Culture under lockdown in Paris: When the opera comes to you

In this edition we discover a very special type of concert. With venues closed due to Covid-19, classical musicians are bringing their art to the courtyards of Parisians, as our team reports. We also look at several symbols of France, including the famous “baguette”. We see what makes it so special and why the French are campaigning for it to be included in the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list. Meanwhile, the Château de Versailles, another symbol of French culture and history, is welcoming back the luxurious desk of Louis XVI after two years of restoration. 

FRANCE 24

Opinion | What France does not understand about racism and safe spaces

In a country where the circles of power are overwhelmingly White and male, the fact that many important decisions are made by exclusively White groups would be a good reason to spark outrage.

Centering spaces around the voices of those who experience oppression is the only way for them to identify strategies to deconstruct structural inequalities.

Mélanie Luce is the first woman of color to lead the UNEF, a progressive student union founded in 1907 in France. When she joined a news show to speak about the precarious social conditions of students, she could not guess that she would soon be the center of national attention. Luce admitted that the union sometimes organized safe spaces to support students of color, and the interviewer labeled the initiative as “closed to White people.”

The outrage quickly spread across the political landscape. Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer called the meetings “racist,” “deeply outrageous” and potentially “leading to things that look like fascism.” He added he was exploring the legal grounds to prevent the meetings.

In the Senate, the right-wing party the Republicans drafted a letter to the justice minister, claiming the meetings did not comply with “French values,” as if there were no racial issues in France. Legislator Julien Aubert alerted the Paris prosecutor and said in a statement that the interior minister should consider the dissolution of the UNEF, backing the viral hashtag #dissolutionunef. [ . . . ]

Continue at WASHINGTON POST: Opinion | What France does not understand about racism and safe spaces – The Washington Post

Commemoration begins of the bloody weeks of the Paris Commune of 1871

Paris has launched two months of events commemorating a radical experiment in people power, which continues to divide and inspire in equal measures 150 years later.

The 1871 Paris Commune, an uprising against a conservative government by working-class Parisians that was brutally crushed after 72 days, is one of the lesser-known chapters in French history.

But its memory still looms large in left-wing rebellions worldwide and in Paris with the towering Sacre-Coeur basilica in Montmartre, built by the victors on the ruins of the crushed Commune.

The revolt erupted after the Franco-Prussian war and ended in a bloodbath, with government troops massacring between 6,000 to 20,000 people during la semaine sanglante (bloody week) that ended the Parisians’ brief flirtation with self-rule.

Last week, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo inaugurated a programme of 50 events commemorating the Commune, including exhibitions, plays, conferences and debates.

But with public sympathies still divided been the “Communards” and the “Versaillais” government, trying to rally Parisians around a shared reading of what Karl Marx described as “France’s civil war” is proving difficult. Continue reading “Commemoration begins of the bloody weeks of the Paris Commune of 1871”

The cult of Gainsbourg to be consecrated with museum at his Paris home

Thirty years after his death, Serge Gainsbourg remains an icon in France. There are now plans to mark that anniversary with a dedicated museum at the singer-songwriter’s apartment in the Saint-Germain neighbourhood. His former Parisian home is already a place of pilgrimage for the many fans of the artist.

We also take a look at an Oscar-shortlisted French animated short which brings prehistory to life thanks to oil painting and grains of sand, and we find out more about the Chateau of Versailles’ new role as an exceptionally opulent recording studio.

And Paris Fashion Week pivots as designers embrace flexibility and creativity, showing their latest collections in pandemic-friendly ways.

Source: FRANCE 24

Paris is Turning Its Dark Underground Parking Lots into Organic Mushrooms Farms

The startup Cycloponics is growing 100-200 kilos of mushrooms a week in underground parking lots in Paris, Strasbourg, and Bordeaux.

What can you do with a dark underground parking lot that isn’t being used anymore? Think fungus.

Unused parking garages around the French capital have been turned into organic mushroom farms, thanks to a company called Cycloponics.

Allowing an extremely nutritious crop to be grown and sold directly in Paris, the initiative is part of a number of renovation projects the City is encouraging and sponsoring.

