Centre Pompidou-Metz, the first major cultural decentralisation project.

Centre Pompidou-Metz is France’s first major cultural decentralisation project. Centre Pompidou in Paris  has brought its model to the region, and offered its know-how and collections in a unique partnership with local government bodies, which not only provide the necessary funding but also guarantee independence of scientific and cultural choices.

Respecting the values of Centre Pompidou in its generosity, open to all publics and to all forms of current-day creation, Centre Pompidou-Metz illustrates, through its relationship both to society and to culture, the renewal of Centre Pompidou’s strategy refocused on its prime vocation, namely to form a platform of exchanges between French society and creation.

Centre Pompidou-Metz is neither a branch nor an annex of Centre Pompidou Paris but a sister institution, independent in its scientific and cultural choices, able to develop its own programme in the spirit of Centre Pompidou, and relying on the latter’s know-how, network and notoriety. In conveying these values, it has an extraordinary advantage, that of being able to draw from the collections of Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, which, with more than 100,000 works, boasts one of the world’s two finest collections in the field of modern and contemporary art, and the largest collection in Europe.

Centre Pompidou-Metz has been devised as a unique experience, a space where you can discover artistic creation in all its shapes and sizes, a living place where events take place all year round. The architecture of Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines make it an exceptional place. It is also a generous place as its publics are at the heart of the project, and a place of excellence thanks to its multidisciplinary programme based on innovative temporary exhibitions of international level.

A unique architecture

“Walking up through the front square and the gardens that link the downtown area and the Metz train station to the Centre Pompidou-Metz, visitors will discover a building in light and luminous tones, both powerful and graceful, inviting them to take shelter under its protective roof.

We imagined an architecture that speaks of openness and well-being, a meeting of cultures, in an immediate sensory relationship with the environment.” .

Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines

The Centre Pompidou-Metz is a large hexagonal structure with three galleries running through the building. A central spire reaches up 77 metres, alluding to the 1977 opening date of the original Centre Pompidou.

Inside the building, the general atmosphere is light with a pale wood roof, white-painted walls and floors in pearl-grey polished concrete. The roof, the relation between the interrior and exterior and the four exhibition galleries make up highly innovative architectural choices.

Remarkable space

The architecture of the Centre Pompidou-Metz has unusual characteristics: the remarkable size of its main nave and the variety of its exhibition areas, with large open spaces and more intimate places that encourage inventiveness and continually surprise the visitor.
Never fixed permanently, the exhibition areas can be modulated to allow original interpretations of modern and contemporary art.
The Centre Pompidou-Metz is a large hexagonal structure covering a collection of interior spaces. It is structured round a central spire reaching a height of 77 metres. The building is a two-curve superstructure with an assembly of wooden beams forming hexagonal modules and supported by a central metal tower and four conical pillars.
With a surface area of 8,000 m2, constructed fully in wood, the roofing is made up of hexagonal units resembling the cane-work pattern of a Chinese hat. This structure is covered with a waterproof membrane made from fibre glass and teflon (PTFE or Poly-Tetra-Fluoro-Ethylene).

Three galleries in the shape of rectangular (parallelepipedic) tubes weave through the building at different levels, jutting out through the roof with huge picture windows angled towards landmarks such as the cathedral, the station and Seille Park, showing visitors genuine “postcard” images of the city of Metz.

Viewed as a whole, the Centre Pompidou-Metz evokes a huge marquee surrounded by a front square and two gardens. Total surface area is 10,700 m2. The exhibition areas take up 5,020 m2, plus other spaces where works can also be exhibited such as the gardens, forum and the gallery terraces. The building housing the Centre’s administration offices and technical spaces is located behind the Centre Pompidou-Metz.

Bouillon Chartier Restaurant in Paris

Created back in 1896 with a concept of providing hot wholesome French food at a reasonable cost, this still stands true today within a building that has been classed as a historical monument where you can get a main course for only around €10

About the Bouillon Chartier Restaurant

The Bouillon Chartier was first founded back in 1896 by two brothers, with a very simple concept of being able to provide a decent meal at a reasonable price for local workers, where the patrons would come back time and time again.

And along with its ornate architecture and the unique Belle Epoque interior, which has remained the same and been preserved over the years, this building became recognised as an historical monument in Paris in 1989, and to date, well over 100 years later, there have still only been four owners who have all kept the same philosophy as the original founders of the restaurant.

Having a wooden frontage, glass roof and very high ceilings supported by columns, along with exceedingly large mirrors adorning the walls, there is also a mezzanine area for dining.  And with paper tablecloths, which is what your order is written on, along with paper napkins that are used to write out your bill, this is a very traditional restaurant in Paris that still carries on the original quirky features from all those years ago.

Cuisine at the Bouillon Chartier Restaurant

You will find traditional French cuisine with a wide variety of dishes served at the Bouillon Chartier restaurant, still with very reasonable prices and you can have a three course meal for around €20, plus the wines are also very good prices.To give you an idea, for starters you could have snails, tomato salad, vegetable soup, hard boiled egg or prawn mayonnaise, Foie Gras, grated carrot vinaigrette or a lettuce salad with bacon to name a few choices.

Main courses could be grilled rump steak and French fries, roast chicken, spaghetti bolognaise, Sauerkraut from Alsace, baked sea bream, duck confit with new potatoes and many others.

You could then opt for a choice of cheeses such as Camembert, Goats cheese, cottage cheese etc, but even having a few will not break the bank.  But there is also a fantastic selection of tempting desserts to choose from such as peach melba, prunes in wine with vanilla ice cream, sorbets, rum baba, fresh pineapple, and many others you could choose.

THE MENU

The unique charm of Parisian covered passages

Paris’s galleries and covered passages house shops, restaurants and theatres

Built for the most part in the 19th century, these arcades covered with glass roofs, created by piercing through other buildings, are a typically Parisian architectural feature. Most of them now house shopstearooms and restaurants. There are around 20 of them in Paris in the vicinity of the Grands Boulevards.

One of the oldest, the Passage des Panoramas, dates from 1799. It is home to the Théâtre des Variétés, inaugurated in 1807 and still providing entertainment. Each arcade has its own character. Passage Brady, commonly known as Little India, houses numerous Indian, Pakistan, Mauritian and Reunion shops. The Passage Verdeau houses numerous antique dealers. As for the Passage du Caire – the longest and the narrowest in the capital (more than 360 metres long) – it has a large concentration of wholesalers in ready-to-wear clothing as well as other clothes manufacturers.

Galerie Vivienne next door to the Palais-Royal is one of the most iconic covered passages. The nearby Galerie Véro-Dodat has many upmarket shops, like Christian Louboutin’s workshop-boutique. Passage du Grand-Cerf, a 12-metre-high structure made of metal and wrought iron, is one of the most spectacular arcades in Paris. 

Finally, the Galerie Colbert, built in 1823, has the particularity of having no shops. Its colonnade and rotunda surmounted by a glass dome house the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art and the Institut National du Patrimoine. The public are free to walk through the gallery and can stop off for lunch at the Grand Colbert brasserie, located at the entrance and famous for its art deco style.

Discover Paris from the Montparnasse tower thanks to an augmented reality application

Friday, April 30, 2021, the Montparnasse tower observatory launched a free application to discover Paris in immersion thanks to augmented reality.

Take height. Scan Paris with your gaze, enjoy a breathtaking view and identify the monuments and their history from home, on a tablet or a phone. This is now possible thanks to a new application developed by Magnicity and the start-up Timescope.

A possible experience at home. The Magnicity application is available on the Apple Store and on Android.

Paris and its secrets thanks to augmented reality

The principle is simple: after having launched it, all you have to do is scan the panorama of the modeled capital and browse the some 150 points of interest identified by blue circles. Anecdotes about Notre-Dame-de-Paris, the Bourse du Commerce, the Arab World Institute and even Mont-Valérien (Hauts-de-Seine) are then displayed.

Discover Paris by night… and Lutèce in 2022

Two functionalities “Paris by night” and “Paris antique” complete the application. For the first, it is a question of locating the places of culture and the flagship establishments of the Parisian night. The second was developed with historians and reconstructs Lutèce.

How to become a parisian in one hour?

The first one-man show in Paris entirely in English !

How to become a Parisian in One Hour? is a 70-minute show in English performed in a 600-seat theatre. Olivier Giraud presents the Parisian going about his daily business in his natural habitat: Paris.

The comedy show is presented in the form of lessons enabling you to “learn” how to behave like a real Parisian in the metro, at a restaurant, in a night club and even in future relationships…

The show has been a big comedy hit in France for eight years now. It built its reputation by word-of-mouth – a highly effective system as some 800,000 people have already seen it!

