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France Travel News 03/06/2011

  • What is a Bergamot?

    During citrus season in France, if you’re lucky, you’ll run across something called a bergamot. They’re not brilliant yellow like regular lemons, but a sort of orangey color, and when split open, they’re quite juicy and the flavor is much sweeter than regular lemons. In fact, they often call them citrons doux, which translates to “sweet lemons.” (Everyone should always be reading David Lebovitz's wonderful food blog from Paris.)

  • Local Economy Wrecked by Chirac?

    When Jacques Chirac used vast state funds to build a lavish museum to house all the gifts given to him as French president, his political opponents feared a vanity project. Now the Museum of President Jacques Chirac, incongruously located in a secluded rural village in central France, has fallen so badly into debt that it has plunged the local economy into crisis.

  • Amid wine boom, Chinese buy up Bordeaux chateaux

    China gained another foothold in the booming wine trade with Bordeaux when a Chinese jewellery magnate added a chateau in the south west of France to his glittering assets. Richard Shen Dongjun's decision to buy Chateau Laulan Ducos is part of a broader Chinese investment boom that has begun to change trading strategies — and even the taste of some wines — in France's best known growing area. The 42-year-old CEO of Tesiro, a high-end retail jewellery chain, visited 40 vineyards before settling on his 22-hectare (54.36 acres) cru bourgeois estate at the remote tip of the Medoc region outside Bordeaux.

  • Buffy Fans Freaking Out About Le Double Mix

    French/Belgian chain Quick unveiled Le Double Mix (courtesy of Burger Business), a two-in-one burger that's eerily similar to the Double Meat Medley, a chicken and beef concoction served by none other than Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You may remember the slayer's (widly reviled) stint as a fast-food server at Doublemeat Palace. Fans of the show are asking an important question: is Le Double Mix made of humans? Well, the answer is “of course not!” (enterprising Buffy lovers remember that the secret ingredient in a Doublemeat Medley turned out to vegetables, not flesh ripped from the dead). We just hope that Quick is a nicer place to work than Doublemeat was – what with all those employees getting eating by a crazy old bald lady/demon and all.

  • At Paris Fair, the Cookbook Is King

    With dining out a potentially expensive endeavor, and the spontaneous mixing of ingredients in one’s own kitchen a haphazard affair, the cookbook has become the happy medium, enabling at-home diners access to advice from culinary maestros. And even in Paris, where the pride is in the pan, the Festival du Livre Culinaire, or Paris Cookbook Fair, is returning for its second year, from today to March 6.

  • Normandy and Brittany, France Photography Workshop Tour

    Join photographer Garry Black on a 10 day tour to some of the most beautiful and historic areas of Normandy and Brittany. This part of France is rich in history and stunning architecture During our tour we will visit many of the highlights of this area including the D-Day landing beaches and cemetaries of the second world war, the historic Bayeux tapestry, the dramatic rock of Mont-St-Michel with its abbey, and several picturesque medieval towns. You will experience the natural photographic beauty of this area with its gently rolling landscapes and wind-swept coastlines. You will also experience the historic beauty of this area as the past comes alive in the cobblestone streets of the towns that are filled with half-timbered and stone houses, as well as ancient churches and castles.

  • France’s Orange Debuts an App to Improve on the iPhone’s Voice Mail

    While few in the U.S. know Orange as anything other than a color or a fruit, the France Telecom mobile unit is hoping to change that with an app that improves upon the iPhone’s built-in voicemail. At Demo on Monday, Orange plans to show off ON VoiceFeed–a program that lets users create custom greetings for individual callers or groups of callers. The idea is to be able to leave a generic message for the masses, while offering something special to co-workers, loved ones or other groups.

  • French Awards Favor Polanski Film

    Roman Polanski, whose film “The Ghost Writer” was snubbed by the Oscars, won a measure of solace on Friday when the French cultural elite showered that thriller with four Césars. The honors, France’s version of the Academy Awards, included a best directing nod for Mr. Polanski, who was vigorously supported by French celebrities when he was arrested in 2009 in connection with a 1977 sex charge in the United States and detained in Switzerland until he fended off extradition in July. “I finished this film while in jail, so I would like to thank all the people who helped me and supported me until the very end,” Mr. Polanski said in his speech, referring to his work completing the film while under house arrest.

  • Scandal-hit French foreign minister forced out

    France’s embattled foreign minister has, as expected, been forced out of the job over a series of damaging gaffes concerning Tunisia’s revolution. While not mentioning Michele Aliot-Marie by name, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a mini-reshuffle on national television. He said ex-Prime Minister Alain Juppe would be given the Foreign Office portfolio.

  • Wikipedia Goes Royal | Fast Company

    Wikipedia and Versailles have established full diplomatic relations. Wikimedia France, which promotes Wikipedia in that country, is sending an employee to be the "resident Wikipedian" at the renowned opulent palace outside of Paris, historically a royal playground, now a tourist destination and custodian of cultural patrimony. Benoit Evellin's job will be to facilitate contacts between people who write Wikipedia articles and teams at the Chateau de Versailles, which have been trying to digitally distribute its informational resources for some time.