Salut à tous! Hi everyone! I would like to share about one of my favorite places to go to when I was a little girl growing up in France: la boulangerie/pâtisserie! Aka, the bakery. Boulangeries in Paris are as common as delis in Nyc, and you can find one at many street corners all over the city and country. In France, the term pâtisserie is a legally controlled title that may only be used by bakeries that employ a licensed maître pâtissier (a Master Baker). Yes, a baker is an official career there! Bread is usually baked fresh every morning in many french bakeries.
Baking bread and pastries are an art form in France, so much so that a baker is also called an "Artisan"(craftsman). Here are a few delicious baked goods you may find there: Baguettes (you probably know that one), croissants (that one also I'm sure!), pains au chocolat (chocolate croissants), chaussons aux pommes (apple turnovers which is my personal favorite!), brioches (sweet buns), gâteaux et tartes (cakes and pies), Eclairs (means "lightening"), macarons (macaroons), mille-feuilles (thousand sheets) etc. So would you like to taste for yourself the truth of these statements? There are a few nice French bakeries in Nyc and the tristate area, you can find their location by doing a google search. In my opinion, one of the best is located in East Elmhurst Queens, named Cannelle Patisserie. Not only are the prices very reasonable, but the pastries are "ma-gni-fiques!" What's YOUR favorite?
While listening to "Cherie FM" a popular french radio, I heard a song that was not only catchy, but also had lyrics that truly touched my heart. The song was written as part of a project of the UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund), and part of the album "Paris-Africa" who is raising awareness and funds for impoverished countries in the Horn of Africa, where extreme famine and drought make fresh water scarce. This song "Des Ricochets" (Skimming Stones) is the outcry of the children, asking for water to live and play, like any child should. More than 60 French and international artists came together for the project. Enjoy the video and to learn more, visit http://www.unicef.fr/Paris-Africa/
Today March 20 is the International Day of Francophonie and it is celebrated all over the world!
On this day, all French speaking communities of the world unite to celebrate the beautiful French language, by organizing events and contests. There is an "Olympic games of the French language" tournament via the Internet where French speakers around the globe sign on to this website: olyfran.org, and compete for big prizes by testing their French language skills. Also, France culture will show a 24hr long program on the French language (www.franceculture.fr). These events and many others all center around celebrating, and honoring the beautiful French language. Here are some quick facts:
French is an official language in 29 countries, most of which form la francophonie (the community of French-speaking countries). It is an official language of the United Nations agencies and a large number of international organizations. So learning French can be a great act of diplomacy! The official website of the International Day of Francophonie is www.20mars.francophonie.org/-2013- but be warned, bring your best French because it's all in French! It is a good way to practice.
There is a contest going on right now on the official Francophonie organization page on Facebook (for French speakers): Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). You must take the quizz and if you win you get a cool prize.
(A ceux qui parlent Francais: participez au concours sur la page Facebook "Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF)" pour gagner une des 30 compilations de jeunes talents francophones).
Happy International Day of Francophonie!
French cinema has in the past given us great jewels, movies that stick to the mind and to the heart. Among those is a recent movie that truly charmed and inspired me: the Intouchables. The movie is a 2011 comedy-drama film in French with English subtitles, which is great to practice your French comprehension and phonetic skills. It became the second biggest box office hit in France nine weeks after its release and has received several award nominations with good reason. The Intouchables tells the story of the unlikely friendship formed between a wealthy upper class white disabled man and a struggling young black man from a disadvantaged neighborhood. It's the clashing of two opposite worlds at its best, but throughout the movie you learn that despite our differences of race or culture, as people, we are all more alike than we think. This film will pull at your heartstrings and provoke you to think. It addresses many themes like race, status, prejudice, stereotypes, compassion, courage, second-chances, disability etc. The acting is believable and excellent, the dialogues are witty. As you watch the story unfold, you can't help but feel all sorts of emotions, sometimes evaluating your own opinions and views. The most amazing part is that it is based on a true story. I highly recommend this film if you want to see something fresh, charming, that will show you the most beautiful sides of humanity.
