4,200 Marseillaise fed with what otherwise would have been waste

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In Marseille last month, 4,200 hungry French bellies went filled while French bins went empty.

From veggies to fruits, food was gathered that businesses otherwise would have wasted, literally feeding thousands on Nov. 23. Click on the photo for the full story…

Feedingthe5000

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Georgetown Reveals Some “Light” Bling

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FetedeLumieres

In honor of the historical Fête des Lumières — or Festival of Lights — that takes place in Lyon, France every year in early December for four consecutive days, Georgetown will be revealing its own light bling.

The Festival of Lights is the most popular event in Lyon, attracting more than four million to the city each year to see more than 80 works of light art. Fête des Lumières Georgetown is hosting a more humble gathering, showcasing four international light artists and five works of light art starting Dec. 13. Two of these five works — “Ciudad Habitada” and “Floating Lights” — will remain on public display longer than the others, through Dec. 20. The map below details where.

Lumieres Map

Fête des Lumières dates back to 1643, when the the plague hit Lyon. The city council vowed to pay tribute to the Virgin Mary if the people of Lyon were saved. Since they were, each year on Dec. 8, windowsills are decorated in candles and offerings are made to the Virgin. Extravagant, professionally run light performances, like Georgetown’s, continue that tradition.

The Georgetown Business Improvement District is also sponsoring the Second Annual Holiday Window Competition for its merchants now through Dec. 20. You can vote for your favorite here.

Celebrating a Century of Camus

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The legacy of French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist and philosopher Albert Camus (1913-1960) lives on.

The Alliance Française is celebrating “100 Years of Camus” this November — the month of his birth 100 years ago. And there’s still a chance to catch the Alliance’s last event in that series this Friday.

Albert Camus: 100 Years LaterNov. 6 Author series | Camus: A Romance
Nov. 7 Panel discussion | Camus: 100 Years Later
Nov. 8 Film | Albert Camus: Le Journalisme engagé
Nov. 8 Mixed media performance | Albert Camus Reads “The Stranger” REMIX
Nov. 22 Club de lecture | L’Etranger

If you missed celebrating Camus in November, be sure to take a look at BrainyQuote’s snippets of his work. They’ll surely give you a good taste.

32 things you never knew about Paris

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Did you know that

30 different cities throughout the world have the name “Paris”?
…it takes 2.5 hours to walk from the north to the south of Paris?  (I’d do it.)
…Paris has 384 metro stations, 19,612 taxis, 8,000 cafés with patios and 90,000 pigeons?

If not, check it out (in French):

Infographie: Paris en 32 Chiffres

Le Marché Français à Georgetown: Pour Tous les Gouts

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As promised, the 10th annual Georgetown French Market April 19 and 20 in the Book Hill neighborhood of Georgetown wasn’t only a photo opportunity, but also a great video opportunity. With more than 40 participants displaying their goods on the area’s Wisconsin Avenue patio, events were both colorful and eclectic.

Video Produced, Edited and Narrated by Natalie Plumb
Music by Kevin MacLeod, Creative Commons License

English translation:

“If you listen well, despite the traffic, you’ll find a rarity.”

Mawula Ahalou, Cafe Bonaparte: “French culture is an integral part of my life.”

Marie Follea, Patisserie Poupon: “…to see a bit of France.”

“No, we’re not in France. We’re at the Georgetown French Market. Washington hosts many markets throughout the spring and summer. But this market — full of art for francophones and anglophones alike — has clothes for every age, handmade jewelry, the country’s classic foods. Participants are pleased to have a celebration of French culture. Even if they weren’t French, the businesses next door benefited from the market’s visitors.”

Laurent Chaeuvet, Salon ILO: “It’s a very good market. It represents a bit of France. Everyone’s out on the sidewalk. Everyone who passes up and down sees it. It’s fun. It has a great ambiance. I like it.”

“There was something for everyone. For District Wire News, I’m Natalie Plumb.”

