In France, the first day of May marries two traditions that have absolutely nothing to do with each another: offering a bouquet of lilies of the valley to one’s nearest and dearest, and celebrating International Labor Day. The noisy parade routes, jammed with union members and sympathizers waving banners, are lined with sausage stands […]

Blocks of ice are crashing off my roof as I write. Did pdv really just leave New England for Paris, or was it all a dream?  To be snarkily honest, it is a bit hallucinatory to go from a town where two feet of snow merit a same-old-same-old shrug, where the municipal snow dumps rise […]

The Fiac (foire internationale de l’art contemporain) opened on Thursday for four packed days of visual exploration, ego inflation, and explosive excess under the enormous vaulted glass roof of the Grand Palais. From its start in 2003 this annual Paris art fair has gained steadily in size, quality, and respect, and spawned concurrent events all […]

Day after tomorrow, whatever happens, all the posters, posts, demos, articles about the French election will be stale as yesterday’s brioche. That said… I watched Wednesday’s debate despite being sickened by the aggressivity and ad hominem insults of Marine LePen. The good news is that her nastiness, combined with a less than coherent program and […]

Thousands of voices chanting slogans, ongoing pops and cracks of ‘petards’ and Molotov cocktails, invade pdv’s room. An hour ago I was down there in the street flooded by tense mixture of anger and joy.  Wherever people turn up in balaclavas (see photo) you might just anticipate trouble. Amazing though, all these baby carriages and […]

Sirens wailing all this evening and long into the night. The first-round vote results are in. Macron and LePen will face off on May 7th, separated by only one or two points. Around the Place de la Bastille people coming together to protest ‘the score’ of LePen. Clearly well-informed phalanxes of armoured police and vehicles […]

As many have pointed out, it’s hell to think that in this century, science and the principles of the enlightment would be fighting for acceptance, even survival. Yesterday, the Paris March for Science assembled, appropriately enough, in front of the Jardin des Plantes. A small band played. Two notables gave succinct speeches in defense of […]