Hybridizing Science & Videogame

You are kindly invited to join the presentation on “Hybridizing Science & Videogame” given by Raphael Granier de Cassagnac, Research Director at CNRS, Paris.

Raphael Granier de Cassagnac holds the “Science and Videogame” research and teaching chair funded by Ubisoft at the Ecole polytechnique of Paris. He is currently producing a video game on particle physics, his heart domain as a research director at CNRS. He also tells stories in other media, in particular as a science-fiction writer. Hybridizing his three passions (fundamental research, storytelling and gaming) was key in convincing a well-known video game industry to grant him with an academic chair.


Video games first appeared in fundamental research centers… Since then, they have kept intimate ties with science. On one hand, game possibilities improve dramatically with new technologies that are sometimes driven by their very needs. On the other hand, through their deep interactive experience, video games provide a fantastic (but underused) way to popularize (and sometimes produce) scientific knowledge. Raphael will review the cross-feeding links between games and sciences, and try to propose new perspectives. By following both an historical perspective and a concrete set of modern examples that are developed within his academic chair, he will illustrate how various scientific fields are linked to video games, and vice versa. He will also underline the role of artificial intelligence, blockchains, the metaverse and other fashionable buzzwords.

Some relevant websites

• Chaire “Science & Jeu Vidéo”: https://sciencexgames.fr/

• Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France: https://www.polytechnique.edu/en

The event is organised by the JRC Geel French Semester 2022 team, through Christophe Quétel.


Join the webex meeting 

Meeting number: 2743 164 2713

Join by video system: Dial 27431642713@ecconf.webex.com

You can also dial and enter your meeting number.

Join by phone

+39-069-974-8087 Italy Toll

+32-262-00867 Belgium Toll

Access code: 2743 164 2713

Global call-in numbers

Photo Exposition Gilles Clément: Giardini di resistenza

The JRC French semester puts the spotlight on the works of Gilles Clément, gardener & botanist, through a photo exhibition which will be held at the Giardino of San Gabriele in Ispra from 23th April to 15th May. It will pursued during InFiorita festival (7th-8th May).

A vernissage will take place this Wednesday 27/04 at 5.45 p.m.

Giardino San Gabriele.

There will also be guided tours of the exhibition on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. until May 15 to be specified at the same time.

The ‘Giardini di resistenza’ exhibition in Ispra will present his three key concepts The Garden in Movement, The Planetary Garden and The Third Landscape.

‘If the planet is a garden, we are all gardeners – perhaps not aware of it, yet the choices and lifestyles of each of us have an impact on the biosphere and on our collective, vital space.’

 His work is powerful rethinking of our relationship with nature:

“Observe before acting”,

“Work with, not against nature’’

Gilles is known not only for his famous public parks like André Citroën and Quai Branly Museum in Paris, but also for his ground breaking books on how gardens should serve society, the community, wildlife, specially insects and nature.

Gilles Clément’s ‘third landscape’ inspired ‘’the Eiffel Tower roundabout’’ in JRC.

For those interested in pursuing their travel with Gilles Clément you could visit the biennial of architecture and landscape in Versailles (13 May – 13 July 2022) http://www.ecole-paysage.fr/site/ensp_fr/2e-edition-de-la-Biennale-darchitecture-et-de-paysage-.htm

See also the special page on the Third Landscape on this website

Silent movies and live music

Vive la France! Sound and Art vibes in the French semester in collaboration with the European Club, JAMM. A silent movie accompanied by live music

Friday 29 April 2022, Ispra, Club House ca 19h

“The Epic of the French Silent Film, starting with the Lumière Brothers”.

The films will be screened and the music will be performed reflecting dances, soundtrack and original author music by artist musicians on violin and piano.

Time will be updated more precisely soon .

Vive la France! suggestioni Sonore e d’Arte nel semestre francese d’Europa.  Club Europeo, JAMM, Semestre Francese: 

Venerdì 29 aprile 2022, Ispra, Club House

“L’Epopea del Film Muto francese, a partire dai Fratelli Lumière”. 

Con accompagnamento su balli, colonne sonore e musiche d’autore originali al violino e pianoforte. 

Saranno proiettate le pellicole e contemporanea esecuzione dal vivo delle musiche

FR Semester VéloMai: “a vélo” with Stendhal & friends on Lake Maggiore

It is VeloMai, and we have prepared something special for you !

NEW DATE: due to uncertainties with weather, the event will be May 22nd

We offer for the Sunday 22nd May a nice “promenade” bike ride with culture and food , the perfect combination!.

It is one-day bike ride (approximately from 10 am to 5 pm, length about 35 km), medium / low difficulty, with outdoors nature and cultural stops with reading from French authors who have written about Lake Maggiore.

The day includes a lunch stop with French products.

Costs: € 15.00 / each – possibility to rent a bike for € 5.00 (electric bikes € 10.00)- departure and arrival in Piazza San Martino in Ispra.


Lake Maggiore fascinated and inspired great French artists, who discovered these places in the wake of Napoleon Bonaparte or during the “Grand Tour” and other travels during the 18th and 19th centuries. The pedaling itinerary starts from Ispra and touches the municipalities of Angera, Ranco, Cadrezzate with Osmate, Brebbia, Monvalle, touching Lake Maggiore and crossing the hinterland. We will observe the landscape from various points of view and during the day we will heapassages by Stendhal, Flaubert, Dumas and others. The lunch break will be in the form of a picnic and will have French products as its theme.

