Category Archive 'France'
12 Sep 2019

Hunting in France

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French hunting is different. They call their hunts “Rallyes” or “Equipages.” Their hunt uniforms are more complicated. They use circular horns and lots of people carry horns where for us only the huntsman has a horn, and where our huntsman only blows a handful of conventional signals, they play fanfares. We hunt foxes and coyotes. They hunt hare, wild boar, roe deer, and even red deer. People too old to ride car follow over here. In France, they have a load of bicycle followers.

28 Jul 2019

Photos from Brittany

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Hounds, hunting, farming, looks like I could live there. Guardian photo essay.

21 Jul 2019

Comparison

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17 Jun 2019

The Nemrod Toggle Action Fusil Superposé (Over-and-Under Shotgun)

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On the Double Gun Discussion Board, there recently was a short discussion of the Nemrod Toggle Action Fusil Superposé (Over-and-Under Shotgun), a strange and interesting contrivance out of St. Etienne.

There’s one of these cool guns for sale right now on the French Outdoor Auction site Natura Buy for €1100, not a totally appalling price, but unfortunately we lost our Freedom long ago and Big Brother won’t allow you or me to import a firearm. No, no, no! We have to use a specialized importer who, poor chap! must fill out forms roughly the size of the Holy Bible and must grovel to the minimum wage security staff at Customs. Consequently, his service fee is large, typically about a grand a gun.

Last 20th of September a similar gun went for a mere £600 (plus buyer’s premium, I expect) at Holt’s.

09 Jun 2019

Book Thief

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Stanislas Gosse, a low-paid teacher from a Strasburg engineering school, successfully removed the most valuable treasures from the collection of the Abbey of Sainte Odile over a period of years. He didn’t try selling them. He was just a connoisseur of books.

Pocket Worthy:

On May 19, near 7 p.m., Stanislas Gosse drove his Citroën to Mont Sainte-Odile. He brought ropes, three suitcases, gray plastic bags and a flashlight. Once inside the main courtyard, he headed straight to the second floor of the Sainte-Odile aisle of the guesthouse. He walked down a corridor, opened a door using a key pinched during a previous trip, and found himself in the church’s bell tower.

He tied the ropes to a wooden beam above a trapdoor in the floor and climbed down into a dark, windowless room of about 10 feet by 10 feet with a short 7-foot ceiling. Through an opening in the wall, he slipped into a second, narrow room. A dim light filtered through cracks in the lower part of a wall. The thief gently slid two wooden panels open, revealing rows of neatly lined up books on two shelves inside a cupboard. He took the books off, then one shelf, before sneaking inside the library. At the library in Strasbourg, he had found what he had been looking for in an article from a local history journal that mentioned a secret passage, unknown to anyone currently working at the abbey, except Dietrich, the janitor. It had probably once been used as a hiding place for the monks or as an ossuary — a place to store bones.

Gosse selected a few books, wrapped them in plastic bags, then crawled back inside the cupboard. In the second room, he flipped a wooden crate, climbed on it and hauled the bags through the hatch onto the attic. He climbed up the rope, moved the books to a nearby table to clear the hatch, and climbed back down. He repeated the operation eight times throughout the evening. By the time he was done, more than a hundred books were stacked up in the attic. Around 2 a.m., he stuffed the suitcases with books and left them behind, planning to pick them up later.

RTWT

18 Apr 2019

“Simply a Construction Accident”

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Roger Kimball admires the rapidity with which the French authorities definitively determined that Notre Dame fire was an accident and not another case of deliberate arson.

“Auric Goldfinger, in the Ian Fleming novel, dryly observes to James Bond that “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”

The French investigators have such extraordinary powers of forensic penetration that they can dispense with all such inductive aids to inquiry. Here they have not one, not two or three, but twelve acts of violent desecration in the past month, including an arsonist attack against the second largest church in Paris. Then Notre Dame catches fire—and what a fire it was—on Monday of Holy Week. Even before the fire was brought under control, the authorities ruled out arson. Has the world ever seen a more potent demonstration of investigative prowess?”

RTWT

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On FB, Matthew Keogh said:

Notre Dame Cathedral Fire, a few facts you should know courtesy of the mainstream media:

1. The exact cause of the blaze is still unknown.

2. The exact cause of the blaze is still unknown, but it has been ruled an accident (despite the fact that the exact cause of the blaze is still unknown).

3. The exact cause of the blaze is still unknown, but Islam is the real victim here.

4. The exact cause of the blaze is still unknown which means the damage has not been thoroughly assessed, but it’s not arson.

5. The exact cause of the blaze is still unknown which means the damage has not been thoroughly assessed, but Macron is setting up an international appeal for funding to rebuild despite not knowing how much is needed because the damage has not been thoroughly assessed.

This is the sort of information you get when journalists are in bed with the politicians.

