Archive: February, 2011

Vive la France … and all that …

What’s the population of the USA? And of Canada, or Germany, or the United Kingdom?  Of France? You don’t know? Neither do I, but I suffer from Dyscalculia, so I ought not to have such statistics in my head. Fortunately, France’s national institute of statistics and economic studies, l’INSEE, regularly bombards us with all sorts […]

December 21, 2012 … safe in Bugarach, France … ?

The French can almost never agree on how to pronounce some words. Take Auxerre. This is the Burgundy town where Dr Marcel Petiot (subject of my book Die in Paris) was born and grew up. I’ve heard the name pronounced Auzerre and Auserre; the correct pronunciation, by the way, is the latter. Take the surname […]

Aimez-vous Napoleon … ?

To those of you who know me personally or know me through my website and blog it will be no secret that I am a Napoléon enthusiast. I say that he was the greatest Frenchman ever – I ignore the fact that he was Corsican. Napoléon died on the Atlantic island of Saint Helena to […]

Mona Lisa … Was it a case of eonism… ?

The Paris Louvre is not happy. Signor Silvano Vincenti, head of a team of scientists and historians of Italy’s National Committee for Culture and Heritage is claiming that the woman on Leonardo da Vinci’s 16th–century painting, ‘Mona Lisa’ (‘La Joconde’ or ‘La Giacondo’) is in fact a man. He claims that studies of the painting […]

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