French language and culture commentary from the U.S. capital

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Feel at Home in French: A Conversation with Géraldine Lepère

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“Live in France, feel at home” are familiar words for many Francophiles, spoken weekly by Géraldine Lepère, la française behind Comme une Française, a blog and online language course. Géraldine has been encouraging Anglophone Francophiles to speak French like natives since 2011, when she started her blog. The blog later branched into a business of the same name, and now features online French courses and a growing community of French… Read More

Le Pineau des Charentes

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Take some lightly fermented grape juice (or ‘must’), mix it with a young Cognac, put this mixture in an oak barrel, and keep it there for at least 12 months. What do you get? A drink called Pineau des Charentes. What is Pineau des Charentes? Pineau des Charentes, or simply known as Pineau, is a sweet apéritif that is only produced in the Charente and Charente-Maritime regions of western France. The… Read More

Wringing Blood from the Proverbial Stone

Image courtesy of Paul Kiernan

“You can’t get blood from a stone.” This saying may have 17th-century origins, but it still manages to sound convincing. With an aura of immutable truth, it conveys concisely the impossibility of extracting from a thing that which is not there in the first place. In law school lecture halls, it serves as a plaintiff’s justification for selecting a defendant with deep pockets. After all, to seek compensation from a… Read More

The AFDC Honors Black History Month with Movie Screening

Image courtesy of Sarah Pickup-Diligenti

In honor of Black History Month, the AFDC will be screening The Story of a Three Day Pass (La Permission) this Friday, February 27th. This 1968 film was written and directed by Melvin Van Peebles. The Story of a Three Day Pass is a film based on Van Peebles’ French novel, La Permission. Van Peebles struggled to get work in the United States, so he left for France to direct his first… Read More

Famous Parisian Cafés

Enjoying one a Ladurée's charlotte aux fraises et à la menthe with some tea / Photo courtesy of Ashley Estes

There is perhaps no place more beloved or revered in French culture than the café. For the French, the café is more than a simple spot to grab coffee – it’s a meeting point for discussions with old friends, an opportunity to read Le Monde and reflect, a corner table to work on your developing novel, or just a venue for a café au lait and people watching. Everyone has his… Read More

Festival International de la Bande Dessinée

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Situated in the southwestern part of France, the city of Angoulême has been the center of the paper-making and printing industries since the 14th century. Because of this, it is nowadays also internationally recognized as the capital of la bande dessinée, and home to the the annual Festival International de la Bande Dessinée. This multi-day festival hosts comic book publishers and sellers, exhibitions, and conferences in museums and venues across… Read More

Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton Sets Sail

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A glass ship rising from Paris’ Bois de Boulogne, the Fondation Louis Vuitton (FLV) was inaugurated in October 2014 as the capital’s newest museum. The $134 million museum rises up from the Jardin d’Acclamation, a 50-acre children’s park nestled in the northern half of the Bois de Bologne – complete with a zoo, science museum, ponies, train, and shooting galleries. Architect Frank Gehry’s creation is informed by its surroundings, finding its inspiration… Read More

The AFDC Brings You Speed Dating!

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We’ve all been there – it’s hard meeting people in a big city! With the masses flocking to online dating sites, some of us might even venture to say that we’ve forgotten how to be a social creature in real life (IRL). Well, the AFDC has you covered! Join the AFDC for ‘Ménage à trois’ – a speed dating event – on Friday, February 13th, with special guest Twanna Hines. Ms.… Read More

Top 5 Viennoiseries

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If you’ve ever been to any town in France, you’re familiar with the warm, sweet smell that fills the streets around 8am: the boulangeries have been hard at work for hours, and now it’s finally time to open for the day. In addition to being home to that emblem of French food, the baguette, and the delicate pâtisserie confections, the boulangerie is where the French pick up their daily viennoiserie. The… Read More

Five Phrases from Les Reines

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Reality shows abound no matter what country you are in, so the concept is nothing new, but what students of French and francophiles can take away from Les Reines du Shopping is a greater comprehension of French as it is spoken in daily life, as well as a better grasp of humor from the witty, snarky narrator—a skill that is often among the last steps to feeling fluent in any language. Paris… Read More

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