We saw this cheesecake in the market yesterday (in L.A.) and were pretty sure “Bakery de France” isn’t in France. So we checked: it’s in Rockville, Maryland! Not knocking it, though; we just thought it was sort of funny and that it looks pretty good.
The 15th-century alabaster statues – considered treasures of medieval Europe – have never before left the city of Dijon, where they march perpetually around the base of the tomb of John the Fearless and his wife Margaret of Bavaria.
Now they can be seen walking two-by-two down a plain catwalk in the heart of the Met in the exhibition The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy.
Carved over a 25-year-period by Jean de la Huerta and Antoine le Moiturier, each statue represents a mourner – mostly ecclesiastical figures such as a bishop, a choirboy and rows of monks from the Carthusian order.
In their normal setting in Dijon they are only partially seen, as they are positioned between miniature Gothic arches lacing the base of the wealthy and powerful couple’s black marble tomb…
Here’s a silly fun ad from the U.S. explaining why things are better when they’re French. Soooo….. I haven’t seen French maids like that in the seven years I’ve lived in France – NOT saying they don’t exist but anyway…
Click on the photo to enlarge
Ok, you got me. This “Eiffel Tower” is in Las Vegas, but I couldn’t help but post about it. We’d just taken a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, and they fly you over Vegas on the return. One word about the whole trip: spectacular. So hey, if you can’t make it all the way to the real deal, head on over to Sin City!
Chinese tourists are avoiding France because of President Nicolas Sarkozy and his country’s attitude toward Tibet, a senior Chinese tourism official told AFP on the weekend.
“Chinese tourism to France has reduced a lot because they (Chinese tourists) don’t like what Sarkozy did before the Olympics and afterwards,” Ji Xiao Dong, the vice president of China’s Chamber of Tourism, said on the sidelines of a global tourism conference in Brazil.
Ji said he was referring to pro-Tibet protests in France in the lead-up to the Olympic Games held in China last year, and to talks last December in Poland between Sarkozy and Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
When asked to quantify the fall in Chinese visitors to France, the world’s number one tourist destination, Ji said “it’s not clear yet what the number is, but there are many fewer.”
He explained that France was still the preferred European destination for Chinese tourists, but said many were miffed by Paris’s approach to Tibet, which is under Chinese rule.
“Ordinary Chinese people don’t like politicians or politics,” Ji said, adding that “how the Chinese think about France” has changed in recent months.
France and China have ostensibly mended relations since Sarkozy’s meeting with the Dalai Lama.
But Beijing warned Paris early this month against more “errors” after a spokesman for the Dalai Lama said the Tibetan spiritual leader may be made an honorary citizen of French capital during a June 6-8 visit.
China opposes any government figure meeting the Dalai Lama, whom it accuses of being intent on achieving independence for Tibet after 58 years of Chinese rule.
The Dalai Lama however says he only wants autonomy for the Himalayan region.
The master of romanticism and rugged grandeur, Charles Aznavour has returned to the Gotham stage for an all-too-brief four-night stand with his unique catalog of French chanson. At the ripe age of 85, the singer-songwriter has lost none of his quicksilver energy, impish humor or trademark sense of musical storytelling. In a nearly two-hour show, he turned the pages of a familiar songbook that brought frequent cheers from a capacity audience clearly packed with adoring fans.
With the added glitter of a sparkling ballroom orb, Aznavour sang “The Old Fashioned Way (Les Plaisirs Demodes)” and danced across the stage with an imaginary woman in his arms. But perhaps the most tender memory was the plaintive scrapbook, “Yesterday When I Was Young.”
Aznavour is a master of gesture, nuance and timing. He accents his songs with a subtle reflection of young love and heartbreak. “La Boheme” is a bittersweet reflection of the passing of spring and lost life, while “It Will Be My Day” is a rhythmic celebration of showbiz savvy, youth and expectation. His performance of “Ave Maria” remains an intensely vivid hymn. “She,” the only song performed in English, is his biggest Stateside hit, featured here as an encore that allowed the singer to toast all women.
