The Tapas, Culture, and Relaxation of Granada, Spain

Granada, Spain

  Roughly a year ago the idea began forming in my head that I should move to Spain, and almost on a whim I chose Granada as the destination for my relocation. While I had visited the town roughly ten years earlier, I had only spent a few days tasting its tapas and melting in its extreme summer sun. And, in reality, I didn't actually know all that much about the place. In fact, my memory of ... Read Full Article

Searching for Picasso in Paris

Hotel Sale - Picasso Museum

  A few years ago, after visiting Picasso museums in Spain and Switzerland, my husband and I set out to find Picasso in Paris. Spanish born, Picasso came to Paris as a young man at the dawn of the twentieth century where he influenced the art world for more than fifty years. As a young man, he lived in the bohemian Montmartre area, and during the First World War, he held court in ... Read Full Article

Up Close Picture of the Week: Chagall Ceiling at the Opera Garnier in Paris

Opera Garnier ceiling

The Opéra Garnier, or Palais Garnier, in the 9th arrondisement, is anything but mundane. It’s huge, grandiose, over-the-top opulent, and a Paris sight not to be missed. It took 14 years to build and was the world’s largest theater when it opened in 1875. The ceiling, surrounding a 6-ton chandelier, was painted in 1964 by Marc Chagall. Chagall’s work is a contrast to the rest of the grand décor. ... Read Full Article

Hungary Tourist Information

parliament Budapest

Hungarians have contributed some of the world's best musicians, world class cuisine and a glorious medieval legacy. Budapest is a cosmopolitan city of old lanes and flashy people and has a lot to offer to everyone. The surrounding countryside is dotted with castles, fortresses, monasteries and beautiful villages and towns that hark back to the days when Hungary was a great empire. The Danube River ... Read Full Article

Understanding the French

Cultural misunderstandings-1

I teach a course on Franco-American relations each year at a local college. The first day of class, I always ask the students to write down adjectives describing their impressions of French people. The typical responses range from “sophisticated” to “frugal”; many of the students choose their adjectives based on interactions with the French while traveling (and some of the students who take the ... Read Full Article

The Cluny: Paris’ Museum of the Middle Ages

The_Caldarium_Cluny

One of the most interesting museums in Paris, a city filled with great museums, is the  Musée National du Moyen-Age Thermes de Cluny in the Latin Quarter.  The two important sites on the grounds are the 15th century mansion (the Cluny) with its collection of medieval art, and the 3rd-century Gallo-Roman baths (the Thermes). The Cluny’s renovation in 2002 included the dramatic lighting of the ... Read Full Article

Opéra Garnier, A Baroque World

Opera Garnier ceiling

The Opera Garnier There really is a lake beneath the old opera house in Paris, just as The Phantom of the Opera says.  No phantoms are boating on it, however, as far as anyone knows. The “lake,” which is more like a water-filled hole, has a more mundane purpose; it’s a reservoir used by the city’s pompiers-sapeurs (firefighters). The Opéra Garnier, or Palais Garnier, in the 9th arrondisement, ... Read Full Article

Travel Reading: Personal Narratives on Life in France

almost-french

This is the third in my “Travel Reading” series of posts. For a list of books that deal with French culture and politics in general (and are a great place to start your exploration), check out my post, “Travel Reading: French Culture". For more information on French Food, look at Travel Reading: Food and Culinary Writings. Have you ever thought about packing up and moving to France for a year ... Read Full Article

Travel Reading: French Culture

paris-to-the-moon

  As I sat down to write this post on some of what I consider to be the best books out there on France and French culture, I had an extremely difficult time narrowing down my list. So, I decided to divide up my “Travel Reading” posts into different categories pertaining to French culture, language and travel. Here is the first of three installments, intended to give you a general overview ... Read Full Article

Images of Paris: The Legacy of Robert Doisneau

musician-in-the-rain-doisneau

For over 60 years Robert Doisneau was committed to capturing “les petits moments de bonheur de la vie quotidienne” (small moments of happiness in daily life).  His subjects were both parisiens (people who live in Paris) and les banlieusards (those who live in the Parisian suburbs). Though his photos are quite different from one another, they come together to form a unified body of work expressing ... Read Full Article