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6 minutes | Jun 20, 2022
French minotaur stalks streets of Toulouse
Since 2018, a strange creature has been stalking the streets of the south-western French city of Toulouse. Standing 13 metres tall and weighing in at 46 tonnes, Asterion the Minotaur is a giant wood and steel puppet who has become one of the city's emblems. This unusual artistic language is made possible thanks to extraordinary mechanics: a French-made exoskeleton controlled by five operators who move the minotaur's arms, torso and head. The hard work put in behind the scenes by the designers, technicians and operators turns this giant puppet into a genuine work of art.
6 minutes | Jun 13, 2022
Meet the medieval castle builders in France's Burgundy region
More than 20 years ago, a community of men and women in the French region of Burgundy set themselves a massive challenge: to build a castle using the techniques of the Middle Ages. The site in the town of Guédelon is open to visitors, offering them an immersion into the 13th century. Today, nearly 40 people work every day on this medieval construction site. Stone quarrying is the first step in building a castle. And to transport the stones to the site, modern machines are banned: everything is done like in the 13th century, with horsepower.
6 minutes | Jun 6, 2022
The giants of the River Seine
The French port of Rouen hosts some of the biggest cargo ships in the world. But to get there, these giants of the seas have to be guided over the 80 kilometres of the Seine estuary. Navigating the river is risky for these huge ships. To guide them, expert pilots board the cargo ships at sea and take them to port. We go on deck with them.
6 minutes | May 30, 2022
Haute couture socks: Broussaud, a French success story
Some 300 million pairs of socks are sold in France every year. Although most are made in China, some small French firms are carving out a market with their "made in France" offerings. One of them is Broussaud. For three generations, this family-run business based in the Limousin region has been constantly innovating, with increasingly complex designs. FRANCE 24 went to find out the secret of its success.
6 minutes | May 23, 2022
The virtues of France's most remarkable trees
We take you to discover some of France's most remarkable trees. In the village of Lucheux, in the northern Somme region, two triple-centenarian lime trees have intertwined over time to become one. They have even played a part in village history: for the past 300 years, they have shaped the future of married couples. Meanwhile, in the Seine-et-Marne region east of Paris, a Japanese sophora (pictured) arouses wonder and curiosity in observers. It stands in the grounds of a school for teenagers with learning difficulties, who regularly draw the tree.
6 minutes | May 17, 2022
Blackcurrant: Burgundy's second treasure
In the French region of Burgundy, home to the city of Dijon, it's not just the grapes that are famous. The region's other star fruit is the blackcurrant. A whole market has emerged based on the cultivation of this small berry. Today, the precious black fruit is transformed in many ways. Its best-known use in France is in the production of the famous liqueur known as crème de cassis, but blackcurrant is also used in cooking and even in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. We take a closer look.
6 minutes | May 10, 2022
France's Vaux-le-Vicomte, an avant-garde château
A masterpiece of classical architecture, the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, located outside Paris, was the forerunner of Versailles. Contained within its walls are three and a half centuries of history. That legacy is now the responsibility of the three brothers who inherited it on the death of their father: Ascanio, Alexandre and Jean-Charles. The château is regularly the scene of construction sites but some restoration must be done by hand, for instance to restore the central wrought iron gates to their former glory. FRANCE 24 takes you behind the scenes.
6 minutes | Apr 30, 2022
The guardians of Paris's River Seine
The River Seine is the beating heart of Paris. The banks of the river attract 8 million visitors each year, making it one of the busiest places in the French capital. We meet those who take care of the Seine seven days a week, from the technicians checking water quality to members of the river patrol, who respond to emergency call-outs and use radar to explore the river's depths.
6 minutes | Apr 25, 2022
France hosts World's Best Cheesemaker competition
Every second in France, 57 kilos of cheese are produced; that's nearly 2 million tonnes a year. In the French city of Tours, the cream of cheesemakers from around the world compete to win the title of World's Best Cheesemaker. From choosing food to go with their cheeses, to blind tests, to putting together a cheese platter, they put their expertise to the test. The Belgians, Dutch and Japanese regularly make it to the podium, providing stiff competition for the French cheesemakers.
6 minutes | Apr 21, 2022
Inside the legendary Hotel Negresco in the French city of Nice
The Negresco is a legend in the world of luxury hotels. Located on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, just opposite the Mediterranean, it's emblematic of the French Riviera city. The hotel is not owned by a tourism or hotel group, making it one of the few totally independent luxury hotels in France. From the ground floor all the way up to the top, works of art are everywhere: Eiffel stained glass, a Baccarat chandelier and an official portrait of Louis XIV. We bring you a behind-the-scenes look at this jewel of the Belle Époque.
