Summer in the city, when the city is Paris – The Washington Post

In August, the capital slows way down as Parisians claim their right to a long vacation.

August here is a phenomenon as French as they come. Employees in France are entitled to five weeks of paid vacation every year, more than in other European nations. Sometimes the French get even longer if they opt to work more than the standard 35 hours a week. This is why — and how — certain French restaurants, shops and small businesses can close for essentially one month of the fiscal year, a reality that never fails to mystify Americans.

But France is not the United States, and here, vacation is not a privilege. It is a right [ . . . ]

Read Full Story: Summer in the city, when the city is Paris – The Washington Post

A good exhibition is a lesson for the look – Saint-Merry

The Center Georges Pompidou offers a great retrospective of a major photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975) who spent most of his life as a photographer interested in the vernacular, in everyday life, in urban banality. He examined the American soul through its roads, advertisements, ordinary buildings, cars, pedestrians, and so on. It has marked generations of photographers.And at the end of the exhibition, a splendid text that questions less our look than the pleasure to look and evokes the spring of the artist.In this malicious parallel between church and museum, a question and then an affirmation come to mind: “What did you go to see in the desert? ”

Matthew 11: 7-9. As they were going away, Jesus began to say to the crowd about John, “What have you gone to see in the wilderness?” A reed stirred by the wind? But what did you go to see? A man dressed in precious clothes? Behold, those who wear precious garments are in the houses of kings. What have you gone to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet”

Can we establish a parallel between the prophet and the artist?

Troubled question around the see.

John Deuzemes.


[ . . . ] Original French Translation: A good exhibition is a lesson for the look – Saint-Merry

Daniel Boulud’s Guide to Paris | Tasting Table

Here are Boulud’s favorite Paris go-tos.

① Epicure by Chef Eric Frechon
Boulud describes head chef Eric Frechon, who was awarded the honorary Meilleur Ouvrier de France title, as “a very creative chef who presents a cuisine rooted in French tradition.” From langoustines to veal sweetbreads, you won’t be disappointed when it comes to the [ . . . ] More: Daniel Boulud’s Guide to Paris | Tasting Table

‘The Unknown Girl’: What happens when the Dardenne brothers make a thriller

Every movie made by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne arouses my interest and admiration, ever since the Belgian brothers first burst onto the international scene with “The Promise” in 1996. Over the years they have become part of the small circle of directors to win the Palme d’Or twice at the Cannes Film Festival (for “Rosetta” in 1999 and “The Child” in 2005). In addition, they have won various other prizes in the same competition, in which every film of theirs is sure to be included. Their oeuvre encompasses such fine works as “The Son,” “The Kid with a Bike” and “Two Days, One Night.”The Dardennes do more than adhere, stubbornly and in their unique style, to the tradition of realist filmmaking that tackles social [ . . . ] More: ‘The Unknown Girl’: What happens when the Dardenne brothers make a thriller – Movies –

Chanson Du Jour: Ne me quitte pas

Jacques Brel “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (Don’t Leave Me)


English Translation

Please don’t leave me.
We can forget
Everything can be forgotten
Look, it’s gone already
Forget the times
And the misunderstandings
The lost time
The blows
The hours that robbed our hearts of joy
Don’t leave me (4 times)

I offer you pearls of rain
From places in me where there is no rain
I will raise the earth until the day I die
To cover your body in light and gold
I’ll make a place for us
Where love is king
Love is law
And you are queen.
Please don’t leave me. (4 times)

Don’t leave me
I beg you
Ah! Do you understand my words?
Are they senseless, the words I speak
Of our history?
It is king
It does not have to perish
Just don’t leave me.

How often has the fire of an old volcano
Erupting, burn the land
Then in that place more wheat grows than at harvest.

Each day ends when evening comes
The brilliant night sky is red and black
Can the night be brilliant without both?
Please don’t leave me. (4 times)

I have implored you
With my words
If you leave me, I will unbecome myself
And become the shadow of your shadow
So that I can watch you dance and smile
So that I can hear you sing and laugh
As the shadow of your shadow.

Please don’t leave me.
Please don’t leave me.
Please don’t leave me.
Please don’t leave me.

RIP Jeanne Moreau, a mythical actress in twelve masterpieces of cinema

Jeanne Moreau a tourné avec les plus grands réalisateurs, d’Antonioni à Elia Kazan. Extraits de douze films

Jeanne Moreau, a legend of French cinema and one of the French New Wave’s leading actresses with roles in Jules & Jim and Elevator to the Gallows, died this weekend at the age of 89.


