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13th C-style castle built by hand

In 1996 Frenchman Michel Guyot set out to build a XIII century castle the medieval way1 -- using hammers and chisels to carve the stones, horses to cart the rock and no power tools. Ten years later it is one third completed and if all goes well will be finished by 2023, after which the plan is to build an abbey, then a village.2

1. Guyot, Michael (1996). "Guedelon: Chantier Medieval". Online project home page. Multi-lingual.
2. Doland, Angela (August 31, 2006). " Stone by stone, craftsmen build medieval-style castle". Associated Press, via CNN.
posted by stbalbach on Sep 3, 2006 - 19 comments

The 12-step chocoholics program: Never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate!

Some folks really like it sweet. Some will start a six-year campaign to get it. Some blame Canada and France for not getting it, when it was perhaps better to blame the Swiss. Some want it healthy while others want the romance back. Some make it part of higher education, while others just want to get higher. Even vegans want in on the gooey action.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 30, 2006 - 20 comments

The Rockets Rouge Glare

In the South of France you'll find the fortified city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a classic example of the medieval fortified city. Built upon the ruins of forts that predate Christianity, Carcassonne is one of the most photogenic places I've ever seen, never more so than on Bastille Day, when the city sets the night sky ablaze. A full gallery of Carcassonne fireworks can be found here.
posted by jonson on Aug 16, 2006 - 35 comments

Size Doesn't Matter... Size Doesn't Matter... Keep repeating...

I've long felt that the U.S. of A. "jumped the shark" as a country when we rejected the Metric System. The price of gasoline would still be under a dollar (per liter). Yet, we'd drive less because a short 20 mile trip would become a long 32 km trip. Then there's the most important measurement of all [maybe NSFW animated graph], providing us with the joy of 12.9(!) while we try to ignore that Japan is .1 ahead of us and France is .1 more than South Africa. (And is that Korean average North or South?)
posted by wendell on Aug 14, 2006 - 65 comments

River Art

Ahmad Nadalian's work can be found all over the world. He is an artist that carves symbols on rocks and then leaves them at the site where they were created (sometimes burying them).
posted by tellurian on Aug 2, 2006 - 7 comments

The Castaway and the Queen.

Queen Ranavalona I, best known as a villainess in George Fraser's novel Flashman's Lady, ascended the throne of Madagascar in 1835. Known abroad as the Bloody Mary of Madagascar, the Queen's favourite methods of execution included half-boiling and tossing off of cliffs, and over a third of her population died under her reign. Although she and her court wore French dress, Ranavalona banned Christianity and drove Europeans off the island. Nevertheless, she united Madagascar and kept it free of French or British control at a time when other African nations were brought into the growing empires. [more inside]
posted by By The Grace of God on Aug 2, 2006 - 22 comments

Le Force est forte avec celui-ci

French photographer Cedric Delsaux takes pictures of Star Wars characters (in figurine) and superimposes them onto French architecture, with interesting results.
posted by jonson on Jul 16, 2006 - 16 comments

C'mon, you knew it was going to happen...

The World Cup! This is your spoiler-free post... Don't be a dick. Don't post a FPP revealing who won!!!
posted by Cyrano on Jul 9, 2006 - 228 comments

I have a rendezvous with Death, at some disputed barricade

90 years ago today, whistles blew around the river Somme in France as British troops prepared for an attack on German trenches. By the end of the day they had suffered 57,470 casualties. By the battle's end in November, there were over 600,000 Allied casualties, with perhaps the same number of German casualties. The Imperial War Museum has launched an online exhibition, where you can find out more about how the battle was planned, personal stories of those involved, and myths about the attack. Elsewhere you can find copies of Army reports on the first day, look at film of the attack, diaries and letters home from the troops, go on tours of the trenches, listen to contemporary songs and music inspired by the battle, and see some more modern responses.
posted by greycap on Jul 1, 2006 - 38 comments

Comme YouTube pour les Grenouilles! Yeh yeh!

