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BellaOnline's French Culture Editor

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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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Buttons at the Bismark
Glimpse into the diverse collection of buttons on exhibit at the Mona Bismarck Foundation. If you’ve amassed jars of buttons and aren’t quite sure what to do with them, get inspiration from Lisa Kokin’s recycled button sculptures and tapestries.

Chez Monet – Giverny
Claude Monet spent the last decades of his life in Giverny nurturing a garden from which he painted Impressionist art. Pair a visit to his home and water lily garden with a tour of the American art museum. Afterward, stop in Vernon for a glimpse of half-timbered architecture and a poppy macaron.

Chorus, A Festival for the Suits
A mysterious tent crops up on the plaza below the Arch de la Defence on the dawn of spring. Part circus, part saloon, it serves as home to the Chorus Festival, a two-week series of concerts. I arrived with the afternoon draw of suits and stayed around to see B.B. Brunes close the night.

Christmas in Paris
December is a wander through the chalets of a Marche de Noel and a peek into the department store windows on Boulevard Haussmann. Here are the ways we get in the Christmas spirit.

Collioure and the Costa Brava
France feeds into Spain on a cobalt stretch of the Mediterranean known as the Costa Brava. The whitewashed fishermen’s villages are sleepy in all seasons but summer when sunbathers hold vigil on their coarse sands. In the fall without the clutter and clatter of people the solitude is priceless.

Day tripping : Normandy’s Alabaster Coast
Easily accesible from Paris, steal away from the city to lunch on fresh seafood, enjoy half-timbered architecture and explore the fairytale setting of the Alabaster Coast. Fecamp's invitingly green pastures crown milky cliffs as they branch into grandiose archways over the sea.

Dine Like the French
In France, friendships are maintained by extending invitations to dine together. Invaluable in setting the mood and table are wine and the presentation of aesthetically pleasing plates. The simple pleasure of enjoying delicately prepared food in the company of friends embodies "joie de vivre."

Eating Vegetarian in France
The French are very attached to their meat so vegetarianism seems alien. I was surprised to learn that their interpretation of eating vegetarian even includes fish. A list of my favorite addresses and ideas for vegetarian options in traditional restaurants will help you avoid disappointment.

Edvard Munch – The Anti-Scream
The Pinacotheque is currently exhibiting Edward Munch’s oil paintings and wood gravure prints that range from landscapes to macabre depictions of illness and death. To make and afternoon of it, browse the bookshop and order a coffee and dessert next door at Fauchon.

Fete de Ganesh
To honor the elephant-headed god Ganesh, devotees chant and dance in the streets carrying flags, wearing totems of fruit and feather, and balancing candles atop heads. Shopkeepers prepare alters and swathe the parade route in garlands of flowers.

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