Over the years, I have come to realize that my main interest was to find out about fictional or real characters through stories, stories in words, images, paintings, moving images. This is a vast domain and I'll be more able to define it after I understand my choices for this blog, which,probably, like all blogs, diaries, letters will end up being more about myself than anything else ! I mainly read in English but I'm more fluent in French as it is my mother tongue. I have not lived more than 7 years in a row in the same place or country since I left home at 18. That's why I have the feeling to be continuously jetlagged and I will eventually return where I belong. In the meantime, let's share and remember what is hardly perceptible in my life. Les petits riens de ma vie.



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    France has Talent

    Talking about Art Professions in France, my article at

    Métiers d’Art in France are thriving, and a new, young generation of French artisans are continuing a tradition that has made France renowned since the Middle Ages.

    I recently saw a special report on French TV on Maurice Taylor, CEO of tyre manufacturer Titan. The American man is not unknown in France. In 2013, he was about to save the Goodyear Company in Amiens from closing down by purchasing the plant. He suddenly walked away from the deal, stating that he would be “stupid” to operate in a country where workers were paid high wages for such little work. 

    Indeed, as this now-famous man was being interviewed, he showed the journalists into his beautiful mansion in the US, where his wife was proud to announce that most artisanal items – the fireplace for example – had been specially dismantled and shipped from… France. 

    My point here is not to discuss the pros and cons of such a shocking assertion but to remind everyone that we are not short of paradoxes as far as France is concerned: the country still exerts a unique power of attraction, despite its gloomy economic situation.

    These thoughts were still on my mind when I met with Lucie, a young French entrepreneur, whose work consists of discovering new talents and making it possible for them to be known to the public. 

    To be continued on

    I am so pleased when I come across an interesting figure of speech out of nowhere, here we have 2 of them :  a metonymy, Guantanamo for prison (and what it stands for in public opinion implying we all share that common knowledge) and the metaphor  Vatican being compared to a Guantanamo of the mind. This sign could read at Paris Gay Pride last June.

    Massimo Giannoni, ‘All in One Room’ exhibition

    In Rome, near Via Margutta


    We saw these paintings in a gallery and loved them immediately. 


    Conflict in Literature

    Beryl Bainbridge, Boarding The Titanic (1992, oil on board) Photo: The Estate of Beryl Bainbridge

    I loved her books and particularly ‘Everyman for Himself’ which I was happy to read in the 90s just before all that Titanic movie tsunami engulfed us all and linked the image of Leonardo di Caprio freezing to death to the sinking ship. It is the first time I see this painting, which reminds me so much of her book - it is as delicate, romantic and exquisite.

    An exhibition of her paintings is held at King’s College London Thursday 22 May – Sunday 19 October 2014

    Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing, Strand Campus



    Home, I totally agree with Maya Angelou and how she words it, of course, is great.

    "Thomas Wolfe warned in the title of America’s great novel that ‘You Can’t Go Home Again.’ I enjoyed the book but I never agreed with the title. I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of ones eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe. "Home is that youthful region where a child is the only real living inhabitant. Parents, siblings, and neighbors, are mysterious apparitions, who come, go, and do strange unfathomable things in and around the child, the region’s only enfranchised citizen. […] I am convinced that most people do not grow up. We find parking spaces and honor our credit cards. We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are still innocent and shy as magnolias. We may act sophisticated and worldly but I believe we feel safest when we go inside ourselves and find home, a place where we belong and maybe the only place we really do."

    (first blogged on 17 August, 2012)

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    I am always extremely moved to see or hear this great man. Psychoanalysis gave my life a second chance. 

    Zlatan Ibrahimović just painted big on the spare wall of a building standing by Canal St martin in Paris. I was told it was ordered by Nike !

    I love this tweet, it is so meaningful ! think about it !

    Empress Josephine by David, one of the most moving portrait of her, at new exhibit at L’Orangerie, Palais du Luxembourg, Paris for the 200th anniversary of her death. For Eugene, her son. She seemed to like ‘selfies’. 

    Curious to read about Vermeer’s paintings, I found this blog entry

    In the Smart Set from Drexel University

    Vermeer and the Threshold

    Considering the tension between concentration and self-awareness.

    They are among the most mysterious paintings. But it is very hard to say why. Nothing much happens in the paintings. People engage in simple tasks. A man and a woman sit at a table and speak. A woman smiles. A woman reads a letter. A girl looks at us over her left shoulder. A woman sews. A woman pours some milk out of a jug. That’s it. One task, one episode, one moment in each painting. 

    Vermeer used various painterly tricks to make these moments – these mundane tasks – look special. He expended a great deal of time and energy capturing the effects of light. He studied the way light comes in through a window, bathing a room. He seems to have painted most of his pictures in one or two rooms in his own home. He knew that light well. He analyzed that light, meditated on it. Using that light, he projected images through a camera obscura and probably through other kinds of lenses and mirrors available in 17th-century Holland. This allowed Vermeer to concentrate on every sparkle, shine and glimmer. He concocted different methods for reproducing those glimmers and shines. Sometimes he would render an object, like a knob or finial, simply as an effect of light. That’s to say, we only know the object is there because of how Vermeer painted the light shining upon it.


    Portrait of an Ojibway, or Chippewa Indian girl in 1907.
    Photograph by Roland W. Reed, National Geographic

    Je suis fascinée par tant de beauté /so much beauty in one shot, I am in awe!

    Aqua Cycling or the art of making friends in Paris


    The good life in Paris, aqua cycling for the body and the mind                                    


    A new French fitness craze, aqua cycling

    Water was not my element, but I was desperately looking for a gym in Paris upon my return from Canada and I finally found it. Here’s an extract from my story published in



    There is a saying in French that is humorously on topic for the circumstance: ‘Il ne faut jamais dire fontaine je ne boirai pas de ton eau’ (in English it’s essentially ‘never say never’). So, I purchased the Groupon coupon and took the plunge (excuse the pun).

    This is how, on a chilly day of early December, I ended up exercising on a bike in a brand-new swimming pool. All you need is a bathing suit and a fair amount of motivation – which I had. The rest went beyond my expectations.


    For once, an interesting analysis, about the differences between French and Americans on the subject of love. Not necessarily filled with clichés.


    What can the French teach Americans about sex? Susannah Hunnewell attends a panel on “The Art of Sex and Seduction.”

    • Cusset once assigned Woman Destroyed, the novella by Simone de Beauvoir, in a class at Yale. The diary of a woman who discovers her husband of twenty years has been unfaithful, it records a gradual nervous breakdown. Cusset was surprised by her American students’ reaction. “They thought she whined too much. They didn’t understand that you can be broken by love.” Love as the loss of control—whether it brings ecstasy or devastation, within or without marriage—is a French ideal. Total surrender is too much for an American. We prefer to check boxes for the ideal mate.

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