Viewing the Crown of Thorns at Notre Dame

The Crown of Thorns, inside its protective case

Gargoyles. The rose window. Victor Hugo’s hunchback. Flying buttresses. These are just a few of the countless reasons why Parisians and visitors to the City of Light visit and fall in love with Notre Dame de Paris, the stunning gothic cathedral that often is included with the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe as iconic symbols of Paris. But for Catholics, indeed for all Christians, the church also is host to one of the most important relics in all of Christendom—the Crown of Thorns, allegedly worn by Jesus during his crucifixion. And visitors to the cathedral can see this most holy of artifacts all day on Good Friday. Continue Reading →

Another French Holiday Cake – the Galette des Rois

Galette des Rois 3

Visitors to Paris at this time of year—particularly those who pop into Parisian patisseries or even grocery stores like Franprix, Monoprix or Carrefour—will undoubtedly see a seasonal dessert for sale that is unique to Europe: Galette des Rois. Translated as the “Cake of Kings,” this circular (or, less often, rectangular) cake celebrates Epiphany, the Biblical story of the arrival of the three wise men /magi to the newly born Christ child. This holiday is celebrated on January 6 each year–12 days after Christmas, marking the end of the traditional “12 Days of Christmas” as immortalized in the classic holiday song). Continue Reading →

Paris Set to Celebrate LGBT Pride This Weekend

Paris street's full for first Gay Pride since legalisation of gay marriage - video

The city of Paris will celebrate Gay Pride month with a massive parade on Saturday that will wind its way for two hours from the Left Bank to the Place de la Republique, and will culminate with a massive free concert that will be broadcast live on Radio Nova. Paris Pride is like no other LGBT gathering in Europe, drawing hundreds of thousands of people (estimates of the annual crowd range from 600,000 to 1 million) for a weekend of nonstop, raucous celebrating with their peers, friends, families and allies. Continue Reading →

Annual ‘La Foire du Trone’ Carnival Now Open


Paris’s annual La Foire du Trone, a huge carnival with more than 300 rides and attractions and lots of amusement park food and treats, opened this past weekend in the Bois de Vincennes in the city’s 12th Arrondissement and will be open daily for the next two months. Popular family attractions include roller coasters (including kiddie coasters), a huge Ferris wheel, bounce houses, carousels, track-guided cars, bumper cars, giant slide, haunted house, log flume, scores of carnival games with prizes, acrobats, jugglers and live music. There are also a number of thrill rides for teens and adults that tilt, spin, rotate, fling, spring and roll. And, of course, the fair is ground zero for sweets and treats, including candy apples, churros, marshmallows, ice cream and more. Continue Reading →

Celebrating Christmas in Paris with a Buche de Noel

Homemade Buche

A traditional Christmas dessert served in France is the Buche de Noel, or yule log. Nearly every patisserie in the City of Light offers up their own version of this delicious rolled cake, with some of the most elaborate—and most pricey—coming from such celebrated pastry chefs, chocolatiers and patisseries as Pierre Herme, Laurent Duchene, Christophe Roussel, Jean-Paul Hevin, Dalloyau, Laduree and many more. Continue Reading →

World’s Premier Photo Show Held Nov. 13-16 in Paris

Paris Photo 2

Photographers and lovers of the photographic medium will be in sheer heaven this week when Paris’s Grand Palais hosts “Paris Photo”—widely considered the world’s premier international photography art fair. This year’s show marks the 18th anniversary of the event that is known across the globe not only for its stunning displays of photography, but also for its innovative and high-level programming. Paris Photo will include nearly 170 exhibits from more than 1,200 photographers, collectors and galleries spanning 33 nations. Continue Reading →

World’s Largest Chocolate Festival Held Oct. 29-Nov. 2

Salon du Chocolat 14

If you’re a chocoholic and are in the City of Light this weekend, you’re in for a real treat. The 20th annual Salon du Chocolate—the world’s largest event focusing specifically on chocolate and cocoa—is being held October 29 through November 2 at the Parc des Expositions de Paris-Porte de Versailles. Salon du Chocolat will feature more than 200 chefs and patissiers from all over the world (with a focus on French chocolatiers) and more than 200 international exhibitors. The event includes exhibits and displays by major companies involved in producing chocolate, including the unveiling of new products, live demonstrations by world-renowned chocolatiers and chefs, and the hugely popular Chocolate Fashion Show. It is not to be missed! Continue Reading →

Fete de l’Humanite: Music, Humanism and Activism

Fete de l'Humanite 6

This weekend in Paris—well, just outside the city, in the northern suburb of La Courneuve—is an annual event that many dub the French version of Woodstock due to its focus on music, humanism and activism. Called Fete de l’Humanite (Festival of Humanity), the three-day gathering is known mostly for its series of folk, rock and pop music performances. But over the decades, the annual September gathering has grown to include political debates, candidate presentations, calls to action, political organizing seminars and much more aimed at advancing the goals of humanism and equality, both in France and around the world. Continue Reading →