Archive for the ‘France’ Category

French Town Upholds 62-Year-Old Ban on UFOs

December 2, 2016

French Town Upholds 62-Year-Old Ban on UFOs

The mayor of the French town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape has upheld a 62-year-old law banning UFOs.

The 1954 law was established after a man in northern France said he had seen two figures that looked like ‘deep sea divers’ emerging from a ‘cigar-shaped’ space ship.

But don’t make yourself a tin foil hat yet. Lucien Jeune’s son, Elie Jeune, has dismissed his father’s decree as a “publicity stunt”, telling reporters: ‘At that time, people were talking a lot about extraterrestrials and the unknown, it was in fashion, and there were loads of stories circulating.’

‘He wanted to make a bit of an advertisement for Châteauneuf. It was an excellent publicity stunt… and free.’ Journalists flocked to Châteauneuf-du-Pape from all over the world and, predictably, the public couldn’t get enough of the story.

— “‘No UFOs allowed’: French mayor refuses to overturn town’s bizarre extraterrestrial ban,” Hazel Plush, The Telegraph

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Un autre monde

February 14, 2016

“Un autre monde,” a 1984 hit song by French rock band Téléphone, performed by members of Superbus in 2015. The vocalist is Jennifer Ayache.

Yes, I dreamed of our world
And the earth is round
And the moon is so blond
Tonight the shadows of the world are dancing

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Paris: Père et fils

November 17, 2015

A father and son outside the Bataclan Theater (Le Petit Journal / Canal +.).

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Paris: Football and Heartache

November 17, 2015

Paris: Football and Heartache

Last Friday evening in Paris, 80,000 people watched France play Germany in a friendly soccer match at the Stade de France. Spectators included French President François Hollande and his guests, relatives of people who died in a German plane crash in the French Alps in March. 15 minutes into the game, President Hollande left to take a phone call and learned that a loud noise outside the stadium was caused when a man, stopped as he tried to enter the packed Stade de France, exploded his suicide vest. M. Hollande consulted the Interior Minister and a sports official and decided to keep the news from other spectators, avoiding panic and mass injuries. Elsewhere in Paris, as the game continued, over a hundred people were shot to death as they sat in cafes and restaurants and at a concert.

While French midfielder Lassana Diarra ran up and down the pitch his cousin Asta Diakite was killed in one of the fusillades. “She was like a big sister to me,” he later tweeted. His teammate on Les Bleus, striker Antoine Griezmann, later learned that his sister was one of the hostages who escaped from the Bataclan theater, where 89 people died. Neither man learned about their family members until hours later, early Saturday morning.

By the second half most spectators had learned about the terror attacks through social media, and players on both teams were informed at end of the match and asked to remain in the heavily guarded stadium instead of venturing onto the streets. Mattresses were found, and players and coaches slept at the Stade de France until a team bus arrived for Germany’s Die Mannschaft at about 2 AM.

Oh, France beat Germany 2 to 0.

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The Nutella Affair

June 19, 2015

The Nutella Affair

Not since Louis XII seized Milan has there been such conflict between France and Italy. French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal urged the public to stop eating Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut goo, to help prevent deforestation. Nutella is 20 percent palm oil, and palm plantations are often created by cutting down huge swaths of topical forests. Italy went into an uproar, since Nutella is made by Ferrero, the huge confectionery firm based outside Turin. Michele Anzaldi of the Camera dei Deputati was outraged by the grave e brutto slur against eccellenza italiana.

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La chanteuse Patachou est morte

May 12, 2015

Henriette Ragon, the French vocalist known as Patachou, died on April 30th at the age of 96. She was a noted singer in the post-war Chanson tradition. Her stage name derived from the name of the Montmartre cafe where she first sang after WWII, Chez Patachou, then owned by her first husband. “Patachou” is a contraction of pâte à choux, cream puff dough.

Above: Mme. Ragon sings Georges Brassens‘ “Brave Margot,” accompanied by Léo Clarens and his Orchestra.

More:

“Patachou, French Singer With a Habit of Snipping Neckties, Dies at 96,” Margalit Fox, New York Times

“La chanteuse Patachou est morte,” Le Figaro

Patachou biographie, RFI Musique

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Drones Over Paris

February 28, 2015

Drones Over Paris

Mysterious drones have flown over Paris for two nights, hovering over the Bois de Boulogne, Elysee Palace, Place de la Concorde, Les Invalides, U.S. Embassy, the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks. Reporters are having a field day speculating about the little unmanned aerial vehicles. Reporters from AJ made things even worse with their coverage, flying a camera drone over the City of Light for some POV footage before they were nabbed by panicky gendarmes.

The remote-controlled mini aircraft have been whizzing around France since October, over major roads and nuclear power plants, but these earlier drone flights were by hobbyists. It’s likely these Parisian ones were, too. Flying drones in French cities without a permit is forbidden, even in daylight, and there’s a steep fine. You can see why people would want to do it, though:

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In France, you can’t name your baby ‘Nutella’

January 27, 2015

In France, you can't name your baby 'Nutella'

A court in Valenciennes has ruled that a French couple cannot legally name their daughter “Nutella.” The court suggested “Ella” as an alternative.

Until 1993, French law decreed which first names were acceptable for children, but now judges rule against parental choices only if they feel these would subject the child to teasing, disparagement, or ridicule.

More:

“Why France won’t let you name your child ‘Nutella,’” Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post

Related:

“8 Countries With Fascinating Baby Naming Laws,” David K. Israel, Mental Floss

“The 30 Most Popular Baby Names That Are Also Foods,” Chris Wilson, TIME

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Image (“Still Life with Pewter Jug and Nutella, after Cezanne”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Charlie Hebdo

January 8, 2015

Charlie Hebdo

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,NotionsCapital.com

And be sure to see images by Loïc Sécheresse and Lucille Clerc.

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Aux armes, citoyens! Aux barricades!

July 14, 2014

Aux armes, citoyens! Aux barricades!

It’s July 14th, La Fête Nationale, Bastille Day, the holiday commemorating this date in 1789 when crowds stormed the Bastille Saint-Antoine prison, an event leading to the founding of the French Republic. Today La République faces a greater, more insidious threat than the monarchy of Louis XVI.

Last summer French hypermarchés began hyping a new beverage to innocent jeunes: A wine that tastes like Coca-Cola. The icebox wine cooler called Rouge Sucette (Red Lollipop), produced by Haussmann Famille/Châteaux en Bordeaux, is 75 per cent wine with sugar, water, and cola flavoring added. Quelle horreur!

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