Chambre Bleu painting

A Backward Glance on rue de Varenne

The narrow sidewalks push their black iron batons up out of the ground to protect the buildings hemming them; the rain turns the cobblestones to…

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Château Pédesclaux in Bordeaux

Architecture with Heart in Bordeaux

In the preface to the book Grand Bordeaux Châteaux: Inside the Fine Wine Estates of France, Philippe Chaix describes discovering Bordeaux as a bewitching act: on…

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Peace Bringing Back Abundance

Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting

A Passion for Painting Billowing ruched fabric, pointy toes of dainty shoes visible from beneath flounced skirts hemmed in gold fringes and ornate trims. A bejeweled…

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Reception at Malmaison in 1802 François Flameng

Transitory Spaces

The beginning of one of Napoléon Bonaparte’s earliest letters to Joséphine de Beauharnais simply oozes sensuality: “Seven in the morning. I awaken full of you…the…

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Balmoral Castle in Scotland

The Seat of Scottish Power

As the opening credits roll during the film Her Majesty, Mrs Brown, a Markino marble bust, which has been tossed over a castle’s ramparts, tumbles…

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In the mood for chess in The Thomas Crown Affair

How to Set a Mood

The 1968 version of The Thomas Crown Affair starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway is a mercurial mélange of masculine and feminine charisma in equal…

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