For the poignant duet “Je Voyage,” Aznavour was joined by his daughter, Katia; the narrative follows a young girl journeying into her future as her older companion travels through memories.
His daughter is one of two backup singers accompanying Aznavour, along with a nine-piece band with four violins and an accordion that projects a much bigger sound than one would expect. A smartly structured lighting design frames the crooner distinctively.
The New York leg is billed as an extension of Aznavour’s North American farewell tour that began in 2006. The performer is undoubtedly one of the last of a breed of living legends, a cunning crooner who has lost none of his seductive charm.
Now I know why it can be hard to find unusual and real antiques and meubles de métier here in France. They’ve been shipped to the U.S.!
Based in San Francisco, The Butler and the Chef offer an enormous and impressive collection of French antiques and other collectibles for people looking to add some functional French style to their homes.
The Butler and The Chef – French Antique Showroom
290 Utah Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 415.626.9600 Fax: 415.626.9601
“The Louis Vuitton ad campaign for the Stephen Sprouse collection is really amazing, and it´s a great branding tool too. All around the world, LV shops are using graffiti to promote this long-awaited collection which is already a big sales hit.
To promote the launch of the Louis Vuitton book that pays tribute to Stephen Sprouse, they´ve got legendary graffiti artist Skam to paint an LV mural in Toronto.” [via] (photo courtesy of inqmnd)
Santa Monica California-based artist, Eva/Effunia, makes the most adorable custom-made mushroom plushies ever. This one is called Le Champignon Jean-Michel, who sports a removable painter’s palette, paint brush and beret, with a requisite black and white striped shirt. The moustache is perfect. The polka dotted head is brilliant and reminiscent of the mushrooms in Mario games. This French mushroom’s favorite colors are red, blue and white and his favorite drink is a cafe au lait. His favorite expression? C’est la vie!
This is only one of many cute plushes she’s made. You can order from her directly from her Etsy store. Her blog is here.
“America’s most famous French bookstore will close its doors this year after 73 years in business, unable to bear a staggering rent increase in New York’s Rockefeller Center.
Outside the Librairie de France, hordes of tourists take pictures of the Center, its ice-skating rink and tree, but inside one of the first retail tenants, the shelves are slowly emptied of books.
The reason for closing this venerable institution located at one of America’s most cherished retail addresses is a simple, albeit familiar one: the rent, which is due in September, is rising, from 360,000 dollars to a million dollars per year.
Online book sales at bargain prices and declining interest in foreign-language books have also affected the landmark Fifth Avenue business.
And in another sign of the times, most shoppers these days come to the area in search of clothes, cosmetics or electronics.
“Of course, we sell for 20 dollars a book that costs five euros (seven dollars) in Paris, but there are also shipping fees for online orders,” says Emmanuel Molho, who manages the family-run bookstore with his two children.
“No, what changed is the whole bookstore culture and the Rockefeller Center has become no more than just a commercial center…”
It’s Cyber Monday! Regrettably, France doesn’t have a Cyber Monday (POURQUOI!?) but just in case you didn’t know about it, it’s like Black Friday, but without the angst and panicked flooded crowds pushing-shoving-stampeding to get the best sale deals of the year. Cyber Monday is an online shopping day with many internet merchants offering free shipping with those hard-to-beat sales – a much calmer shopping experience.
From wikipedia: The term Cyber Monday refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the ceremonial kick-off of the holiday online shopping season in the United States between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. Whereas Black Friday is associated with traditional brick-and-mortar stores, “Cyber Monday” symbolizes a busy day for online retailers. The premise was that consumers would return to their offices after the Black Friday weekend, making purchases online that they were not able to make in stores. Although that idea has not survived the test of time, Cyber Monday has evolved into a significant marketing event, sponsored by the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org division, in which online retailers offer low prices and promotions.
It’s one of the best ways and days to shop for holiday gifts without the hassle.
Still in a state of hazy happiness about the election results, I just want to scream and I will find it difficult to focus on any work today. We will HAVE to celebrate with our friends; no question about it. They will simply have to cut work, like us.
