A Unique Olympic Ceremony and Warnings from La Fontaine

Artist Rendering of Opening Ceremony

As an American francophile, I’m fortunate to live in a town that supports several French conversation groups. Two of my favorites are led by French women who have spent decades teaching their native language. These ladies not only know their subject matter inside and out, they’re also lively moderators who…

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A World of Endless Diversion and Victor Hugo’s Art

Arbre couché par le vent

While reading Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast last year, I began to seriously ponder the amount of time the Internet sucks from my life. Learning about this great American author’s early days as a starving artist in Paris, I was struck by the simplicity of his existence. With a bare minimum…

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The Fanciful and Poignant “French Collection” of Faith Ringgold

Picasso's Studio

This Sunday marks exactly one year since I learned of the American artist Faith Ringgold while roving around Paris. After returning home, I wrote about the special exhibit at Le Musée Picasso that introduced me to her work. She died last week at age 93. So this week, I thought…

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New Round of Death Threats For Coco

Ramadan in Gaza, by Coco

The truth can be painful, especially for those dedicated to revealing it. French political cartoonist, Corinne Rey aka Coco, must once again worry about her safety. Last month, one of France’s leading newspapers La Libération posted a controversial drawing by Coco on its X (formerly Twitter) feed. The drawing is…

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A Passionate Plea to Destroy the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower under construction

Mention Paris, and people from around the world immediately conjure a mental image of the Eiffel Tower. Every year, 7 million visitors buy tickets to reach its upper levels where they can enjoy a breathtaking view of the ancient capital. Back in 1887, however, as construction of the monument was…

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The Ultimate Hoodwinkery, The Crook Who Sold the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower circa 1900

Historians claim that hanging on a wall of Victor Lustig’s Alcatraz cell was a postcard of the Eiffel Tower. Scribbled atop the iconic scene were the words “vendue pour 100 000 francs“. Lustig, a lifelong criminal who by age 20 had honed his charlatanry to P.T. Barnumesque acuity, was sentenced…

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A Son at the Front, Informative Fiction Behind the Battlelines

WWI Battle Scene by Chartier

I recently read A Son at the Front, by Edith Wharton, the first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Wharton, the daughter of wealthy New York aristocrats, lived in Paris during World War I. Throughout the conflict, she dedicated herself to France’s defeat of the Germans. She volunteered…

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Arab of the Future, Classic Literature Masquerading as Comics

Riad Sattouf

Last month, I finished reading the 6th and final book in the graphic novel series, L’Arabe du futur, by Riad Sattouf. Every volume of this autobiographical bande dessinée has been a bestseller in France and translated into over 20 languages. Sattouf, whose mother is French and father is Syrian, zigzagged…

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