19 Dec 2018

Hollow Way

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A hollow way (chemin creux) at La Meauffe, Manche, France

Appearing like trenches dragged into the earth, sunken lanes, also called hollow-ways or holloways, are centuries-old thoroughfares worn down by the traffic of time.

09 Dec 2018

France’s Rightful King Sides with the Gilets Jaunes

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Louis Alphonse Gonzalve Victor Emmanuel Marc de Bourbon, Duc D’Anjou, should be: King Louis XX of France.

Proclamation on Facebook:


Français, mes chers compatriotes,

Alors que se développe de semaine en semaine sur toute l’étendue du territoire national, le mouvement de protestation et de contestation des « Gilets Jaunes », je tiens à exprimer ma solidarité et ma profonde compassion pour ceux qui souffrent, dénués de ressources, écrasés de charges, humiliés et privés d’Espérance, et qui n’ont d’autre moyen d’expression que de se lever comme un seul homme pour manifester leur déception, leur angoisse et leur colère. Ces Français, c’est la majorité silencieuse qui se tait depuis des décennies et dont certains avaient oublié l’existence. Aujourd’hui c’est le peuple de France qui se dresse pour défendre son mode de vie et sa dignité.

Il est essentiel de l’entendre, essentiel de prendre en compte ses légitimes aspirations.

Bien sûr, il faut condamner et bannir le recours à la violence de certains groupes extrêmes qui cherchent à exploiter ce mouvement profondément populaire pour déstabiliser l’Etat. Cette violence coupable et stérile ne peut que favoriser la cause de ceux qui ne veulent pas entendre le cri de tout un peuple.

En ce jour de l’Immaculée Conception, je confie la France à Notre Dame qui est la vraie Reine de France.

Que Dieu protège la Fille aînée de Son Eglise, que Dieu vienne en aide aux Français malheureux, démunis et souffrants. Qu’Il leur rende l’Espérance et la foi en l’avenir de notre pays qui doit se relever et renouer avec tout ce qui en a constitué la grandeur autant que la paix des cœurs et la douceur de vivre.

Louis,
Duc d’Anjou

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French, my fellow countrymen,

As a week-to-week development throughout the entire national territory, the protest and protest movement of “Yellow vests”, I would like to express my solidarity and deep compassion for those who suffer, without resources, crushed by charges, humiliated and deprived of hope, and who have no other means of expression than to rise as one man to manifest their disappointment, anguish and anger. These French are the silent majority that has been silent for decades, some of which have forgotten existence. Today it is the people of France who stand up to defend their way of life and dignity.

It is essential to hear it, essential to take into account its legitimate aspirations.

Of course, we must condemn and ban the use of violence by certain extreme groups that seek to exploit this deeply popular movement to destabilize the state. This guilty and sterile violence can only promote the cause of those who do not want to hear the cry of a whole people.

On this day of the immaculate conception, I entrust France to our lady who is the true queen of France.

May God protect the eldest daughter of her church, may god help the unhappy, poor and suffering French. Let them give them hope and faith in the future of our country that must rise and reconnect with everything that has made it greatness as much as peace of hearts and the sweetness of living.

Louis, Duke of Anjou.

Fire Macron, hire him.

05 Dec 2018

The Revolution in France

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Smashed face of the Marianne statue inside the Arc de Triomphe.

Jonathan Miller, in the Spectator:

Emmanuel Macron is undoubtedly brilliant. He won all the glittering academic prizes. He had a supersonic ascent into the stratosphere of the French civil service. He even did a spell as a courtier with David de Rothschild’s investment bank, before ascending to minister of the economy under François Hollande, and then winning the most glittering prize of all, the presidency of the republic, aged 39¾.

But his hubris, arrogance and almost autistic detachment from the French in the street is in a class with Marie Antoinette. Except that this time around, the courtier whispers, ‘Mr President, the people cannot afford diesel.’ To which the cloth-eared Macron has, in effect replied: ‘Let them buy Teslas.’

At the blockade on the roundabout outside my local Super U supermarket, la France en bas is not impressed. There has been little violence here, though the local anarchists did attack the village petrol station, putting it out of action for two days. As of this morning, though, the main A9 autoroute between southern France and Spain has been closed for more than 72 hours. There are elements to the protest that are both surreal and terrifying. At the Pezenas exit, the gilets have moved a piano onto the carriageway, and are entertaining the stranded lorry drivers. At Narbonne, just down the highway, a gilet armed with a front end loader picked up a burning car, lifted it high into the air, and dropped it on the toll station. The ungovernable slums around the major cities in France are on the edge. The police are exhausted. Be sure of this, what is happening in France is not over.

There are elements to this affair that remain unclear if not murky. Who are the gilets? What do they want? Can this really be a spontaneous revolt, triggered by a posting on Facebook, provoked by increased taxes on fuel? Christophe Castaner, who has been minister of the interior for only a few weeks, and is already one of the most hated men in France, has rushed to blame the violence on the extreme right. There is not the slightest evidence of this. As far as I can tell, the rightists spent the weekend watching the news channels and posting acerbic comments on social media. ‘I’m running out of popcorn,’ one delighted Marine Le Pen supporter told me from the safety of his armchair, as he revelled in the humiliation of Macron.

