Neanderthals built mysterious cave structures 175,000 years ago which have been recently discovered in southwestern France. Walls were fashioned from stalagmites, and the area lit up with fireplaces. The French National Scientific Research Centre has released photos and a video about the site.
A French statue of Heracles, also known by his Roman name Hercules, has been suffering from a particularly invasive form of vandalism. But local authorities think they’ve come up with a solution: a prosthetic penis.
Musicologist Mylène Pardoen has researched and recreated the ambient 18th-century sounds of Le Grand Châtelet quarter in Paris. Historians used artwork, surviving machinery and tools to record and bring together 70 different soundscapes, including a recreation of the Notre Dame water pump using an 18th-century water mill whose sound was adapted for the size of the Notre Dame pump. The pump in question brought up water from the Seine for Parisian consumption. [more inside]
Once a centre of industry as well as a prosperous port, the city is now synonymous with the misery of migrants, and its residents are not enjoying their notoriety.
Encrypted is an essay by New Yorker critic Alex Ross about French 19th Century poet Stéphane Mallarmé, and the difficulties he poses for translators and scholars. Notoriously the most bourgeois of avant-garde poets, his life has proved difficult to write about. So perhaps it's best to just go straight for the poetry. The Electronic Poetry Center has a nice page on his late masterpiece, Un Coup de Dés Jamais N'Abolira Le Hasard, with the original and several translations.
Do You Speak Touriste? [PDF, 3 MB, in French] and the accompanying website is the Parisian tourism board's guide for workers in the Parisian tourism sector on traveler preferences from 17 different countries on subjects such as their habits, preferences for transportation, views on quality and price, dining times and specific cultural tics -- for instance, the fact that Americans "are hoping to have fun and not limit themselves"* or that the Japanese "won't complain about anything immediately, at least until they return home."** [more inside]
Take a large wheel of cheese. Cut it. Melt an edge of it under a grill. Scrape, scrape, scrape and pour over potatoes. Enjoy. [more inside]
Do you get nostalgic for the days when the tag "barely legal food porn" was applied with discretion to things more interesting than burgers with 1000 slices of cheese? Well, yearn no more; after more than 5 years' hiatus François-Xavier is once more updating the incomparable FXcuisine.com [more inside]
Why I had to become a snail farmer According to a site dedicated to looking at France through data, Snails production in France is limited to 191 farms. Don't miss all the gory details of snail farming. [more inside]
On This Spot is a history blog that focusses on then and now photography, comparing historical and contemporary photographs of the same locations. Locations include cities and battlefields in the UK, Germany, France, Japan and Canada.
The head of the festival that awards comics’ most prestigious prize – the Grand Prix – claimed that women don’t appear in the history of comics. He’s wrong.
On July 31, 1760, L'Utile, a ship of the French East Indian Company loaded with an illegal cargo of about 160 Malagasy slaves, was shipwrecked on a barren, windswept islet now known as Tromelin Island, 500 km east of Madagascar. The French crew, with the help of the surviving Malagasy, built a makeshift boat and set sail for Madagascar two months later, leaving behind 60 Malagasy with three months’ provisions, a letter recognising their good conduct and the promise that someone would come back for them. Weeks passed, then months, then years. Since 2006, archeological teams have gone to Tromelin to examine the wreck site and learn about the lives of the marooned Malagasy: diary of the 2010 campaign. [more inside]
French journalist accuses China of intimidating foreign press. by Tom Phillips [The Guardian]
China is facing accusations of attempting to muzzle and intimidate foreign press after it said it would expel a French journalist who refused to apologise for an article criticising government policy. Lu Kang, a spokesperson for China’s ministry of foreign affairs, claimed Ursula Gauthier, the Beijing correspondent for French magazine L’Obs, had offended the Chinese people with a recent column about terrorism and the violence-hit region of Xinjiang. “Gauthier failed to apologise to the Chinese people for her wrong words and it is no longer suitable for her to work in China,” Lu said in a statement, according to Xinhua, Beijing’s official news agency.[more inside]
France, which made being an "ultra-thin" model illegal this past April, just recently passed legislation making it illegal to hire such models. [more inside]
The Stade de France–A History in Fragments
Or did he, and the other players, make the same decision that many are now saying we should: that in the face of horror the only thing to do is to keep playing, moving, living? Watching it now – knowing all that we do about what happened Friday night in Paris – we can perhaps count it as one of the most surreal things to ever take place in this storied stadium, a place built nearly two decades ago specifically to house history.
Four dead, an ever-expanding list of suspects, dozens of detectives on the case. Three years after the fact, a mysterious shooting in the French Alps has evolved into one of the most confounding, globe-spanning criminal investigations in decades.
