Another Edition of Francophone Legends and Monsters

Written by Jasmine Grace, High School intern

This edition of Francophone Legends and Monsters will feature creatures from Brittany, France, and Lake Memphremagog in Québec. One is said to be beautiful and wise, yet bloodthirsty and dangerous. The other is mysterious and elusive, yet many have spotted him over the years. 


Brittany, France

These creatures are from the Brittany region in France. Korrigans could be compared to fairies or goblins, or maybe dwarves. These spirits are associated with rivers and wells, and like to live near water. They are generally described as small, perhaps two feet tall. They are said to have wings, which are beautiful and delicate like those of a wasp. While you may be imagining a pretty, gentle creature, they are actually quite dangerous. These devious creatures use their beauty to lure unsuspecting men to their deaths. 

Brittany Coast

However, some seek out korrigans, as they are said to be very wise, and are believed to see the future. In addition to the danger of meeting a korrigan, they can be difficult to find, as they are shapeshifters. 

But regardless of their form, these French sprites are rather mysterious. And despite their beauty and wisdom, they are dangerous and to be avoided.  


Lake Memphremagog

On the border between Québec and Vermont, lies Lake Memphremagog. Memphremagog is relatively shallow at both ends (although its deepest point is well over 350 feet). It is bordered on the West by picturesque mountains, and full of over 20 islands. However, there are rumors of a monster in this lake. His name is Memphré. 

Records of sightings go back to the early 1800s. In some years, there were as many as eight instances where Memphré was spotted. According to a 1997 Sherbrooke University study, there have been 215 well-documented sightings of Memphré. 


In 1961, two fishermen saw what they believed to be Memphré when he swam past their boat. The creature was black, they said, and about 40 feet long. It swam partially submerged under the water. 

Then in 1994, four people in two separate boats spotted a similar, or perhaps the same, creature. It was also black, but these folks thought he was closer to 30 feet long, and they spotted three humps on the creature as he swam through the water. 

Whatever Memphré looks like, many over the years have said they’ve seen some part of him, and most agree that he’s dark-colored and serpent-like. 


Life and Legacy of Marquis de Lafayette

Written by Erin Blais, University Intern


Marquis de Lafayette

Marquis de Lafayette

You may recognize the name Marquis de Lafayette from the sensational play Hamilton. However, long before he was singing on stage, Lafayette was a French aristocrat and military leader who played an integral role in the American Revolutionary War. He was born on September 6, 1757, in Chavaniac, France. Lafayette was orphaned in his teens and inherited a large fortune that allowed him to live a comfortable and privileged life.  



Lafayette in the Colonies

He had always aspired to be a soldier, and in July of 1777 at the age of 19, Lafayette traveled to Philadelphia to fight in the American Revolutionary War. He was appointed Major General in the Continental Army and served under George Washington. It’s said that Lafayette started out as a pushy and determined teenager but eventually gained the respect and love of Washington. In just a few months, Lafayette was living in Washington’s house, and riding next to him in battle. He even had Washington’s own physician tend to him after he was wounded. They became a surrogate father and son to each other, creating a bond that far surpassed the bond of war.  

Marquis de Lafayette and George Washington at Mount Vernon

After achieving military success, Lafayette went back to France in 1779, where he acted as a diplomat to aid in the conversations between the American Colonies and France as the former asked for troops and supplies for the war. He worked closely with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams.  

Lafayette returned to the American Colonies in 1780 and was given command of his own troops in Virginia. He and his troops are remembered for pursuing British Commander Cornwallis, eventually causing his surrender. After that, Lafayette was honored with the nickname “Hero of Two Worlds”.  

After the Revolution

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, written by Marquis de Lafayette

Lafayette returned to France in 1782 as a war hero and honorary citizen of several US states. While in France, he entered the political scene and was elected as a representative to the Estates-General and wrote The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen with help from Thomas Jefferson. He also held the position of Commander of the Guard of Paris. It was in this position that he saved the lives of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette from an invasion in Versailles. He brought them safely to a secure location.    