Source: Jeanne Moreau, a mythical actress in twelve masterpieces of cinema

The Rivers of Babylon on Bastille Day

At the crazy Bastille Day dance party by the town fountain last night in our tiny Provence village, between the hours of Midnight and 1 am, I heard only three songs that were not french: the Village Peoples’s YMCA (hugely popular with this young crowd); a DJ line dance version of Cotton Eyed Joe (no line dance was performed, but some french kissing); and my personal favorite – Rivers of Babylon. Two young french girls standing on the fountain wall sang along with this reggae classic. It gave me hope for the world.

“‘Cause the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha song
In a strange land?

Sing it out loud!
Sing a song of freedom sister!
Sing a song of freedom brother!”

Hit the road at Festival d’Avignon

We had a fun day at the Festival d’ Avignon yesterday. There’s a wide range of theater productions happening throughout each day. You’d need a week in Avignon to see them all.

You wouldn’t seek out Avignon primarily for their museums, as you might in Paris. But there are great shops and boutiques, bars and restaurants everywhere, and a cool youthful vibe in the city.

As we were walking through the streets of the walled city, a young women who looked like Audrey Hepburn circa Roman Holiday, approached us riding on the back of a classic red motor scooter. Turns out, she was promoting her evening performance as – Audrey Hepburn! Pausing on her scooter, she sang a tune from My Fair Lady sounding much like Marni Nixon, and then off she went. Later, I snapped a photo of this poster hanging in a shop window.


Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn in Avignon


The majority of the shows were serious drama and as you’d expect, performed in French, so we didn’t buy tickets to any of the featured events, but saw dozens of street performances.

We had a tasty lunch and ice cream cones by the Palace of the Popes, the fourteenth-century Gothic palace built by the popes who made Avignon their home.

Here’s a group of young gals singing a bit of “Hit the Road, Jack” – a favorite song of Pope Innocent VI way back in 1352, hundreds of years before Ray Charles would record the song in 1960,  proving the pope’s miraculous powers. Or something like that.

This Weekend: Paris Jazz Festival and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at La Sainte Chapelle

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at La Sainte Chapelle – Wonderful music and a splendid atmosphere in Sainte Chapelle, one the most beautiful churches in Paris.

It looks like a rainy weekend upcoming for our arrival in Paris. Undaunted by the forecast, we are planning Saturday at beautiful Park Floral for the Paris Jazz Festival. We will picnic on the very same rolling hills where Napoleon Bonaparte trained his soldiers, while listening to some of Europe’s best jazz musicians (err… that’s me listening to jazz, not Napoleon’s soldiers.)


Sunday, we’re very much looking forward to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons being performed at La Sainte Chapelle. I much prefer Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to Alt-Vivaldi’s Climate Changed Two Seasons. Even without the violins and cellos, Sainte Chapelle will be exciting to behold. I’m told, this chapel has been the home of numerous Christian relics, including Christ’s crown of thorns, acquired by Saint Louis. Imagine that!

Speaking of Christian relics –  Bonjour to my Aunt Mary down in Dunedin Florida. I love you. Keep walking every day, and stop watching Fox News.

à bientôt., Mike.


Hidden for a century, a bronze Camille Claudel will be auctioned

An exceptional auction will take place on June 11th at the Chateau d’Artigny in Indre-et-Loire: a sculpture by Camille Claudel, which remained for more than a century hidden in a closet and discovered last April. It is a bronze copy of “La Valse”, a work that caused scandal at the time because of its intense sensuality. There is no doubt that this sculpture will make waltz the auction.[ . . . ]

Read More: Hidden for a century, a bronze Camille Claudel will be auctioned

Chanson Du Jour: Les Passants

Georges Brassens – Les Passants

Je veux dédier ce poème
A toutes les femmes qu’on aime
Pendant quelques instants secrets
A celles qu’on connait à peine
Qu’un destin différent entraîne
Et qu’on ne retrouve jamais

(English Translation)
I want to dedicate this poem
To all the women we love
During a few secret moments
To the ones we barely know
What a different fate carries away
And that we never meet again

A budget bottle of rosé has been voted one of the best wines in the world

Fans of rosé better get themselves down to Aldi this summer because a bottle of the budget supermarket chain’s wine has been voted one the of the best in the world.

Aldi’s Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé was awarded a silver medal in the International Wine Challenge – and it will set you back just £5.99.

Source: A budget bottle of rosé has been voted one of the best wines in the world

Da Vinci contraptions brought to life in Bruges exhibition

Leonardo da Vinci’s bird-like flying machine and portable bridge have been brought to life in a new exhibition opening on Thursday in the Belgian city of Bruges.One hundred machines invented or enhanced by the Italian Renaissance mastermind have been realized, by using plans he drew himself. They will be on display in Bruges for six months, before embarking on a world tour over 10 years.

