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A taste of France for Leeds City Centre

by Caroline Grandjean

A celebration of things French drew more than 250 people to Arts Trinity on Saturday.

Journalist Mireille Béguin-Mason, 42, organised the “Meet the Frenchies” event, working alongside La Francophonie, a French association.

She said: “It was absolutely fabulous. It’s a big success, I didn’t expect so many people.”

The mother-of two has been living in the UK for eight years and before she lived in Egypt, so multiculturalism is close to her heart. She explained she wanted to give local people the chance to learn more about the French culture and its art de vivre.


“Meet the Frenchies” showcased a wide range of activity. Le “Bistrot des amis” came from Skipton to promote the gastronomy through food and wine tastings.

The event was also family friendly, with children’s workshops run by “les petits linguistes”. Kids could draw on banners, expressing their understanding of freedom of expression.

Guest speakers also led debates on philosophy, literature, poetry and politics, but Miss Béguin-Mason said the one on Parisian attacks was heated.

In January, she  also organised a vigil at Millennium Square after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, gathering 200 people. She said: “People were really in need to talk and to exchange about what they feel.”

Her next event will celebrate “la fete du travail”, a French national bank holiday.

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