The Call Back to America

After finally settling down to live the quiet life of a farmer, Lafayette was invited by President James Monroe to travel back to America in 1824. Though he had been out of the political scene for a number of years, he decided to make the trip anyway. A trip that President Monroe said would reinvigorate and reinstall the “spirit of 1776” in the next generation. During this trip, Lafayette visited each of the states (24 at the time) and the grave of George Washington with his son Georges Washington de Lafayette (named after the historic president). He was also the first foreign citizen to address the US House of Representatives.  

Lafayette died on May 20, 1834, and is buried with dirt he collected from Bunker Hill.  

Lafayette Closer to Home

A plaque memorializing Lafayette’s visit to Portsmouth, New Hampshire

On September 1, 1824, Marquis de Lafayette visited Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  The state continues to remember Lafayette with a plaque that marks the location of his visit. It also named Mount Lafayette after him, and celebrates Lafayette Day on May 20 – the anniversary of his death. His name is memorialized and celebrated all over the country with schools, towns, and roads named after him.

On May 20 I encourage you all to think about Lafayette and notice how he continues to live on today, perhaps by watching Hamilton.  I know I will be. 

World of French: New England

Written by Jasmine Grace, High School intern

Boys sitting on the sidewalk in a Canadian neighborhood of Manchester, NH

Today, nearly 2 million New England residents are descendants of those who came to the US in the Great Diaspora, when nearly a third of the population of Québec migrated south to the United States in the years between 1840 and 1930.



The Journey

The majority of the migrants were from large farm families struggling to find jobs or unable to make a profit from their crops. The population of Québec had been steadily growing for decades, and that meant it was difficult for many to find work.

Workers leaving their shift at the mills

They came to the US largely to work in the enormous textile mills, such as those in Lowell, Massachusetts, and Manchester, New Hampshire. The textile industry in New England had been growing, and the influx of French Canadian migrants meant they now had workers to power their factories. 

Not all came to stay. Nearly half returned home with the money they made in New England. And others lived most of their time in the US, but returned to Québec each spring and fall to sough and harvest crops on their farms back home. 

The Daily Life of a French Canadian Mill Worker

Arial view of the textile mills

On the surface, it appeared as though everyone benefited from the migration of French-Canadians to New England. The mills now had the workers they needed, and the migrants had found the employment they were searching for. However, life was difficult for the French-Canadian mill worker. They faced persecution from the Irish, among other groups, and often earned less than other mill workers. They worked long hours at the mill every day, and lived in crowded neighborhoods. 

These ‘Little Canadas’ were populated almost entirely by French-Canadians. They were often very crowded, in tenements owned by the textile companies. However, their inhabitants made the most of their conditions. The neighborhoods often had their own schools, and French language newspapers.

Since Catholicism was a very strong belief shared by nearly all of the migrants, residents of Little Canadas frequently built their own churches. Life revolved around family, work in the mills, and worship. Often after folks built a Church in their area, more French-Canadians would move south to the area. Migration also increased with the establishment of French-Canadian-owned businesses, which in turn contributed to the growth and development of the Little Canada they lived in. 

Manchester, NH today

Although the tide of migration slowed during and after the Great Depression, there are still many in New England today who share French Canadian heritage. One can still feel the influence of their culture  in many of the cities with the old mills, such as in Manchester.

Architecture: Beneath Montréal

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

What is the RÉSO?

RÉSO Entrance

The RÉSO, which is also referred to as the Underground City, is a network of underground tunnels located in Montréal, Canada. These interconnected tunnels contain shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, and even office buildings! The underground system spans 32 kilometers and is the largest of its kind in the world. Visitors often remark that it feels like a second city under the city of Montreal itself. 



Montréal 1960

Construction of the RÉSO began in the 1960s, when Montreal hosted the World Exposition. Urban architectural planners imaged a space that would connect different parts of the city via underground alleyways. The purpose of this effort was to offer shelter from the harsh winters of Canada and provide reduced street congestion. Originally, the system was designed solely to connect the Expo’s pavilions and buildings. However, over time, the RÉSO grew and became a critical part of the urban landscape in Montreal. 