  • Date: Sunday 22 May, 2022 (10.00h), register by 19 May
  • Registration: Bicycle Shop Romeo, piazza san Martino 63, 21027 Ispra.
  • Phone and WhatsApp: +39 348 8516 760
  • Email: lalibereria@bottegadelromeo.com

Huge thanks to Jean-Michel TERRES for the idea ad the organisation !

Photo Exposition Gilles Clément: Giardini di resistenza

The JRC French semester puts the spotlight on the works of Gilles Clément, gardener & botanist, through a photo exhibition which will be held at the Giardino of San Gabriele in Ispra from 23th April to 15th May. It will be also highlighted during InFiorita festival (7th-8th May).

A vernissage will take place this Wednesday 27/04 at 5.45 p.m.

Giardino San Gabriele.

There will also be guided tours of the exhibition on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. until May 15 to be specified at the same time.

The ‘Giardini di resistenza’ exhibition in Ispra will present his three key concepts The Garden in Movement, The Planetary Garden and The Third Landscape.

‘If the planet is a garden, we are all gardeners – perhaps not aware of it, yet the choices and lifestyles of each of us have an impact on the biosphere and on our collective, vital space.’

 His work is powerful rethinking of our relationship with nature:

“Observe before acting”,

“Work with, not against nature’’

Gilles is known not only for his famous public parks like André Citroën and Quai Branly Museum in Paris, but also for his ground breaking books on how gardens should serve society, the community, wildlife, specially insects and nature.

Gilles Clément’s ‘third landscape’ inspired ‘’the Eiffel Tower roundabout’’ in JRC.

For those interested in pursuing their travel with Gilles Clément you could visit the biennial of architecture and landscape in Versailles (13 May – 13 July 2022) http://www.ecole-paysage.fr/site/ensp_fr/2e-edition-de-la-Biennale-darchitecture-et-de-paysage-.htm

See also the special page on the Third Landscape on this website


The next edition of InFiorita Ispra will take place on 23 and 24 April 2022 postponed to 7-8 May 2022. The Horticultural Show of gardening, biodiversity and sustainability will have for theme “FIORIRE per VIVERE” (BLOOM TO LIVE)

For the 2022 edition the French Semester of the JRC Ispra is delighted to contribute with two initiatives :

A stand (of the garden club) will have information on the activities of the French Semester and on JRC

we are organising a special exposition on the Landscape architect Gilles Clement in the gardens of San Gabriele from 23 April to 15 May – go check the special announcement on this!

A vernissage will take place this Wednesday 27/04 at 5.45 p.m.

Giardino San Gabriele.

There will also be guided tours of the exhibition on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. until May 15 to be specified at the same time.

It will be the fifth edition of this review that over the years has enchanted both exhibitors and visitors, also thanks to the splendid natural setting in which it takes place and the interesting cultural insights into the environment and everything that is ” green “: BLOOM to LIVE!

website: https://www.infioritaispra.it/

Nature, birds, insects, vagrant plants and others to “occupy” the space around the Eiffel Tower

An important aspect of Gilles Clément, which we entirely share and which inspired us for this project of the French semester, is his respect and care for the small inhabitants that populate all his works.

In addition to his passion for plants, he has a passion for observing small fauna, birds and especially insects, which led him to study entomology and travel the world. Already in 1974 he was traveling in Cameroon, looking for new environments, plants but he was also on the trail of the large and shy butterfly Papilio antimachus, this incessant research allowed him to discover the primitive gardens of the indigenous peoples of the place.

We wanted to complete this project of natural garden, inserting hotels for insects that favor the nesting of pollinators and give shelter to ladybugs, chrysops and other organisms that are natural enemies of phytophagous insects and therefore all beneficial to the small garden.

Piles of branches have been placed because they provide shelter and food for many silophagous insects: Lucanus cervus (flying deer), Cerambyx cerdo, Rosalia alpina, and others. They are also excellent hiding places for hedgehogs, amphibians and small reptiles, as well as ideal nesting places for robins and wrens.

Finally, bird feeders have been placed. Attracting these animals is important because they play a key role in the biological control of plant-parasitic insects and help maintain the essential balance of a healthy ecosystem full of biodiversity.

As Clément teaches us, this traffic circle project can become a garden where the environment and its biodiversity will find a place to evolve freely.



French Folk Dances

On the left, the danse teacher Cristina Zecchinelli – on the right, a danse in circle

This course, organised by the JRC Dance Club includes a “dancing trip to France”, an area in which traditional music and dance have rediscovered the characteristics and liveliness of the past. Thanks to some passionate researchers, a large part of this heritage has been saved, and thanks to them we can now find ourselves dancing as we used to.

The ancient melodies and traditional songs guide the dancers in circles, chains, quartets, with exchanges of ladies and knights, finding themselves still immersed in the ancient rural world, where music and dance were part of the spontaneous expression of the people.

In our meetings will be proposed the practice of some dances trying to turn on, or increase, the curiosity about this particular and fascinating repertoire. The course is for everyone, trying not to bore the most experienced and not to put in difficulty the less experienced. We will start from the circle to then discover other choreography and couple dances, with complex crossings and new steps, browsing the regions of Brittany, Gascony, Berry and Poitou.

You will also be given the necessary elements to be able to dance freely, having even more fun, in future concerts and dance evenings.

Our teacher is Cristina Zecchinelli: a lover of dance since childhood, she identifies in the French Dances the repertoire that most attracts her, for the harmony of sounds, the elegance of movements and the intensity of the relationship that is created between dancers, especially in the meeting between Lady and Knight. Passionate, she attends numerous courses and stages in France and Italy with scholars, researchers and teachers of traditional French folk dance.

