Category Archives: People

La Reine du Music-Hall

French actress and singer Mistinguett was born on April 5, 1875 under the name Jeanne Bourgeois. In her day, she was at one time the best-paid female entertainer in the world. She came from the proverbial humble background. From a … Continue reading

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Une seule qualité, la toute première

Almost two years ago now, I named this blog “One quality, the finest” after having been inspired by the story of la Veuve Clicquot. I read about her in Mireille Guiliano’s book Women, Work, and the Art of Savoir Faire: … Continue reading

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French writer and politician André Malraux was born in Paris on November 3, 1901. He lived in a world of women – his mother, aunt, and grandmother – after the divorce of his parents. Malraux was largely self-educated.  He began … Continue reading

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Médecins sans Frontières

French politician and doctor Bernard Kouchner was born on November 1, 1939. He is best known as one of the founders of Médecins sans Frontières (maydsahn sahn fron-tea-air), or Doctors Without Borders, and Médecins du Monde (maydsahn due mohnd), Doctors … Continue reading

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L’État, c’est moi

Louis XIV was born on September 5, 1638. I feel about him much the way I do about Napoleon – equivocally. Both men marked the history of France more than virtually anyone else, and both men waged war on a … Continue reading

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Le courage, c’est de chercher la vérité et de la dire

When I was a student in Tours, the teacher who gave us an orientation visit around the city told us that virtually every city and town in France had a square or street named after French Socialist leader Jean Jaurès, just like … Continue reading

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Un homme de culture

French politician Jack Lang was born on September 2, 1939. He is best known for creating La Fête de la Musique, a massive open-air musical festival held on June 21 each year, when he was the Minister of Culture from … Continue reading

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