Fantastic French Films to Feast on Over the Holidays

Scene from The Parisian Agency

I’m perpetually on the hunt for film and book recommendations, even though I have a long list of both that I’ll probably never get through. At the end of each year, however, I usually pick up the pace of my media consumption. The weather in Michigan keeps me away from…

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November Potpourri: Burials, Bangles, Blues, Books, and More

Chocolate fashion

At the end of each month, I select a handful of fun and informative Francophone news items that have come across my screen. Here are my picks for November 2021. First Black Woman Enshrined in the Panthéon Located in the heart of Paris’ Latin Quarter, the Panthéon honors many of…

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Julie Gautier’s Ama, Stunning Underwater Dance of Strength and Courage

Julie Gautier in Ama

Humankind’s penchant for continually pushing the limits of creativity, science, and physical achievement never ceases to amaze me. You will find a shining example of this powerful predilection in the diminutive French free diver, Julie Gautier. Gautier was born on Réunion Island, surrounded by the Indian Ocean. She is a…

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Baudelaire’s Spleen Defies Translation, There Do the Foolhardy Tread

La Fleur du mal

In 1968, The Sunday Times in London ran a competition to translate the poem Spleen, by the famous French poet Charles Baudelaire. Upon learning of the contest, Nicholas Moore, who had once been one of Britain’s most celebrated poets, decided to have a little fun and also prove a point.…

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Affair Of The Diamond Necklace, Swindle That Ruined An Innocent Queen

The Queen as a Beast

Mention the name of Marie Antoinette and many people will credit her with the haughty citation, “Let them eat cake!” The frivolous queen allegedly uttered these words upon learning that French peasants had no bread to eat. Yet, Marie Antoinette never made this pronouncement nor was she indifferent to the…

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Camus’ Letters to a German Friend, a Warning for Our Times

Hitler in front of the Eiffel Tower

Sunday, November 7, marks what would have been the 108th birthday of Nobel Prize winner, Albert Camus. During World War II, Camus joined the French Resistance, a movement dedicated to overthrowing the Germans. Camus lent his genius to the clandestine effort by working as a journalist and underground newspaper editor.…

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October Potpourri: Criminals, Choreography, Coronavirus, and more

Paris Halloween, 1997, AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT

At the end of each month, I select a handful of fun and informative Francophone news items that have come across my screen. Here are my picks for October 2021. Champagne Wars Last summer, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a new law stating that only Russia’s homegrown Shampanskoye can be…

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