Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bernard Hinault - Famous French Cyclist

Bernard Hinault (born 14 November, 1954) is a French cyclist who won the Tour de France five times. He is also one of only four cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours, the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia, and the Vuelta a España. He is the only cyclist who has won each Grand Tour more than once. He won the Tour de France in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985. He was first in the Giro d'Italia in 1980, 1982 and 1985. He was first in the Vuelta a España in 1978 and 1983. Hinault had the nickname Le Blaireau (the Badger). Hinault says this was a local custom with cyclists when he was young. Professional cyclists used the nickname because badgers do not let go of their prey (animals they want to eat) easily. People know him as a very independent and strong man.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gougères - French Appetizer

Being an extreme cheese lover (I could be Wallace of "Wallace & Gromit"), I came across this recipe that I will have to try.

gougère, in French cuisine, is a savory choux pastry with cheese. Grated cheese may be mixed into the batter, cubes of cheese may be pushed into the top, or both. Gougères are sometimes called cheese puffs in English.

Inside a gougère

Inside a gougère

Gougères can be made as small, finger-sized pastries, or filled with ingredients such asmushrooms, beef, or ham. In the latter case, the gougère is usually made using a ring or pie tin. Traditionally, gougères are made with Gruyère, but other cheeses are sometimes used. Gougère is a specialty of the Burgundy region.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, bring water, butter, and salt to a rapid, rolling boil. Make sure all the butter is melted, and then add flour. Stir the mixture for 20-30 seconds, until a sticky dough ball forms and begins pulling away from the sides of the pan. Reduce heat to low-medium heat and cook, stirring, for 90 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes. 

Beat in eggs, one at a time, along with cheeses and seasonings. Place heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets 1 inch apart. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 25-30 minutes. The gougeres are done when they are a deep golden brown and puffed. Serve immediately.   

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quick Phrase of the Day - It’s Almost...

Quick Phrase of the Day - It’s Almost...

We practiced before how to say the exact time. But suppose you want to say it’s almost...
il est presque onze heure (eel ay prehsk ownz uhr) it is almost 1:00
il est presque quatre heure (eel ay prehsk kah truh uhr) It is almost 4:00

Repeat this phrase all day long til you know it by heart.

vocabulary word of the day:
prochain (pro shayne) - next
venez samedi prochain (veh nay sahm dee pro shayne) come next Saturday

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Le Refuge des Fondues - A Very Unique Restaurant

Address17 rue des 3 Frères, 75018
Tel:01 42 55 22 65
Web:Le Refuge des Fondues Homepage
Open:7 pm – midnight every day
Price:Menu at 15 €
Le Refuge des Fondues, Paris, France

From what I've been reading this restaurant has a hilarious twist. Apparently Paris charges a tax on wine served in glasses, so this owner came up with the idea of serving his wines in...Baby Bottles! Apparently everyone enjoys it (aside from the excellent fondues) & has a fun time in this place.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Answer To Yesterday's Guess Who

Answer to yesterday's guess who:

Catherine Deneuve

Bowling In Paris

Being an avid bowler (ok I know there's some of you out there going Ho-Hum), it's nice to to know I can still go bowling if I want to.

Bowl late-night in a glowing, club-like atmosphere, or stop in any time of day for the classic bowling experience. Bowling Montparnasse has 16 lanes, 9 pool tables, a bar, and even arcade games, so you can spend a whole afternoon or evening here - perfect for a winter date.

Open every day from 10am until 2am, Fridays till 4am, and Saturdays & holidays, till 5am.

Specials: 11€ before 6pm, 16€50 after. Prices include 2 games, shoe rental, and a drink (soda or beer). You can also play à la carte, for 4€50 or 6€50/game (plus 2€ for shoe rental) - check the website for exact times and details.

AMF Bowling de Montparnasse 25, Rue du Commandant Mouchotte, 14th arrondissement

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Did you know that the first photograph is credited to a Frenchman? Take that Kodak!

