New albums : Melody Gardot & Thomas Dutronc

Melody Gardot's new album came out 23 October : "Sunset in the Blue" includes the song  called "Little Something", a duet with Sting! A lovely pop/electro duet... a different style for Melody! Madame Figaro says this album is "sans doute le plus beau des albums de cette année".For those who don't know her yet, Melody Gardot is an American jazz singer who has been influenced by blues and jazz artists such as Judy Garland, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Stan Getz and George Gershwin as well as Latin music artists such as Caetano Veloso. She has also been nominated for a Grammy Award!

She was in other musical headlines recently. She wanted to send a strong message that art and love will always break through, even during hard times. She decided to put together a collaborative video clip that featured submissions from musicians all over the world to create a new piece of music called “From Paris with …

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SOME OTHER PARIS – A totally different look at the City of Lights (Streaming on YouTube)

An unconventional look at current life in the City of Lights, Some Other Parisexamines everything from the Yellow Vest protests to the Parisian art scene through the eyes of expats, immigrants and French citizens. The documentary takes viewers far beyond the Eiffel Tower, past the fancy fashion houses and the haute cuisine. It is an immersive journey through the Paris of artists and intellectuals; inhabitants of a densely populated, expensive city, dodging around the cost of living, tightly packed public transportation, pollution and dog poop on the sidewalk.Directed by James H. Jewell III and executive produced by Kara Jewell, thisdocumentary film features twenty interviews with artists, musicians, poets,novelists, playwrights, radio personalities, a journalist, a real estate broker, a gamer, a charity worker, a costume designer/refugee worker, a sign language tour guide, and a rabbi. Residing in Paris is perhaps the only common denominator this diverse cas…

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BBI Boulogne-Billancourt Information talks about Bill & Rosa’s Book Room

BBI Boulogne-Billancourt Information - it's a pretty dull title for a magazine, but a really nice municipal publication just like Boulogne-billancourt is a really nice town. We read it every month to see what is going on in sports, culture, politics, business and best of all the history pages of our city. Julie Fagard, the journalist who interviewed us, clearly enjoys her job. She was lovely, interested and asked some great questions. She very much liked the concept we have put forth. The Book Room is rather unique in Boulogne as there are no English book shops and no used book shops in this town of nearly 110,000. The article has already brought in a dozen customers on the first day we were open after publication! I looks like we've hit a chord. We're happy to give back to Boulogne-Billancourt, the second largest city in Ile de France after Paris (and 30th largest in France), as it is a great place where people are friendly and smiling. There's great shopping on the vibra…

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International Bookstores in Paris

The most recently opened of the bookstores in Paris, our own Bill & Rosa's Book Room, is composed mainly of used English books (about 4500). We also have a certain number of French language books (about 500). And when we also received books in other languages Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Polish we were reminded as to what a cosmopolitan city Paris is. In fact we read recently on the city of Paris' website in carefully inclusive French that the population of the city is composed of 22% Paris-born, some place else we saw 26% foreign-born and the rest of Parisians are non Parisian French. The international community stems from 176 nationalities. And 3/4 of Parisians think the ideal city is multicultural. This got us to thinking that there must be bookshops that deal in other languages beyond English and French so we set out to see what we could find and composed this list. After the foreign language shops there's a list of English bookstores in Paris and a f…

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A Passion for Complication

A slightly adapted excerpt from Demystifying the French: How to Love Them and Make them Love You, published by Winged Words Publishing, 2019. Copyright Janet Hulstrand, all rights reserved.

It’s best, whenever possible, to give the merchant exact change when buying something in France. “I do not know why, but I do know that French people really, really, really want you to give them exact change if you possibly can. They just do,” I tell my students.

This can lead to a confusing situation for Anglophones, because the word for “change” in French is monnaie. So if a French person looks at the money you have given them and says “Vous n’avez pas de monnaie?” you might understandably be confused. After all, haven’t you just given them monnaie?

But no, you see, you have not. You have given them argent, which means, literally “silver,” and is the word used for money. Or you have given them espèce, which means “cash”: but you have not given…

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Having a baby in France

This is the third of a three part series of articles about being Pregnant and having a baby in France

Part 1 Pregnant in France: Healthcare and procedures

Part 2 Having a Baby in Paris: Baby Products Made in France

Part 3 Having a Baby in France: Resources groups, apps and books that could be useful if you are having a baby in France! 

Being a parent is not always easy and it can feel quite lonely if you don't have enough support. It can be even more difficult if you are an English speaker having a baby in France! The support group Message started in 1984 with a few young English-speaking mothers wanting to connect with others for support in raising their children while living away from local customs, traditions and family. In the past 35 years, it has grown into a vibrant and thriving community of parents who continue, year after year, to support one another, share openly, forge new friendships, and build bright futures for families in France. You…

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Why is it called? Part 1: French Pastries and desserts

Why is it called … Part 1: French PASTRIES and DESSERTS Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Why are croissants, pain aux raisins and pains au chocolat called viennoiseries for example? How do things get named? Here is a short list of French pastries and desserts and how they got their names. We invite readers to add their own favorite pastries and desserts to the comments. Viennoiserie A pastry was created in Vienna in celebration of the end of the Turkish siege of 1683 in the shape of the Turkish crescent (croissant). An Austrian army officer named August Zang and his associate Ernest Schwarzer, a nobleman from Vienna opened the Boulangerie Viennoise at 92 rue de Richelieu in Paris in 1838. They were the first to make the pastries which were to become known as viennoiserie. Ironically even though the French name viennoiserie makes a reference to Vienna which is the origin of the pastries, in English these baked delights are called D…
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Les Maréchaux?

Les Maréchaux? Why are the boulevards on the edge of Paris (where the Tramway and PC bus run) referred to as “Les maréchaux“? This ring of roads, which totals 39 kilometres and connects the 52 portes de Paris, has different sections each named after a French field marshal. Lannes, Brune, Kellerman… Les boulevards des Maréchaux were originally the military route that gave access to the ramparts, built by Thiers in 1840, which circled Paris protecting it from invaders and sieges. In 1860 Paris annexed the towns on the periphery as well as the ramparts and glacis. A glacis is the open grassy slope on the outside of the ramparts – As with many military terms we use the same word in English, but it comes from Old French glacier ‘to slip’, from glace ‘ice’, based on Latin glacies. The glacis created a wide gap in the expanded urban landscape. The gap was gradually filled in by the ramshackle housing of the less fortunate. In the 1920s and 30s the ramparts were removed and the shanty…
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