This week-end, Americans will be celebrating Bastille Day by eating crêpes and drinking wine and cheering on the French team in the World Cup final. Foreign language advocate and devoted Francophile Kathleen Stein-Smith takes a look at the influence and impact of French language and culture in the United States. It is possible sit in a café, to have a macaron...
The French do not celebrate the Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day; they may not even know what it means. Americans, on the other hand, are familiar with what they call Bastille Day, an expression that, strangely, does not exist in French. This enthusiasm for the Storming of the Bastille is not shared by all French people — the Revolution,...
The U.S. manufacturer’s decision to relocate its production overseas in reaction to the customs duties imposed by the European Union has enraged the American president. The Harley-Davidson that Brigitte Bardot sang about in 1967 (I don't need anybody, When I'm on my Harley-Davidson!) is still the legendary motorcycle many French people dream about. The Harley-Davidson Federation has 36 fan clubs in...
Parisian bistro owners are looking to have their terraces granted Unesco's intangible cultural heritage status. The initiative is backed “wholeheartedly” by the city of Paris but has drawn criticism from the New York Times. The American media is quick to cover anything to do with French culture, especially when there is cause for controversy — a privilege reserved exclusively for...
Fifty-seven people from 16 different countries became naturalized French citizens at a ceremony at the Consulate General of France in New York. Who said, and on what occasion, that “Our country is not a nation founded on blood, but on shared values”? And who celebrated the “diversity of origins” of new citizens at their naturalization ceremony? Anyone would be forgiven...
“Compassion fatigue” is a powerful expression in the English language that, to my knowledge, has no translation in French. It refers to the feeling of weariness that overcomes supposedly charitable souls when they judge they have given too much to others without seeing many tangible results in return. This phenomenon can be seen when Western populations (who are almost the only...
At first glance, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron seem to have nothing in common. The two men, however, share certain similarities. The former is twice as old and antagonistic; the latter even-tempered and well-behaved. Trump flouts all protocol, while the French president upholds European good manners. Trump is a nationalist and a populist, hostile to immigrants and to anything he labels...[Subscriber]
Bakers of Maghrebi origin are increasingly renowned in France as they appropriate and preserve one of the nation’s oldest traditions: the baguette. Far from the political debates on immigration currently holding the public’s attention in France and the United States, new French citizens are spontaneously finding their place in society with little trouble. This trend was spectacularly highlighted with the...[Subscriber]
Macron is a European who believes in diplomacy and reconciliation between peoples, while Trump swears by the use of power. They belong to two worlds between which there are no feasible links. Emmanuel Macron is discovering — assuming he was not already aware — that there is little to be gained from kissing the U.S. president on the cheeks. If...[Subscriber]
The demonstrations of May 1968, fifty years ago this month, brought a moral metamorphosis such as France had not known since the Romantic era. Fifty years ago in Paris, the weather was beautiful. Everyone who participated in what has since been called "the events" at least has this memory in common. Evenings were particularly mild and seemingly endless on the...[Subscriber]
Mahmoud M’Seddi is the best baker in Paris. For the second year in a row, a baker of Maghrebin descent has won the Baguette Grand Prix of the city of Paris. ”The French national bread scene is now undeniably multicolored,” approved American historian and French bread expert Steven Kaplan. An annual competition to make the best baguette in the French capital...[Subscriber]
The French once expressed their discontent by putting up barricades. Today, they go on strike. It is true that barricades have not been seen in Paris since May 1968. Charles de Gaulle, who was president at the time, decided to remove the cobblestones and cover the streets with asphalt instead. No more stones, no more barricades. But going head to...[Subscriber]
The scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica, a company accused of using the personal data of 50 million Facebook users to positively influence Donald Trump’s electoral campaign, has rekindled a longstanding debate: Is it time to #deleteFacebook? You are in front of your computer screen. You connect to the internet and prepare to type something on your keyboard. You think you are...[Subscriber]
This week, we learned simultaneously that the world’s best camembert is from Quebec, and that more hamburgers are sold in France than the traditional jambon-beurre ham sandwiches. If we are to believe the results of a cheese competition organized by local producers in Wisconsin, the world’s best camembert is called Extra, and is made in Saint-Hyacinthe in Quebec. While the...[Subscriber]
In the longstanding history of transatlantic relations, an unexpected and paradoxical joining of French and American xenophobic movements has suddenly appeared. Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, former representative of the Vaucluse département, granddaughter of the Front National founder, and clearly a politician consumed by ambition, took part in the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland on February 22, 2018. As if...[Subscriber]
Francophonie — the collective peoples and institutions that speak French — is celebrated every March. Both an initiative driven by successive French governments and a tradition upheld by embassies, this honoring of the French language is confusing to say the least. March is filled with cultural events championing the French language all over the world. But the initiative is a...[Subscriber]
The American press, conservative (Wall Street Journal) as well as progressive (New York Times), regularly proclaims that it has become impossible for Jews to live in France. I conclude that these papers know neither the history of France nor what antisemitism really was. Never in the thousand years that Jews have been in France have we been happier or less...[Subscriber]
After staring wide-eyed at the July 14 parade on the Champs-Elysées last year, Donald Trump now wishes to organize his own in Washington. Many wonder as to the reason behind the American president’s decision. Is he looking to prove the military might of the United States? Few doubt it, allies and adversaries alike. And given the similar events that have...[Subscriber]
Modern heads of government are judged on the economic results of their time in office. However, this is a paradox. Our economies are open and connected to the world, and governments have little way of influencing growth rates. By definition, growth is dictated by global cycles which in turn are mainly determined by technical innovations. Governments can therefore hamper it...[Subscriber]
Power is shifting from politics to economics — a change demonstrated by Emmanuel Macron, who invited CEOs of the biggest multinationals to a gala dinner at the Château de Versailles. On January 22, 2018, the French president invited 140 heads of the world’s biggest companies to the Château de Versailles. The summit was entitled "Choose France" and was held in...[Subscriber]
The op-ed piece criticizing the #MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc movements co-signed by French actress Catherine Deneuve has transformed the debate on sexual harassment into a Franco-American quarrel. One conclusion of the stance taken by the actress and some 100 other French figures from the worlds of academia, publishing, and media was that the Americans are supposedly seeking to impose a "puritanical...[Subscriber]