March Potpourri: Tableaux, Toasts, Trees, and Uplifting Tales

Focus Image Brusseler

Throughout the month I come across a fair number of francophile-related articles, blogs, images, books, or videos that I’d like to share with readers. I’ve combined this potpourri of news items into a single post. Below are some of the gems from March. However, if you only have time for one…

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Fiction that Enlightens: Learning Something Adds to the Enjoyment

Oleanders and Books, Van Gogh

For many years, I avoided reading fiction. The world is vast and there is so much to know that I just couldn’t justify reading a novel. In addition, there are so many talented journalists-turned-author that it’s easy to find nonfiction on almost any subject that grabs and holds your attention—history,…

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On the Trail of the Golden Owl, Lucrative Quest or Wild-Goose-Chase?

In April of 1993, a man calling himself Max Valentin, buried a bronze replica of a golden statue said to be worth 1 million French francs. Valentin claimed that the statue, which resembled an owl in flight, was hidden somewhere in mainland France. The following month, he published a book…

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The Satirical Art of Claire Bretécher, Lampooning at its Finest

Nouvel Observateur, August 1997

Claire Bretécher was one of France’s most prominent socio-satirical comic strip authors for more than 4 decades. Bretécher is an icon in the world of bandes dessinées who has served as a role model to aspiring dessinatrices that dream of becoming successful cartoonists. Born in 1940, Bretécher broke into comics…

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Whodunit? The Deadly Bullets that Narrowly Missed General de Gaulle

On the afternoon of August 26, 1944, after 4 years of deprivation and humiliation under German occupation, an estimated 1 million Parisians flocked to the streets to cheer the return of their beloved General Charles de Gaulle. De Gaulle had reluctantly fled to England within days of Germany’s taking control…

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February Potpourri: Spectacular Domains, Dali, Dirty Dancing, and More

Jardin au Musée Rodin

Below you’ll find a few cultural tidbits from France that I came across in February. I also review a bande dessinée, which I read last month, by one of my favorite political cartoonists, Patrick Chappatte. In many cases, I provide a link that you can follow to the original source…

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Contradictory Paths Out of a Casablanca Slum, Sidi Moumen

Casablanca at Night

Most Americans only know the city of Casablanca from the 1942 film of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. It’s a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, located on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast and home to roughly 4 million people, numerous large international corporations, a bustling stock exchange, and thriving…

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