Edith’s Cafe Spotlight: Les Deux Magots

Save the Paris Cafe is a wonderful new initiative launched by the energetic, imaginative, healthy-community-minded Lisa Anselmo. And this is the first essay in a series that will be presented on this website by the inimitable, knowledgeable, and witty Edith de Belleville. Take a look everyone, and join in this effort–we’re all needed to help keep Paris’s wonderful cafe culture alive and well! Janet Hulstrand


Parisian storyteller, historian, and licensed tour guide Edith de Belleville shares the history behind her favorite places around Paris to sip a coffee or glass of wine and watch Paris go by. We’re launching the series with the venerable Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
[La v
ersion française ci-dessous.]

There are cafés in Paris where you can’t just do whatever you want. There are rules. Les Deux Magots is one of these. But do not be put off by this. As soon as you pass through the majestic revolving door of this mythical café, you’ll understand what I mean. You are now in the hallowed halls of the Parisian Intelligensia.

On the wall are black and white photographs of the famous artists and writers who came before, and sat in the same comfortable banquettes where you are now sitting: Ernest Hemingway with Janet Flanner; the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire; the…

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July 12, 2019 at 11:00 am 2 comments

Summer in Essoyes: Vernissage a la Maison Renoir


Well it’s true, il faisait chaud. It was a bit hot, but that didn’t stop the mayor of Essoyes and the team at Du Cote des Renoir from hosting a lovely event at the Maison Renoir last night.

The occasion was the official opening of a very special exhibition that is being held there this summer. And there were some very special guests there to celebrate the event, most notably Emmanuel Renoir, a great-grandson of the painter, and Paul-Louis Durand-Ruel, a great-grandson of the famous dealer of fine art, and early champion of the Impressionists (of whom Claude Monet said, ” Without Durand, we would have starved, all of us…We owe him everything.”)

The exhibition is entitled “Evocation de l’exposition Renoir de 1934 par Paul Rosenberg” (“An Evocation of the 1934 Paul Rosenberg Renoir Exhibition”). The exhibition in 1934, which featured works from Rosenberg’s personal collection as well as paintings loaned by Jean and Claude Renoir, presented works of Renoir from the years 1909-1919 in M. Rosenberg’s Parisian gallery at 21 rue de la Boétie.

The current exhibition in the Maison Renoir in Essoyes includes one original Renoir painting, a 1910 portrait of Paul Durand-Ruel. In addition there are several original photographs of the 1934 Paris exhibition loaned by the Paul Rosenberg Archives in New York, and some very good reproductions of several of the other works that were in the 1934 exhibition, pleasingly displayed. Also on view now, as a permanent part of the Maison Renoir collection, there is a 1918 bronze sculpture (“La Danseuse au voile”), a gift of the Galerie Michael of Beverly Hills and of Emmanuel Renoir.

After welcoming remarks by Mayor Alain Cintrat, M. Philippe Pichery (président de Conseil departmental de l’Aube), Paul-Louis Durand-Ruel, Emmanuel Renoir, and Francoise Tellier (responsible de la communication du côté des Renoir), the guests were invited to enjoy the exhibition.


Emmanuel Renoir standing on the porch of the family home, now restored and open to the public, thanks Mayor Alain Cintrat and other dignitaries.

After that, of course there was champagne! (There always is, in Champagne!) And there were hor-d’oeuvres that were as exquisitely beautiful as they were delicious.

The exhibition continues through October 30. But you’ll probably want to come to Essoyes on July 7 to see Essoyes a la Belle Epoque, won’t you?

Sure, you will…

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher of writing and of literature who divides her time between the U.S. and France. She is the author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You, and is currently working on her next book, a literary memoir entitled “A Long Way from Iowa.” 




June 26, 2019 at 1:53 pm Leave a comment

Springtime in Essoyes (2019)

With the opening of the Renoir home to the public two years ago, the village has been able, for the first time, to offer visitors to Essoyes the pleasure of seeing original works of art.

Continue Reading April 18, 2019 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

The Fire at Notre Dame

A beautiful, heartfelt response to the terrible fire at Notre Dame de Paris last night by someone who knows it well..

Out My Window

I had just arrived at the American Library when I was told there was a fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. I envisioned a small fire–not to worry about. I didn’t respond with much drama. We were walking on the sidewalk of rue General Camou in search of our two speakers for the evening. She stopped me and said ‘Look’. She had her iPhone in her hand and after a bit of a wait–it turned out everyone in Paris was on Wifi at that moment–showed me a photo of the fire at the back of the Cathedrale. NOT a small fire. As I often do at moments like that, I freeze a bit. I could tell by her face that she was very upset. I had yet to get there.

I was volunteering at an author event at the Library. I often get the job of greeting people as…

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April 16, 2019 at 9:15 am 1 comment

Back Home in Essoyes…

Well, after six weeks away–nearly a week in Paris in February, followed by five weeks in Washington–I am back home in Essoyes….

Continue Reading March 26, 2019 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

Demystifying the French, in the U.S. and in France

If you’re in Paris you can buy it at the wonderful indie bookstore The Red Wheelbarrow, in a lovely location right across the street from the Luxembourg Gardens….

Continue Reading March 5, 2019 at 1:07 pm 2 comments

January in Essoyes (2019)

“This month I found myself inside our village church on three separate occasions–two of them large public events that filled the church with people–once with people mourning, once with them celebrating. The other time I found myself inside there completely alone, not exactly seeking solace, but finding it anyway…

Continue Reading January 27, 2019 at 10:56 am 2 comments

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