Thanks to the show being a success in London, where Olivier performed regularly, the production took on an international turn and became more widely known.

It is a show that takes place on stage but also involve audience participation, and that audience comes from around the world with at least 30 nationalities at each performance. This varied public includes Parisians, French from outside the capital, expats and tourists who all end up laughing together at their cultural differences.

Book a ticket

Equihen Plage – Houses made from upturned boat hulls

France is home to many unique buildings and cultural wonders. However, some of them are really unusual and the village of Equihen Plage is one of them. Located on the northern coast of France, this peaceful place has a beautiful beach, lovely campsites and cozy houses made from upturned boat hulls. The inhabitants of the village live in upside down boats. Today, living in such a small space, instead of a modern house seems pointless. But, the locals are devoted to preserving their culture and their surprising and amazing history.

In the early 1900s, Equihen Plage was known as one of the best places to fish. As many boats had to be destroyed on the shore, local fishermen used them as roofs for their handmade shelters. Unfortunately, the Second World War destroyed almost all the boathouses in the village. However, local families were determined to maintain their legacy. Thus, the villagers restored some of the old upturned boat-hull dwellings and built new ones.

Today, more than 3,000 people live under the boat hulls and some of them are available for rent to tourists. There is no doubt that this village of upside-down boat-hull houses is unusual!

The Somme bay

Baie de Somme (Bay of the Somme or Somme Bay) is a large estuary in the Picardie région . The bay drains six rivers into the English Channel, principally the River Somme, and covers a total area of 72 km2. The bay is noted for its ornithological richness, as well as being a major tourist attraction.

When the tide is out, the Baie is characterized by wide, flat areas of marsh and sand, from which the delicacy of glasswort (locally:salicornes) are collected. Small ponds, dug into the marshes and filled with fake plastic ducks, are used to attract migratory birds for hunting. As the tide rises the bay fills, during which time numerous working, leisure and tourist boats cross between the surrounding villages.

The Bay of Somme is the habitat of multiple fauna and flora species, the most famous being probably the Grey seal and the Harbor seal, locally referred as “phoque veau-marin”. Its population can be estimated at around 650 to 700 individuals living in the bay, whereas the Grey seal has a smaller population of around 350 individuals.

The Site represents the largest natural estuary in northern France composed of vast sand, mudflats, and grassy areas. The exceptional character of the Site is reflected by its avifauna diversity with 365 bird species identified. Located at the confluence of migratory routes, the Site is one of the most important European resting and feeding areas for migrating waterbirds. It also provides a refuge during cold weather events, especially for waders and ducks. During the wintering period, the Site sustains over 1% of the individuals of the biogeographic population of the Northern pintail, Northern shoveller and common shelduck. The Site also supports 275 species of plants, including various rare species such as the fen orchid Liparis loeselii. Human activities include cattle grazing, hunting, commercial fishing, shellfish farming, and tourism. The “Maison Ramsar de la baie de Somme” is one of two study centres at the Site. The main threats to the ecological character of the Site relate to drainage, hunting, invasive species, pollution, and recreational and tourism activities. Silting up of the estuary is accelerating and will alter the food web in the estuary which will in turn become less suitable for migrating and wintering waders. All protected areas on the Site have a management plan and a site-specific management plan.

The Louvre-Lens is part of an effort to provide access to French cultural institutions for people who live outside of Paris

The Louvre-Lens is an art museum located in Lens,  approximately 200 kilometers north of Paris. It displays objects from the collections of the Musée du Louvre that are lent to the gallery on a medium- or long-term basis. The Louvre-Lens annex is part of an effort to provide access to French cultural institutions for people who live outside of Paris. Though the museum maintains close institutional links with the Louvre, it is primarily funded by the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region.

Architecture

The museum is built on a 20-hectare mining site that closed in the 1960s. The area is slightly elevated due to filling in of the mine. To make the building blend into the surrounding area, the architects designed a string of five low-profile structures; the central one is square with glass walls and the others are rectangular with polished, aluminum facades that gave a blurry reflection of the surroundings. Altogether, the museum is 360 m long and contains 28,000 m2 of exhibition space.

The design of a central building flanked by two wings mimics the Paris Louvre. The square, central building is the main reception area. It contains several curved glass rooms that contain a cafeteria, bookstore and museum boutique. To the east of the entry hall is the 3,000 m2 Galerie du Temps which houses approximately 200 items from the Paris Louvre collection. The items in the large, open hall are arranged chronologically, from 3,500 BC to the mid-19th century, regardless of style or country of origin. Beyond the Galerie du Temps is the Pavillon de Verre which exhibits works from neighboring museums. The building to the west of the entry hall is a gallery for temporary exhibits and, beyond that, an auditorium.

The Gallery du temps

What languages and dialects are spoken in Alsace-Lorraine (Grand est region)?

“You will not have Alsace or Lorraine! “. This expression, popularized by the film of the same name, you have already heard it at least once. And for good reason: Alsace and Lorraine have crystallized the main disputes between Germany and France over the past 400 years.

Beyond the torments of history, these conflicts have nevertheless bequeathed to us a rich and singular linguistic heritage. For centuries, Alsatians and Lorrainers alternated between German and French, in addition to their dialects

Alsatian

Alsatian or Alsatian German refers to the Upper German spoken widely in Alsace, in particular the Alemannic and Franconian dialects. Alsatian is not a linguistic dialect group in and of itself, but rather a collective geographical term for the Upper German vernaculars that are spoken in the Alsace region.

In Alsace, the German dialects are generally more widely spoken than in Lorraine, where the French language and its dialects remain dominant. In a survey commissioned by the Office for Language and Culture in Alsace, 43 percent of residents in the Alsace region answered that they spoke Alsatian German, 33 percent answered that they had a basic knowledge of it and 25 percent had no knowledge of the Alsatian dialects. 

The Lorraine Dialects

Similar to the Alsatian, the Lorraine dialects refer to a collective geographical term for the Central German dialects spoken widely in Lorraine, in particular the Rhine Franconian and Moselle Franconian dialects, to which the Luxembourgish language also belongs. The Lorraine dialects shouldn’t be confused with the Lorrain language, which is sometimes considered a dialect of French and sometimes considered its own language (dialects and languages don’t always have hard boundaries).

The southern, central and western regions of Lorraine traditionally belong to the French-speaking world. The northwest region, on the other hand, has traditionally been part of the German-speaking world. The German-Lorraine dialects, however, have been in decline since the end of the Second World War and are threatened with extinction.

A Historical Overview Of Alsace-Lorraine

Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Celtic language was established in Alsace-Lorraine around 600 BCE. This was supplemented or replaced by Latin during the Roman period (ca. 60 BCE to ca. 400 CE). With the migration of peoples, Germanic dialects also entered the region and spread. In the Middle Ages, Alsace in particular was a predominantly German-speaking area. These Germanic dialects — particularly Alemannic and Franconian — are grouped together today under the term Alsatian.

Early Modernity

The present-day regions of Alsace and Lorraine belonged to the East Franconian Empire (later the Holy Roman Empire) after the Treaty of Meerssen in 870. The regions remained German for almost 700 years until 1552, when the French king obtained sovereignty over the diocese and the city of Metz with the Treaty of Chambord.

About 100 years later, in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, the areas finally became a part of France. At the same time, France was granted the former Habsburg territories in Alsace. Most of Alsace-Lorraine was gradually annexed under Louis XIV in the second half of the 17th century. While the region had gradually become French, at least politically, it remained culturally influenced by German. The majority of the population continued to use German or their respective Germanic or Romance dialect in everyday speech. French, however, was the official language of administration, business and diplomacy.

The 19th Century

Despite the defeat of Napoleon, Alsace and Lorraine remained in France. The German-speaking inhabitants of the country — who in spite of French rule had largely remained connected to German culture before the French Revolution — increasingly oriented themselves towards France and Paris. Given that there was no general requirement that school be held in French, however, German remained the vernacular language in Alsace and German Lorraine.

The modern era was linguistically turbulent in Alsace-Lorraine, because language was now being used as a political means to mark one’s affiliation with France or the German Empire.

After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871, parts of Alsace-Lorraine were annexed to the German Empire. The demarcation essentially followed the language boundary. That is, where it was strategically convenient. Suddenly, 200,000 people who spoke French as a native language — some 15 percent of the population of Alsace-Lorraine — found themselves belonging politically to Germany, just as the German-speaking residents of the same region had once suddenly found themselves in France.