A medical certificate and the subscription to the club will be necessary to attend the course.

Come and try! 

When: Thursday from 8 to 10 pm

2 Thursdays a month we will have a lesson with the teacher, the other Thursdays we will practice without the teacher.

Where: Multisport Hall, Club House (Ispra)

Contribution to participate: 60 euros for 3 months (January-February-March 2022)

For further information

Responsible of the course: Giulia Barbero Vignola

Contacts: giuliettabv@gmail.com

Teacher: M. Cristina Zecchinelli

The Third Landscape

French semester symbol inspiration with Gilles Clément (1943 – ) French Landscape Architect, Theorist and Writer.

At the invitation of our friends from the French Semester 2022 to bring nature into the Eiffel Tower, which will be located on the roundabout at the entrance to the JRC (Ispra), we looked for inspiration in the work of the famous gardener, philosopher, botanist and professor at the Versailles Landscape School, Gilles Clément, and the three principles he created:

The garden in motion, the planetary garden, and the third landscape.

And the latter… the Third Landscape seems appropriate for our little project.

Gilles Clément calls the third landscape

all places abandoned by man

… the roadside, the edge of the field, a suburban field that has escaped construction, a traffic island, a roundabout… spaces that, almost without human intervention, can become pleasant places, gardens of the future where biodiversity finds refuge.

For Gilles Clément, working on the Third Landscape means not going against nature but with it, supporting it, observing it and intervening as little as possible.

Free yourself from rules and be “lazy”, let Nature do the work

The idea of the third landscape is a garden WITHOUT a gardener, WITHOUT a grass trimmer, a shredder, a perfect English lawn, artificially trimmed hedges and plastic looking bushes.  On the contrary, it extols the wildness and natural “imperfection”.

In our project, we will invite nature, birds, insects, vagrant plants and others to “occupy” the space around the Eiffel Tower:

    We will set up birdhouses, a small insect hotel. We will plant daffodils, crocuses and a few other bulbs. Cornus sibirica plants for their resistance and beauty during the winter months.

    Other vagrant plants known to French gardens:

  • grey leaf plants because they are drought resistant
  • calendula officinalis because it flowers in spring
  • alcea rosea and iris, which are very typical of French gardens

    In the management of the roundabout lawn, we will leave a strip of lawn with a moderate cut to encourage the wild flowers already present to flower and spread. 

JRC Gardening Club, for the French semester 2022

Bourgogne Franche-Comté – Centre-Loire Valley

In January 2022, The French presidency committee decided to highlight two french regions: Bourgogne Franche-Comté and Centre-Val de Loire regions.
(the regions are highlighted in the map above).

Full of outstanding natural heritage, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté is a destination of choice for lovers of rural tourism and unspoilt landscapes.

Known all over the world for its prestigious vineyards and authentic cuisine, this lovely, rustic region will delight you with its peaceful hedged farmland, expansive vineyards, mysterious forests, mountainous massifs, rivers, big lakes and countless ponds. For those looking to rest and recuperate, nothing beats a hike in the Ballons des Vosges, Morvan or Haut-Jura Regional nature parks, a romantic stroll on the peaceful Mille Étangs Plateau or a cycle ride along the pleasant Saône-et-Loire Greenway. And if you want to unwind amid lush greenery while enjoying the water, head to Lake Les Settons in Nièvre, Lake Saint-Point in Doubs, or the lakes of Chalain and Vouglans in Jura!

As well as these natural treasures, the area has some very interesting architectural heritage. Cities of Art and History with remarkable buildings, like Dijon and its palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, Besançon and its Vauban citadel, Auxerre and its Gothic cathedral, Belfort and its majestic Lion, Dole and its old houses, La Charité-sur-Loire and its Clunisian priory, Nevers and its ducal palace, or Montbéliard and its castle of the Dukes of Württemberg, all testify to the region’s glorious past. Equally unmissable are the famous Beaune Hospices, the magnificent Vézelay Basilica, the incredible medieval construction site of Guédelon, the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans, Mont Beuvray with its marvellous panoramic views and its Bibracte Museum, the site of Alésia with its Gallo-Roman remains and MuséoParc, as well as the abbeys of Cluny, Fontenay and Pontigny, and the castles of Ancy-le-Franc, Bazoches, Berzé-le-Châtel, Cormatin and Tanlay.

As well as being popular with lovers of nature and old buildings, Burgundy-Franche-Comté also delights food and wine connoisseurs. Its authentic and flavoursome gastronomy is a treat for the taste buds, with famous specialities and dishes such as the famous wines of Burgundy and Jura, crème de cassis liqueur, Comté, Époisses and Cancoillotte cheese, Morteau sausage, eggs meurette, coq au vin jaune, potée comtoise stew and gingerbread.

Rock fans won’t want to miss the famous Eurockéennes de Belfort, festival that takes place in early July on the shores of Lake Malsaucy.

A territory steeped in history and heritage, once enjoyed by the Kings of France, today Centre-Loire Valley is highly prized by visitors who go there for its famous Renaissance castles, charming villages and gastronomic specialities.

It’s also a very green destination where nature and the forest have pride of place, making it ideal for walking holidays. Examples include the mysterious Sologne with its countless ponds, Berry with its pastoral landscapes, the immense Orleans forest and the banks of the famous wild River Loire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The many splendid French and English-style gardens in the region are sure to delight lovers of extensive plant collections!

