Thursday, April 11, 2013

Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle was born in France in the town of Lile on November 22nd 1890 to well respected parents.  His father was a professor and his mother came from wealthy, entrepreneurial family.  De Gaulle spent the first years of his childhood in Lille, before moving to Paris with his family at age 11. Well-educated as a child under the tutelage of his father, he was an excellent student and furthered his education at the College Stanislas in Paris.  De Gaulle then looked for a way to feed his very ambitious young intentions.  Fiercely patriotic, the young de Gaulle decided the best way to further his career was to join the military.  He spent one year as a common soldier, as was the practice at the time, and then spent four years at the military academy of Saint-Cyr.  He did very well at the academy and developed a sterling reputation even though he was known to clash with superiors.  After graduating from the academy in 1912, he spent the years leading up to World War II in Arras with the 33rd regiment.  

De Gaulle saw heavy action in the First World War, and was wounded  twice in the early days of the war.  At the Battle of Verdun, he was yet again wounded, and this time captured and taken as a prisoner of war.  He was known among the other captives for his resilient spirit and remained there for the rest of the war, despite many attempts at escape.  After the armistice, de Gaulle spent the time in between wars further studying military tactics and helping train the Polish fighting force.  By the outbreak of World War II de Gaulle was colonel.  In battles against the Germans his forces used his own tactics, and had some of the only success out of all the French forces.  In recognition of this, he was promoted to brigadier general and put in charge of coordination with Britain.  However, the war effort went very poorly for France and soon it became evident that Germany would take France.  De Gaulle refused to back any motion moving towards surrender and urged his countrymen to do the same.  However, his former mentor Phillipe Pétain became Prime Minister and decided to seek peace with Germany.  De Gaulle along with a few other officers then rebelled and flew to Britain with money given to them by the ex-prime minister looking to continue the opposition against Germany from there.

De Gaulle did his best to coordinate Free French efforts and often clashed with other Allied leaders due to his rather haughty nature.  He  believed he had a right to power in France and was infuriated that the Allied forces did not accept him as such.  President Roosevelt would not accept him until there had been actual elections and this created further tension.  Regardless, with the D-Day Invasion he began to plot his return.  Eventually on August 26th of 1944 he proceeded into Paris as a liberator with an armed force.   As leader of the Free French forces, he assumed power and with little opposition and was made interim Prime Minister.  He served for two years, and was again elected before resigning, most likely in the hope that he would be brought back due to his popularity with increased executive power, but no such thing happened.  He was out of power from 1946 until 1958 and was even out of politics by the early 1950's.  However, when the Fourth Republic began to crumble his services were once again called on.  He helped form the constitution for the new Fifth Republic and was shortly after elected Prime Minister in November of 1958.  As Prime Minister he relinquished the territory of Algiers and strengthened France in a number of ways.  A believer in a powerful and independent France, he helped make the country a nuclear power with greater military and diplomatic relevance and independence.  He resigned from office on April 29th 1969 following the failure of a proposed referendum of his that he had a sworn, if not passed, would lead to his resignation.  A little over a year and half later he died on November 9th 1970, a true French patriot.

Charles de Gaulle a été un homme de grand courage. Il a combattu por su pays.  Il été tres ambitieux et égoiste parfois mais il toujours a fait que a pensé été  droit pour la France.  Il a fait la France un pays de important encore et a aimé les gens de la France.

Roger Federer, Le Joueur au Tennis de Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland
Roger Federer was born and raised in Basel, Switzerland on August 8, 1981. He grew up speaking Swiss German and later picked up German, French, and English. As a young athlete when he was on the train ride back and forth from his academy, Roger was surrounded by only French speaking people. This almost forced him to pick up the language. After making the choice of playing tennis instead of soccer, he began his incredible career. In 2007 alone he made $10.1 million, just enough to raise a family.. So on April 11, 2009, Roger and Mirka Vavrinec got married. Shortly after, on July 23, 2009, they had twin girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva.   
The "Matterhorn"

Roger Federer
Il a joué au tennis et au soccer depuis l'enfance. Comme un professionnel, il a gagné dix-sept Grand Slam titles dans neuf ans. Ces Grand Slam titles ont un French Open title, quatre Australian Open titles, cinq US Open titles, et sept Wimbledon titles. Roger Federer continue à faire du l'histoire tous les jours.     