With the passage of a March 1872 law, German became the official language of the region. This wasn’t as rigorous as one might assume, however. Yes, German was generally the official language of business, but in parts of the country with a predominantly French-speaking population, public notices and decrees had to be accompanied by a French translation. The new German administration also adapted to the language barriers in other ways. For example, in 1873 a law was passed that decreed that in areas where German was the vernacular, it would be the exclusive language of instruction in schools. In areas with an overwhelmingly French-speaking population, instruction would be conducted exclusively in French.

Additionally, the French names of locations in the French-speaking areas were retained. Some place names were Germanized in 1871, because it was suspected that an older Germanic form of the same name was behind them. This renaming was reversed when it turned out to be historically untenable.

Nevertheless, a decline in the French was palpable. In 1900, 11.6 percent of the population of the Empire spoke French as a native language. In 1905 that declined to 11 percent, and in 1910 further to 10.9 percent. The largest section of the French-speaking population lived in the Lorraine district. Here, 22.3 percent of the population was native French speakers in 1910. The only area with a majority French-speaking population in the year 1910 was Château-Salins (68.4 percent).

The World Wars

At the end of the World War I, Alsace-Lorraine returned once again to France. The language politics came sharply to a head, and were now strongly directed against the German language and the Alsatian dialect. French became the mandated and exclusive language of both business and school. At times, speaking German was even forbidden under penalty of law.

In 1919, a total of around 200,000 Germans from Alsace and Lorraine were expelled, with only around half able to return in the following months after American pressure on the French government.

The pendulum of restrictive language politics swung once again in the other direction, ever more strongly, during the occupation of Alsace-Lorraine by the National Socialist regime between 1940 and 1944. The Nazi government relocated and persecuted French residents without German roots. The hacking away of personal freedom in the name of Germanization went so far as to require French first names be converted to their German versions.

The ruthless Nazi policies hurt the German-speaking population after the end of World War II. Lingering resentment promoted the region’s return to France and the disintegration of the Standard German language in Alsace. The wish to include German in addition to French as the official language of government and business, present until 1940, hardly existed anymore.

Indeed, the French government’s policy of linguistic assimilation fell on fertile ground. French was seen as stylish, and the German dialects vanish. The majority of the population born after 1970 no longer speaks them at all.

Contemporary Languages In Alsace-Lorraine

Today, Alsace is shaped by bilingualism, with French is the official language of government, commerce and school instruction. The German dialects and Standard German are still spoken, albeit in sharp decline and mostly used by older generations and people in rural areas.

According to a 2001 study, 61 percent of the population of Alsace described themselves as speaking Alsatian. Among young people, only 25 percent answered that they occasionally used the regional language in conversation. Even more dismal for German, only around five percent of incoming schoolchildren had demonstrable skills in the language.

The Future Of German In Alsace-Lorraine

Contrary to what one might assume due to the declining number of speakers, the dialects in Alsace-Lorraine are currently in an interesting phase. They may soon be considered their own language. The Alsace-Lorraine dialects have been decoupled from Standard German. There are tendencies towards their own standardization, and since 2003, there has been an attempt through Orthal (Orthographe alsacienne) to unify and standardize the Alsatian spelling, meaning to create its own written language distinct from Standard German.

Recently, both private initiatives and the government have also been involved in supporting bilingual education in Alsace-Lorraine. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the number of students attending bilingual schools or kindergartens has risen. Who knows what language will dominate in Alsace and Lorraine in 50 years: French, a German dialect or a different language entirely?

The Ile-de-France region has accredited 9 major areas of research and innovation

Multidisciplinary scientific networks, created at the initiative of the Ile-de-France Region, the Major Interest Domains (DIM) aim to federate Ile-de-France research teams around shared themes. Nine new areas of major interest have been approved and will receive funding for the period 2022-2026. Among them is the DIM “Human-centered artificial intelligence in the Paris Region (AI4IDF), led by the INRIA Center in Paris”.

The Ile-de-France region aims to support and promote excellence in education, research and innovation in the region. It intends to increase the scientific influence of Ile-de-France laboratories and their attractiveness to foreign researchers and teacher-researchers and facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology. Thus, in 2018, it launched a plan to become the major artificial intelligence hub in Europe.

The region has created the DIMs to bring research to its territory, on themes deemed to be promising and around which a whole network of universities, higher education institutions, research laboratories and companies is formed. It has supported 13 IMGs between 2017 and 2021, providing them with financial assistance of €110 million.

Ile-de-France, Europe’s leading science and technology region

The DIMs were created to:

  • Build research and innovation networks in Paris Region that focus on emerging topics with very high scientific and economic potential,
  • Strengthen the attractiveness of Paris Region laboratories by providing scientific and technological expertise and state-of-the-art equipment,
  • Improve the visibility of research teams in the Paris region in Europe and internationally,
  • Promote the development of knowledge and the dissemination of research results, including to the general public and young people,
  • Strengthen the links between research and the economy by promoting technology transfer and innovation.

The Major Interest Domains (DIM) with the 2022-2026 label

For the period 2022-2026, 9 new IMGs have been selected by the Regional Scientific Committee following a call for projects to which 33 candidates had responded. They will receive 20 million euros in 2022 and more than 100 million euros at the end of the 5 years.

  • Human-centered artificial intelligence in Île-de-France (AI4IDF) led by the INRIA Center in Paris

The 4 main artificial intelligence institutes (DATAIA, Hi! PARIS, PRAIRIE and SCAI1) propose to create an alliance to structure and animate the community and offer industrial and international partners a unified vision.

Designated as a Convergence Institute under the Plan d’Investissements d’Avenir 3, the DATAIA Institute brings together interdisciplinary research skills in data science, artificial intelligence and society on the Saclay plateau in the Paris region. PRAIRIE is an institute that brings together several public partner institutions: the University of Paris, PSL, the Pasteur Institute and two organizations: CNRS and Inria. It is part of the 4 3IA. Hi! PARIS was launched by HEC Paris and the Institut Polytechnique de Paris (IP Paris). This interdisciplinary research and teaching center is dedicated to AI and Data Science. The Sorbonne Center for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI) is one of the French references in research. The scientific program of the AI4IDF project aims to deepen the knowledge in artificial intelligence by keeping the human at the center of the concerns.

  • BioConvergence (BIOTECH), led by the University of Paris

The BioConvergence network has 2 projects: to develop a digital innovation network and to strengthen the field of biotherapies.

  • Cognition and Brain Revolutions Artificial Intelligence, Neurogenomics and Society (C-BRAINS), led by Inserm

The objective of the C-BRAINS project is to remove the technological, conceptual and organizational barriers that hinder the progress of research to solve the complexity of the brain.

  • One Health 2.0 (DOH 2.0), led by Inserm

The objective of the DIM “One Health 2.0” is to promote innovative work integrating aspects of human health, environmental health and animal health, targeting infectious agents.

  • Immunotherapies, Autoimmunity and Cancer (ITAC), led by Institut Gustave Roussy

The ITAC network wishes to position itself at the interface of 3 fields in life sciences and health: cancer, rare diseases and immunology.

  • MaTerRE (advanced eco-responsible materials), led by the École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la Ville de Paris (ESPCI)

MaTerRE aims to develop tools for the accelerated discovery of advanced materials to support sustainable development in the Paris region.

  • ORIGINES, led by the Observatoire de Paris-PSL

The ORIGINES project is aimed at space and amateur astronomy actors.

  • Patrimoines Matériels (PAMIR), led by the CNRS

PAMIR wishes to build innovative collaborative modes of operation by providing equipment and shared platforms based on innovative concepts.

  • Quantum Technologies in Paris Region (QuanTiP), led by CNRS

In an approach combining applied mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, materials and engineering, the QuanTiP project addresses all the major themes of the field.

Soirée Choucroute au Golfino d’Ispra

Menu choucroute 25 March, 7:30pm

  • Crémant & bretzel
  • Pâté en croute et pâté de campagne
  • Choucroute
  • Fromage d’Alsace
  • Dessert
  • Boissons (vins bières,…) en supplément

20 Euro/person

GOLFINO ISPRA 25 March
(Click to open the location in Google Map)

Limited to a maximum of 40 participants

Tutti i posti sono stati venduti

The pink sandstone cathedral of Strasbourg

Construction

The pink sandstone cathedral of Strasbourg represents both an outstanding artistic achievement and an extraordinary encyclopaedia of mediaeval
architecture. Strasbourg’s development and prosperity under the Holy Roman Empire reached its zenith in 1015 when the city’s Bishop decided to build a vast Romanesque cathedral. After it was destroyed by a fire in 1176, the Cathedral was rebuilt on its original foundations, an endeavour that covered some 3 centuries. Construction started with the choir, with the Western facade completed in the 14th century and the spire in 1439. While the original architectural influences were clearly Romanesque, the Cathedral was caught up in the wave of Gothic architecture sweeping through Europe in the 13th century and the many sculptures adorning facade bear eloquent witness to this movement. Restoration work is now a permanent aspect of the Cathedral.

