Jul
16
2010
0

What do people in France call styles that we call French?

french twist chignon bananeWhen we say French twist, French manicure, French cuffs etc. are these truly French fashions? French people call the chic hairstyle we know as a French twist or French roll a chignon banane (banana bun). On the other hand, a French braid or French plait has the same name in France – tresse française – [&hel[more...]

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Jul
15
2010
0

Who is Marianne?

delacroix-marianneDelacroix’s famous painting from 1830 is titled Liberty Leading the People, but his allegorical figure of a woman with a Phrygian cap carrying the Tricolor and a rifle with disregard for her state of undress influenced later representations of Marianne. Earlier, during the French Revolution, there were other personifications of Liberty and Reason, eventually combined [&hel[more...]

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May
19
2010
0

What is Aquitaine famous for?

eleanor-of-aquitaineAquitaine is the most south-westerly region of France, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west, and Spain to its south. Aquitaine is famous for its history, with evidence of prehistoric human settlement such as the painted cave of Lascaux within Aquitaine’s Périgueux area (which is sometimes known as the cradle of mankind). The Romans ruled [&hel[more...]

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May
16
2010
3

Who ruled Germany in the 19th century?

berlin-parliament-victory-columnFor the first few years of the 19th century, it looked as though Napoleon would rule Germany, maybe establishing a French Empire in Europe. When the century began, France already had control over the German area west of the Rhine. In 1801 the Kaiser and the Holy Roman Empire signed the Peace Treaty of Lunéville, [&hel[more...]

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Mar
12
2010
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Why were the crown princes of France called “Dauphin”, literally, a dolphin?

dolphin-dauphinBetween 1350 and 1791 there were 28 Dauphin de France, the title of the heir apparent to the French throne, similar to the title Prince of Wales in England. But why should he be the “dolphin” of France? Strictly, the correct title was Dauphin de Viennois, the dolphin of Vienne, a town in Département Isère. [&hel[more...]

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Jul
15
2009
2

Where Can I Find Free Newspaper Archives Online from France and Other French-Language Areas?

The French Police wouldn't give me no peace (Flickr Commons NKCR)The French people have an amazing history, a beautiful language, and a justifiable pride in their culture.  But they’ve done a surprisingly poor job of preserving these things in the form of French-language online newspaper archives.  Still, there are a few good sources to know about, from France and other French-speaking areas, such as Quebec [&hel[more...]

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Jun
20
2009
0

What is the National Anthem of France?

Flag of France - courtesy Francois Schnell - CC-BYLa Marseillaise is the National Anthem of France. “La Marseillaise” was written and composed by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle, captain in the Engineering corps garrisoned in Strasbourg during the night of 24 to 25 April 1792 at the behest of the city’s mayor, Baron de Dietrich. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, “La Marseillaise” [&hel[more...]

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Jun
18
2009
0

What are the key facts about France?

1880 French advertising poster (image by trialsanderrors - PD)France is a modern European nation in continental Europe. It lies to the south of the United Kingdom across the English Channel. To the southwest it borders with Spain and Andorra. To the northeast and east it borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco. It has two separate coastlines: the Mediterranean to the [&hel[more...]

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Apr
29
2009
0

Why do cafes in France list two different prices for every drink?

Cafe in the south of France - photo by ktylerconk - CC-BYFrance is full of attractive cafés where you can sit and watch the world go by. They may be in a small town square, or on a busy avenue in Paris. They may look out on trees, or a crowded shopping area. But before you can really enjoy their relaxed charm, you need to know [&hel[more...]

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Apr
14
2009
0

What is the Eiffel Tower?

Eiffel Tower in the rain - courtesy McPig - CC-BYThe Eiffel Tower is an immense tower of exposed latticework supports made of iron built in Paris, France, and it has become a popular tourist attraction and a global symbol of that country. It is one of the most easily identified structures in the world. The tower is named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel and [&hel[more...]

Apr
02
2009
0

What is Paris city profile?

Paris - French Statue of Liberty at night - courtesy really nothing - CC-BYParis is the capital of France and the country’s largest city. The earliest archaeological evidence of permanent settlement in Paris dates to around 4200 BC. Paris lost its position as seat of the French Kingdom during occupation of the English-allied Burgundians but regained its position when Charles VII of France reclaimed the city in 1437. [&hel[more...]

Feb
11
2009
3

Is the Eiffel Tower worth visiting?

Eiffel Tower - looking down from the first level - photo by bewilder2009 - CC-BYIs it the highlight of a trip to Paris, or a tedious, over-rated flop? UK travellers put the Eiffel Tower top of a “most disappointing sights in the world” list in a survey published in 2009. Yet so many people come away delighted with a visit that was exciting, romantic, memorable, fantastic ….. Let’s start [&hel[more...]

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Jan
15
2009
0

What is the Pantheon (Paris)?

Foucault's pendulum and the cat guarding it, Pantheon, Paris - courtesy caspermoller - CC-BYIn 1744, King Louis XV promised that if he were to recover from a mysterious illness he would replace the ruined church of Sainte-Geneviève with a building worthy of Paris’ patron saint. The foundation was laid in 1758. It was completed at the start of the French Revolution and the new Revolutionary government ordered it [&hel[more...]

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