Et voilà! Les moments forts de la culture française de l’année 2012-2013

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This collage, by the Alliance Française, illustrates beautifully the plethora of French cultural highlights in the District this year:

MaisonFrancaiseEvents

Georgetown French Market: Photos and a Foretaste of Summer

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The Georgetown French Market featured more than 40 Georgetown boutiques, shops and cafes from April 19-20. Participants in the the 10th annual spring event displayed goods at discount price along Wisconsin Avenue’s patios, stretching from P Street to Reservoir Road.

Click here to see more photos.

I went for fun and to get footage for a video project to come, not intending to take photos at all, but ended up with a few. I hope you enjoy looking!

Largest Francophone festival in the world returns to Washington

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(first published on wtop.com)

Francophoniecomposite

WASHINGTON – With 220 million French speakers worldwide, French advocates think the language and its culture deserve a toast.

The largest celebration of French culture and language in the world — the Francophonie Cultural Festival — is returning to the Washington area March 1 through April 13. Organized by the D.C. Francophonie Committee, the 13th annual D.C. festival includes six weeks of music, dance, cuisine, theater, film and demonstrations from Francophone performers throughout the world.

Hear two artists featured in the festival: electric duo “Make the Girl Dance” and traditional Malian lute player Cheick Hamala Diabate:

Click to hear two of the festival's artists.

The word “Francophonie” references French-speaking communities or countries. Countries range from Lebanon to Romania, Djibouti and Mali. “Francophone” means French-speaking.

There are 75 member states and governments within the International Organization of La Francophonie, making up one of the largest linguistic zones in the world and more than one-third of United Nations members.

Organizers say events such as literary salons, concerts, culinary samplings and children’s workshops help teach the D.C. community about French culture.

“This is an opportunity to explore the French-speaking world and to understand how vast it is,” says festival spokeswoman Deb Fiscella. “It includes Africa, Asia, the Middle East and more.”

In 2012, the festival’s events attracted more than 8,000 people. At each festival, artists from French-speaking countries are invited to perform in venues throughout the Washington area, including the Smithsonian museums, embassies, Lycee Rochambeau — a local bilingual French and English private high school — and theaters like the Avalon Theatre.

Jennifer Pietropaoli, spokeswoman for the Alliance Francaise — one of the collaborating organizations presenting the Francophonie Cultural Festival — says this year’s festival has a wide selection of Francophone countries.

“It’s one of the most varied collection of events we’ve had,” she says.

This year’s performers and events are hosted by Lebanon, Senegal, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Haiti, Mali, France, Djibouti, Quebec and the Republic of Cameroon.

On April 12, singer-songwriter Kaissa will change the dynamic of the Smithsonian African Art Museum, blending African and Western musical styles. A Cameroon vocalist raised in Paris, she has worked with artists including Paul Simon and Diana Ross.

Other upcoming events include a lecture by Haitian author Franketienne, who specializes in the relationship between Creole and French, a presentation and tasting with Quebec’s beer sommelier Sylvain Bouchard, a solo performance of Moliere’s “Dom Juan” — the French version of the Spanish “Don Juan” — several children and adult award-winning film screenings and more.

On March 22, the festival held a sold-out Grande Fete, or “Big Party,” at the French Embassy. The gala had about 1,700 guests, and showcased more than 40 embassies’ foods and traditions, according to Fiscella.

Pietropaoli attended the festival and the Grande Fete for the first time this year.

“The Grande Fete was incredible — chaotic, but incredible,” Pietropaoli says. “It was really wonderful to see so many passionate people coming together to share their culture, mostly through cuisine.”

For a full schedule, tickets and information, visit the Francophonie Cultural Festival’s website.

In addition to the countries listed above, the Francophonie Cultural Festival is presented in collaboration with the D.C. Francophonie Committee, the Smithsonian Associates, Alliance Francaise, La Maison Francaise and the French-American Cultural Foundation.