Values

The Cathedral is a place of worship, a historical monument and also a symbol of Rhine culture. A symbol of Christian faith, the Cathedral became famous throughout Europe right from the end of the Middle Ages. Although Gothic architecture fell out of favour over several centuries, it became popular again in the late 18th century and the Cathedral was fulsomely praised by both Goethe and Hugo. The Cathedral was listed as a historical
monument in 1862. The city of Strasbourg has long been based on twin cultures and the Cathedral is a reflection of the turbulent history of its region. Nowadays, with Strasbourg as a European capital, the Cathedral has become one of the symbols of Europe. Strasbourg’s centre has been listed as a UNESCO world Heritage site since 1988. As a unique artistic achievement and a symbol of Gothic art, the Cathedral is central to the city’s extraordinary heritage.

THE WESTERN FACADE

The Western facade is an outstanding technical and artistic achievement and is a masterpiece of Gothic art.

The Western facade (1277-1384)
Construction of the Western facade began in 1277, under the supervision of German architect Erwin von Steinbach. The facade comprises 3 vertical
divisions, separated by buttresses and featuring an external decor covering the load-bearing walls. A magnificent rose window dominates the main door.

The tower (1399-1419)
The octagonal tower was built between 1399 and 1419 and is the work of Ulrich von Ensingen. Each of the faces is open and crowned by a curved décor. The tower is flanked by 4 sets of spiral staircases.

The spire (1419-1439)
The work of Jean Hültz of Cologne and completed in 1439, the spire sits atop the tower. It comprises a pyramid of pinnacles over 8 levels, crowned by
a lantern and a cross. Soaring up 142 m, the spire is an outstanding technical achievement which remained the world’s tallest building until the late 19th century.

THE NAVE

The massive nave is 63 m long, 32m wide and 32m high.

The nave (1240-1275)
The nave comprises 3 long aisles and impresses with its verticality and elegance. With vaulted intersecting ribs, the nave is sustained by arched
buttresses. It is a triumph of the Gothic style and drew inspiration from other French cathedrals which had just been completed. Its elevation comprises three levels: large arcades with fasciculated columns, an open triforium and high windows each containing 4 lancets under rose windows. The nave also features magnificent stained glass windows from the 12th to 14th centuries.

The great organs
The polychrome organ case is perched in the north part of the nave. The lower part, the pendentive, was built in 1385, by Michael of Fribourg. The flamboyant upper part was designed by Friedrich Krebs in 1489. A number of significant changes have been made to the organ over the centuries by organ builders, including Andreas Silbermann in 1716. The current organ is the work of Alfred Kern (1981).

“Petite France” a district of Strasbourg sometimes compared to a little Venice

The district is spread across an amazing river delta, formed by the five arms of the river. Seen from the sky, they look uncannily like the fingers of a hand trying to grab the whole city. Both peaceful and impetuous, the River Ill irrigates the whole district with its charm. Take a leisurely stroll along its quays and admire the reflection of the colourful facades of the old houses.

The charming Place Benjamin Zix Square

This is where you can sit back and simply appreciate the beauty of the place. In the shade of the plane trees on this square, which is very lively in summertime, you’ll get wonderful views of the river and of an exceptional set of half-timbered houses. The Maison des Tanneurs (House of Tanners), generously laden with geraniums from spring to autumn, is the crown jewel of the site. Take a moment to enjoy it by having a drink or eating lunch on the terrace of La Corde à Linge!

The white street: Rue du Bain-aux-Plantes

From Place Benjamin Zix Square, you can reach Rue du Bain-aux-Plantes, which features a set of remarkably homogeneous half-timbered houses. They are so mesmerizing that you won’t be able to look away. In this former tanners’ street, each house is absolutely white, highlighting differing shapes and sizes of half- timbering and an additional roof, largely open, which was designed for drying animal skins. The street, with its old-fashioned paving stones, takes you on a journey into the past.

Bridges

At the end of Rue du Bain-aux-Plantes, you’ll discover the Pont du Faisan, a bridge also known locally as the “Pont Tournant” (the swivelling bridge). Small and discreet, this footbridge imposes its will on all passers-by. Indeed, you might have to wait to cross it, because it has pivoted to let a tour boat go by. An unparalleled attraction.

Saint-Martin Bridge, a stone bridge with two arches and a single column, is very close by. From there, don’t miss the view of the mills, dams and locks, as well as of a picturesque little waterside terrace.

These two bridges offer postcard-perfect views full of charm, so you can bring marvellous souvenir photos home with you.

Eternal Covered Bridges

This is where the Ill River breaks up. The place is exceptional; one of the most renowned sites in Strasbourg. The bridge and its three high, austere, massive guard towers, vestiges of the medieval wall, are truly awe-inspiring! From one end to the other, you’ll discover the five arms of the Ill River, encircling little plots of land, while the Strasbourg Cathedral, a bit further off, stands guard over this sublime place.

The protective Vauban Dam

Alongside the Covered Bridges, the Vauban Dam, built during the reign of Louis XIV by the prolific Maréchal, reinforces the defensive curtain wall of the city, which was completely walled in at the time. The dam has thirteen arches. When the dam was completely sealed, the Ill River couldn’t flow in its bed, thereby flooding all of the land south of Strasbourg. The enemy armies would get bogged down. A panoramic terrace offers a wonderful view of the Covered Bridges, the Petite France and the Cathedral on one side, and of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Hôtel du département (county government office) on the other.

Hauts-de-France has two regional languages: Picard (often called “Chti”) and West Flemish

Picard (often called “Chti”) language

A Belgo-Romance language, Picard stood out from the 5th century in the dialects of northern France: it was the time when the Picard “cat” or “cot” began to differentiate itself from the French “chat” . At the end of the 9th century, the Cantilène de Sainte Eulalie, one of the very first texts written in the vernacular (kept in the library of Valenciennes), included forms identifiable as Picardy: “cose” for “chose”, “diaule for “diable”.
Picard became a great literary language (scripta) between the 13th and 15th centuries, with authors such as Adam de la Halle and Jean Bodel (Arras), Froissart (Valenciennes), Robert de Clari (Cléry-sur-Somme near Péronne ), or even the anonymous chantefable Aucassin et Nicolette. It was also, in the big cities of the North, the language of administration and social regulation.

Picard is a language close to French, but it is neither a patois nor a dialect of French: sociolinguists speak of a “collateral language“. It has original phonetics, grammar and vocabulary, which can be learned for example in the French-Picard Dictionary published by the Regional Agency of the Picardy Language.

Picard is traditionally spoken in a large part of Hauts-de-France, including in the northern slopes where it is often called “Chti” or “Chtimi” (nickname given during the 1st World War to the Poilus du Nord, in reference to the Picard words “chti” [the one], “ti” and “mi” [you, me] which punctuated their conversations). It is also the regional language of Western Hainaut in Belgium. According to an INSEE survey in 1999, between 10% and 27% of the adult population of Nord, Pas-de-Calais and Somme spoke or understood Picard.

map of regional languages spoken in Hauts-de-France region

Picardy literature

From the prestigious medieval literature already mentioned, succeeded from the 17th century new literary modes such as the song or the pasquille. François Cottignies dit Brûle-Maison (1678-1742) from Lille is a precursor to a line of singers.

An abundant literature in the Picardy language developed in the 19th and 20th centuries. From the years 1840-1850 appeared political writings: the revolutionary Pierre-Louis Pinguet (Gosseu), in St-Quentin, the Bonapartist Clément Paillart in Abbeville (creator of the hero Jacques Croédur), Hector Crinon in Vermandois, Henri Carion (known as Jérôme Pleum’coq) in Cambrai. Then comes the time of singers and poets: Emmanuel Bourgeois in Vers-sur-Selle, the Lille resident Alexandre Desrousseaux (author of the famous P’tit Quinquin), Jules Watteuw (known as Le Broutteux) in Tourcoing. Over the course of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, authors multiplied, as did literary genres. The best known name for Picardy is that of Édouard David, sensitive poet of the small Amiens people (Chés lazards, Chés hortillonages…). In the North, a phenomenon unique in France, miners take up the pen in Picardy: Jules Mousseron, from Denain, the author of the famous stories of Cafougnette, is the best known. In Lille, Simons remains a prominent figure with his plays which earned him the nickname “Pagnol du Nord.”