During construction, the RÉSO proved to be a difficult undertaking. Millions of cubic meters of earth and rock were removed in order to instal pipes and electrical wiring that extended miles under the city. Furthermore, space for buildings and facilities was carved out of the earth, often using explosives and heavy machinery. The tunnels are constructed of concrete that is up to two feet thick in some areas. Lining the concrete are cables that cary water, electricity, and other services throughout the underground complex. Throughout construction, workers were on three shifts a day in order to ensure that the project remained on schedule. 

One of the most difficult components of construction was not the labor, however, but getting people to agree on the viability of the project. Initially, some business owners and contractors were skeptical of the success that could be achieved with this project. Additionally, the size of the project required that dozens of different entities and groups worked in tandem in order to achieve a smooth and flawless execution and aesthetic. Throughout all of this, the RÉSO was completed in 1966, just in time for the World Expo and right on schedule!

Modern RÉSO

In the RÉSO

Today, over 2,000 business thrive in the RÉSO where upwards of 500,000 visitors travel through each day. The business range from high-end fashion outlets to fast-food restaurant chains and movie theaters. Several cultural attractions also found a home in the RÉSO, including the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, the Place des Arts, and the Bell Centre (where the city hockey team plays). 

The tunnels have also been beautified over the decades. Now, visitors are greeted with colorful light displays, mosaic walls, and art pieces. The ceilings sport murals, and sculptures can be found scattered throughout the city. Energy-efficient lighting and green spaces have also been incorporated into the underground city in order bring the natural world into the enclosed space. Many consider the RÉSO not only a city under the Earth, but as a work of art itself. 


The Many Levels of the RÉSO

The RÉSO contributes incredibly to the economic prosperity of Montreal. The underground city creates hundred of thousands of jobs and generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. Millions of visitors pass through the shops and tunnels every year an experience the architectural wonder of the RÉSO. Should you ever find yourself in the city of Montreal, the RÉSO is a critical cultural experience. 

The Life and Art of Claude Monet

Written by Erin Blais – University Intern

Early Life

Claude Monet

Parisian painter Claude Monet changed the direction of the art world with both his talent and influence in the creation of Impressionism.  Born on November 14, 1840, in Paris, Monet was the second son of Claude Adolphe Monet and Louisa Justine Aubree Monet.  While his father wanted Monet to follow his lead and go into the family grocery business, Monet longed for a different life – the life of a painter.  His aunt, an amateur painter herself, was his first supporter and encouraged him to attend art school.  He attended Le Havre Secondary School of the Arts where he had his first success at age 15 when he sold charcoal caricatures on the streets.  


Monet’s Art Style and Impressionism

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet

As Monet advanced in his art career, he found friends and mentors that introduced him to new mediums and places of inspiration. Among his favorites were the styles of Japanese prints, painting en plein air (outdoors), and nature. His medium of choice was oil paints.

As Monet gained confidence in his work, he developed his unique style. He began to pull away from painting the subject exactly as he saw before him, and instead painted the essence of the subject and how it made him feel. This produced paintings that had small visible brushstrokes, unblended colors, and an emphasis on light and open scenery. This style later became recognized as Impressionism. 

In 1872, Monet created a painting titled Impression, Sunrise.  This was one of the first Impressionism works and it is where the style got its name. It was shown in the first Impressionism exhibit in 1874 where it inspired a new generation of artists.      


Lasting Impact

Just one of the paintings inspired by Monet’s garden

In 1890 Monet purchased a home in Giverny France where he created a lush Asian-inspired water garden, complete with exotic plants, birds, and a pond.  This inspired him to paint one of his most recognizable series of paintings- The Water Lilies.  Throughout his life, Monet painted over 250 water lily paintings, including some that stretched over 6 feet tall. 





Monet’s Garden in Giverny


In 1926 Monet died in his home surrounded by his family.  He was a dedicated painter right up until his death despite having cataracts which affected his vision.  His house in Giverny stands as a museum and memorial to the famous painter and is open to the public. 

