Thursday, July 31, 2014

'An interesting film on the interface of Indian and French cuisines' by K.J.S.Chatrath

Look out for an interesting film on the interface of Indian and French cuisines-‘The Hundred Foot Journey’. Its cast includes Helen Mirren, Om Puri and Juhi Chawla. It is produced by an unlikely trio of Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake. One can also spot the name of M/S Reliance Entertainment in the credits.

You may like to go through a etailed review of the film which appeared in the Chicago tribune recently-‘French and Indian cuisines meet and meld in this sumptuous film’ by Amy Ephron; Please click at the following link for the review: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/sns-201407301900--tms--foodstylts--v-c20140730-20140730,0,4256680.column

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

'Reunion...Allez-Y' by K.J.S.Chatrath

L'Ermitage beach, Reunion. Photo source: Wikipedia

'Indians no longer need visa to visit Reunion island: ‘Indian tourists visiting the French colony of Reunion will be provided with a free Visa on Arrival at the airport, with a validity of 15 days, the French embassy said. .. … from Jan 1, 2015, Indians would be able to get French visas within 48 hours (two days). .. In addition, a smartphone application designed especially for Indian tourists that provides information about popular tourist spots, vegetarian restaurants, shopping areas etc. in France will be launched soon….’.

Please click at the following link to read the full article: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/39260072.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

‘French actor to stage mono-act play’ by Nandini Sen Gupta:

Eva Darlan (Photo source: Wikipedia)

'PUDUCHERRY: A woman and her body - that is the sometimes funny, sometimes sad and mostly thought-provoking premise of French actress and writer Eva Darlan's latest theatrical production, slated for debut in Puducherry this week, ahead of a Paris outing.

Organised by the Alliance Francaise, this is perhaps the first time that Pondy's theatre-loving audience will be treated to a French production ahead of its debut in Paris… …’

Please click at the following link to read the full article: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Puducherry/French-actor-to-stage-mono-act-play/articleshow/39266252.cms

Indian Forces arriving in France-1914....in defence of France.

Photo source: PTI

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Kangana Ranaut teams up with Irrfan Khan for India's first French production Divine Lovers

Kangana Ranaut teams up with Irrfan Khan for India's first French production Divine Lovers: Please click at the link below to read the full article: http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/kangana-ranaut-teams-up-with-irrfan-khan-for-india-s-first-french-production-divine-lovers/article1-1245542.aspx

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Barnala girl selected for French embassy scholarship to do master's at ISAE in France’ by Neel Kamal

L'Eglise du Dome, church of Les Invalides, site of Napoleon's tomb. Photo source: Wikitravel

Barnala girl selected for French embassy scholarship to do master's at ISAE (L'Institute superieur de aeronautique et de Espace'(ISAE) at Toulouse)in France’ by Neel Kamal.

Bravo Ms. Harleen Kaur and bon chance!

For reading the full story please click at the following link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Barnala-girl-selected-for-French-embassy-scholarship-to-do-masters-at-ISAE-in-France/articleshow/39061267.cms

Thursday, July 24, 2014

'Travels in the garden of France: The Loire Valley' By Sasha Paulsen

A chateau in the Loire Valley, France. Photo source: Wikipedia

For reading the article 'Travels in the garden of France: The Loire Valley' By Sasha Paulsen, please click at the following link: http://napavalleyregister.com/lifestyles/food-and-cooking/wine/travels-in-the-garden-of-france-the-loire-valley/article_17d599d7-d383-5456-bca3-326a22ee9761.html

‘The Paris To-Do List: 21 Tips for a Short Stay in the City of Lights’ by Anna

‘The Paris To-Do List: 21 Tips for a Short Stay in the City of Lights’ by Anna;

Please click at the following link to read the article: http://blog.tourradar.com/paris-to-do-list-21-tips-short-stay-city-lights/?utm_source=Weekly%20Newsletter%20July%20Week%204&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Weekly%20Newsletter%20July%20Week%204

'Understanding French Culture' by Rick Steves:

Photo showing a weekly market in Hornfleur, Normandie.

Would you like to read an interesting article on France 'Understanding French Culture' by Rick Steves? Click at the following link to go to the article: http://www.travelagentcentral.com/france/rick-steves-understanding-french-culture-47000

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

‘Puducherry :This French consulate wears several hats’ by M. Dinesh Varma- Annie Philip

Photo by S.S.Kumar:

'Puducherry:This French consulate wears several hats’ by M. Dinesh Varma Annie Philip; Please click at the following link for reading the full article: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/this-french-consulate-wears-several-hats/article6228018.ece

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

'French wine and all that....' by K.J.S.Chatrath

Photo source: Wikipedia

'EU legislation currently permits around 60 additives in wine, from wood chips, egg and fish deriatives to dimethyl-dicarbonate preservatives, laboratory enzymes and artificial yeast...' (Source: Time Newsmagazine, June 18, 2012.)