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (March 7, 1765 – July 5, 1833) was a French inventor, most noted as the inventor of photography and a pioneer in the field. He is well-known for taking some of the earliest photographs, dating to the 1820s.
He created the first permanent photograph, of a pigeon house and barn as seen from his window, in the summer of 1826.The photograph was made using a camera obscura and a sheet of pewter coated with bitumen of Judea, an asphalt that when exposed to light, hardened permanently. This first photograph was captured during an eight hour exposure, taking so much time that the sun passed overhead, illuminating both sides of the courtyard.

Guess Who?

Qui est-ce?

Post your guesses here. Answer tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Answer to Yesterday's Guess Who

Answer from yesterday's "Guess Who" feature:
Alan Delon

Must See Film -Une Vieille Maîtresse

My girlfriend & I saw this film on Sunday (merci Dieu, that we have one theatre here in Hawaii that does show foreign films), & it was a pretty good film, not great, but a good character driven story. I'd give it 3 1/2 croissants out of 5.

Une Vieille Maîtresse -"The Last Mistress" 
I don't know how to pronounce the word "vieille". I do know that the title literally translates to "The Old Mistress". If all my french friends could help us out with this word, it would be appreciated. Is is pronounced "vee yay" or "vee eye eee" or "vee eye ya"? Please help me with this one-Merci, Roy

UPDATE 9/24 Isabelle, our friend from France tells me it is pronounced "vee yay". Our thanks always for your help.

Ryno de Marigny (Fu'ad Ait Aattou, before getting married to the young and innocent Hermangarde (Roxanne Mesquida), makes a last visit to La Vellini (Asia Argento), his Spanish mistress, to bid goodbye in an act of lovemaking. His liason with La Vellini is the subject of the Parisian gossip, and before Hermangarde's grandmother gives her blessing, she wants to hear from Ryno everything about this relationship. Ryno reveals a temptestuous story but indicates that his ten year romance is over; he now is in love with Hermangarde. After the marriage, the newlyweds move away to a castle at the seashore. They are happy and soon Hermangarde conceives. But the "last/old mistress" reappears, and while Ryno tries to keep her out of his life, she is not to be rejected, and Hermangarde finds out about it.

Quick Phrase of the Day - I Need Some Suntan Lotion

If you are going to the beach, before you go, you might have to say this to someone:
J'ai besoin d'une crème solaire (zhay beh swan duhn krehm sole air) I need some suntan lotion.

Repeat this phrase all day long til you know it by heart.

Vocabulary word of the day:
l'église (lay gleeze) -the church
Est'ce qu'il y a une église près d'ici?(ehss keel ee ya oohn ay gleeze pray dee see) Is there a church near here?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Guess Who

Qui est-il (kee ay teel) - Who is it?

Who is this famous French person. Comment here on who you think it is. Answer will be posted tomorrow.

A Little Sad Today...

Being an ex-New Yorker, I'm a little sad today as I watched the last game played ever at Yankee Stadium. They are tearing down the stadium & building a new one (but not on the same exact spot) for next year. It makes me sad not only because I'm a die-hard Yankee fan, but also as a realization that in America, unlike Europe, we don't value our historical buildings & landmarks. 3,000 years from now we won't have our historical landmarks here. But Europe will always have Notre Dame, the Coliseum, the Parthenon, etc. 

