Category Archives: French Culture
I have to admit that yesterday; my article Save the Dates went a bit gory on the death penalty and the guillotine in France. I thought it was important to have a bit of history in contrast of being too generic article. Talking about “history”, let’s talk about our History, France and England relationship. Yes, we’ve always been in a love/hate relationship with England. A long history of battles, wars, reconciliations, cheats, alliances and so on… This 19th of September is the anniversary of at least 2 famous battles between those countries… And France is not well placed here…
There we go:
19 September 1356 – Defeat of Poitiers
The French army was crushed by the English archers at the first real battle of the Hundred Years War (i.e. from 1356 to 1453). The King of France, Jean II Le Bon and his son, Philip le Hardi were taken prisoners. The Black Prince whose real name is Edward of Woodstock (Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and finally Prince of Aquitaine) led them to Bordeaux and imprisoned them in London.
19 September 1417 – Capitulation of Caen
After a month of siege, the castle of Caen surrendered to the troops of Henry the V, making it his headquarters. After the victory over the Armagnacs at Agincourt (1415), Normandy is now English. Henry V forced Charles VI Le Fou to sign the Treaty of Troyes dated 21 May 1420, making him the new king of France and England. Can you imagine, France could have been part of the UK! :0
The 19th of September is obviously not a great date for my Frenchies…. 😦
However, Caen was occupied by the English until 1450 retaken by Charles VII of France. We lost a few battles but we won Normandy back 😉
19 September 1783 – The Montgolfier brothers bluff the Court of Versailles
In front of a Court held by Louis XVI, Joseph-Michel et Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier managed to fly a 400 cubic meters balloon having on board a rooster, a duck and a sheep. The idea of a hot air balloon came to Joseph in November 1782.
Later, in December 1783, in recognition of their achievement, their father Pierre was elevated to the nobility and the hereditary appellation of “De Montgolfier” by King Louis XVI of France.
For the little story, the Montgolfier Company still exists today. In fact, Etienne’s son-in-law, Barthélémy Barou de la Lombardière de Canson (you can’t do longer than that!) succeeded him as the head of the company (he married Jacques-Etienne’s daughter Alexandrine de Montgolfier).
The company became “Montgolfier et Canson” in 1801, then “Canson-Montgolfier” in 1807. Nowadays, Canson SAS (everybody in France knows the brand, we use Canson for our drawing class at school) is a successful company producing fine art papers and sold in 120 countries.
I’ll probably write later about the incredible story and tragic end of Suzanne de Canson, heir of Montgolfier and Canson.
The abolition of the death penalty in France
The French Parliament adopted with 369 votes against 113 Robert Badinter Law abolishing the death penalty whilst according to a survey, 62% of French wanted to maintain it. This is how democracy works 🙂 …
So believe it or not but France was at the time, with Turkey the only western European countries to apply the death penalty. The guillotine (created by Dr. Antoine Louis and engineer Tobias Schmidt) is discarded upon enactment of the law.The Minister of Justice ordered the removal of the two guillotines existing in France, one in Fresnes (Parisian suburb located in Val de Marne) and the other in Vernon (department of Eure in the Haute Normandie region). The government offered them to museum but none of them accepted the bloody gifts (tell me about it!), they ended their careers in a secret disused military fort.
Implemented in 1791 the guillotine has replaced a variety of capital punishments (tellement scary!!!) in France (Under the “Ancien Régime”), depending on the crime and the status of the condemned person, such as:
- Hanging was the common punishment;
- shooting of the right hand for thieves
- decapitation by sword (reserved for nobles);
- burning for relapsed heretics and incendiary (the patient was often discreetly previously strangled by a noose);
- Hot oil: for counterfeiters…
The last executed would be Hamida Djandoubi on 10 September 1977 was the last person to be executed in France being convicted for torture and murder in Marseille (South East of France – Bouches-du-Rhône/ Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur), 10 would sitting in death row will escape the death penalty thinks to this law.
Between 1984 and 1995, 27 legislative drafts had been proposed to the Parliament to restore the death penalty but none has been successful.
I have lived in London for four years now and I’ve been in an up and down friendly relationship with this city. But one day, I realised that my feelings had changed, I was in love with the city. I basically fell in love with London; with its character, its unpredictability and its own special beauty and sensitivity under the rain. However, I have and will always have an affair with my first love Paris. Just because London has a few things to acquire for me to be 100% faithful (mentioned in no particular order :)):
Number 1: More terraces! I know, you’ll say why on earth should we have plenty of terraces when we can count over one hand the number of sunny days in this country (I’ve been amazingly surprised by this summer though) we seriously need more terrace, sick of being hit & kick by bottoms and shoulders of the passersby risking an indelible wine stain!
