- Peabody Essex Museum – Salem, Massachusetts is a funny town. There are great antique shops next to purveyors of witch-kitsch and lovely dockside restaurants next to people who are willing to sell you a magic potion. We’ve had luck antiquing there before, so we decided to pay it another visit recently. We parked right next to the museum and saw that they had some interesting exhibits, so we checked it out. The exhibit about the trade between the Dutch East India Company and Asia was really well put together, but it closed the day after we were there, so I can’t encourage you to see that one. They do, however, have an exhibit about Rodin until September 5. The exhibit explains all the stages of sculpting, from making plaster casts to the final bronze statue. Also included in our ticket price was a guided tour of three historically significant houses that showed the rapid development in American architectural tastes in the post-colonial era. The museum has just undergone a massive renovation. It’s a beautiful, light-filled space that is well worth a visit. You can also get your wand repaired in town while you visit, if you like.
- The Page Turner (La Tourneuse de Pages) – I love this movie, starring Catherine Frot and Déborah François, about dashed hopes and revenge. The film starts out with a young girl falling apart during a piano competition and biding her time for years until she can “punish” the concert pianist who ruined her chances. Again, this is another favorite of my students. It’s not available on Netflix (in the US, at least), but I think it’s worth buying on Amazon. I was a young pianist who let her nerves get the better of her during competitions, but I had only myself to blame, so no vengeance was necessary.
- When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation 1940-1944, by Ronald C. Rosbottom – This is a meticulously researched account of Paris during the Occupation. Based on first person accounts, letters, diaries, and government records on all sides of the conflict, this is a much more nuanced account of the war years than the usual simplistic collaborators versus resistants approach. I learned so much information that I had never come across anywhere else.
- My French Country Home – Sharon Santoni is an English woman who has lived in Normandy for many years. In her blog, she writes about daily life in the countryside, shopping for antiques, popping into Paris for the day and many other topics large and small. If you like what you find on the blog, Sharon also has started publishing some charming videos as well as a book.
- Diptyque solid sachet – When I’m in France, I love to go to the Diptyque boutique on Boulevard St. Germain for treats for myself or gifts for others. The mingled scent of all of their products has been distilled into a fragrance that bears the address of this boutique. My favorite fragrance, however, is Baies, scented with roses and black currant. Last summer, I bought the solid sachet to scent my closet. It still smells delicious.
I’ll be back in France in just a few days. I can hardly wait. I’ll be posting pictures on Instagram @onequalitythefinest if you’d like to follow along.