Anyway I found this article in the french newspaper "Le Figaro"

Les New-Yorkais pleurent la fin du Yankee Stadium(New Yorkers Mourn The End Of Yankee Stadium)

Dimanche, le plus célèbre terrain de base-ball accueillera son dernier match avant sa démolition.
Mais pour l'instant, l'heure est à la nostalgie. C'est dimanche que le plus célèbre terrain de base-ball au monde doit accueillir son dernier match, avant d'être démoli, à 85 ans. ll y a plus d'histoire dans le Yankee Stadium que dans toute l'histoire de France, pour moi ce n'est pas un stade, c'est une cathédrale.
Les plus grandes légendes Toute cette semaine, nombre de fans sont donc venus faire leurs adieux au fameux stade.
Si l'actuel Yankee Stadium occupe une place à part dans le cœur des Américains, c'est qu'il est intimement lié à l'histoire du pays. Il a vu naître les plus grandes légendes du base-ball, le sport le plus populaire aux États-Unis. Il a accueilli Eisenhower, Billy Joel, les Pink Floyd, le pape Jean-Paul II et même George W. Bush après les attentats du 11 Septembre. L'émotion est donc à fleur de peau dans les gradins, au moment du traditionnel God Bless America. La casquette bleue au fameux sigle posée pour l'occasion sur la poitrine, les fans chantent, le regard plein de fierté.

Sunday, the most famous baseball field will host its last game before its demolition. 
But for now, time is the nostalgia. Sunday  the most famous baseball field in the world will host its last match before being demolished in 85 years. There is more history in Yankee Stadium in the history of France, for it is not a stage is a cathedral. 
The greatest legends 
All this week, many fans are coming to say goodbye to the famous stadium. 
If the current Yankee Stadium holds a special place in the heart of Americans, it is intimately linked to the country's history. He has seen the greatest legends of baseball, the most popular sport in the United States. He welcomed Eisenhower, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd, Pope John Paul II and even George W. Bush after the attacks of Sept. 11. The emotion is flush skin in the stands, when traditional God Bless America. The blue cap raised to the famous acronym for the occasion on his chest, the fans sing, eyes full of pride.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Answer To Yesterday's Guess Who

Answer from yesterday's "Guess Who" feature:
Charles de Gaulle.

Lesson # 15 - Getting Assistance

Phrases you will here & need to know:

Je voudrais des renseignements (zhuh voo drayz des rehn zehn ya mahn) - I would like some information.
Je peut vous aider? (zhuh puh vooze ah day) - Can I help you?
Je cherche... (zhuh shehrsh) I am looking for...
Etes-vous ouverts le dimanche (eht voo ooh vehr luh dee mahnsh) -Are you open on Sundays?
bien sûr (bee yehn sir) of course

More numbers:
56 cinquante-six (sank kahnt seece), 57 cinquante-sept (sank kahnt set), 58 cinquante-huit (sank kahnt wheat), 59 cinquante-neuf (sank kahnt newf), 60 soixante (swah zahnt)

Lesson # 16 on 9/24

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Guess Who

A new feature here. A little game of guess who this famous french person is:

Qui est-il (kee ay teel) - Who is it?
Comment here on who you think it is. Answer will be posted tomorrow.

Sarah Bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt (October 22, 1844 – March 26, 1923) was a French stage actress, and has been referred to as "the most famous actress in the history of the world". Bernhardt made her fame on the stages of Europe in the 1870s, and was soon in demand in Europeand the United States. She developed a reputation as a serious dramatic actress, earning the nickname "The Divine Sarah."
She was born in Paris as Sarah-Marie-Henriette Rosine Bernard, the daughter of Julie Bernardt and a father of Dutch nationality. She added the letter "H" to both her first and last name, and used the name of Édouard Bernardt, her mother's brother, as the name of her father. This was probably done to hide the fact that her father was unknown. Her grandfather, Moritz Bernardt, was a Jewish merchant in Amsterdam. Most likely, her Jewish mother was also born in Amsterdam.
Much of the uncertainty about Bernhardt's life arises because of her tendency to exaggerate and distort. Some claim she was born in Iowa and ran away to Paris, where she assumed a new identity as a French citizen to begin a stage career. Alexandre Dumas, described her as a notorious liar.
To support herself, it is assumed that she combined the career of an actress and that of a courtesan. At the time, the two were considered scandalous to some degree.
Bernhardt's stage career started in 1862 when she was a student at the Comédie-Française, France's most prestigious theater. However, she was not entirely successful at the conservatory and left to become a courtesan by 1865. It was during this time that she acquired her famous coffin, which she often slept in in lieu of a bed, claiming it helped her understand her many tragic roles. She made her fame on the stages of Europe in the 1870s, and was soon in demand all over Europe and in New York. She soon developed a reputation as a serious dramatic actress, earning the title "The Divine Sarah".  Arguably, she may have been the most famous actress of the 19th century.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Must See French Film - 8 Femmes