Ques ça c'est? Scopitones were film jukeboxes in post-war France. See Jacque Brel and Johnny Hallyday in vivid couleur! (via)
posted by klangklangston on Jun 21, 2006 - 13 comments

My Life in France

My Life in France by Julia Child (discussed here, and here) has been published posthumously with the assistance of Alex Prud'homme.
posted by grapefruitmoon on May 27, 2006 - 10 comments

The French Touch (Revived)

Relevant after all? Daft Punk are experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Whereas it seemed only a few months ago they were washed up and out of ideas, in danger having run their persona into the ground, they can now claim to have been the undisputed highlight of the Coachella Festival, responsible for one of the most memorable rap hooks of recent years and are on their way to Cannes to attend the premiere of their first self-directed film, 'Electroma'. At the same time, their influence is the driving force behind the new wave of French electronic music. People are even starting to come around to their previously unloved third album. hint: listen to it loud.
posted by setanor on May 17, 2006 - 24 comments

Drink-o de Mayo?

Is Cinco De Mayo For Sale By the Alcohol Industry? In the 1960s, Chicano activists in Colorado promoted a boycott of Coors beer in response to employment discrimination against Latinos at Coors breweries. Coors had two problems. They had to fix their image with Latino consumers, and they had to figure out some way to get college students to drink more beer in May. The solution: start sponsoring Cinco de Mayo! Thus, even though Mexicans in Mexico celebrate their independence day on September 15th and 16th, Mexican-Americans are more likely to celebrate the May 5th anniversary of the Battle of the Puebla, which is not even commemorated with a national holiday in Mexico. In fact, the Battle of the Puebla was a skirmish in the Pastry War, a French intervention in Mexico that began because a French chef demanded several thousand pesos to compensate him for Mexican military officers looting his pastry supply.
posted by jonp72 on May 5, 2006 - 44 comments

Il est interdit d'interdire.

In May 1968 a general strike broke out across France. The strike started at the University of Nanterre and spread to the streets as 80,000 students, teachers and workers demanded the fall of Charles de Gaulle's government, and they were joined by many other people protesting the brutality of the police. Timeline. Reports shown in cinemas. An eyewitness account from Solidarity. This revolt also gave rise to some amazing posters, printed by the 'Popular Workshop' at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Also of note was the graffiti sprayed about the city, many taken from Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle and the Situationalist International. 1968, it seems, was an interesting time to be around. Boredom is counterrevolutionary.
posted by Zack_Replica on May 3, 2006 - 17 comments

HAMATAI!

A bunch of videos of the great sui generis French band Magma, including what appears to be a complete performance of Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh. Can't understand the lyrics? Try a Kobaian dictionary [cache].
posted by kenko on Apr 23, 2006 - 10 comments

Guantanamo Bay for kids?

Les Enfants Perdu de Tranquility Bay. (Google Video). Recently shown on Australian public TV, this French documentary explores a multi-billion dollar corporation that treats American teens like "faulty goods" sent back for repair. An octopus fishing incident is one of several heartbreaking episodes.
posted by johngoren on Apr 12, 2006 - 36 comments

Actually Useful French

Phrases you'd really like to know before you go to France. Special bonus how to be an obnoxious lover in French.
posted by BuddhaInABucket on Apr 6, 2006 - 25 comments

Bonjour America

Howdy États-Unis! Cyrille of Vingt Sur Vingt (French) has a new blog and he's talking to you, USians.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Apr 5, 2006 - 20 comments

les manifs

The evolution of the French students' CPE protests in photos.
posted by pwedza on Mar 23, 2006 - 21 comments

Jerry Lewis at 80

Jerry Lewis at 80 (more inside)
posted by matteo on Mar 13, 2006 - 46 comments

Serge

Serge Gainsbourg. Who died fifteen years ago, yesterday.
posted by gsb on Mar 2, 2006 - 19 comments

Foreign Aid

Newsfilter: "France can take Treme. The king of Jordan can take the Lower Ninth Ward." Ray Nagin seeks international assistance after a certain superpower comes up short. [via Humid City]
posted by brundlefly on Feb 7, 2006 - 13 comments

Thunder! Thunder!