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier est une société française de haute couture et de prêt-à-porter créateur de mode. Il est né le 24 Avril 1952 (60 ans) à Arcueil, Val-de-Marne, France. Gaultier a été le directeur artistique de la maison Hermès de 2003 à 2010. Gaultier a causé un choc en utilisant des modèles non conventionnels pour ses expositions, comme les hommes plus âgés et plein figuré femmes, percé et abondamment tatoué modèles, et en jouant avec les rôles traditionnels des sexes dans les spectacles. Cela lui a valu des critiques et des énorme popularité.

I really love some of his work, but I am also not a fan of some. It was all very wild and extreme, which in some ways is inventive and amazing, but in other ways it is very weird and twisted. He was, and still is, and inovator in the fashion world. He will always be highly respected

Monday, March 11, 2013

Farfalle Pasta


dénoyauté kalamata olives
poivron rouge
gousse d'ail haché
huile d'olive


verser eau dans un chaudron et chauffer sur la cuisinière jusqu'à bouillant

hacher un poivron, une olives, un origan, et les tomates

mettre farfalle pâtes dans un chaudron et cuisiner jusqu'à doux

mettre un poivron, une olives, un origan, et les tomates dans un chaudron pour dernier peu de minutes

ajouter un sel et un poivre si nécessaire

quand finir, placer les pâtes dans un bol et déployer les fromages sur sommet


Even though I had to leave early, I enjoyed hanging out and cooking with everyone. It was a fun experience to be able to cook a dish that we don't normally cook in America. I hated that I had to leave and wasn't able to see the finished product of all the dishes. But it is what it is. I found a small amount of cultural information on pasta.... Monsieur Bertrand contributed a lot to the French pasta industry. His factories reached their highest point in the beginning of the twentieth century. Marseilles held a lot of pasta factories and the main ingredient was durum wheat. One company in Marseilles produces up to 2.2 tons of pasta every day (770 tons a year). That is about the same amount as one-tenth of Italian exports. Lyons also held a lot of factories, the oldest dating from 1809. Pasta never had the same effect on France as it did in Italy, but it was introduced early and the production rate is still high.

Tarte Aux Fraises

Experience: I had a lot of fun making the tarte (excluding the sour cream part). It was easier than I thought it would be. The most difficult part of making it was when we had to put the mixture inside of the pie crust, considering you had to be extremely careful when spreading it so that the crust did not break. My crust broke in three different places. But, after everything was complete, I don't think the broken pie crust was noticeable. It tasted pretty good too! I enjoyed this culture project a lot because I think that we, as a class, ended up having a lot of fun together!

Cultural Information: As I'm sure many of you already are aware of, Tarte Aux Fraises is one of the most popular desserts in French culture. It seems to be portrayed that way in many French "stereotypes", for lack of better word. The recipe is quite simple and quickly completed.

-8 oz. de fromage à la crème
-une demi-tasse de crème sure
-deux pâtés à la tartes
-trois à soupe de sucre
-une cuillère à soupevanille