8 Women (Original French title: 8 femmes) is a French musical comedy murder-mystery film released in 2002, directed by François Ozon and based on the play by Robert Thomas.

The film is set in the 1950s in a large country residence, as a family and its servants are preparing for Christmas, when the master of the house is discovered dead in his bed, with a dagger stuck into his back. The murderer must be one of the eight women in the house at the time, and in the course of the investigations each has a tale to tell and secrets to hide.

This is not your usual murder mystery, as every so often the women break out into 60's influenced songs. A very good film.

Quick Phrase of the Day - I Am A Fan Of...

Je suis un fan de ... (zhuh sweeze uhn fahn deh jahz) -I am a fan of Jazz

Vocabulary words to use with this phrase:
Jazz (jahz) -Jazz
La musique classique (lah mew zeek klah seek) - Classical music
Rock (rahk) Rock

Repeat this phrase all day long till you know it by heart.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Tarot of Marseilles

The Tarot of Marseilles (or Tarot of Marseille), also widely known by the French designation Tarot de Marseille, is one of the standard patterns for the design of tarot cards. It is a pattern from which many subsequent tarot decks derive. The Tarot deck was probably invented in northern Italy in the fifteenth century. It is ascertained that tarot cards were introduced into southern France from northern Italy when the French conquered Milan and thePiedmont in 1499. The name Tarot de Marseille was popularized in the 1930s by the French cartomancer Paul Marteau, who used this collective name to refer to a variety of closely related designs that were being made in the city of Marseille in the south of France, a city that was a centre of playing card manufacture, and were (in earlier, contemporaneous, and later times) also made in other cities in France. The Tarot de Marseille is one of the standards from which many tarot decks of the nineteenth century and later are derived.

The Papess Controversy

The Papess card has sparked controversy because of its portrayal of a female pope. There is no solid historical evidence of a female pope but this card may be based around the mythical Pope Joan, who is sometimes viewed as the Antichrist. Many variants have been used to avoid such controversy, including Juno, The Spanish Captain and The High Priestess.

Jeu de Tarot

The French game of Tarot, also jeu de Tarot, is a trick-taking card game enjoyed throughout France and also known in French-speaking Canada, which uses a traditional 78-card Tarot deck instead of the internationally-known 52-card poker deck. Tarot is the second-most popular card game in France after Belote. The Fédération Française de Tarot publishes official rules for Tarot.

Lesson #14 - Time

Qelle heure est-il? (kell uhr ay teel) - What time is it?

Il est une heure (ill eht oon uhr) - It is 1:00
Il est une heure cinq (ill eht oon uhr sank) - It is 1:05
Il est une heure et quart (ill eht oon uhr kahr) - It is 1:15 
Il est une heure et demie (ill eht oon heure ay deh mee) - It is 1:30
Il est deux heure moins le quart (ill ay duhz uhr mwahn leh kahr) - It is 1:45 or a quarter to two (literally 2:00 less  15)
Il est deux heure moins dix (ill ay duhz uhr mwahn deece) - It is 1:50 or 10 to 2 (literally 2:00 less 10)

moins (mwahn) - less
heure (uhr) - hour
demie (deh mee) - half

More numbers:
51 cinquante et un (sank kahnt ay uhn), 52 cinquante-deux (sank kahnt dew), 53 cinquante-trois (sank kahnt twah), 54 cinquante-quatre (sank kahnt kaht truh), 55 cinquante-cinq (sank kahnt sank)

Lesson #15 on 9/21

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kate & Anna Mcgarrigle

Kate McGarrigle and Anna McGarrigle are sisters who write and perform together. They were born of Canadian and Irish parents in Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, northwest of Montreal, and educated at a Roman Catholic convent school. Their careers in music began with the 1960s folk combo Mountain City Four, in conjunction with Jack Nissenson and Peter Weldon. Probably their best known song is "Heart Like A Wheel" made famous by Linda Ronstadt.