Famed all over the world, the Loire Valley castles have made their mark on the history of France. Chambord and its prestigious estate, Chenonceau and its magnificent arches over the Cher, Azay-le-Rideau and its romantic park, Amboise and its unforgettable views over the Loire, and Villandry with its remarkable gardens are all among the magical sites for visitors to enjoy on a weekend or longer trip… In Berry, heritage enthusiasts can enjoy the wonderful castles of Ainay-le-Vieil, Argy, Bouges, Meillant and Valençay, as well as charming villages like Apremont-sur-Allier, Gargilesse-Dampierre and Saint-Benoît-du-Sault. When it comes to outings in the Berry countryside, you’ll be spoilt for choice, with the Brenne Regional Nature Park and its thousands of ponds, Châteauroux forest, the Berry canal towpath and the vineyards of Sancerrois. Everything you need for a very pleasant country holiday!

Not to be outdone, the towns of Centre-Loire Valley are brimming with architectural treasures from the medieval era and the Renaissance. Lovers of culture and old buildings will be delighted by Blois and its royal castle, Bourges and its Jacques Cœur Palace, Tours and its museums, Chartres and its Gothic cathedral, Orleans and its Place du Martroi, to name but a few.

You can also take advantage of the region’s mild climate by treating yourself to a walk around the famous Loire Valley vineyard. It’s a great opportunity to stop by one of the many wine cellars and enjoy a little glass of wine from Anjou or Touraine!

New Aquitaine, Occitanie

Ocean or Mediterranean sea? Summer is coming… so let’s enjoy the beautiful and sunny Southwest of France (Nouvelle-Aquitaine & Bordeaux)

Do you want some inspiration for the coming summer holidays? This month let’s explore the treasures of the Southwest within both Occitanie and Nouvelle Aquitaine regions.

These two regions are seen as great rivals when speaking about quality of living (the French Douceur de vivre), gastronomy, sunny weather and consequently they are also competing in attracting most of the Parisians and Northern Frenchs. And this is not only for summer holidays… do you know that big southwest cities like Bordeaux, Toulouse or Montpellier are ones of the most dynamic cities in France gaining each more than 10.000 inhabitants per year?

However, people from southwest of France are facing an unsolved existential question: how to know which is part of the Southwest and which is not – and thus is usually called “the (unlucky) others”-?

From a geographical and administrative point of view, both regions are in the southwest quarter of France. They share the Garonne watershed and are bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Pyrenees mountains and Mediterranean cost to the South, and Massif Central mountains to the Northeast.

From an historical perspective, they were both part of the Occitania region where Occitan was historically the main language spoken (see the map with the flag and the Occitan cross). Both regions share a very rich gastronomy, making marvellous wine (and not only from Bordeaux region…), dish specialties based on duck breast and foie gras as well as typical cheeses such as the Roquefort nicknamed very modestly “Le Roi des Fromages”.

From the past, these territories have kept a prestigious cultural heritage between traditional countryside and towns of art and history whose names may be familiar to you, among others: Albi and Toulouse (les villes roses), Bordeaux (et son “port de la Lune”), Carcassonne (la citée médievale), Bayonne (et sa culture basque) or Perpignan (la catalane).

But on the top of their great history, gastronomy or beautiful landscape, there is maybe one thing people from South-West are the proudest… their typical Southwest accent (l’accent du Sud-Ouest!) which make them really unique and endearing!

(to know more about accents and their particularities in France see this little interesting video)

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d´Azur, Corsica

A preferred destination for lovers of mountain landscapes and outdoor leisure activities, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and its exceptional natural heritage are a haven for hikers who love protected, unspoilt countryside and sportier visitors in search of thrills.

From walks in the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park or the Vanoise National Park to cross-country skiing in the Bauges, through rock climbing in the Mont-Blanc massif, canoe-kayaking in the Sioule gorges or swimming in the lakes of Annecy, Aiguebelette, Aydat, Le Bourget, Grangent and Chambon, you’ll be spoilt for choice at holiday time. Skiing fans will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of winter sports resorts in the French Alps! Less athletic visitors can also enjoy the wonders of nature by travelling along the famous Route des Grandes Alpes, an exceptional itinerary dotted with mountain passes at over 2,000 metres in altitude! And to unwind, you can’t beat a rest on the lake shores of the Massif Central and the Alps, or a pampering break in the thermal spas of Aix-les-Bains, Brides-les-Bains, Bourbon-l’Archambault, Chaudes-Aigues, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, Royat, Uriage-les-Bains or Vichy.

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes also boasts a remarkable built heritage. Its castle forts, Romanesque churches, typical villages and towns of great architectural and cultural importance, like Annecy, Chambéry, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Le Puy-en-Velay, Montluçon, Moulins and Riom, are sure to wow you! History enthusiasts and lovers of old buildings mustn’t miss the chance to visit some major heritage sites, like Lyon’s historical city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the archaeological site of Saint-Romain-en-Gal, Souvigny Priory, Orcival Basilica, Brou Royal Monastery, the medieval towns of Charroux and Salers, the picturesque villages of Balazuc, Bonneval-sur-Arc, Labeaume, Pérouges and Yvoire, and the castles of Anjony, Crussol, Murol, Tournoël and Le Touvet.

South of Lyon, on either side of the Rhône Valley, stand two favourite destinations for holidaymakers: Drôme on one side, with its charming villages, gently rolling hills, lavender fields and mountains, and the Ardèche on the other, with its famous gorges so loved by kayakers, characterful villages, volcanic sites, medieval castles and superb panoramas.