FINLAND: New Government Commits to a Basic Income Experiment - "The Finnish government of Juha Sipilä is considering a pilot project that would give everyone of working age a basic income."[1,2,3] (via) [more inside]
365 Parisians by fellow Parisian (born in Kazakhstan, raised in Spain) photographer Constantin Mashinskiy: I decided to take one street portrait, every day, of a random Parisian stranger until I had reached 365 pictures, and met 365 people. Mashinskiy at work in the streets of Paris and short interview.
François Hollande calls emergency meeting after WikiLeaks claims US spied on three French presidents. [more inside]
David Lebovitz visits the Le Creuset factory in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France.
French magician and juggler Antoine Terrieux created a series of remarkably self-sustaining sculptures using different arrangements of hair dryers, and has also incorporated them in funny ways in his stage performance. He also plays with a diabolo in ways that seem to defy gravity. [via]
The wetsuitman. Last winter two bodies were found in Norway and the Netherlands. They were wearing identical wetsuits. The police in three countries were involved in the case, but never managed to identify them. This is the story of who they were.
In Europe, Fake Jobs Can Have Real Benefits (SLNYT)
The concept of virtual companies, also known as practice firms, traces its roots to Germany after World War II, when large numbers of people needed to reorient their skills. Intended to supplement vocational training, the centers emerged in earnest across Europe in the 1950s and spread rapidly in the last two decades.
While the status of Obama's "American College Promise" initiative that proposes two free years of community college for "everybody who's willing to work for it" (announced back in January) is far from certain, The Washington Post identified seven countries -- Germany, Finland, France, Sweden, Norway, Slovenia, and Brazil -- where Americans can study at universities, in English, for free (or almost free), and BBC's News Magazine recently detailed how this works in Germany, both from the side of a new student from outside of Germany, and what Germany gets out of the situation. But if you want to stay in the US, TIME identifies 25 colleges where you can get a tuition for free (with a number of caveats, of course).
Cooking In The Archives: recreating recipes from the Early Modern Peroid (1600s-1800s) in a modern kitchen. Not old enough? Then try some authentically medieval recipes.
"When you imagine France and its scenic countryside, you might think of the picturesque villages, vineyards a plenty and endless rolling green hills to drive through on a blissful summer road trip. But there’s one corner of this scenic country that no one has been allowed to enter for nearly a century, known as the 'Zone Rouge'."
Flâner is a series by Cecile Emeke (nyt) about blackness in France: episode 1; episode 2; episode 3.
Fashion to Die For: "Fast fashion might seem like a modern invention, but in the turbulent world of 18th-century France, when Marie Antoinette was calling the shots, fashion moved at light speed." Dr. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, art historian specializing in fashion and textiles, gives a delightfully rich interview to Collectors Weekly. Through the prism of fashion, she touches on class fluidity and lack thereof, gender roles, textile trades, guilds, self-expression – all elements that rapidly metamorphosized at the end of the Ancien Régime and inexorably led to the French Revolution and its Reign of Terror. [more inside]
"D’Eon exploited this remarkable situation to transition to womanhood, getting both the English and French governments to declare that 'Monsieur d’Eon is a woman.' The press closely followed these announcements and, starting in 1777, d’Eon lived her life legally recognized as a woman. In Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman, d’Eon is held up as one of the most remarkable women of her century." Transgender celebrities are not new. Just read London newspapers from 1770, The Guardian
The next king of Westeros gets governing advice from the (real, not a joke) French governement in order to build a "stronger, fairer kingdom". House France's sigil is a rooster. The text is in French so here's a quick & dirty summary: 1) Less centralization and a more efficient territorial organization 2) Less tournaments and feasts and a responsible Master of Coin 3) A well-deserved and early retirement plan for the hard-working brothers of the Night's Watch 4) A fairer justice with no death penalty or trial by combat 5) No more youngster without education 6) Winter is coming! Let's build shelters for the poorest. [more inside]
For the past three weeks, listeners to France's seven public radio stations have heard little other than music - even on news and speech stations such as France Info and France Inter. The longest strike in the history of Radio France is showing no sign of coming to an end, with both sides becoming more entrenched. [more inside]
France divides the fashion world by banning skinny models France has sent shock waves through the global fashion industry by passing a surprise law making it a criminal offence to employ dangerously skinny women on the catwalk. [more inside]
With all the upheaval in the skies and on the ground, here is one person's opinion on why the U.S. is fighting beside Iran in Iraq and against it in Yemen. Putin tells Iran that an immediate ceasefire is needed in Yemen. All the while...negotiators from six world powers (the P5+1) are attempting to strike a deal with Iran to restrict its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief. As Iran nuclear talks 'enter endgame' in Switzerland...China and Russia say they will show up tomorrow. Keeping things cloaked in intrigue: the US accuses Israel of spying on nuclear talks with Iran and Putin says Western spies plot against Russia before polls, blurs the picture further.
