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Archive for the ‘More About France’ Category

Il est né le Divin Enfant (He is born the Divine Child)

One of the most beloved chants de Noël (Christmas carols) in France. The lyrics are mid-19th century, the music 17th century. I looked for the best versions on YouTube. First, a beautiful interpretation by a children’s choir, the Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois. The tempo here is right (this carol is often sung […]

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George Sand Charpentier

George Sand’s Christmas memories

George Sand is one of those novelists who enjoyed extraordinary fame and success during their lifetimes, only to become unfashionable posthumously. Let’s hope that this injustice will be repaired soon. It is about time to rediscover this great lady of French literature. In her Histoire de ma vie (“Story of My Life”) George Sand, whose legal name was […]

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Chateau of Chenonceau

Chenonceau: a fairytale come true

I stumbled upon this gorgeous post by Judith at Paris Atelier on Chenonceau, the “Château of the Ladies”. Memories of France’s great Renaissance ladies, Queen Catherine de Médicis, her rival Diane de Poitiers, her daughter-in-law Mary Queen of Scots (and of France) are indeed forever attached to the place. But Chenonceau did not sink into […]

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Armistice train Marechal Foch

November 11, Marshal Foch and the Treaty of Versailles

This is a federal holiday in the United States, and a national holiday in France. In both countries it commemorates the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, and honors the sacrifice of all veterans. So today is the 90th anniversary of the November 11, 1918 armistice, signed at 11 am French time […]

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Toussaint Emile Friant

Chrysanthemums and All Souls’ Day

As noted in another post, Halloween is barely noticeable in France. The same cannot be said of All Saints’ Day, La Toussaint (November 1st) and All Souls’ Day, the Day of the Dead, the Jour des Morts (November 2.) La Toussaint is a national holiday. This is a time for families to bring fresh flowers, […]

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Still life with Pumpkin by François Bonvin

Halloween in France

There was an attempt ten years or so ago to introduce the French to Halloween. It met at first with some success, born out of curiosity, but now the only signs of the holiday in Paris are EuroDisney posters in the metro, and elaborate decorations in the windows of a few high-end chocolatiers. Why did […]

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Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc: military leader, national heroine and Saint

Thanks to Elena Maria Vidal for her beautiful post on the Maiden of Orléans. Indeed today we celebrate her holiday. Like every other French child, I learned about Jeanne d’Arc in elementary school. Of all the characters I encountered in the course of my history lessons, she was the one who left the strongest impression […]

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