Kiki de Montparnasse, Immortal yet Forgotten Queen

Portrait by Kees Van Dongen

Last week I introduced readers to the larger-than-life Kiki de Montparnasse. Kiki was a flamboyant artist’s model and muse of many notable painters, sculptors, and photographers living in Paris during les années folles, or 1920s. Born into poverty and abandoned by her parents, Kiki found herself alone on the streets…

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Kiki de Montparnasse, Muse of A Thousand Faces

There are many reasons why I love my public library and high on the list is its world language section. Over the years, regularly browsing the French stacks, I’ve often noticed the book Kiki de Montparnasse, by Catel Muller and José-Louis Bocquet. For whatever reason, the cover blurb never managed…

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How Victor Hugo Saved Notre Dame de Paris

Caricature of Victor Hugo

My series of posts about a new exposition featuring the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris only covered a small fraction of the subjects tackled by the entire exhibit. There is much more to say and if you enjoyed the series, I hope you find time to visit the online exposition.…

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Pierre Dragon Describes Life of French Anti-Terrorism Officer

RG used book cover.

Whenever I visit France or Quebec, I make it a point to visit as many bookstores as I can squeeze into my packed travel itinerary. Compared to the United States, the brick-and-mortar bookselling business is still thriving in France. The French people are not only buying books, they’re selling their books…

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Suite Française, historic novel and tragic account of the woman who wrote it

Book cover of Suite Française

I recently read Suite Française, a poignant novel by Irene Némirovsky that would have remained hidden from history were it not for the courageous actions of her daughter, Denise Epstein. In 2004, sixty-two years after Némirovsky’s death in Auschwitz, Suite Française appeared in French libraries for the first time. It…

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