I was lucky to have seen them perform in mid 70's at the now defunct "The Bottom Line" nightclub in NYC. One of the really great folk performances I have ever seen.

Their songs have also been covered by a variety of other artists, including Maria Muldaur, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Billy Bragg,Chloé Sainte-Marie and Anne Sofie von Otter. Although associated with Quebec's anglophone community, the McGarrigles have also recorded and performed many songs in French. Two of their albums, Entre Lajeunesse et la sagesse (also known as French Record) andLa vache qui pleure, are entirely in French, but many of their other records include one or two French songs as well. Most of their French songs have been co-written by Philippe Tatartcheff, with occasional input from Kate McGarrigle's son, Canadian-American solo artistRufus Wainwright. Rufus and his sister Martha Wainwright, also a singer, are the children of Kate and her former husband, singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III.

Quick Phrase of the Day - Not Bad

pas mal (pah mahl) - not bad

Repeat this phrase all day long till you know it by heart.

Vocabulary word of the day:
l'aéroport (lay row pore) - airport

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

French Novelist/Archaeologist Fred Vargus

Fred Vargas is the pseudonym of French historian, archaeologist and writer Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau, born in 1957 in Paris.
Fred is the diminutive of her given name, Frédérique, while Vargas derives from the Ava Gardner character in The Barefoot Contessa and is the pseudonym adopted by her twin sister, Joëlle Jo Vargas, a painter.
She mostly writes police thrillers (policiers). They take place in Paris and feature the adventures of Chief Inspector Adamsberg and his team. Her interest in the Middle Ages is manifest in many of her novels, especially through the person of Marc Vandoosler, a young specialist in the period. Seeking Whom He May Devour was shortlisted by the British Crime Writers' Association for the last Gold Dagger award for best crime novel of the year, and the following year The Three Evangelists won the inaugural Duncan Lawrie International Dagger. She also won the award for the second year-running with Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Paris Marathon

Being a marathon runner, I would possibly like to go to Paris in a the month of April as that is when the Paris Marathon takes place. It is one of the largest races in the world. The interesting aspectof this race, is that at the 35km mark, runners, instead of water, get wine & cheese. Apparrently they still want you to know you are still in Paris.

Every year in April, 35,000 runners crowd the streets of Paris in the annual Marathon de Paris – or Paris International Marathon. This event, in the form that it appears in today, has been happening ever since 1977, and the next time is on Sunday, April 5, 2009. 
The first time a marathon was run in Paris was as early as 1896 over the at that time official distance of 40 km. Why 40km? Because that's the distance from Marathon to Athens, Greece.  The Paris Marathon is limited to 35,000 entrants and the maximum is reached almost every year. Before your entrance is submitted you need a medical certificate affirming your physical fitness. Throughout the marathon runners get a good view of the magnificent city and some of its famous sights.
The course starts out right in front of the Triumphal Arch and continues down the broad Champs Elysées. The route passes through two Parisian woods and past fabulous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and Place de la Bastille. A large part of the course runs along the banks of the calmly flowing Seine River providing pleasing scenery and ensuring flat streets at the same time. The wide avenues at the start prevents overcrowding and the overall flatness of the course makes it fairly fast. PB setting is definitely an option.
If the historic city, the world famous sites and the peaceful, shady parks don’t do it for you, you can count on the 250,000 onlookers and the 70 music scenes to keep you going.  If a 42 km jog on the Parisian asphalt doesn’t sound like your favourite pastime but you still want a chance to run this beautiful city and experience the intense atmosphere of a marathon, you can do the 5.2 km Breakfast Race on race day. Or – if you’re really tough – use the race as a warm-up for the marathon. The Breakfast Race course will take you past the Eiffel Tower, the imposing Trocadéro and almost up to the Triumphal Arch. There is also the possibility of a half marathon, if you plan your trip to Paris in March. The 1/2 marathon shares most of its course with the full marathon.

