The Statue of Liberty in France

The Statue of Liberty, whose full name is Liberty Enlightening the World was one of the greatest gifts ever given. The original was given by the people of France to the United States in 1886 and was installed in New York's harbor but did you know there are lots of Lady Libertys in France today? There are at least 25 in France and even more throughout the world.

In Paris alone there are quite a few. The one you need to know about is the one on the Allée des Cygnes which was a gift from the American community of Paris to Paris to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. On her tablet is the dates July 14, 1789, as well as July 4, 1776. Oliver Gee of the Earful Tower has covered five of the Parisian statues.

In addition there is another one on the roof of a peniche near the Eiffel Tower and one in the Musée d'Orsay. Yet another is very tiny and hard to see; it is incrusted in the torso of César's Cenataure (place Michel Debré Paris 6th) near hi…

Voir Plus about The Statue of Liberty in France
  • 0

Villepreux a microcosm of French history

During the confinement we had a lot of time to walk around our town, Villepreux, 11,000 people situated in the Yvelines department west of Paris. A usually quiet, non-descript town, we hadn’t thought too much about it before but there were a couple of spots that intrigued us while out walking within one kilometer of the house. One of them was the path that we walked called the Chemin entre Deux Murs or the path between two walls. What two walls? what was that all about? Then there’s the old village with a couple of houses that look pretty old including one with visible half timbers. There’s a chateau, in fact there are two, plus centuries-old farms and a neighborhood called the Prieuré or priory. The new center of town is a 1960s construction out of cement. Town houses and a shopping area that hasn’t worn very well over the years. The first impression is that Villepreux is a rather ordinary suburban bedroom community of Paris or closer Versailles. But once you start looking…

Voir Plus about Villepreux a microcosm of French history
  • 1

Laughter in France

Laughter is the best medicine. Reflections on laughter in France, the land of La Vache qui rit!

Première-affiche-par-B.Rabier,-1924,-Maison-de-la-Vache-qui-Rit.-©-MVQR The city of Bordeaux seems to be the center of laughter in France

One might say Bordeaux likes to laugh more than elsewhere in France. The city is host to the Festival Les Fous Rires de Bordeaux 14-21 March 2020 http://lesfousriresdebordeaux.fr/ and just concluded the exhibition "Rire!" at their science and nature Muséum. But Bordeaux doesn't own the market there are many other spots are also holding festivals in 2020, for some funny reason most are in March!

Festival d'Humour de Paris 14-24 March https://festivaldhumourdeparis.com/ Le Printemps du Rire in Toulouse 6 March - 5 April https://leprintempsdurire.com/ 36ème Festival Mont-Blanc d'Humour 23-26 March https://www.saintgervais.com/fete-et-manifestation/36eme-festival-mont-blanc-dhumour-saint-gervais-les-bains Les Vendanges …
Voir Plus about Laughter in France
  • 0

The Ile de France, elegant ocean liner

The exhibition “L’Art déco, un art de vivre à la Française : the ocean liner Ile de France” looks back on the story of this elegant ship, born during the Roaring Twenties which was a Franco-American link making the crossing from Le Havre to New York. The ship was the symbol of an unrivaled French art de vivre, the epitome of French elegance and the exhibition shows us the history of a society and of the art of travel. Models, photos, paintings, advertising posters, Ruhlmann armchairs, Christofle silverware, Haviland porcelain, vintage menus (including the children's and dog's menus that will make you smile), matches and ashtrays and a vintage publicity film are all presented. A fascinating view of a world of luxury. This was not the biggest or the fastest ship, but it had the longest life of all ships in the French fleet (1927-1961) and exuded the French Touch as seen on the brochure from 1949.

"What is the French Touch? Is it the breakfast you have serv…

Voir Plus about The Ile de France, elegant ocean liner
  • 0

The traffic report for highways in France is called Bison Futé.

Traffic report

Bison Futé or the "Clever Bison", is the national traffic website for Highways in France and now also available as a phone app. The Bison gives the current incident reports (accidents, closures, construction) for all highways in France as well as predictions of traffic volume for holiday weekends. It is a very helpful site for avoiding notorious traffic jams on French roads. But why on Earth is the traffic reporting system called "Bison Futé"? The "clever" part makes sense as the clever traveler avoids traffic, but why the "bison"? Well apparently the alternative suggestions for a mascot were a dolphin, giraffe, bird, and rat, so why not a bison? Bison Futé is an eye-catching, smart, affable American Indian, invented by the publicity man named Daniel Robert in 1976 as a gimic to get people's attention as France rolled out a campaign to encourage people to use alternative routes and depart at different times of the day to avoi…

Voir Plus about The traffic report for highways in France is called Bison Futé.
  • 0

Thanksgiving in France at Château du Feÿ

Celebrate Thanksgiving in France

It has been less than three years since my husband and I acquired this wonderful 17th century estate on top of a hill in Northern Burgundy. St Vincent de Paul, Ninon de L'Enclos and, more recently Julia Child, a close friend of the previous owner, Anne Willan, the author of more than 20 books on French cuisine, resided in the château. With our daughter Jessica, a Yale-trained architect in charge of both the renovations and of our annual Arts festival, we thrive to bring back the château to its former splendor and make it a beacon of culinary, visual and performing arts.