I’m particularly proud of my district, where I cast my ballot. DC had the highest percentage of Obama supporters: 93%. This is the last place I called “home” in the U.S. six years ago before embarking on my new encounters of the French kind.
Since leaving the U.S., we’ve been fortunate to be able to spend about 6-8 weeks a year in the U.S., but each time we went to visit, I had overwhelmingly conflicting feelings upon arrival: on one hand, I was ecstatic to see family and friends but on the other, there was always a lingering sense of shame and disappointment about what the country had turned into in the last decade or so and particularly, in the last eight years of the Bush administration. The country seemed to be falling apart at the seams and a high sense of morality and honesty was loudly absent. I hated this latter feeling. Pathological greed became the status quo, the environment and the food chain continued to be poisoned and people in need of attention were clearly ignored.
Despite this steep downward spiral to the bowels of American hell (ok, I exaggerate a little), the French who I met always kept a positive perspective on the U.S. I don’t know how but they did, and they seemed to express an undying optimism for “America.” I wondered. Are we talking about the same place? Then, I heard the French expression, “C’est L’Amérique!” and thought, oh, ok, you get it and it IS a terrible mess to you.
“Oh no! “C’est L’Amérique!” is positive. It is more of a declaration of hope and accomplishment. You know, The American Dream.”
“Whoa, really??? In the U.S. ‘That’s America’ usually has a more negative connotation. If you find some outlandish event or backward thinking anomaly somewhere, you might hear with a sigh, “That’s America.”
Happily, it has a completely different meaning in France. The French never gave up on Americans! C’est L’Amérique! And today their expression is even more meaningful.
Congratulations President Barack Obama! To those people who voted for and elected the most obvious choice for U.S. President: Barack Obama: you’re awesome. You’ve restored my faith in humanity. Thank you, America.
Tucked away in Chennai, India (southeast coast of India in the northeast of Tamil Nadu), you’ll find an usual and unexpected establishment: a French baking school. The school was created by 25-year-old Alexis de Duclas, a graduate of Essec, one of France’s top business schools, and 24-year-old certified French baker, Antoine Soive, who had previously worked in one of Alain Ducasse’s Michelin star restaurants.
Together, they work toward helping the “Untouchables” in India,* (also called Dalits) the very bottom, absolute lowest level of the Hindu caste system. Their objective is to train and certify the untouchables in the production of French baked goods and pastries, so they will later be more fairly integrated into society and regularly employed. The inspiration to found the school came after a fateful meeting with Ducla and Father Ceyrac, a Jesuit missionary who had worked with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charities to support children and people in distress in India. Many, many months later, Ducla launched his baking school.
Ducla’s school is the epitome of corporate social responsibility, with social issues being the very core of the business, while still maintaining the ability to literally and figuratively “make dough.” Ducla wanted to prove that humanitarian projects can also be profitable. The school is run by the Charity Education and Rural Development Trust. Classes are also funded by philanthropists from India and France. Ducla’s business manages to make a reasonable amount of profit by selling their products.
Students are chosen based on their “untouchability” therefore they must be from economically weak areas and they must be motivated. That is the criteria for selection to this unique school. Along with cooking lessons, the students are also required to take English, Tamil and Science lessons. The training is rigorous and students are required to wake up at midnight and work through the night. After two years of intensive training they should be ready and equipped to handle anything from a fancy gateau for a five star kitchen, to petit fours for a high end restaurant.
A couple of years after the launch of the school, Ducla opened La Boulangerie, a French bakery/ cafe in Anna Nagar West in Chennai operated and maintained by Untouchables (15th Main Road, Anna Nagar West, Chennai 10 Tamil Nadu, India), serving, croissants, cakes, breads and sandwiches.
*Who are the Untouchables in India?
Untouchables in india are branded as impure from the moment of birth. Approximately 1 out of 6 indians (160 million people) live and suffers at the bottom of the Hindu caste system. India’s Untouchables are relegated to the lowest jobs, and live in constant fear of being publicly humiliated, paraded naked, beaten, and raped with impunity by upper-caste Hindus seeking to keep them in their place. Merely walking through an upper-caste neighborhood is a life-threatening offense.
