Agnès Poirier

Letizia Bonaparte in The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David.

On mothers and politicians

Letizia Bonaparte, Napoleon’s so-called Madame Mère, loomed large in the emperor’s life instilling in him the tenacity and force of will which led him to conquer much of Europe.

French caricature of a portly Englishman, 1812.

Donnez moi un break

Franglais can be a charming way to bridge the gap between the ever-bickering neighbours, the UK and France, but only when the franglaphone bears both sides of the channel in mind.

Dam connecting Dinard to Saint-Malo

Finding the future in France Profonde

Never be fooled by the bucolic France Profonde postcard. It exists of course, but not far away may stand the laboratory where tomorrow’s world is being imagined.

Victor Hugo’s ideal of Europe

The famed French chronicler of poverty and war saw hope in the prospect of the European ideal – over a century before the creation of the EU.

Turin’s touch of the divine

Any trip to Turin would be incomplete without a visit to Palazzo Madama, a treasure trove of Renaissance art and mysterious relics.

Resisting the saccage of Paris

Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s push to ‘green’ Paris is turning one of the world’s most beautiful cities into an urban wasteland.

Rodin’s eternal peace

The brief re-opening of the Rodin Museum’s gardens gave Parisians a bewitching respite from their everyday cares.

Life in Venice

Online exhibitions have nothing on the living art of Venice. Seeing its Renaissance beauty again is pure joy.

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