Loulabelle's FrancoFiles is officially onboard the Aussie French Embassy's new cultural website Sacreblue!
Guest: Boris Toucas
Other Loulabelles links:
So this week saw exiting news in the Aussie Francophile world… the Embassy of France in Australia has launched a new website Sacreblue!
I was super excited that the Loulabelle’s FrancoFiles podcast was asked to come on board as a contributor for the new platform which is dedicated to bringing together all institutions, organisations and individuals who create cultural and intellectual bridges between France and Australia.
The website will feature regular contributions and highlights of my LFF articles and podcast eps! It is also partnered with the Alliance Française in Australia. There will be news, in-depth articles, podcasts and events on French cinema, performance, arts, gastronomy, ideas, science, language, fashion, sport and much more.
After the excitement of the launch I was thrilled to meet and chat to Boris Toucas. He is the Head of Culture, Science and Education at the Embassy of France in Australia and a career diplomat. He previously served as a political counsellor at the embassy of France in the United States and as a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Before that, he served at the French MFA headquarters in Paris.
Boris works in areas at the Embassy that are not political and not economic, so all the fun stuff such as language and culture! He focuses on creating opportunities for Australians to know more about France and also for French nationals in Australia to stay connected to their culture. Cultural bonds are important and after talking to Boris I can see that the links being created between the people of France and Australia will be positive and strong. Sacreblue! has the opportunity now to connect Australians with France who have never known much about French culture before.
Last January there was a night of ideas in Sydney called “Closer Together”. There were speakers from lots of different backgrounds such as science or the arts, discussing ways to connect Australia and France. This coming January there will be another similar event, this time titled “Rebuilding Together”.
So Boris spent a short time in the US before coming to Australia. He is so widely travelled having been to almost 70 countries! Coming to our Oceania region has been a big learning curve for him and there have been lots of learnings, uncovering the real Australia and debunking the myths and clichés. Prior to the US, Boris lived in Paris for a decade after growing up in La Rochelle on the west coast of France.
I was fascinated to hear the perspective Boris has. The clichés he has assumed of Australia growing up in France, but then learning the reality once here, is similar for many of us with our understanding of France. We fall in love with the cliché of France but the more we go there and learn about it the more we understand the cliché is just the tip of the iceberg! Boris and I discussed how Paris is so different from quarter to quarter and the regions are beautifully different too!
Boris wondered how the Embassy can have an impact on our people here in Australia, both French and Australian to promote cultural and intellectual bonds between us all. He thought, “we need to build a community!” This website Sacreblue! is absolutely that. Building a community for us all to celebrate all the wonderfulness about France. 100% Francophile but 100% in English to keep all the information accessible to Australians for us to learn, immerse and fall in love with French language and culture!
It is such an exciting website and I cannot recommend it highly enough! Sacreblue!
Links for my chat with Boris:
Boris’s home town: La Rochelle
Fave French day: on the Île de Ré
Fave region to visit: Pays Basque
Stromae – Ave Cesaria
Jacques Brel – Amsterdam
Galette Bretonne (jambon, fromage et oeuf)