Posts tagged “elaine sciolino

Monday Reader: 5/19/2014

Posted on May 19, 2014

I hadn’t been to Miami in a good, long while. This past weekend made me need to visit it more. More on my South Florida sojourn at some other point this week. For now, let’s check out a few interesting, eclectic and/or engaging reads:

There aren’t many people who’d want to cling to a stained cotton night shirt that has been in their family for centuries. Then again, there aren’t many people who have the last nightshirt that Napoleon I, emperor of France, ever wore. The NYT’s Elaine Sciolino tells the story about how the descendants of the diminuitive emperor’s servant — Achille Archambault — are at odds about whether to auction off the relic or keep it in the family forevermore. As Sciolino writes: “The stakes – and potential profits – are significant. In the last several years, objects linked to Napoleon have attracted global interest and exorbitant prices at auction. In 2007, a gold-encrusted sword Napoleon wore into the battle of Marengo in Italy was sold for more than $6.4 million, quadruple its estimated value, by the Osenat auction house. That same year, a letter written by Napoleon to his then-lover Josephine (later the Empress of France) sold at Christie’s in London for $556,000, five times more than had been estimated.” In a year when Napoleon-mania is as strong as ever (it’s the 200th anniversary of his exile to the island of Elba), the nightshirt would likely command top dollar. It will be interesting to see how the fight between Archambault’s descendants plays out, and whether this storied shirt remains with one branch of their family, or with an entirely different owner.

We’re a couple of weeks away from the 70th anniversary of the D-Day assault, where American troops stormed the beaches of Normandy to liberate France from the Germans. Vanity Fair’s Marie Brenner writes about war photographer Robert Capa’s iconic images of the assault. Meanwhile, France 24 writes about how American veterans are angry that France won’t be flying them over for a commemoration of the event. France never promised these vets anything of the sort, one unnamed source said. It just said the vets would be welcome to come…at their own expense. Meanwhile, this week the Hotel Lutetia, which was known for housing Nazi officers during World War II, will be putting almost everything inside of it on the auction block this week. The historic Left Bank property will be closed for the next few years as it undergoes an extensive renovation. More than 3,000 objects are up for grabs, from sculptures and wine, to the reception counter and cream pitchers. More than 10,000 visitors have already filed through the hotel in search of treasures worth their bid.

The Tour

Posted on July 21, 2011

Once again it is July and I am watching cycling, even though I don’t own a bike or ride one. As far as Tour fans go, I am not the sort who really knows or cares who’s who. Nor I am the sort who would stand on the side of some meandering road in the French countryside, madly waving a flag at a given rider as they zoomed by. Me? I’m more like the folks who spread out their picnic blankets and lounge in the sun, taking a sip of this and a nibble of that as they think “Oh…well, what do you know? Cycling. Must be nice exercise.”

Still, I can’t deny that it takes a special breed of person to train that hard and be that dedicated to killing themselves on all manner of terrain for the better part of a month. And this year’s Tour, with all its crashes and drama, has definitely left me wondering how many riders will coast into Paris this coming Sunday with their lives and limbs intact (Hm. Sounds like graduate school, come to think of it).

Could it be that I’m becoming hooked, a real fan? On a few occasions recently, I’ve heard myself say to friends and family “You know, we should really see the Tour de France in France next year and not wait for the late night recaps on Versus. Wouldn’t that be so much fun?” This bright idea has been met with a mixture of skepticism and enthusiasm.

To the enthusiasts in the bunch, I say thank you. Next year will be a very good year.

To the skeptics, I say come on. Live a little.

Meanwhile, this year I will do what I normally do — watch the final day from the comfort of my own home and daydream about what it must be like to take that triumphant ride into the City of Light. I will probably attempt some nonsense like this again and then later, when it’s quiet, I’ll work some more on this. I’m pushing hard, uphill, doing my level best to be well past the finish line this time next year. But enough about that…

Here are a few other ways you can get a French fix this summer:

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