Sunday, November 30, 2014

'Barbizon- the artists village,near Paris' by K.J.S.Chatrath

In search of beauty... ...

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Friday, November 28, 2014

'The mystique of Marianne’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

Logo of the French Republic

Every country has a symbol, a totem, an icon, formal or informal but generally secular and universal. In India we have “Mother India” or Bharat Mata, with clear maternal overtones, which is supposed to embody everything that the country stands for. During India’s long struggle against the imperial foreign rule, the picture depicting the lady figure of Mother India in chains enthused innumerable Indians to make the supreme sacrifice for unfettering the chains of slavery thrust on our country. The Americans have chosen a rather queer symbol- a bald eagle. However, France, like India and quite a few other countries has a feminine symbol for the country- Marianne. There is a strange mystique about Marianne.

Bust of Marianne, displayed in the corridors of the Luxembourg Palace, seat of the French Senate, Paris.

Interestingly in French language, some countries are taken as feminine while others as masculine. For example while France itself is considered feminine, so also are countries like India (Inde), countries such as the U.K. (Royaume-Uni) and the United States (Etat-Unis) are considered masculine. The Germans talk of their country as their “Fatherland” but in French, Germany (Allemagne) is feminine. The French, famous for their logical reasoning, must be having an excellently plausible reasoning for this division, but I am not yet aware of it. Maybe it has something to do with the wonderful French way of celebrating the two sexes that God has made- Vive La Difference!

While the British are at times represented as John Bull and the citizens of the USA as Uncle Sam, these are not official. Nor is India’s symbolic ‘Bharat Mata’ official. The French Marianne is however all official.

Marianne is said to be a combination of two very common French names- Marie and Anne. It is said that the name Marianne was given a good 60 years after the French Revolution, though the symbol of a lady representing the Republic dates back to the Revolution. In Delacroix’s famous painting “Liberty Leading the People” she is shown as leading the French people.

Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix (1830), which celebrates the July Revolution (Original in the Louvre Museum.)

One finds the bust of Marianne in every French government office, school and mayoral office. The face of Marianne has been adorning the French postage stamps and coins till present.

Some of the earlier faces which have had the privilege of having been chosen to represent Marianne are the famous sex-symbol actress turned protector of animals, turned writer of her autobiography – Brigitte Bardot in 1969:

Brigitte Bardot

The bust of Brigitte Bardot as Marianne, 1969.

Bust of Marianne-Mireille Mathieu.

Another face of Marianne was the charming singer Mereille Mathieu in 1978.

Cathrine Denueve

That ethereal beauty – Catherine Deneuve was also Marianne in 1985

When the term of the face of Marianne came to an end, another face had to be chosen. God has been genuinely generous in distributing beauty and grace to every French woman. Of course this selection had its detractors too. While some of them felt that the time had come to move away from the conventional image of Marianne as a symbol of feminine beauty. While others argued that if the idea is to borrow the image of a famous woman, then why choose only a film actress or a model and why not the face of a distinguished woman from other fields like literature, politics etc. It is said that a good 95% of the male mayors defended their vote with vigour. And having seen the photographs of Ms. Casta, I whole heartedly agree with the learned Mayors and too would vote for her, anytime.

Letitia Casta - Marianne in 2000

marianne-inna-shevchenko 420 90 Inna Shevchenko- Marianne 2013.

In July 2013, Inna Shevchenko, the highest-profile member of the Ukrainian feminist protest group FEMEN, became the new Marianne on French stamps, after being granted political asylum in France.

Some young ladies representing Marianne with the traditional Phrygian bonnets.
Marianne statue in Mahe, India.

Let us wait to see who would be the next French beauty to represent the Marianne.

(With some text inputs & photos from the internet. This photo article was earlier put up on my website sometime back)

Those wishing for more information may like to see the following websites:

‘The French icon Marianne à la mode’ by Mary Blume; Published: July 16, 2004;

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sheer beauty

Sheer beauty (Photo source:Air France India) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Val Thorens in French Alps named world’s best ski resort — again

"VIENNA, Nov 24 — For the second year in a row, the highest ski resort in Europe and the largest ski area in the world, Val Thorens in France, has been named the World’s Best Ski Resort...

With more than 600 km of runs, 99 per cent of which is situated above 2,000 meters, Val Thorens in the French Alps is also located at the highest point of the 3 Vallees, offering sweeping views of more than 100 Alpine summits spanning France, Switzerland and Italy..."

For reading the full article, please click at the following link:


'Brasserie & brassiere'- learning French made easy' by K.J.S.Chatrath

I took this photo last month while walking around in Paris.

Non, non, non (In French a 'no' is a 'non'). 'Brasserie' is not the thing worn by ladies for upliftment. That is 'brassiere'. Yes you guessed it right- a French invention. Herminie Cadolle of France is believed to have invented the first modern bra in 1889.

'Brasserie' in French, literally means a 'brewery'. The origin of the word probably stems from the fact that beer was brewed on the premises rather than brought in: thus an inn would brew its own beer as well as supply food and invariably accommodation too. Now a days it denotes a French informal restaurant.

Learning French made easy? No? I mean 'Non'?


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

'France allows toilets in kitchens for first time' (news) - Ah bon!

'France allows toilets in kitchens for first time'(news) - Ah bon!

Please click at the following link to read the story:


Monday, November 24, 2014

'Indian heart’ throbs near Aphrodite by Ananya Sengupta

'Indian heart’ throbs near Aphrodite by Ananya Sengupta; The Telegraph, Calcutta, November 24, 2014. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

'France to keep shops open on Sundays to boost its flagging economy...'

