In the past three months, both the Queen of England and the Japanese Prime Minister have launched government sanctioned YouTube accounts.  While interesting for purposes of disseminating political rhetoric and culture, they do little for would-be tourists.  Videos produced by the U.S. departments of State and Homeland Security don’t do any better.  Their recent, Disney-produced propaganda piece, ‘Welcome: Portraits of America‘ offers foreigners little more than visual platitudes and is memorable only due to a case of mistaken geography

The best tourist vids I’ve seen watermarked with the official stamp and seal of government production have come from the country that popularized cinema verite, fried potatoes, and kissing with tongue

Launched by The French Government Tourist Office – aka Maison de la France – in late 2006, Lost In Francelation is a travel vlog series on all things French for the Europe-inclined American traveler.  ###In an effort to incorporate video content into the rather institutional experience the rest of their site provides, Maison de la France began co-sponsoring episodes with French tourist boards and companies that both showcase a region, service or location as well as explore the cultural and linguistic idiosyncrasies that exist between France and the US.

The kooky series of sporadic episodes seems to still be coming together, currently covering a random cross-section of what France has to offer; including two episodes shot in Paris and two in the Loire Valley (the episode shot in Martiniqu – the French Caribbean – is of course a must-see for anyone feeling winter in their bones…or maybe you should avoid watching because it looks glorious). 

After a fun opening (the tune is catchy even if it’s in French), one of the two hosts, or ‘Francelators’, present a new location and begin exploring.  There is more than a slight Jacques Cousteau investigative feel – whether it’s to uncover cliches in Paris or find the stars in Cannes – which makes the whole project feel less ‘tourist-y’ . France from the American perspective has always been amusing; watching it through the eyes of these Americans, who know and love the country, is refreshing. Also find on the episode pages several ways to interact: post your own comments, photos, or videos, or vote on your preferred episode. 

Whether you’re a Francophile, traveling, culturally curious, or Representatives Robert W. Ney or Walter B. Jones, give the series a watch. 

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