About julesparis2013

Originally from Toronto, Canada, I moved to Paris about 20 years ago.

lassitude?

Outside of France, there seems to be a general lassitude concerning last Friday’s terrorist attack north of Paris. And I must say, this surprises me. I’m sensing apathy; a lack of compassion; a very loud silence. As if the act of slicing off a human’s head with a giant butcher knife – in broad daylight in front of a school …in France! – is something mundane. Ho-hum. Unremarkable. What’s for dinner tonight?

Is this what it means to be human in the 21st century?

Outside of France, no one’s talking about it much. I’ve read all the blogs and online newspapers. Even The New York Times played it down at the start. Is the non-reaction a symptom of world-weariness? What the Germans call Weltschmerz? Sick and tired of all the hatred and violence in this old world? Distraction, perhaps, with the upcoming American elections, COVID, and worrying if we’ll survive the year?

Or is it, as I suspect, those damned Charlie Hebdo images?

I certainly hope that no one could possibly think for a nanosecond that the teacher deserved to have his head cut off … that he asked for it. Over a drawing? Or over anything!  Because a thought like that would be as barbaric as the act itself.

Sunday – things are moving fast here

Firstly, a massive protest march at the Place de la République today that started at 3 pm. Despite the COVID rule of “no more than six”, thousands turned out, not only in Paris, but all around the country: Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nice and Nantes. Huge protest marches in homage to Samuel Paty, the slain high school teacher whose head was cut off by an Islamist terrorist because he showed images of the Prophet Mohammed in a classroom while teaching a lesson on critical thinking and freedom of speech. He was silenced. Well, the people of France will not be silenced.

No to barbarism!

I am a teacher. I’m thinking of you, Samuel.

Educate yourself! This is not The Middle Ages!

The prime minister, Jean Castex, was there as was Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, and Valérie Pécresse, the president of Ile-de-France (Paris and the outlying boroughs.)

Photo above: Voltaire wearing a facemask. Voltaire, the original Charlie, who said, way back in the 1600s!!! – 

Je ne suis pas d’accord avec ce que vous dites, mais je me battrai pour que vous ayez le droit de le dire. 

I do not agree with what you say, but I will fight for your right to say it.

A lot of emotion in France today (since last Friday).

More to come regarding the firm decision of France’s Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, to expulse (deport), within the next few hours, 231 foreigners tagged as radicalized Islamists, mainly to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

Also about to change is the right to asylum. The subject will be brought up this evening at the emergency meeting Defense Council held at the Elysee Palace. After Friday’s terrorist attack, committed by a Chechen refugee who had obtained a residence permit at the age of 18, the Ministry of the Interior will examine more carefully the files of people who wish to obtain refugee status in France. Paris, which grants protection to nationals of certain countries, will no longer do so almost systematically.

Food for thought: an article in today’s The Guardian regarding “the freedom to offend”. The author writes “The more society gives licence for people to be offended, the more people will seize the opportunity to feel offended.” It’s true. Cancel culture has turned into killing culture. It needs to stop.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/18/the-freedom-to-offend-is-a-priceless-commodity

 

 

 

terrorist attack Friday in Paris suburb. history teacher beheaded. knife-wielding Islamist shot dead.

This is France today: a history teacher giving his students a lesson on freedom of expression and showing images of Prophet Mohammed. In broad daylight and in the street, the teacher had his throat slit and his head cut off. As the assailant cut the victim’s throat he shouted “Allahu akbar” — God is great.

Identified as an 18-year-old Chechen, born in Moscow, the assailant was part of a radical Islamist group in this suburb north of Paris.

France has offered asylum to many Chechens since the Russian military waged war against Islamist separatists in Chechnya in the 1990s and early 2000s. There are Chechen communities scattered around France.

Earlier this month, the 47-year old teacher named Samuel Paty, had reportedly shown a class of teenage pupils a caricature from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo during a moral and civic education class discussion about freedom of speech. This sparked a furious response from a number of Muslim parents who demanded his resignation. Before presenting the caricature, the teacher reportedly invited Muslim students to leave the classroom if they wished.

One angry parent posted a menacing video on YouTube complaining about the teacher. Another parent posted below the video, defending the teacher, writing: “I am a parent of a student at this college. The teacher just showed caricatures from Charlie Hebdo as part of a history lesson on freedom of expression. He asked the Muslim students to leave the classroom if they wished, out of respect. He was a great teacher. He tried to encourage the critical spirit of his students, always with respect and intelligence. This evening I am sad for all teachers in France. Can we continue to teach without being afraid of being killed?”

On my lunch break last Friday, a mere 4 hours before the slaughter occurred, I was at my desk reading the on-line newspapers. I saved this article to read later. It’s entitled –

The combatants: these women who are mobilizing against Islamism

(Translated from the article, link below) – INVESTIGATION – In the midst of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, and following President Macron’s recent speech on the bill against separatism in France, we give a voice to these women who are fighting on the front lines against Salafist fundamentalism and communitarianism. Despite threats to them, they have chosen to speak their truth loud and clear.