Full Story: Da Vinci contraptions brought to life in Bruges exhibition | Reuters

‘Things to Come’ Review: Hansen-Love’s Beautifully Heartbroken Drama

I watched Things to Come for a second time last night. It is one of those films that demands several viewings to fully appreciate, yet immediately I was touched by the tenderness and honestly of director Mia Hansen-Love’s story, and blow-away by actress Isabelle Huppert’s brilliance as an actress. Going back for a third.
– Mike Stevenson

Midway through “Things to Come,” Isabelle Huppert’s protagonist has a disconcerting encounter in a cinema, distracting her from Juliette Binoche’s own on-screen emotional uncertainty in Abbas Kiarostami’s 2010 jewel, “Certified Copy.” It’s a cheeky move to so fleetingly cameo that level of perfection in one’s own work, but Mia Hansen-Love’s fifth — and possibly best — feature pulls it off with warmth and grace to spare. At once disarmingly simple in form and riddled with rivulets of complex feeling, this story of a middle-aged Parisienne philosophy professor rethinking an already much-examined life in the wake of unforeseen divorce emulates the best academics in making outwardly familiar ideas feel newly alive and immediate — and has an ideal human conduit in a wry, heartsore Huppert, further staking her claim as our greatest living actress with nary a hint of showing off. Following widespread distribution for the dazzling but younger-skewing “Eden,” the arthouse future for Hansen-Love’s latest is surely a bright one [ . . . ]

Read Full Review: ‘Things to Come’ Review: Hansen-Love’s Beautifully Heartbroken Drama | Variety

Paris music festivals 2017

It might not quite have the international clout of London or Berlin, but Paris is no musical slouch: from the legendary jazz clubs to the thriving independent and underground music scenes, plus some seriously sharp record stores, there’s everything here for the connoisseur. In recent years, the number of music festivals has mushroomed too – both French outposts of international big hitters like Pitchfork, and cutting-edge homegrown treats like We Love Green and Weather Festival. Covering almost any genre you like, each one is well worth a look, and perhaps a trip if you’re coming from abroad. [ . . . ]

Read More: Paris music festivals 2017 | Music & nightlife | Time Out Paris

Gogoro e-scooter sharing is coming to Paris 

600 Gogoro Smartscooters are coming to Paris this summer as part of the Coup eScooter sharing service. Coup, a subsidiary of Bosch, first launched the scooter sharing service in Berlin with 200 Gogoro electric scooters in 2016. It expanded to 1,000 scooters less than a year later. It’ll be going up against the Cityscoot service which launched in Paris last summer with 150 electric scooters [ . . . ]

Read More: Gogoro e-scooter sharing is coming to Paris – The Verge

Jain interview: ‘Music is all about travelling’ 

French music is having what some would definitely call “a moment” – following the huge success of Christine and the Queens, a wealth of new pop, dance and electronic music has emerged from the country and British audiences seem more than willing to listen. One of the most prominent names to come out of this mix is Jain – 25-year-old Jeanne Galice – who released her debut album Zanaka in France in 2015 (it came out in the UK last year), and who The Independent tipped in December as “one to watch”. Jain makes upbeat dance pop fuelled by the African rhythms that she grew up on, after being moved from south-west France to Dubai, aged nine, and later to the Congo, where a rapper school friend introduced her to local producer Mister Flash [ . . . ]

Read Full Story: Jain interview: ‘Music is all about travelling’ | The Independent

The French Lifestyle Reviewed in the Wake of the Presidential Election

Catherine Deneuve
“A woman has to be intelligent, have charm, a sense of humor, and be kind. It’s the same qualities I require from a man.”

As I pen this week’s column, the result of the French election has just come over the wire. Emmanuel Macron’s victory, for the moment, has stemmed the tide of the populist party. But the influence of Marine Le Pen’s party in French politics has yet to unfold. What does the future hold for France as a nation and as an influential member of the European Union?

Of course, as a wine writer, my thoughts have now shifted beyond the political turmoil in France to the social changes that have been transforming the nation in recent years – especially the eating and drinking habits amongst the populace.It seems that the once enviable French lifestyle is beginning to unravel [ . . . ]

Read Full Story: The French Lifestyle Reviewed in the Wake of the Presidential Election | The Examiner News

Merci, France!