Cabane à Sucre: A Québecois Legacy

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern


Traditional Cabane

Beginnings of the Cabane à Sucre

Cabanes à Sucre, or sugar shacks, are small cabins or groups of cabins located in Eastern Canada and Northern New England. In these cabanes, sap collected from maple trees is boiled into maple syrup. This style of production were developed through a combination of Native American and European innovations. For the next century or so, it remained primarily a family-related cottage industry in Québec. The busier period for sugar shacks is from late October to the end of April when maple sap becomes available. Collection efforts occur during the thawing period of early spring when temperatures are ideal for the sugaring process. Sap collection is usually performed during the first two weeks of April, which has become the focus of an annual spring celebration.

Family-run Cabane

Today, many cabanes are commercially operated and offer reception halls and outdoor activities. Most, however, remain family-owned despite their growing size. They even open to the general public during certain months for their “sugaring off” celebrations. 

Traditional “Sugaring Off” Celebrations

At a cabane à sucre, meals traditionally begin with yellow pea soup. Next come savory dishes such as baked ham, omelets, sausages, tourtière, baked beans, cretons, and deep-fried pork rinds. These foods are often cooked with or drizzled in maple syrup. The meal is often the central focus of “Sugaring off” celebrations, as familys and friends gather around for a maple-filled dinner. Beyond eating, activities at sugar shacks vary but can include traditional music and dancing, snowshoeing, and observing the maple syrup-making process. 

The FAC Event

Next Saturday, April 1st, the FAC is hosting a Cabane à Sucre event at the Oscar Barn in Hooksett, New Hampshire. To learn more about the maple farm on site, visit this website. From 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, there will be a series of presentation on the sugaring process and how the local farm manages their production. Then, from 6:00 to 7:30, there will be a traditional “Sugaring Off” dinner with tons of traditional foods and, of course, an immense amount of maple syrup. From 7:30 to 10:00, the night will finish off with dancing and music from The Reel McCoys. Tickets for the event are now sold out. 

The French Experience of Dominic Girard

March is International Francophonie Month, recognizing the 80+ countries of the world where French is spoken. 

Although French is a global language, you don’t need to travel to Paris, Congo, or Canada to find it. There are plenty of communities here in the United States that celebrate French, including our New England region. In NH, over 23% of the population identifies as having French or French-Canadian Heritage. Many families no longer speak the language at home but some still consider it an important piece of their heritage.

One example of a young professional who continues to celebrate his French roots is Dominic Girard, son of Richard and Jennifer Girard, proud Franco-Americans and Lifetime FAC Members. I recently spoke with Dominic about his experiences with the French language and culture. He shared with me stories of his study abroad experience and tales of his childhood. 

Growing up in Manchester

Manchester Mills

In the largest city in New Hampshire, there are many people from many diverse places of the world. Francophone culture in particular is well represented. The largest Francophone influence in the city came from the Quebecois, many of whom ended up there to work in the mills between 1840 and 1930.

Dominic grew up in this city. He told me that French language and culture had always been a part of his life, if only a backdrop at times. His father had studied French in college, and his Nana was fluent. His 8th grade year of school, Dominic was homeschooled, and in that year was taught the basics of the language. He studied French in high school as well, and again in college, where he earned a minor with it. 

Study Abroad in Strasbourg

While in college, Dominic had the opportunity to study abroad. He landed in Strasbourg, France, near the border with Germany. Dominic said this location was an exciting place to stay largely because of its location in central Europe. He could reach just about anywhere in Western Europe in less than 6 hours. 

One of his favorite memories, he told me, was of the Christmas market in Strasbourg. There, he enjoyed vin chaud, a spiced wine drink served warm. 

He said he would highly recommend a study abroad experience in college. Studying helps build familiarity with a language or culture, but traveling helps you truly understand it. 

The Importance of Language Study

Dominic said he recommends studying another language. It helps a person better understand their own culture and language, and learn about other approaches to life. There’s so much more out there that we don’t always see in the US. We are surrounded by an ocean on either side, and only share two borders with other nations. 

He says studying another language is loads of fun, but also very practical. It helps build connections and understanding of every part of our world. 

Dominic’s story is one example of how the combination of a family’s commitment to their heritage and a young person’s desire to keep that heritage alive keeps adding new chapters to the Franco-American story.

Félicitations Dominic et merci!

