Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Marvelous Mosaic: 15+ Great Ways to Vive La France in NYC


French films at FIAF, Kirsten Dunst, Marie Antoinette  
(©Sony Pictures Entertainment/Photofest: Sofia Coppola)
By Jacquelin Carnegie – (New York, NY)
New York has always been the melting pot of world cultures. Former mayor David Dinkins called the city a “gorgeous mosaic" and, to that end, you can find food, culture, and entertainment from just about every country. If you’d like to experience some French culture right in NYC, here are some terrific ways:

Dine à la Française:
The top-rated French restaurants such as Le Bernardin, Bouley, Daniel, and Jean-Georges are great but a bit pricey. There are plenty of affordable options. When I start to miss la belle France, I head to:

AOC (L'aile ou la Cuisse)
 (photo: Danny Liam Ho)
314 Bleecker St., corner of Grove St; Tel: 212/675-9463; www.aocnyc.com
This is the place to go if you have a hankering for a meal in a French bistro. Classic dishes served in a slightly trendy yet welcoming atmosphere. Whether you’re in the mood for a traditional coq au vin, confit de canard, or saucisse de Toulouse or just want an omelet with pommes frites (fries), you can’t go wrong here. In warm weather, brunch on the back terrace is another delight.

There is no joy in the world like sitting at a café in Paris. Experience that feeling right here in NYC at places you'll discover during French Restaurant Week (July) such as:
West Village: Boucherie (99 7th Ave So; boucherie.nyc)
Mid-Town: Bistro Vendome (405 East 58th St; bistrovendomenyc.com)
Upper West Side: Café du Soleil (2723 Broadway, btw 104-105th St.
www.cafedusoleilny.com)

Live & Learn à la Française:
These French cultural institutions offer wonderful events open to the public—films, plays, lectures, photo exhibits, concerts, and more. Many of the events are free; some have a nominal charge.

French Institute/Alliance Française

Michael Fau & Jerome Deschamps, Courteline en dentelles,
 FIAF (photo: Joachim Olaya)
22 East 60th St.; Tel. 212/355- 6100; www.fiaf.org
Yes, it’s a place to learn French, but FIAF offers so much more. Every week, there are cultural events--from cutting-edge French films, often introduced by the director and/or movie stars, to performances by French rock gods such as Arthur H, or acclaimed French actors like Michael Fau & Jérôme Deschamps. There are wine tastings and talks (in English or with a translator) on topics ranging from French fashion to gardens and décor. And, every fall, the Crossing the Line festival brings acclaimed, international performers to New York. 
La Maison Française at NYU
16 Washington Mews; Tel: 212/998-8750; http://bit.ly/2qmC3UQ
Since 1957, New York University’s La Maison Française has been a forum for French-American intellectual and cultural exchange. During the year, over 100 events take place in this lovely, historic Greenwich Village setting. Leading writers, artists, musicians, and performers present along with scholars in a wide range of fields. On any given evening, you might attend a program by eminent philosophers or prominent politicians.

Maison Française Columbia University
Buell Hall, Columbia, 515 West 116th St.; Tel: 212/854-4482;
Claude Lanzmann & Charlie Rose, Columbia/Maison Française
At Columbia’s Maison Française, distinguished artists, leading faculty members, and academics from around the world address topics ranging from French culture and history to societal trends and global political issues. Notable guests range from renowned composers to famed filmmakers such as Claude Lanzmann, known for the Holocaust documentary Shoah.

French Entertainment Resources In NYC:
Macaroons (photo: Angelina Herman)
For activities: New York in French; For music: Bureau Export. And, if you just want to meet some people who speak French: French New York City
Shop à la Française:
Fabulous French chocolates: François Payard Chocolates & La Maison du Chocolat; Fun, silly gifts: Pylones; Quality skincare products: L’Occitane en ProvenceClassy books: Albertine (972 Fifth Ave, at 79th St.) - Located in the stunning French Embassy building, the bookshop highlights French literature and culture with talks and an annual Lit Festival. Idlewild - Has an extensive selection of French books and also offers language lessons! 
Church Services in FrenchEglise Evangelique Française de New York (128 West 16th St; http://bit.ly/2t3wyNe) & Eglise Evangélique Amour du Christ (250 East 61st St; http://bit.ly/2rxdIw0).
 

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