competition in its portrayal of a country, a culture, rural...

Delsey: Give Your Travels a French Touch

[Partner Article] From the packed avenues around Time Square to the cobblestone streets of Montmartre, French luggage company Delsey is an expert in user-friendly travel cases and accessories for all your escapades. Elegant, convenient suitcases are the very best travel companions. And they are even better when they are French! Founded near Paris in 1946, the Delsey brand is a...

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Les Levai: A Dynasty of Gallery Owners

French-American art dealer Pierre Levai is preparing to hand over the reins of the family empire, the Marlborough Gallery, to his son. The gallery is an international brand with spaces in New York, London, Madrid, and Barcelona and a roster of over 60 world-class artists. On West 25th Street in New York, a stone's throw from a monumental sculpture of...

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The Breton Shirt Gets a Colorful Revamp for Pride Month

The Breton striped shirt is a symbol of female emancipation, and is being revisited in the colors of the rainbow for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots which launched the gay rights movement in the United States. Five hundred multicolored striped shirts have been delivered to the MoMA Design Store in New York, where the blue and white version...

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La Fête de la Musique: How France’s Annual Musical Jamboree Enchanted the World

Amid doubts about how many people will turn out for the next round of Yellow vests demonstrations, I can make one prediction with absolute certainty: thousands will take to the streets of France on June 21, carrying nothing more than guitars, trumpets, drums, kazoos, and all sorts of music-making paraphernalia. They will be celebrating la Fête de la Musique, an...

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Kursk in U.S. Theaters

Producer Luc Besson’s disaster movie starring Léa Seydoux, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Colin Firth, out on Friday, depicts the tragic accident that cost the lives of 118 Russian sailors in 2000. Based on a true story, the movie is an adaptation of the book A Time to Die: The Kursk Disaster by British investigative journalist and Soviet Union expert Robert Moore....

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The Art of Daily Life in the France of Yesteryear

Daily life is at the center of this exhibition of 18th-century French painting opening on June 14 at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. In the 18th century, France’s powerful Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture dictated a strict hierarchy of subject matter, with historical, mythological, and religious scenes at the top, followed by portraiture, landscape, genre, and still...

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Lara Fabian: Francophone by Heart, Quebecer by Adoption

With a 30-year career and 20 million albums sold across the world, Lara Fabian is an icon of Francophone music. As part of her 50th birthday celebrations, the Belgian-Canadian artist will be kicking off an international tour with more than 50 dates, beginning in New York on September 16. The tour — christened the “50 World Tour” — follows on...

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Philippe Petit, the Last Sky Poet

Anticipating the 45th anniversary of Philippe Petit’s incredible tightrope walk between the Twin Towers in New York, the New Directions publishing house has rereleased his book, On the High Wire, a practical, poetic little work translated into English by New York writer Paul Auster. Philippe Petit sitting down is a sad sight to behold. He usually inspires images of a...

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Acoustic, the Go-To Show for Francophone Music Lovers

The weekly TV show Acoustic has been TV5MONDE’s leading musical fixture since 2002. Presented by Sébastien Folin, the 26-minute production showcases Francophone artists in special studio sessions. The best-of compilation of the 2018-2019 season will be broadcast on June 20, 2019, to celebrate World Music Day. France-Amérique: What sets Acoustic apart from other French music shows? Sébastien Folin: Acoustic is a show made for...

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Renoir: The Body, The Senses

This exhibition opening on June 8 at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, 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 his...

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The 177 French Soldiers of D-Day

The D-Day Landings on the Normandy beaches took place on June 6, 1944, led by 57,500 American soldiers, 58,815 Brits, 21,400 Canadians, and just 177 Frenchmen! A tiny but elite commando force the history books have long forgotten. “Action stations, 0430 hours, the last coffee before France. The night is drawing to an end, we are stunned by the sight...

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Of Bombs and Beaches: Leon Kroll’s Mosaic Ceiling at Omaha Beach

A chapel stands amidst the graves in the U.S. military cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, the focal point of the Allied landings in France during World War II. Inside, the ceiling of its dome features an astonishing, colorful mosaic by American painter Leon Kroll. Standing among thousands of white marble crosses on a bluff above Omaha Beach in Normandy is a...

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Simon Pagenaud: History of a French Come-Back at Indianapolis

Simon Pagenaud won the Indianapolis 500, the most renowned car race in the United States, on Sunday May 26. He is the first French driver to claim victory for over a century. The last time a French driver was at the top of the podium in Indianapolis, World War I had not yet begun and protective gear consisted of a...

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Edgar Degas, an Impressionist in New Orleans

Edgar Degas is renowned for his paintings of young ballet dancers and horse races, and his series depicting women ironing. A lesser known painting is that of New Orleans. He travelled to the city in 1872 to see the American side of his mother’s family, who worked as cotton and textile merchants. The painter saw this six-month stay as a...

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From Connecticut to Normandy: The Planes of D-Day Take to the Skies

Ten World War II cargo planes took off from an airfield in Connecticut last Sunday morning. They will fly across the Atlantic and drop several hundred parachutists over Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the 1944 landings. D-Day Doll is almost 76 years old but purrs like she has just come out of the Douglas factory in Santa Monica,...

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Manet and Modern Beauty

This exhibition which opens at the Art Institute of Chicago on May 26 is the first to focus on the final years of Edouard Manet's career, when, suffering from ill health and no longer able to be the man-about-Paris, he underwent something of an artistic transformation. “In the revolutionary formation of modern painting, he was, by general agreement, first among...

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JR: The Chronicles of San Francisco

In his latest project, on display at SFMOMA through 2020, the French artist JR dedicates a 100-foot digital mural to the city of San Francisco and its many residents. JR, 36, has come a long way since his teenage years as a graffiti artist in Paris. After finding a lost camera in the Métro, he began taking pictures of other taggers and...

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France Behind the Rise of Rugby in the United States

The United States, the land of football, may well be hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2031. This ambition is a reflection of the boom in Major League Rugby, a U.S. rugby union competition, which has largely been made possible by French players, coaches, and managers. Between late April and early May, two French players announced they were being transferred...

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Monsieur Mediocre: The High Art of Being French Everyday

John von Sothen is an American columnist who lives in Paris, where he covers entertainment and society issues for French Vanity Fair. He moved there after meeting his wife, Anaïs, in a café in Brooklyn. They now have two kids who, with Anaïs, are featured throughout his first book, Monsieur Mediocre, which is ultimately a love letter to France — to...