Thank You Isabel

Isabel from Paris wrote that the correct phrase for "I would like a table in the non-smoking section" would be: 

"Nous voudrions une table dans la zone non fumeurs" (noo voo dree yahn oon tah bluh dahn lah zohn nahn few mewr).

She also told me that, yes, since last January, smoking is banned in all public places, including restaurants, cafes, & nightclubs! I know all the smokers are angry with this, but as a non-smoker I am overjoyed.

Lesson # 13 - In The Museum

Dans le musée (dahn leh mew zay) - In the museum

vous ouvrez à quelle heure? (vooze ooh vray ah kell uhr) - What time do you open?
vous fermez à quelle heure? (voo fehr may ah kell uhr) - What time do you close?
La visite guidée est à quelle heure? (lah veez eet geed ay eht ah kell uhr) The guided tour begins when?
Est'ce qu'il y a une visite guidée en anglais? (ess keel eeh yah oon veez eet geed ay ahn ahng lay) Is there a guided tour in English?
Est-ce qu'on peut prendre des photos? (ess kahn puh prahn druh day foh toh) Can one take photos?

La visite guidée (lah veez eet geed ay) the guided tour
à quelle heure (ah kell uhr) - at what time
l'entrée (lahn tray) - entrance ticket
l'entrée gratuite- (lahn tray grah tweet) - free admission

We will skip the numbers this lesson as I gave us a lot to learn in this one. 
Lesson #12 will be on 9/18

Slight Update

I want to first thank Romke Soldaat, who runs a site called Frogsmoke.com, an interesting site about France, for his nice recommendation to my site. Much appreciated.

Also there were 2 comments on his posting about my site, informing me the a person does not nead to know the phrase "Nous voudrions une table dans la non-fumeur (noo voo dree yohn oon tah bluh dahn lah nahn few mure) - I would like a table in the non smoking section" as most of Paris is non smoking in all public places. If anyone knows if this is true, let us know.

Also i was told the syntax in that phrase is wrong, but they didn't tell me what was right. Most of these phrases are coming out of many different books that I have, so I am going by that. Again, our purpose here is not to be fluent, but to know just enough to get by in France. So if I get anything wrong, everyone is always welcome to let us know if there is a better or more common way they say things in France. -Roy


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Must See French Film - The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

For people who like the odd & the surreal:

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (French: Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie) is a1972 surrealist film written and directed by Luis Buñuel, a Spanish filmmaker associated with the Surrealist movement. The film was made in France and is in French, although some dialogue is in Spanish.

The film is about a group of upper middle-class people attempting — despite continual interruptions — to dine together.

The film is several thematically connected scenes: five gatherings of a group of bourgeoisfriends, and four dreams dreamt by different characters. The beginning of the film focuses on the gatherings, while the latter part focuses on the dreams, but both types of scenes are intermixed. The film's world is not logical: the bizarre events are accepted by the characters, even if they are impossible or contradictory.

This film appeals to the abstract artist, that I am.

Claude Debussy - French Composer

Achille-Claude Debussy (August 22, 1862 – March 25, 1918) was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he is considered one of the most prominent figures working within the field of Impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions. Debussy was not only among the most important of all French composers but also was a central figure in all European music at the turn of the twentieth century.