Le Poulet Cordon Bleu By: Morgan, Madison, and Chad

Le Poulet Cordon Bleu
  • 2 désossées et sans peau de poitrine de poulet
  • 2 tranches de jambon charcuterie
  • 2 tranches de fromage gruyère ou suisse
  • Tasse de beurre 1/4, fondu
  • 1/2 tasse de chapelure sèche
  • 1/2 cuillère à café de sel
  • 1/8 c de paprika
  1.  Aplatir le poulet à 1/4-in. épaisseur et garnir chacune avec jambon et fromage. Rouler et border extrémités; fixé avec des cure-dents.
  2. Placer dans un bol peu profond. Dans un autre bol peu profond, mélanger la chapelure, le sel et le paprika. Tremper le poulet dans le beurre puis les rouler dans le mélange de chapelure.
  3. Transférer dans un plat graissé allant au four. Cuire au four à 350 ° pendant 40-45 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que le poulet ne soit plus rose. Jeter des cure-dents.
Cultural Information: Chicken cordon bleu is a French-inspired poultry dish, although evidence suggests that it was actually developed in the United States by chefs imitating other stuffed meat dishes from Europe. The name of the dish is clearly of French origin: cordon bleu means “blue ribbon” in French, and in French culinary tradition, it is awarded to food or chefs of particularly high quality.
Personal Experience, Morgan: I really enjoyed making the chicken Cordon Bleu with Madison. It got kind of messy when we had to roll the chicken with cups. I was nervous that the chicken would cook to long and get dry, but it turned out just perfect. I honestly think our dish was better than Rue de Jean because we had more to eat!
Personal Experience, Madison:
Making the chicken Cordon Bleu was actaully really fun. Morgan and I flatened out the chicken(with a cup since we didnt have a meat hammer!) My hands were covered in butter and bread crums after we folled the chicken and cheese and ham into the crumbs. The chicken turned out so delicious and moist. It was the perfect size, and very yummy. I would definetly cook this dish again at home with my family!

Thomas Pradeau: An Aspiring Classic

     A native of Paris, France, Thomas Pradeau is one of the numerous unknowns, just beginning a prospective career as an artist who revolutionizes the concept of French music. Born on the eleventh of March in 1984 (in Bohemia), Pradeau grew up with his mother and artistic father (a painter) in Montmartre, a place known for its artists. According to the younger singer, living there as a child gave him opportunities to express himself openly. By the age of five, Thomas was singing in a childrens' choirs and participating in small musicals. He eventually mastered both the drums, guitar, and by ear alone, the piano. As a teenager, he even started a rock band, influences by both both, "Queen" and Mozart in his unique work. In a place where the arts were heavily cultivated, it only seemed expected that Pradeau pursue a successful career as a songwriter, although it did not begin as expected..

     Despite his avid learning in music and love of the arts, Pradeau eventually knew he had to, "grow up" so to speak, although he wouldn't dare give up his dream of performing. He became a hotel clerk, working nights and writing song music in his free time, which he posted on his "myspace" account. However, as with most talent, the unique writer and musician could not have been left in the dark for long.When My Master Company offered Thomas a record deal after discovering his page, who wouldn't have jumped at the chance? Although new to the French music scene, his fresh take on folk music has quickly become pleasurable to thousands, no matter where they are from. Referring to one of his influences, "Mozart," Thomas reflects that he was the first "punk," so to speak. The style he used was both drastic and impacting, as Pradeau wants be one day. Known for his musical spontaneity, it is no surprise that Thomas has accumulated many fans in only two years, even releasing his first album, "À deux pas de ma rue." Although the musical entrepreneur has not yet won any awards, it is likely his one of a kind, heartfelt songs will quickly win France over!

      Thomas Pradeau's work has been categorized in both the French pop and folk music genre, with a medley of piano playing ballads and those classic string rhythms France is known for. For me, personally, his musical approach is fresh no matter how many times one repeats a song. There is always a cheerful note to his music, while also maintaining a vivid passion that coincides with whatever emotion is presently being portrayed. In, "Audrey" for example, Pradeau's meaningful romantic tone is complimented by the rich flow of French words with which he sings, accenting each one with meaning. It portrays a sickness of heart and uses poetic symbolism to express typically hard to capture feeling.

"Audrey it would be cowardly
Should you not strike us
That you have nothing to do."
         His choice of words is both puzzling as well as unique. Constantly, Pradeau uses poetic devices to express his meaning, such as "strike" referred to in the lines above. In consideration, I translate the meaning to reference the striking of a match, or the lighting of flame. As love is often referred to in this way, it is logical to find such simple words deep and meaningful.  I listen to such words, and feel that possibly, despite its silliness, love is still blossoming today.No matter one's present thoughts, Thomas Pradeau's ballad creates a new, peaceful, hopeful mindset. Combined with piano, soft toned string instrumentals, and even accordion, Thomas Pradeau woos his own Juliet in as beautiful a manner as Shakespeare himself wrote.

