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CULTURE

The American library in Paris goes on the road

Throughout the summer and fall, librarians from the American library in Paris will be bringing 'pop-up' versions to other libraries and cultural institutions across the north of France and the rest of the Paris region.

The American library in Paris goes on the road
Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

Looking for an opportunity to enjoy some bilingual inter-cultural exchange? If you live in the Paris region or the north of France, mark your calendars then because this summer and fall the American Library in Paris is going ‘on the road.’

Inspired by Franco-American Jack Kerouac’s famous book ‘On the Road’ the library will be partnering with the US Embassy in France and the Hauts France and Île-de-France regions to bring the ‘pop-up’ versions of library across the north of France this summer and fall.

A great opportunity to meet community members, enjoy the library’s archival exhibits, and listen to bilingual ‘Story Hours’ where all are welcome (regardless of their language ability!), the “On the Road” program will begin its travels on Friday, July 1st.

Each two-day tour stop will partner with a local library, museum or cultural centre, and will feature a different American author discussing a broad range of topics from current events to democratic values to climate change. Don’t miss out on the library activities and learning tools the travelling librarians will bring for people of all ages!

“One of the goals of the program is to extend the reach of the Library to new audiences, and beyond that to create a shared sense of community among diverse participants. Everyone is welcome,” said Library Director Audrey Chapuis. 

The first session will take place up in the north in Pas-de-Calais, at the Bibliothèque de l’Agglomération de Saint-Omer, and American journalist Cole Stangler will kick off a public discussion (in French) about disinformation.

After Pas-de-Calais, the library will hit the road again. First, the librarians will stick around the Paris region to Blanc-Mesnil (Seine-Saint-Denis) the weekend of July 8th and 9th, then off to Savigny-le-Temple (Seine-et-Marne) July 21th and 22nd, and afterwards Evry-Courcouronnes (Essone) September 28th and 29th. Then, they will head up north, starting in Lille the weekend of November 7th and 8th, and then off to Amiens November 25th and 26th, and Airion December 8th and 9th. The librarians are expecting to stop by Blérancourt as well sometime this fall.

For more information, you can go directly to the library’s website: https://americanlibraryinparis.org/ontheroad/

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FOOD & DRINK

French AOP cheese the latest victim of France’s drought

Your cheeseboard board might have to go without a classic French cheese for some time, after production was halted due to the impacts of drought. 

French AOP cheese the latest victim of France's drought

Production of Salars – a type of cows’ milk cheese from the central French département of Cantal – has been halted for an indefinite period, as France suffers its worst drought on record.

Across the country rivers have run dry and water restrictions have been imposed – and now the cheese-makers are affected too.

The Salars cheese is an AOP (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée), meaning the rules for its production are carefully defined – to be authentic, the cows’ diet must be at least 75 percent grass from pastures within the Auvergne region.

But as the drought continues, the normally fertile volcanic earth in Auvergne has gone hard and dry, and the grass has died – for the 78 AOP cheese producers in the region, their cows have not been able to graze for weeks.

READ MORE: Ask the expert: Why is France’s drought so bad and what will happen next?

“There is nothing left to eat at my place,” said Laurent Roux, a farmer at Gaec de la Calsade in Cantal, to Francetvinfo.

“In some places, the ground looks like ashes. It’s dust,” he added. Roux’ cows have not been able to graze since June 25th. 

While this is the first time a full production stop for Salers has occurred, it is not the first time the AOP has had to contend with challenging climate conditions.

Some farmers had to temporarily suspend production in 2017, and in 2019, the AOP requested a waiver to decrease cows’ share of grass in their diets to 50 percent rather than the usual 75 percent.

However, farmer and head of the AOP, Laurent Lours, said this option was not on the table this year. “It is not worth it because we do not even have 50 percent of the grass,” he told the local station of France 3

He expects production to drop by at least 15 percent this year, as the cheese is only produced on farms between April 15th and November 15th. 

READ MORE: More than 100 French villages without tap water in ‘unprecedented’ drought

For individual farmers, many will turn to Cantal cheese (rather than Salers), which has less restrictive regulations for its production. Doing so also means that they will earn less – a loss of €200 per 1,000 litres of milk.

As for consumers, they can expect a shortage in stores and increase in prices for Salers cheese.

The drought is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, with the possibility of impacting other cheeses and AOP products.

In Switzerland, producers of Gruyère cheese are also worried about a lower quantity of milk production and are considering bringing their cows down to the plains earlier than usual this season.

From the mussels in the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel (as a result of a lack of fresh water in the rivers) to the Espelette peppers being lost to high temperatures, drought will likely impact a range of France’s unique ingredients.

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