The Ile de France, elegant ocean liner

The exhibition “L’Art déco, un art de vivre à la Française : the ocean liner Ile de France” looks back on the story of this elegant ship, born during the Roaring Twenties which was a Franco-American link making the crossing from Le Havre to New York. The ship was the symbol of an unrivaled French art de vivre, the epitome of French elegance and the exhibition shows us the history of a society and of the art of travel. Models, photos, paintings, advertising posters, Ruhlmann armchairs, Christofle silverware, Haviland porcelain, vintage menus (including the children's and dog's menus that will make you smile), matches and ashtrays and a vintage publicity film are all presented. A fascinating view of a world of luxury. This was not the biggest or the fastest ship, but it had the longest life of all ships in the French fleet (1927-1961) and exuded the French Touch as seen on the brochure from 1949.

"What is the French Touch? Is it the breakfast you have serv…

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Made in France, My 2019 Diary

For 2019 I decided to try to find Made in France products each time I made a purchase and keep a Made in France Diary.

Skip the intro and jump right to the latest entry.

The idea sprang from my exercise diary. I write down on my calendar each time I get some exercise, riding my bike, taking a walk for errands or fun or taking a class. Keeping a diary helps me to keep that focus and make sure I move. I have a nice record of my constitutional outings. It is very satisfying to be able to look back and see that I pretty much get my requisite 30 minutes each day, plus needing to make an entry on the calendar gets me up and out; I get both satisfaction and encouragement.

I decided to apply that to my Made in France year. I'm keeping a diary, technically a monthly of what I buy and if it is MIF. I'm not going to be obsessive and buy ONLY MIF, like this guy Benjamin Carle who in 2014 made a project of transforming his life and apartment to only MI…

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Marie Antoinette Metamorphoses of an Image

You might love her, you might hate her, you might feel sorry for her, or think she deserved what she got but Marie Antoinette has not left the world indifferent. Her image is recognized the world over at just a glance. There was a Roger et Gallet ad in a Glamour magazine from 2017 and everyone I showed it too immediately said "that's Marie Antoinette". The grey up-do and some gilt in the background is all you need to recognize her. She has become one of the most visible and recognizable historical figures ever. The expo at the Conciergerie in Paris gives insight into the myriad uses of her image.

Soulier Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, © cliché Patricia Touzard

Will we be talking about Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow or Lady Gaga 200 years after her death? Probably not but we still talk about Marie Antoinette more than 200 years after her death! Perhaps not so much in France as journalists on France Info were discussing the other day. They were wondering why anyone…

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The Golden Age of English Painting

From Reynolds to Turner Masterpieces of the Tate Britainuntil 16 February 2020 Musée du Luxembourg 19, rue Vaugirard, 75006 Paris

The 1760s, the start of the reign of George III, marked a turning point in British art with the triumphant rise of Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) and Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), and saw the founding of the Royal Academy of Arts, of which Reynolds was the first president. The renowned masters of portraiture, Reynolds and Gainsborough competed to raise the genre to new heights of visual and intellectual innovation. They paid tribute to the grand masters while demonstrating acute psychological insight and a command of painting that was always original. The exhibition The Golden Age of English Painting begins by juxtaposing these two painters through full-length portraits and intimate studies that bear a striking resemblance to public figures, members of the royal family and other important people. Here, Re…

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Paris/France and Body Parts

Welcome to a new series, which we’re calling “Paris/France and…” --the “and” being categories (such as colors, food groups, the classical elements, and more) whose subcategories we are going to link to the city/country we know and love. And given their reputation for gratification (physical and intellectual), where better to start than with…Paris/France and Body Parts (top down, of course)?

head: Say “head” and you think (with your brain) of “brain.” Say “brain” and you think of “intellect.” Say “intellect” and you have to have been living in a (non-Internet-enabled) cave for the past at least 300 years not to think of the stereotypical Parisian intellect spending hours at a café, cigarette dangling from wine-kissed lips (this would have to be on the café’s terrasse [outside area] nowadays, as smoking inside cafés, places of business, the métro, etc. has been banned), rambling on and on and on and on and on in intense, profound, arm-gesture-enhanced solemn…

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