France

8:50am

Tue June 4, 2013
The Salt

The French Learned To Make Wine From Italians 2,400 Years Ago

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 10:38 am

This French tapestry depicts noblemen and women treading and pressing grapes to make wine circa 1500. By then, the French had already been making wine for at least 2,000 years.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

The French weren't the first to make wine? Mon dieu! But as anyone who has sipped a Bordeaux, Champagne or Burgundy can tell you, the French got pretty good at it once they learned how. And thanks to some molecular archaeology, researchers can now confirm they picked up these skills as early as 425 B.C.

So who taught the French the art of viniculture? Probably the ancient Italians, says the man with perhaps the coolest nickname in science research — the "Indiana Jones of alcohol," Patrick McGovern.

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3:21am

Sat June 1, 2013
The Salt

France Sells Presidential Wines To Update Palace Wine Cellar

Originally published on Sat June 1, 2013 1:46 pm

French President Francois Hollande's palace has decided to dive into its wine cellar and sell some of its treasures to raise money and replenish its collection with more modest vintages. About 1,200 bottles, a 10th of the Elysee's wine collection, are being sold at the Drouot auction house in Paris this week.
Jacques Brinon AP

Prized Burgundies and Bordeaux once served at the presidential palace in France were sold for the first time ever as the wine cellar at Elysee Palace gets an overhaul.

Some 1,200 bottles, or 10 percent of the palace wines, went on sale this week at the famous Drouot auction house in downtown Paris. On the block were vintages from 1930 to 1990, including famous names such as Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Montrachet.

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3:51pm

Thu May 30, 2013
The Two-Way

A Kiss Is But A Kiss, But To French Kiss Is 'Galocher'

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 6:29 pm

French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault kisses his wife, actress Salma Hayek, in Paris in 2009.
Francois Mori AP

It might come as a surprise that for centuries the French have been sans a term for "French kiss."

But, voila! The newest edition of the Petit Robert 2014 dictionary has rectified that with a new verb — "galocher," meaning "to kiss with tongues." It's a clever derivation of la galoche, a word for an ice-skating boot, and so evokes the idea of sliding around the ice — or the lips and tongue.

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2:38pm

Wed May 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Prosecutor: Radical Islam Motivated Attack On French Soldier

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 3:12 pm

A 2009 photo of the La Defense shopping mall, west of Paris, where Saturday's stabbing attack took place.
Jacques Brinon AP

Police in France say that a 21-year-old Muslim convert who confessed to stabbing a French soldier was apparently motivated by his religious beliefs, in an eerie echo of an attack last week in London, in which a British serviceman was killed.

Pvt. Cedric Cordiez, 25, was approached from the back and stabbed in the neck at a shopping mall in a suburb of Paris on Saturday. He was treated at a military hospital and released on Monday, officials said.

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12:10pm

Mon May 27, 2013
Parallels

Let Them Eat Grass: Paris Employs Sheep As Eco-Mowers

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 4:02 pm

Sheep used to replace gas-guzzling lawn mowers graze at a truck warehouse at Evry, south of Paris.
Francois Mori AP

City officials in Paris are experimenting with an unconventional way to keep urban lawns trimmed.

Agnes Masson used to be simply the director of the Paris city archives. Now, she's also a shepherdess of sorts, responsible for four black sheep munching the lush grass surrounding the gray archives building at the eastern edge of the city.

Masson says the ewes are efficient and easy to care for.

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