There are many things that France is renowned for, and food is one that it is famous for. So I want to share one of my favorite French desserts recipes: crêpes! I have a long history with crêpes. Since I was 8 years old, I have been searching for the perfect crêpes recipe. It took me more than 20 years to find one that works well each time! Crêpes are a very popular and classic French dessert. For those of you who might not know, a crêpe is a type of very thin pancake, that can be served for breakfast, dessert, or even as a meal. I found this fast and easy recipe on www.cuisineaz.com that makes delicious crêpes everytime! Here is the french recipe with its translation:
300g de farine
100g de maizena
1 verre d'eau tiède
600ml de lait
1 cuillère à soupe de sucre
1 pincée de sel
1 bouchon de vanille ou rhum
1. Versez la farine et la maïzena dans un bol, mélangez.
2. Faites chauffer l'eau dans un verre au micro-ondes 1 min.
3. Versez-le sur la farine et mélangez.
4. Quand le mélange est lié, cassez les oeufs, versez le sucre, le sel et la vanille ou le rhum.
5. Mélangez à nouveau et ajoutez petit à petit le lait, laissez reposer environ 20 min puis faites cuire les crêpes à la poêle graissée avec une petite cuillère de beurre, en versant une louche de pâte par crêpe, etalant bien et faisant cuire de chaque côté jusqu'à dorée.
300 g flour
100 g cornflour
1 glass of warm water
600 ml of milk
1 tbsp of sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 capful of vanilla or rum
1 Put the flour and cornstarch in a bowl and mix.
2 Heat water in a glass microwave 1 min.
3 Pour over flour and mix.
4 When the mixture is bound, break the eggs, add the sugar, salt and vanilla or rum.
5 Mix again and gradually add the milk, let stand about 20 minutes, then cook the crêpes, adding a teaspoon of butter to a large hot skillet, pouring a laddle full of batter for each crêpe, cooking them until golden on each side.
Crêpes can be served with a variety of sweet or salty fillings. My faves are Nutella and Banana, or pieces of baked apples with applesauce, sugar, strawberry jam etc.. You can also try salty crêpes and stuff them with ham and cheese, ground beef, omelet etc..Have fun with them and experiment!
This one is for art lovers! As everyone knows, Paris is an artist's dream. About 3 days ago, my younger sister went to the "Musee du Louvre" (Louvre Museum) nicknamed Louvre in Paris. I thought I would share some fascinating facts about one of the largest museums in the world:
1. It is also a landmark located in the center of Paris, on the right bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement. If you are ever in that area, you must stroll around the beautiful scenery, and make a stop at the Louvre.
2. Did you know that with more than 8 million visitors each year, the Louvre is the most visited museum in the world? That's more than the amount of visitors the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower get each year.
3. Can you guess what the most viewed work of art in the world is? If you guessed the Mona Lisa, you are right! The Mona Lisa is said to be "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world." Today, it is reportedly valued at $720.000.000!! Although the painting was stolen once in 1911 by a museum employee, and found 2 years later in 1913, it is well guarded. Today, it is being displayed behind a bulletproof glass.
The Louvre has an enormous collection of art. The museum displays pieces from the Egyptian civilization as old as 4,000 BC (real mummies included!), art from the Greek and Roman civilizations such as the ancient Greek statue "Venus de Milo", an islamic art collection, a medieval collection that contains the crown Louis the XIV was given when he became king, and over 30,000 other artworks displayed for art lovers coming from all over the world...how big is the museum?
about 652,000 sq ft ! So if you can't get enough art no matter what, the Louvre is sure to satisfy...Now THAT'S what I call getting your art on!
1. Get amnesia in France! That way, you will start from scratch and learn as babies do. But most of us are unwilling to take that step, so...
2. Immersion is the next best thing. Surround yourself with the French language as much as possible. The best way is to travel to a French speaking country, but a more realistic way is to...
3. Listen to French language programs on the radio, TV, or the Internet. Rent or buy French language movies and pay attention to pronunciation. Try to watch them without subtitles and understand the dialogues.
4. You can also read French newspapers and magazines. A good source is Google News page.
5. If all else fails, you can always marry a handsome French man (or a beautiful French lady),
so you will have no choice but to learn and understand it! (That's what happened to my husband!)
I hope some of these tips help you learn and improve your French...à bientôt!
Landy J. s.
I was born in France and raised in Paris, and now live in the US. I love to write and share with others. This blog is about French culture and beyond, and will include many interesting and cool things I want to share with my readers...enjoy!