Celebrate Chinese New Year In Paris

chinese new year in paris

There can be few festivals that are as lavish and spectacular as those celebrating Chinese New Year; all around the world, Chinese dragons take to the streets, and fireworks abound in magnificent displays. Paris is no different, and this week sees many celebrations to welcome in the year of the goat (yang). Throughout several Parisian districts, people will be hanging up their lanterns, dancing with dragons and lions, and lighting firecrackers – if you’re in the City of Light this […]

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The Marseillaise


Most people know that la Marseillaise is the national anthem of France but did you know that it was actually written in Strasbourg, not Marseille? In 1792, after France declared war on Austria, Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle wrote one of the most instantly-recognizable of European anthems. It was not however, intended to be the country’s national anthem – in fact, its lyric and original title, Chant de guerre pour l’Armée du Rhin (Battle Hymn of the Army of the Rhine) leave […]

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Is It Possible To Buy Reasonably-Priced Champagne?

champagne label

Absolutely. There’s no law that says you have to pay hundreds of dollars for good Champagne, and no guarantee that cheaper bottles will be rubbish. The fact is that an increasing number of growers are producing their own excellent bubbly, so why not give them a try? We’ve all heard of micro-breweries, and those among us who’ve sampled their wares generally attest to the superiority of their beverages over their more famous mass-produced counterparts, so why should Champagne be any […]

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As Popular As The Beatles?

Claude François

Sometimes referred to as the French Elvis Presley (as well as Cloclo), and described as being as popular as The Beatles, Claude François, despite meeting an untimely end in 1978 – aged just 39 – is still as popular today as he was when he was alive. The composer and writer of the original versions of My Way (Comme d’habitude) and My Boy (Parce que je t’aime mon enfant), François’ songs, such as Alexandrie Alexandra, Le lundi au soleil, Magnolias […]

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La Philharmonie de Paris

La Philharmonie de Paris

Last month saw the opening of a magnificent new concert hall in the City of Light. The architect, Jean Nouvel, says that la Philharmonie is designed to completely immerse its audiences, giving them a, “uniquely intimate listening experience“. The state-of-the-art music venue can seat 3,650 audiophiles, and was originally conceived in 2006. So far, the project has cost €386 million (almost $438m) to build – that’s triple the original estimate! Unlike the majority of concert halls, where the farthest the audience […]

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River Deep, Mountain High

gorges du verdon

Where Provence and the Alps meet is the Verdon Gorge (Gorges du Verdon). At 15.5 miles long and almost 3,000 feet deep, it’s Europe’s largest canyon. At around 6,700 feet above sea level, the village of Saint-Véran, in the Hautes-Alpes department is the highest municipality in Europe. At its highest point, the village reaches 10,417 feet above sea level. Briançon, also in Hautes-Alpes, is 4,350 feet high, and is Europe’s loftiest town.   And speaking of sea levels, Brittany and […]

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Shrove Tuesday Pancakes


With Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday as the English speakers among us call it) just around the corner on February 17th, we thought a post about crêpes (pancakes) was in order. After all, what else are you going to eat on pancake day? According to historians, people have been making pancakes for around 9,000 years, although we’re guessing that Neolithic cooks didn’t flip theirs! Pancakes and crêpes as we know them today are a way of using up all the rich […]

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France’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Roman theater in Orange

In France there are 39 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List: 3 Roman sites (Arles, Orange, Le Gard) 4 cathedrals (Amiens, Bourges, Chartres, Reims) 4 abbeys (Fontenay, Reims, Saint-Savin sur Gartempe, Vezelay) 8 historic city/town centres (Paris, Lyon, Avignon, Strasbourg, le Havre, Mont-Saint-Michel, Provins, Carcassonne) Plus numerous castles, chateaux… and belfries!

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Parenthood in France


Regardless of whether he is the biological father or not, a man who claims a child born to a single mother as his may be legally recognised as such. All he has to do is sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity (Reconnaissance de Paternité). Even if he is the biological father, and the mother is in agreement, he still has no legal standing as a parent until he has signed the Acknowledgement. According to Article 226-28 of the Penal Code, unless […]

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Paris’ Aquatic Cinema

piscine pontoise

We’ve all heard of electric cinema but how about aqua cinema? In the heart of the City of Light’s Latin Quarter, not far from Boulevard Saint-Germain, is the spectacular Piscine Pontoise, which the eagle-eyed among us will recognize from Kieslowski’s movie, ‘Trois Couleurs: Bleu’ (Three Colors: Blue). Built in 1934, by Lucien Pollet, and designated a historical monument in 1981, this beautiful art deco pool features two mezzanine levels with individual changing rooms along the walkways, an enormous glass ceiling, […]

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