Treasures of sand and fire

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Lino Tagliapietra vase, 1993, photo Jean Tholance

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Hu vase, China, 1736-1796, Photo Jean Tholance

It is hard to make a choice among the 600 pieces of glass that are exceptionnally exhibited at the Galerie Rivoli of Musée des Arts Décoratifs. This attempt to illustrate the history of glass making in Venice and in France but also in China and Vienna since the Renaissance is a great success and a quiet moment to enjoy.

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A new dashing tailor

Charles Balsan shows the factory his ancestor started in 1864, in Chateauroux

Charles Balsan shows the factory his ancestor started in 1864, in Chateauroux

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The Dormeuil tweeds are wonderful.

It is an amazing come back for Charles Balsan who has just opened a men’s tailoring shop, at 122 bd Haussmann, next door to the shop his father used to run thirty years ago. Balsan was born and raised in a textile factory, his family owned since 1864, when his great grandfather Pierre Balsan bought the Manufacture royale de Chateauroux. Originally from the Cévennes, a mountainous region of Central France, the family has always developed the manufacturing of woolen drapes since 1675. And he still remembers his grandparents boarding the ship to Argentina to find the best sheep or the smell of wet wool around the factory when he came home from school.

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When a classicist becomes a bestselling writer

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The dagger, a six to eight inches long iron blade is leaf shaped.

Barry Strauss is the only Classicist I know (with the late Jacqueline de Romilly) who is also a best selling writer. His 15th book, « the Death of Caesar » (Simon and Schuster) hit the top of the Amazon’s bestselling list for European history. I knew Barry at Yale, when he was already a very brilliant (and very modest) PHD student and I was always surprised to hear him actually « talk » in latin. In France, greek and latin are « dead » languages and we never speak them.

A great specialist of battles, Strauss brings his students from Cornell’s History department which he chairs, to battlefields in France, Greece and Italy and Belgium. And so, when his Spartacus came out in French, we had a chance to discuss this new book on Caesar’s death.

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Fitzwilliam and Bourdelle strike a new friendship

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Thomas Gainsborough, Heneage Lloyd and his sister Lucy from the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Jane Munro, curator of paintings and drawings at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, speaks perfect French and travels to Paris often. She found it totally natural, after spending six years of her life researching artists mannequins in paintings, to offer Musée Bourdelle the exhibition she had curated in Cambridge. Amélie Simier, took it on for the reopening of her museum devoted to sculptor Antoine Bourdelle and his studio. The result is a fun, quirky, unusual show where Courbet paintings flirt with Gainsborough and de Chirico with Kokoschka.Read More

A multicolor Pierre Bonnard at Orsay

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“Les danseuses” as seen through fog from high above.

No need to go to Musée Marmottan to see the exhibition « La Toilette, naissance de l’Intime » for there are 14 baigneuses by Pierre Bonnard at Musée d’Orsay. And I must say they are not my favourite. The exhibition, which is drawing 4 000 visitors a day, is a hit and everyone can find a style he likes in this painter who was alive for 80 years and a master of color.

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French women don’t get fat at la Régalade

La Régalade St Honoré is still a wonderful find.

La Régalade St Honoré is still a wonderful find.

Mireille Guiliano, former CEO of Veuve Clicquot in the United States, became worldwide famous ten years ago, with her first book « French women don’t get fat » (Knopf) where she tells how she was fat at 16 and never again, even though she eats in restaurants ten times a week.

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And Mireille was running the show!

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Nazis speak for themselves

Marie Christine Perreau-Saussine and the laureate, Prof. Johann Chapoutot

Marie Christine Perreau-Saussine and the laureate, Prof. Johann Chapoutot

« Nazis liked neither philosophy nor politics, so it is rather pleasing that you should honor me today with the Emile Perreau-Saussine Prize for Political philosophy » stated Professor Johann Chapoutot at Sciences Pô, the Political science University of Paris where late that afternoon Kofi Annan was also giving a talk. His latest book, « La Loi du sang » (Gallimard) has a subtitle : To think and act as a nazi. Chapoutot who teaches at the Sorbonne was introduced by Pierre Manent, a great intellectual himself, who spoke in such beautiful French in front of a remarkable jury of professors and journalists. This is not « yet another book about the Nazis, it is the meticulous study of how the people of Germany, who felt threatened by an outside enemy, were feeling they acted in legitimate defense.”Read More

And Gaultier leads the dance!

Jean Paul Gaultier is as fun an modest as we know him in this entertaining exhibition.

“Jean Paul Gaultier, made in mode” 2012, © Jean-Paul Goude

Jean Paul Gaultier is one of the rare French Couture designers to have been around for more than forty years and to have kept its inventively, sense of humor and modesty all along. After a world tour of 9 cities, (Melbourne, San Francisco, Brooklyn, London, Madrid….) this show is finally landing in Paris at Grand Palais, with special designs of furniture and the narration of a fashion show by Catherine Deneuve.

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