Agnès Sorel


France has a generous share of remarkable women who grace the pages of its history. Blanche de Castille, Eleanor d’Acquitaine, Jeanne d’Arc, Diane de Poitiers, Gabrielle d’Estrée and Marie Antoinette are some of the most illustrious (even if some were imports). During the Middle Ages many of them ruled in their own right and […]

By |February 17th, 2020|Daily life|Comments Off on Agnès Sorel|

Tudor or Half-Timbered ?



In France structures of the Middle Ages that elsewhere are referred-to as half-timbered buildings are called “batiments à colombages.” Elsewhere, except in England and the United States, where they are called Tudor-style buildings. This might lead you to think that somehow the Tudors, the dynasty of English monarchs that began with Henry VII and […]

Basilicas, Churches or Cathedrals ?



What is the difference between a basilica, a church and a cathedral? Should you care? You can, of course, sail through life oblivious of the distinctions, without any problem. However, if you believe, as we do, that variety is part of what makes life interesting, you may find that being aware of the differences […]

By |January 21st, 2020|Daily life|Comments Off on Basilicas, Churches or Cathedrals ?|

Windmills of Paris



When you look at the skyline of Paris today, you see a fairly uniform horizon that is largely the result of Baron Haussmann’s urban renewal program, which progressed from 1853 until 1870. Ordered by Napoleon III, it was a crash program to transform an exotic but highly unhealthy medieval city that lacked basic sanitation […]

Le Corbusier, Architect and Artist


One of the major influences in what became widely known throughout the western world as ‘modern architecture’ is a person who never studied architecture. That was also the case of some of his most illustrious peers and contemporaries: Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe. That Charles-Édouard Jeanneret became an architect at […]

Modern Architecture in France



When you think of the architecture of Paris and France, you are likely to conjure images of classical French architecture that evolved in the 17th and 18th centuries, of which structures such as the Louvre, the Invalides and those found in the Concorde Plaza are iconic examples. If you have dug into what makes […]

French Pension Reform Protests – How Long ?


Many persons contemplating touring in France in 2020 are anxiously following the current wave of protests relating to the French government’s plans to  modify the pensions of different categories of public workers. At this time that includes more than forty different types of retirement plans, of which some are in tight financial straits and […]

Re-opening of Albert Kahn Gardens in Boulogne-Billancourt near Paris


For all lovers of greenery and original gardens, this article is for you. The gardens named after their creator, Albert Kahn, in the very early 20th century are one of the jewels of garden landscaping in Paris and its suburbs. They have reopened after almost 30 years of work and adjustments, in the style […]

Unforgettable Normandy

In the several hundred tours of the Normandy D Day and Battle of Normandy sites that we have performed, I have often thought how glad we are of its outcome, in contrast with how aghast we are at the horrors that everyone concerned experienced. Whether you were part of the invading or defending forces, […]

The Abbey of Le Bec Hellouin

Located 50 kilometers southwest of Rouen in the Eure department, the site of the Abbey Le Bec Hellouin is one of the unsung cradles of Christian power in France, as well as for England. Indeed, it is quite remarkable that this abbey has produced three of the archbishops of Canturbury, two of whom were […]