Friday, July 18, 2014

'Ah, these French!' by K.J.S.Chatrath

"MAN FINED FOR DEPRIVING WIFE OF SEX: A 51 year old man has been fined 8,500 Pounds by the Highest Court in Aix-en-Provence in Southern France for depriving his wife of sex.The wife had filed the case for damages against her husband for failing to have enough sex with her during their 21 years of marriage..."*

*Source: Daily Post, Chandigarh, September 8, 2011

Thursday, July 17, 2014

300 French scholarships for Indians by Anchal Bedi

'300 French scholarships for Indians' by Anchal Bedi, Hindustan Times: http://www.hindustantimes.com/hteducation/chunk-ht-ui-hteducationsectionpage-otherstories/300-french-scholarships-for-indians/article1-1240933.aspx

Monday, July 14, 2014

14th July-the French National Day

Greetings on the occasion of the French National Day- the 14th of July.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

'The Rise and Fall of Sula' by K.J.S.Chatrath*

A water fountain in Paris

I was back in India after a rewarding stay of over a year in France, which included a month spent in the world famous mineral water town of Vichy. I was naturally full of stories of my stay in France, much to the annoyance of some. At one such session, on my mentioning the mineral water of Vichy, a friend informed me, quite patriotically, that an excellent source of natural mineral water having curative properties and been discovered in some place in Palampur district of Himachal Pradesh. By the India had not year entered the bottle-tap-water-called-mineral-water age and one had to go to the source to take mineral water. Then somehow the conversation took a totally different turn. Years passed by. It was after about five year that I had a chance of visiting Palampur.

A view from Palampur

I was really impressed by the majestic beauty of the Dhauladhar ranges. I told my host while returning in taxi to Palampur after a visit to a distant spot that I had heard about a mineral water source in Palampur and that I would very much like to visit it. Ah, no problem, he said, we will take a route that goes through the mineral water village of Sula and he gave necessary instructions to the driver.

The taxi driver was an old Himachali, who, from his getup and impressive moustaches, appeared to be an ex-army personnel. Those were the days when I too was nursing a massive set of moustaches. We glanced appreciatively at each other’s moustaches and an invisible rapport was created instantly. “Driver Sahib, app kya fauj mein they?” (Driver Sahib, were you I the army), I asked. He very proudly said yes and put me a counter question asking if I too had been in the army. Unfortunately no, I replied regretfully, being a solid admirer of army’s discipline I was very keen but I has weak eyesight right from the school days. He nodded, I thought quite sympathetically. The ice having been broken, a wonderful conversation followed. For the rest of the journey, I dropped the work “driver” and addressed him as “Sahib” only. He reciprocated and called me a respectful but affectionate “Sir ji” all through the journey.

An gracefull gentleman with impressive moustaches- from the northern hilly regions of India

Please tell me about the geography and history of Sula’s mineral water, I requested him. Sir ji, I will tell you not only the history and geography but also the politics, he chuckled with a mischievous smile.

He turned out to be a remarkable story teller. Sir ji, once the news about the curative properties of the water spread, there was no stopping Sula, he started. It became the hottest topic of discussion in an otherwise very calm and peaceful State. Soon all kinds of incredible stories of people having been cured of dangerous diseases after having taken Sula water spread. Business and economy of Sula started booming with large hordes of people arriving every day from all parts of the State and even from outside the State for getting cured, It had its impact in the socio-domestic fields too. One started getting messages from long forgotten relatives requesting for sending a few bottles of the by now famous Sula Water. The final sign that the place had “arrived” was that the government servants started using pulls and pushes to get a posting as near Sula as possible. Transport department became especially important. Sir ji, you won’t believe me, smiled the driver, the rooftops of the buses became overloaded with jerrycans of mineral water being transported by the transport department staff for their bosses, colleagues, relatives etc, Mineral water had its political fallout too. People’s representatives elected from that region became very influential. “But then what went wrong”, I interrupted.

Sir ji, ultimately the reason, which led to its fame and rise, also became the cause of its fall from grace – the mineral water, It started with the installation of two plastic tanks where the spring water would drip in and could be taken out through taps. By then the polite people of Sula had became tired of looking after an unending queue of near and dear, and not so near and not so dear relations. It had its impact on the politics of the State too – there was pressure on other MLAs to discover similar sources in their constituencies. A whisper campaign started that the water was not really that good and that the natural properties of the water had been lost because instead of letting it flow in the natural way, it was first getting collected in plastic tanks, said the rumour mills. Stories of some sources of better mineral water, having even more miraculous properties having been discovered in some other districts/constituencies also started floating in the air. And suddenly after a sharp curve the taxi stopped and the driver announced that we had reached Sula. Sir ji, after drinking the water you tell us whether it is good or not, said the driver very impartially.