Bad acoustic cover songs with a French accent.
posted by Wolfdog on Jan 4, 2006 - 31 comments

Liberte! Equalite! Anime!

The French Democracy is a short film on the recent riots in France. It was made by Alex Chan, Parisan-born but of Chinese parents, to "to correct what was being said in the media, especially in the United States" about the riots. He used a techinique called machinima--using a video game engine to make his movie.
posted by LarryC on Dec 16, 2005 - 39 comments

The kiwi, it is French, you see...

Kiwi Actually French: Film At 11. The French wine industry is notably protective of domestic producers' rights to use terms like Champagne and Burgundy, both geographic indications of areas of France. The Institut National des Appellation d’Origine even protested against the US registration of the trademark Goats do Roam (sounding similar to Côtes du Rhône). Now one winemaker, Lacheteau, which sells French wine under the brand Kiwi Cuvee, has successfully scared off a New Zealand winery from using the "Kiwi" appelation in the EU.
posted by afiler on Dec 6, 2005 - 24 comments

Kicken it in sunny Southern France

Unions are much of the source of the E.U. vs. U.S. lifestyle difference.
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 4, 2005 - 54 comments

‘we will become the people you imagine we are, just watch'

Joblessness is a major motivating force of these riots, which is why the politicians and the press turn endlessly around the question of job creation in the banlieues. [...] An injection of vigorous enterprise, a big deregulating kick, and racial discrimination would evaporate in the tremendous, creative release of market forces. No race riots in an untrammelled market economy: that’s what Sarkozy really means. It’s an ingenious, high-pressure sales pitch for the ‘Anglo-Saxon model’ – indeed, it’s bordering on blackmail. Jeremy Harding in the London Review of Books goes among the arsonists in Paris and offers some insights on the economic factors and political consequences of the riots.
posted by funambulist on Dec 3, 2005 - 6 comments

Sic et non

De Villepin: The French riots didn't happen. Riots? What riots? There were no riots. (Jean Baudrillard: "That's right, Dominique, you're getting the idea.)
posted by jfuller on Nov 30, 2005 - 49 comments

Asterix vs President Moron

Asterix gets political. After over four decades of defending his lone holdout village from Roman attack, French children's book icon Asterix is taking on America in the latest novel. The village is besieged by an alien army whose leader is named Hubs, (a thinly veiled anagram of the U.S. President). The aliens invade seeking non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
posted by jonson on Nov 25, 2005 - 35 comments

"In the span of history, this is a not an altogether unfamiliar situation for us."

Quitting France: French Jews are leaving the country in ever-growing numbers, fleeing a wave of anti-Semitism. They are moving to Israel, the United States, and increasingly, Montreal -- where the mostly English-speaking Jewish community is preparing for its greatest demographic change in decades. An interesting if slightly anecdotal look at the situation for Jewish people in France from Canada's National Post.

Part 1 - Barricaded in Paris, Part 2 - Taking leave of 'the fear', Part 3 tomorrow deals with the impact of the influx of French Jews in Montreal.
posted by loquax on Nov 21, 2005 - 67 comments

Why Paris Is Burning

Why Paris Is Burning Officially, the French state doesn't recognize minorities, only citizens of France, all of them equal under the law. But that republican ideal has seemed especially hollow over the past week as the children of impoverished, largely Muslim immigrants from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa fought running battles with police throughout the banlieues, or suburbs, to the east and north of the French capital...
posted by Postroad on Nov 5, 2005 - 199 comments

What the hell is going on in France?