Iconic and legendary, the famous French Riviera is a top destination for holidaymakers, nestled between the Alps, the Italian border and the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoying a mild and sunny climate all year round, this pleasant territory stretching along the Var and Alpes-Maritimes coast offers no shortage of sites to discover! Always popular with fans of sightseeing and sunbathing, the Côte d’Azur is famous the world over for its famous destinations like Cannes, Nice, Monaco and Saint-Tropez. The lively seaside resorts like Juan-les-Pins, Sainte-Maxime and Hyères, beautiful sandy or stony beaches, the wild creeks of the Estérel, prestigious Baroque heritage, and charming villages like Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Èze and Bormes-les-Mimosas, are among its many must-see attractions.

In between visits to these attractions, you can enjoy some delicious regional products and famous specialities. Cheeses from Auvergne and Savoie, green lentils from Le Puy, Lyonnaise salad, potée auvergnate stew, poultry from Bresse, tartiflette, raclette and fondue, Romans ravioles, wines from Côtes du Rhône and Saint-Pourçain, Montélimar nougat, Saint-Genix cake and pompe aux pommes (a local apple pie) are all packed with flavour to tickle your taste bud!

Another major destination in the region, the famous Provence, so highly prized by artists and lovers of old buildings, is always a byword for charm and the good life. With its peaceful hills where you can hear the crickets chirping, its wonderful fields of lavender and olive trees, its maquis scrubland fragrant with the scent of thyme and rosemary, its impressive Verdon gorges, exceptional calanques (rocky inlets), secluded creeks and sandy beaches, it has something to amaze every visitor. This sought-after land has many attractions, and you can’t talk about Provence without mentioning the magnificent hillside villages of Luberon, the old city of the Avignon popes, the old town of Aix-en-Provence, the ancient arenas of Arles, the famous Sainte-Victoire mountain immortalised by the painter Paul Cézanne, the charming small town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, the majestic citadel of Sisteron or the ceramics made in the picturesque village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

The PACA region also includes the Alps and therefore appeals to lovers of the mountains and outdoor activities, with its countless hiking paths weaving through Mercantour National Park, Le Queyras Regional Nature Park and Les Écrins National Park, its renowned ski resorts such as Serre Chevalier, Montgenèvre, La Foux d’Allos, Auron, Isola 2000 and Valberg, as well as the magnificent Lake Serre-Ponçon, a veritable sea in the mountains that’s ideal for water sports!

Also popular for its tasty food and ancestral traditions, Provence-Alps-French Riviera clearly has everything a visitor could wish for, with its colourful markets and flavoursome specialities like olive oil, tapenade, tian, Sisteron lamb, Banon cheese, Cavaillon melon, Menton lemons, Calissons d’Aix biscuits and Provence honey.


The third biggest island in the western Mediterranean, after Sicily and Sardinia (183 kilometres long, 83 kilometres wide and 2,706 metres above sea level at its highest point), Corsica is a true natural paradise where the heritage is wonderfully well-protected. Very attached to its traditions, this characterful land clearly deserves its nickname, “the island of beauty”! Located around 180 kilometres from the French Riviera, the birthplace of the famous Napoleon Bonaparte has no shortage of unique sites to enjoy.

Particularly popular with lovers of outdoor pursuits, this unspoilt land invites you to discover its charming mountainside villages, little wild creeks, nature reserves full of fauna and flora, golden beaches with crystal clear waters (ideal for sunbathing), colourful sea beds, mountain lakes and magnificent hiking trails, like the very famous GR20 that runs across Corsica from north to south. From renowned seaside resorts to mountain heights, the diverse and varied viewpoints are among the island of beauty’s many strong points, along with its pleasant climate.

Corsica is also famous for its cities, and if you’re spending a few days in this magnificent region, you simply must drop by Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi, Corte, Porto-Vecchio and Sartène!

The local gastronomy is also an important part of the area’s appeal to tourists, whether it’s cheese, charcuterie or chestnut specialities. Brocciu, coppa, figatelli, as well as polenta and fiadone, are a treat for visitors looking to sample the authentic flavours of the region.

DROM, Overseas Departments and Regions

Ideal places to relax, go sightseeing and get away from it all, the departments of Overseas France are destinations of choice for nature-lovers, devotees of sunbathing and sports fans. The ancestral traditions, the idyllic beaches with crystal-clear waters, the lush forests full of walking trials, the beauty and richness of the sea beds, the tropical fauna and flora, and the culinary specialities, exotic fruits and spices have plenty to amaze holidaymakers looking for a change of scene! How could anyone resist the long sandy beaches of Martinique and Guadeloupe, the awe-inspiring, verdant cirques of Réunion, the splendid coral reef of Mayotte or the magnificent nature reserves of Guiana?


Located in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, over 6,000 kilometres from mainland France, the Guadeloupe archipelago is one of the key destinations of the Antilles. Whilst its islands are a dream for fans of idyllic beaches and turquoise lagoons, they also delight nature-lovers, who come here to enjoy exceptional wild landscapes. Climb to the top of the famous Soufrière, hike along the trails of the tropical forest, discover the beauty of the sea bed on a snorkelling or diving trip, take a ride in a catamaran in the Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin nature reserve, admire the local animal and plant life on a leisurely stroll… So many special moments to be experienced to the full! It’s also a paradise for lovers of culinary discoveries: the colourful markets full of exotic fruit and vegetables, spices and seafood, typical Creole dishes, the famous cane juice rum and the delicious coconut sorbet are sure to delight the taste buds… A marvellously exotic and extremely pleasant getaway to look forward to!