They are called Sonia Mabrouk, Najwa El Haïté, Zineb El Rhazoui, Fatiha Agag-Boudjahlat, Dana Manouchehri and Jeannette Bougrab. They are young and brilliant. They are known and recognized figures. Their words carry, are debated, sometimes irritate, but they are heard. They are also the faces of this courage, of this France which wants to resist against religious obscurantism and the dangers of political Islam. No, the words are not too strong. Because denouncing Islamism in Europe or in France, the homeland of human rights, but also of secularism, is not without risk.

All of these women are under police protection 24/7. In Paris. They receive death threats daily from Islamist fundamentalists living in France.

Paris today is not “Emily in Paris”.

https://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/les-combattantes-ces-femmes-qui-se-mobilisent-contre-l-islamisme-20201016

a British journalist’s message to Paris attackers – November 2015

PARIS, September 2020 –

France began revisiting one of the worst chapters in its modern history on Wednesday, as a landmark trial opened in Paris for the January 2015 terrorist attacks that killed 17 people in and around the French capital. 

The killings were followed by a string of deadly jihadist attacks, culminating with assaults in November that year in and around Paris that killed 130 people, vaulting France into a years’ long state of emergency.

Emily in Paris, a Netflix series

It hasn’t escaped me that the title of this series is the same as the title of my blog: Emily in Paris / Juliet in Paris. As I simultaneously chuckled, yawned and groaned through the first episodes, I thought to myself: she could be me. Or rather, she could’ve been me back in the 1990s when I first arrived in Paris. (Only I don’t know how she’d survive without her smartphone.)

Like Emily who works in PR/marketing, I worked in France’s largest advertising agency before moving on to the Reuters Paris bureau. Like Emily who’s having all sorts of adventures, mishaps and romances, so did I. Isn’t that the reason one comes to Paris??  To be honest, my adventures were far more salty than hers. (Of course they were, I’m a Boomer, she’s a Millennial.) Did she end up – not once, but twice – in a French paddy wagon? Did she meet Omar Sharif in a Deauville restaurant? She wouldn’t know who Omar Sharif is. Did she have a torrid transatlantic affair with a New Yorker who would go on, years later, to become a BIG and well-known American documentary filmmaker? (In my heart, he will be forever referred to as “the one who got away.”)

Read the adventures of Juliet in Paris in my memoir, due out the end of this year. I guess you could call it ‘a family memoir’ with a heavy emphasis on me, my adventures, mishaps and romances. Incidentally, that’s not the title of the book.

Emily in Paris has only recently arrived on French Netflix. But already the series has received a deluge of criticisms from French viewers. They complain that it’s studded with one cliché after the next. But y’know what? Some of those clichés are true!

https://www.vox.com/21502498/netflix-emily-in-paris-review-millennials

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/06/plenty-to-feel-insulted-about-french-critics-round-on-emily-in-paris

Philippe Jaroussky in concert, for one night only

France’s cherished countertenor will be performing at the Champs-Elysees Theater on Wednesday November 18th. I’ll be going, because I need an evening of grace in this brutish world. Thank god for artists.

Recorded in the Trinity Chapel at the Château de Fontainebleau, this is magnificent –

https://www.theatrechampselysees.fr/en/season/sung-recital/philippe-jaroussky-1

Sunday morning gluten free pancakes

I love weekends. I don’t have to run out the door, a muffin or banana shoved into my bag, and catch the bus or train to work (or walk) to be at my desk by 9:30 am. No, weekends are quite a different thing altogether. Lounging in pyjamas all day if I’m not going out. (facemask free and makeup free.) My favorite programs on the radio. A big mug of coffee mixed with warm cream and coconut milk. And a real breakfast because I have the time to make one: toasted rye with lox, smashed avocado, topped with rocket (arugula) and sun-dried tomatoes.

Creamy oatmeal with date or maple syrup.

Or gluten-free pancakes that I made this morning because I’m currently on a gluten-free diet (I’ve lost 3 kilos/6 pounds.) Actually, I diet all week then eat what I want on the weekend. That seems to work for me, as I don’t feel deprived of my favorite things.

Here’s the recipe:

1 cup of gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt

1 large ripe banana

1 large egg

1 cup of coconut milk (I used almond milk by mistake, and it was just as good)

Try to buy real, organic coconut milk and not the stuff filled with stabilizers, thickeners, gums, or preservatives. Read carefully the ingredients on the side of the box or can.

  1. Preheat griddle, cast iron pan, or skillet to medium heat.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk.
  3. Add in banana and mash with fork.
  4. Add in egg and coconut milk and stir well to combine.
  5. Grease pan. When griddle or skillet is hot, grease lightly with oil if its not Teflon.
  6. Add batter and cook pancakes for about 2-3 minutes per side, working in batches if needed. Flip when you see plenty of bubbles rise to the top, just like when cooking traditional pancakes. Adjust cooking temperature if needed.
  7. Serve immediately and douse with maple syrup. Fresh berries are nice in season, blueberries particularly. If not, I use apple slices.

