Your NEXT French culture rendez-vous in NYC – June 2018

What’s as cool as a free French movie classic outdoors?
An air-conditioned new French movie ticket to, for instance, the latest Juliet Binoche tour de force — directed by brainy Claire Denis . . . .
Each date/time displayed on our calendar links you to a film or other pleasure — chosen (in Paris) to scratch your Frenchy itch.

With every link, you get full date, time and venue details.

Let the Sunshine In
(Un Beau soleil interieur)Un Beau soleil interieur) Movie poster women in white with jacket

Binoche beauty, a 2017 collaboration with director Claire Denis that finds the comedic in a hit or miss (mostly miss) quest for true amour.
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Cente

Daguerréotypes

Grande dame director Agnès Varda brought fame to her Left Bank street, rue Daguerre, with this Paris-perfect documentary. Still home to the director, the 14th arrondissement street is as unassumingly charming as ever, but more tourists explore it today than before Varda’s 1976 tribute.

Museum of the Moving Image

The Rules of the Game
(La Règle du Jeu)
move iposter with man and Effeil Tower

Generations before Upstairs, Downstairs, director Jean Renoir made this iconic twentieth century French version (1939), in which the servants skewer their employers, but all concerned are “dancing on a volcano” as WWII threatens. Renoir himself plays the bourgeois character, Octave.
Films on the Green 2018 free screening, thanks to The Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S and Washington Square Park Conservancy.

Washington Square Park

Are Democracy and Tolerance on the Decline?
Why? And what to do?

Panel discussion with Adam Gopnik . Manuel Valls . Yascha Mounk . Melissa Nobles

The post-WWII order is fraying: democracy and tolerance are under attack. How has democracy become a devalued concept? Why are populism and xenophobia on the rise in the Western world? Can democracy, liberalism and capitalism survive the current crisis? Or is there a need for an entirely new paradigm?

Albertine Book Store

Albertine — bilingual bookstore and event venue in the magnifique Payne-Whitney mansion

The illustrious experts panel will analyze the causes of the current historical shift — among them the impact of unprecedented immigration flows; terrorism; the widening gap between citizens and governments; increased financial inequality; loss of cultural identity; the role of education and new technologies. They will address ways to protect democracy, freedom and human rights in the society of the future.

In English. Free and open to the public with RSVP.
Organized at Albertine by LICRA, The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism

Invitation!

New and tasty by Tania Teschke, “The Bordeaux Kitchen
A cultural and culinary journey into the world of traditional French cuisine and French wine.”

Free invitation from Albertine, a top NYC francofolle destination

Not just another visitor’s visa — my DIY Carte de Séjour!

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My temporary Carte de Séjour

La Carte de Séjour, one of several varieties of titres de séjour, is a French residency document enabling us non-European Union francofolles and francofoux to pursue Paris addiction undisturbed for an entire year.

In pursuit of La Carte, we will have proved to the French government, that, no matter what, we won’t go running to them for financial support — definitely not in the form, for instance, of free health care.

American expats, I was vaguely aware, commonly hire consultants to facilitate the process of prying the official séjour document from the bureaucracy — not to mention to help navigate myriad other complexities of resettling in la belle France. The consultants charge what their expert help is worth. A lot. So, I opted for DIY. How did it go? I promise I’ll just hit the high points. . . .

In late 2015, I showed up (again) at the French Consulate in Manhattan to apply for a simple visitor’s visa. The visa is valid for a period longer than the three months (90 days) period when Americans may visit France with only a passport for documentation. At this point, I’d become accustomed to spending at least six months of the year pursuing my rêve français (French dream), so I’d been a repeat visa applicant.

Ten months?!” the consular official’s Gallic eyebrows rose. “Well, okay — “but now you’ll apply for your Carte de Séjour. Here’s the address in Paris; show up within two months of your arrival in the city.” Inadvertently, I’d crossed a bureaucratic threshold. 

La Préfecture de Paris (police HQ) done up in tricolor lighting — to celebrate my Carte de Séjour?  

We need to see more mouvement in your French bank account  —  more euros — so we know you’re actually living here,  explained a bureaucrat last summer, on examining bank statements. Translation: more bank transactions to show that indeed I am here in the lovely capital,  contentedly eating, drinking wine, doing my bit for the local economy.

What’s more, and even better — 2017 was the only year in my history when I lived in Paris all year long, in just one location. No more loading expatriated possessions into taxis and riding half way across the city to a different exchange apartment. . . . A different what?

For years, I’ve routinely searched home exchange sites to find une parisenne or un parisien to live in my Manhattan 1BR while I occupy his or her Paris digs — usually engaging in serial swaps with one Frenchie for a few months, then another Frenchie for another couple of months. Anything to manage to stick around la ville de lumière.

But in 2017, I exchanged all year with only one Frenchie, a gentil French MD doing some très important medical research in NYC. He pays his Paris co-op maintenance, oh là là! And I, likewise pay to maintain my co-op apartment in Harlem. An apartment with the special New York Affordable Housing distinction, accorded by the expensive city that created that budget-friendly, official real estate category. Plus a few related ‘”guidelines” (more on those in a minute).