Nearly 90 percent of all the poor Indians and 95 percent of all the illiterate Indians are Dalits/Untouchables, according to figures presented at the International Dalit Conference.
I’ve more than had enough of the clichéd sexist depiction of French maids, and the misuse of “ooh la la.” First, French maids don’t look like this. Ever. Secondly, if there were any French maids like this, which there aren’t, they would never say “ooh la la” in a light-hearted, provocative way, drinking wine and sporting a mini skirt and some fish net stockings.
Although these wines are from the south of France, the California company‘s marketing people are obviously NOT French. I do see the silliness and play on words here and the wine might be legitimately good, but stop it, already!
Barack…ok, since we’re on a first name basis, BARRY is making his rounds in Europe and will be in Paris this afternoon to meet Nicolas Sarkozy. Everyone I know in France wants him to win this November. Yesterday in Berlin, he was greeted by over 200,000 people. I just find this overwhelming support amazing and very cool. Not ONE European I know supports McCain. Anyway, if you want to try to catch a glimpse of Obama, he’ll be à l’Elysée around 5-ish. Please tell him “Hi!” from me.
Actually, his visit reminds me that I’m glad I’ve filed my “Absentee Voting” application, and my ballot should arrive well before the elections. If you haven’t already done so, I’d like to encourage all U.S. citizens overseas to act now so that your vote is counted in the November 2008 presidential elections.
Tonight, the City of Santa Monica in California will launch an interactive light installation / art festival called, “Glow” and the pier and beach will literally glow all night long. Think of it as an all night psychedelic light party with media art, performances, music and sculpture installations. I couldn’t help writing about my old socal stomping grounds.
This is the first ever event of its kind for the U.S., but the idea isn’t new. They’ve borrowed the idea from the annual Paris Nuit Blanche (White Night), which is the night Paris stays awake till wee hours of the morning, and millions of people attend this artistic block party of sorts. (By the way, this year the Paris Nuit Blanche takes place on October 4 and 5, 2008.)
Glow takes place tonight 7pm until Sunday 7am.
Here’s a description from the site:
“Glow will fill the hours between dusk to dawn with compelling, enchanting and effervescent sights and sounds situated in spaces and times that expand possibilities for where, how and when the public experiences contemporary art.
With the historic Santa Monica Pier and adjacent world-famous Santa Monica Beach as their space, artists were commissioned to create unique and inviting works of art that welcome the public to be both audience and actor for twelve celebratory hours. Inspired by the wildly successful Nuit Blanche in Paris, Glow takes its spirit from the fabled grunion that live in local waters and come ashore several times a year to spawn in the sand creating a momentary sensation of iridescence.”
July 19, 2008
7pm to 7am
Free to the public
The “GLOW” Zone, Santa Monica, CA (Ocean Avenue between Colorado and Santa Monica Blvd), Carousel and Ferris Wheel at Santa Monica Pier, Ferris Wheel at Pacific Park, Palisades Park (at entrance to Pier on Ocean Avenue), Muscle Beach, in front of Loews Hotel at Appian Way.
Website: Glow (for current up-to-the-minute calendars, parking information, maps and schedules)
Ever since writing about the zero pollution, zero emissions French Air Car, I’ve gotten some comments and gobs of emails from people asking if they might be available in the U.S.
I don’t live in the U.S., people! I live in France. YOU tell ME. Rant over.
Soooooooooo… that being said, I stumbled upon some information that reports that the Air Car might be available in the U.S. by late 2009 starting at $15,000. That’s just around the corner, and if it’s true, this little ugly (in a cute sense) car could possibly impact life as you know it – in a positive way, that is.
A New York based startup, ZPM (Zero Pollution Motors), just like India’s Tata Motors, has licensed the technology from the French company MDI. They plan to release a hybrid version that will be a clean, efficient way to power your ride. For example, one tank of air is approximately equivalent to eight gallons of gas, an 848 mile range. The car’s air tank can be refilled in about three minutes from a service station, but it can be plugged in at home and refilled in about 4 hours, an electricity cost of about two bucks.
