ARTE program on the Teutonic Order of knights

ok so I turned on french tv to ARTE*. and there was this program about the Teutonic Order** in Vienna, Austria. and I heard some wild stuff. the program is hosted by this anthropologist historian.

so the Teutonic Order is a chivalric order. basically armed and dangerous. authorized by the pope. founded in like 1197 or something. knights and stuff.

one cool thing on the program was that they show this treaty which is a huge piece of paper with 190 seals (!!!) of wax on it. like all together in this weird artistic jumble. at first I thought it looked like an art piece that was a pile of tiny clocks. but it was all these seals. awesome.

ok but the wild part was that at one point he goes to this cathedral. and he’s talking about how they buried their dead. and how the Hapsburgs imitated the practices of the teutonic order. and so he goes “these bodies are all emptied of their hearts and organs”. um. okay. then he continues on. “when someone died, especially while on crusade or on sacred land, their heart and organs were removed.” the heart and organs (“or viscera if you like”) were placed in two separate urns “with aromatics”. and then the corpse was either “boiled until it was bones” or “smoked like a ham” (YES. he verbatim said “smoked like a ham”). and then all three pieces were sent home. the smoked ham corpse “smelling very good”. and each of the three parts was given to someone important (or something. I was still processing the smoked ham corpse thing, honestly). I mean. that’s like mummification or whatever. the part that made me lose it was the way he talked about it and the mentions of “aromatics” and then “smoked ham” corpse. like, omg.

so next thing he goes down into the catacombs. and it’s not bones it’s like urns and small closed casket things. anyways. he approaches this shelf of urns of varying sizes. the shelf is inset into the wall and it has those old school european church locked mesh doors on it. but with the grating being large enough that you can stick your hand through. and so he sticks his hand in and brushes off some dust off the top of an urn to read a name or whatever. and it’s a tiny urn. the guy’s heart. and then he picks the damn thing up and he actually fucking shakes it. and goes “yeah, that’s really dried out”. like. I CANNOT. then he sticks his face close to the urns and goes “you can still smell the aromatics”. and he smells a large urn and goes “yep, smells like camphor”. and reads the date and it’s like 1805 or something. hundreds of years ago. anyways. so he puts that one back down and then just like walks off. like dude, you just told me 1800 viscera with aromatics still smells like something and you were holding a dried out heart. I NEED A MINUTE.

and then I couldn’t watch the rest of the program because I had to write that stuff down. oh man. I fucking love french tv. like. seriously.


* ARTE is a a cultural channel that is a co-production between france and germany. it airs on regular tv. it’s the fucking best.


I googled it. you can, like, buy the episode or something? don’t buy it. I’m just proving it exists.

ARTE program on the Teutonic Order of knights

Review: Coffee Club

Coffee Club // 87 Rue d’Assas, 75006 // Métro: Luxembourg (RER), Vavin, Notre Dame des Champs (let’s be real, they are all equally far away). // 3 out of 5 stars // €€

While going out to lunch with a friend of mine she suggested Coffee Club, in the 6th. I had never heard of it. She was craving that kind of American food with a healthy twist. Green juice with a side of avocado toast, if you will.

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Review: Coffee Club

3 things in english + 3 things in french: part 1

Hey all,
So I have decided to begin a new series called “three things”. It is a list of 3 things to read or watch or listen to in either english or french. There might be overlap on the topics, but I will try not to have the exact same information in two languages. So they are 6 things total that are distinct one from the other. If you are bilingual then you get 6 things! If not, you can still enjoy 3 things. And perhaps sometimes I will throw in something like a music video that a speaker of any language can enjoy. I am not sure how often I will post these. Maybe weekly, maybe monthly. My criteria for picking these 3 things is that it either has to be something relevant to my life as an American expat in France, and/or it is something about France or French culture that interests me, basically whatever I find interesting and relevant. I hope you enjoy following along with me at home.
xo Clare

Bonjour tout le monde, 
J’ai décidé de commencer une nouvelle série des affichages sur mon blog qui s’appelle : “trois choses”. C’est un list de 3 choses à lire ou à voir ou à écouter en anglais ou en français. Il peut avoir des recoupements entre les sujets des 3 choses, mais je vais faire de mon mieux pour ne pas avoir la même chose en deux langues. Donc ce sera 6 choses distinct l’une de l’autre. Si t’es bilingue tu auras 6 choses! Si non, tu peux toujours profiter de 3 choses. Et peut-être quelque fois je vais rajouter un clip que n’importe quel locuteur de n’importe quelle langue puisse apprécier. Je ne sais pas vraiment la fréquence avec laquelle je vais les publier. Peut-être chaque semaine, peut-être chaque mois. Mon critère pour choisir ces 3 choses est qu’il doit avoir une importance dans ma vie d’expatriée américaine en France, et/ou c’est quelque chose sur la France ou la culture française qui m’intéresse, bref tous que je trouve intéressant et pertinent. En tout cas, j’espère que tu vas bien t’amuser en me suivant depuis chez toi.  
xo Clare

