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The Solidays festival 2017

October 22, 2017

The 23, 24 and 25 of June the festival The Solidays took place in the Bois de Boulogne. The aim of this music festival was to raise funds to struggle against HIV.

A lot of people were gathered for this action. Overall, more than 2500 volunteers, almost 80 concerts of international famous artists and more than 169.000 persons were present. The program of concerts was amazing.

However, the Solidays isn’t based only on music. There were also a lot of meetings which tackled sexuality, health, well-being and sexual orientations to inform and raise awareness among the youngsters. It was a peaceful, friendly, soothing and convivial atmosphere.

Personally, I went to a lot of concerts but I remember well two of them which particulary struck me. It was L.E.J group’s concert and Kung’s. I really loved them because it was fun, intense, crazy with all the people who shouted and sang. Moreover we were with my friends just in front of the artists so we could enjoy the concert even more.

In a nutshell, this is a very great festival to go to with your friends because you can really enjoy it and at the same time you help for a worthy cause.

Camille B.

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PENNY DREADFUL

October 20, 2017

 

It’s in an eerie and crepuscular atmosphere that the great series Penny Dreadful finds its roots. Realeased in 2014, ended in 2016, the fantastic series directed by John Logan is a success. Everything is to be catchy and thrilling.

 

          Reeve Carney is Dorian Gray

In the role of Dorian Gray, Reeve Carney sets a weird atmosphere whenever his presence is required. Immortal, he has a taste for literature, gore sex, classic music and zoology.This atypical character is intriguing Vanessa all along the story by his strange and delicate manners but also his bestiality.

              Timothy Dalton is Sir Malcolm

Sir Malcolm is a strict character, emptied by the loss of his beloved daughter Mina; he sets off with Vanessa, the pursuit of the young woman among creepy and dangerous creatures.

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Eva Green is Vanessa Ives

Main character of the series, the enygmatic Vanessa is followed by dark creatures all the time. She herself is blackened by a sort of demon inside her. All along the story, she is torn apart between her two sides. Gnawed within by the disappearance of Mina, she tries to use the strength she has in her evil side to find her while leading the long and tumultuous quest against evil. She is the most interesting character by the affectations of her past on herself.

A GOTHIC SERIES 

The creepy atmosphere of the series is made by the intertwining of many antithetical themes such as love and hate, or appearences and realities, but also by the macabre mood, mixed with fantastic apparitions. The recurrent theme which can refer to vanities would be facing and escaping death. The unpredictible hallmark of the characters’ tempers destabilize us and we never know who is going to die, except for the real main characters. There is a sort of a tragic aura all along the series, hypnotising the viewer.

 

Johane

 

Haunted Manors and Castles in Europe

October 18, 2017

Since my childhood hanted manors have always interested me. When I was around 10 years old I  used to watch on Friday night a program called ” la soirée de l’étrange” which you can translate by “the evening of the strange”. Sadly this program doesn’t exist anymore. It showed strange things, apparitions, haunted places …

Even if some time we could see the trick , there were times when I thought that it would be great to visit that kind of places, to see them by myself. It’s hard to believe in things you didn’t actually see , knowing that maybe what people want you to believe is possibly a trick or something which, most of the time, has an explanation.

For that reason I decided that one day I would go on a trip to visit those “haunted”places and then I would see by myself. The possibility that nothing happens is huge but it doesn’t mean that I will be disappointed. I will have seen beautiful places and I will be a bit scared at first , emotions are awaiting me.

So let’s start , I will talk about some haunted places in Europe that I want to visit. 

(ps: this article also arrives at the right moment because as we all know , Halloween is coming soon!)

1-Raynham Hall, built in the 1630s, Norfolk, Great Britain

This castle was the property of the sister of Robert Walpole the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. She was the wife of Charles Townshend who was well known for his violence. One day Townshend discovered that his wife had cheated on him so he decided to lock her in up her rooms. She remained there until her death in 1726.