“Britain’s assault on French cookery has been stepped up by a Yorkshire bakery which has started exporting lorry-loads of baguettes across the Channel.
Fosters of Barnsley has used a legal loophole to beat local boulangers to a contract supplying the narrow loaves to the whole of the French railway system.
The order follows a double whammy for North of England butchers who stole Grand Prix d’Excellence awards earlier this year at Europe’s biggest black pudding contest in France. The Real Lancashire Pudding company went on to take two gold medals in the usually French and Belgian-dominated tasting organised by the Compagnons de la Gastronomie Porcine.
The baguette triumph, which has earned Fosters managing director, John Foster, the French media title of “most hated man in France”, is down to the firm’s expertise in making long-life loaves.
French local law forbids the use of fat which is key to the long-life process, Foster said yesterday, but competitors from elsewhere in the European Union can sidestep the ban, under European legislation. Building on the “rolling stock” order, the Barnsley bakery is now challenging the brioche market in France, using the same method.
“Their own bakers could give them a good product, but it didn’t fit the railway’s needs,” said Foster. “In Yorkshire we’ve a tradition of giving customers what they want. They asked for baguettes which don’t go stale and we said yes, we can do you them. We’re shipping the stuff out by the wagon-load.”
Foster said he had been surprised by the “cheek” of the mismatch between French and EU law but recognised a good sales opportunity.”
More Chinese haters of France. In this case, it’s a taxi driver that is refusing Frenchmen and dogs. What about French women? French children? Are they turning away French poodles? Bichon Frisés? The noyve.
I don’t think France cares too much if she’s hated but don’t you wonder why China is picking on France specifically – when there have been boycotts all along the world path of the Olympic torch? What about England? What about the U.S.? Japan? They tried to trample the Olympic torch, too.
And, and, and, what did dogs do to deserve that? Can’t we all just get along?
Michel Fournier is at it again. Remember two years ago? He dropped out of the stratosphere from an altitude of about 130,000 feet (40 kilometers, nearly 25 miles) above the plains of Saskatchewan, Canada. This year he hopes to do the same while breaking the sound barrier and breaking some more world records.
“64-year-old retired French army parachutist said Monday he hopes to smash through the sound barrier with a record-breaking 40,000-metre (130,000-foot) freefall jump over Canada next month.
Michel Fournier hopes to set four new world records at once: for highest freefall parachute speed, at 1,500 kilometres (2,400 miles) per hour, 1.3 times the speed of sound, along with fastest and highest jump and highest air balloon flight.
The Russian Evgeny Andreyev made the highest recorded parachute jump with a 24,483-metre plunge in 1960, while the American Joseph Kittinger claimed an unverified jump of 31,000 metres in 1960.
The veteran French parachutist will take off from May 25 from the Canadian province of Saskatchewan in a pressurised capsule, harnessed to a 161-metre helium-powered balloon, rising to almost four times the height of an airline flight.
Pressure will be let off gradually to allow him to exit and make his jump, wearing a specially-developed protective suit with two oxygen bottles, in conditions similar to an astronaut leaving his spacecraft.
Fournier told a press conference in Paris his jump would have “considerable repercussions for aeronautics and space, for medicine and high-technology.”
French astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy, who is sponsoring the project, said it could help shed new light on the behaviour of the human body at the speed of sound, with potential applications for future rescue operations in space.
The French army piloted a similar project in the 1980s, aimed at developing an ejector capsule for European spacecraft, in which Fournier was due to take part before it was finally aborted.
With more than 8,600 jumps to his name, Fournier holds the French height record at 12,000 metres.
His project, which drew teams of specialists in high-altitude and underwater conditions, spacesuits and extreme condition health experts, cost 11.8 million euros (19 million dollars).”
