The Seine – A fleuve, part 1

A specific word in French indicates rivers that end in oceans : fleuve. Getting my hair cut the other day in Boulogne Billancourt not far from the Seine I asked my coiffeuse, an immigrant like myself, if she knew anything about the Seine. « I know it’s a floose » she replied. Everyone in the salon erupted in laughter. This fleuve is no floose. Traversing Paris under 37 bridges on it’s 776 kilometer run from a plateau north of Dijon to the English Channel at Le Havre, the Seine, steeped in history with a capital H, is one of five principal ocean-flowing rivers in France. The Loire is the longest at 1010 kilometers. La Garonne, Le Rhône and Le Rhin are the others. Until joined by the tributary Aube, the river carries the first of its noms-de-fleuve, the Petite-Seine. Farther on, augmented again by the Yonne at Montereau, it is the Haute-Seine until Paris. Then it is the Basse-Seine to Rouen and, finally, the Seine-Maritime to the sweep of the sea. The Seine everybody sees is in …
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Book Room Events

Starting in Fall 2021 we will organize a couple events each month. October 2 Textile Repair Workshops: The Book Room is hosting a bilingual sweater repair workshop on October 2nd at 5pm, with Kristina Hakala, former journalist turned entrepreneur in circular design! Just bring a sweater or any piece of clothing that is damaged and that you wish to repair, we'll supply the necessary materials for the repair. The workshop is free but please register in advance at or call, as we have a limited number of places. We're looking forward to seeing you there! Event is full, but the waiting list is open. October 16 - 16h Featuring the author of children's book "La Veste aux Réponses", Milli Golivet. The first part of the event, starting at 4pm is focused on children, with a reading and storytime for kids and the second part, starting at 4:30pm is the launch party of the book.  As we have a limited number of places available, please sign up in a…
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Saint Denis: Two types of kings

Follow the red line from the sacred to the profane in the town of Saint Denis where there are two types of kings; from the Basilique Saint Denis, the burial place of the kings of France to the Stade de France where the kings of football play.

The metro runs to the foot of the Basilica then there is a red line traced on the sidewalks between these two monuments so you won't get lost in the spaghetti of Saint Denis and the autoroutes. From the Stade de France there are a choice of well marked metros to get you back home or you can continue to walk along the Canal Saint Denis to Porte de la Villette.

Take an audio guide tour of the Basilica and learn about the kings of France, and funerary monuments  as well as Gothic architecture. The Basilica is a major work of Gothic art, this church was the first to place a great importance on light, a symbol of divinity. It was  designed b…

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Gigantic numbers – just try to count that high!

1000 billion or one trillion? It's the same thing, but it depends who you ask. In any case they are gigantic numbers. While reading an article recently in the French press where the budgets are flying through the roof again I saw the figure 1000 milliard and wondered why the journalist used that method for writing the figure, why not use trillion. In any case they are gigantic numbers. Well come to find out the French, the British (who finally agree on something with the French) and most of the rest of the world have different words than the U.S. (nothing new here, especially when it comes to measurement) for expressing these giant numbers. To try to understand the terms here is a list of them. As you will note the system for naming numbers used in the U.S. is not as logical as that used in other countries (like Great Britain, France, and Germany). In these countries, a billion - bi meaning two and -llion referring to million - logically has twice as many zeros as a million, …
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Made in France: A long history and current products

Made in France: A long history and current products When you think made in France you perhaps first think of food, then of luxury, then maybe of industry. France has a long history of creation of wonderful products and inventions such as the chip in your credit card, the minitel, which preceeded the internet, watches and knives. FUSAC has selected a few of our favorite historical products that are still made in France as well as some new concepts.  Cocorrico! as they say! Bilum You probably never wondered what happens to all of the huge canvas posters used to present exhibitions when the exhibition is over. Or what happens to lifejackets from AirFrance flights at the end of their lives. Or how about the shirts worn for just one game by the PSG. Well Bilum, founded in 2005 by Hélène de La Moureyre, has teamed up with the museums, exhibition halls, AirFrance and the PSG and many others to create bags and pouches of all sorts from their « waste ». A made in France prod…
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Rosa Bonheur

Rosa Bonheur, Broad with a Brush

Does the name Rosa Bonheur mean anything to you ? Hint: She was the most well-known female French painter in the 19th century, the first woman painter to receive the Legion of Honor (presented by the Empress Eugenia herself). Still no bells? She painted animals. Still no idea? Well don't feel bad it seems most French people don't know who she is either. In fact despite being French, born in Bordeaux, growing up in Paris and then living in a château with menagerie on the edge of the Fontainbleau forest, she was in fact more well known and her paintings were more appreciated by the English and Americans. She was so famous at the time that Queen Victoria, who had a love for animals as well, requested Rosa visit her. It is even hard to find her paintings in French museums. Many were sold into private collections and some are now seen in American museums. But she is very much worth knowing especially if you have a fondness for animals…

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