In Paris, on Tuesday, 14 novembre 2017, I heard the word I’d waited for since 2016 from the bureaucrat corps at Paris police HQ. . . Oui, said the beneficent bureaucrat in whose discreet booth I sat. Et voilà, I’m good to go — I mean, stay, officially — for an entire year in Paris. A confirmed parisienne

“. . . That’ll be 269 Euros, s’il vous plait. The bureaucrat readily recalled the days when the fee for la Carte was only 106 euros. Never mind,  for the francofolle, Paris is worth it. Also worth some collateral expenses — translations of every requisite English-language document (official translations only, don’t try this at home!) starting with my . . . birth certificate. How many euros for the translations? Never mind. More mouvement on my French bank statements.

After months of bureaucracy angst — I mean angoisse — finally I was taking a deep, deep breath. And sharing a glass of bubbly in the select company of supportive amies, one of whom I met in the early 70s, in Morocco.

Meanwhile, back in Harlem. . . In an ironic twist, the Affordable Housing bureaucrats had decreed in concert with my co-op board that my 2017 exchanger, the Burgundian Frenchie MD, must now sublet — officially — the same charming, Affordable Housing 1BR apartment he already was enjoying in Central Harlem. But, about those Affordable Housing guidelines. . . might the Frenchie MD be deemed over-qualified to sublet?! The jury of New York real estate bureaucrats did their esoteric thing, on their own timetable. The suspense would be over (wouldn’t it?) by the time I hit my native N.Y.C. for a holiday interval in late December. Did someone say bureaucracy angoisse?

The bureaucrat ‘jurors,’ hard at work somewhere in the downtown civic center, did pronounce the Frenchie MD an acceptable sublet applicant! Bureaucracy angoisse over — right? Well, what about that co-op board I mentioned? Right — another ‘jury’ with my case on their docket as 2018 blew in.

Meanwhile, back in Paris, more or less as my flight from Newark airport landed smoothly at Orly airport, the Préfecture text materialized in my French cell phone: Show up and collect your permanent Carte de Séjour! When. . .? Between noon and two PM, on the very next day. . . I’d trade in the document you see above left for the real, durably laminated Carte. My one-year (renewable) Carte boasts the same ID photo as the paper version, but is much smaller. I realized no one had ever shown me theirs. Size doesn’t matter; fits nicely in handbag (if you dare leave home with it; some prefer a photocopy.)

In the February Paris chill, I kept my Carte de Séjour cozy. In the February New York chill, a Harlem co-op board sifted through their overflowing IN basket. (Let’s not debate which city has the worst weather, it’s too close to call. . . .) What with one bureaucratic thing and another, thanks to the board, the suspense lasted until April-in-Paris cherry blossoms had bloomed and April-in-Manhattan snows had melted. When my exchanger’s sublet finally was stamped Official by my co-op, I was . . . just about half way to the– routine! — renewal deadline for my Carte de Séjour.


 

Bordeaux “Cité des vins” embraces the whole wine world. How very civilized!

Architects Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières designed “an evocation of the soul of wine”

Bordeaux – “exclusive “? If the city ever was snooty, all those expat Brit wine buffs must have imparted that rep. In any case, wine lovers of the world, bar none, unite in the munificent first city of wine. The magnet now well established — La Cité des civilisations du vin — opened its architecturally sophisticated space in summer 2016..

Early view of the Cité from the Bassins à flot — the heart of Bordeaux:

Elsewhere in these “pages,” I’ve described my enthusiasm for Bordeaux, the city. From my first visit in 2009, when I was welcomed to, among other Bordelais venues, the state-of-the-art Bordeaux Police Nationale headquarters, I was dazzled by the urban renewal phenomenon masterminded by Mayor Alain Juppé — in photo below, wearing hard hat. (Obviously, I don’t qualify to vote for Juppé — but if he can do for France what he did for his city, if and when he runs, I’d be the first to campaign for him. (I’ll confer first for campaign tips with my personal Paris political journo, Thibault Leroux.)

Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé masterminded his city’s urbane renaissance

Anyway, I travel to Bordeaux every chance I get. Plans call for a 2018 visit — and I look forward love to getting up close and personal with the Cité. When a press preview of this ambitious wine adventure took place back in 2015 at the French Cheese Board in Manhattan, we hobnobbed with NYC’s French cultural genie, Elaine Leary (below, right, with George Sape).

Join George Sape, President of American Friends of the Cité and Elaine Leary, NYC’s French cultural genie, in a toast to wine civilization on 30 April

Over glasses of excellent Bordeaux and well-selected compatible fromages, we were briefed that evening by former Maître of the Commanderie de Bordeaux in New York, George Sape. Not coincidentally, Mr. Sape, president of the American friends of the Cité (AFCCV), was busy raising a million dollars to fund the naming of The Thomas Jefferson Auditorium in the Cité — “symbolic,” he explained, of the unique history of close relations between France and the U.S.

Indeed, none other than T. Jefferson was responsible for introducing Bordeaux wines to his countrymen. Putting his vines where his mouth was, he planted same at his Virginia estate, and produced his own cuvée de Monticello. Safe to assume Virginia is represented at the Cité? Betting is not my forte, but even I am willing to bet on a sure thing — locating a Virginia vintage or two at this top venue . . . . Santé, Cité des civilisations du vin !

A bientôt, Bordeaux !