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Bob was a Woman of Many Talents

In Paris in 1902, young Dr. Marcile was head-over-heels in love. The young lady who was the object of his affection loved him too, but her parents wouldn’t consent to their marriage. They were both heartbroken. Then one day when the doctor was passing a garage on Avenue de la Grande-Armée he noticed a sign…

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5 Things I Love About Nice, France

I’ve been working around the clock for the last several weeks finishing up my latest book about my adopted city. It’s called: Curious Histories of Nice, France and, if all goes well, it should be out next week. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s available. Nice is such a wonderful place and…

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The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower

It was 1925 and Victor Lustig was sitting in his Paris hotel room reading a newspaper article about the Eiffel Tower. That gigantic structure had been built for the 1889 Paris World’s Fair and was meant to be dismantled in 1909. But because of its height, it was used as a radio tower and came…

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Mayday! Mayday! Help, it’s May Day.

What does the month of May have to do with the call of distress? Nothing really, it’s just an example of how words slip from one language into another. The distress call actually came from the French phrase, “m’aidez” which sounds similar to “mayday” and means – “Help me” in French. English is full of…

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The Cats of La Romieu

One of the main tourist attractions in the small medieval village of La Romieu, in southwest France, is the abundance of cats to be found there. They sun themselves on ledges or peer out from windows, charming those who pass by. They are well behaved, never cause any problems, and always stay in the same…

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Polite Paris

Ahh Paris… Just the mention of its name brings up images of sophisticated people in sidewalk cafés surrounded by elegance.  It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world and one of the most visited tourist destinations. The Parisians, however, have a long-held reputation for being rude. Personally, I don’t find them to be…

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Legends, Laws, and Lengthy Loaves

History of the Baguette What could be more traditionally French than the baguette, that long slender loaf of bread that has become an instantly recognised symbol of France? At any hour of the day, on the streets of any village, town, or city, you are likely to see the French strolling along with one of…

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Legally Fashionable

Medieval Florence, like many European cities, had ‘sumptuary laws’ to regulate luxury items, with an emphasis on women’s clothing. These laws proved difficult to enforce upon the clever Florentine women, however. All clothing was regulated, but there were few – if any – prosecutions brought against men, while a multitude were levelled at the female sex.

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Bread Delivery: Les Porteuses de pain

If you like bread, then when you’re in France you probably stop by the boulangerie, or bakery, every day to buy a baguette, croissant, or one of the other tempting treats that you will find inside. But if you were a bourgeois, or wealthy, family in the nineteenth or early twentieth century you wouldn’t need…

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The Mad Farter or “Le Pétomane”

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the Moulin Rouge in Paris, the historic cabaret topped by a red windmill, which is famous for its can-can dancers. But do you know who was their highest paid performer at the end of the 19th century? His name was Joseph Pujol and he had a very peculiar talent.

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New Book is Out!

Yay! It’s Live!

It looks like my book is finally live on Amazon – so let the orders begin! Just kidding. :-) But if you know of someone who loves all things French, maybe this would make a nice little Christmas gift.

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Who wants to be a Bank Robber?

Well, I think I’ve done it!  No, I haven’t robbed a bank – I think I’ve finished my book! I still have to wait to see the proofs, which should be here next week, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.   It will be available on Amazon and I’ll be sure to let you know when…

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November News: HAPPY HALLOWEEN

I’m finally back to Nice after travelling for two months. I have basically been on the go since April and now, I just want to stay home. Travelling is nice, but sometimes it’s just good to get home and stay there for a while. So I am planning to stay home all winter long (or…

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The Bronze Pig of Florence

Il Porcellino, as the Italians call him, means “the little pig”. However the bronze porker fountain sitting at the side of the New Market, or Mercato Nuovo, is really a wild boar, or a cinghiale in Italian. He supposedly brings good luck when visitors rub his snout and put a coin in his mouth.

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Cocteau, Picasso, and a Tale of two Breads

When I recently toured Santo Sospir, the villa decorated by Cocteau, the guide pointed to a fougasse (a local bread) painted on the wall and said it was a reference by Cocteau to the hands painted by his friend, Picasso. I didn’t really understand the link because the bread looked nothing like a hand to me….