Le Buzz: Beyond the French news

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Tax exile? Gérard Depardieu says “bye bye” to France

Gérard Depardieu, symbolic figure of French cinema, has decided to move to Belgium. The Belgian press have revealed that the French actor has bought a house in the town of Néchin, on the French border. The most likely reason for his change of address is for tax exile. Néchin and its neighbouring villages are known to host numerous wealthy French, notably supermarket enterprises. Belgium heavily taxes labour income, but not capital gains on private assets, which makes it a tax haven for French billionaires.

The departure of Gérard Depardieu from France to Belgium has sparked reactions, especially among French politicians. Jean-François Copé, president of the UMP, declared to the  the Senate of France “It is regrettable, of course. I do not judge, but I regret it, naturally. And it is sad for our country and its image”. Bertrand Delanoë, mayor of Paris, member of the Socialist Party, commented on Canal + “Its sad because he’s a great actor, someone who I know, who I like very much, he is very generous, yet he doesn’t show it, and I am very sorry [to see him leave]”.

Are you shocked that French millionaires are migrating to Belgium to flee the French tax system? Don’t hesitate to comment at the end of this article or via Twitter @MaVieFrançaise.

French cooking and tradition: the Yule log of 2012

Each year the most famous French pastry chefs compete to create an original version of the famous traditional French dessert: the Yule log.

Where does this tradition come from? The origin of the Yule log dates back to the twelfth century. Each year a piece of tree trunk was brought into the house to be ritually burned. On Christmas Eve, the log was doused in oil and sprinkled with salt and mulled wine, then set alight by the daughter or the mother of the household. The ashes were meant to protect the house from lightening and from the devil. This tradition lasted until the fourteenth century. The log was then replaced by a delicious rolled cake, iced with coffee or chocolate cream and decorated with holly leaves and candied roses.


With Christmas approaching, gourmandise and feasting of the eyes will be taking place at French chocolatiers’ and patisseries. Here are some pictures of Yule logs to entice you.

If there isn’t a French patisserie near to you, here’s a recipe for fruit Yule log, taken from “Petit Larousse du Chocolat” from the Heads of Le Cordon Bleu schools.
Bon appétit and Merry Christmas to all!

The works of architect Oscar Niemeyer in France

Brazilian Oscar Niemeyer, one of the symbols of modern architecture, passed away on the 5th of December at the age of 104. Creator of around 600 works worldwide, including in the city of Brasilia, the Brazilian architect was also the designer of many buildings in France. Fleeing the dictatorship of his country, Oscar Niemeyer lived in Paris from 1967 to 1972.

A communist activist, he created the headquarters of the French Communist Party (PCF) at place du Colonel-Fabien in the 19th arrondissement of Paris as well as the headquarters of the daily newspaper of the party L’Humanité in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis). The PCF building is today considered a World Heritage Building by UNESCO.

He also designed the Maison de la Culture in Le Havre (Seine Maritime) and the Labour Exchange in Bobigny. Oscar Niemeyer was promoted to the rank of Commander of the Legion of Honour in 2007 by Nicholas Sarkozy.
Image credits:
1. Bye bye Gérard, Answers.com
2. Bûche Fauchon, L’Express.fr
3. Bûches, Marieclaire.fr
4. Bûche lingot d’or, L’express.fr  
5. Maison de la culture au Havre, AFP Photo Mychèle Daniau  
6. Réalisation d’Oscar Niemeyer, site officiel

About the Contributor

Emmanuelle Tremolet

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