From the 1960s, Picard took the turn of modernity: Pierre Garnier (from Saisseval) was an eminent representative of “spatialist poetry” with which he combined Picard, while in Belgium the great poet Géo Libbrecht, at the autumn of his life, returns to the Tournaisian Picard of his youth to create a sensitive work. At Berck, Ivar Ch’Vavar is a key figure in contemporary poetry in Picard and French.

At the start of the 21st century, the number of authors who continue to write in Picard is surprising. The Literature Prize organized by the “Agence Régionale de la Langue Picarde” receives dozens of quality texts each year. Major national publishers have undertaken to have popular works of French literature translated into Picard, in particular comic strips: Asterix, Tintin, Little Nicolas and the Little Prince have thus begun to speak Picard.

The Picardy Regional Language Agency

Since 2009, the Regional Agency for the Picardy Language has supported the Region in promoting the Picardy language. It works to improve the image of this language in all sectors, and to develop the presence of Picard in schools and extracurriculars. It accompanies the actors in their productions and their creations, distributes written, sound and audiovisual funds, provides training in Picard, supports the organization of unifying events in Picard such as the Festival ed ches Wèpes.

West Flemish language


West Flemish is spoken in France in most of the arrondissement of Dunkerque, in the Belgian province of West Flanders and in part of the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands. The total number of speakers is estimated by Unesco at 1.5 million, including a few tens of thousands to varying degrees in France.

It comes directly from West Germanic. It is the result of the fusion of two currents, one Lower Franconian from the northeast and the other from the west attributed by linguists to the establishment of Saxons settled on the coast, in particular in the Boulonnais . Another theory, based on archaeological discoveries, evokes the hypothesis of a lingua franca born of economic exchanges between the two shores of the North Sea. This second influence explains the elements that West Flemish shares with English. From the Middle Ages and because of the geographical proximity, Picard lexical and phonological elements were incorporated. West Flemish has also undergone its own evolutions, particularly in France.

In its written form, the greatest authors lived mainly in Bruges during its great period of economic prosperity. We can cite Jacob van Maerlandt in the 13th century, Cornelis Everaert, Edward De Dene or Robert Lawet in the 16th century. From the end of the 16th century, the economic center moved from Bruges to Antwerp, which caused changes in the written language. The Flemish characteristics are rejected and the written language takes on a Brabant character. Then, after the fall of Antwerp in 1585, the economic and cultural center shifted again to the major cities of southern Holland. Significant changes then occurred in writing, which reflected the language of the Dutch elites. In the course of these developments, the written language has become increasingly distant from spoken West Flemish. The author who aspired to notoriety had to write in the written form in vogue at his time. The chambers of rhetoric will be centers for the dissemination of these different varieties of written language to the elites.

It will be necessary to wait until the 19th century to see literary texts in West Flemish again, in France at Petilion and in Belgium at Omer K. De Laey or at Guido Gezelle with a very particular form of written language mixing contemporary elements and others fallen into disuse in an attempt at purist research. Outside the literary context, the man in the street who was able to write a hybrid language mixing the regional language and written forms in use at his time.

From the 18th century, we see the beginning of a questioning of the written norm. For example, in 1791, Bouchette, a native of Winnezeele and Jacobin deputy for Bergues, criticized the distance between the language of an official text probably written by a rhetorician from Bergu and the language spoken by “the country people”, that is to say the West Flemish: “His first attempt is good, and much better than the Flemish of your municipal ordinance: it is detestable, and made to make fun of your country people. Why not write his mother tongue as the people speak it? “. Also during the French Revolution, in order to reach a more popular audience, propaganda texts were imbued with West Flemish.
Nowadays, books are regularly published in West Flemish or about this language in France and Belgium. Linguists publish many scientific articles about it. The song in West Flemish had a new start from the 80s of the last century and recently it is enjoying renewed popularity in Belgium.

French expressions March 2022

FRENCH EXPRESSIONS RELATED TO THE HEART

Avoir du cœur au ventre (literally ‘to have a heart in your stomach’)

This expression means to be brave. It dates back to at least the 15th century, when it was employed by prominent count and soldier Jean de Bueil.
It is said that in the Middle Ages, ‘ventre’ referred to not only the belly but also the torso and chest. The chest later became known as le petit ventre (‘the little belly’).
The heart, having symbolised qualities such as sensitivity and courage since Greek times, is in its rightful place in this expression, fulfilling the role it is known for – giving courage. 

Faire le joli coeur (literally ‘to behave like the pretty heart’)

This expression, which was coined in the mid-19th century, means to behave like a seducer.
The heart, being the central organ of circulation, has been long used metaphorically to symbolise love or affection.
The adjective joli is used ironically here, as the expression implies a level of cunning or disingenuity.

Haut les cœurs! (Literally ‘hearts up!’)

This expression is an encouragement to launch oneself into action with enthusiasm, coined in the Middle Ages.
When raised high, the heart – symbolising courage and energy among other virtues – meant overcoming anything that could be holding one back, such as fear, obstacles, and fatigue.
The expression is a translation of the Latin sursum corda, a versicle (sentence sung in church service aiming to incite a response) used in mass to encourage attendees to take part in enthusiastic worship.

FRENCH EXPRESSIONS INSPIRED BY WINE

Verser un pot-de-vin (literally ‘to pour a pot of wine’)

This expression means to bribe.
In the 16th century, to ‘pour a pot of wine’ simply meant to leave a tip – to thank somebody for their services, often in the form of a drink or a small sum of money to buy wine.
However, over the centuries the expression took on a negative meaning and now refers to offering somebody goods or money in order to gain some kind of advantage from them.

Boire le calice jusqu’à la lie (literally ‘to drink the chalice down to the dregs’)

This expression means to endure something painful until the end. This can be a test, an experience, a humiliation.

The saying was coined around the 17th century. Here, the reference is to the cup of wine drank by a priest during mass. In christianity, the chalice represents the wrath of God. To drink its wine to the dregs – the deposits left at the bottom – is therefore to endure something torturously painful until the very end.

(être un) Sac à vin (literally ‘to be a bag of wine’)

To be a sac à vin is to be a drunkard.

It is said that this expression was coined in the 15th century when it was used by women as a nickname for their drunken husbands. At the time, wine was stored in leather bags but the sac could also refer to the belly, which is known to grow with the consumption of alcohol.

FRENCH “RED” EXPRESSIONS

‘Être dans le rouge’ (literally ‘to be in the red’) means to be in a delicate financial situation. It is particularly used when a bank account is in minus figures, as it is in English.

Être marqué au fer rouge (literally ‘to be branded with a red iron’):

This means to be traumatised.
During the Roman times, criminals were branded on the forehead with a red-hot iron, in part to remind them of their crimes and in part to warn the rest of the population.
While this punishment was eventually abolished, branding was still used on animals, especially cattle and sheep, in order to be able to differentiate them.
A red (hot) iron is therefore associated with suffering, and is used, in this expression, to symbolise trauma.

Tirer à boulets rouges (literally ‘to shoot red balls’)

The phrase means to verbally attack or insult somebody.

It is said to date back to King Frederick William I of Prussia in the 18th century, who wanted to make his cannonballs more destructive. As a result, he decided to heat them in a cannonball oven before launching them at the enemy.
In addition to the destruction caused by the collision, the heated cannonballs also started fires.

The expression was first used literally, but later took on a figurative sense of attacking verbally, which it has maintained to this day.

Le rouge est mis (literally ‘the red is placed’)

This expression means that a decision is final. It has been used since at least the beginning of the 20th century.

One theory is that it comes from the world of racing, where a red disk would be placed on the scoreboard to show that the results were final.
Another theory is that the term relates to television sets, where a red light indicates that no interruption is possible.

FRENCH EXPRESSIONS RELATED TO FIRE

Mettre sa main au feu (literally ‘to put your hand in the fire’)

This expression means to be sure of something.
It originated in the Middle Ages when people accused of crimes were subjected to ‘trials by ordeal’ – painful ‘tests’ in which the results were thought to be the ‘judgement of God’ and therefore a sure way to determine a person’s guilt or innocence.

One such ordeal was trial by fire in which an accused would have to put his or her hand in fire or seize a red-hot iron. If the hand healed quickly, it would mean that the accused had told the truth.
Now, when somebody is very sure that what they are saying is correct, they say that they would put their hand into fire to prove it, certain that if this were the trial by fire, theirs would heal quickly.

Mettre le feu aux poudres (literally ‘to put fire into the powder’)

This expression means to trigger a violent reaction or aggravate a situation. An English equivalent might be ‘to add fuel to the fire’.

