All posts filed under: reading about Paris

French film, poetry and political faux pas

Today, like many of others spent here was swallowed up by the legal reason for my being in Paris – a record breaking 14 hours of classes and talks, back to back. I’m not going to complain. It is part of the deal. In between it all, I managed to pick up a few bits of news about the world beyond the walls of my ‘grande école’ on films to watch, great French poetry to use for pedagogical purposes and the big story of the day provided by none other than the most honourable President of the Republic and his interior minister sidekick. More on that later. French film Two films came as recommended, although I cannot vouch for the good taste or lack thereof of the recommender. The first, I hear, is an entertaining third installation of a series of movies that has now taken on something of a cult following since its first appearance in the late 90s. The series of films apparently revolves around the lives of a group of jewish businessmen, …

"The Seven Ages of Paris"

Well, while riding in the metro and reading through Alistair Horne’s 2002 “Seven Ages of Paris”, it was difficult not to wince at his vivid use of language to describe Paris’ lively and borderline ‘barbaric’ past. Dividing Paris into seven different epochs, he paints an engaging, well researched portrait of an intriguing, history rich city which this blogger highly recommends! Well, I have actually just completed reading the first ‘age’ covering 1180 to 1314 but believe it will be fascinating going through the remainder. So far , so good – and gory. The politics, international relations and domestic politics of Paris in her ‘first age’ are portrayed in quite vivid, fast paced and striking detail – and so far, few paragraphs epitomise the author’s gory, bloody, vivid writing as his description of the fate of lovers of Phillipe ‘le bel’s amorous daughters at the turn of the fourteenth century – whose final moments included being disemboweled, skinned and decapitated in public to an excited Parisian crowd ‘screaming itself hoarse’ in heady glee at the swift, …