Some of your favourite restaurants probably serve French food ( Camelot, Mezzaluna and L’Avenue anyone?).
Many of the top international DJs to take to the island’s decks are French.
There’s even a decent chance you bought this magazine in the French supermarket Carrefour.
If the culinary and cultural influence has not spread as far as you yet then be prepared for a full on assault when the 2011 French Week comes to Bahrain this month.
Dubbed Bahrain Je t’aime the week-long festival is a celebration of all aspects of French culture on the island and around the world.
Who can bring the intricacies of one of the most culturally diverse nations on the planet to the Middle East?
A Scottish expatriate in Bahrain of course.
“I’ve always had a passion for France, its people and culture and have had business interests with French companies for years,” explains Betsy Mathieson, president of the French Week Committee.
Her work as a spa consultant has seen Betsy work closely with numerous cosmetics and beauty firms in Bahrain and around the Gulf. This professional attachment, along with a long standing love of visiting Paris has led Betsy to seek out all aspects of French life.
“I’m a definite Francophile. I just love going to France and the whole style of the country,” she said.
Time Out Bahrain has seen the line up and are already dusting down our berets in anticipation of what is a long-awaited celebration. Originally scheduled for February it was delayed until November to ensure maximum participation in events.
Top 10 French Week events
Gourmet golf: On November 19 the Royal Golf Club in Riffa will be the home to this sporting event where every hole of a golf course is punctuated by a culinary treat.
Swing de Luxe: This Parisian jazz group channel the spirit of gypsy jazz legend Django Renhardt and will be performing at Bahrain City Centre on November 17 and 18.
Benoit Rosemont: The French magician is described as a comedic illusionist so we’re expecting charming patter, close up card tricks and perhaps a disappearance at his Alliance Francaise shows in Isa Town on November 20 and 21.
Petanque tournament: We fancy ourselves the finest petanque (or boule if you prefer) players on the island. Get down to the Golden Tulip Hotel on November 18 and 19 to challenge our dominance at Europe’s answer to ten-pin bowling.
Film festival: French movies are not all existential emotion, obscure camera angles and smoking. There is the occasional bit of slapstick too. Turn up to the Shaikh Ibrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Cultural Centre for Culture in Muharraq for free screenings.
Carrefour promotions: Not only could shopping in the hypermarket save you cash on French goodies such as cheeses and croissants but you could also win yourself a Peugeot 308CC.
Tour de France dinner: The Capitol Club, Bahrain will show off the best Gallic cooking with a special dinner on November 18. More foodie events will be taking place at Bushido and the Golden Tulip Hotel.
French fashion: Haute couture and ready to wear styles direct from France’s top designers will be the focal points of twin fashion shows on the catwalk at Bahrain City Centre on November 19 and 20.
Art exhibitions: There will be four exhibitions shows throughout the week showcasing different aspects of French art. Marion Cougnon, Georges Brassenm Didier Audebert and exhibitors from the Corianne Gallery will be present to discuss works.
Bel Canto Opera: If you’ve ever wanted your dinner served by opera-singing waiters this is just the show for you. The closing gala dinner will be held at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Resort and although we don’t want to give the surprise away the meal won’t be over until the fat lady serves dessert. For more information on the French Week activities and to see the full itinerary (including film details) visit www.frenchweek.net.