Posts Tagged: France

Zoo Stories

After they dined on Napoleon’s horses, the Parisians ate all the feral cats and stray dogs they could find. It was 1870, and the real politicking of Otto von Bismarck had brought Prussian forces to France. The siege of Paris began on September 19th, and over the next four months the Parisians would eat every horse, donkey, dog, cat and rat within the city’s walls. When they ran out of those, they turned to the city’s zoo, in the Jardin de Plantes.

The deer and antelope were the first to go, looking comfortably like the horses and donkeys that had filled menus during the first few weeks of the [...]


SARS Takes European Vacation

"France has reported the country's first case of a SARS-like virus that has so far killed 18 people, mostly in Saudi Arabia…. While it has been deadliest in Saudi Arabia, where 11 people have been killed by the virus, other cases have been reported in Jordan, Germany, Britain and now France."


France Smells Like Frenchman

"It is truly, truly awful – like the worst flatulent person ever standing with their back turned to you." —The centuries of conflict between France and England, relatively dormant for the last few years, are now playing themselves out as farce.


Serious Situation Reminiscent Of Funny Movie

“In this case, the first elements collected seem to show that there is a phenomenon of self-radicalization that expanded in a rather worrisome way. Many of them haven’t traveled to training camps in Afghanistan.” —Former anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, on "rising anti-Semitism among young Muslims" in France. Which, you know, is bad. But that quote makes it sound like he's saying that the problem is that untrained terrorists won't be good enough terrorists. Which reminds me to remind you that if you have not yet seen Four Lions, it should be right up at the top of your Netflix list.


Survey Shocker: Americans Actually Don't Hate the French!

Rosecrans Baldwin (author of Paris I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down) spent much of the year traveling America, quizzing people about France; he even visited four of the 25 places named "Paris" in the U.S. His highly scientific survey had intriguing results: My toughest question: “Name up to three current French artists (writers, painters, musicians, actors, etc.)” I figured that most people wouldn’t be able to name more than two. It’s worse than I expected. A barista in Detroit bristles when I ask him, as though I’m mocking his ignorance. A photographer’s assistant in Boise beats herself up for being unable to summon a single [...]


Hmm? Laura Dern's French Plans

"I’m becoming fluent in French so I can go to France and make French films when I’m 60.” —Is Laura Dern kidding? Serious? No idea!


Galliano v. Strauss-Kahn

French loud-talker Bernard-Henri Levy has stopped mouthing off about his friend Dominique Strauss-Kahn and how simply terrible the American system of arresting people suspected of violent crimes is, at least in part because he's away, acting as an unofficial envoy to Libya. (Poorly.) He took a boat from Malta! This prevents him from weighing in on the John Galliano case, which is soon to go before a French judge (in their bizarre system of justice!) on charges of being a racist and hating Jews. (That charge carries jail time.) Galliano's defense is to blame prescription meds and alcohol for his language. (You know who else [...]


Comedian Prevented From Being Unfunny In England

"The controversial French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala has been banned from the UK after one of his shows was barred in France following his branding by the government as anti-Semitic.

Mr Dieudonné had said he wanted to visit Britain to support Nicolas Anelka, a compatriot and West Bromwich Albion football player who has been charged for using the “quenelle”, a gesture created by the comedian that resembles an inverted Nazi salute and is allegedly anti-Semitic."

—Dieudonné, a spectacularly terrible comedian (here is one of his videos, in which he performs [...]


The Perverse Secret Agenda of the Restaurant Critic

Last February, an iteration of the Olive Garden restaurant chain opened in Grand Forks, North Dakota. "The place is impressive," Marilyn Hagerty wrote in her curiously favorable review for the Grand Forks Herald. "The chicken Alfredo ($10.95) was warm and comforting on a cold day. The portion was generous." Hagerty's review consisted almost entirely of declarative statements of fact about the restaurant's décor, the size of its menu's portions, and practical background info intended for prospective diners. Reactions to Hagerty's subdued encomium ran the gamut of cosmopolitan condescension: from delight in her earnest sincerity to heartfelt pity.

Then in November, Pete Wells, restaurant critic for the New York [...]


Regarding The War In Mali: Are Mali's Dogon People Really Aliens From Sirius?

"Suggestions that aliens from Sirius had imparted astronomical knowledge to the Dogon, created a modern myth and raised the tribe to cult status among UFO/ancient astronaut enthusiasts. Also, whites who rejected the African origins of mankind, could now claim their ancestors were from Sirius! As I have opined previously in this column, the whole Dogon business is hokum-perpetrated, perhaps, to help sustain the market for esoteric genre of books and film." —J.K. Obatala of Nigeria's The Guardian addresses the modern mythology of Mali's amazing Dogon people and their supposed ties to a race of fish-headed space monsters from a planetary system around Sirius B.