Number 2: what a miss!!! Café/croissant culture: this is the most enjoying moment of a working day, having a double espresso with a croissant (without butter please, that is just a sin!!!!!!!!) in a Café before heading at work! A délice terribly missing in London!!!!!
Number 3: more healthy places to eat in: Mc Donald, KFC, Burger King, Super King Burger, Friend Chicken Champion, fish and chips, fish and chips and fish and chips…. I am glad that PRET is up to this level but God, I’d love to eat in more healthy places enjoying a nice and healthy fillet mignon.
Number 4: lounges and classy places which doesn’t cost a hand: I love pubs; they are affordable, full of energy and quite comfy… But where I’d be more please with a loungy romantic, dark lighting place with nice chilling music at affordable prices Nowhere to be find in London!
Number 5: Frogs and snails in more restaurants and shops: Yummy! Healthy! And full of proteins! Miam, Miam…
Number 6: vomit-free streets on Sunday mornings: OMG I have never seen so much human soups in my life… Try to have a run around 7am a Sunday morning around Oxford Circus or Picca; you’ll be surprised how colourful the pavements can be! It will turn you off from pizzas for 5 lives…
Number 7: I can’t believe that in a big city as busy as London, most of the standard night life ends at 2am ot 3am max!!!! Come on… Is it a curfew? In Paris the typical night life ends minimum around 5/6am.
Ooooops, just changed my mind for the sake of the country!!!!! This might increase the level of alcohol overdose.
Number 8: I want to eat a magret de canard at 3am in a very nice restaurant if I want to. After 10pm in London, you can’t eat a real and healthy meal but a burger in a dubious place and crying for stomach pain the following day.
Number 9: A love reality show at number 10! Just because… We love drama!
Number 10: More vintage market (Ref Marche de Clignancourt). Ok, ok… There are a few jewels in London but what is the equivalent of the 3 hectares, 2500 stands Parisian Marché de Clignancourt in London? Still to create…
Number 11: La tour Eiffel: because Elle (it) worth it !
Number 12: Real French kisses:
I am going to add a lot of enemy on my list by saying this but my dear British gentlemen, I haven’t met anyone (so far) giving me a better kiss than my worse (but not too bad after all) French kiss in Paris. Just can’t keep up!
Number 13: Le Moulin Rouge, because London needs to sexy up a bit!
Number 14: A London version of “Inna Modja” with her successful song French Cancan. Soooooo Parisian!!!
Number 15: Real fresh baguette! Sorry Tesco/Asda/Waitrose and others… You just can’t keep up!
Number 16: The Jambon/Beurre, the simplest, easiest (to make), healthiest sandwich on earth!
Number 17: Ready-to eat Chinese :
I miss those windows full of Asian food showcased like shoes… So appetising…
Number 18: Pâtes au foie gras, the healthiest fatty greasy food on earth!
Number 19: Love cadenas on Le Pont des Arts, Paris 4e
Tellement Paris, tellement romantic… We love being in love, feeling loved, demonstrate love in love….
I am not sure about this, but does London have its own city magazine? The thing I am sure of is that it’s not as popular as Le Parisien (one million copies sold daily) in Paris… We just love it! And we absolutely love their advertisements which show with humour our boldness and how we are… To read without moderation ….
Le Parisien, il vaut mieux l’avoir en journal => Le Parisien, it is better to have it as newspaper
To see without moderation ;))
Bye frog lovers xxx
What happened today in France?
The Treaty of Bergerac
Protestants and Catholics signed the Treaty of Bergerac to end the sixth War of Religion (don’t know why but in today’s context I still feel that nothing has changed, a religious War is starting internationally). This was triggered by the Catholic League, which managed to convince the king to cancel the Edict of Beaulieu ( = which was signed in Beaulieu-lès-Loches by Henry III of France, ending the fifth war of religion the 6th of May 157) recognising the Protestant worship and granting numerous safeguards for them to practice their religion.
Defeated at the Battles of the Charité-sur-Loire and Issoire, the Protestants have no other choice but to sign a treaty significantly reducing the benefits they earned by the Edict of Beaulieu.
Later in October, the treaty will be confirmed by the Edict of Poitiers.
Let’s end with something a bit more cheerful 🙂
First Mc Do in France
Under the curious gaze of the Alsatian, the first McDonalds opened the 17th September 1979 in Strasbourg. Why Strasbourg and not Paris? Don’t know really? Anyway, it worked so well ever since that Mc Do (as we call it in France) founded in 1955 in the United States, has more than one thousand restaurants in France.
I love fashion and I love Arts. Whilst I was preparing my next itinerary to Corsica, I came across an incredible and controversy exhibition that arouses my curiosity.
Anthony Limelette, a second year student in Arts at the University of Corte, is the author of the picture entitled “The origin of evil,” depicting as you can see below a penis and a rosary.
