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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Pardon My French!

french toast

For some reason, there are various things which are prefaced with the word, ‘French’, and yet they have little or nothing to do with France. Here are a few you may be familiar with but if you know of any others, please let us know in the comments below. French bulldog The pint-sized pooches were introduced into Normandy during the mid-1800s by migrating English lace-makers. They soon became firm favorites of local farmers, and in time, through selective breeding became […]

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The Mother Tongue?

languages of france

In 1794, a survey revealed that just 11% of France’s population were native French speakers. By 1880, that number had risen to a mere 20%. Today, 86% of people living in France have French as their first language. Dialects and other languages make up the rest: 65% – Occitan (e.g. Gascon and Provençal) 10% – Oïl (e.g. Picard and Poitevin-Saintongeais) 15% – German and German dialects (e.g. Alsatian and Lorraine) 55% – Arabic Plus Basque, Breton, Catalan, Corsican, and Franco-Provençal. […]

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Gothic Architecture

Notre Dame

The abbey church (or basilica) of Saint Denis, just north of Paris, is considered to be the world’s first example of gothic architecture. According to legend, around 250AD, Denis, the bishop of the Parisii, was decapitated at the top of the hill at Montmartre*. Not being one to take his execution lying down, he picked up his head, and walked six miles – preaching all the way – to where he wanted to be buried. A martyrium – and subsequent […]

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

millau viaduct

Europe’s busiest airport for cargo traffic is Charles de Gaulle International in Paris, and is actually the 6th busiest, in terms of cargo, in the world. With an average speed of 263.3km/h (163.6 mph) from station to station, the French TGV is the fastest train in the world. During a test run in April ’07, it reached a record-breaking 574.8km/h (357.16 mph). Furthermore, it’s also the endurance record-holder, making the 1067.2km (663.12 miles) run from Calais to Marseille in 2001 […]

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Three French Wine Myths Debunked

Jan van Bijlert - Young Man Drinking a Glass of Wine

The first thing that comes to mind when anyone mentions French drinks is wine, so of course, with France being the world’s second largest wine producer (Italy comes first), wine rightly deserves to be at the top of anyone’s list of boissons françaises. It should come as no surprise then, to learn that there’s a whole slew of myths surrounding this most beloved of beverages… here are just three of the most common. Myth #1 The French drink wine with […]

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Constructing The Iron Lady

Eiffel Tower

January 28th 1887 was an auspicious day for Gustave Eiffel, and for Paris as a whole, for it was the day that construction began on what was to become one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. However, Eiffel’s great iron pylon was never meant to endure for over a century; the Iron Lady, as it is fondly referred to, was built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, commemorating the French Revolution, and was supposed to […]

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