6 minutes | Apr 18, 2022
Sequins in the countryside: France's Royal Palace cabaret
We bring you the story of the Royal Palace, a family dance hall in the eastern French village of Kirrwiller that has become the country's third-largest cabaret after Paris's Moulin Rouge and Lido. Now famous throughout Europe, the Royal Palace attracts 200,000 visitors every year. Behind its success is Pierre Meyer, a former cook who took over his parents' dance-floor restaurant. On stage, Alla Samorodska, a 35-year-old Ukrainian, excels as the lead lancer.
6 minutes | Apr 4, 2022
The marshes of Bourges in France's Loire Valley
The city of Bourges in central France is famous for its UNESCO-listed cathedral and medieval city centre. But the capital of the Berry region has another historic asset: its marshes, a labyrinth of vegetable gardens. Located a few minutes from the city centre, the people of Bourges have enthusiastically maintained them for more than a century. This small corner of paradise is now attracting more and more city dwellers looking for peace and quiet. FRANCE 24 takes you to discover this unique but fragile ecosystem.
6 minutes | Mar 21, 2022
Guadeloupe's Carnival: An island fiesta
Strictly regulated for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Guadeloupe Carnival is usually an unmissable event on the French Caribbean islands. From January to March, Guadeloupeans live to the rhythm of the parades, led by dozens of groups of volunteers. For participants, it's often the consecration of a year of hard work. FRANCE 24 went to soak up some of the Carnival atmosphere.
6 minutes | Feb 28, 2022
France's Jura region, a wild land with a rich heritage
Located on the border with Switzerland, France's Jura region is a wild open land, a paradise for cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Only a few hardy souls come to attempt the Grande Traversée, a hiking-skiing route more than 100 kilometres long. It sets off from Mouthe, the coldest village in France. Meanwhile, from makers of Comté cheese to those who create wooden cladding known as "tavaillons", the region's heritage is lovingly preserved.
6 minutes | Feb 20, 2022
A stitch in time: Discovering French fashion traditions
The eastern French town of Lunéville has played a key role in France's fashion history. It's the birthplace of Lunéville stitch embroidery, which features on UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list. To teach it, there is only one person left: Aude. Her students come from all over the world to learn the techniques passed on to her by her grandmother. We also take you behind the scenes at Hermès, whose square silk scarves are made by a highly skilled team near the French city of Lyon.
7 minutes | Feb 16, 2022
Restoring the priceless heritage of France's Loire Valley
With its 2,500 castles, the Loire Valley is the cradle of the French Renaissance. But this priceless heritage requires constant maintenance. With state-of the-art technology, as well as historical research and know-how, French artists and craftspeople are innovating to return these gems of the past to their original state. We take a closer look.
6 minutes | Feb 7, 2022
A wine festival in France's Burgundy villages
In the heart of France's Burgundy vineyards, where villages bear the names of grands crus such as Pommard, Nuit-Saint-Georges and Chablis, preparations are underway for the Saint-Vincent tournante wine festival; a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages. Every year, in the last week of January, some 20,000 people are expected for the two-day festival. This time, the villages of Gilly-lès-Cîteaux and Vougeot are the lucky hosts. We catch up with Élisabeth, the head of the not-for-profit organisation, but also Bernard, a volunteer winegrower.
6 minutes | Jan 28, 2022
Chantilly: France's castle of princes
Every year, almost half a million visitors flock to Chantilly, one of France's most beautiful castles. Located an hour from Paris and built in 1358, its princes greeted Louis XIV for sumptuous banquets. In the 19th century, Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale, restored the château and turned it into an exceptional museum, containing the second-largest collection of paintings in France after the Louvre and more than 45,000 books. From restorers to gardeners and horseriders: behind the scenes, more than 100 people work every day on the upkeep of Chantilly. FRANCE 24 takes you to meet them.
6 minutes | Jan 24, 2022
A French family business: The intricacies of Boulle work
Marie-Hélène Poisson is the only craftswoman to be entirely dedicated to Boulle work. This French technique, invented at the end of the 17th century, consists of inlaying antique furniture with decoration made of brass or tortoiseshell. Marie-Hélène learned the trade from her father and is now passing it on to her daughter. The future of Boulle inlay is safe in their hands. FRANCE 24 takes you to the town of Vendôme, in France's Loir-et-Cher region, for a closer look at this special craft.
6 minutes | Jan 18, 2022
The feathers of Montmartre: Behind the scenes at the Moulin Rouge
Located in Paris's famed Montmartre district, the Moulin Rouge is the most famous cabaret in the world and has entertained revellers for 120 years. Home to the French cancan, it recruits the best dancers, who wear the best costumes. Each show requires 1,000 costumes at a budget of €4 million. Some of them are the most expensive in the world, due to their feathers. We go behind the scenes with dancer Olga.
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