While the “island of flowers” is especially popular with those who enjoy a relaxing holiday, with its tropical climate, relaxed pace of life, Creole specialities and idyllic sandy beaches, it also delights nature-lovers. With most of the island protected by the Regional Nature Park, Martinique has exceptional biodiversity as well as extraordinary unspoilt landscapes that hikers love. The Pelée mountain volcano, the Carbet mountains, the Caravelle peninsula, and all the walks in the tropical forest and along the wonderful coastal paths really offer some amazing sights! As well as these natural assets, there’s a fascinating architectural and cultural heritage: the Clément habitation, Schoelcher library in Fort-de-France, Case-Pilote Church, remains of Saint-Pierre, and villages full of picturesque charm are just some of the beautiful sights you’ll discover during your stay in Martinique!

Réunion island

An ethnically and culturally diverse land in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Réunion is a place of amazing heritage and scenic treasures. A haven for hikers and other nature-lovers, this multi-faceted tropical island is a dream destination in which to rest and recuperate, have a change of scene and enjoy the delights of rambling. A place of incredible biodiversity, Réunion will enchant you with its exceptional natural sites. The famous Piton de la Fournaise volcano, the renowned Piton des Neiges peak, the majestic cirques of Mafate, Cilaos and Salazie, or the magnificent wild South are just a few of the fantastic places that will leave you with unforgettable holiday memories! You can also appreciate an amazing blend of cultures and religions as you explore the towns and villages on the island. And to unwind after a visit or hike, you can choose between the lovely sandy beaches of the Indian Ocean, the refreshing waterfalls and lakes of Réunion’s rivers, and the health-giving spa waters of Cilaos… Plenty of ways to enjoy a truly unforgettable stay!


8h30 flight from Paris and 2h from the West Indies, Guyana is a French region in South America bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, located between Brazil and Suriname. French land in the Amazon, it alone brings together exceptional natural resources, still preserved biodiversity, an abundance of secular cultures, natural sites unique in the world, and Europe’s main gateway to space.
With its 8 million hectares of virgin forest and more than 5,000 animal and plant species (still in the discovery phase), the inestimable natural heritage of Guyana offers a magnificent playground for nature enthusiasts and lovers of nature. ecotourism on a human scale.With more than ten ethnic groups represented, Guyana is a unique cultural bubbling, shaped by centuries of history and meetings of civilizations! 
Since the 1960s and the choice of Europe to make it its spaceport, Guyana has undoubtedly had its eyes on space. With X launches on average per year, Guyana is one of the rare French territories to combine both nature and technology.

Normandy, Brittany, Pays de Loire

We are now in the regions of our beloved sea and oceans… in May we are travelling from Normandy to Bretagne to Pays de la Loire where you can live with the wind in your hair and your feet in the sand.  Brittany rocks it with its endless sandy beaches, a stunning rocky coastline dotted with picturesque villages. Normandy is famous the D-Day Beaches, the tidal island of Mont St Michel and the Bayeux Tapestry, but it is also home to chic seaside resorts, charming fishing villages, Rouen with its cathedral and association with Joan of Arc. The Pays de la Loire is a place of châteaux, vineyards, and long sandy beaches fringing the Atlantic coast with a warmer climate and a laid-back culture with both inland and coastal towns and villages with vast sandy beaches all the way down to Vendee.


A place of history, culture and traditions, Normandy offers many delights to visitors in search of authenticity and natural beauty. Peaceful and unspoilt, its wonderful lands offer an incredibly diverse landscape, ranging from the forests, hedged farmland and rustic meadows of its green countryside to the majestic white cliffs of the Alabaster Coast, through the famous Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, the meanders of the Seine Valley, Swiss Normandy and the Cotentin and Bessin marshes. As well as being a top destination for leisure and relaxation and a true haven of peace, Normandy has managed to preserve an important cultural, architectural and gastronomic heritage. Seafood, salt marsh lamb, cider, Pommeau and perry, teurgoule, dairy products from Isigny and cheeses from Pays d’Auge are among the treats in store for visitors’ taste buds!

The fiefdom of William the Conqueror and the site of the D-Day landings in 1944, Normandy nowadays has an impressive number of major sites that attract visitors all year round, starting with the very famous Mont Saint-Michel and its prestigious Benedictine abbey, the iconic Château-Gaillard, the Gothic cathedral of Coutances, the medieval city of Bayeux, the Cities of Art and History of Caen and Rouen, the chic resorts of Deauville and Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, the magnificent gardens of Monet, the charming village of Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei or the elegant Carrouges Castle.

However, Normandy also offers a journey through the history of the Second World War, through the D-Day beaches, Le Hoc headland, the Caen Memorial and the many museums devoted to this period.

Finally, charming places like Étretat, Fécamp or Honfleur, which won over the Impressionists in the 19th century, are still just as appealing as ever.

Pays de Loire

Opening onto the Atlantic Ocean, with Europe’s last wild river running through it, the Pays de la Loire region offers a fascinatingly varied heritage. Vast and expansive, its scenery is very diverse and its attractions appeal to holidaymakers as well as lovers of fauna and flora. With 450 kilometres of coastline, made up of a series of superb sandy beaches, wild, rocky coasts and renowned seaside resorts such as La Baule, Les Sables-d’Olonne, Pornic and Saint-Jean-de-Monts, this highly prized destination in western France enchants fans of relaxation and sports and lovers of unspoilt landscapes in equal measure. Indeed, it’s hard to resist the charms of the wild coast or the Coast of Light, where you can enjoy the benefits of the beach or try your hand at water sports like windsurfing and kitesurfing. Off the coast, the magnificent islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier also offer some wonderful places for strolling and recharging your batteries.

