Archive for March, 2009

Having recently returned from a trip to Paris, I am determined not to stop enjoying good French patisseries. There are so many great places in London where you can get delicious macaronstartes aux framboises and éclairs.

Out of dedication to my stomach this blog, I decided to go back to a few of my favourites, sample their delicacies, take some photos and share these places with you through an audio slide show. I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labour as much as I did:

For the addresses of the places I mention in the slide show – Macaron in Clapham Common, Ladureé in Piccadilly and at Harrods, and Maison Bertaux in Soho and Borough Market – please see the Google map below:

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Sorry to do a bit of self-promotion but I thought you might be interested in a feature I wrote about Paris in the springtime for Tell! Magazine.

Here’s the intro to tempt you:

“As the old song goes, ‘I love Paris in the springtime’. And who doesn’t? But picking flowers under the Eiffel Tower and strolling along the banks of the Seine is just so done.

Here’s five ways to enjoy some of Paris’ more unusual offerings this spring… ”

Click on this link if you want to see the full article.

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When I was in Paris last week my cousin introduced me to Books, a new literary magazine which comes out once a month in France. 

I was at first sceptical about a French magazine with an English title. Like many other English francophiles, I am a hypocrite: I delight in using French but find it a little irritating when the French use English words because they think it makes them look branchés.   

But I was won over by the editorial column on the first page, which declared:

Le magazine que vous avez entre les mains se propose d’éclairer les sujets du jour et la condition humaine en utilisant la lumière des livres.

And Books does just that. The magazine is not simply a collection of reviews and essays (although it does do these very well). Each month as well as covering regular topics such as politics, religion and the sciences, it also takes a different issue and examines it in depth. Last month it was “Inde: la démocratie miraculeuse”.

Books purposefully steps back and takes a long term view of things through the telescope of literature. Think Prospect crossed with a literary review in French.

The magazine is delivered all over the world, so you can become a subscriber no matter where you live. Or, get your French literary fix from its website, which has blogs from writers such as digital books expert  Jean Louis de Montesquiou and interesting features such as bestsellers, where lists of bestsellers from countries around the world are given.  

Happy reading.

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The iconoclastic French cinematic movement known as La Nouvelle Vague turns 50 this year. To celebrate cinemas across the UK, working in partnership with the BFI, will screen the works of its directors, including François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol and Jean-Luc Godard from mid-March until mid-May.

These titans of le 7eme art transformed French cinema and made it what it is today. For this alone their films would be worth seeing. But they are also very enjoyable to watch. If you want to swot up a bit before going to see a Nouvelle Vague film, read this post from La Plume et l’Image or if you prefer to read something in English try this post from Blue Grass Film Society.

The Nouvelle Vague festival kicks off with a two day conference this weekend at Ciné lumière in South Kensington. Tomorrow night, Bernadette Lafont, star of Truffaut’s court métrage, Les Mistons, is guest of honour and will hold a Q&A after the film screening. For more information about the talk see Ciné lumiere’s website.

Truffaut will take centre stage at Barbican with eight of his films shown there from April 10 to May 31. Meanwhile, BFI South Bank is showcasing a wide range of Nouvelle Vague oeuvres throughout April including Godard’s seminal À bout de souffle and lesser known films, such as Agnès Varda’s boldly experimental La Pointe courte.

The festival isn’t just confined to London. Audiences in Belfast, Bristol, Edinburg, Sheffield and Liverpool will be treated to screenings of Les Quatre cents Coups and Pierrot le fou. For more information see BFI New Wave.

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This French Life website

Craig Mcginty



I recently spoke to Craig Mcginty, the man behind the popular This French Life website for some advice about blogging in general and more particularly, blogging for francophiles. I thought I should share his tips with you. If you’re interested, click on the audio clip below. 

Interview with Craig Mcginty

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TH!NK ABOUT IT EU blogging competition

TH!NK ABOUT IT EU blogging competition


In my last post I spoke about the negative way in which the British press portrays the EU. With this in mind, I was interested to learn that some of my course mates are taking part in a competition designed to encourage bloggers to express  their views about the European Union in the run up to the June 2009 European parliamentary elections.  

Participating in the European Journalism Centre’s TH!NK ABOUT IT competition are 81 bloggers from the 27 EU members states. Their blogs don’t give a simplistic view of the EU but instead treat specific campaign issues in depth. Among those representing Britain are City University bloggers Katrina Bishop, Etan Smallman and David Christopher. For a French view, see Jean Sebastien Lefebvre’s TH!NK ABOUT IT blog.

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 Originally uploaded by Don Gru

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the difference in the way the British and French press cover the European Union. I don’t want to harp on about the same subject but this week I came across an example of this which is too good not to share.

Last Sunday EU leaders held a meeting ahead of next month’s G20 summit with the hope of agreeing on a shared response to the economic downturn. If you read about it the next day in the British and French press you might think they were describing two different events.

A double page spread in The Times, under the heading “Suspicion and self interest behind European Union rift” painted a picture of great discord. As well as a graphic illustration of divided Europe, the article concentrated on the aspects which separated the leaders:

“The meeting was overshadowed by a cacophony of competing interests and the rejection of a cry for help from Eastern Europe, even though delegates agreed in a final statement to cooperate and fight protectionism.”

In complete contrast, many of the French newspapers chose to focus on the fact the EU leaders agreed to reject protectionism. To give just one example, A Libération blogger chose to end his post, “Union européenne: l’ouest réaffirme sa solidarité avec l’est face à la crise”, with the following quote:

“Les Vingt-sept ont fermement souligné que « le protectionnisme n’est pas la réponse à la crise actuelle.”

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