France

Review: F is for France — making sense of its ways, A to Z

I came late to this amusing and informative book, I’m sorry to say. It’s an amazingly detailed compilation and exploration of what the French would call curiosités or choses insolites but it’s also a broad cultural overview. It’s an example of the best of a certain type of book designed to explain France to English-speakers. …

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Review: “If I flipped a franc, it would land on something worth swallowing”

“If I flipped a franc, it would land on something worth swallowing,” David Downie writes of his arrival in Paris in 1976. He remembers, as I do, gazing into the yawning seven-story hole where Les Halles had provided food and drink to all Paris until its relocation to suburban Rungis several years before, and he …

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[Review] The Capitalist: A Thriller (A Louis Morgon Thriller), by Peter Steiner

Opening Peter Steiner’s new novel The Capitalist was like visiting an old friend in his quaint cottage in the Loire — comfortable, relaxed (with a glass of good wine) and confident you’re about to hear a great story. I came to Peter’s books with The Resistance, when he presented it at the American Library in …

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The ultimate summer treat: Acting in a movie for the Paris Opera Ballet

The highlight of our two-month stay in Paris this summer, hands down, was the day and a half Jan and I spent as extras for a film being made for the Paris Opera Ballet. We had short roles but fairly prominent ones — we’re the first people you see when La Grande Sortie (“The Grand Exit”) opens, two …

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“Voilà une semaine qui commence mal” – last words from the guillotine

I was walking through Place Dauphine on Île de la Cité when a bookstore display caught my eye — it was this book of “stupefying but true” prisoners’ last words before they ascended the steps of the “national razor.” Its title is “Shortcuts,” which is witty enough, but it’s the last little lagniappe that makes it really …

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Another Paris Travel Hit from David Downie

If you’re a fan of David Downie’s Paris books, as I am, you shouldn’t miss his new one. It’s entitled, romantically enough, A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light, and was published only a few days ago to general acclaim — even from some of the crankier reviewers. The best compliment I can pay the book is that its …

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Here’s why you should schedule your trip to Paris NOW! – the Euro

Remember all the political talk about the debasement of the dollar? If you’ve been following exchange rates lately you’ll understand that debasement, like the looming inflation that was about to devour the American economy, has been sort of … weak. Like nonexistent. Wonkblog (Washington Post) posted an astute analysis of the Euro/Dollar situation and came …

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