I hated Montmartre the first time I saw it. The tourists and pickpockets around Sacre Coeur were atrocious: rude, aggressive, groups of three or four men circling around you, asking “Where you from?” as they reached for your purse or under your jacket.

It nearly ruined the whole day for me, until we got away from the tourist sector and began wandering the back streets, which I found beautiful. Trees shivering with yellow and orange leaves – even in November – and narrow twisting roads fit my expectation of Paris better than the crowding wolves: “Where you from?”



We wandered the streets for maybe an hour, without destination. Suddenly we turned a corner and a beautiful bronze sculpture stopped us in our tracks. I smirked at the worn-away boobs, but thought she was gorgeous.


According to the plaque, her name is Dalida. She was a singer. We took a few snapshots and moved on.


That evening, we fell into bed exhausted. We barely made plans for the next day and Paul began to drift off. I, however, need more time to unwind before sleep, so using my iPad, I googled Dalida.

I began to read her Wikipedia page. As I read, I began to frown, then smirk, then titter. Beside me, Paul sleepily asked if I was okay.

“Yeah… Dalida had a tough life…”

He rolled over and looked at me. “What?”

It was one of those things that you KNOW you’re not supposed to laugh at, but because it is so over the top, so outrageous and yes, so forbidden, I began to laugh more.

I read him the entry… suicide…suicide…suicide… With every tragic suicide, we laughed harder. When her bulldog died, we gave up trying to be respectful; we just rolled. Tears were falling down our cheeks. We laughed for half an hour straight, laughing at how utterly awful this poor woman’s life was, how over the top dramatic.

A few days later, I looked her up on YouTube and watched this.

It was beautiful; she was beautiful and talented, and she died too soon.

When it was over, Paul said, “I bet the guy directing the orchestra threw himself off a balcony.”

I can’t bear to see if he’s right.

Happy Birthday, Voltaire!

At the Panthéon today, my husband and I saw Voltaire’s tomb. It was a shock – you just turn a corner in the crypt and bam! Vol-freaking-tair! THE Voltaire!

Voltaire's Tomb

Voltaire’s Tomb



When we came home, my husband happened to be browsing Brain Pickings and saw that today was Voltaire’s 319th birthday. I love synchronicity.

A Taste of French Freedom

An observation: France has the reputation as a nanny-state where a vast, benevolent government takes care of you from cradle to grave. But during my time here, I’ve noticed that in many respects, the French actually treat you much more like an adult that even the USA. The hotel windows open all the way, for instance. I’ve *never* seen a window that opens in the US or even in England, presumably because the hotels don’t want to be responsible of you defenestrate yourself. But in France, they trust that you just want to enjoy some fine French sunshine. Furthermore, everyone smokes in Paris. I think smoking is gross and I hate it but at least here, you have the freedom to choose what to do with your body. You can smoke if you want. The same goes for food. Butter, Nutella, carbs galore: there is no Nanny Bloomburg wagging his finger at you. Wine bottles do not warn you that alcohol is bad for pregnant women.

And speaking of women, there has been an advertisement I’ve seen all over in the time I’ve been here that would never darken the pages of any American magazine, much less the back of a bus, or on a street-corner, as it is here:


I think the ad is beautiful. Whether it would be effective to sell anything and everything, I don’t know – and certainly here in France, they don’t use nudity flagrantly, just casually – but I like knowing that the French are much more accepting of the human body. They don’t treat us like children who must be protected from our own naked forms.

The French actually treat adults like adults, which any libertarian minded person should appreciate. Viva la France!

Once and Again, The Mona Lisa

Day Two in Paris and we went to the Louvre. We had a plan to see the Mona Lisa first thing and then enjoy the rest of the museum. I was actually much more amused by the crowds than I was by the painting. The painting is iconic; we’ve all seen it everywhere our whole lives. That first second you see it, you get a little jolt of recognition. Oh! It’s the Mona Lisa!

The Mona Lisa is a speck on  the wall

The Mona Lisa is a speck on the wall

The crowds, as you can see, are ridiculous. We fought our way through them and finally got a good shot of her.





Finally!  Mona Lisa!

Finally! Mona Lisa!

I’m still processing everything. But meanwhile, I wanted to share my pictures of the Mona Lisa.

Destiny By Sally Beauman Is Now On Kindle!

My favorite book, Destiny by Sally Beauman, is now a Kindle book! Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows this book has been an obsession since I was 16 years old. It is an amazing, tragic book. I’ve now got 5 versions of it, including the Kindle version. It’s so exciting to see that Beauman’s backlist is now being republished, and I hope that this special book finds a new, modern audience. It deserves to be made into a movie.

It’s a happy day.

Sally Beauman's amazing book, Destiny

Sally Beauman’s amazing book, Destiny


This is my most recent Amazon delivery.

Books about food

Books about food

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