Dialects of African French

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

Congolese (Kinshasa) French

Kinshasa, Capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Congolese French, also known as Kinshasa French after the capital city, is spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries of Central Africa. As the largest Francophone country in the world, the DRC has developed its own dialect and slang throughout their use of French in business, administration, and education. 

There are several structural and linguistic differences between Congolese dialects and standard French. In Congolese French, there is a slower rhythm with a more relaxed pronunciation. Additionally, the Congolese dialect places more emphasis on tone, often using elongated vowel sounds. 

However, even the origins of this dialect are different from traditional French dialects, due to the area’s history as a Belgian colony. Because of this, the Congolese dialect is often considered by linguists an offshoot of Belgian French. One example of an expression derived from Belgian French is the expression “casser le Bic.” In standard Parisian French, le Bic has no translation, however in Belgian French le Bic means ballpoint pen. The expression thus means, literally, “to break the ballpoint pen.” In Congolese French, however, the expression means “to stop going to school.” The use of Casser le Bic is a clear linguistic indication that Congolese French is derived, at least in part, from Belgian French. 

Other unique attributes of the Congolese dialect arise from its mixing with the local languages. The DRC has four official languages, but the most common is Lingala.  Often, French phrases and words are mixed with Lingala phrases.

One common example is “Merci mingi,” which uses the French merci (thank you) and the Lingala mingi (very much). Another cultural saying specific to the Congolese dialect is a Kinshasan euphemism: “avoir un deuxième bureau.” Literally, this would translate to “to have a second office,” but it is used in a figurative manner to mean “having a mistress.” While a Francophone speaking a different dialect may not understand the reference, Congolese French has incorporated the saying into their unique dialect.

Maghreb (Algerian) French

Maghreb French, sometimes referred to as Algerian French, is from the region of North Africa. This French dialect exists across the nations of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia; all former colonies of France. Algeria is the second most populous Francophone nation in the world (in terms of speakers of French). More educated citizens in the region are often bilingual in French and Arabic. 

The influence of Arabic language and culture has become a critical part of Maghreb French. Compared to sub-Saharan dialects, Maghreb French is more similar to Parisian French. One of the most common examples of Maghreb French is the verb kiffer, which is akin to aimer (to like) in Parisian French. This verb is borrowed from the Arabic word kif, which has a similar meaning. Kiffer has become a common Parisian slang word, demonstrating the ability of French dialects to transcend national borders..

Algerian politics recently banned the use of French as an official correspondence. The use of the language is said to remind citizens of their colonial history. As such, the nation is seeking to promote its own local languages as well as English. The ban, coming from the Ministry of Culture, came into effect around April of 2022. 

Dialects and Language

Overall, the French language has many different forms across the world. These are just two of the copious quantities of African French dialects that I will share in later blog posts. Just remember: dialects make a language interesting and unique. We must celebrate diversity and promote dialectical differences. 

Architecture: Château Frontenac

Written by Jasmine Grace, High School Intern

Le Château Frontenac

This hotel was one of the first of its kind to be built, and is still run today as one of the most luxurious hotels in Québec. It has hosted many famous guests such as the Premier du Québec, Alfred Hitchcock, and many other well-known  names


The Château Frontenac was built as a ‘railroad hotel’ to encourage tourism by train. Though several hotels were built for this reason, this particular one was constructed by the Pacific Railroad Company. Construction began in 1892, and the hotel opened in the following year. 

A Château of the Loire Valley

The architect responsible for the Château’s design was Bruce Price of New York City. The design was inspired by French châteaux (castles) of the Loire Valley. 

Additions were made to the hotel in 1926, when a central tower was incorporated into the design by contractors Edward and William Maxwell. Then the most recent addition came in June of 1993, when the Claude-Pratte wing was added. This contains a spectacular indoor pool, a fitness center, and an exterior terrace.


Historic Moments at the Frontenac

Lavish Library

Today, the beautiful room next to the hotel’s restaurant, Le Champlain, is a library. However, in the 1950s, Premier du Québec Maurice Duplessis took the room as his office. He also lived in suite 1107 of the Château Frontenac.

