Last summer I was traveling back from my holidays in Spain with my two sons. We took a train at the French-Spanish border in the beautiful Basque Country. For 30 euros above the second-class tariff you can have a huge and quiet first-class seat on the TGV( train grande vitesse, high speed train).My two sons and I were sitting in a « square « : we occupied 3 seats and the fourth seat was free. From the city of Hendaye to Bordeaux, no passenger came to seat next to us, so my youngest son slept, taking advantage of the fourth free seat.
I thought « If no passenger takes the seat in Bordeaux, we’ll have the fourth seat for us. » However, when the train stopped in Bordeaux a middle-aged woman arrived with her ticket carrying the number for the seat on which my little son was fast asleep. I immediately recognized that the lady was American. That was because she smiled to us ( French people never smile to strangers , especially when they seat next to you in a train). And she smiled even more when she saw that her seat was occupied by the legs of my younger son. « Uh .. …well … », I said with a small embarrassed smile ( do you think I smile to strangers ?) …Would you mind taking my seat ?, I added, because my little boy is very tired and he needs to sleep. »
She smiled again and said « No problem , I’m also a mother. I understand ! » What a friendly woman, I thought. We started to chat and when I asked her what she did in life I heard » I work for Bobby Brown. »
Suddenly my eldest son, who had been hypnotized by his video game, looked at me with a astonished look and told me in French » what ?!!!! This woman works for the drug-addict Bobby Brown ? The bad guy who was married to Whitney Houston ?? It’s a shame, Mummy! »! » I quickly looked back at my son and told him drily in French « Who cares if she works for a famous bad guy ? It was very nice of her to let your brother have her seat, so be polite to the lady, please ! » As I was looking at this charming lady, I was thinking « She looks very healthy, slender and young… how comes she’s working for a man who is not well known for his healthy life style? » And suddenly I thought : » I know !!! Bobby Brown wants to change his life style , so he hired her to be his » yoga teacher- life style coach -vegetarian – Pilates- Guru » that’s it !!! » No…I could not believe that a New-York rap singer had suddenly changed into a « peace and love guru » …and suddenly I had another idea and told the lady : « you work for Bobbi Brown,the American MAKE-up company, don’t you? ! »
Stendhal believed a writer is a man who knows the human heart. He knew the human heart extremely well, and he is probably the only French writer who invented two phenomenon linked with human feelings.
The first phenomenon is called the Stendhal’s Syndrome, and the second, The Crystallization.In 1817 Stendhal visited a cathedral in Florence, and saw Giotto’s frescoes for the first time. He was mesmerized by such beauty: he had vertigo and became sick, exactly like Clara in front of Notre-Dame.
Last month I attended a party organized by an American friend who lives part-time in Paris. There, I met Clara, a friendly American woman in her fifties.
She explained to me that it was her first time in Paris, and that she had saved her money to be able to travel to the city of her dreams. She had fallen in love with Paris as soon as she arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport.
“It must be real love,” I thought, “how you can fall in love with the airport?”.
Marie-Antoinette is the most controversial woman in French history. She had a complex personality. She was a multi-faceted woman; frivolous, a big spender and sentimental, but also a modern woman who wanted to preserve her intimacy and herfreedom.Marie-Antoinette is only thirteen years old when she arrives from Vienna to Versailles to marry Louis, who would be the future Louis XVI.
« Living in the Shadow of the Perfect Parisian Woman »
Two years ago I went to the American Library in Paris to hear American writer Jamie Cat Callan speak about her book, Ooh là là: French Women’s Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day.
This charming lady explained to the gathered crowd, the majority of whom were Anglophone and Francophile, how French women were wonderful: always elegant, always sexy, and always refined. When the mediator asked for questions, everybody agreed that French women are perfect models for other women. Everybody, except me.
I stood up and said, “I don’t have any questions, but a comment. I’m annoyed by all of the books about French and Parisian women that say that French women are perfect. As you can tell from my accent, I’m French, and if I believe most of these books, as a French woman:
I never get fat (from the book French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Galliano).
I’m a sex goddess (from the book What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind by Debra Ollivier).
I am a femme fatale (from the book Fatale: How French Women Do It by Edith Kunz).
I have two lovers (from the book Two Lovers and a Lipstick
by Helena Fritz-Powell), and of course I never sleep alone (French Women Don’t Sleep Alone: Pleasurable Secrets to Finding Love by Jamie Cat Callan).
I’m always chic, and I always match my underwear, even when I go to throw my garbage away at midnight (Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer Scott and Forever Chic: Frenchwomen’s Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance by Tish Jett).
And not only am I The Perfect Lover, even if I have children, I am also the best mother in the world! (French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman).
“You know what?” I said smiling, “It’s a little too much for only one woman… even for me! I feel very sorry for American women, and if I was an American I would hate
Toute sa vie le peintre Edouard Manet a voulu avoir les honneurs, la reconnaissance et la gloire.
C’est tout le contraire qu’il a reçu .
Moqueries, insultes et incompréhension du public et des peintres plus âgés voilà ce qu’il a récolté pour sa peinture qui était trop moderne.
. Il y a d’abord eu ce fameux tableau « le déjeuner sur l’herbe » qui a créé en 1863 un scandale sans précédent.
Le dejeuner sur l’herbe de Manet 1863
Charter est sans doute un des restaurants les moins chers de Paris .
Situé sur les Grands Boulevars ,cette institution a été fondée en 1896 et faisait partie d’une chaîne de » bouillon » restaurants populaires de Paris .
La brasserie est tres grande et le décor est Belle Epoque .
Chez Chartier pas de chichi .
Ici pas de musique lounge,ni de serveurs obséquieux.
Ici c’est vivant, les serveurs vêtus de gilet noirs et de tabliers blancs sont efficaces et ont l’esprit vif .
The brasserie Chartier is one of the cheapest restaurant of Paris.
On the Grands-Boulevard, this institution was created in 1896.
The restaurant is big and the decoration dates from « La Belle Époque ».
At Chartier there is no fuss .
No lounge music, no obsequious waiters.
Here ,it’s lively, the waiters all wear black vests and white aprons.
They are efficient and witty .
1857 est une date importante pour la littérature française.
La même année, deux grands écrivains ont été poursuivis par Napoleon III pour » offense à la morale publique et à la religion »:
Gustave Flaubert et son roman « Emma Bovary ,à qui on a reproché de prôner l’adultère.
Charles Baudelaire,dont six poèmes de son recueil de poésie » Les fleurs du mal » seront censurés jusqu’en 1949.
Seul Baudelaire sera condamné.
1857 is an important date for French Literature .
The same year, two great French writers had been sued by Napoleon III for « insult of the public moral and religion ».
Gustave Flaubert , who was accused of promoting adultery in his novel « Emma Bovary” and Charles Baudelaire, for six of his poems ,which were included in « The Flowers of Evil » which continued to be censored until 1949.
Baudelaire was condemned after a trial, Flaubert was not.
The Second Empire which was a dictatorship ,could not bear such erotic and powerful poems Continue reading