Her ghost was first observed in 1835 and the captain Hubert C. Provand took a famous picture which represents a woman walking down the stairs of the castle in 1936.

2-Bran Castle, the home of Dracula in the Carpathian Mountains, near Bran, Romania, built in the late 13th or early 14th century. It was a royal residence of the Romanian Royal Family between 1920 and 1947.

There is actually no proof that Prince Vlad Dracul lived there but according to legends impaled people are haunting this place. The story of  Prince Vlad Dracul inspired the story of Count Dracula (Dracula by Bram Stocker) the most famous vampire. This prince was also known as the impalor because he used to impale people alive in his walls.

Well that’s really creepy …

 3. The Chateau de Brissac in France

The Chateau de Brissac is the tallest castle in France. It’s well-known for the double murder that took place in its walls in the 15th century. People who visit it don’t leave the castle without encountering some mysterious facts on they way. One of the two victims is known as “la dame verte” that you can translate as the “green lady”. The Duke of Brissac and his family live in the castle and have become accustomed to her roaming  in the rooms, especially the chapel . People that actually saw her say that she is wearing a green dress and that there is terrible gasping holes where her eyes and nose were once. If you wake up early you may be able to hear her moans which are echoing through the castle halls.

4-Poveglia island in Italy

The small island of Poveglia sits in the Venice lagoon between Lido and Venice.  During the bubonic plague in the 14 th century the island became a quarantine colony. Many Venetians were sent there to die, their bodies were burned on giant pyres. The case was repeated in 1630 when the black death swept through Venice. since that period many strange things happened on the island which is now abandoned. It is said that the only person who still lives on it are the ghosts of diseased victims. Voices and screams are often heard. Visitors say that there is an overwhemingly oppressive feeling of malevolence. The locals dare not go there and fishermen refuse to fish in the surrounding waters because they fear that they will pull up dead bodies.

5-the catacombs of Paris

I can already say that I visited this place a few months ago and it was really great! It’s Europe’s largest catacombs; there are many tunnels with the bones of millions of corpses. Without any arrows to guide you it’s easy to get lost and that’s what happened in 1793 when Philibert Aspairt went missing in the catacombs. His body was found 11 years after his disappearance in front of the exit and with no explanation.

6-Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire, England

This inn, which dates back to the 1100s, is widely believed to be one of the most haunted buildings in Britain. The location of the Ancient Ram Inn is believed to have been a place of pagan ritual, which is just one reason behind the supernatural activity.

Both the owners and guests who have stayed at the inn have experienced terrifying ghostly figures in their rooms and being pushed around, as well as a sense of something sinister. This has been scrutinised by many supernatural experts and enthusiasts, who have all been left convinced of the building’s haunted nature. When weapons and skeletons of children are found buried within the structure of the house itself, it’s impossible to draw any other conclusion!

7-Moosham Castle , Austria

The castle was built in 1191 and is now known as the ” witches castle”. We can explain this name because over the centuries the castle was a place of persecution during the Salzburg witch trials. The castle have a bloody history for the 100s dismembered and burned here but also because it is said that the castle claimed to have werewolves. Apparently local villagers were accused of being the creatures ripping animals apart in the night and executing in the dungeons here . So if we can give you a piece of advice it will be not to go and visit on a full moon!

Alexandra

 

Poland, an underestimated country.

October 15, 2017

Did you ever hear about Poland? No ? Maybe you know it from your history lesson about World War 2 and Cold War. A gray, sad, dreary and chill country. Our wish is to show you the new ( to be exact the “real” ) side of this fantastic nation. 

Newspapers used to show you just the top of the iceberg and sometimes to blow something up out of all proportion. We will try to erase these stereotypes and give a new sight of it. First, we would refresh some general information about Poland. Geographically speaking, Poland is situated in the center of Europe despite being categorized as an eastern country. Before, it was one of the largest kingdoms on the Old Continent as same as Russia was. Polish national anthem is Dabrowski’s Mazurka called also Poland Is Not Yet Lost. The lyrics are really representative of the place reserved to the tradition of patriotism practiced so far by Poles. Nowadays, the capital city is Warsaw ( Warszawa in Polish ) with over 3 000 000 inhabitants. To complete the symbols, the polish flag is white-red, to signify two mains values: honor and patriotism. 

