The Women’s March: A Rare (and Wonderful!) Display of Unity Around the World

…I want to say how grateful I am to the many French women, Frenchmen (and other men), and children who joined us in marching through the streets of Paris to express our solidarity
with those who have already felt slighted, threatened, or otherwise badly treated by the new president of the United States…

Continue Reading January 23, 2017 at 5:29 pm 2 comments

A Peek Ahead at the Year of Renoir

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This year is the Year of Renoir not just in Essoyes, but throughout l’Aube, the département in which Essoyes is located, in the Champagne region of France.

Essoyes is situated just a couple of hours southeast of Paris,  very close to the border of Burgundy. Could there be a more perfect location? Well, many of us don’t think so.  🙂

In any case, why is this the Year of Renoir? And what will there be to see and do in l’Aube this year? I’ll be posting details of upcoming events from time to time, but for now I just want to give you a peek at a few of them, and suggest that you might want to mark your calendars for a visit to Essoyes–and Troyes–in 2017!

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The Maison Renoir in Essoyes, currently undergoing a major renovation. It will open to the public in June. Photo by Janet Hulstrand.

The opening of the Renoir home, currently undergoing a 600,000 Euro renovation, is the big, central event, and the reason the département has decided to designate this year the Year of Renoir. This is the home in which Pierre Auguste Renoir and his wife, Aline Charigot–who was born and raised in Essoyes–lived with their family much of the time, from the late 1800s until Renoir’s problems with arthritis forced a move to the South of France. This is also the home in which Jean Renoir spent many of his happiest times as a boy.

The house will open to the public on June 3. This is a very exciting event indeed: until recently the house was still being used as a summer and weekend home for Sophie Renoir, a great-granddaughter of the painter, and her family. A few years ago the village purchased the home, and the renovation now underway will offer visitors to du côté Renoir, an interpretive center dedicated to educating visitors about the life of the Renoir family in this village, a much more complete, and more satisfying, sense of their life in Essoyes at the turn of the twentieth century.

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During the weekend of July 22-23, the village will recreate life in Essoyes in the year 1900. And throughout the summer there will be special events planned in Essoyes, in the surrounding area, and in Troyes, which is a wonderful city to visit at any time in any case. One of these events is a Renoir exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Troyes, which will include, among other things, a famous portrait of “la belle Gabrielle,”  who, as a cousin of Mme. Renoir, beloved nanny of Jean Renoir, and one of Renoir’s favorite models, is perhaps the second most famous Essoyenne, after Mme. Renoir herself.

I’ll be posting soon about other events being planned, including a weekend celebrating the work of Jean Renoir. And you can find details of upcoming events as they are being released by the département de l’Aube, here.  So stay tuned!

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 leads book groups at the American Library in Paris, writing workshops in Essoyes, a village in the Champagne region, and teaches “Paris: A Literary Adventure” each summer in Paris for Queens College, CUNY.

 

 

 

January 15, 2017 at 11:08 am Leave a comment

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

“I believe–I really, truly believe–that you have the opportunity before you to decide whether to be absolutely the worst president in our history, the one who presided over the destruction of our republic, and the boldest experiment in democracy the world has thus far known. Or the one who seemed like he was going to do that, but then did not…”

Continue Reading January 10, 2017 at 2:41 pm 2 comments

Bonne Nouvelle Année d’Essoyes

A few highlights of the holiday season in Essoyes…

Continue Reading December 31, 2016 at 7:09 am 2 comments

Early Winter in Essoyes

“I have always loved the beauty of lakes, oceans, forests. But it was not until I got to settle into life on our beautiful little patch of countryside that I was able to notice certain interesting and beautiful things in nature that I had never really noticed before, things that were not on the “macro” scale of sunsets and landscapes…”

Continue Reading December 12, 2016 at 7:37 pm Leave a comment

Interview with Siffy and Tor Torkildson, editors of “The Walkabout Chronicles”

“The Walkabout Chronicles: Epic Journeys By Foot” is an illustrated collection of 35 essays about walking. The writers include scientists and archeologists, artists, explorers, and “ordinary people who do extraordinary things…”

Continue Reading November 29, 2016 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

Q&A with David Downie, author of “Paris: City of Night”

An interview with David Downie, author of “Paris: City of Night,” “Paris Paris: Journey into the City of Light,” “Paris to the Pyrenees” and more….

Continue Reading November 19, 2016 at 8:22 am 1 comment

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