Nicknames For French Kings, In Order

37. "From Overseas" (Louis IV) 36. "The Posthumous" (John I) 35. "The Lazy" (Louis V) 34. "The Young" (Louis VII) 33. "The Stammerer" (Louis II) 32. "The Fat" (Louis VI) 31. "The Bald" (Charles II) 30. "The Short" (Pepin) 29. "The Tall" (Philip V) 28. "The Simple" (Charles III) 27. "The Handsome" (Philip IV, Charles IV) x 26. "The Pious" (Louis I, Robert II) 25. "The Father of the People" (Louis XII) 24. "The Great" (Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Napoleon I) 23. "The Good" (John II)


Nine Paris Apartments In Eleven Hours

In 2007, Rosecrans Baldwin was offered a job with an ad agency in Paris, and he and his wife made the move to France from Brooklyn. In this excerpt from Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down, his new (and very funny) memoir about the experience, he goes on a search for an apartment.

Three weeks later, I returned to Paris to find an apartment. The agency provided me with an HR representative and a real-estate agent to show me around. Extremely generous of them, I thought. We saw eleven apartments in nine hours. The agent was serious about her business. She rarely smiled, driving [...]


Now You Can Find Out If Your Son Is Gay Without Actually Talking To Him

"French mothers can download an app which claims to tell them if their son is gay. For just one euro 99 centimes they receive a questionnaire that aims to give them pointers about their son’s sexuality." Telltale signs, according to some of the app's questions, include a love of musicals and spending a long time in the bathroom. "No app to establish whether one's daughter is a lesbian is on the market," notes RFI, but you have to imagine that will change fairly quickly.


No Matter What, America Hearts Paris

Now that the party's over for the monsieurs of France's Parliament, as hushed-up pedophilia, routine sexual assault and general misogyny are suddenly no longer federally protected perks of the job, a vital question emerges: Will the exposure of all this Gallic turpitude make the merest difference to American society’s perpetually raging, and mostly unrequited, crush on Paris? All signs point to non.

Exhibit A: So far, the box office figures for Woody Allen’s shamelessly adoring paean to the City of Lights, Midnight in Paris, look set to make the movie Allen’s most successful yet, and critics are talking about a Best Picture Oscar nomination. Who cares [...]


Should You Move To Paris

I’d been in Paris less than twelve hours, arriving for a job interview, when I was invited to my first French dinner party. The job I wanted was at a Parisian advertising agency. My would-be boss, Pierre, said after the meeting that he had an older sister, Paulette, who’d invited me for dinner. Very charitable of her, I thought, but did she know I barely spoke French? I spent the afternoon drinking, worrying in a café on the Champs-Elysées—springtime in Paris, many happy lovers walking by, and I wished on them all gonorrhea. That night, Pierre and I took a cab to the 2nd arrondissement, and rode upstairs in a [...]


Sour-Faced Beret-Wearers Even More Gloomy About Crushing Realities Of Existence: Study

"Research by a French academic to be delivered to the Royal Economic Society suggests that the country's citizens are 'taught' to be miserable by elements of their own culture. Claudia Senik, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, argues that her country's education system and its cultural 'mentality' make the French far less happy than their wealth and lifestyle suggest they should be."


Where Is This "Mali" Where Frenchmen Are Having Wars?

Lately there has been a lot of confusing stuff in the news about "Mali," and also "France having a war." What is going on? Didn't France lose the war in North Africa, maybe in the 1950s? Also, Vietnam, remember that whole deleted scene from Apocalypse Now, the way the French colonials ate their food, while Vietnamese were getting killed by Robert Duvall? Is he French? And where is this Mali, anyway?

We don't want you to have to go around feeling like an idiot all the time, so here's the information you need to deal with any offhand references to "the French war in Mali," in case you know [...]


French Cows Think They're French People

"The French are known to like their beef, and they also like their wine. In the southern village of Lunel-Viel, in the Hérault department in southern France, some farmers have taken the next step and are feeding wine to their beef cattle on the principle that if French beef tastes good now, it can only improve with a bottle of Saint-Geniès des Mourgues."


Enjoy Belgium, French Millionaires

"Julien Berckmans, a real estate agent at Brussels-based Best Home Consult, took five calls from French citizens seeking to buy property in the Belgian capital after Hollande defeated President Nicolas Sarkozy on May 6." —Rich people allegedly fleeing France in advance of regime change.


Sarkozy Getting Big "Mission Accomplished" Banner Printed Now

"Nicolas Sarkozy is pressing for success in Libya by coalition forces to be achieved in time for him to declare 'victory' on Bastille Day in Paris." Good luck with that.