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "flaga polska"                                                      The polish white-red flag with the crowned eagle on the top.

Beautiful and wild landscapes

One of the most representative examples is certainly the Bialowieza National Park located in the Podlaskie Voivodeship at the border with Belarus. It is mostly known for being the last reserve for European bison with until 800 bisons living in there. Consequently, the park was designated as World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Furthermore, this forest conceals prehistoric raw materials which are extremely important for researchers. In the following part you can admire few photographs of this outstanding and fairy forest together with its inhabitants :

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Two lynxes, probably looking for a prey, under the wintry snow

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A female bison with its young

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A great deer between branches

Another great countryside is doubtlessly the Tatrzanski National Park. The park is located in southern part of Poland, on the border with the Czech Republic and Slovakia.   Here you would be able to appreciate the magnificence of the Tatras. It’s the perfect place if you are a fanatic of hiking and climbing. These mountains were a source of inspiration ( especially in winter ) for many Polish and foreign artists as Georg Daniel Speer, Kornel Makuszynski, Goran Wahlenberg, John Glowacki and even William Horwood. That is exactly why the main village, Zakopane, was called the polish winter capital. The warm atmosphere of this place can be compared to many european winter town as Chamonix, Meribel, Campodolcino or Saint-Nicholas. Here you can see the charm of Tatras and Zakopane :

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Zakopane covered by a winter veil.

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The “Sea Eye” is one of the most splendiferous lake in the World.

An important cultural and historic centre 

Kopernik, Kosciuszko, Chopin, Mickiewicz, Curie-Sklodowska or even John Paul II too many Polish personalities are famous for making careers abroad. But the country itself was the theatre of world events destiny. Of course, World War II is one of the reasons why people travel in Poland. The extermination of Jews, opponents, communists were the main targets of the third Reich and crazy nazi ambitions. That’s why they invaded Poland and built illegally the death camps. The most representative is surely the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp with the two other camps around. If you decide to visit it, you have to be prepared ( you should be shocked by the effects of dehumanization.) People there were treated as less than animals. But it would be too reductive to minimize Poland to camps that were built by Germans during this terrible period. Let’s have a look at the capital : Warsaw. If you have the opportunity, to go and visit the city, you will be able to admire the heritage from the Enlightment. The Łazienki Królewskie are a pretty good exemple of that. They were established by the last king of Poland, Stanislaw August Poniatowski.  This historic site is visited by hundreds of millions of tourists every year because of its Baroque style. Furthermore, you should not forget to eat the local specialities, pierogi ( a sort of dumplings) with meat or cheese in front of the Zygmunt’s Column.

The second great town is Cracow (Krakow) which preserves its Middle Age appearance. The city center is a big place with many colorful buildings around you. The typical market is Sukienice, where you can find local wood crafted souvenirs. For people passionate about art the Lady with an ermine by Leonardo Da Vinci is displayed in the Czartoryski’s Museum.

Finally, there is one last place to visit in Poland which testifies of tolerance and  cohabitation of many cultures for generations. If your path drives you to the North East of Poland you cannot avoid the Crimean Tatar Yurt in Kruszyniany. The place was visited by famous personalities, Prince Charles for example. There, you should rent accomodation and enjoy tatar’s dishes such as Pierekaczewnik or Czak-czak. Some pictures below :

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The Aushwitz-Birkenau railway

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Lazienki’s Palace aboard the lake

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Zygmunt Column on the marketplace

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Famous and delicious Polish pierogi

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The tatar mosque in Kruszyniany

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Prince Charles in visit in Zenata’s Guest house, a tatarian home

My final piece of advice is to plan your journey soon because the prices can be very low if you manage it.

