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Archive for the ‘More About France’ Category

Time travel with the Examiner

Not only was I asked 10 questions by Kayla Posney of the Pittsburgh Historical Fiction Examiner, but I answered! Truthfully too. Let’s get started. 1. If you could go back in time and be any figure from history, who would it be?



Marie de Medicis Frans Pourbus Younger

Le Beau Sancy: going, going, gone!

And sadly gone out of sight too. This week an anonymous bidder paid $9.7 million, several times the pre-auction estimate, for the historic stone, sold by Sotheby’s at its Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction in Geneva. Which means we will probably never see it again. A few decades ago, the Louvre purchased its almost […]



french-country-house-cat

A French country house

Check out this place. No chichis, no priceless antiques, but a warm feeling, touches of vibrant color everywhere and those brocante finds (yes, I am a junk store/thrift store addict myself.) And the cat with the funny nose in the messy garden, of course… This comes from the blog Inspiring Interiors, to which I subscribe, […]



Galette des Rois

La Fête des Rois, Feast of the Kings

Today is the feast of the Epiphanie (literally “revelation”) celebrating the travels of the three Magi, or Kings of the Orient, who followed a star to Bethlehem to visit Jesus a few days after the Nativity. French Christmas celebrations conclude with the Epiphanie, and with the consumption of vast quantities of galettes des Rois, like […]



Luigi-Loir-Paris-snow

Paris under the snow…

This year we did not even wait until December to find Paris and much of Northern France under a thick coat of snow. Traffic is totally gridlocked in and around the capital. This promises us a harsh winter, and a white Christmas! I love this very evocative painting by French artist Luigi Loir (late 19th-early […]



chrysanthemums-James-Tissot

Chrysanthemums and French painters

They have no fragrance, but they are among the last flowers of the season. Imports from China, symbols of imperial Japan, blossoms of gold, flowers of the dead, they are one of my favorites. I am not alone, of course, and they have inspired painters, in particular in France. Let’s begin with James Tissot, who […]



Charles-De-Gaulle

Charles De Gaulle: 40 years ago…

… the retired General and former President died at his home at Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, aged 80. After what a life! A few brushstrokes here: a solid Catholic education, followed by a flatlining military career between the two World Wars. Not due to any lack of brilliance, mind you, but to De Gaulle’s annoying habit of speaking […]



Swimmers-1810-Paris

Swimsuits in 1810 Paris…

Parisians used to love to bathe in the Seine. Horrendous pollution notwithstanding, in the 18th century every summer saw people swimming in the river, generally in the nude. Only at the onset of the French Revolution was skinny-dipping outlawed, for men and women. Hence these early 19th century bathing suits, shown in a print posted […]



Paris-Pont-Royal-1850

Discover the Paris of For the King

Alex at Historical Tapestry has a wonderful post on the Paris of For the King. She remarks, and how right she is, that the city is one of the main characters of the novel. So she illustrated various passages with paintings and engravings of the old Paris, and photographs of the modern one. It is […]



Oradour-sur-Glane

The Oradour-sur-Glane massacre: life and death of a French village

Thanks to Richard at Le Fleur de Lys too for remembering this grim anniversary. On the 10th of June 1944, four days after D-Day, the SS regiment Der Führer, belonging to the division Das Reich, quartered in south-eastern France, is getting ready to leave for Normandy to fight the Allied landing. Nearby stands the quiet […]



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