Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Revolving around Paris

A French friend reported to me recently that, when she was thinking of leaving Paris for a year to study at Cambridge, she was told (no doubt in a comedy-accent) : ‘But everyone and everything is in Paris. Why would you want to leave all this to move to some village in England ?’

My favourite English prejudice against France – that the French are convinced the earth revolves around them – has some real foundations then… But this video clip from the French (and very earnest) version of Who wants to be a Millionaire suggests that other things revolve around the French, too…

For non-French speakers : the question is what revolves around the earth. The candidate hesitates between answer A, the moon, and answer B, the sun. So he asks the audience…

(Having problems with the links - will put them up properly soon)

For the Love of the Louvre

My article on French intellectuals railing against the recent intenationalisation of the Louvre – and influx of capital into the French art world – is now up on Spiked.

I liked the edits, and the headline - an example of journalist puns too rare here in France, where only Liberation goes in for a similar style, as in their headline the day after Sarkozy was sworn in as President: "Bienvenue dans Sarkozie".

But I'll put my first paragraph up here in its original version nonetheless, for Brits and Historians to enjoy:

Ask a traditionalist Frenchman whether museums should take some commercial considerations into account when making artistic decisions, and you are transported back to early 19th century Britain. His ‘no’ will be so vehement, and his disdain so complete, as could only be rivalled by an English aristocrat who had just been asked to marry his daughter off to a Manchester industrialist.