The Latin Quarter Revisited

Discovering the 5 & 6th district

Romantic myths of Left Bank intelligentsia which date back seven centuries are brutally shattered on today’s busy bd St-Michel, the main artery of the Latin Quarter, where the 5th and 6th arrondissements meet.

The venerable Sorbonne, the quarter’s historic seat of intellectual life, is still there, but these days the forlorn chime of its chapel bell, which has punctuated the studies of generations of scholars, is drowned out by the din of passing traffic. Indeed most people who stream past the place de la Sorbonne seldom notice its beautiful 17th century chapel with its graceful dome. Continue reading “The Latin Quarter Revisited”

French Like Moi

Scott Carpenter’s memoir “French Like Moi” revisits B.C Paris (before corona virus) with wit and humor. Carpenter, who teaches French literature at Minnesota’s Carleton College, tells a traveler’s tale that is both funny and full of cultural insights. His saga is sure to evoke a chuckle from anyone
who has spent some time in Paris. As the French might say, the book is… “très amusant.” Continue reading “French Like Moi”

36 Hours in Paris

Ruby Boukabou with her Paris notebook

Only in Paris for a few days and overwhelmed by the options? Follow this suggested itinerary for an unforgettable trip. The following is an extract from Ruby Boukabou’s “The Architecture Lover’s Guide to Paris” (White Owl Books), a fabulous new guide book catering to both armchair travelers dreaming of a future visit and those lucky enough to actually get to Paris during these troubled pandemic times. Available worldwide. More info and online orders at www.rubytv.net/books . Continue reading “36 Hours in Paris”

Paris Valentine with the Midas Touch

Okay, fellas, it’s time to think about making an impression on Valentine’s Day. You can do like every other guy in town and take the love of your life flowers. Or, you can score lots of  points by offering her a gift of the gods that’s 18 karat gold. In Paris, prices range from a couple of hundred Euros for a modest bauble from Tati’s “fine jewelry” boutique, to two or three  times that at Galeries Lafayette, or maybe 50 times that for the Cartier dream. Continue reading “Paris Valentine with the Midas Touch”

Edvard Munch… un poèm de vie

“Edvard Munch. A Poem of Life, Love and Death” is a large retrospective of the Norwegian painter’s work at the Musée d’Orsay (until January 22, 2023).  World famous for his iconic painting “The Scream,” Munch occupies a pivotal place in the birth of modernity. In 1892 about “The Scream” Munch wrote in his diary: “One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord – the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became “The Scream.” Continue reading “Edvard Munch… un poèm de vie”

Plat du Jour

Susan Herrmann Loomis’  cookbook “ Plat du Jour: French Dinners Made Easy” is a virtual journey to culinary France via recipes, photos, anecdotes and tips. From French “plat du jour” means dish of the day. Loomis is talking about “those dishes you find on handwritten menus outside French bistros or cafés, the ones that beckon everyone inside to sample a restaurant’s mouthwatering menu.” She says “Most plats du jour are classics lifted from the heart of French regional cuisine, dishes that evoke the essence of France, the spirit of terroir and grandmere… from Boeuf Bourguignon and Blanquette de Veau to Bouillabaisse and Croque Monsieur.” Continue reading “Plat du Jour”

Gisèle Freund Revisited

Gisèle Freund’s 1933 photograph of Andre Malraux on a Paris rooftop wearing a trench coat with a cigarette dangling from his mouth is one of her most iconic pictures. It was one of many portraits she took documenting the Paris literati after fleeing Nazi Germany in the 1930’s. But in 1941 she had to flee again. This time from France to Buenos Aires. An exhibition “Ce Sud Si Lointain,” at the Maison de l’amérique latine featuring Gisèle Freund’s Latin American photographs, is an opportunity to discover another chapter in the life of this remarkable journalist-socialogist-photographer (until January 07, 2023). Continue reading “Gisèle Freund Revisited”