I Confess

Many of Alfred Hitchcock’s films have become iconic and are instantly recognizable today, such as Psycho. However, one of Hitchcock’s lesser known films, I Confess, was filmed in Québec as well as Hollywood. Hitchcock himself stayed in the Château Frontenac to watch the premier of the film in the city. 

Other Famous Québec Hotels

During the busy Carnaval season, the Château Frontenac takes many guests who came to visit the world’s largest winter carnaval. The Château is close to many of the festivities; located in Old Québec, the historic neighborhood of Québec City.



But there’s another option for true Carnaval goers who want a unique winter experience: the ice hotels. Built of ice and snow, these incredibly built structures are the only ice hotels in all of North America. They’re also themed every year. For 2023, the theme will be nightlife. 


Cirque du Soleil: Re-defining A Circus 

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern


History Of Cirque


The beginnings of the Cirque du Soleil show trace back to a 1980s group of performers. Founded by Gilles Ste-Croix, Les Echassiers de Baie-Saint-Paul (The Stiltwalkers of Baie-Saint-Paul) performed on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in Québec City. This group of jugglers, dancers, fire-breathers, and musicians would become the core of Cirque du Soleil. A member of this group, Guy Laliberté, proposed bringing the show out of the city and across the province of Québec. This province-wide tour began in 1984, marking the 450th year since the discovery of the Canadian land by Europeans. 

Guy Lalibérte

As the circus act began to spread, they found their name: Cirque du Soleil. According to Laliberté, the sun represented their youth, energy, and strength. They also became known as a trendsetting group, as their show was animal-free to avoid the typical cruelty associated with circus acts. Instead, they relied on incredible dance numbers, original music, and purposeful lighting to immerse the viewer. 

Upon the success of this expansion, the act made its dive into international venues in 1987 with its first US-based tour, beginning in Los Angeles and moving to sold-out shows in San Diego and Santa Monica. Following this success, the same tour was brought abroad to Europe in 1990.


Mystère, Cirque Show

In 1993, Cirque du Soleil established its first permanent show in Las Vegas. Titled Mystère, this show is performed in a custom-built theater on the Vegas strip, decorated with dazzling lights to match the aesthetic. To this day, the show still holds its residency in Las Vegas. The piece is designed to take a look “inside the imagination,” filled with color, music, and athleticism. Since its introduction, Mystère has become one of the top hits for any Vegas trip. 







a performer floats above the audience, lifted by massive balloons

This weekend, Cirque du Soleil is making a stop in Manchester, New Hampshire, to play its show Corteo. On Friday, FAC blog interns Jasmine and myself attended the show at the SNHU arena.

Corteo, which is currently on tour across the US, focuses on the storyline of a clown named Mauro. In the beginning of the story, Mauro passes away, but his spirit remains a vital component of the piece. The rest of the show then focuses on his corteo, or funeral procession. The rest of the cast of characters can be seen having fun and celebrating the life of Mauro, rather than mourning his death. 

Personally, the Cirque experience was absolutely amazing. From the audience engagement from the lady tied to balloons (pictured here) to the lights, dancing, and music all came together to produce an immersive and spectacular show. 

Tickets for Corteo, and other Cirque du Soleil shows, can be found here

2022 in Review

Written by Jasmine Grace,
High School Intern


2022 has come to an end, so we wanted to look back at many of the things that we’ve learned, and remember many of the events that have taken place . 

Pumpkin Winners

Giant Pumpkins

We learned earlier in 2022 about two contests in Québec in which competitors row giant pumpkin-canoes toward the finish line. 

Unfortunately, the 2022 Windsor Pumpkin Regatta was canceled indefinitely, as the lake used for this race currently has almost no water. Lake Pisquid, an artificial lake, is not nearly deep enough to host the race. The tidal gates are now being managed to improve fish passage. 

However, there was a new pumpkin race this year, in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. The very first winner of this competition, Ryan Foley, says he grew up watching the Regatta over in Windsor. Many of his competitors were close friends, and he says they all had a great time splashing toward the finish line. 

World Cup Finals

Another exciting event of 2022 was France competing in the FIFA World Cup Finals! Morocco also made it far in this global soccer event, becoming the first African nation to reach semi-finals. 

