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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.

Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company

For any book-lover, the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris is a must-see. It’s been the centre of the English-speaking literary community in Paris for sixty years. Located just across the Seine from Notre Dame, it’s housed in a crooked 17th century building with huge exposed beams. The building, which was originally a monastery, has been transformed into a magical place which feels like visiting an eccentric uncle’s study. Every space is filled with books, interspersed with art objects, philosophical signs, and here and there, a vase of flowers or a cat.

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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…

il porcellino, bronze pig fountain, Florence Italy

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….