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

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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!

Image courtesy of iStock/Getty Images

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

Image courtesy of iStock/Getty Images

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

Normandy: A Franco-Anglophone Story

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This year marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day (le Jour J), a momentous occasion not only for the liberation of France from Nazi control, but also for the historical importance of this region and its ties with Anglophone nations. In fact, D-Day is only the most recent example of a French and Anglophone relationship that predates the existence of either sovereign nation. While today it’s best known for World War II’s… Read More

Foie Gras 101

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Tis the season for foie gras, the traditional—and sometimes controversial—delicacy beloved by the French during the winter holidays. For those who enjoy it, still many gourmands fail to realize that there are indeed “right” and “wrong” ways to eat the traditional product. Here are a few tips, should you choose to indulge. Do: Slice the foie gras with a non-serrated knife, preferably after the knife has been run under hot water. Refrigerate your… Read More

100 Years of Genius and Mystery: Romain Gary

Romain Gary

On Friday, December 5th at 7 p.m., we at the Alliance Française de Washington, DC will celebrate the 100 year anniversary of famed French author, diplomat, film director, and pilot, Romain Gary’s birth. The mysterious author—who went on to win the prestigious Prix Goncourt twice, under two different names—would publish a total of 50 works under five different names over the course of his lifetime, becoming a cornerstone of modern French… Read More

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