By way of advertisement, Anthony had circulated posters on the university campus. But he also assumed a desire to provoke reactions and it worked indeed! This photo has infuriated the Student unions that have found these it too provocative and antireligious. They also managed to cancel the presentation of his work in the university. After the controversy created by the white photos, the Bliss Concept gallery in Ajaccio has decided to exhibit the works of Anthony Limelette until February 13, 2012. As every Artist Anthony claimed that his works have been misunderstood and invite people to come and understand all the metaphors and analogies behind his work. Let’s give him a chance 😉
Since I am going there soon, I am looking forward to seeing it, so guys if you have the opportunity to get there, please leave your opinions and your thoughts.
LOVE YOU YANNICK!!!!
Yannick Noah remains the favourite personality of the French people, for the seventh consecutive time and for the ninth time all in all, according to the classification realised by IFOP revealed in the Journal du Dimanche (JDD) today.
The former tennis player seems unbeatable and beats the ex-leader of the French football team Zinedine Zidane (number 2). I have to say that a lot of mature women like his personality and find him very attractive. That helps a lot ! 😉
Métisse (translation: mixed race), one of Yannick’s famous song.
You have to know, that this classification began in France in 1988 and was dominated for a long time by Cousteau (20 times) and Abbé Pierre (16 times).
The actress Mimie Mathy preserves her third place followed by the only political figure in the top 10, Simone Veil in the 4th rank.
Simone Veil, (born 13 July 1927) is a French lawyer and politician who served as Minister of Health under Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, President of the European Parliament and member of the Constitutional Council of France.
A survivor from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where she lost part of her family, she is the Honorary President of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah.
She was elected to the Académie française in November 2008.
5th is singer Francis Cabrel. He is a well-known French singer-songwriter and guitarist. Inspired heavily by Bob Dylan, he has released a number of albums falling mostly within the realm of folk, with occasional forays into blues or country. Several of his songs, such as “L’encre de tes yeux” and “Petite Marie” have become enduring favourites in French music. Others, such as “C’était l’hiver”, about the suicide of a young girl, have since been covered by other artists such as Canadian Isabelle Boulay.
6th Michel Sardou. He was born in Paris, the son of Fernand Sardou and Jackie Rollin (Jackie Sardou). Contrary to claims common towards the beginning of his career, he is not the grandson of the dramatist Victorien Sardou. However, he is the father of the French novelist Romain Sardou, and the actor Davy Sardou. He is known not only for his love songs (“La Maladie d’Amour”), but also for songs dealing with various social and political issues, such as the rights of women in Islamic countries, clerical celibacy, colonialism and the death penalty. Another sometimes controversial theme found in some of his songs (“Les Ricains” and “Monsieur le Président de France” for example) is his respect and support for the culture and foreign policies of the United States. He has focused his full attention on his homeland, ignoring the prospect of an international audience, although his 1981 single “Les Lacs du Connemara” did manage to become a big international hit.
7th Gad Elmaleh (but he is the 1st for 50,6 % of the 15-24-year-old). Gad Elmaleh (born April 19, 1971) is a French-Moroccan stand-up comedian and actor. His latest show is called Papa est en haut (Dad is upstairs). He has starred in several feature films, including Coco, Hors de prix, La Doublure and Midnight in Paris.
8th Charles Aznavour. Charles Aznavour, OC (born Shahnour Vaghenag Aznavourian Armenian: Շահնուր Վաղինակ Ազնավուրյան Shahnowr Vaghinak Aznavowrhan, May 22, 1924, Paris) is an Armenian-French singer, songwriter, actor, public activist and diplomat. Besides being one of France’s most popular and enduring singers, he is also one of the best-known singers in the world. Charles Aznavour (pronounced in French as Sharl Aznavour) is known for his very short stature and for his unique tenor voice: clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes. He has appeared in more than sixty movies, composed about a thousand songs (including 150 at least in English, 100 in Italian, 70 in Spanish, and 50 in German), and sold well over 100 million records.
9th Dany Boon. Dany Boon (French pronunciation: [dani bun]; born Daniel Hamidou on 26 June 1966) is a French comedian who has acted both on the stage and the screen. He takes his stage name from the television show Daniel Boone. He was then offered several roles in movies, notably in the film Bienvenu chez les Ch’tis that made it on the international scene in 2007.
10th Jean Dujardin. The handsome, attractive, personable Jean Dujardin. We love him, I am a fan, THE fan. 10th??? Do not really agree but anyway Dujardin first became famous on the French talent show Graines de star in 1996 as part of the comedy group Nous C Nous, formed by members of the Carré blanc theater. From 1999 to 2003 he starred in the French version of the comedy television series Un gars, une fille before transitioning into a film career. In 2005 he starred as the titular character in the popular comedy film Brice de Nice and performed the soundtrack of the film, “Le Casse de Brice”.
