Serial software entrepreneur, writer, translator, and mother of 3. Avid follower of French media, culture, history, and language. Lover of books, travel, history, art, cooking, fitness, and nature. Cultivating connections with francophiles and francophones.

Marie Antoinette’s Most Famous Portrait Briefly Silenced her Critics

Marie Antoinette a la rose

History has not been kind to Marie Antoinette. Forced to leave her native Austria at the age of 14 and become the wife of future King Louis XVI, she quickly fell under the gaze of a critical public eye. There she remained until her death by guillotine at the age…

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“Under the Bridges of Paris”—Contrasting French and American Cultures

The Seine and Notre Dame in Paris

Two of the things that Paris is known for are the river Seine, adorned by a series of 37 unique and magical bridges, and romance. In 1955, Dean Martin celebrated these iconic features in his hit song Under the Bridges of Paris. Martin’s emotive vocals attracted fans around the globe…

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A Brief History of Famous French Fools, Farce, and Fanfare

Bouffon, by William Merritt Chase

From the time of ancient kings, people have appreciated humor arising from the behavior and appearance of fools. Throughout history, such characters have taken many forms. Comedic actors have created entertaining personas that reappear in performance after performance. Others adapt idiotic conduct to real-world figures in an attempt to mock…

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Masterful Street Artists Across France Hail Ukraine, Vilify Putin

Since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, people around the world have found myriad ways to show their support for the besieged European nation. The French are no exception. The day after Putin’s first attack, the Eiffel tower was illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. A week later, Notre Dame…

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Battle for Ukraine, Through the Eyes of French Editorial Cartoonists

Putin's table by Chappatte

We can argue about whether editorial cartoons make us laugh or cry, but the best among them should make us think. Here are some of my favorites from France which take aim at Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine and the West’s counter-reaction. See Also Masterful Street Artists Across France Hail…

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Pondering Diderot’s Encyclopedia Never Ceases to Blow My Mind

In the fall of 2011, I signed up for a French literature course at Eastern Michigan University. I loved the class and am indebted to our professor, Benjamin Palmer, who improved my understanding of great literature and its relationship to history. I enthusiastically enrolled in a second semester that winter…

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Into the Lobster Pot—French Immersion in Montpellier

Montpellier

For the last two weeks, I’ve been taking an online course on writing creative nonfiction. The instructor, Josh Rivkin, has provided a steady stream of informative tips, interesting reading assignments, and inspiring prompts. My blog for this week features the beginning of a longer story about my trip to Montpellier,…

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