Along with shitake, oyster, and white button mushrooms, Cycloponics grows chicory—a French delicacy that can grow in the dark—as well as microgreens like mini broccoli. These are delivered via bicycle to local organic grocery stores.

Their location in Paris is called “The Cave,” and it’s one of three such converted garages that have been co-founded since 2017 by the coincidentally named Theo Champagnat. Continue reading “Paris is Turning Its Dark Underground Parking Lots into Organic Mushrooms Farms”

6 Best Movies Set In Paris

Read about some of the best movie sets in the wonderful and romantic city of Paris. From Hugo to Midnight in Paris, this list has it all.

by SVETLANA STERLIN

Paris, beyond being the city of love, makes for an atmospheric and visually pleasing film setting. Whether the story involves characters falling in love, discovering something about themselves, or learning the history of France, the setting often makes the story more enjoyable for viewers and encourages characters to go exploring. Here are six great films set in Paris.

Midnight In Paris (2011)
Owen Wilson stars as a screenwriter named Gil Pender, giving an excellent dramatic performance, though still infused with his trademark comedic quirks. Accompanying Gil on his trip to Paris is his fiancé (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. He hopes to find inspiration in the city to write his first novel, even though he’s not sure he’s up to the task.

Every night, he goes for a midnight walk, but he doesn’t just walk through the Parisian streets – he finds himself travelling back through time to the 1920s, his golden age of literature. Gil meets Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and his other creative idols, all of whom seem to be awaiting his arrival, ready to give him writing advice.

Hugo (2011)
Martin Scorsese isn’t the first director one might think of for a children’s movie, but Hugo offers a story that transcends easy categorisation. The film begins as young Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is orphaned in the 1930s, left to fend for himself at a Parisian train station, where he operates the clocks after his father’s death. One of the few possessions his father (Jude Law) has left Hugo is his automaton that requires a special key to activate it.

Hugo befriends Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz) after stealing from her godfather’s toy store. She helps Hugo solve the mystery of his father’s automaton, which leads them on an adventure of discovery about the history of filmmaking.

Amélie (2001)
Audrey Tautou stars as the titular character in this charming French romantic comedy directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Amélie is a quirky protagonist who is raised isolated from peers her age after her parents mistakenly diagnose her with a heart condition.

The film focuses on her young adulthood in Paris, where she’s surrounded by characters almost as quirky as her. A chance discovery of a box of childhood treasures in her apartment leads her on a search for their owner, which in turn leads Amélie on a search for love.

Les Misérables (2012)
Les Misérables has been made and remade for the screen many times, as well as staged for theatre productions. Many of the adaptations are worthy, but the 2012 version may be one of the most popular. Based on the classic French novel by Victor Hugo published in 1862, the story of Les Misérables follows Jean Valjean (in this movie, Hugh Jackman) as he tries to start a new life after being released from prison.

But after breaking parole, he is pursued by the ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe). Valjean takes a young girl (Amanda Seyfried) into his care but can never escape Javert’s wrath. Anne Hathaway also stars in the film, a performance that earned her an Academy Award. The musical drama is guided by emotion to explore oppression, rebellion, and freedom against the backdrop of war.

Casablanca (1942)
One of the most iconic war romances of all time, Casablanca is an emotional tale of a nightclub owner named Rick (Humphrey Bogart) who helps his ex-lover escape into a better life with her husband. The story takes place during World War II, which makes the film very timely, and all the more resonant with contemporary audiences.

Though the primary story is set in Casablanca, Morocco, much of the significance behind Rick and Isla’s romance is centered around Paris. Paris becomes such an integral part of the story that it feels almost like a character, haunting them as their feelings for one another resurface.

Ratatouille (2007)

Ratatouille (2007)
An animated film, Ratatouille tells the story of a rat who dreams of becoming a renowned French chef. He doesn’t take into consideration that humans despise rodents and would never even try a meal prepared by them.

The ideas presented within the film struck a chord with many viewers, young and old, and earned the film an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Source: 6 Best Movies Set In Paris – Our Culture