Happy Easter – Joyeuses Pâques!

Joyeuses Pâques!

“Easter is a holiday that is celebrated just as enthusiastically in France as it is in America, although traditions do differ. One of the best French Easter traditions is that of the Cloche Volant, or flying bell. On Good Friday (vendredi saint) all the church bells in France are silenced. As legend has it, the bells fly to Rome to see the Pope. On Easter morning, it is said that the bells return from Rome just in time to ring out and joyously declare the Resurrection. Classic chocolate Easter eggs can also be found in sweets shops throughout France—the first chocolate eggs were made in France and Germany in the nineteenth century.”  (Credit/Source: France Today)

 

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(Photos source: bp.blogspot)

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Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton

musee picassoThe artist and writer, Jean Cocteau first visited Menton in 1955 and called the city the “Pearl of France,” while maintaining a long-lasting relationship with the city from the late 1950′s.

He became involved in the restoration and decoration of the Bastion, a small fort built in the 17th century, in order to convert it into an exhibition place for his work:  watercolors, ceramics, tapestries, sketches, and mosaics, and more.

On the request of Francis Palmero, the Mayor at that time, Cocteau first painted the Salle des Mariages, inaugurated on 22 March 1958 and also decorated the Mayor’s office with a wall painting representing Orpheus in front of the Old City of Menton.

He is also responsible for decorating the “Chapelle St. Pierre” in Villefranche, a fishing town just outside of Nice and also lived in St. Jean Cap Ferrat – all portraying his long love affair with the French Riviera.

Musée du Bastion
Quai de Monlion – Vieux Port of Menton
Open all year round from 10.00am to 12.00pm and from 2.00pm to 6.00pm. Closed on Tuesday and holidays.
 
Cocteau Chapel
1, Quai Courbet in Villefranche
Closed on Tuesday and during lunchtime.

Boats, Cars, & Stars – Upcoming Events

antibes yacht showThe Antibes Yacht Show in 2013, with its 200 exhibitors and 150 yachts over 20 meters long, attracted 15,000 visitors. This year’s show is touted to be bigger and better than ever for the vendors and yacht service providers.  Show information in English HERE

 

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The Historic Grand Prix of Monaco will be held May 9-11, 2014, and has existed since 1997. It’s organized two weeks before the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco.

It takes place on the same circuit as the Formula 1 Grand Prix with the charming old cars that propose a travel back in time. With more than eighty years of racing history, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique on May 10th will commemorate and celebrate the history of the Monaco racing heritage.

The Grand Prix of Monaco Formula One race will be held May 23-25, 2014, with historical beginnings on April 14, 1929. Both events should get you reved up and ready to start yours engines in a beautiful location!

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The Cannes Film Festival (English link) will be from 14 to 25 May, 2014 – Discover the films of the 2014 Selection at the press conference on 17th April and access the detailed film and Jury notes one week before the opening of the 67th Festival.

Last year’s jewelry heists during the festival were headline news, making for cinema-like plots and suspenseful events – I don’t think there will be a repeat performance this year, but then on sais jamais (you never know)!

In any event (pardon the pun), the French Riviera remains lively and festive!

 

Royal Palm Vacation Rental Apartment

From the bedroom or the living room, you are enticed to step out onto the lovely terrace, to take in the beautiful garden and sea view before you, or perhaps, dine al fresco. A modern and comfortable interior in a residential building of high standing, just steps away from the sandy beach or if preferred, a dip in the on-site pool. Royal Palm is a well-appointed apartment situated only about 4 kms (2 miles) from the old port of Cannes and the Palais des Festival, where the annual film festival takes place in May. The apartment is a perfect holiday rental for barefoot beach strolls, yet close to the heart of the action in Cannes.

Photo gallery and more HERE

Invitations to Private Beta Language Learning

I was recently invited to beta test a French language program on a language fluentU logolearning website.  (You can participate too – see below!)

The site, FluentU, consists of a wide variety of resources for multiple language levels:  newbie, elementary, intermediate, upper intermediate, advanced, and native.  As an advocate for the French language, and a former French teacher, I was intrigued and readily accepted.

MY IMPRESSION:

There is a wide selection of movie trailers, songs, and other amusing videos of various topics – each one targeted to a particular level of language ability.  But, what’s really impressive is the seamless integration of dialogue and grammar, included as a sub-title for each frame of the video (like watching a YouTube video with French subtitles).  You can quickly pause each frame, to confirm your understanding of the spoken dialogue, or simply, to add a vocabulary word to a list for later review.  There is also a corresponding, written dialogue for the video, so you have listening, grammar, and reading comprehension all in one!