Newsfilter: Rioting continues in the suburbs of Paris. In Clichy-Sous-Bois, a predominantly (80%) North African muslim banlieu of about 28,000 people, night battles have been raging (video) between youths and the police after two muslim youths died by electrocution while they thought the police were chasing them, a charge the police denies. That was 5 nights ago. Since then, 27 people have been arrested, 3 convicted, numerous cars destroyed and property damaged, and 23 police officers wounded in street battles involving "up to several hundred" participants. The muslim community now accuses the police of firing tear gas into a mosque, and things look far from calming down. These tensions are hardly confined to Paris, however - In Lyon, 800 cars have been burned in "low level" violence this year; Across France, 9,000 police cars have been "stoned" this year, and 20-40 cars are destroyed a night (!!!), according to Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. I knew that relations between "the French" and the "Beurs" were somewhat less than pleasant, but am I the only one that was unaware that France has been in a state of low-level but direct civil and religious war for the last few years?
posted by loquax on Nov 1, 2005 - 80 comments

Segregation for the dummies

Secret information concerning the Black American Troops. We must prevent the rise of any pronounced degree of intimacy between French officers and black officers. We may be courteous and amiable with these last, but we cannot deal with them on the same plane as with the white American officers without deeply wounding the latter. In August 1918, the French liaison officer at the American Expeditionary Force Headquarters gave his fellow officers a primer in US-style racial segregation, urging the military and civil authorities to implement similar procedures on French soil, as the local populations were felt by US authorities to be much too friendly towards American Black troops (PDF, page 13) (see also the first chapter of Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light). This memorandum, however, was never distributed and other similar leaflets were eventually destroyed by the French government. One soldier of the 93rd Division wrote his mother: These French people don't bother with no color line business. They treat us so good that the only time I ever know I'm colored is when I look in the glass.
posted by elgilito on Oct 19, 2005 - 18 comments

Jeanne d'Evreux's Book of Hours

The tiny Book of Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux, Queen of France. (via)
posted by Slithy_Tove on Sep 30, 2005 - 7 comments

Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail

Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail. Best known as the drummer for 1970s punk band The Damned, Rat Scabies grew up with a father interested in the mysteries of the French town of Rennes-le-Château, which may or may not contain the Holy Grail and in the enigmatic priest Berenger Sauniere. Conspiracy theories surrounding the town first popped up in the 1970s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail and gained a certain amount of infamy in recent years from The DaVinci Code. Upon striking up a friendship with his neighbor, journalist Christopher Dawes, Scabies discovered common interests in conspiracy theories and all things paranormal and a shared hatred of the DaVinci Code. Now the pair wrote a book about their alcohol-sodden quest for the Holy Grail that asks the question: What happens when an ex-punk rocker goes looking for the Holy Grail?
posted by huskerdont on Sep 16, 2005 - 19 comments

Solutions For Grandeur

Solutions For Grandeur Nicolas Sarkozy has become the most popular French politician by diving headfirst into the country’s most explosive political issues. If he has his way, this hyperactive, pro-American, Gaullist, free marketer will transform French politics for good. via
posted by Kwantsar on Sep 9, 2005 - 18 comments

Le Bridge

Le Viaduc de Millau on the A75 between Clermont-Ferrand and Béziers in France is the world's tallest and most technologically advanced bridge. At 2,460m long and 343m tall, its multi-stayed spans are suspepended from seven pylons. It is not only an engineering marvel, but a work of art. It took 14 years of preparation, but the bridge was built in only 3 years. This film shows how it was built. Here is a live view from the webcam. Previous Metafilter discussion in August 2004 before the bridge opened in January 2005 here.
posted by three blind mice on Sep 1, 2005 - 13 comments

Choosy mothers choose Plumpy'nut

Hope for hungry children, arriving in a foil packet [NYT article], interesting article about a seemingly simple (if partial) solution to malnutrition in Niger: a peanut-butter-like mixture that avoids the problems associated with traditional treatment methods. What truly interests-and bothers me-about this article is that a French company came up with this. Is there an American company that makes products simply to alleviate world hunger?
posted by ancientgower on Aug 8, 2005 - 33 comments

I hope they burn.

"A distressing example of the breakdown of moral and social values . . ." 62 of the 66 accused were convicted and sentenced in France's largest child sex abuse case to date. From 1999 to 2002, 45 children in Angers, aged 6 months to 12 years, were prostituted by their own families in exchange for as little as a carton of cigarettes. Most of the families were monitored by social workers and reports of abuse began in 1999, but an in-depth investigation did not begin until three years later.