In the countryside, the Pays de la Loire region is also loved by walkers and architecture enthusiasts, with the banks of the famous royal river adorned by sumptuous castles, the Poitevin Marsh offering romantic boat rides, megalithic remains, the Cities of Art and History of Angers, Laval, Nantes and Le Mans, as well as the regional nature parks of Brière, Loire-Anjou-Touraine and Normandy-Maine, all three containing countless hiking trails.

Steeped in history and boasting an impressive built heritage, this vast area encompasses some of the famous Loire castles, like those of Angers and its famous tapestry of the Apocalypse, Brissac, Le Lude, Montreuil-Bellay, Montsoreau, Saumur or Serrant.

A lively place all year round, the Pays de la Loire region also hosts major events like the Hellfest in Clisson, a big metal music festival, the 24 Heures du Mans, a legendary sports car endurance race, and the Vendée Globe, a famous round-the-world solo sailing race that takes place every four years.


Brittany is a land rich in contrasts, made up of the four departments of Finistère, Côtes-d’Armor, Ille-Et-Villaine and Morbihan. It is steeped in history and tradition and is proud of its strong maritime culture. A favoured holiday destination for the French and Brits, it’s 600 km of fine, sandy coastline curves around the north western tip of France, enclosing 27,500 sq. km of fertile countryside and quaint market towns. The Breton people are hardy, down to earth and friendly. They remain close to the land, the sea and their culture. Breton is still spoken in a few areas and local traditions are upheld at the many lively festivals and fest noz of the summer months.

Known by the Celts as Armorica, “land of the sea”, Brittany has a long and lively past. Prehistoric megaliths (standing stones) rise up from the ground around Carnac and it is said that young King Arthur received the sword of Excalibur from the fairy Vivian in the Paimpont Forest, 40 km south of Rennes. Half-timbered buildings characterize the bustling, medieval towns of Vannes, Dinan and Rennes, while the castles and fortresses of St. Malo, Fougères and Vitré bear witness to Brittany’s strategic location. The region’s beauty has attracted many artists and the lovely town of Pont-Aven is lined with galleries showing works of painters past and present.

From cornfield to oyster bed, woodland walk to long sandy beach, modern shipping port to charming, historical town, there is something for everyone in this varied and dynamic region. Rennes, situated in Ille-et-Villaine, has been Brittany’s capital since the 16th century. Home to the Breton houses of parliament, it is a hive of cultural activity, nurtured by the large student population. The Côtes-d’Armor on the northern shore is lined with seaside resorts, pink granite coves and traditional fishing ports. Morbihan, on the southern coast is backed by wooded river valleys and has a gentler feel and a milder climate. Exposed to the rough Atlantic winds, Finistère in the west has drama. The name aptly means “the end of the earth”.

The region is known for its excellent seafood (Concarneau is particularly famous for its oysters and mussels which are brought straight up from the shoreline beds), sweet crepes and savoury buckwheat pancakes, cider, “galettes” biscuits and buttery Kouign Amman cake. It offers a wide variety of sports including sailing, windsurfing, fishing, golf, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding.

Brittany is a land of spirit and character where history, art, culture and nature live side by side with all today’s modern services. Shopping is always close by and plentiful. Traveling is fast and easy – Paris is only 2 hours by train from Rennes, ferries run from two ports to the UK and there is a very good network of free dual carriageways.

Discover the delights of this beautiful region, so diverse and rich in contrasts

Hauts de France, Ile de France, Grand Est

This month we present three regions. The Ile de France hosts our gorgeous Paris and surroundings like Versailles, Fontainebleau or even Disneyland Paris. The Hauts de France has Nord-Pas-de-Calais/Picardie, from forests to coastlines, castles and medieval towns. The Grand Est has Alsace, Champagne-Ardennes and Lorraine, their wines, typical timber frame houses, and thermal towns. Here is a little more on each of them

Region “Ile de France”

Steeped in exceptional heritage, the Île-de-France region, the historic heart of the country and the world’s number one tourist destination, is first and foremost associated with Paris, the capital of France and a prestigious world-famous city. As the top tourist destination in Île -de-France, the famous City of Lights is full of beautiful sights, with several centuries’ worth of unusual architecture, an abundance of culture venues and museums such as the Louvre, the Orsay Museum, the Centre Pompidou, the Cluny Museum, the Picasso Museum or the Quai Branly Museum, and must-see monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame de Paris, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Montmartre and the Arc de Triomphe.

However, the Île-de-France region has many other treasures like its superb castles, old abbeys, royal towns, parks and romantic gardens, forests and lakes that are ideal for leisure activities. Among the flagship destinations around Paris, visitors should make sure their itinerary includes major sites like the immense Versailles Castle and its magnificent gardens, the Saint-Denis Basilica, necropolis of the Kings of France, the sumptuous castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte and its park designed by Le Nôtre, the medieval city of Provins with its impressive ramparts, Fontainebleau Castle, a gem of French art, the charming and romantic Royaumont Abbey, the royal town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Courances Castle and its marvellous Renaissance water garden, or the Impressionist village of Auvers-sur-Oise. When it comes to entertainment, children and adults alike are sure to love attractions like Disneyland Paris, France Miniature and Thoiry Park.