Over the last three years, driven by passion and a certain dose of folly, we renovated the entire château and its dependences, which count more than 20 bedrooms and bathrooms and we upgraded the swimming pool. We replanted a 2-acre vegetable orchard which brings us seasonal vegetables year-around, and we found ourselves lucky when we realized that a trove of…

Voir Plus about Thanksgiving in France at Château du Feÿ
  • 0

Rosa Bonheur

Broad with a Brush Rosa Bonheur portrait by Anna Klumpke. 1898. Metropolitan Museum of Art, online collection

Does the name Rosa Bonheur mean anything to you ? Hint: She was the most well-known female French painter in the 19th century, the first woman painter to receive the Legion of Honor (presented by the Empress Eugenia herself). Still no bells ? She painted animals. Still no idea ? Well don't feel bad it seems most French people don't know who she is either. In fact despite being French, born in Bordeaux, growing up in Paris and then living in a château with menagerie on the edge of the Fontainbleau forest, she was in fact more well known and her paintings were more appreciated by the English and Americans. She was so famous at the time that Queen Victoria, who had a love for animals as well, requested Rosa visit her. It is even hard to find her paintings in French museums. Many were sold into private collections and some are now seen in America…

Voir Plus about Rosa Bonheur
  • 0

Who was Christopher Oberkampf?

Oberkampf. You know the metro station, which was named for the street. The street was named for Christopher-Philip Oberkampf in 1864. But do you know who Oberkampf was and why there is a street named after him?

Christopher was a German Protestant immigrant to France in the 1700s under the Ancien Regime. He was a man who climbed the social and financial ladder by his own grit. He came from Germany and spoke only German when he arrived in Paris as a trained, but young, textile printer and dyer. He died a millionaire, head of an empire of 1300 workers and fashion trend-setter. The odds were against him, but his tenacity, creativity, technique, innovation, intuition and thick skin makes him one of the best immigration success stories in history. And that's why Paris has a street, metro and neighborhood named after him. In fact though he did not live and work in Paris but in the nearby (now) suburb of Jouy-en-Josas. You probably know this town as the location of the b…

Voir Plus about Who was Christopher Oberkampf?
  • 0

Get Out of Town to Bayeux

The city of Bayeux is an easy weekend trip, just 3 hours west of Paris from the Gare du Nord, in Normandy. It is a city which holds lots of treasures. The cathedral is just magnificent. One of the prettiest I have ever seen. I also love another Normandy cathedral, the one in Coutances a bit farther afield. Both of these cathedrals are full of light and life. They are brought alive by their parishes and are true places of worship and spirituality. But also interesting places to visit as a tourist. I particularly like the light airy inside and the stained glass. The exterior dome of Notre Dame de Bayeux makes for a unique silhouette. The Bayeux cathedral was consecrated in 1077 by Bishop Odo of Conteville in the presence of his brother William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy and king of England. It is a gem of Normand architecture, considered one of France's finest and was miraculously untouched during the fighting of World War II. In fact the whole old city of Bayeux survive…

Voir Plus about Get Out of Town to Bayeux
  • 0

Get out of Town to Giverny

In Giverny, just about an hour from Paris, the Museum of Impressionisms with the support of the Musée d'Orsay has organized a 10th anniversary painting exhibition entitled Monet-Auburtin, An Artistic Encounter to celebrate the work of Claude Monet (1840–1926) by interweaving it with that of the painter Jean Francis Auburtin (1866-1930). This exhibition is a very good reason to finally get out of town to Giverny or to make a return visit, but it closes 14 July, so jump on the train now! But don't fret if you can't go this week a new exhibition of paintings by Ker-Xavier Roussel promises to be colorful and dreamy starting on 27 July, see below.

Monet-Auburtin, An Artistic Encounter

Impressed by Monet’s work, which was exhibited regularly in Paris around 1889–90, Auburtin, whose training was classical, started painting from nature. Drawing on Impressionism, Synthetism, Japonism and Symbolism, Auburtin created an oeuvre that was based on a constant dialogue wi…

Voir Plus about Get out of Town to Giverny
  • 0