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NewsletterSeptember 2014

Blast from the Past

Postcards first appeared in the middle of the 1800's and had their first general use in France during the Franco-Prussian War. The golden age of postcards in France was from 1900 to 1920. Here's a sample of postcards from that period. All sent during September.

The first is a Fantaisie postcard and expresses how I feel about my readers:)! Postcard sent early September 1909.

Here's the writing on the back with date.

Next is a postcard of Versailles dated September 4th, year unknown.

Then here's a postcard from the Exposition Universelle of 1900 dated September 10th, 1900.

Moving on is a Grande Roue de Paris postcard postmarked September 14th, 1908.

Lastly, a postcard of Lake Annecy dated and postmarked September 27th, 1911.

La Rentrée

Don't let the calender fool you, the French year starts in September with La Rentrée - back to school and end of vacation. If you don't believe me, this book backs me up :).
This year students in France will be welcomed by France's first woman Education Minister; Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. Vallaud-Belkacem is also the youngest person to head this sensitive and difficult ministry. She was also a big winner in the government’s end of August shake up, brought on by Arnaud Montebourg's criticism of the Euro zones economic polices. Montebourg, then Economy Minister, criticized policies he sees as hurting growth in the name of cutting government spending. Montebourg left the government and took Benoît Hamon, who had been Education Minister with him. Montebourg is seen as possible 2017 presidential candidate. It's a small world: Montebourg is the former boss of Vallaud-Belkacem's husband, Boris Vallaud, who once served as Montebourg's chief of staff.
Montebourg and Hamon's departures leave President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls with little room for error, their Parliamentary majority is now but a few votes. Montebourg and Hamon represent the left-wing of the ruling Socialist Party. A left-wing that views the economic polices of Hollande and Valls as to far to the right. Policies abandoning traditional French left-wing values like wealth redistribution.
Here is the 2014/15 French school calender. This year also marks the return of the four and a half day school week for primary school students. A recent government reform severely criticized, one sure to be a headache for Vallaud-Belkacem.

Events in France

Here are two events coming up in France. The first is Journées européennes du Patrimoine - European Heritage Days taking place September 20-21. Journées européennes du Patrimoine is a great way to see buildings normally closed to the public. Another plus, public museums in France are free, and private museums offer reduced admission.
Tous au Restaurant is the other event, September 22-28. Similar to Journées européennes du Patrimoine, Tous au Restaurant is celebration of French food heritage, with participating restaurants offering a two for one 'Tous au Restaurant' menu - two people can eat for the price of one.

End of Summer Reading

Flirting with French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me, and Nearly Broke My Heart: William Alexander is more than a Francophile. He wants to be French. There’s one small obstacle though: he doesn’t speak la langue française. In Flirting with French, Alexander sets out to conquer the language he loves. But will it love him back?
By Maximillian Potter Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World's Greatest Wine: In January 2010, Aubert de Villaine, the famed proprietor of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the tiny, storied vineyard that produces the most expensive, exquisite wines in the world, received an anonymous note threatening the destruction of his priceless vines by poison. A crime that in the world of high-end wine is akin to murder-unless he paid a one million euro ransom. Villaine believed it to be a sick joke, a fatal miscalculation. The crime shocked this fabled region of France.
French Kisses: Twelve stories depicting Americans in France, a broad array of characters and situations- -a boozy basketball player colliding with bigotry; a vet at Omaha Beach confronting a memory; a boy sent abroad while his parents divorce; a jealous sister coveting one last heirloom; a killer seeking peace at Lake Geneva; a pharmacist shielding his suspect wife; an American woman who’s never lived in America; sons bullied by fathers; a relentless dreamer about to go illegal. All seek the enchantment, refuge or even forgiveness France might offer. But they can’t quite discard the baggage they carry. Kindle and paperback.

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