Xavier

                                                                              Solidarity after the terrible earthquake in Mexico

October 13, 2017

On Tuesday 19th September, at 13 :14 local time,  the town of Mexico and other cities around  faced a huge earthquake of magnitude 7.1 in which 320 people died. This happened exactly 32 years after the last one which caused 10.000 deaths.

The epicenter of this earthquake was situated between Puebla and Morelos’ state at a depth of 51km. As a result of this, around 50 buildings, houses and even a school were knocked down; there was an explosion inside a building, the airport was closed for hours in order to check it. There was a chaotic atmosphere with tears, smoke and cries; people were in the street and could just see damages; a lot of videos were posted on the social medias to show the impacts of this event.

A few days later, we noticed an important impetus of solidarity between the Mexican population who gathered in order to help first aider and people in need; we noted many solidarity chains with food, water and equipments from the Mexicans to the survivors.

This solidarity looks like the one that occured 32 years before and transformed the social and political life of the country. Nowadays, it will also change the political life of Mexico because people remarked failures during this earthquake like alarms that did not trigger at the good time but after the beginning of the disaster  so people started to be wary about the government ; this will be at the advantage of  Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leader of the left party, in the coming elections (2018).

Bettina 

 

West Coast of the United States

October 11, 2017

Two girls, one trip

Our trip to the west coast of the United-States

2 Girls, 2  friends, one trip. One travels by herself, with her family, the other in a camp. They made the trip of their lives, and we will tell you.

Last summer we crossed the West side of US.

Kim went to the USA  in a summer camp with the city of Boulogne by herself. She met some incredible people who have become friends. She left in July for 20 days, whereas Jeanne left in August for 20 days too.

Jeanne went with her parents and she met her older brother, Julien,  who has been living in San Francisco  for 6 months for an internship in a programme with his business school.

We both followed the same itinerary :

Los Angeles

“Unfortunately, I only crossed Hollywood Boulevard and saw the Hollywood panel from there. I loved sunbathing on Venice Beach. I felt like I was in Baywatch series. I really liked Santa Monica, which is, in my opinion, a representation of the melting pot of the US. There, you can find musicians,singers, dancers, skaters,tattoo makers… ” -Kim

“ I think it’s a nice place to stay for visiting studios or to see the ocean (Santa Monica, Venice Beach), but it’s too crowded. We spent most of our time in a car stuck in traffic. For me, crossing Hollywood boulevard is not really interesting it’s exactly like The Champs Elysée in Paris. However, we went to the Getty Center a foundation of art and it was really great” -Jeanne

the Getty Center, Los Angeles

Both of us were disappointed not to find Totally Spies in Beverly Hills, the series of our childhood 😦

Grand Canyon

“When you visit this canyon (and it was my first canyon ever visited), you feel like those orange mountains, those gigantic craters are just a poster, a wallpaper, a green background. This is sooo unrealistic, so huge to be true. We were so moved in front of this landscape that our coach called us the Japanese tourists because we stopped every 5 meters to take pictures.” – Kim

“ We saw an amazing sunset on the Grand Canyon and we had an “apéritif” in front of those giant mountains. We are full of memories because it was the most impressive sunset that we ever saw in our life.” – Jeanne

Bryce Canyon

“Definitely my favorite place on the west coast. I went for the sunset and it was really beautiful calm and quiet. We walked a lot in this canyon because there are so many hiking trails, and you don’t feel the time pass ” -Jeanne

“The crossing of this canyon was a real hike… and I loved it. Even if the warmth (about 40°C)  was difficult to deal with, it was worth it. And when you finally reach the top of the canyon, you discover all the road you have just walked… Impressive” -Kim

Antelope Canyon

“My favorite canyon of those 3. The fact that we could enter the Canyon, climb on the rocks, accompanied by a ninja guide who takes your phone, puts the Chrome filter on and takes strange positions to get a picture so beautiful that you can only find it on a Window wallpaper, was gorgeous”- Kim