It was dark by then and a fairly dim bulb was providing some lazy rays of light. We filled our bottles with the magical water and I sat back in the taxi feeling totally tired by then. On the journey back to Palampur, I slowly and very gradually finished a bottle of Sula water, sipping it in the tradition of the best wines, letting it roll over my tongue. It tasted really good. And a littler later we reached Palampur. I went straight to the loo and felt remarkable light and nice after relieving myself, and wondered how much of driver’s tale was true!

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*From my book 'The French Collection'

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

‘Revealed: Filmmaker's two-year mission to trace Indian Army's WWI love stories’ by Srijani Ganguly

Memorial to Indian soldiers at Neuve Chapelle, France

Please click at the following link to read the article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2685073/Indian-Armys-WWI-love-stories-film-Vijay-Singh.html

May I invite you to see my photo article 'Brave Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives defending the freedom of France' by K.J.S.Chatrath by clicking at the following link http://www.fiftyplustravels.com/?p=5848 ?

Monday, July 7, 2014

France scraps tourist tax hike plan





An Auberge (a French word meaning 'inn') not too far from the Cimitiere de Montparnass, Paris.


France scraps tourist tax hike plan: Please click at the following link to read the article: http://www.eturbonews.com/47693/france-scraps-tourist-tax-hike-plan

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Re-launch of the improved website of Puducherry (Pondicherry) Tourism likely this month:


Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru may have given this city its most famous tagline yet — ‘a window to French culture’. However, the view through the virtual window provided on the official website is too grainy to give visitors even an approximate sense of the diverse experience of beaches, backwaters and spiritual balm that the city offers. .. ….

Please click at the ollowing link to read the full article:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/newlook-puducherry-tourism-website-will-help-backpackers-plan-itinerary/article6182471.ece?ref=sliderNews

‘Is banning foie gras a wild goose chase?’ by Karen Anand,


Foie gras "en cocotte" with mustard seeds and spring onions in duck juice. Photo source: Charles Haynes from Bangaluru, India.

Please click at the link below to read the full article:

http://www.punemirror.in/columns/columnists/Is-banning-foie-gras-a-wild-goose-chase/articleshow/37918173.cms . .

'Mougins, France' by Colin Leslie


'... ...One of the treasures of the Côte d’Azur, Mougins has earned world renown for its art galleries, exhibitions and workshops, and for former resident Pablo Picasso, who spent the last 15 years of his life admiring and capturing the wonderful landscape in his own inimitable way before his death in 1973....'

Photos source: Wikipedia

For reading the full article please click at the following link: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/travel-mougins-france-1-3467559

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

“A French toast to Bangalore” by Vidya Iyengar


‘He came, he saw and he was bowled over. The affable director of AFB relives his Indian experience of four years.

Banni, Kuthkoli', says Philippe Gasparini, when we meet him at his office at the Alliance Francaise in Vasanthnagar on a Thursday morning. "I've just picked up a few phrases," he says apologetically…. …’

Please click on the following link to read the full article: http://www.bangaloremirror.com/columns/sunday-read/A-French-toast-to-Bangalore/articleshow/37852238.cms

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Friday, July 4, 2014

'Titan's Penis' attracts huge French crowds


“Hundreds of curious visitors queued around the block in the French city of Nantes in recent days to catch a rare glimpse of a giant flower, dubbed “Titan’s Penis”, which only comes to life once every ten years…. …”.

Please click at the link below to read the full article: http://www.thelocal.fr/20140701/titans-penis-attracts-hundreds-of-french-visitors

'Come, let us go to France' by K.J.S.Chatrath


Lavender fields in South of France. (Photo source-Wikipedia)

Here is some good news for those wanting to visit France.

France to open visa centre in Ahmedabad: http://zeenews.india.com/news/gujarat/france-to-open-visa-centre-in-ahmedabad_944893.html

‘Get French visas in 48 hours from next year’ by Sachin Parashar, Jul 4, 2014, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Get-French-visas-in-48-hours-from-next-year/articleshow/37735930.cms

Thursday, July 3, 2014

‘Baccarat Celebrates its 250th Anniversary in Glitter and Glass’ By Diane Stamm.


To celebrate its 250th anniversary this year, Baccarat, renowned purveyor of crystal to royalty, celebrities, and yes, even just plain folk like us, has mounted a sumptuous exhibition at its headquarters, Maison Baccarat, at 11, place des États-Unis in the Paris 16th…. ….

To read the full article, please click at the following link:

http://www.bonjourparis.com/story/baccarat-celebrates-its-250th-anniversary-glitter-/

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

'Indian actor Shahrukh Khan honoured by the French' by K.J.S.Chatrath


SRK gets top French civilian honour for his contribution to cinema" reports Daily Mail, Thursday, Jul 3rd 2014.

For full story please read:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2678493/SRK-gets-French-civilian-honour-L-gion-dHonneur.html#ixzz36NAwONoi