        Although love is one of this artist's prime topics, he also sings about his home: Montmartre. As formerly discussed, the area is known for its artistic culture. However, as every, "starving artist" knows, that does not always indicate prosperity. In Thomas' case, the charm of Montmartre still enchants him today for its unique people. Another of his better known songs, "Le pays de Molière," (which roughly translated means,
 "Welcome to my Land") describes the rise and fall of such a spontaneous lifestyle, as well as its effects on
the people that live there. His adoration for its strangeness is expressed in an upbeat manner in both his 
music and its coinciding video. As always, his feelings are expressed in the way words are said, in the 
rhythm of the song, and ultimately, the words' meaning. Already displayed in the lyrics above, Thomas 
Pradeau strives to give the listener a view from his own perspective, and always adds a note of hope to 
his voice and meaning, no matter the song's topic. It proves that dreamers such as Thomas never cease 
to find hope and love in the world, even when things seems more like a nightmare. By combining a 
mixture of classic French medley and modern pop, Pradeau also creates artistic unity in his work, providing 
the listeners with a personal key to the dream he finds in a world that may seem harsh. 

      Despite his fresh take on typical French pop, many people throughout both the U.S., Great Britain, and 
France have found his music inspirational and quirky. Because he has yet to enter through the door of 
massive fame, such as the well known names one would find on a tabloid, Thomas has not encountered any
"Youtube" hecklers. In fact, a flurry of different languages makes up the comments under his videos including
both French and English. For example, his song, "Bain de mousse" or, "Bath Foam," (a rant about
fame and society corruption preventing simple pleasures) included positive comments and wishes. One
American subscriber said: "I hope he comes to the U.S. one day." Another French youth exclaimed: "On est
complètement absorbé par la chanson!!" or "I am completely absorbed in this song!!" Many, as I, have 
discovered the blooming artist by complete mistake, and now feel ever so glad that they did! Altogether, 
Thomas has a hopeful future, not because he is a seeker or fame, but because he is self-expressive in all his
music, something many will be able to relate to and love as his popularity inevitably escalates. 

For more information on Thomas Pradeau, see the following links:


For lyrics to some of his music, see the following links:


For links to other music videos by Thomas Pradeau and his affiliates, see the following links:


Pictures Cited:




Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tarte Aux Fraises

Tarte aux fraises is a favorite desert for many French families. Affordable ingredients and a simple recipe make it easy and quick to whip up, without any hassle. It probably started out as a farmer's dish, with fresh strawberries, cream, and homemade pie crusts. Now it's a staple at most pâtisserie and a classic French desert. 

I found making a tarte aux fraises a surprisingly easy and enjoyable experience. I had always thought that French recipes were extremely complicated and required nothing but gourmet ingredients. In reality, we could get everything we needed at the grocery store. Thankfully, the recipe was also very easy to follow, and definitely wasn't the long and drawn out process I'd imagined. The most difficult part for me was arranging the strawberry slices on the tarte.  While I had pictured it in the style of Martha Stewart, with perfectly symmetrical slices in some sort of pretty pattern, in the end realized all I really wanted to do was hurry up and try some of it. We sprinkled it with sugar (I wasn't adventurous enough to try mascarpone) and tasted our creation.While our tartes might not have looked perfect, they were absolutely divine!

La Recette:

Deux pâtes à tartes
8 oz de fromage à la crème
une demi-tasse de crème sure
trois à soupe de sucre
une cuillère à soupevanille
mascarpone (goûter)

1. Mélanger le , la crème sure, le sucre et la vanille dans un mélangeur électrique.
2.Remplir la pâtes à tartes avec cette mélange.
3.Lavent et coupent les fraises, sans les sommets.
4.Organiser les fraises et parseme le sucre et la mascarpone sur la tarte.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Edith Piaf: The Little Sparrow