Death Valley

“ The hottest place of the world it’s not an overstatement. It was 120°F (=49°C). It was really impressive, the landscape was lunar, you really feel alone and in the middle of nowhere, especially when you see a rattlesnake ” – Jeanne

“Personally it was too hard to bear. When you are on a bus for 6 hours and the driver told you that he had to stop the air conditioning because it’s forbidden in Death Valley (for ecological reasons) it’s the last straw. The car was basically as hot as a furnace. Even the air of the Death Valley (47°)was cooler than the inside of the bus!!!” -Kim

Yosemite Park

“Probably one of my favorite places of the West Coast. This place is sooo quiet and relaxing. When you reach the “mountain” you feel like you’re on the top of the world. The Sequoia trees were endless and beautiful to admire. After crossing the Death Valley, Yosemite Park was my breath of fresh air.” -Kim

“ When I went to Yosemite Park it was foggy at first because there were lots of fires in the state. Sequoias were burnt but it was great to see these impressive mountains in the middle of the forest” – Jeanne

Las Vegas

“ cool place to gamble and party if you are 21, but both of us are not :)” -Jeanne

“I agree with Jeanne, LV was cool, festive much more at night. I particularly liked the Freemont Street, a covered Street, which was full of concerts, Casinos… I have even seen people on a zip line! This Street makes me think of Times Square” -Kim

San Francisco

“ I love San Francisco, it’s really a nice place where you can visit too many things; no district looks like the other. I went to Alcatraz island it was so stunning, I didn’t feel really secure but it was really a great visit” – Jeanne

“Sadly, I didn’t spend a lot of time in SF. People told me that I would love SF and it was true. This city has a kind of European influence. You can find little housing development typical of the USA suburbs” Kim

To conclude : Both of us have loved our trip to the West Coast. It was a gorgeous experience, which made us grow up and discover new cultures and new horizons. If you have some doubts about going to the USA, don’t hesitate and go for it; it’s worth it ! 🙂

Written by Jeanne and Kim

 

Tahiti Island

October 9, 2017

Tahiti is an island located in the Pacific ocean. It is the largest island in French  Polynesia community. The island of Tahiti is divided into two parts: The larger portion to the northwest is known as Tahiti Nui, and the smaller, southeastern  is known as Tahiti Iti. The capital is Papetee: it is the place where I was born. My family lived there for six years and I left the island at three years old. Except for the touristy aspect Tahiti is a beautiful place where people gather into one.

” The Pearl Beach” is a wonderful hotel and maybe the most known. I had the chance to live in this hotel thanks to my father who worked there as a Pastry chef. The houses on stilts giving onto the clear blue sea were my home.

Moreover I remember that I contributed to some events which are typical of Tahiti such as:

  • the Heiva: It is the national party which generally takes place in July where people are dancing and celebrate together. During this 3-day event dancers compete with each other.
  • the Hawaiki Nui: it takes place most of the time in October; it’s a contest of dugout canoe. It attracts each year more than a hundred of canoe racers coming from all French Polynesia . They compete for 3 days from the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Taha’a and Bora Bora. The distance varies from 25km to 60km.
  • Sports are also unrivalled with because they can only be found in Tahiti : to set an example shelling coconuts, climbing the coconut palms and running while carrying as many fruits as possible

My parents got married there and it was a typical Tahitian wedding. We were on the beach and I  loved the flower crowns that they had. The food was also typical and I remember that we ate food in “leave dishes” i.e dishes made with tree leaves.

 

 

 

 

Specialities of Tahiti are principally the raw fish; indeed meat is rarely eaten there; fruits like coconut, tropical fruits, watermelon  are popular and the latter I used to eat  every day.

My parents decided to name me with a Tahitian name MANOA which means purity.

To conclude Tahiti is a wonderful Island where I feel lucky to have lived there and I invite people to go. Even if I was young I will never forget this place.

Manoa