"Clair de Lune" performed by John Williams & Julien Bream

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Passy Cemetery

The Passy Cemetery, Cimetière de Passy (see meh tee ehr deh pah see) is a famous cemetery located at 2, rue du Commandant Schlœsing in Passy, in the 16ème arrondissement of Paris, France.
In the early 19th century, on the orders of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, all the cemeteries in Paris were replaced by several large new ones outside the precincts of the capital. The Montmartre Cemetery was built in the north, the Père-Lachaise Cemetery in the east, and the Montparnasse Cemetery in the south. The Passy cemetery was a later addition, but has its origins in the same edict.
Opened in 1820 in the expensive residential and commercial districts of the Right Bank near the Champs-Élysées, by 1874 the small Passy Cemetery had become the aristocratic necropolis of Paris. It is the only cemetery in Paris to have a heated waiting-room.
The retaining wall of the cemetery is adorned with a bas relief commemorating the soldiers who fell in the Great War. Sheltered by a bower of chestnut trees, this beautiful cemetery sits in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
Many statesman, politicians, artists, poets, and actors, lie in this cemetary.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

From Today On...

This site will be ad free. I realized I was getting too obsessed with making money from this site, & that was not my purpose when I started this. So henceforth, no more ads, so just learn with me & enjoy. -Roy

Ben Franklin In France

Did you know...
Ben Franklin lived in France for nine years and became a beloved resident of Passy, a town just outside of Paris. When Franklin went home to America in 1785, America's new ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson, wrote, "When he left Passy, it seemed as if the village had lost its patriarch." Five years later Franklin died, and it was France, not the United States, that mourned Franklin with the pomp and ceremony befitting a hero. To the French, Franklin is still a major figure and, according to Claude-Anne Lopez: "Many French think he was president of the United States. They say, 'he was the best president you ever had!'" 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bridget Bardot

Brigitte Bardot, one of the most famous French actresses of all-time, former fashion model, singer and animal welfare/rights activist. In 2007 she was named among Empire's 100 Sexiest Film Stars.
Although the European film industry was then in its ascendancy, Bardot was one of the few European actresses to receive mass media attention in the United States. She and Marilyn Monroe were perhaps the foremost examples of female sexuality in films of the 1950s and 1960s, and whenever she made public appearances in the United States the media hordes covered her every move.

In 1973 just before her fortieth birthday, Bardot announced her retirement. After appearing in more than fifty motion pictures and recording several music albums, most notably with Serge Gainsbourg, she chose to use her fame to promote animal rights.

In 1986 she established the Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals. She became a vegetarian and raised three million French francs to fund the foundation by auctioning off jewelry and many personal belongings. Today she is a strong animal rights activist.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Photo Tip To Travelers

There's a tip that you all should know before you fly to France. I can not stress this enough. You are most likely to be spending several thousand dollars on your trip. Invest $200 or more on a good digital camera. Why? I run a photo lab and can tell you that I have seen a lot of photos taken in Europe from film that come out darker & grainier than they should be, because they went through an airport Xray. With a digital camera, you can take thousands of pictures (the memory cards these day are very cheap) the photos won't get ruin by the airports. The folks at the airport will tell you film does not get ruined. THEY LIE! You do not want to arrive back home with dark & murky photos of your most treasured vacation. I guarantee you that if you spend $200 or more on a digital camera, you will get fantastic memories of your trip. PLEASE don't use film.

Must See Film - To Catch A Thief

If you can't make it to the French Riviera then watch this film.

To Catch a Thief is a 1955 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis and John Williams. The movie is set on the French Riviera, and was based on the 1952 novel of the same name by David Dodge. The screenplay was written by John Michael Hayes. The film is a blend of intrigue, romance, and humor.

The American expatriate hero John Robie (Cary Grant), living in France, is a former cat burglar who is falsely accuse of a string of robberies on the French Riviera, and has to find out who is committing the thefts before he is caught himself. Grace Kelly is the heroine who is on a quest to 'catch' him - first as the burglar, and then as a husband. The infamous MacGuffin in this Hitchcock film is the identity of the thief.

I am a great fan of Hitchcock, and this film is one his more entertaining outings, taking place on the French Rivera. A lot of fun to watch.