In English:

1. The Telegraph – Paris riots: Violence erupts on fifth night of unrest after young black man ‘beaten and raped by police officers’

a. “the suburbs saw their fifth consecutive night of unrest following his arrest, when he was allegedly sodomised with a police officer’s baton during an identity check.”

b. “The unrest is playing out against a backdrop of growing political uncertainty in France”

c. The slogan uniting the protestors is “Justice pour Théo” (Justice for Theo).

2. France 24 – Paris to erect bulletproof wall around Eiffel Tower

a. “The security measures are part of a wider €300 million renovation plan to modernize the site over the next 15 years. The plan also involves a complete reorganisation of foot traffic around the tower, a series of maintenance works, and an improved visiting experience including a reduction in time spent in queues.”

b. Specifics can be found in French on Le Parisien – Paris : la tour Eiffel bientôt bunkérisée derrière un mur de verre (the eiffel tower will soon be bunkerized behind a wall of glass); including a map of where they are going to erect the glass wall the security perimeter.

3. New York Times – What Are Your Rights if Border Agents Want to Search Your Phone?

a. “American border agents have the legal authority to conduct searches at the United States border that a police officer on the street wouldn’t. Laws created that allow agents to search bags without a judge’s approval, for purposes of immigration or security compliance, have been extended to digital devices.”

b. “Can agents force you to unlock your phone or laptop? No. But they can ask you to comply voluntarily and make the experience rather uncomfortable if you resist. Travelers must decide how much trouble they’re willing to put up with. You may end up losing your device, since agents could seize the device for weeks before it is returned. They could also copy the data.”

c. “What can you do to prepare? Travel with the least amount of data you need. […] Ms. Cope said people should power down their devices before getting to the airport, and encrypt the data they travel with. (Wired has a guide to the technical aspects of keeping your data safe.)”

d. Know your rights. You have the right to privacy… until you don’t. And this article is talking about US citizens in addition to visitors to the US or legal residents.

En Français:

1. Le Figaro – Marine Le Pen sur France 2 : le FN fera du «factchecking» sur le web

a. « Pendant que la présidente du Front national répondra aux questions posées en plateaux, ses équipes commenteront les interventions de ses contradicteurs en direct. »

b. « Selon Florian Philippot, responsable de la stratégie, cette ‹première› s’inspire des ‹fake news› anglo-saxonnes et prévoit de ‹corriger les erreurs› ou ‹souligner les mensonges par omission›. Ce dispositif, conçu comme une page mise à jour avec une chronologie visible, sera déployé systématiquement tout au long de la campagne présidentielle dans la cadre des grands rendez-vous politiques. Cela peut être rapproché du ‹générateur de discours creux› mis également en place par les soldats de Marine Le Pen pour contrer Emmanuel Macron sur les réseaux sociaux. »

c. This new approach by the FN is super disturbing. “Countering fake news” with… their fake news. Lovely. Are we an ouroboros now, or what? // Cette nouvelle approche du FN est très inquiétant. De «corriger les erreurs» du «fake news» avec… leur propre «fake news». Génial. On est un ouroboros là, ou quoi ?

2. Le Monde – Certains groupes d’immigrés sont plus diplômés que la population française en général

a. « En France, le migrant reste, souvent, perçu comme un pauvre hère débarqué en haillons. Cette mythologie s’éloigne pourtant de plus en plus de la sociologie réelle de l’exilé. Même assignés au maniement du balai ou à un poste de vigile, les migrants installés dans l’Hexagone ont souvent des diplômes en poche. »

b. « De quoi mesurer en creux que les pays d’accueil sont bien loin de recevoir « toute la misère du monde » lorsqu’ils octroient un titre de séjour, que celui-ci soit accordé à un réfugié ou à un migrant dit « économique ». « La plupart des discours sur les migrations ne sont pas de l’ordre du rationnel mais de l’idéologique », note à ce propos Mathieu Ichou. »

3. France Culture Une Vie Une Oeuvre Podcast – Clara Schumann (1819-1896), compositrice et amoureuse

a. A love story. An amazing woman. A genius married to a genius. And no happy ending. A captivating story. // Une histoire d’amour. Une femme extraordinaire. Un génie qui épouse un génie. Pas de fin heureuse. Une histoire fascinant.

b. « Clara Schumann est l’auteur d’une œuvre inspirée, vivante, bouillonnante, mais née à une époque où les femmes ne pouvaient prétendre composer, et même si elle demeure l’une des plus grandes pianistes du XIXe siècle, c’est son mari, Robert Schumann, qui fut considéré comme le génie. »

c. « Si par amour, Clara semble avoir renoncé à une partie de son art, ses mélodies sublimées par le sentiment amoureux font pourtant la grandeur de son œuvre. Dans ce documentaire, on découvre à quel point les deux voix musicales des amants étaient enlacées… Un idéal cher à l’époque romantique. »

3 things in english + 3 things in french: part 1

Love at L’Eclair de Génie

I know it’s past Valentine’s Day, but I wasn’t able to post it before and I have these beautiful pictures that I don’t want to go to waste. So.