“Eduardo Sousa, a farmer in the Extremadura region of Spain is, according to chef Dan Barber, raising geese that bear the best foie gras the chef’s tasted. The critical part of the story, though, is that Sousa does not force feed the geese. He apparently lets their inclination to gorge themselves, once required for migration, take care of the fattening and simply makes sure they have all they want—nuts, olives, etc., but no corn. This suggests of course that farmers who force feed their geese and ducks are simply controlling what the ducks would do naturally and that the folks who want to prohibit the production and sale of foie gras on the grounds of animal cruelty have one less leg to stand on.
I never thought they had any leg to stand on if they …”
The highly successful (in France) film, Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis / Welcome to the land of Shtis – will be playing at the film festival, City of Lights, City of Angels in my hometown of L.A. on April 19th!The festival features a week (April 14 – 19) of French films. All screenings take place at the Directors Guild Theater Complex.City of Lights, City of Angels French Film FestivalThe Directors Guild Theater Complex7920 Sunset Blvd.,Los Angeles, CA 90046More info
Usually in the news, they say that the euro has risen to a record high, but I see it more like this: the dollar has plummeted to a record low, it’s never been this low. Ever. It’s like the peso! This means one euro equals $1.52, and that means one dollar equals about 66 (euro) cents. Ouch.
Needless to say, it’s probably not the best time to come to France with those pathetically wimpy dollars. [photo: Joel Saget]
“Mr Rude, a new Mr Men character with a French accent and a flatulence problem, is threatening to put the wind up Anglo-French relations, reports said Monday.The new bright orange cartoon is the first with a foreign accent to join the children’s book and television series, whose more traditional characters include Mr Happy and Little Miss Helpful.
“Oh, parr-donne me!” says the ball-shaped figure in a heavy Gallic accent, after noisily breaking wind in a game where children are invited to pull his finger on the Mr Men website www.mrmen.com/uk.
“Oh, don’t seem soo sur-praased,” he adds, before emitting another fart. “You pulled it.”
A new series of the Mr Men show, featuring the classic childrens’ characters, will start later this month on television channel Five, which insists it did not intend to offend the French.
“Mr Men is a comedy show for four to seven-year-olds … The fact Mr Rude has a French accent is meant to be light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek and no offence to the French people is intended,” a Five spokesman told the Daily Telegraph.
The French embassy in London refused to comment, but a source quoted by the daily said: “It is obviously meant in a light-hearted way but it won’t improve Anglo-French relations.”
A spokeswoman for Chorion, the new show’s makers, defended the use of a French accent. “It is a kids’ comedy show, it is not meant to be offensive or anything like that,” she said.
In the late 19th century a French baker, Joseph Pujol, who could break wind at will, played to packed houses with an act that included imitating animals and blowing out candles, styling himself Le Pitomane, or “fartiste”.”
This year, for the first time, expatriate Democrats can cast their ballots on the Internet in a presidential primary for people living outside the United States.Democrats Abroad, an official branch of the party representing overseas voters, will hold its first global presidential preference primary from Feb. 5 to 12, with ex-pats selecting the candidate of their choice by Internet as well as fax, mail and in-person at polling places in more than 100 countries.Democrats Abroad is particularly proud of the online voting option – which provides a new alternative to the usual process of voting from overseas, a system made difficult by complicated voter registration paperwork, early deadlines and unreliable foreign mail service.
“The online system is incredibly secure: That was one of our biggest goals,” said Lindsey Reynolds, executive director of Democrats Abroad. “And it does allow access to folks who ordinarily wouldn’t get to participate.”
U.S. citizens wanting to vote online must join Democrats Abroad before Feb. 1 and indicate their preference to vote by Internet instead of in the local primaries wherever they last lived in the United States. They must promise not to vote twice for president, but can still participate in non-presidential local elections.
Members get a personal identification number from Everyone Counts Inc., the San Diego-based company running the online election. They can then use the number to log in and cast their ballots.
Their votes will be represented at the August Democratic National Convention by 22 delegates, who according to party rules get half a vote each for a total of 11. That’s more than U.S. territories get, but fewer than the least populous states, Wyoming and Alaska, which get 18 delegate votes each.