La Seine a rencontré Paris

A 1957 French short documentary film directed by Joris Ivens from a screenplay by Jacques Prévert. Told from the perspective of a boat trip through the city, it features scenes of daily life along the river. The film won the short film Palme d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival.

Proust Letter About Neighbor’s Sex Lives Up For Auction

Marcel Proust is famous for transforming an evocative sensory experience into literary brilliance: I am writing, of course, of the nibble of a madeleine that catalyzed his immortal stroll down memory lane in “Swann’s Way.”

The author also, apparently, could turn an unwanted sensory intrusion into fairly amusing epistolary material. Among an astonishing collection of French literary miscellanea that will shortly go up for auction in Paris — the archive, which currently belongs to prolific collector Jean Bonna, includes first editions of works by Samuel Beckett and Honoré de Balzac, as well as correspondence from Victor Hugo and Gustave Flaubert — is a letter from Proust to his landlord’s son in which he objects to a certain unwanted auditory phenomenon in his apartment [ . . . ]

More at Source: Proust Letter About Neighbor’s Sex Lives Up For Auction – The Forward

How Champs Elysees attack could swing the French presidential election

With the motives of the Champs-Elysées gunman considered terror-related, the timing just three days before the first round of the French presidential elections and during a prime time TV “debate” between all 11 official candidates clearly suggests that extremists are seeking to influence the tone of the debate – and perhaps its outcome [ . . . ]

More at source: How Champs Elysees attack could swing the French presidential election

France’s Bernie Sanders Started His Own Party and Is Surging in the Polls

JEAN-LUC MÉLENCHON, an insurgent left-wing candidate for France’s presidency, is surging. His candidacy, organized under the newly-established party La France Insoumise (“Unsubmissive France”) has gone from a quixotic bid to a viable challenge in just a few months. Railing against growing economic inequality, participation in foreign wars, and political corruption, Mélenchon has skyrocketed in the polls from distant fourth to within a hair’s breadth of the frontrunners. (This rise has been accompanied by the release of a web-based video game called “Fiscal Kombat” where Mélenchon fights corrupt politicians and bankers.)The Financial Times demonstrated his surge through an aggregation of French national opinion polls [ . .  . ]

Full Story: France’s Bernie Sanders Started His Own Party and Is Surging in the Polls

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Reluctant Icon Of French Chic

By Phoebe Maltz Bovy


Charlotte Gainsbourg — daughter of French-Jewish singer Serge Gainsbourg and English actress (and handbag namesake) Jane Birkin — continues the family tradition of combining artistic excellence with Parisian glamorousness. Gainsbourg plays an important role in Joseph Cedar’s new film, “Norman”, and is also (oh to be so chic and part-French!) promoting a makeup line with Nars. And like any self-respecting representative of Frenchwoman style, Gainsbourg shares some beauty rituals but pushes back against the whole French beauty thing.

I want to be immune to the breathless (heh) items about how to look like a Parisienne, but I click, I always click. Even if the answer — as per Gainsbourg, and as per all ten trillion articles of this type — is to wear less foundation if you wish to look more French. Well, not exactly — it’s that French ladies supposedly wear less foundation than their American equivalents. Which may well be, but I have it on good authority (the mirror) that an American woman can eschew foundation and not look even the least bit French.

Source: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Reluctant Icon Of French Chic – The Forward

Elle: Empowerment in the Darkness

Elle is the sensational new thriller from Paul Verhoeven, and his first major film in a decade. Starring an outstanding Isabelle Huppert, this French film is not an erotic thriller, like the Dutch director’s infamous Basic Instinct. Instead, it’s a gripping film about a businesswoman’s complex response to being raped. From the opening shot of her cat watching the horrific event unfold, you know you’re in for a typically audacious film from a vastly under-appreciated director.

Verhoeven is best known for directing bombastic sci-fi/action classics like Robocop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers. Rather like the work of Douglas Sirk in the Golden Age of Hollywood, Verhoeven’s films were written off as lowbrow trash in their day, only for their artful, cutting satire to be appreciated later. He creates discomfort in his audience by playing with cinematic elements many take for granted. His incredibly glossy films use deliberately gratuitous sex and violence to comment on the dark undercurrent of both American cinema and society.

Even Showgirls, a popular contender for the worst film ever made, has been re-evaluated by critics and is appreciated by arthouse favourites like Jim Jarmusch and Jacques Rivette.While his last American film, Hollow Man, proved to be a hit, Verhoeven felt his films were losing his personal touch, and that Hollow Man could just as easily have been made by some other director. He retreated to Europe to [ . . . ]

Read Full Story: Elle: empowerment in darkness | Arts & Culture | Film | spiked