L’Eclair de Génie! I was in the Marais last week. And I dropped by L’Eclair de Génie on rue Pavée. And I saw this beautiful Valentine’s Day creation with LOVE spelled out on the top in sparkly joyful letters and I couldn’t resist. Plus, the flavor was crème caramel, which I adore, so it was a no-brainer really.

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Love at L’Eclair de Génie

Valentine’s Day messages

Throughout Paris today the panneaux electroniques (electronic billboards) flashed love notes for Valentine’s Day. It was quite lovely. And I thought I would share some of them with you. Because lord knows we need some more love in the world right now.

Heather,  We will always have Paris  Love, PK

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Valentine’s Day messages

actress Michèle Morgan

The actress Michèle Morgan, a star of French cinema, died on December 20th 2016, at the age of 96.


According to France Culture Michèle Morgan « a révolutionné l’image de la femme moderne » (“revolutionized the image of the modern woman”) and was herself a symbol of French cinema. The original femme fatale.

Her most famous role was that of Nelly in Le Quai des Brumes (or Port of Shadows for American audiences). Quai des Brumes came out in 1938 and is categorized under the French film movement called réalisme poétique (poetic realism), which was the originating influence that birthed American film noir. In fact this film was the first to ever be called  « un film noir » by the French press.

The most famous scene in Quai des Brumes, and one of the most famous scenes in all of French cinema, is the one with the line « T’as d’beaux yeux tu sais ».  In the scene, the protagonist (played by Jean Gabin, a titan of French cinema) has fallen in love with Nelly (played by Michèle Morgan); they are at a carnival and they stop mid stroll to have a romantic moment where he tells her, “You have beautiful eyes, you know”, and she replies “Kiss me” (« Embrassez-moi »):

Le Monde’s obituary reminds us that in that titular scene of Quai des Brumes, Morgan responds to Gabin’s desire with that of her own, demanding “Kiss me”. Demonstrating that « Elle n’était pas seulement un objet de désir, mais une actrice à la sexualité affirmée, formulant ses désirs. Une femme qui menait les débats, c’est-à-dire une star » (“She wasn’t only an object of desire, but an actress that affirmed her own sexuality, formulated her own desires. A woman that dominated conversations, that is to say a star”).

France Culture explains that « Elle est surnommée «les yeux du cinéma français», tellement son regard transperce la pellicule et envoûte le spectateur » (“She was nicknamed ‘the eyes of french cinema’, by reason of her gaze which pierced through the film and captivated the audience”). Le Monde specifies that « Michèle Morgan a dû composer avec son regard toute sa carrière » (“Michèle Morgan must have crafted, with that gaze, her entire career”). But behind those eyes there was a sense melancholiness that pervaded her, she herself having remarked: « la tristesse est mon élément » (“sadness is my element”).

And there is definitely something about her eyes in Quai des Brumes. Her incredible see-through trench coat that she wears in the first scene in which we meet her (by Coco Chanel, how daring for 1938!). Her indomitable spirit in the face of the incredible darkness that permeates the film. Her belief in love. Michèle Morgan’s performance is what makes Quai des Brumes a classic of French cinema. And so much of that performance is contained in her gaze, which does indeed leap off the screen, pinning you to your seat, almost as if she can see right through you.

Michèle Morgan was a force to be reckoned with. We are the poorer for her loss, but we can thank our lucky stars that she honored us with her talent, and left behind such beautiful performances. Merci Michèle Morgan, merci infiniment.

Continue reading “actress Michèle Morgan”

actress Michèle Morgan

paris instagrammers to follow

I wanted to share with you all some of the Instagram accounts I follow that have amazing pictures of Paris. This post focuses more on bloggers and professional accounts. (I was inspired by this post on Chocolate & Zucchini.) More posts on this topic to come because there are so many awesome accounts to follow and they don’t all fit into one post.


The Instagram account for the Paris tourist office. Features all kinds of great photos of Paris from various photographers. You can see photos of monuments (of course) and the streets of Paris, but also of events and places you might not know.


Continue reading “paris instagrammers to follow”

paris instagrammers to follow