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 !



Your NEXT French culture rendezvous 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


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


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

Le Roy “Retrospective” at MoMA PS 1 – Q&A with a dancer

Greg Grube, Guest Contributor

Dancer Greg Grube, Guest Contributor

Xavier Le Roy’s work gained recognition in contemporary, international dance circles after he finished a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology — which may explain the rigor and experimental focus of the work. His Retrospective, a three-month installation at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City (2014), emerged as a loop of discrete personal narratives textured by traces of his and each individual dancer’s past endeavors.  – G.G.

La Francofolle: You said about Retrospective that Le Roy “…pulled it off.” How do you mean? One dancer, in fact, pulled off a sweatshirt during his dance-talk, then wriggled back into it. Could that be a reference to ambivalence about his revelations?


Using narration and movement, Sherwood Chen relates a dancer’s past.

Gregory Grube: Le Roy turned on its head the notion of a culminating look at an oeuvre, he turned it — upside down and inside out — as one of the performers sang to us. This allusion to Diana Ross demonstrates how many plot twists the provocative Retrospective can produce. Sherwood Chen, the dancer who sang a snippet of the disco hit, also spoke eloquently about his own work on Min Tanaka’s farm, studying with Anna Halprin on September 11, 2001, and about the breakup that caused his departure from the U.S. to study court dance in Java.

‪Chen also showed us contemporary Senegalese choreographers’ work, and the piece by Le Roy with the sweatshirt, Self-Unfinished, where the dancer’s body is transformed into something animal or alien by simply taking a garment and using it strangely. Through this interplay, form becomes about otherness, unfixing the sign to catalytically release some locked up energy. In the end, Chen’s monologue risks hardly being a retrospective at all, but a global performance collage that each viewer is invited to frame on their own.

Ff: In France, “le rétro” is in. But what’s French about this Le Roy dance direction?

Gregory Grube: In the US, the ballet tradition and modern dance traditions were the dominant poles that provided ground for a revolt in the post-modern era. In France, propensities for philosophical debate and political insurrection, combined with knowledge of our artistic coups in the 1960s, perhaps opened an avenue for making performances that manage to be both idiosyncratic and poignant conceptually, deconstructing how dance can Continue reading