Jul 11, 2018

The Big Cheese: La Grosse Tomme


This is a story of big cheeses, not just one but five: two big cheeses that are actually cheeses, and three big cheeses that are "merely" generals, presidents, and founding fathers. And they're all related and tied in to this time of year, July, which is the month both France and the United States celebrate their revolutions.

Jun 27, 2018

Lolita Complex -- Not So Complex: Tomme du Fédou


You've probably got the wrong idea about sex in France. The truth of the matter is less, well, sexy than what you imagine. That is to say, it's not all wild abandon and mistresses and promiscuity, no matter how much the movies and jokes -- and occasional politicians -- embody that. I'm not sure whether this proves or disproves my point, but the French even have a new law, introducing for the first time in the country's history a legal age of sexual consent.

Jun 12, 2018

Of Corset: La Miche Gavotte


The tortured history of French dresses is, let's face it, mostly tortured because of the corset. However, it's also partly due to the paniers -- those enormous hips created under the ball gowns -- as well as the bustles behind. And yet, no matter how god-awful they must have been to wear, my girls and I continue to fantasize about them, and "ooh" and "aah" each time we see one.

May 24, 2018

Madeleine/Madeline: Géromé


Sure, macarons may be trendier, but if there is one simple sweet treat the French love to eat in droves, it's madeleines, a ubiquitous cookie-cake eaten by -- according to my estimates -- 61% of children as an after school snack on any given school day. (The other 39% are eating pain au chocolat.)

May 2, 2018

Paris, Paris Everywhere: Crottin de Pays


The world's most famous Paris, after Paris itself that is, has to be Paris in Las Vegas, thanks to the half-sized Eiffel Tower, and to the millions of pleasure-seeking visitors. My motto for the Paris tower and casino: Half as Tall, Twice as Tacky. Actually it's much more than twice as tacky -- you can bet on it.

Apr 18, 2018

What Time is It? Cheese O'Clock: Le Cendré Fermier


Now that most watches and clocks are digital, analog watches with their big and little hands are practically relics of the past. Until, of course, you compare them with actual relics of the past, ancient timekeepers -- sundials. There are plenty of these around France, and even in the heart of Paris itself. You really can't set your watch by them (and no need to set your phone as it is syncing automatically, of course), but you can at least count on them to be fascinating.

Apr 1, 2018

Emma-ma-ma-Marianne: Le Volcanique


Emma-ma-ma-Marianne. It sounds like a lyric in a rock song of two names colliding. Actually it's two images colliding in my head -- two young women who stand as symbols: American Emma Gonzalez, the Parkland student symbolizing a movement whose image is everywhere, and Marianne, the French symbol of liberty whose image is...everywhere. Here, for example, a piece by street artist Obey (real name Shepard Fairey) hangs in l'Elysée, home of French President Macron.

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