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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Chance and One Author’s Exploration of Extremism and Corruption

Jerusalem

A skeptic at heart, I’m not one to believe in providence or good luck but whenever I’m in Paris, the number of happy coincidences I experience seems improbably high. For example, last December, after visiting an exhibit of Honoré Daumier’s 19th-century farcical Parisian caricatures, I failed to find a book…

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35 Sensational Reads for the Francophiles on your Gift List

Love books

If you’re like me, you enjoy giving books as presents. A couple of years ago, it occurred to me to share a list of my favorite sensational reads related to France. I’ve updated the list in time for the holiday season. My latest entries are denoted by **. Don’t be…

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Franz Reichelt, Shocking Story One Man’s Tragic Obsession

Reichelt's jump

Last summer, while wandering in Biarritz, I came across a quaint little bookstore two steps away from the glamorous beachfront. Browsing the display tables, an intriguing cover caught my eye. Les Envolés, by Étienne Kern, won last year’s Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman (the equivalent of a National Book Award…

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February Potpourri: News and Noteworthy Nonsense from France

Cast of Marie Antoinette

Here are a few of my favorite news stories and humorous highlights of French buzz from February 2023. Mitigating Machismo According to a French road safety study, male drivers were responsible for 84% of traffic fatalities in 2021. Men also represented 93% of drivers who were caught operating a vehicle…

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The Irreverent Charlie Hebdo: Ever Defiant, Forever Under Attack

Caricature of Iran's Supreme Leader

January 7th was the 8th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 dead and 11 wounded. The motivation for the attack was linked to the many crude depictions of Muhammad that have appeared in Charlie Hebdo. This biting news journal employs exaggeration,…

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My French Odyssey and Ways to Improve Language Skills

Learn French!

Like many people, every January I give some thought to my long and short-term goals and come up with several resolutions. This year, however, I’ve been floundering—that is, thrashing about like a flounder hoping to flop its way off the deck of an aircraft carrier. A persistent problem for me…

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