Friday, March 21, 2008

Emperor's Club VIP 2008 = Mademoiselle Victorine 1868

The more things change, the more...well, you know the rest. A lovely, young call girl. An older, wealthy politician. Her beauty. His power. A political scandal. The story of Victorine and the Duke de Lyon. It's nice to know the plot of Mademoiselle Victorine is timeless.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


A new year is a time to look forward and to count our blessings. Let's say a prayer for all those around the globe who are struggling to break free. To those who are living under repressive governments, to those who are living with repressive relatives, to those who seemingly have no hope, we can send our love and encouragement. They will feel it, and one good thought can move mountains.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bonjour from Paris

Sorry I haven't been blogging, but the last month was really busy with book signings, lectures, etc.
Now I'm back in my favorite place in the whole wide world, Paris!
The Cafe de Flore, on the Boulevard Saint Germain in the 6th arrondissement, just call it "the Flore," is still the place to see and be seen. Last eveniing, the cafe buzz came to a hush when Bernard-Henri Levy, the French philosopher, swept in. More of a rock star than a sage, he went straight upstairs to the quiet premier etage (second floor) dining room for a rendez vous with...sorry, can't be indiscreet.
The fashion is edgier this year while I still can't understand how the French women manage to stay thin when you see them all over doing nothing but eating. I'm sorry. I read the book, French Women Don't get Fat which said they don't snack between meals. Oh really? They're nibbling the end of baguettes in their shopping bags as you pass by them, they're in restaurants scarfing down frites while gulping wine, they're licking luscious lips after sharing a creme brulee and a kiss with their lover over a cafe table. I don't get it!
By the way. What other country on earth has a category of profession called Philosopher?

The French--you gotta love 'em!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mademoiselle Victorine--Can We Talk?

It has been a busy and fun September. I've been doing book signings and giving lectures accompanied by slides of paintings and photographs from the 1860's and 1870's. Thank you to the National Arts Club in New York City, especially to the president of Le Cocktail Francais, Connie Brock. She organized a terrific evening in the club's Gallery on Sept. 18th, set up the perfect lectern/ screen/mike and wrote a smashing invitation that brought in an SRO crowd of over 90 lovely people. She ordered 100 books and sold out that evening. She told me she wished she'd ordered more!
The Alliance Francaise slide lecture/book signing with Diane's Books happens Tuesday, Oct. 2nd followed by a champagne party and book signing at Burgundy Books in East Haddam, Connecticut at 1PM on Sat. Oct 6th. Linda Williams is the brilliant dynamo at Burgundy Books who organized this. Then, the Women's Fall Luncheon for a private group in Harrison, New York where I'll sign books and talk about my favorite subjects---Mademoiselle Victorine and Paris.
Thank you to all the fabulous, lovely readers out there. You are magnifique!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mademoiselle Victorine's Busy Autumn

Sorry I've been a neglectful blogger. But there's a good reason! This has been a really busy time preparing for two major presentations about Mademoiselle Victorine with slides of paintings and photographs and a speaking engagement at the fall luncheon for a women's group. There have been phone chats with book clubs, and I've had to learn time zones of unfamiliar area codes so I don't miss the appointed hour.
What a treat! Great questions and observations from book club members. There are so many with-it readers out there who sound as gutsy as Victorine.
Shout out to: Denver, Virginia Beach, Seattle, Brookline, Sonoma, and I'm still researching what really Napoleon on the Ramparts was for you sexy readers out on Carpenter's Brook!
More speaking engagements and book store signings ahead. Can't wait till mid-October and on to Paris!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Fashion and the French-Hermes, Chanel and Louis

The French have been fashion-conscious FOREVER. It started way back in 1643 when Louis XIV inherited the throne as a child. He learned that he had better establish the majesty and power of the monarchy by dressing opulently, wearing those towering wigs (never a bad hair day, at least) and decorating his palaces using the grandest interior decorators. He never forgot the terror of his childhood when warring factions of the nobility tried to diminish the child-king's authority to grab more of the goodies for themselves. The bitter civil war was called the Fronde.
ANYWAY, Louis decided he was going to use fashion, art, decor to glorify the position of King so those pesky nobles would back off. Now thanks to that very wise and discriminating consumer, Louis, we have the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre's amazing vaulted ceiling frescoes, and eventually Chanel, Hermes, and Gaultier. Thank you Louis XIV. You had great taste (and nice legs too.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

How to Get Along in France for You Vacationers Out There

Hey, I understand 'em and I love 'em. Most Americans don't understand the French. They're not rude, but WE are. I advise people visiting France to approach each French person with a polite Bonjour even before asking where's the bathroom or which way to the Metro station. Today the French Property Insider sent out an e-newsletter suggesting exactly the same thing. Be super polite and you'll (hardly) ever encounter the stereotype of a "rude" French person. They've come to expect American tourists to barge into their shop and start barking questions without even an "Excuse me" or a "Hello." Don't do it. Remember this good advice below and your trip to France will be full of harmony and happy memories.

Adrian Leeds writes...

You'll be a happier traveler if you know a few things about Paris and France before you step off onto its soil.

If you've traveled to France before, then you already know that France is very different than the United States. The language is different, the culture is different, the people are different.

It is these differences that make traveling to France, or traveling anywhere for that matter, very exciting. Every moment can be a new adventure when you travel to a foreign place, as long as you're open to exploring the differences.


Many French now speak English, at least some, but don't expect them to speak to you in English when French is their native language. Remember, they may not get a lot of practice and feel awkward speaking English. So, it's not that they don't want to -- they just don't feel comfortable. Luckily, you don't need a lot of French to maneuver well, and there are a few key phrases that will endear you to anyone you meet. Start practicing:

ALWAYS say BONJOUR MADAME or BONJOUR MONSIEUR upon entering ANY establishment -- a restaurant, a cafe, a shop. Say Bonjour to a salesperson before you ask any question. Say Bonjour to the taxi driver and the bus driver. You simply can't say it often enough.

ALWAYS say S'IL VOUS PLAIT before you ask anything at all! When ordering even a cup of coffee in a cafe, say s'il vous plait, may I have a coffee? Say it before and say it after. You simply can't say it enough.

ALWAYS say MERCI or MERCI BEAUCOUP every time it is appropriate. When the waiter leaves the coffee on the table, when you've paid for the things you've purchased, when you've checked out of your hotel. You simply can't say it enough.

LEARN to say PARDON or EXCUSEZ-MOI. Paris is particularly densely populated and walking down the street means tight spaces. The French don't mind those tight spaces, but if two people touch in anyway, you are sure to hear "Pardon" or "Excusez-moi." You'll hear it a million times a day, so be prepared to say it. You simply can't say it enough.

ALWAYS say AU REVOIR when you leave any establishment -- any café, restaurant, shop. Just get into the habit of saying "Merci, au revoir" every time you step out onto the street. It doesn't matter who exactly you say it to, but they'll hear you and know you have good manners. You simply can't say it enough.

So, please say please. And thank you for saying thank you. Have a wonderful vacation in France! Bon Voyage.