Each next news article reveals more horrifying details. Three children were raped by over forty adults; parents would be ". . . smoking cigarettes in the next room while men raped their children and the children were crying". And ". . . one girl was forced to perform oral sex so often that she cannot eat in the company of adults".

It can take a lifetime to recover from being raped once. A nine-year-old who's been raped by forty people, including her parents and grandfather? I pray her psychologist is better than her family's social worker.
posted by schroedinger on Aug 7, 2005 - 64 comments

Flaubert on Structural Unity

Flaubert on Structural Unity. "I’ve just read 'Pickwick' by Dickens. Do you know it? Some bits are magnificent; but what a defective structure! All English writers are like that. Walter Scott apart, they lack composition. This is intolerable for us Latins". Extracts from the letters of Flaubert (via the very awesome book coolie)
posted by matteo on Jul 29, 2005 - 12 comments

The Nation marches towards the Republic

Happy Bastille day! For all citizens of France, the storming of the Bastille symbolizes, liberty,democracy and the struggle against all forms of oppression. Also, the Declaration of the Rights of Man (which was written by Lafayette, of all people).
posted by warbaby on Jul 14, 2005 - 27 comments

Counter-terrorism by trial and error

The French experience of counter-terrorism (PDF): from the "sanctuary doctrine" to active prevention, a detailed history of how France learned counter-terrorism the hard way. Since [the French revolution] France has been on the bleeding edge of terrorism, confronting terrorism in all its guises, from bomb-throwing anarchists to transnational networks. In the last 20 years, France suffered repeated waves of terrorism of both domestic and foreign origin, each which spawned a variety of reforms to an already complex system for combating terrorism. As a result, France has developed, largely by costly trial and error, a fairly effective, although controversial system for fighting terrorism at home.
posted by elgilito on Jul 9, 2005 - 54 comments

Euro hottie

ITER goes to France. Amazing stuff happens at 100 million degrees Celsius.
posted by magullo on Jun 28, 2005 - 19 comments

NORTH AFRICAN TO PROTECT FRENCH LANGUAGE

Assia Djebar the Algerian novelist and filmmaker was elected to fill the only vacancy at the Académie Française, the august French institution that watches over the French language. Ms. Djebar, 68, is the first North African to join the 40-member academy. Most interesting in light of recent discussions here on Dutch/Muslim relations. Comments from those who've read her books or know her from her work at LSU or elsewhere would no doubt be appreciated
posted by IndigoJones on Jun 17, 2005 - 12 comments

Son of Concorde

The end of Concorde was one of the few times in modern history that technology has been forced to regress. But it won't take long to fix.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Jun 15, 2005 - 48 comments

No West

Will the notion of the "West" soon be politically meaningless? A fascinating article by Brian Walden which raises questions about the direction Europe and the wider community is heading in C21. Some of the comments are particularly interesting.
posted by tommyc on May 30, 2005 - 17 comments

Royal de Luxe Parade

The Royal de Luxe Parade in Nantes, celebrating Jules Verne from what I can gather. A staggeringly beautiful event, go see! I may weep. (via the greatwaxy.org)
posted by Scoo on May 30, 2005 - 14 comments

.

Red State/Blue state France. Les résultats département par département. Remarkable that the U.S. isn't the only country that's split down the geographic middle. No translation, but the picture speaks for itself.
posted by jfuller on May 30, 2005 - 22 comments

Non

Non (en anglais)
posted by Turtle on May 29, 2005 - 73 comments

[][][]

It's exactly one week to The Referendum. Will there be a Europe this year or won't there? The European Union was more France's project than anyone else's; if the French suddenly say Non there's going to be lots of polyglot arm-waving and excitement. The media are all a-twitter, all the European ministers are breathing heavily, Libération, in the person of Jean Baudrillard, sees state fascism approaching (but then Libération always sees fascism approaching, it's their gig.) My magic 8 ball points to Oui. Oh wait, it changed its mind, now it says "reply hazy, ask again later."
posted by jfuller on May 22, 2005 - 30 comments

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