The videos provide authentic conversational dialogue, including slang and colloquial language, for a “real life” language experience.

For each video, you get:

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  • French subtitles
  • The translation for each French word as you hover your mouse over it
  • A *SRS tool to learn vocabulary in a fun way

10 15 PRIVATE BETA INVITATIONS:

FluentU needs your help, as the program is consistently being developed and fine-tuned, to help make the site even better.

Invitations are now closed, so I invite you to sign up directly on the FluentU website!

They need more learners to test the system. They have asked me to give away ten fifteen closed, beta invites to their service!

How? Just comment on this blog post with your email address OR email me at twentyfourseveninfrance@gmail.com and I’ll send the list to FluentU. This is open on a first come, first served basis.

Bonne chance!

* SRS stands for Spaced Repetition System, which manages the words for you and asks you to study them just before you start – this facilitates long term memorization.

 

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Wine Reaches French Riviera

The new Miraval wine produced by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has recently arrived within reach of the superyachts on the French Riviera.

The wine is now on sale in the 1862 Wines & Spirits shop, situated opposite the old Port of Cannes, in a prime location for superyachts on the world famous French Riviera.

Read more Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Wine Reaches French Riviera.

Molecular Gastronomy

Insect menu ‘lost us star’

THE OWNER of a Nice restaurant that started an insect-themed menu last year believes this played a large role in his losing his Michelin star in this year’s guide.

Chef David Faure, who opened Aphrodite in 2002 and gained the star in 2010, caused a stir with his “Alternative Food” menu, which he added to other options such as “molecular gastronomy” as well as more classic cuisine.

The menu is based on French-grown, organic-fed mealworms and crickets, used whole.

“From a lot of feedback I’ve been getting from people in the industry, using insects counted very strongly in the decision. I’m not going to use it as an excuse and say it’s the only possible reason – like other restaurants we have had a lot of problems recently finding staff qualified to cook and wait in a gastronomic restaurant and there were two or three mealtimes during the year when things were a bit difficult.

“But if you look at our article in the guide this year, if finishes with “…and insects!” which I think gives you an idea of what they thought.”

“People have said to me that it doesn’t fit in with the criteria of the guide and of French gastronomy; that we’ve gone off course and need to start doing more ‘normal’ cuisine again.”

He added: “As soon as we started the insects I had loads of messages from other Michelin-starred chefs saying I was mad and was going to lose my star, but I like to do new things – when we started molecular cuisine in 2007 it wasn’t very well-known in France and we were criticised, but now every French chef has dishes using ‘molecular’ techniques.”

Mr Faure said he is involved in talks with food industry colleagues across Europe about promoting insects as food, and has no plans to stop using them. “The idea is to get Europeans used to thinking of insects as being edible – it’s already familiar to most of the world.”

However, while he uses them whole to create a surprise factor, he said the future is more likely to see increasing use of them ground up as flours. He said they are a nutritious and eco-friendly way to help deal with feeding a world population expected to grow to nine million in another 30 years.

“Today we’re using them in a way that provokes – using them whole in the plate, set off – to get the discussion going. In the future we might see, for example, if we lack space for growing cereals, biscuits with 30% of insect flour, with high levels of protein and omega 3 but without them being visible.

“Some customers say ‘wouldn’t it have been better if they had been hidden, as powder, under some fish’, but no, it’s not the goal.

“There are people for and against. Some people send us aggressive anonymous letters with insults and threats. But we always get positive feedback from people who have tried the menu.

“Losing the star is annoying on a personal level, when you’ve worked all your life for it, but we built up a reputation before the star and are always nearly full, and I think it doesn’t matter to our customers.”

A Connexion reviewer last year found the insects to be “like Bombay mix” and called the menu “delicious”.

A Michelin spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on reasons why individual chefs lost their star, however decisions are based on five criteria: the quality of their ingredients – their foie gras and truffles etc, the personality of the chef, the cooking and flavours – is it well-cooked and at the right temperature… and regularity – is it of high quality all year round? – and the value for money. The inspectors look at all of these and note if there’s a lowering of quality of what’s in the plate.”

(as reported in The CONNEXION) with Photo credit: Cook and Shoot