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THE BEST BLING

What artist made the best bling in Paris? If you had asked Louis XV or Louis XVI, both might have answered, “Pierre Gouthière“. Gouthière, who lived from 1732-1813, was their favourite goldsmith. A...

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DIORAMA!

For all its complex technology, is our era one of wonder? Not if you look back to what people once accomplished with paint, lights and a clever perspective. That’s the message of Dioramas, which...

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“GET THAT RED CANE UPFRONT!”

Most stores that sell walkers, bandages and wheelchairs aren’t very funny. But our medical shop always makes your morning! They celebrate holidays more than a Hallmark office and always with a touch...

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THE ELVIS OF PARIS

Yesterday, cutting through one of the big department stores, I saw a quote from Proust over a cosmetics counter. Later as I walked past a (closed) antiquarian shop, I caught sight of that famous...

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EXTREME READERS

Every day, I watch people reading. They read in parks, on trains, in queues. They crack a book with their coffee in a café or catch up on reading as they smoke in the street. Recently, I watched a...

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COMMUTE LIKE A KING

The current transport strikes are tough: three days of suffering, then two as normal. But they had one benefit I couldn’t have foreseen. This was the chance to really explore a château train! These...

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THE ART OF THE BIC PEN

The Bic pen people have a weird corporate art collection. The French ballpoint dates from 1950; their lighters and plastic razors followed in the next decade. But, ever since the start, they’ve...

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MASTERS OF SCARY PARIS

Our local medical supply store is unique. They live to mount wonderful windows. They transform their bedpans, orthopaedic boots and crutches into real celebrations of the calendar. Simon Doonan would...

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OCCASION HATS

Their biggest fan, RIP, was Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld. As French television’s best-known Royal watcher, he often eulogized the Queen’s “expressive” hats. Karl loved royal weddings, debutantes and Royal...

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PARIS, CAPITAL OF CORPSES

Many things bring foreigners to Paris. But, from the mid 18th through the mid-19th century, one of the draws was dead bodies. Parisians had what writer Louis Sébastien Mercier called “a passion for...

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