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Heritage: We Must Save Our Old Stones!

For the European Heritage Days on September 15 and 16, 2018, France will organize a lottery whose proceeds will help restore endangered historical sites throughout France. Thousands of monuments in rural areas or small communities across France are falling into disrepair, including bridges and garrets, abbeys and fountains, theatres and synagogues, factories, ramparts, orangeries, greenhouses, windmills, viaducts, châteaux, and hundreds of...

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France and the United States From Liberation to Exasperation

How did Americans go, in the mind of the French, from gum-chewing liberators to Coke-swilling invaders? A U.S. historian and a French cheesemonger examined this transformation in a book published this summer. During the Liberation, American GIs used calvados brandy to fuel their Zippo lighters. In 1948, the French communist party called for a boycott of the American soda giant, accusing...

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Crossing the Line: Thought-Provoking Performances in New York

From September 18 through October 13, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) presents Crossing the Line Festival 2018, the 12th edition of its critically acclaimed interdisciplinary showcase for avant-garde creative talents from around the world. The wide-ranging, thought-provoking lineup includes What Remains, a collaboration between choreographer Will Rawls, poet Claudia Rankine, and video artist John Lucas that explores the effects...

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Hijabs and Freedom: How a U.S. Ad Shocked the French

The French controversy surrounding an advertising campaign featuring a young girl in a hijab has revealed cultural differences between France and the United States — the latter of which has applauded this diversity. American ready-to-wear brand Gap was met with criticism in France in late July. The label’s advertising campaign for its back-to-school collection includes a young girl wearing a blue...

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Corot’s Women Revealed in Washington D.C.

French landscape painter Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was also a talented portrait artist and observer of the female form. This lesser-known part of his art is revealed in an exhibition opening on September 9 at the National Gallery of Art. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875) is best known as a master of landscape painting in the 19th century, and a transitional figure between the French Neoclassical tradition...

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“The Apparition” in U.S. Theaters

In Xavier Giannoli's latest film, out in U.S. theaters on September 7, Vincent Lindon plays a reporter who is hired to investigate a divine apparition. Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man, Mademoiselle Chambon, Welcome) plays Jacques, a highly-regarded reporter for a French daily newspaper who receives a mysterious call from the Vatican. In a small town in Southern France, an...

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Saint Barthelemy, a French Diamond in the Caribbean

Saint Barthelemy is known as "billionaires' island" due to its celebrity population. A former French colony and now an Overseas Collectivity, the island also attracts American tourists looking for sun and French culture. St. Barts is a volcanic gem spanning 10 square miles, located ten hours by plane from France and three from the United States. When French pilot and...

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Iconic: The Laughing Cow

These triangular cream cheeses combining comté, emmental, gouda, edam, and cheddar are actually a French invention, and known as La Vache Qui Rit. Sold in little round boxes, these snacks are part of fond childhood memories in France. The lighter version is also a best-seller in the United States, where it is sold in supermarkets as the Laughing Cow. The saga...

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How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Marcel Proust

At the turn of the 19th century, three celebrities of their day reigned supreme in the uppermost crust of Paris. These three women, Madame de Chevigné, Straus, and Greffuhle, are important to us today not because of their status but because they inspired the pen and passion of Marcel Proust. The famed author conflated their characteristics to create the fictional...

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“In the Realm of Perfection”: McEnroe From all Angles

In his latest documentary, out in U.S. theaters on August 22, French filmmaker Julien Faraut takes a close look at American superstar John McEnroe, a tennis player who became a case study on perfectionism in sports. Julien Faraut is the director of several documentaries blending sports and cinema, and exhumed 600 meters of “instructional” film reel designed to teach tennis technique...

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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 which was chosen to represent France at the 2019 Oscars ceremony. June, 1944. France is still living under Nazi...

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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...