Edith was the daughter of Louis Gassion a street acrobat performer and Annetta Malliard a cafe singer. According to legend she was born on the pavement of Rue de Belleville 72, but her birth certificate lists a local hospital. Her parents abandoned her and after living with her grandmother for a short period of time, she was left at a Brothel and raised by prostitutes. She had her only child at age 17 named Marcelle who died at age 2. Her career started when Lois Leplee started her singing at his nightclub. This led to gigs that led to her first two records. A year later Leplee was murdered by some mobsters previously associated with Edith. This threatened her career. So she changed her stage name to Edith Piaf and began writing songs reflecting her earlier life on the streets. She made friendships with prominent composers and during the early 1940s became very successful as France's most popular performer. She toured South America, the United States and Europe becoming internationally known. In 1945 she wrote "La vie en rose which was voted a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. Many of her songs are used today in major motion pictures. She died a early death at age 47 of liver cancer. "Every d*** fool thing you do in this life, you pay for" were her last words. This reflected her adventurous and wild lifestyle. 


What about your musician's sound do you like? How does the sound affect your mood? What does the sound remind you of?
     She has a beautiful voice full of emotion drawing her audience in. The songs have a simple quality which lulls the listener. As I listen I began to feel the pain she sings about. I experience the heartbreak or the joy of a new found love. Something about the passion heard in her voice reminds me of the modern singer Adele. It reminds me of times in my life when I experienced loss or want.
How does your musician's music reflect his or her time period? Was there anything happening in the world or music industry that influenced the music or sound? 
     She sang to french prisoners during World War II and helped many escape. Having experienced the war she sung about struggle and abandonment. After the war, she began songs about love and heartbreak reflecting what many were experiencing. People could relate to her topics. The popular french culture at the time was also reflected in her music. 

What does your musician sing about? What are some of the major themes or subjects of the songs? If they do not sing, how can you interpret the music or sound?
     Edith sings about the fabric of her life. "La Vie En Rose," which means the life in pink, is her most recognized song. It tells of the virtue of french living that the americans were obsessed with in the 60s. "Mon Dieu," which mean my God, is a plea to God to leave a loved one for just a few more days. Her music was simple yet dramatic. Most of her songs are about loss, love and sorrow reflecting the pain in her own life. 

Françoise Hardy: The Folkish Popstar

Françoise Hardy
On January 17, 1944, Françoise Hardy was born to an about to be single mother in Paris, France. She immediately took on much responsibility when her sister Michèle was born only eighteen months later. These two young girls had a different childhood than many, only seeing their dad a couple times a year. The combination of difficulties sent the children quickly into adulthood. For her sixteenth birthday Françoise got her very first guitar, strangely from her father. About a year later, to kick start her music career, she applied for an ad that was looking for young singers. Then on November 14, 1961, Françoise Hardy was offered a recording contract with Vogue. In April 1962, she recorded her début single. Thanks to her song "Tous les garçons et les filles" Hardy's look completely changed as she was now seen on the cover of many magazines. She has been able to accomplish many things over the years including the recording of many albums,  modeling, receiving abundant French titles (including the "French 60s Covergirl"), and starting her very own family with her husband Jacques Dutronc and son Thomas Dutronc. Françoise Hardy is still going strong at the age of sixty-nine today (2013).

Françoise Hardy
What about your musicians sound do you like? How does it affect your mood? What does the sound remind you of?

Hardy's folk inspired yet pop music allows for a very unique sound. Its incredibly upbeat tune and beautiful, flowing lyrics give a sense of a happy, soothing sensation. The overall sounds of her voice and her guitar blend very well together. Her tunes make you want to sing along, especially during the choruses. She really found the right combination of sounds for each of her pieces. 

How does your musician's music reflect his or her time period? Was there anything happening in the world or music industry that influenced the music or sound?

Hardy started singing many of her own compositions but seemed to embrace
the themes of "young love". She also incorporated the French pop music of the time and progressed to very moody music such as rhythm and blues. The major themes of her songs included ballad type music about young love and the turmoils involved. Playing the guitar at a very early age enabled Hardy to accompany her own songs with her musical talent on the guitar. Her knowledge of music and her love for singing enabled her to progress to almost any style.

What does your musician sing about? What are some of the major themes or subjects of the songs? If they do not sing, how can you interpret the music or sound?

