Oscar Wilde at Petit Palais

“They say that when good Americans die” Oscar Wilde once said “they go to Paris…” Graffiti scribbled on Wilde’s tombstone in Pere Lachaise cemetery says “Here lies the greatest man who ever lived.” Maybe not the greatest as some of his fans think, but Wilde certainly was among the most clever. His aphorisms still bring a smile. For example about life he philosophized: “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” Continue reading “Oscar Wilde at Petit Palais”

Christmas Markets in Paris 2016


La Defense, © F. Eckert

Paris’ Christmas markets are among the things that make the holiday special in this city. The markets are found all over the city from the stunning display on the elegant Champs Elysee to the Place Saint Sulpice to the Trocadero. But the biggest (10,000 meters) and most diversified market (200 stalls) is found at Paris’ La Défense. 

Paris adopts a German tradition

The earliest Christmas markets date back to the late middle ages and have their origin in Germany. The Dresden “Striezelmarkt”  is said to be the oldest Christmas market and was first held in the 15th century. The Bautzen Christmas market and the Vienna “December Market” are supposed to be even older dating back to the 13th century. It was in 1570 when the Christmas market tradition found its way into Alsace, France’s easternmost region bordering Germany. Continue reading “Christmas Markets in Paris 2016”

Montmartre fetes its wine Oct 7-11


Monmartre © Miyazaki

That the Butte’s wine is almost undrinkable has never gotten in the way of what has to be one of this capital’s best annual fests!

As with any good party, this one has something for everybody: it’s part folklore, with fraternal orders from the winegrowing regions of France turning out in traditional robes and quirky hats, and part Arbor Day parade, complete with Harvest Queen, marching bands and street theater. Continue reading “Montmartre fetes its wine Oct 7-11”

Tea Time in Paris

Mosquée © DudleyAlthough Paris is known for its cafés it also has many cosy and elegant tearooms where you can pass an afternoon enjoying fine-quality tea with delicious cakes and pastries. While many people know about the city’s most famous tearooms such as the “Mariage Frères” and “Angelina’s,” there are also plenty of excellent lesser-known tearooms worth a visit.  Here are some of our favorites: Continue reading “Tea Time in Paris”

Still Standing Tall

Did you hear the one about the lady who married the Eiffel Tower? No, really. Erika La Tour Eiffel had had other infatuations with objects, including Lance, the bow with which she became an archery champion, and the Berlin Wall. But, now in her late 30s, she tossed those over and promised  to love, honor, and obey the tower in an intimate  ceremony in Paris. She duly changed her name to reflect her marital status. A photo showed the smiling, comely newlywed hugging her riveted husband, who maintained a dignified reserve. Admittedly,  said Erika, there is a bit of a problem in the marriage: “The issue of intimacy, or rather lack of it.” Continue reading “Still Standing Tall”

Woody Allen discusses “Cassandra’s Dream”


Woody Allen and Hayley Atwell, photo courtesy Wild Bunch

Woody Allen’s film “Cassandra’s Dream” is a story of death and guilt set in contemporary London. It tells the tale of two brothers (Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell) who while attempting to improve their miserable lives fall into dire straits with predictable unfortunate consequences. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival where Woody Allen made the following comments. Continue reading “Woody Allen discusses “Cassandra’s Dream””

Cara Black’s Paris Murders



Leafing through a book behind a pillar in the American Library in Paris, mystery writer Cara Black seemed herself a bit of a private investigator uncovering clues far from the prying eyes of the crowd. Moments later she would give a presentation on her inspiration, her research, and the development of her much-abused yet still youthful protagonist Aimée Leduc, the hero of her thirteen mystery novels all set in Paris. And from talking with Black about her craft, it becomes clear that she puts together books the way Aimee Leduc uncovers mysteries. Continue reading “Cara Black’s Paris Murders”