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

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Les Bleus at the 2014 World Cup

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Sport is typically not the first cultural realm that Americans associate with France. If anything, the idea of an athletic Voltaire conjures up images of the Tour de France (cycling), Roland Garros and Yannick Noah (tennis), Jean-Claude Killy (skiing), or French swimming, which perennially gains accolades. However, the nation’s team sports have impressed (and depressed) since the 1990s, particularly the two team sports featured at this year’s World Cup tournaments:… Read More

Too Little, Too Late

Too Little, Too Late Why knowing just a little bit of French can spell big trouble   Had I seen this picture back in 1987, I would not have learned the hard way that knowing a little bit of a language can be a dangerous thing. It was that summer when my husband (still just my boyfriend) and I took what turned out to be a glorious vacation, a week… Read More

From Freedom Fries to Frantz Fanon

As a kid, my mind bubbled over with dreams of the places and people that existed beyond the borders of my small town. This dreaming manifested itself in an insatiable appetite for learning about the world in any way I could. Looking back, it seems silly to think that, while folding origami cranes or breathing in the smell of Domino’s pizza, I would close my eyes and imagine that I… Read More