It derives from an older expression coined by the navy in the 16th century – mettre le feu aux étoupes. It translated to ‘to set fire to oakum’, which was used to make fuses for weapons, and meant to arouse anger.

In the 18th century, the oakum was replaced by (gun)powder in the expression.

The image is therefore of lighting the fuse of a powder keg and watching it ‘get angry’ and explode.

It is said that in the 18th century, the phrase also took on an erotic connotation but it has mostly lost that aspect, and is nowadays used mainly used to illustrate the act of provoking someone to get angry.

Tirer les marrons du feu (literally ‘to pull chestnuts out of the fire’)

This expression means to profit from or reap the benefits of something at someone else’s expense.

It was popularised in writer Jean de La Fontaine’s fable Le Singe et le Chat (The Monkey and the Cat), published in the second half of the 17th century.  In the fable, the monkey convinces the cat to take roasting chestnuts out of a fire, with the cat hurting his paw but the monkey himself remaining unharmed in the process.

The original expression was tirer les marrons du feu avec la patte du chat (‘to pull chestnuts out of the fire using the cat’s paw’), accusing the subject of the expression of a level of opportunism.

Although the expression was abbreviated to simply ‘pull chestnuts out of the fire’, it still often implies benefiting from something at somebody else’s expense.

Jérémie Villet, the “rising star” of wildlife photography

Jérémie Villet , a wildlife photographer is nothing you have seen before; he spends up to one quarter of the year sleeping outdoors and taking pictures. Jérémie Villet is 26 years old; he grew up on a farm in the countryside near Paris, France, and his childhood dream had been to climb mountains and see a wild Alpine ibex. Each year, he went with his family skiing in the French Alps. His first-ever recognized photograph was taken in 2013 when he went to the Alps specifically to look for ibex. He set off on the four-hour climb in good time to catch the sunset, but a thick fog meant it took him several more hours to reach the summit. ‘When I emerged from the clouds,’ says Jérémie, ‘it was like entering a new world.’ But the real surprise was to see below him a male ibex. ‘It was more than I’d hoped for’, says Jérémie. ‘Just me and the ibex and the beauty of the Alpine scene.’

Jérémie believes that somewhere on Earth, what we imagine becomes real. He left his studies to travel alone by ski and sled. Over these long, solitary expeditions in remote places, Jérémie uses the pure snow as a painter uses a white canvas. All his white photos are published in an art book titled Neige, and his work is featured in art galleries around the world.

Why this passion for the white landscapes? 

Well, snow somehow works as a filter, as an anchor in reality. Because I never touch-up my photographs, it’s not out of proud or being posh or something, but I prefer to work on my settings beforehand and simply enjoy the overwhelming satisfaction of a good shot; but let’s be real it makes my job much harder. And when you are into wildlife photography, you feel lots of things, alone in the wilderness, you hear things, you see things and when you finally take that instant shot, obviously you are not able to convey all of these feelings. When I am in nature, I feel this sensation of greatness, of purity, aestheticism, graphism. Surrounded by snow, it’s like I am in a dream. It sorts of echoes my childhood dream of sleeping in the forest … 

Jérémie Villet

On the 15th of October 2019, French wildlife photographer Jérémie Villet (see some photos by clicking on its name) won the Rising Star Portfolio Award (Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition)

On ARTE TV the film “Yukon, un rêve blanc

Veloscenic cycle route, 450 km from Paris to Mont Saint-Michel

The Veloscenic is a well-signposted route from Paris via Chartres and Normandy, to the Mont St-Michel. This exceptional trail crosses such gorgeous areas as the Chevreuse Valley, the Perche, French Maine and the Bocage Normand. The route is accessible to different levels of cyclist. Long stretches are along greenways, linked by quiet roads.

the cycle route (click to see detailed routes)

Did you know: world’s first ‘automobile’ was French

The first motorised land vehicle and ancestor of the modern car was invented in France and had its first outing in 1770

The vehicle was driven by steam and created by an army engineer, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, who was born in 1725 and died in 1804.

There had already been research into the use of steam for driving machinery, but up until then it had only been used for stationary devices.

Cugnot’s vehicle was designed to transport canons or other military equipment and it was called a fardier à vapeur as a fardier was the name given to massive two-wheeled horse-drawn carts used for transporting very heavy equipment.

The fardier à vapeur was made up of three parts:

  • a wooden chassis with three wheels;
  • a two-cylinder motor over the front wheel; and
  • a huge boiler at the front of the contraption.

He first made a small-scale model in 1769 with promising results. The second full-scale vehicle, was completed in 1770. It was designed to move forward on its own, with no animal traction – unheard of at the time – at a speed of 4km/h. It could also go backwards and could carry five tonnes.

In November 1770, it was tested out at Vanves in Paris and though it did move forward a few metres, its progress came abruptly to an end, because it ran into a wall. This was perhaps another of its claims to fame: the first car accident.

The fardier à vapeur was extremely cumbersome, difficult to manoeuvre and had no satisfactory brakes. Also it literally, very quickly, ran out of steam.

Up until then Mr Cugnot had been backed by Louis XV’s War Minister, Duc de Choiseul. But the Minister fell into disgrace and was dismissed, which also meant Cugnot had to abandon his project.

His wagon remained stationary, in the ancient military depot, the Arsenal de Paris, for over thirty years before it was taken into safekeeping by the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in 1802, where it is still on show to the public at their museum in the 3rd arrondissement in Paris.

In 2004, at the bi-centennial anniversary of the death of Cugnot at the town of his birthplace of Void-Vacon, Meuse, the mayor, André Jannot suggested to a local engineer that he organise the construction of a modern replica.

In 2007, the Ecole des Arts et Métiers-Paristech put its students to work on the project, which took three years to complete. In September 2010 it took to the road… and it worked, proving it was a viable prototype. Since then the association which looks after it, Le Fardier de Cugnot, often takes it out for demonstrations and you can see it in action online here

The original manuscript of “Le petit Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, exhibited for the first time in France in 2022

From the 17th February until 26 June 2022, the Museum of Decorative Arts (MAD) will host an unprecedented exhibition on The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The original manuscript, kept in New York, will cross the Atlantic for this sole occasion, thus following in the footsteps of its illustrious author.

Notice to those whose childhood – if not their whole life – was rocked by this philosophical tale born from the imagination of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, one of the most beautiful pen of the French language of the 20th century and beyond. An unprecedented exhibition around the Little Prince is about to settle in Paris, presenting for the first time in France the original manuscript illustrated by Saint-Exupéry. Written in New York in 1943 during his exile in the United States, The Little Prince was published posthumously in 1946, the writer having disappeared at sea in July 1944, while on a reconnaissance mission off Marseille in aboard his Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Saint-Exupéry was a great aviator, and his literary work was largely nourished by his adventures and aerial thoughts, giving birth to masterpieces such as Night Flight (1929), Courrier Sud (1931) or Terre of Men (1939). When it was published, The Little Prince became an international success. It is now translated into more than 400 languages, making it the most translated book of all time… after the Bible.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Première édition du Petit Prince, 1943
Reynal & Hitchcock, New York (en français)
© Fondation JMP pour LPP

The MAD exhibition will thus devote an entire room to the manuscript of The Little Prince, exceptionally on loan from the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. When Saint-Exupéry left to fight in North Africa in the spring of 1943, he entrusted his manuscript and his watercolors to his friend Silvia Hamilton, who sold the whole to the New York institution in 1968. Around the famous manuscript, the exhibition will present a series of sketches, preparatory drawings, photographs, poems and deploys a library of 120 foreign editions of The Little Prince, testifying to its unstoppable universality. But above all, it will be an opportunity to retrace the immense career of Saint-Exupéry through more than 600 pieces illustrating all the facets of his work. From his childhood to his adventures as a pilot for Aéropostale and his great reports, passing through his passion for drawing, the exhibition will finally endeavor to detect in the life and exploits of Saint-Exupéry the premises of the Little Prince. , whose humanist message irrigates all the writings.

Acquire a ticket

The nicest bank of Paris

Head to Boulevard Haussmann to discover one of the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in Paris. A place of dazzling beauty and no less surprising, since it is a bank, many of whose elements are now listed in the inventory of Historic Monuments.

Bank and palace at the same time

At the beginning of the 20th century, Société Générale decided that it needed a new headquarters. Too cramped in its premises on rue de Provence, the bank is very interested in a space located behind the Opera, in the middle of boulevard Haussmann. Despite competition from Galeries Lafayette, she managed to formalize the acquisition in 1906. All that remained was to find an architect to rework the premises. A teacher at the Beaux-Arts, Jacques Hermant was chosen to turn these buildings into a sumptuous banking establishment. The work lasted six years and in 1912, the new headquarters were finally inaugurated in the presence of Baron Hély d’Oissel, president of Société Générale.

