Vignettes of France in the South
By Doc Lawrence
“There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.”
-Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
|Marquis de Lafayette in LaGrange|
Last Saturday on public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” host Garrison Keillor opened with remarks acknowledging Paris as a city that appreciated the joys of everyday living, gentle moments like dining with friends, the arts and music, a lifestyle he said that made them vulnerable to evil. Then, Mr. Keillor asked the audience in Cleveland, Ohio to stand as the band played the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise.” I rose from my living room chair as well, a special moment to think about all that is French in my little world.
|Rodin's "The Shade"|
Established in 1804 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Père Lachaise in Paris contains the remains of thousands of celebrated artists, writers and musicians, including Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Frederic Chopin and Oscar Wilde. But the cemetery's most visited grave belongs to American rock legend Jim Morrison, a Florida native, who died in Paris in 1971. On any given day, hordes of tourists surround his tombstone.
|The Maid of Orleans|
The stunning gilded statue of Joan of Arc remains one of my favorite memories of New Orleans and the French Quarter. Millions have seen and photographed it. Not far from the Maid of Orleans is the Cabildo, the Louisiana State Museum where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. One of the most prominent exhibits is the death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte, who, many say, planned to escape from prison exile to live out his days in leisure as a French Quarter resident.