But France and Morocco’s performances aren’t the only exciting part of the event. In November of this year, 2 French cyclists set out to bike from Paris to Doha, Qatar, to watch the finals and cheer on France. After 3 months and more than 7,000 kilometers, they made it! They traveled about 15 kilometers each day, through 13 different countries. Along the way, they crossed a variety of terrains, from flooded forests in Hungary to desert in Saudi Arabia. They overcame many challenges on their journey, but both said they had a great time on their trip.

A Look Ahead

France will be involved in global sports in 2023 as well! It will host the next Rugby World Cup. And Canada is scheduled to be one of 3 host countries for the next FIFA World cup in 2026.

Closer to home, the FAC has plans for 2023 as well! The blog will continue with a variety of articles across many subjects. We’ll post the next edition of the World of French series, and another article about Francophone Legends and Monsters. Stay tuned for more exciting Francophone news!

Le Festival des Lumières

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

History of Le Festival des Lumières     

2018 Exhibit

The Festival of Lights (Le Festival des Lumières) in Paris is coming back for its fourth year! The event, located in the 5th arrondissement (the French equivalent to a neighborhood), is a spectacular display of larger-than-life light displays. The first event was held in 2018 and has returned every year except 2020.

2019 Exhibit




Thematically, all of the festivals have focused on endangered species across the world. Previous themes have focused on endangered plants and animals in general, oceanic life, and evolution. This year’s theme, Mini-Mondes en voir d’Illumination (The World of Miniscule in Large), will focus on the tiny organisms that play crucial roles in global ecosystems.

2018 Exhibit

From mid-November into January, tourists and locals alike can walk through the 5th arrondissement. Dozens of light sculptures throughout the area illuminate the entire night sky throughout the festival. During the day, the Jardin des Plantes in Paris holds events to discuss the themes. From children’s workshops to discussions on protecting endangered species, these events help put the festival’s mission into practice.

2018 Exhibit

2022: Mini-Mondes en Voir d’Illumination

This year’s walk-through will bring viewers through several ecosystems, focusing on the minute species that are typically forgotten. The path begins in a meadow, with displays of butterflies, spiders, snails, and shrews. Then, the ecosystem shifts into a pondy region filled with dragonflies, mosquitoes, and frogs. Next, there is a larger-than-life forest crawling with beetles, millipedes, caterpillars, and lighting bugs, among other woodland creatures. To traverse into the next region, viewer’s must cross an 82-foot long illuminated piece of tree bark.



The next two sections focus on every-day mini species that we encounter. The first contains dozens of species found in our home, from jumping spiders to bedbugs and mold. Finally, the audience is introduced to the organisms found within our own bodies. Dozens of bugs, bacteria, and viruses illuminate the area and our knowledge of our personal body ecosystems.

French Bulldogs: National Winners

Written by Jasmine Grace,
High School Intern

Winston the Champion

Each year in the US, the National Dog Show airs just after the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving Day. This year, the Best of Show was Winston the French Bulldog. Winston is the first of his breed to have won this prestigious competition. Winston also competed earlier in this year in the Westminster Dog Show.


The Original Bulldogs

A dog that more closely resembles an original bulldog

The French variety of bulldog is barely related to a true bulldog breed. Bulldogs were originally bred for bull-baiting, an ancient and violent sport where these strong, athletic dogs were unleashed to fight tethered bulls. Their goal was to grab the bull by the snout or ears. 

By the 18th century in England, this sport was illegal. In the Nottingham area, breeders had crossed bulldogs with smaller dogs to create the very early ancestors of French Bulldogs. These little dogs became favored by lace-makers in the area, because they made such wonderful companions.

Nottingham Today

But the Industrial Revolution in England put lace-makers and other artisans out of business. Many of these artisans relocated to Northern France, and they brought their favorite pups with them. The French fell in love with the little dogs, and they became known as French Bulldogs. 

French Bulldogs

The French bred more modern characteristics into the dogs. The big ears, squashed-in noses, and wrinkled forehead became common in the breed at this time. French Bulldogs were one of the first breeds created with cuteness as the most important trait. 