The music that most inspired Hardy were the "chanson" songs, also known as lyric driven songs. This was the music that she steered toward at the beginning of her career. Some of her early musical influences included French chanson stars  such as Charles Trenet and Cora Vaucaire and singers Paul Anka, the Everly Brothers, Cliff Richard, Connie Francis and Marty Wilde. This was a time when peace rallies and other antiwar movements were more prevalent. Many songs of love and harmony were circulating. As Hardy became more experienced and well-traveled, she emerged with singers of rhythm and blues in which her voice allowed her to emit the true feelings of her soul. Growing up in a one parent home and attending a strictly run school led to much of the singer's inner feelings being put to music.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain - Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain -  Jean-Pierre Jeunet

       Amélie est sur une pièce importante du temps dans la vie d'une jeune femme. Amélie Poulain a grandi avec une mère froide qui meurt quand Amélie est jeune et d'un père impersonnel. Amélie ne va pas à l'école en raison d'une «maladie du cœur» qui n'existe pas, et à cause de cela, elle grandit solitaire. Quand elle est plus âgée, elle sort et commence à travailler et à un bar. Un jour, elle regarde la télé et il est annoncé que la Princesse Diana est morte. Amelie tombe une casquette et il frappe ouvrir une brique en vrac. A l'intérieur du trou dans le mur est une boîte en fer blanc avec des pièces anciennes et Amélie décide qu'elle va donner à l'homme derrière ses articles. Cela commence son attitude d'aider tout le monde autour d'elle.  Elle fait tout, de la création de romans pour la défense de ceux qui sont victimes d'intimidation. En aidant les autres, elle devient meilleure et trouve son seul et véritable amour, une autre âme bizarre.

       I loved Amélie.  It was kind of difficult to get used to in the beginning, as it has its own very unique pace.  Amélie seems almost unreal in the beginning, a sort of distant person, very alienated from society.  She is extremely imaginative because of this alienation and has created her own little world, something that is both beautiful and terrifying.  The movie was very interesting for many reasons.  It was sweet without being sugary sweet, it was a love story without being all about romantic love, and it made the world seem like a little better of place while still being realistic.  One of the most interesting parts is the lack of time.  It is almost always day (I do not remember any scenes with night, other than when she is in bed) and that with the combination of confusing, yet wonderful, editing gives it a feeling of endlessness.  I would recommend it to almost anyone.  It has some more mature subject matter, but the scenes are so short you could just cover a child's eyes for the 5 seconds of scandalous actions.  Other than the brief seconds of adult subject matter, it is extremely lighthearted.  It is very easy to watch, meaning both that it keeps your attention and that it does not leave you feeling heavy after.  You become so emotionally attached to all of the characters, even though most of them you only have a minute introduction and then 5 minutes of screen time with them.  It was extremely fun to watch and I would watch it again in a heartbeat!

1.  One of the things that I noticed as soon as the movie began was the choppiness of the scenes.  It was mainly shown during the introductions of the characters, during which the narrator would state the characters name and it would proceed to flash images that described the person.  Her imagination often contributes to the choppiness.  Also, it is shot on location and has no clear climax.
2.  Color, light, camera angles, and surroundings all play key roles in Amélie.  The film has very bright colors, all typically primary.  Every so often it changes to black and white, disrupting the flow.  There are almost no shadows, with the exception of the mean vegetable salesman's room, which also has dark colors.  The camera is typically at strange angles, creating a fantasy and unreal feeling.  The surrounding are often one base color, such as Amélie's room being all red or the grocer's being all green.  All of these add the storybook feeling of the movie.

3. There are many themes or lessons that could come out of this movie.  The main one that I got out of the movie was about effort.  Amélie wanted to do something fantastic, like helping the world, but she didn't decide she was going to protest or change anything big.  All she did were little acts of kindness that brightened people's day and made their lives a little more enjoyable.  It shows how little things, along with imagination, can help others in bigger ways than we planned for them to.

4.  Amélie felt extremely french as I watched it, from the music to the style, but one movie gave me a slightly similar feeling as I watched it.  500 Days of Summer also has an endless feel to it and creates an ethereal feel.  They accomplish these through different means, but both are on the light side and very interesting.