France to keep shops open on Sundays to boost its flagging economy and compete with London's seven-day shopping culture.

Read more:


Friday, November 21, 2014

French Novelist Patrick Modiano wins Nobel Prize for Literature By Anne McCarthy

Gilbert Jeune- the famous Parisian bookshop on Boulevard St. Michel, Paris

"French Novelist Patrick Modiano wins Nobel Prize for Literature By Anne McCarthy

In October, the names poured in from all over the globe. Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist who champions girls’ rights to education, won the Nobel Peace Prize. Eric Betzig, a 54-year-old Virginian won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. And France’s Patrick Modiano

won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The man is prolific, having published 29 books throughout his career, as well as written children’s books and screenplays. His most recent work, Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier, was published this year by Gallimard... ...".

Please click at the following link to read the full article:


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A history of Cinema in France

Photo source: Internet

"Raffles Hotels Presents a History of Cinema in France

November 14, 2014

From the fateful day when the Lumière brothers screened their first film, France has been at the forefront of the movie business. And the French movie industry continues to produce art house favorites and fabulous blockbusters (like Intouchables). This history is on display at a lovely new museum in Paris called Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé in the Gobelins quartier of the 13th arrondissement. If you can't make it to Paris, here's an excellent infographic-- produced by Raffles Hotels-- charting the history of cinema in France... ..."

Please click at the following link to read the full article:

Chicken tikka masala now conquers French palates by Prasun Sonwalkar

Photo source: internet

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

South Of France Travel- Winter Festivals in Provence*

'Only Provence', a leading luxury villa rental company in Provence has published a list of up-coming Winter Festivals for those traveling in Provence, South of France.

Provence France, France - November 16, 2014 /PressCable/ — “Only Provence, a leading luxury villa rental company in Provence has published a list of up-coming Winter Festivals for those traveling in Provence, South of France

The weather may be crisp, but it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy winter festivals and celebrations in a region so full of tradition and culture. From mid-October through all of November, villages throughout Provence host the Festival des Soupes, when locals prepare delicious soups from traditional recipes handed down from generation to generation. During the event, the soups are evaluated by a jury and then visitors are invited to taste.

Truffle fans won’t want to miss the Carpentras Truffle Festival. On Friday mornings from November 15, 2014 to March 15, 2015, find beautiful, aromatic black truffles harvested from the slopes of Mont Ventoux.

Aficionados may also want to visit Pernes les Fontaines Truffle Market on January 25, 2015 for truffle tastings, truffle searching demonstrations, and an array of truffle products.

Provence kicks off holiday celebrations on December 4th, Saint Barbe Day, and continues through February 2nd, Candlemas. This period is called Calendale. Santons, tiny clay figurines depicting the Nativity scene, are part of the Provencal holiday tradition. Santon fairs and exhibitions begin as early as November and are held through the first part of January. Find great gifts, enjoy Provencal culture and musical performances.

The Santons Fair in Marsielle starts on the last Sunday of November and goes through December 31st.

The Aix Santons Fair begins November 20th and runs through December 31st in Aix en Provece, and Sorgues hosts the Santons and Crafts fair November 22 – 23, 2014. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a favored village among visitors to Provence, it is known for festivities during the holidays.

Nocturne de Noël takes place in early December, when the town’s holiday lights are all switched on. Shops stay open late and live music plays.

The Christmas Market, Le Petit Marché du Gros Souper, offers crafts, santons, Christmas caroling and all the ingredients for the Gros Souper, or big dinner, and the thirteen desserts traditionally eaten in Provence on Christmas Eve. The 2014 market will be held on December 21st – 23rd.

The Mimosa Festival is held for ten days each February celebrating the beautiful, yellow mimosa flower with decorated floats, music and street entertainment. Explore a mimosa forest, learn about the plant’s cultivation, or visit a perfumery to see how the mimosa fragrance is captured in a bottle. In 2015, the festival takes place from February 18 – 25 in Mandelieu.

The Lemon Festival in Menton, February 14 – March 4, 2015, features giant designs made exclusively from citrus fruits as well spectacular floats decorated with oranges and lemons.

And while not exactly a festival, stores in France are only legally allowed to hold sales twice a year, in January and July.” (*Source:

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

'An Indian summer by Supreet'- A great new website for francophiles & francophones-

I would strongly recommend a great new website to all francophiles and francophones- An Indian summer by Supreet. . .

Saturday, November 15, 2014

'Sidewalk cafe', Marseilles, France' by K.J.S.Chatrath

A sidewalk cafe' in Marseilles, France- beauty in unexpected places... ....

Friday, November 14, 2014

'Deliciously French' by K.J.S.Chatrath

I saw this shop selling ready made garments with the sign 'Toi et Moi' in Marseilles, France.

Roughly it means 'you' and 'me'.

How deliciously French!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

‘Marseille's Open Secrets’ by Dorothy Garabedian

Vieux Port, Marseilles, France.

For knowing more about Marseilles read ‘Marseille's Open Secrets’ by Dorothy Garabedian.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Balasore and its erstwhile French Loge- a book review by Dr. Rabindra K. Swain

Monday, November 10, 2014

'The French National Flag' by K.J.S.Chatrath

I know the French immensely love their country and their national flag. Being a francophile myself, I was pained to see, in mid-October, a torn and faded French national flag, flying almost at half-mast in the Vieux Port of Marseilles, France.

Change it quickly s'il vous plait!