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The Bonfire of Destiny, a Parisian Disaster on Netflix

One of the biggest fires in the 19th century has inspired a series coproduced by French television network TF1 and Netflix, streaming in the United States since December 26. In Paris during the Belle Epoque, the Bazar de la Charité sale organized by the Baron de Mackau was an annual get-together for the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie. Women in hoop...

Denise-Bombardier
Denise Bombardier: “In America, Mr. Matzneff Would Already Be in Jail”

In 1990, the Quebecer journalist was the only person to condemn the acts of pedophilia committed by Gabriel Matzneff. The successful French writer was an idol of the Parisian intelligentsia who used his attraction to young boys and girls as a major inspiration for his books. After being insulted by her French colleagues, Denise Bombardier has become a heroine for...

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Philippe Lançon: Life After Charlie Hebdo

In Disturbance, the French writer and journalist describes his slow reconstruction after being severely wounded in the terrorist attack against newspaper Charlie Hebdo. A deeply moving account the author will present in the U.S. from January 23-31. On January 7, 2015, two men armed with assault rifles entered the offices of satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo and opened fire on...

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Les Misérables: The French Banlieues in American Theaters

The first feature-length movie by Ladj Ly, out in U.S. theaters on Friday, sounds the alarm on the explosive situation in the French projects and could represent France at the Oscars. The film follows a dramatic day in the life of three police officers patrolling Montfermeil (Seine-Saint-Denis) near Paris, where the 39-year-old director was born and still lives. In the...

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“French Culture Is More Than Fine Heritage”

At just 30 years old, Gaëtan Bruel is the new cultural counselor to the embassy of France in the United States. Since September, he heads up a team of 90 people tasked with bolstering France’s cultural, educational, and academic reputation. He is familiar with New York, having taught at Columbia University for a year following his studies at the Ecole...

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Chaumet, From Empress Joséphine to Beyoncé

The creations from the Chaumet jewelry house are neither trendy nor fashionable, but simply elegant. Founded in 1780, the brand renowned for its tiaras and diamond rings symbolizes luxury from the First French Empire, the sophistication of the Parisian salons, and this je ne sais quoi that makes France so enviable abroad. In a studio on the Place Vendôme in...

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Louboutin: From Versailles to the White House

Americans have nicknamed him the “god of shoes,” although he prefers the term “footwear.” Over the last 30 years, Christian Louboutin has made red soles one of the icons of authentic French chic. Born into the modest of milieus in Paris during the 1960s, Christian Louboutin is a self-taught designer with a keen artistic streak. This footwear enthusiast created his...

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Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Market!

The wooden chalets sprouting up from Strasbourg to New York on the first days of December herald the return of an old Alsatian tradition that has become a world-wide phenomenon: the Christmas market! In his trademark tongue-in-cheek style, our columnist dissects this custom. Christmas may come but once a year, but nowadays it seems to last forever. In the U.S....

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Jean-Pierre Laffont: Shooting Stars in America

New York-based French photographer Jean-Pierre Laffont took pictures of the biggest stars between the 1960s and the 1980s, including Charles Aznavour, Françoise Hardy, Yves Montand, Line Renaud, Alain Delon, Charlie Chaplin, and Alfred Hitchcock. He was given carte blanche for these images, which are now compiled in a coffee-table book published in France by Les Editions de la Martinière. "Let...

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Amédée Scarves Rewritten by Nicolas Ouchenir

As part of the holiday celebrations, the wool accessories brand Amédée Paris has collaborated with star calligrapher Nicolas Ouchenir to design a collection of scarves blending ink drawings and travel-inspired lettering. Nicolas Ouchenir loves fine paper and beautiful pen strokes. In our Twitter-dominated era, the young Parisian has carved out a niche as the go-to calligrapher for leading luxury brands....

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Thanksgiving: A Turkey With French Dressing

In 1952, a young American journalist set out to enlighten the French about the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday. He did so with a twinkle in the eye and his tongue firmly in cheek. The journalist was Art Buchwald, later renowned as a Pulitzer Prize-winning political commentator and humorist but then a rookie reporter based in Paris. Through talent, effort...

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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...

Michel-Houellebecq
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...