Humans have been breeding dogs for centuries. We’ve created dogs that help us hunt, that help protect us, and that work with us in a variety of other ways. But breeders didn’t create French Bulldogs to perform a task. They aren’t particularly good guard dogs, and they can’t hunt, not even rats. They exist for the sole purpose of being cute, furry companions. By the 19th century in France, more people could afford to own a pet just for the  sake of having a pet. 

French Bulldogs Today

A French Bulldog in a flower garden

French Bulldogs have gotten more and more popular over the years, in France and abroad. They are well-loved here in the US, as evidenced by Winston’s victory in this year’s National Dog Show. The dogs are intelligent, lively, and full of personality, and that has gained them fame the world around.

Armistice Day in France

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

What is Armistice Day?

Armistice Day in France

 One-hundred and four years ago, a ceasefire to end the first World War was announced at 11am. The World War had raged for just over four years throughout Europe. On November 11th, 1918, an armistice was signed at the border of Germany and Northern France. This agreement, which began a ceasefire in the war, would ultimately be the first step towards the Treaty of Versailles. Since 1922, Armistice Day (Armistice de la Première Guerre mondiale) has been a national holiday in France. Other nations have similar celebrations under different names, such as Remembrance Day in the UK, or Veterans Day in the US.

First Celebration

Armistice Day at Buckingham Palace

The first celebrations of Armistice Day were held in 1919 at Buckingham Palace. British monarch George V hosted French President Raymond Poincare at the palace to commemorate the anniversary of the armistice, and the event included a two-minute period of silence. Both leaders also made speeches celebrating those who fought in the war or lost family members to it. 


Traditional Ceremonies

Grave and Memorial Decorations

Throughout France, parades and activities are hosted on Armistice Day. Many cities and villages around the country host large community events to memorialize the losses of the war. People place wreaths, garlands, flowers, and other items on gravestones and memorials as well. As with La Toussaint, the most common flowers placed on graves are chrysanthemums. Speeches, services, and moments of silence are common also. Important figures frequently visit battlefields and locations of conflict throughout the day. 


Macron’s Visit

President Macron

Every year, the French President visits a new battlefield or memorial in France on Armistice Day. This year, Macron plans to visit l’Arc de Triomphe, site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,  for his annual commemoration.  The tomb was placed there in 1920 as a national event to remember those who hadn’t been identified after the war. This year, US Vice President Kamala Harris joined as an onlooker while Macaron laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Liberty Enlightening the World

Written by Jasmine Grace,
High School Intern


Liberty Enlightening the World

The Statue of Liberty has become a symbol of freedom, democracy, and of America itself. But the statue wasn’t built here. It wasn’t even an American idea. The people of France sent it as a gift, and a symbol of friendship between the nations. 

The Gift

In the year 1865, the American Civil War was coming to an end, and the country was united once again. Across the Atlantic, French historian Édouard de Laboulange wanted to celebrate the expansion of freedom in America. His idea was to send a massive statue as a gift, and an enduring symbol of the Friendship between the two nations. 

The Statue

Construction of the Statue’s Hand

Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, a contemporary sculptor, created the statue. He used a technique known as repousse to create the ‘skin’ (exterior) of the statue. This technique involved hammering out massive sheets of copper by hand to create the desired shape. He named his creation ‘Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World’ although most of us today call it simply the Statue of Liberty. 



NY Harbor

The skeletal support of the Statue fell to Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, famed architect of the Eiffel Tower. He constructed this skeleton to move independently from the statue’s skin, which would be essential in windy New York harbor. 

Eiffel and Bartholdi completed the statue in 1885, then disassembled it for the journey across the Atlantic. In nearly 200 different crates, it boarded the French frigate Isere.

The Pedestal

The Pedestal on Fort Wood

While the statue was being constructed in France, the pedestal was built in New York. Many helped to raise funds for this gigantic projects through contests, benefits, exhibitions, and other events.

Laborers built the Pedestal in the courtyard of Fort Wood. This fortress, built during the War of 1812, is on what would come to be known as Liberty Island.

In June, the Isere arrived and workers labored for four months to reassemble the statue. This iconic monument has stood tall on Liberty Island ever since.