The result exceeds all expectations. Inside and outside the building, the decorations are not lacking. On the third floor, you can stop in front of six Corinthian-style statues, installed in 1919, which illustrate the different activities of commerce and industry. You must then raise your eyes to the sky to admire the imposing vaults decorated with sculpted mascarons.

A remnant of the Belle Époque

The Large circular counter

Open on four levels, the large central hall offers a luxurious setting and a fairly innovative layout for the time. In its center, one of the main attractions is the large circular counter, nicknamed the “cheese”. An imposing element coupled with a system developed for the time since the offices were equipped with a compressed air tube, by which the tellers sent the money freshly deposited by the customers.

The other centerpiece of the hall is the splendid cupola which overlooks it. Raised to 23 meters high, it is suspended by a metal structure. The glass and the metal are united in a harmonious way and one can thus enjoy a closed space provided with a beautiful natural light. The interior decoration undeniably contributes to the charm of the place. We stop in front of the various coats of arms recalling the presence of Société Générale in Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux. Bronze medallions crown their base and symbolize the activity of the bank throughout France. Impossible not to also stop in front of the mosaic pavement, which we owe to the ceramists Alphonse Gentil and François-Eugène Bourdet.

The real treasure of the vaults

Le coffre-fort

Next, let’s move on to any bank’s favorite place, the Vault Room…or rather Vault Rooms. These are in fact arranged on four levels, the lowest of which is 11 meters underground. To access it, you have to go through an impressive circular door made of steel, gold and silver. Designed by the Fichet house, the door has had quite a journey to get there… Built in the forges of Le Creusot and transported by rail to the Villette station, the door had to be dragged as far as Boulevard Haussmann on a team of nine horses. No wonder when you know that it weighs 18 tons on its own and that its shielding is 40 centimeters thick… Passing this imposing door, you can access the rooms and their 399 cabinets and 22 vaults. As for the elevator and the staircase of the strong room, they are the work of Roux Combaluzier, a pioneer in the work of steel. We owe him in particular two lifts of the Eiffel Tower.

A whole lot of work to keep the craziest sums safe… It is said, for example, that the wealthiest in the country can pay up to 20,000 euros a year to afford a vault in the basements of the Agency. In the past, Parisiennes went there day and night to collect their jewelry before going to the Opéra Garnier.

Whether you are a customer or not, it is always possible to access the reception of the Central Agency, but to find out more, only the Heritage Days allow you to visit the places and learn a little more.


Video in French

In the middle of nowhere, in the heart of the Alsatian countryside…the Royal Palace

Located in Kirrwiller in the Alsatian countryside, but not too far from Strasbourg, the Royal Palace has earned a reputation as one of the greatest Music Halls in France.
Each year, it attracts thousands of people who come to enjoy a show worthy of the very best Parisian revues. But how did a village restaurant, which had perpetuated the tradition of country dances since 1948, manage to become the go-to place for thousands of tourists from all over Europe?

In 1980, Pierre Meyer decided to set up a modest stage in the main room of the family restaurant, which he had just taken over with his wife, Cathy. At first, he put on shows with seven acts recruited in Paris just once a month. This soon became every weekend. In 1989, he invested the equivalent of 1.5 million euro in the construction of a 200 m² stage equipped with a hydraulic lift. At the same time, he began to devise his own revues rather than buying in ready-made shows… and his success was immediate: The Music Hall attracted 600 guests a day!

In 1996, the building was given a full makeover. A new 800 m² complex, renamed the Royal Palace, came into being, including a 987-seat auditorium in which he could mount the most ambitious of productions. The stage was two times bigger than before, with an opening of 25 metres by 20 metres in height!

Next came the inauguration of the two restaurants: «The Majestic», and «The Versailles», offering  “lunch- and dinner-dances with a live band, for a richer cabaret atmosphere experience.

In 2015, after a year of major extension work, the Royal Palace inaugurated the LOUNGE CLUB to celebrate its 35th birthday. This unusual 2,200 m² modern space on two levels can accommodate up to 1,000 guests for all kinds of entertainments in a lounge bar mood.

Today, the Royal Palace employs around 100 people, 34 of them artists, and welcomes nearly 200,000 guests a year! Its cabarets and dinner shows continue to enchant every generation, making the venue a veritable yardstick in French Music Hall.

The Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte will astonish you

Nicolas Fouquet’s history

In 1641, the 26-year old parliamentarian, Nicolas Fouquet, purchased the manor of Vaux-le-Vicomte and its small castle.  Twenty years later, in 1661, Fouquet had transformed the estate into a masterpiece whose château and gardens still feature among the most beautiful in France.

For the first time in history, this visionary man brought together Louis Le Vau, Charles Le Brun, and André Le Notre, to execute jointly the entire project.  The result of this fraternal union was a work of unparalleled harmony and beauty . Victim of a plot by jealous courtiers, Fouquet was arrested on the King Louis XIV’s orders and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1661.  Vaux-le-Vicomte was closed down, and its treasures seized – tapestries, furniture, paintings, books and rugs… even the orange trees were removed by the King.  It took Madame Fouquet ten years to recover the estate, to which she later retired with her eldest son.  Following his death, she sold the Vaux-le-Vicomte in 1705. 

Following Nicolas Fouquet: three successive families

Marshal de Villars, a famous military commander, acquired the property sight unseen and enjoyed it for a few years before it was sold by his son in 1764 to the Duc de Praslin.  His descendants kept the estate for over a century before putting it up for auction in 1875.  Over the past 50 years, the abandoned château had lain empty and neglected, its once magnificent garden but a distant memory.
But Alfred Sommier, who had built his fortune in sugar refining, enthusiastically took over the enormous task of returning the estate to its original splendour.  His children continued the project and today, his direct descendants, Patrice and Cristina de Vogüé, supported by their three sons, Jean-Charles, Alexandre and Ascanio, carry on a stewardship that began 140 years ago.

Molière (1622-1673), the court satirist

The French playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known as Molière, settled in Paris in 1659 after leading a troupe of itinerant actors throughout France.  A protégé of the royal family, he regularly held public performances which have become classics: Les Précieuses Ridicules (1659) and L’Ecole des Femmes (1662).  In 1661, he performed L’Ecole des Maris at Vaux-le-Vicomte and wrote a comedy-ballet, Le Fâcheux, specially for the King’s soirée on August 17, 1661.

La recyclerie aims to raise public awareness of eco-responsible values

THE PROJECT

La REcyclerie is reinventing the concept of a “third place”: neither home nor work. Established for 5 years in Paris in a former station in the inner city of the ring, the REcyclerie is a place of meetings, exchanges and sharing, dedicated to the protection of the environment. Together, citizens, businesses, associations and communities are building a fairer and more sustainable world.

Located in a former railway station rehabilitated into a living space, the REcyclerie aims to raise public awareness of eco-responsible values, in a fun and positive way.


• THE 3 R = REDUCE – REUSE – RECYCLE •


Collaborative initiatives and “do it yourself” are values that guide the place in its conception, its programming and catering offer.

The urban Farm

Refuge of biodiversity in the dense district of Porte de Clignancourt
the Urban Farm of the REcyclerie introduces nature over nearly 1000 m2 favoring thus the development of ecological corridors.
The Farm is made up of several complementary and interdependent spaces

  • An edible forest,
  • Two composting systems,
  • An interior plant jungle,
  • A melliferous meadow on the roof accommodating 4 beehives,
  • A henhouse including a farmyard of 12 hens and 2 Indian runner ducks,
  • A 400m2 collective vegetable garden with 150m2 of educational agricultural facilities in the groun

The Workshop of René

What is that ?
Fighting against planned obsolescence: repair rather than buy back
Sharing skills and tools: give ourselves the means to do this by learning and borrowing equipment
Creating new things with materials we thought unusable

The REcyclerie de Paris in figures

  • 365 days of operation and 200,000 visitors per year; 500 members and 100 volunteers;
  • an urban farm which produces, on 1,000 m2: 450 kg of fruit and vegetables, 4,000 eggs laid by 16 hens, and 170 varieties of plants, using 1 vermicomposter and 5 compost bins. 300 training sessions in vegetable garden techniques were organized;
  • a repair workshop, with 3,000 restored household appliances, 1,500 borrowed tools, 500 shared objects, and 130 Do It Yourself initiations offered;
  • a responsible canteen café: with a menu of homemade products, 68,000 vegetarian dishes served, 50,000 liters of drink, 8 tonnes of recycled coffee and tea grounds, and a waste sorting center;
  • an eco-cultural program: 4,000 events, 1,000 speakers, 80,000 visitors and a library of 400 freely accessible books;
  • an eco-awareness initiative: 18,000 podcasts downloaded, video tutorials (on zero waste, biodiversity, responsible food), and 2 guides on responsible food and zero waste, published in partnership with the editions Larousse ;
  • a web community: 50,000 subscribers on Instagram, 100,000 on Facebook, and 5 million views of videos.

