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    EOL Coverage of Chefs Championships at IHMRS

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    Preparing Lobster for Competition

I Love Touring Paris - The Sixth Arrondissement

The sixth arrondissement of central Paris is located on the Left Bank of the Seine River. Its area slightly exceeds a square mile (over 2 square kilometers) with a population of 45,000 and slightly fewer jobs. Like its neighbor the 5th arrondissement, the 6th is often known as the Quartier Latin (Latin Quarter) although it's been a long time since many have spoken Latin in either district. Its best-known part is the famous Saint-Germain-des-Pres, which in the years following World War II was the intellectual center of the world; home to philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Later on we'll talk about the district's world-famous cafes that they frequented.

On the subject of intellectuals, this arrondissement is home to l'Academie Francaise (the French Academy), the watchdog over the French language. For what it's worth I'm a strong believer in keeping the French language French and avoiding Franglais. The Academy was founded in 1635 by Louis XIII's chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu. It was suppressed by the French Revolution but brought back by Napoleon. The academy is an advisory body with no power to punish the many people and institutions that disrespect the French language. It holds only forty seats, some of which may be vacant waiting for a candidate acceptable to the sitting members. Normally membership is for life but some malfaiteurs (wrong doers) have been expelled; for example, given their association with the collaborationist Vichy regime during World War II.

Since its inception the Academy has only greeted four female members, starting with the writer Marguerite Yourcenar elected in 1980. Some very famous writers such as Moliere, Zola, and Proust never achieved membership. Male members, except for clergy, get to wear a sword with their Academy outfit. In 1778 the Academy initiated a historical dictionary of the French language. It abandoned the project before getting to the Bs. The Academy's dictionary is partially in the ninth edition. The Academy Francaise has been fairly successful in persuading people to use French words such as logiciel instead of the corresponding English words, in this case software. It rules on grammar issues and offers prestigious prizes in literature, cinema, translation, and other fields.

The Cafe de Flore on the Boulevard Saint-Germain is a historic intellectual cafe and offers an annual literary award. The nearby cafe Les Deux Magots named for two wooden Chinese statues near the entrance is also a literary and intellectual center with its own annual literary award. It has been decades that these cafes are too expensive for all but the wealthiest intellectuals.

The French Senate is the upper house of the French Parliament. Until recently senators were elected for nine-year terms, but now their terms have been reduced to six years. Senators are not elected by the general public but by one hundred fifty thousand local elected officials such as mayors and city councilors. The Senate tends to be more conservative than France's lower house, the National Assembly. Besides proposing bills and voting on them the Senate publishes reports and so serves to monitor the gntedleucuisine{

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