The Spectacular Second Empire 1852-1870 – If I were still in Paris, I would totally go to this exhibit at the musée d’Orsay. The Second Empire marks the reign on Napoleon III, a time of wealth and ostentation, but also tremendous social unrest. It’s on from September 27 to January 16, 2017.
- The Little Prince Netflix movie – This isn’t Le Petit Prince that you may have read in high school French class; it’s a story within a story that presents an allegory of the meaninglessness of modern life and the rigors of growing up. Little Girl reminds me of many of my students. Her life is programmed so that she will be ready for an exclusive private school, unsubtly named Werth Academie. Her eccentric next-door neighbor is the Aviator (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry) who introduces her to the tales he has written about a little prince, a tame fox, and a beloved rose. While the message of the novella — that “it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” — is kept, the film is much more about the passage to adulthood and leaving childhood dreams behind.
- Moonlight Over Paris, by Jennifer Robson – This is another beach-read recommendation (from someone who doesn’t lie on beaches). I downloaded it as an audiobook from my library to accompany my unusual ritual of spring cleaning in August. It’s an old-fashioned sort of love story that takes place between the two wars in France. Lady Helena Parr travels to France to recover from illness and a broken engagement. She takes art lessons and meets the luminaries of the day, such as Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. I learned a few things, such as the petit blue method of communicating via messages by pneumatic in the pre-telephone age.
- The Great Courses Plus – If you’re a fan of the audio and video programs of The Great Courses, you’ll love the App. For as little as $14.95 a month, you can access over 6,000 video lectures (there is a one-month free trial so you can check it out). For the francophiles out there, just type “France” into the search bar, and there are six relevant courses and fifty lectures to get you started.
- Kusmi tea – This recommendation comes with a disclaimer: I do not drink tea, but I’ve been surrounded by hard-core tea drinkers my whole life. A few months ago, I was given a box of Kusmi Anastasia tea and handed it off to my husband. When I asked him if there was something I could bring back from France for him, this was his one request. He says it is the best tea that he has ever tasted. For those who know tea, it’s a black tea with bergamot, lemon, lime, and orange.