La Paloma, photo: archive of the restaurant

Magazine : Czech finance minister’s restaurant gets second Michelin star, Mardi Grass celebrations kick off around the country, Titanic enthusiasts flock to real-life exhibition, popular bedtime story character to get statue in Kadan and Marriage Week aims to tackle the high divorce rate.

La Paloma,  photo: archive of the restaurant
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has had a good week. After endless delays the coalition government managed to push the bill on electronic cash registers through the lower house and his restaurant La Paloma in the south of France got a second Michelin star. The restaurant is situated in Mougins where the painter Pablo Picasso once lived and it was named after Picasso’s youngest daughter Paloma. The minister’s long-time partner Monica helped decorate it and chef Nicolas Decherchi drew the crowd. The restaurant got its first Michelin star in 2014, just six months after it opened. Clearly the minister knows how to pick his staff and enjoys gourmet cuisine.

Photo: CTK
Mardi Grass celebrations kicked off last weekend with revelers taking to the streets around the country. Processions of merrymakers wearing carnival dress take place in most towns and villages and each Prague district has its own celebrations. Town squares come alive with music, dancing clowns, acrobats and crazy competitions. While some restaurants in the city centre are offering special Mardi Gras menus in the smaller towns and villages around the country the Mardi Gras celebrations are linked to the traditional pig-slaughtering feasts.

Photo: official presentation of the exhibition
People fascinated by the story of the Titanic can now visit an exhibition that offers a large-scale recreation of the ill-fated luxury liner. The exhibition, which opened on Feb 2 in Prague’s Letnany district, features recreations of the boiler room and decks, upper- and lower-class cabins and dining rooms and over 200 authentic artifacts from the wreckage as well as memorabilia of the era. The exhibition is based on the stories of selected passengers, among them Czechs who travelled on the Titanic. Each ticket is issued as a boarding pass bearing the name of an actual passenger on the Titanic and at the end of the exhibition visitors discover whether or not they survived. The exhibition has had a successful showing across Europe.

Photo: Czech Television
The bedtime story character Maxipes Fík is popular with several generations of Czechs –but the shaggy dog’s fame is biggest in the town of Kadan where the author of the famous TV series comes from. The town has officially adopted Maxipes Fík as its mascot, there is a Maxipes Fík embankment and now the town is going to erect the famous dog a statue. Artists have been asked to send in their proposals by the end of April and the author of the popular bedtime story character will himself pick a shortlist of the ones he likes best. The final choice and the size of the statue will only be limited by money - the town hall has earmarked one million crowns for the project.

Marriage Week exhibition in Zlín,  photo: CTK
Marriage Week is an annual awareness campaign aimed at getting couples to focus on the well-being of marriages and in the Czech Republic it is an uphill climb. According to statistics close to half of all marriages end in divorce –currently 47 percent, down from 50 percent in 2010. On average a marriage in this country lasts 13 years but the high risk period is six years into the marriage when many couples go through a crisis. Nevertheless, the organizers of the campaign are tireless in promoting the importance and benefits of marriage and the need to work on relationships. The workshops, lectures and debates are accompanied by entertaining exhibitions such as that showing a wide variety of wedding announcements currently on show in Zlín. There are over 200 wedding announcements and marriage certificates dating back to 1929 loaned by members of the public. Among the exhibits is a pre-nuptial agreement dating back to 1935 and well-wishes in the Morse code.