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Arts and culture France: singer tours aged 93, Marie-Antoinette series

A round-up of the stories creating a buzz in French art, literature and entertainment

Singer-songwriter, Hugues Aufray, 93; Canal+ make Marie-Antoinette; Ste Geneviève at Cité du Vitrail stained glass museum, Troyes Pic: Hugues Aufray/ Canal+ / Cité du Vitrail

Marie-Antoinette reimagined

Following in the footsteps of its popular, if very racy and, for many, historically questionable, series Versailles, subscription channel Canal+ has unveiled its latest dramatisation of life in the French royal court with Marie-Antoinette.

The Franco-British production features the brilliant Russian-born German actress Emilia Schüle as the former Archduchess of Austria, then Dauphine of France and finally the last Queen before the Revolution as the wife of Louis XVI.

Filmed in Versailles and Fontainebleau with a budget of €23million and with dialogue in English, the first of three expected seasons portrays the decade from 1770 to 1780, as the 14-year-old princess struggles to adjust to life at the treachery-laden court of Versailles. 

Read more: French art: A portrait Marie-Antoinette hated and hid goes on display

Back to the Eighties

Readers nostalgic for the 1980s will enjoy the new exhibition, Années 80, on at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs until April 6, 2023. 

The colourful displays reveal how the fields of fashion, design and graphics both shaped and traced the decade in France, from the election of François Mitterrand in 1981 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Using pieces by fashion designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler, as well as spotlights on advertising and other audiovisual sectors which enjoyed a golden age, the curator Adrien Rovero has picked three themes to guide visitors through the decade: a new political and cultural era; the effervescence of design and the looks of the 80s.

Pop goes the pensioner

Most of us, should we be lucky enough to live to the ripe old age of 93, will probably be taking life easy. 

Not so the singer-songwriter Hugues Aufray, currently on a nationwide tour in which he is performing in churches and cathedrals.

Aufray says he prefers the intimacy of small venues: “When you sing in front of 10, 20, 30, 40,000 people, you don’t see anyone, whereas here, I see the people, they are in front of me. It’s a marvellous way of sharing,” he told Francetvinfo. 

Aufray is best known for his covers of Bob Dylan songs as well as for smash hit songs such as the sea shanty-inspired ‘Santiano’ from the 1960s.

Read more: Elton John, Bowie, Queen: many A-list stars have recorded in France

Baker on the big screen

A major new biopic of the dancer, actress and WW2 Resistance helper Josephine Baker will go into production next year, helmed by French-Senegalese film-maker Maïmouna Doucouré. 

The film will trace the life of Baker from St. Louis in the United States to Paris, and then to the Périgord, at the Château des Milandes where she lived for more than thirty years.

Read more: US-born French icon Josephine Baker to enter France’s Pantheon

Heart of glass

The spectacular Cité du Vitrail stained glass museum in Troyes (Aube) opens on December 17th. 

Billed as a “vast scientific, cultural, educational and tourism project inviting visitors to discover and experience a rich world of emotion,” it showcases the art’s stylistic changes from the Middle Ages to today, with antique and contemporary, secular and religious, figurative and abstract pieces.

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