The French call their flag Le drapeau tricolore. English speakers know it as the French Tricolore. It’s one of the most iconic flags in European history. But how did it come to be? The evolution of the French Flag The flag of France before the French Revolution featured the fleur-de-lis on a blue background. The […]
When it comes to innovation in architecture, Paris has long been a leader and in the last 150 years, dozens of architectural gems have made it famous for originality and boldness. Just a few include the Eiffel Tower, Pompidou centre, the Louis Vuitton Foundation and La Grande Arche in the Défense business district. These new […]
Wherever you go in France you’re sure to come across a Place Jean Jaurès, a rue Jean Jaurès, Avenue Jean Jaurès, schools and even metro stations of that name in Paris and Lyon. Every French school child will learn about Jean Jaurès. He is one of the most well-known figures of French history, though he […]
Genuine Marseille soap is made by artisans with the provenance, passion and long-standing tradition in their blood to lay claim to makers of genuine Marseilles soap. A bar that contains 72% olive oil – and once tried, you will always be loyal to its soapy concoction. History of Marseille Soap In 1688 Louis IV passed […]
The river and gorges of the Tarn are well known and undoubtedly it’s worth losing yourself for a while here in what is the deepest canyon in France. But this really is a place where the vastness of nature meets the enormity of human creation. And, if the Pont du Gard transports you back to […]
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Yves Saint Laurent was a genius – a visionary who became a legend at an early age. Today his name graces a variety of products from luxurious cosmetics to high-end handbags. Knowing a bit about his background will enhance your visit to this excellent new museum. Early Yves Saint Laurent Saint Laurent’s career began with […]
My insomnia sparked the whole thing off. I listened to a radio programme in the wee small hours entitled ‘Absinthe Makes the Art Grow Fonder’. It told of madness, creative genius, smuggling, fairies, suicide and debauchery in le demi-monde of Montmartre in la Belle-Époque. Captivated, I set out to discover more. Until that point my […]
Banned for almost 100 years, believed to induce madness in those who drank it, absinthe is making a come back. Invented by a French doctor, the highly alcoholic drink has a colourful history. What is absinthe and where does it come from? A certain Dr. Ordinaire (you couldn’t make that up) fleeing the guillotines of the French […]
The beret – there’s nothing quite like it to define French-ness. The beret is an icon, a fashion accessory and a statement – it’s instantly recognisable as a symbol of France all over the world. You only have to see someone wearing one and you can’t help thinking of France and French flair. Of course […]
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The Can-Can dance was raucous and risqué, reaching its height of popularity in 1900 during the Belle Époque. Parisian cabarets promoted the dance and Jane Avril and La Goulue popularized it in the night clubs of Montmartre. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec depicted it in his famous painting, At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance. And, Jacques […]