 

Here’s a recipe for zucchini muffins that I’m going to make from an excellent website I’ve been following for years. Green Kitchen Stories is a creation of David (Swedish) and Luise (Danish) –

Zucchini Cupcakes

 

Turner at the MJA

TURNER. Paintings and watercolours from the Tate.

There are times, especially after a pandemic and a lockdown, when I find myself craving art. I want to be in a beautiful setting looking at beautiful creations be it paintings, sculptures, crafts, ceramics, calligraphy, photography, or anything else.

In this brutish world, it’s important to nourish the soul and feel uplifted and inspired. Can you imagine a world without art? It would be a dark and desolate place … sort of like the inside of Trump’s head, bleak and vacuous.

So I will go to the Turner exhibition at the much-loved Jacquemart-André museum, I’ll book my ticket online and choose a Monday which is the late-night opening, and I’ll wear a face mask.

Undoubtedly the greatest representative of the golden age of English watercolor, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) exploited the effects of light and transparency on English landscapes or Venetian lagoons. Celebrated by his contemporaries, he continues today to move many admirers. This exhibition reveals the role played by watercolors in Turner’s life and art, from the youth works he sent to the Royal Academy to the fascinating luminous and colorful experiments of his maturity. For a modern audience, these are among his most radical and accomplished works. Thanks to outstanding loans from London’s Tate Britain, home to the world’s largest Turner collection, the Jacquemart-André Museum hosts an exhibition of sixty watercolors and ten oil paintings, some of which have never been seen before in France.

https://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/en/home

Because the paintings are on loan from the Tate, I began thinking about great art and how it’s transported from city to city, museum to museum. I did some googling and came up with this interesting article written by Andrew Dickson. It’s entitled – How to move a masterpiece: the secret business of shipping priceless artworks

The article even mentions the transporting of the Mona Lisa from her home in the Louvre to Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art in 1963 … at the request of Jackie Kennedy.

Curators at the Louvre were aghast after they heard that Jackie Kennedy had charmed the French culture minister André Malraux into agreeing to loan the Mona Lisa to the US in 1963 (many threatened to resign). Even the director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC was unwilling to take it, apprehensive about the risks. In the end, ……

 

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/mar/21/how-to-move-a-masterpiece-secret-business-shipping-priceless-artworks-art-handling

offending women and meddling authoritarian figures

Two days ago, a French woman named Jeanne was barred from entering the famous Musée d’Orsay art museum. Why? Too much cleavage. That’s right. A portion of her boobs was showing. This in a world-class museum that hangs famous paintings of naked women and men on its walls (Degas, Renoir, Manet.) I was not aware that in France women’s bodies were regulated and condemned in this way. Where are we? In Saudi Arabia? This is a slippery slope that needs to be stopped in its tracks. Next thing you know, Jeanne will be needing a male guardian to accompany her while she wears an abaya (I’m exaggerating to make a point.)

When will authority figures leave women (and their bodies) alone?

To be fair, it was not the fault of the Musée d’Orsay, but rather one individual, a ticket agent, who happened to be a woman. Two other agents intervened, one of them a security guard, who defended their colleague. A security guard? Was this a terrorist situation? Were Jeanne’s breasts a potential security threat? The absurdity! The situation got out of hand, Jeanne stood her ground, and a compromise was made: if she put on her jacket to cover her offending bosoms, then she’d be let in. Needless to say, the incident went viral, the Musée d’Orsay became a laughingstock, and someone from the Communications Department pinned the following tweet on their official Twitter Page –

Nous avons pris connaissance d’un incident survenu avec une visiteuse lors de son accès au musée d’Orsay. Nous le regrettons profondément et présentons toutes nos excuses à la personne concernée que nous contactons.

We learned of an incident that occurred with a visitor when she entered the Musée d’Orsay. We deeply regret this and offer our apologies to the person concerned that we contact.

A museum official then telephoned Jeanne to give what she called “a very sincere apology.” Jeanne said she was satisfied with the phone call, but the museum’s brief tweet failed to recognise the “sexist and discriminatory” nature of what happened.

As for me, I’m thinking: (a) how did the museum official get Jeanne’s phone number? (b) for someone who works in the Communications Department of a world-class museum, he or she can’t write very well; (c) as a goodwill gesture for the trouble caused, Jeanne should have been offered a free pass; and (d) I hope those agents are not only reprimanded but reminded that we do not live under a repressive authoritarian regime but in France whose national motto is Liberté, égalité, fraternité!

Here’s Jeanne and her offending breasts, hours before heading off to the Musée d’Orsay. Love the restaurant!

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