In Paris, there were many people wearing gilets jaunes, but were they really gilets jaunes? . . .These protests have been hijacked by political and criminal opportunists, but Macron is making a fatal error if he thinks he can brush off the concerns of my neighbours, who are handing out biscuits to passing motorists, most of whom have posed a gilet jaune on the dashboard in solidarity.

“Attempts to negotiate with this Medusa-like movement are not going to be straightforward. The movement has no leader. Its demands are inchoate or naive. . . But French people are not just fed up with Macron, they are fed-up with politicians generally.”

RTWT

17 Sep 2018

1963: Jean-Marie le Guilcher Worked on Church Steeples Without a Safety Net

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16 Sep 2018

Would You Surrender to the Germans?

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09 Jun 2018

François Mitterrand’s Last Meal

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François Mitterrand, 1916-1996

One of the items I was reading yesterday in connection with the death of Anthony Bourdain referenced this must-read Esquire article on the last meal of French President François Mitterrand, dying of cancer in 1996. They were right: this is a great read.

He planned his annual pilgrimage to Egypt—with his mistress and their daughter—to see the Pyramids, the monumental tombs of the pharaohs, and the eroded Sphinx. Thats what his countrymen called him, the Sphinx, for no one really knew for sure who he was—aesthete or whoremonger, Catholic or athiest, fascist or socialist, anti-Semite or humanist, likable or despicable. And then there was his aloof imperial power. Later, his supporters simply called him Dieu—God.

He had come here for this final dialogue with the pharaohs—to mingle with their ghosts and look one last time upon their tombs. The cancer was moving to his head now, and each day that passed brought him closer to his own vanishing, a crystal point of pain that would subsume all the other pains. It would be so much easier … but then no. He made a phone call back to France. He asked that the rest of his family and friends be summoned to Latche and that a meal be prepared for New Year’s Eve. He gave a precise account of what would be eaten at the table, a feast for thirty people, for he had decided that afterward, he would not eat again.

“I am fed up with myself,” he told a friend.

And so we’ve come to a table set with a white cloth. An armada of floating wine goblets, the blinding weaponry of knives and forks and spoons. Two windows, shaded purple, stung by bullets of cold rain, lashed by the hurricane winds of an ocean storm.

The chef is a dark-haired man, fiftyish, with a bowling-ball belly. He stands in front of orange flames in his great stone chimney hung with stewpots, finely orchestrating each octave of taste, occasionally sipping his broths and various chorded concoctions with a miffed expression. In breaking the law to serve us ortolan, he gruffly claims that it is his duty, as a Frenchman, to serve the food of his region. He thinks the law against serving ortolan is stupid. And yet he had to call forty of his friends in search of the bird, for there were none to be found and almost everyone feared getting caught, risking fines and possible imprisonment.

But then another man, his forty-first friend, arrived an hour ago with three live ortolans in a small pouch—worth up to a hundred dollars each and each no bigger than a thumb. They’re brown-backed, with pinkish bellies, part of the yellowhammer family, and when they fly, they tend to keep low to the ground and, when the wind is high, swoop crazily for lack of weight. In all the world, they’re really caught only in the pine forests of the southwestern Landes region of France, by about twenty families who lay in wait for the birds each fall as they fly from Europe to Africa. Once caught—they’re literally snatched out of the air in traps called matoles—they;re locked away in a dark room and fattened on millet; to achieve the same effect, French kings and Roman emperors once blinded the bird with a knife so, lost in the darkness, it would eat twenty-four hours a day.

And so, a short time ago, these three ortolans—our three ortolans—were dunked and drowned in a glass of Armagnac and then plucked of their feathers. Now they lie delicately on their backs in three cassoulets, wings and legs tucked to their tiny, bloated bodies, skin the color of pale autumn corn, their eyes small, purple bruises and—here’s the thing—wide open.

When we’re invited back to the kitchen, that’s what I notice, the open eyes on these already-peppered, palsied birds and the gold glow of their skin. The kitchen staff crowds around, craning to see, and when we ask one of the dishwashers if he’s ever tried ortolan, he looks scandalized, then looks back at the birds. “I’m too young, and now it’s against the law,” he says longingly. “But someday, when I can afford one . . .” Meanwhile, Sara has gone silent, looks pale looking at the birds.

Back at the chimney, the chef reiterates the menu for Mitterrand’s last meal, including the last course, as he puts it, “the birdies.” Perhaps he reads our uncertainty, a simultaneous flicker of doubt that passes over our respective faces. “It takes a culture of very good to appreciate the very good,” the chef says, nosing the clear juices of the capon rotating in the fire. “And ortolan is beyond even the very good.”

RTWT


Ortolans do look tasty.

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