Posts Tagged ‘France’

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc: military leader, national heroine and Saint

Thanks to Elena Maria Vidal for her beautiful post on the Maiden of Orléans. Indeed today we celebrate her holiday. Like every other French child, I learned about Jeanne d’Arc in elementary school. Of all the characters I encountered in the course of my history lessons, she was the one who left the strongest impression […]



Memorial Day: honoring World War I veterans

There is only one American Veteran of World War I left. Cpl. Frank Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia, is 107. Sadly, France has now lost its last WWI veteran, Lazare Ponticelli, who died last March at the age of 110. His funeral service was held in the Church of Saint-Louis des Invalides, and attended […]



Happy (French) Mother’s Day

A delightful Fragonard, The Good Mother, to illustrate this post. Isn’t it a bit late for Mother’s Day? Well, in France it is celebrated on the last Sunday in May. I will not be able to visit my own Mom, who is currently taking a well deserved vacation in Spain. So happy Mother’s Day to […]



Werewolves and witches, in the 18th century and now

The research for Book 3 is leading me to explore the topic of witchcraft in 18th century French countryside. Let me simply say that, during the Enlightenment, beliefs in witches and werewolves were alive and well. The only difference with earlier times was that accusations of witchcraft were no longer investigated or prosecuted, and that […]



A French good luck charm

The 1st of May is a holiday here (Labor Day) and it is customary on that occasion to present friends with lilies of the valley as a good luck charm. So here are a few sprigs, with all my thanks for visiting here and my best spring wishes. Speaking of spring, I am finally back […]



Marie Antoinette Grand Palais

Marie-Antoinette at the Grand Palais: a major exhibition

Yes, I went to the Grand Palais this afternoon, and yes, it is wonderful! I half expected that someone had simply thrown together objects I had seen at the Carnavalet Museum or in Versailles. Not so. I discovered many objects I did not know. Just an example: in one of the rooms, you have three […]



It all started with book covers: a discussion with a Robespierriste reader

This exchange exceeded the iron-clad 3,000 character limit for comments, set by my blogging software. Yet it seemed a pity not to publish Suzanne Levin’s remarks, which I found most interesting. I certainly look forward to reading her historical novel when it is completed. Suzanne’s continued remarks regarding my prior book cover post (I recommend […]



Maximilien Robespierre

No One Likes Armed Missionaries

The most extravagant idea that can take root in the head of a politician is to believe that it is enough for one people to invade a foreign people to make it adopt its laws and constitution. No one likes armed missionaries; and the first advice given by nature and prudence is to repel them […]



Fragonard at the Getty Center: Allegories of Love

I said earlier that I would report on the Fragonard exhibition when I returned to Los Angeles. Well, I am a woman of my word. Not that going to the Getty required too much of an effort. The weather here is balmy, as though to make me me feel how foolish I am to spend […]



No need to romance the stone: the Hope Diamond and the French Revolution

It sometimes happens that objects, like people, have fascinating destinies. Such is certainly the case of the blue gem now known as the Hope Diamond. The story begins in 17th century India, in the legendary mines of Golconda. A blue diamond weighing an astonishing 115 carats was discovered there. For those of you unfamiliar with […]