|Vive les femmes!
You go, girls!
Women top the Francophile list of who's who and what's what this holiday
season. First, on Amazon.fr's recent top ten music list are six women, including
two American women - Norah Jones and Diane Krall. Both americaines
have chanteuse styles, both favor jazz over rock or folk, which make
both wildly popular at this moment in France. Franco-canadiennes
are also strong favorites, including Linda Lemay, a québecoise with an
angelic voice delivering (in French) clever, devilish lyrics. Celine Dion has
always been a favorite in France and regularly ranks high among
best-selling CDs in France.
On a slightly different note, French women are popular on the the biography
reading list for anglophones. Antonia Fraser's Marie Antoinette: The
received rave reviews because of its attention to detail and its more
sympathetic treatment of the long-maligned little Austrian duchess.
Just issued in paperback, you'll find it at the top of this Francophile's holiday
wish-list. Add to the bio brio with a recent issue of the New York Times
Book Review devoting an entire page to new biographies of
Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV's powerful and long reigning mistress. Madame
de Pompadour (by French scholar Evelyne Lever and translated
by Catherine Temerson), recommended as a beguiling biography by Publisher's
Weekly, is deemed
the best of the bunch by the NY Times. Colin Jones has published
another book on the Madame to accompany an exhibition
at the National Gallery, London through January 12, 2003. Want more
details on these books? Check out our Books
Why the sudden fervor for les dames? It's
certainly not the result of more liberal leanings on either side of the
Atlantic, given this past year's election results. But we'll jump on the
bandwagon, for whatever reason. There's nothing like a dame!
Invalides in Paris, home of Napoleon's tomb...
but is he really buried there?
of Bonaparte in 1804 is
currently drawing as much of a crowd at the Louvre as the Mona Lisa.
What's with the hand?
And what's with the hand?
C'est quoi, le main caché?
During this transitional period as France struggles to establish her
turf with respect to the European Union, looking back to the 19th
century and those who foresaw a union such as this has become quite the
vogue. And in that vein, Napoleonmania has struck France, and hard.
France’s first and only real emperor, has always been a popular hero
for the French, who feign incomprehension of the Anglophone metaphor of
a Napoleon complex. Now Napoleon rides again on a wave of television
specials, standing-room-only crowds at theatre productions of his life
-- he could almost be ready to be re-crowned emperor, this time of the
of the movement, the mystery over who is really buried in Napoleon’s
tomb at les Invalides in Paris rages on. Some French historians
argue Napoleon was murdered in 1821 (arsenic poisoning) by his British
captors, who later substituted another’s body for his when they
returned his remains to Paris in 1840.
To the rescue comes Jean Tulard, one of the world's leading authorities on
Napoleon, who says that as far as he's concerned, all the talk about
Napoleon's assassination or the presence of somebody else's remains at les
Invalides is nothing short of crazy. Recent DNA testing confirms
that Napoleon died of stomach cancer, complicated by stomach ulcers...not
spite of the ridiculous claims made about Napoleon -- claims similar to
those made in recent years about Elvis and JFK -- there is no doubt that
Napoleonmania is taking France by storm more than 200 years after the
little emperor came to power, during a reign that saw him transform
France, and Europe, in ways that none of his successors have ever been
able to accomplish. Meanwhile if you want to jump on this wave,
there’s a website of more than 800 pages on the subject (in English),
including a discussion of Napoleon's hand-in-coat stance. Yes, there is
a napoleon dot com.
Worth a little look!
||Quick olive oil update: We want to let you know that we've found
where you MIGHT be able to get some of those wonderful Provencal huiles
d'olives in the United States. Les Baux's Moulin Jean Cornille is
sometimes available on the East Coast at Formaggio Kitchen on Huron Street in
Cambridge MA (888-212-3224); at Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor MI,
and for the Left Coasters, at Kermit Lynch in Berkeley CA
(510-524-1524). So don't despair too much if you need a fix or a refill, just
give one of these folks a call. Or, you can order directly from the mill
in Maussanne from their
website. They'll ship internationally, and you can do almost
as well on price if you're not in a rush.
Chateau d'Estoublon, favored in many a taste test, is also available at Table & Vine (formerly Big Y Wines)
in Northampton, MA. Bonne
chance, et bonne dégustation!
And a very happy new year to
friends and francophiles
as we look forward to 2003 and our return to Uzès.
Want to see previous editions of Armchair Uzès? Click
here for a directory...
For the Armchair Photo Gallery, click here...