“When a kid tells you he’s not ‘Charlie’, he’s not saying ‘I’ll kill everybody in two months time’, he’s trying to say something in his own vocabulary, in the space where he is at. We have to stop looking at this with adult eyes”, says Truong.Valeria Costa-Kostritsky looks at the challenges teachers and pupils face in France, a month after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Who would poison the vines of La Romanée-Conti, the tiny, centuries-old vineyard that produces what most agree is Burgundy’s ﬁnest, rarest, and most expensive wine? [more inside]
The University of Glasgow's French Emblems project hosts thousands of 16th century woodcuts and etchings. The archive boasts an unusually thorough metadata scheme, allowing you to browse cryptic images of beards, birds in cages, pointed fingers, triumphal conquerors, and fabulous animals, among many other categories. [more inside]
The Galula Doctrine: An Interview with Galula's Biographer A.A. Cohen, who wrote Galula: The Life And Writings of the French Officer Who Defined Counterinsurgency, and an excerpt. [more inside]
A French institute has collected a series of rarely seen videos on the 1979 Iranian revolution, among other things on almost any topic. [more inside]
Yini Bo by French band / collective Le Peuple de l'Herbe (SLYT)
The French left wing satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (currently blank, Wikipedia entry) was attacked by extremists this afternoon. At least 12 people were killed. Among those killed are the cartoonists Wolinski, Cabu, Charb and Tignous. Previously: the firebomb attack on Charlie Hebdo in 2011.
If you built a $7,000 pool table big enough to walk around on and replaced the balls with soccer balls, you'd be playing Snookball. The sport was invented by two French entrepreneurs and there are 10 tables in that country so far. "We know this game will be popular when beer is involved," one told Sport Bible.
Incorruptible Teeth, or, the French Smile Revolution
In 1787, Madame Vigée-Lebrun, painter to France’s royal and aristocratic elite, displayed a canvas at the Paris Salon. It was a self-portrait depicting the artist in an affectionate embrace with her daughter. Vigée-Lebrun is smiling—a sweet, broad smile revealing white teeth. There is little about this pose that seems in any way exceptional, yet exception was furiously taken. “An affectation which artists, art-lovers and persons of taste have been united in condemning,” wrote an anonymous commentator, “and which finds no precedent amongst the Ancients, is that in smiling she shows her teeth. This affectation is particularly out of place in a mother.”How the smile came to Paris (briefly), aka Grin City. [more inside]
Writing is a strange and solitary activity. There are dispiriting times when you start working on the first few pages of a novel. Every day, you have the feeling you are on the wrong track. This creates a strong urge to go back and follow a different path. It is important not to give in to this urge, but to keep going. It is a little like driving a car at night, in winter, on ice, with zero visibility. You have no choice, you cannot go into reverse, you must keep going forward while telling yourself that all will be well when the road becomes more stable and the fog lifts.—From Patrick Modiano's lecture when receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature [Original French, Swedish and video] which is about cities, old telephone directories but mostly about writing, how to do it and what it's like.
The school in Auckland with a radical 'no rules' policy (12:00; 2014) [via] has a little in common with the school in Framingham with a radical 'no curriculum' policy (9:13; 2009) [previously], which has a little in common with the self-directed IT school in Paris for ages 18 to 30 (2:13; 2014), which takes some inspiration from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (excerpt, 12:24; 1981).
Hyper.net's Best UFO Resources
This is a reference Website. It offers a collection of hand-picked UFO resources: real UFO pictures (see the "summary" and "technical overview" pages), video documentaries, video footage and testimonies, technical data and over 500 links to scientific studies, books, portals, newsfeeds, blogs and forums about UFOs. In short, by combining info from many diverse sources, our goal is to share a selection of valuable, representative (in a some cases unique UFO info and original research), as concisely as possible and offer some possible answers. Also provide a "starting point" for in-depth info and gems of real value in a labyrinth of (often false) information published on the fascinating subject of UFOs.The site also includes links to other organizations around the world, though the site hasn't yet added France's official, full-time state-run UFO department, GEIPAN (Group d'Etudes et d'Informations Sur Les Phenomenes Aerospatiaux Non Identifies; translation: Study Group and Information on Non-Identified Aerospace Phenomenon, covered previously). See also: Disclosure Project's UFO files, a list of official government comments and UFO archives released by various countries.
Neil Gaiman: Why Disney's Sleeping Beauty doesn't work (Gaby Wood for The Guardian):
"I feel like some kind of alchemist," Gaiman suggests. "I have to go to the cupboard and take one ounce of Snow White and two ounces of Sleeping Beauty, and heat the Sleeping Beauty and froth the Snow White and mix them together: it's kind of like fusion cuisine. It tastes like both of them but it's actually a new dish."
Are fairy tales back in fashion? Certainly, the recent success of Disney's films Frozen and Maleficent seems to point to something. But most of the fairy tales we know have come to us via 17th century France or 19th century Germany, and have since been subject to so many retellings and rebellions that trends are difficult to map.