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It all started with a question, one my parents had been unable to answer for 70 years. What happened to the French doctor they had taken in during the Russian siege of Budapest? He was an escaped prisoner of war. They were just trying to hang on. Together, they hid in a cellar, beneath the feet of German soldiers who had made the home their headquarters.
San Francisco Journalist John Temple follows the threads of World War II into the present.
posted by Rumple on Jul 16, 2016 - 20 comments

Bastille Day tragedy in Nice

During Bastille Day celebrations on the Promenade des Anglais, which runs along the Mediterranean, a truck driver plowed through crowds (FR) over a long distance, then exited and began shooting. At time of posting, 60 are feared dead, and many more injured. That it was a planned attack is being evoked by witnesses and police: “People were shouting ‘It’s a terrorist attack, it’s a terrorist attack’, it was clear that the driver was doing it deliberately,” said Maryam Violet, an Iranian journalist visiting Nice. [more inside]
posted by fraula on Jul 14, 2016 - 279 comments

Its Name Bastide Was Corrupted to Bastille

Parisian revolutionaries and mutinous troops storm and dismantle the Bastille, a royal fortress that had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs. [more inside]
posted by notyou on Jul 14, 2016 - 28 comments

Spend next Canada Day with a giant spider and a dragon-horse

Long Ma Jin Shen, a "large-scaled production where a dragon-horse encounters a giant spider in a downpour of sound and special effects," created by French production company La Machine, will be making its first North American appearance in Ottawa during Canada Day celebrations in 2017. [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy on Jul 8, 2016 - 20 comments

Battle of the Somme centenary commemorated

BBC: Commemorations are taking place to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme in World War One. Guns were fired in central London ahead of a two-minute silence at the time the battle commenced at 07:30 on 1 July 1916. Ever wondered what life would have been like for you 100 years ago?, Why was the first day of the Somme such a disaster? [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Jul 1, 2016 - 33 comments

Le Rendez-Vous 2016

After a grueling club season without major surprises or heartbreak, the best (well, close to half) national teams in Europe meet in France to know who will follow Spain in lifting the Henri Delaunay Trophy in Paris in July 10. This Friday, the Euro 2016 begins. [more inside]
posted by lmfsilva on Jun 6, 2016 - 24 comments

In France, a Political Football

The French Socialist government is facing increasing unrest over its proposed labor reforms, which may disrupt the Euro 2016 soccer championship. [more inside]
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles on Jun 2, 2016 - 24 comments

Neanderthal Speleofacts

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.
posted by Kattullus on May 26, 2016 - 48 comments

"...we think a detachable penis is for the best.”

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.
posted by Johnny Wallflower on May 7, 2016 - 35 comments

Les bruits de Paris au XVIIIème

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]
posted by fraula on Apr 22, 2016 - 9 comments

Calais and the shantytown on its doorstep

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.
posted by Kitteh on Apr 20, 2016 - 7 comments

"disappearance of the poet, who cedes the initiative to words"

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.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 17, 2016 - 9 comments

Les Américains souhaitent se faire plaisir et ne pas se limiter

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]
posted by andrewesque on Apr 14, 2016 - 50 comments

Scrape it off, I scrape it off...

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]
posted by Wordshore on Apr 14, 2016 - 71 comments

"This is big science performed on the tiniest of scales"

Take a 360-Degree Tour Inside the Large Hadron Collider
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 21, 2016 - 8 comments

What do deep-fried atrocities have in common with truffles?

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]
posted by protorp on Mar 11, 2016 - 25 comments

Heliciculture

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]
posted by Michele in California on Feb 12, 2016 - 30 comments

Watch for the bit where it almost flies into the door

Drone flight over (and in) the ruins of Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers. (SLYT, 2:25) (via)
posted by immlass on Feb 5, 2016 - 13 comments

On this spot

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.
posted by Dim Siawns on Jan 29, 2016 - 8 comments

The not-so-secret history of comics drawn by women

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.
posted by Artw on Jan 10, 2016 - 23 comments

The forgotten slaves of Tromelin Island

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]
posted by elgilito on Jan 5, 2016 - 8 comments

“I told them I would not change a word,”

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] posted by Fizz on Dec 27, 2015 - 21 comments

Micromanaging the Model

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]
posted by ourt on Dec 18, 2015 - 12 comments

Football is a country

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.
posted by infini on Nov 16, 2015 - 4 comments

The earlier French revolution

How women revolutionised 1670s fashion from Lapham's Quarterly. Mantuas.
posted by goo on Oct 23, 2015 - 9 comments

Murder in the Alps

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.
posted by Chrysostom on Oct 14, 2015 - 59 comments

Basic Income: How to Fix a Broken Monetary Transmission Mechanism

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]
posted by kliuless on Sep 4, 2015 - 24 comments

#046 - I hate smiling

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.
posted by elgilito on Aug 14, 2015 - 20 comments

Espionnage Elysée

François Hollande calls emergency meeting after WikiLeaks claims US spied on three French presidents. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Jun 23, 2015 - 61 comments

Full cast and crew

David Lebovitz visits the Le Creuset factory in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France.
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jun 22, 2015 - 45 comments

I didn't think it was physically possible, but this both sucks and blows

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]
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jun 19, 2015 - 19 comments

The boy who could see England

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.
posted by elgilito on Jun 16, 2015 - 31 comments

Some of the faux companies even hold strikes

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.
posted by frimble on Jun 5, 2015 - 18 comments

Free tuition around the world, a different sort of study abroad

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).
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 4, 2015 - 13 comments

A Goode Soop

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.
posted by The Whelk on May 27, 2015 - 41 comments

The Real No-Go Zone

"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'."
posted by orange swan on May 26, 2015 - 34 comments

Flâner

Flâner is a series by Cecile Emeke (nyt) about blackness in France: episode 1; episode 2; episode 3.
posted by - on May 22, 2015 - 3 comments

French fashion and politics in the time of Marie Antoinette

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]
posted by fraula on May 12, 2015 - 19 comments

changing from a 'bad' man to a 'good' woman

"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
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on May 9, 2015 - 8 comments

House France writes to the Seven Kingdoms

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]
posted by elgilito on Apr 13, 2015 - 26 comments

Cette grève est pour vous

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]
posted by winterhill on Apr 9, 2015 - 10 comments

Under new French law, Anorexia is now unfashionably thin

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]
posted by Michele in California on Apr 3, 2015 - 105 comments

Connecting the Dots

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.
posted by Emor on Mar 28, 2015 - 58 comments

"I asked him a very old Jewish question: Do you have a bag packed?"

Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 17, 2015 - 181 comments

Forced to be “Charlie”

“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.
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 18, 2015 - 110 comments

The Assassin in the Vineyard

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]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 13, 2015 - 21 comments

Heroic Devices

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]
posted by Iridic on Feb 9, 2015 - 6 comments

"disorder ... is cheap to create, but very costly to prevent"

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]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 30, 2015 - 7 comments

Iranian 1979 revolution: Rare footage from French television

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]
posted by hoder on Jan 28, 2015 - 18 comments

Road trip

Yini Bo by French band / collective Le Peuple de l'Herbe (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 18, 2015 - 7 comments

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