Region “Hauts de France”

A welcoming and authentic land that combines nature, culture and traditions, the Hauts-de-France region offers its visitors a wide range of sightseeing opportunities and activities. When it comes to countryside, a variety of landscapes await you there, ranging from forests, hedged farmlands and plains of crops to the hortillonnages in Amiens, through the beaches and chalk cliffs of the coast. The hiking paths in the regional nature parks of Avesnois, Les Caps et Marais d’Opale, Scarpe-Escaut and Oise-Pays de France, the immense beaches of fine sand, the picturesque fishing villages and the elegant seaside resorts of the Opal Coast and the Picard Coast will delight holidaymakers in search of rest, recuperation and tranquillity. A listed Great Site of France and a member of the very select club of the world’s most beautiful bays, the famous Bay of Somme is a birdwatcher’s paradise. As well as the many bird species present there, you can also admire an impressive colony of harbour seals!

When it comes to built heritage, the cities of Art and History of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Cambrai, Laon, Lille and Roubaix, with many cultural and architectural treasures, majestic belfries that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the small and charming town of Senlis, the wonderful castles of Chantilly, Compiègne and Pierrefonds, the famous Gothic cathedrals of Amiens and Beauvais, the superb medieval city of Coucy-le-Château-Auffrique, the beautiful fortified churches of Thiérache, and the picturesque little town of Bergues, made famous by the film Welcome to the Sticks (Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis), as well as the festive and friendly atmosphere of Dunkirk carnival and Lille street market, are just some of the attractions that make this region of northern France such an appealing destination.

Whether you come for a weekend or a longer stay, the Hauts-de-France region will delight you with its distinctive character and rich cultural heritage!

Region “Grand Est

A land of traditions, skills and gastronomy located at the heart of Europe, the Great East is an appealing region that’s sure to be appreciated by lovers of sightseeing and authentic charm. While the region is particularly renowned for its champagnes, white wines from Alsace, flammekueches, sauerkraut, baeckeoffes, Mirabelle plums and enchanting Christmas markets, it’s also known for its cities of Art and History packed with treasures, delightful floral villages with half-timbered houses, medieval castle forts, Gothic cathedrals, fortified or timber-framed churches, famous museums, and renowned crystal and pottery works.

Anyone exploring the regions formerly known as Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine should be sure to visit notable sites like Strasbourg, with its famous Gothic cathedral and its picturesque Petite France, Colmar, with its romantic Little Venice and its famous Unterlinden Museum, Metz, with its Cour d’Or Museum and many parks, as well as the deeply moving memorial sites around Verdun, the impressive fortified town of Langres, old Nancy with its medieval, Renaissance and Art Nouveau heritage, the beautiful medieval town of Troyes with its ten listed churches, the splendid Place Ducale in Charleville-Mézières, Sedan’s immense castle fort, the famous Mont Sainte-Odile mountain, the magnificent fortified town of Riquewihr, the great museums of Mulhouse, and the prestigious champagne cellars of Reims, Épernay and Châlons-en-Champagne.

The Great East is a great destination for a country holiday and boasts a remarkable natural environment. With their many marked paths, the regional nature parks of the Ardennes, Ballons des Vosges, Montagne de Reims, Lorraine and the Vosges du Nord are perfect for anyone who enjoys hiking or botanical walks. Lake Der-Chantecoq, Lake Madine and the four lakes of Pays de Langres are sure to delight lovers of relaxation and water sports. Those in search of spas and well-being can enjoy a rejuvenating stay at one of the region’s eight welcoming spa resorts. Whether you pick Amnéville-les-Thermes, Bains-les-Bains, Bourbonne-les-Bains, Contrexéville, Morsbronn-les-Bains, Niederbronn-les-Bains, Plombières-les-Bains or Vittel, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to enjoying the benefits of the thermal waters as well as the many leisure activities available there!

Welcome to the JRC French Semester of the French presidency of the EU 2022. Come to our special events and travel our regions with us.

Welcome to the “JRC French Semester “. From 1 January 2022 France takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months. French colleagues at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) on its different sites want to celebrate the presidency of the semester and propose a rich and varied program to make their country’s culture, science and traditions known over these six months.

Experience France and travel with us as your guides!

Every month until the end of June 2022, we will showcase and organise activities around a cluster of regions going around France and in its islands and sharing with you their culture, lifestyle, science and initiatives.

You will (re)discover the France you might know and love but also the lesser known aspects we would love to unveil for you!. You will discover new contents month by month and region by region, so in those strange times you can travel throughout eyes and stories too.

What about our logo?. It represents the borders of France and its colours, with the stars of our Europe at its heart, its West Atlantic coast and its splash of ocean blue, and a shape reminiscent of a roof and a home. Our banner is a JRC satellite image, because our science and tech is superb also for our Semester!.

On this website, open to everyone, you will find lots of articles written with love by our French community volunteers, and packed with super interesting facts on so many things ranging from tourism, recipes, initiatives created or developed in France, science, history, architecture, culture and much more. we will also inform on the events that will be open to all including movies, seminars, local actions, gastronomy and wine tasting!

We are looking forward to share with you everything we have prepared over the coming months! So stay tuned!

Browse our website to know more about our plans !
Each month this site will propose a reach overview of a group of region of France.
There is no lack of events and facts to discover our culture and traditions.
Register ! Most of our events will be organized with public and you are welcome to come and enjoy our company.