France vs USA: Sandwiches

The US and France are temperamentally different countries, one brash and exuberant and the other the epitome of sophistication. You can see this in American movies—think of all those American car chases and explosions. And in French books—is there anything more elegant than Proust and his madeleines? The differences even show up in sandwiches—Americans are unruly while the French are refined. Let’s look at a few of these deli duels.

Read all about it at Frenchly!

The Immortal Women of France

For too long, French institutions have been boys’ clubs. The august Académie française, for example, was founded in 1635 but only elected its first woman member in 1980!

But things are slowly starting to change and now 9 women have been named members of the Académie, or “Immortals.” Let’s meet them.

Read the rest of the article at My French Life.

Legends of Provence: The Monk Known as Romée de Villeneuve

I recently picked up a book called Legendes de Provence by Eugene Bressy. Over the next few months I’ll dive into some of these stories and let you decide whether you believe them or not. The first one was about the fearsome Tarasque monster.

Here’s the second one, about truth, lies and jealousy in the court of the Count of Provence. As Molière once said, “There are no ramparts against gossip.”

Read all about it at Perfectly Provence!

Why You Should Be A French Bureaucrat

Becoming a fonctionnaire (government bureaucrat) is a popular career choice in France. Fonctionnaires have jobs for life, lots of vacation, and they are known for not working very hard. This makes them envied but also the butt of a lot of jokes. You can read all about the life of a fonctionnaires in France, plus learn a few of the best jokes, here at Frenchly.

Legends of Provence: The Tarasque Monster of Tarascon

I recently picked up a book called Legendes de Provence by Eugene Bressy. It’s a series of short stories about the legends of Provence: famous heroes, spiritual leaders and the occasional monster. Over the next few months I’ll dive into some of these stories and let you decide whether you believe them or not.

I’ll start with the most famous legend of them all, that of the fearsome Tarasque, who terrorized Provence until he met a plucky young lady named…Well, I’ll let you read all about it at Perfectly Provence.

A Bite Too Far

My wife Val and I spend part of each year in Provence and it’s allowed us to learn the language and appreciate French culture. We knew before we moved there that food and wine are a big part of French life but we didn’t realize quite how big until our neighbor Fabienne gave us a “taste” of real French life. She invited us to her birthday party, which went on and on and on…

Read my funny story about a real French birthday party at A French Collection.

One Tough Lady

She was the most powerful woman in 16th-century Europe, ruling France for nearly 20 years. She brought haute cuisine to the country, created the Tuileries Garden in Paris, and was responsible for one of the bloodiest massacres in French history. People thought she was a sorceress who murdered her enemies. Her name is Catherine de Medici and she was one tough lady.

Read her fascinating story at Frenchly.