The Mistress of Paris

Take a walk on the wild side of Belle Epoque Paris with this biography of Emile-Louise Delabigne, known as countess Valtesse de la Bigne (1848-1910). who was a legendary French courtesan and demi-modaine. Her lovers included countless painters, writers and politicians, while her affairs with women caused a scandal in turn-of-the-century Paris. She was painted by Édouard Manet and inspired Émile Zola, who immortalized her in his scandalous novel “Nana.” Continue reading “The Mistress of Paris”

John Baxter’s Saint-Germain-des-Pres

The Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood is world famous for its connection with artists, writers and intellectuals… and now shopping. For many years this part of Paris has been a stronghold of the “sans culottes,” a refuge to artists and a place for bohemians. Napoleon, Hemingway, and Sartre have all called it home. Descartes is buried there. The writer Oscar Wilde spent his last days in the quarter, at the small, run-down hotel called the Hotel d’Alsace at 13 rue des Beaux‑Arts. The legendary Ecole des Beaux-Arts—attended by such artists as Pierre Bonnard, Edgar Degas and Georges Seurat—is here. And the Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres is where students battled the police in May 1968. Continue reading “John Baxter’s Saint-Germain-des-Pres”

Can My Kid Cope with French Schools?

ImageQ: I am moving from the States to Paris in the fall with my 6-year-old son who will attend a French public school. Since he doesn’t speak any French I worry that he’ll be traumatized when he realizes he can neither understand a thing, nor make himself understood. How can I make the transition easier for him? A: Children learn languages faster than their parents. They are far less self-conscious about making mistakes than adults are, and make frequent use of body language that is pretty much similar across cultures. Still, to help the process along, here are a few suggestions. Continue reading “Can My Kid Cope with French Schools?”

Paris Impressions

A new bilingual book “Paris Impressionniste” illustrated with 100 paintings brings together some of the images of this mythical city many of us carry in our head, such as Camille Pisarro’s “Le Pont Royal” or Caillebotte’s “Rue de Paris, temps de pluie,” or Edouard Manet’s legendary “un bar aux Folies Bergere” When Humphrey Bogart told Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca we’ll always have Paris. he wasn’t talking about the Paris of surly bureaucrats, strikes and traffic jams, but the Paris of Manet’s lovers in “Chez le pere Lathuille”… the romantic Paris.

Monet painted smoke clouding the Gare Saint-Lazare, Renoir captured the Pont Neuf’s reflections in the Seine, Pissarro portrayed Avenue de l’Opéra from his hotel room, Manet immortalized waitresses in a café at Pigalle… Between its river and its tall skies, the French capital lacked neither nature nor textures for artists intent on capturing the magic of light in an urban setting. Plus the city with its street life, workers, cafes and entertainment was an extremely happening fin de siecle place to paint. Continue reading “Paris Impressions”

People Here Answer Me in English…


ImageQ: I had always heard that the French resent foreigners who don’t speak their language, so when I moved to Paris two years ago, I enrolled in a class almost before I had finished unpacking. My skills are pretty good now, so it really annoys me that many people here answer me in English as soon as I open my mouth. Not only does it deprive me of the chance to improve, but also it feels like a putdown. Do you have a good comeback to suggest to me the next time this happens?
Continue reading “People Here Answer Me in English…”

Loire Plein Air Painting Workshop

Treat yourself to a week of painting taught by Tom Hughes September 23-30, 2017 while discovering the magical troglodyte village of Trôo. Perched above the river Loire in the northern Loire Valley this remarkable village features unique cave houses dug into the hillside that provide stunning views over the village, river and valley.  There is a 20% discount for registration before August 1st. Continue reading “Loire Plein Air Painting Workshop”

Magnum’s Analog Recovery at Le Bal

Leonard Freed. Harlem fashion show, New York, 1963 © Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos

The legendary Magnum photo agency, founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson and George Rodger, is an international photo cooperative owned by its members. This year marks the 70th anniversary for the famed photography agency and the completion of its Paris archive. To celebrate Le Bal presents “Magnum Analog Recovery” an exhibition of work from Magnum’s Paris archives that spans from the agency’s creation in 1947 to 1977. This collection—stored in Paris as paper prints— brings together “press”  photos distributed to newspapers and magazines. Continue reading “Magnum’s Analog Recovery at Le Bal”