The cathedral building in Parisian streets

The rue Réaumur is among the Parisian streets the one that offers the most surprising, even grandiloquent facades which do not leave indifferent because of their diversity and their originality. In 1897, on the occasion of the construction of this street, a competition was organized. He is the source of the exceptional result which continues to impress us to this day.

Among the most beautiful buildings on the street, if not the most beautiful, the monumental building at 61-63 rue Réaumur which catches the eye, at the crossroads of rue Saint-Denis, is the work of 2 architects G. Singery, Philippe Jouannin and Jacquier sculptors very popular in Caen. They initiated the construction in 1898, choosing the subject of time.
Art Nouveau, neo-Gothic art intermingle giving birth to sculptures through floral motifs, magnificent mosaics and an entrance worthy of a church portal surmounted by a rose window housing a clock on which appear the signs of the zodiac .


Nothing is missing to create the illusion of a religious building representing time (in fact the 12 months of the year are represented, the 4 seasons in the form of faces and again the signs of the zodiac, this time evoked by animals ). Given the diversity of the decoration, there is no lack of technical terms to characterise the facade, “twin windows, double lancets, gables, columns, consoles, ribs, stained glass …”.

Library of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA)

The Library of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA) is a relatively recent creation (2003). Housed in France’s Bibliothèque Nationale premises on rue Vivienne in Paris, together with the study and research department constitutes one of the pillars of an institution that is still young in terms of French academic research; its mission is to “carry out scientific activity and contribute to international scientific cooperation in the area of the history of art and culture”.
The library has more than 1.8 million documents and receives more than 35,000 visits and 139,000 communications annually.
in 2014 It moved to the historic reading room of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, “The salle Labrouste”, thereby realising the dream of a great library of art, completing –or beginning –a decades-long adventure.

As an on-site and progressively off-site resource centre, the INHA has been managing the collections of the Library of Art and Archaeology, created by the great dressmaker, collector and patron Jacques Doucet (1853-1929), since 2003. Today the collections have been considerably enriched and are accessible in the Oval Reading Room (salle Ovale) of the Richelieu quadrangle, close to the specialist departments of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

These collections have been completed by those of the Bibliothèque centrale des musées nationaux and a selection of the print collections from the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. This collection was opened at the end of 2015 in the Labrouste reading room and its surrounding reserves, at the heart of the renovated Richelieu quadrangle.
This exceptional grouping, which will constitute one of the largest art libraries in the world, will hold more than 1 800 000 documents, of which 230 000 open-access books, and welcome up to 411 readers.
This resource  is enriched by the proximity of the library of the École Nationale des Chartes (160 000 documents) and the specialist collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, which will remain on site.

Permanent and safe opportunities for bathing in the urban river for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris

CHALLENGES AND OBJECTIVES

The challenge in Paris is to provide permanent and safe opportunities for bathing in the urban river for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Thus, the objectives for Paris are to

  • improve bathing water quality in the River Seine for the 2024 Olympic Games,
  • enhance management of the sewer network in the framework of “SIAAP 2030” strategic.

To do so, it will use innovative sensors for bacterial measurements in the river and machine learning to forecast the contamination risk at official bathing places.

ACTIVITIES

digital-water.city is developing in Paris the following digital solutions:

  • an early warning system based on a forecast of bathing water quality
  • an innovative technology for real-time in-situ bacterial monitoring
  • mobile application to inform key stakeholders and citizens

This early warning system is an open source software interface that enables real-time bathing water quality assessment. Based on machine learning and/or statistical modelling, it predicts bacterial concentration in specific river sections using a set of local data such as rainfall, river flow, temperature and water quality.

The system will help to (1) manage bathing authorisations in urban bathing sites, (2) monitor the efficiency of the sanitation policy and (3) improve the real-time management of the sewer network and urban bathing sites.

CHALLENGES

There is an increasing social demand from citizens to reduce environmental impacts in urban rivers and to benefit from urban bathing areas. Several cities like Berlin have achieved excellent water quality levels for their urban rivers and propose swimming areas at the heart of the city.

A major challenge regarding bathing water management, however, is that concentrations of fecal bacteria may show spatial and temporal variability. In urban rivers, discharges from combined sewer overflow (CSO) and stormwater may contain high amounts of fecal bacteria and contaminate bathing water quality.

In many cases, even with sufficient water quality, bathing can be forbidden as current monitoring protocols are not sufficient to protect human health. Even modern rapid monitoring approaches still need up to 12-14 hours before results are available, and traditional grab sampling does not allow tracking of pollution variability since events may occur between sampling intervals or cannot be collected for logistical reasons (e.g. if events happen at night or during weekends).

LIMITATIONS OF CURRENT PRACTICES

If bathing waters are subject to short-term pollution, the current European Bathing Water Directive (BWD Article 12(c)) explicitly demands the implementation of early warning systems in order to prevent bathers from being exposed to contaminated water. However, the BWD neither provides guidance on how to implement early warning systems in practice nor defines water quality alert thresholds. Bathing water quality is assessed only in the long term by estimating parametric 90th and 95th percentiles based on monitoring data of the previous four years. The lack of specified thresholds makes it difficult for the responsible authorities to justify and defend short-term decisions about closures of or warnings on bathing sites.

INNOVATION

The early warning system is based on an innovative probabilistic approach. The tool translates the current approach of long-term classification according to the European BWD into real-time management for early warning, making it possible to close a major gap in current European bathing water legislation. The availability of online water quality prediction significantly improves microbial safety and reduces the risk of contamination at bathing waters. This can make it possible to establish bathing waters in challenging locations that are subject to short-term pollution (e.g. urban agglomerations). It also enables management of nothing authorisation considering modelling uncertainty and strengthening of bathing water profiles. The tool provides users with a free, user-friendly software that can be easily implemented at new bathing waters. A mobile application is proposed to inform key decision makers and citizens of bathing water contamination risks.

CITY TESTS

The early warning system integrates two main innovations of digital-water.city: an advanced machine learning model for robust early forecast of water quality and real-time measurements of bacterial contamination. The model will be deployed at selected sites over the urban stretches of the rivers Seine and Marne in Paris, and coupled with SIAAP’s sewer system real-time control to allow the optimisation of sewer management based on river water quality objectives.

LYDIA, THE MOBILE PAYMENT APPLICATION

You have surely already heard of Lydia, a mobile payment application that allows you to “forget about the cash”, to reimburse yourself with friends, to pay using your Lydia card or even to pay via your smartphone. Created in 2011, the application has been running since 2013. Today, the application has more than 4 million users mainly in France and the development is now international.

Origin and activities of Lydia?

“Lydia” is the name of the kingdom where the first coin was minted in the 7th century BC. Instead of barter, the Lydians sought an efficient and secure way to trade, hence the creation of money.

The startup allows you to get back to the basics of cash: when you ask for or give someone money; bank details are not required; you instantly know your balance. Lydia has made it possible to provide control, security and immediacy, but with digital and mobile means. Lydia is a company that designs mobile payment solutions created in 2011. It is the French leader and currently has a little over 4 million users (total number of people using at least one of the services offered by Lydia ) . 70% of the app’s users are “millennials” (18-30 years old).

Lydia is basically a universal wallet that allows you to reimburse yourself between friends while avoiding all the complexity of transfers. The application brought fluidity, immediacy and security. Initially, the application was also designed to pay professionals who accepted this payment system or pay e-merchants online.

The digital evolution of our society has developed expectations of real time and control: how can we explain that it is still necessary to wait a few days to receive a transfer in a bank?

Digital evolution and comparison with retail banking

Why is there no “Lydia-type solution” in banks yet?

The context of banks today: there are resources, competent people who are very familiar with the digital age and finally significant financial means. But there are constraints:

  • Old computer systems that were not designed for real-time operations and that require years of work to transform them,
  • The regulations which are constantly evolving for each service offered.
  • Bankers combine many professions and come to aggregate regulatory systems.
  • The organisation and structure of major banks with the weight of social and union procedures.

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!