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Monthly Archives: November 2007

Since it was good enough for Axl Rose

I walked right into a really, really, really fancy hotel: the most expensive and exclusive hotel in Paris. THE HOTEL DE CRILLON. It’s the hotel where Marie-Antoinette took piano lessons. A hotel so good, the Nazi high command commandeered it for their headquarters during the occupation of Paris 1940-44. (“Let those SS counterintelligence idiots take the […]

As long as they’re all paved or cobbled

For all moving beings in Paris, the allees, avenues, boulevards, impasses, passages, quais, and rues are very important. Like in the United States, some of these designations of surfaces for vehicular passage are a little vague–do you have to be so many feet wide to qualify as an avenue as opposed to a rue?–but I’ve compiled […]

Pepe le Pew and beyond: Fictional French characters you should know

The studios of Walt Disney and Hana-Barbera don’t have the lock on fictional characters. Many of Americans’ most beloved cartoon, storybook, and movie heros and heroines come from writers and storytelling traditions in France. Some of the characters are actually Belgian or Swiss but are very popular in the French language. I’ve listed below some […]

Walking into the Louvre with no ticket, big as you please

Many Parisian museums are free on the first Sunday of each month, so today I walked right into the Louvre, big as you please. No ticket and not even a glance at the keepers of the gate. I also didn’t bring my pack, so I didn’t have to unzip the pockets, show my umbrella and water […]

Why you need to drink coffee in a Parisian cafe

It’s about stopping, reading the paper or your guidebook, getting off your feet. Or off life’s merry-go-round. Order and sip. Maybe you don’t do anything else. I haven’t bought a single Herald Tribune (the English-language newspaper sold here) because I usually want to shut out the world’s goings-on. I’ll admit it’s been quite blissful ignoring the […]

Digging my dad’s Parisian roots in Meudon

I had heard stories about my father Glenn’s year in Meudon, France, since I was a kid. He’d gone with his parents–my grandparents Helen and Karl Grossman–to this southwestern Parisian suburb in October 1928. My grandfather had come to study music for a year with Nadia Boulanger (her picture is below) at the Paris Conservatory, and my […]

Day of the Dead in Paris’s Pere Lachaise cemetery

Parisians had a few pumpkins, skeletons, and witches in shop windows the last few weeks, but I wouldn’t say they celebrate Halloween. But November 1, All Souls’ Day or Day of the Dead, is a major holiday. Today’s November 1 and it wasn’t raining, so it was a good day to visit Cimetiere du Pere […]