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  • A four letter word

    25 décembre 2014

    The four letter word is not LOVE but FRAC. I don't know how I have been able to ignore those letters for so long but until recently I had no idea what they meant: Fonds Régional d'Art Contemporains (Regional Modern Art Foundations). Jacques Lang, the...

  • A single donkey on the beach

    18 août 2013

    Think of Brighton, Poole or Torquay: merry-go-arounds, French fries, donkeys on the beach, fat, pale working class Englishmen and pints of beer. Then cross the channel to just south of Le Havre and you are in Trouville and Deauville. I think that these...

  • Me and Pompon

    12 novembre 2013

    Lately I keep running into Pompon. Considering that he died in 1933 and was then forgotten for many years, it is actually rather surprising. François Pompon was born in Saulieu in 1855, he became an apprentice stone mason in Dijon at the age of 15 and...

  • Mont St-Clair

    18 octobre 2014

    The guidebook said that the best souvenir you can bring back from Sète is a hike up to Mont St-Clair, so I decided to start my visit to Sète by a two hour hike. When the train pulled in at the station in Sète my disappointment could not have been bigger:...

  • Almost in Germany

    23 juillet 2013

    The fourth town on my personal Tour de France was Strasbourg. As this town is nearly 500 kms from Paris and the TGV takes 2 1/2 hours, I had an extremely early wake-up in order to spend as much time as possible in Strasbourg. Between Paris and Strasbourg...

  • A Parisian Home

    23 août 2014

    The "Aha!" moment came when I was walking around the Musée Nissim de Camondo in Paris last Sunday. It suddenly made sense. Connections were made in my head, names read in haste, a family story told in a book, a walk in a foreign city....... Let me start...

  • Le Canet

    08 décembre 2014

    Yesterday when I was racing through Marseille with my bike boys I got glimpses of places that I would love to explore further. One of these places was Le Canet, a former industrial area where oïl and soap manufacturers had their production. After some...

  • Oscar, Bodil and César

    22 septembre 2013

    Awards in the film industry have names like Oscar, Bodil and César. Whilst the Oscar statuette is thought to have been named after someone's uncle, the Danish Bodil is definitely named after the actress Bodil Ipsen. And the French César? Listening to...

  • Pool Talk

    02 août 2014

    In the summer olympics of 1968 France won only one medal in swimming. This poor result caused the French government to launch a project called "1,000 pools" to give young people access to pools and thus to learn to swim. It seems that already back then...

  • Seen from the seaside

    22 septembre 2013

    After having criss-crossed on foot the Calanques south of Marseille over a period of nearly 10 years, I decided with a friend to see the Calanques from the seaside. Last weekend we joined a group of mainly foreign girls for a morning of sea kayak. The...

  • Beauvais

    23 août 2013

    For me as a Dane the name Beauvais is intricately connected with food: ketchup, sliced gurkins, salad sauces and, especially, sliced beetroot. Until recently I had not really thought about the origin of the brand, but a planned visit to an area north...

  • Secret Passions

    09 novembre 2013

    There are places that noone even in their wildest dreams would ever imagine existed. Places that you only read about in books like the Platform 9 3/4 from where the train for Hogwarts departs at King's Cross. Or secret houses where people attend parties...

  • France's got talent

    28 janvier 2017

    You know this TV show where candidates have to show their talent in front of three judges and an audience? Well, in the last couple of days I have realised that France's got talent. I am not talking about singers and dancers and magicians, but about normal...

  • Between Rivers

    06 août 2013

    The 100th Tour de France is over, but I continue my own personal Tour de France! At the end of July I went on my third visit to the Loire Valley which is on the Unesco World Heritage list. I did not run into Mick Jagger though I was not far from his castle...

  • In the footsteps of Willy Ronis in Belleville

    03 août 2014

    Who does not love the black and white photos by Robert Doisneau, André Kerctesz and Willy Ronis? Most of us have postcards or posteers with the famous photos, be it the Kiss at the Hôtel de Ville or the little boy running with a breadstick. I have seen...

  • Confessions of a former phillumenist

    03 octobre 2013

    This is something most of my adult friends do not know about me. When I was a child, I was a collector. I collected almost everything one could collect: stickers, badges, stamps, paperdolls, paper napkins - and matchboxes. When growing up I got rid of...

  • Ex Voto

    15 décembre 2014

    After a day out cycling and hiking in the Sainte Baume near Aubagne with my bike buddies we arrived after darkness at the small priory St Jean du Garguier. Evening mass was about to begin, so we quickly locked our bicycles together and entered the priory...

  • Unruly Audiences

    05 janvier 2014

    The other night I was sitting in the Opera listening - or trying to listen - to the New Year's Concert with the Symphony Orchestra of the Opera. It was a concert with a traditional repetoire such as The Nut Cracker by Tchaïkovski and Die Fledermaus by...

  • Hiking with Saint Bernard

    18 août 2013 ( #Away from Paris )

    I have previously mentioned Saint Bernard in my article "An afternoon in prison". Somehow Bernard keeps popping up: in Cîteaux, a monestery near Nuits-Saint-George that I visited some years ago, in Clairvaux, a monestery in the south of Champagne that...

  • Water Castle

    11 novembre 2014

    Water castle is the literal translation from the French château d'eau and is much more poetic than water reservoir. There is a poetic water castle in Toulouse on the shore of the river Garonne. It is simply called Château d'Eau, and it is a centre for...

  • Happy Birthday, La Bonne Mère!

    01 janvier 2014

    On 8 December 2013 I climbed the stairs to Notre Dame de la Garde to participate in the opening ceremony for the celebrations of the construction of a small chapel on the site where La Bonne Mère, as the church is known locally, is now situated. After...

  • Mr Lavie

    07 décembre 2014

    With the association Collectif Vélo en Ville I have since 6 months been exploring parts of Marseille that I had only heard of. Today we went to Saint Just, Merlan and Chutes-Lavie where a surprise waited for us at the end of a narrow street behind a gate....

  • Madiba

    24 juin 2013

    This evening Nelson Mandela is between life and death, but quite independently of that France is this year celebrating South Africa. At the Hôtel de Ville there is currently an exhibition honouring the life of Nelson Mandela, also affectionately called...

  • Cannes on a rainy day

    23 mai 2014

    Tonight the film stars walk up the famous stairs in Cannes for the last time this year. I have absolutely no interest in the stars and do not choose my films according to the Jury's decisions. However, recently I just had to stand on the stairs in Cannes,...

  • A picturesque tradition

    03 juin 2014

    On Sunday between a fried seafood lunch with a friend and a new British comedy in the cinema I had a couple of hours to kill so I drove to Estaque to explore the hinterland of this fishing village. Away from the sea front there is nothing fancy about...

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