Dujardin with spouse Alexandra Lamy at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2006 Dujardin portrayed the character Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, agent OSS 117, in OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies in a role which earned him a César Award nomination for Best Actor, something of exceptional rarity for a performance in comedy. In 2007, directed by Jan Kounen, he scored in 99F (99 francs), an existential parody of an advertising mule. In 2009 he again played OSS 117 in the film OSS 117: Lost in Rio.
He received the award for best actor at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011.
11th Jamel Debouze. Jamel is a French actor, comedian and producer of Moroccan descent. Debbouze is the oldest of five brothers. He was born in Paris, France, but his family moved to Morocco the following year. They returned in 1979 and settled in Trappes, where Jamel spent the rest of his childhood.
On 17 January 1990, at the train station in Trappes, he was struck by a passing train travelling at 150 km/h. He lost the use of his right arm, while another young man, Jean-Paul Admette, died. After this accident Debbouze met Alain Degois, his mentor, and began his career as a comedian/actor.
On 29 March 2008 Jamel Debbouze became engaged to French journalist and news anchor Mélissa Theuriau; the two married on 7 May 2008.
12th Florence Foresti is a French comedian and actress. In 2001 her first one woman show, Manquerait plus qu’elle soit drôle (“She needs to be more than funny”) won the Jury prize at the Antibes festival. Her style bears comparison with that of Muriel Robin and Sylvie Joly, as well as with some of the ‘attitude’ and voices of Dieudonné M’bala M’bala and Élie Semoun. She appeared in the Stéphane Bern programme 20h 10 pétantes, and then on Laurent Ruquier’s On a tout essayé, playing zany characters.
I do really love her as well, she’s funny, intelligent and beautiful.
Big surprise for the ecologist Nicolas Hulot, he falls of the 18th on the 36th place.
Elections of 2012 oblige, the JDD bends over the politics: Martine Aubry is in 45th place, Christine Lagarde in 49th whereas Jacques Chirac holds the 39th (he gained 2 places).
Outside the Top 50, Nicolas Sarkozy is on the 51st place followed by François Hollande 52nd Jean-Louis Borloo 54th and Ségolène Royal 55th.
Finally the JDD indicates that Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is ranked 56th.
This poll has been realised by IFOP from June 30th till July 6th 2011 with a representative sample of 1008 persons of the French population of 15 year-old and more.
Thank you Wikipedia for some pictures and biography.
You might already know it but just in case, Wal-mart doesn’t want to open stores in France. In fact, it is just because Politics have a high control on labour and (hopefully) the French government has strong laws to protect workers; minimum wage is high, there is universal healthcare, and it is difficult to fire employees.
French book by Lysiane Baudu, Gilles Biassette
Translation: “Work more to earn less, Wal-mart threat”.
To be honest, I am happy that Wal-mart is not in our country, I love America and Americans but I do not agree with America’s free-market capitalism and I prefer to see this in their country.
But what is known for being a French characteristic “striking” is becoming more and more common for Walmart employees. Here is an article from Fashion Mag.
A three-judge panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania on Friday said there was sufficient evidence for Philadelphia jurors in 2006 to conclude that Wal-Mart’s practices violated state wage and hour laws. It also said Wal-Mart’s own internal review uncovered violations regarding “off-the-clock” work.
The case was brought on behalf of about 187,000 current and former Wal-Mart workers in Pennsylvania from 1998 to 2006.
They contended that the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company’s engaged in improper practices to enhance productivity, boost profit and cut costs.
“The record reflects testimony and documentary evidence suggesting that because of pressure from the home office to reduce labour costs and the availability of significant bonuses for managers based on store profitability, Wal-Mart’s scheduling program created chronic understaffing, leading to widespread rest-break violations,” the appeals court said.
It nonetheless ordered the trial court to recalculate a $45.6 million award of legal fees, saying that court erred by “double-counting” some factors.
“We’re committed to paying our associates for every hour they work and to providing them with meal and rest breaks,” Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Rossiter said. “That’s our policy and we take it very seriously. In this case, we believe that the trial court’s decision was wrong in a number of respects and we look forward to additional review in the courts.”
The case was brought by Michelle Braun and Dolores Hummel, who had respectively worked in Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in eastern Pennsylvania, and drew on evidence from roughly 46 million shifts, court records show.
Judith Spanier, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, said in a statement that Wal-Mart wanted to “walk away” from its own business records, saying they were so inaccurate that they could not be used as proof.
Like other large retailers, Wal-Mart is regularly sued by employees who claim unfair treatment.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected this month to rule on whether a gender bias lawsuit against Wal-Mart may continue to proceed as a class action on behalf of a group believed to exceed 1.5 million current and former female workers.
Pictures from www.cartoonstock.com & rue89.com