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Henry Matthew Brock (1875-1960)
Amoret Tanner Collection / The Art Archive at Art Resource, NY
Art Resource

As PhD students, my husband and I lived in France for a year.  We rented a house in a village in Normandy, but we went to Paris often. At the time, living in Paris was not expensive, so we also had a Parisian nest: a studio. I loved our studio because it faced a courtyard. We could not hear the traffic and we could see the inner garden.

Sundays were magnificent. We would go to Mass at Notre-Dame and then visit the Marché aux fleurs et aux oiseaux: flowers and birds. I remember small birds that looked like little monks. We would then go and look at the books. There is nothing quite like the bouquinistes de Paris. The books were always wrapped, so I wondered whether or not we would find printed pages once we removed the paper.

(please click on the picture below to enlarge it)

We bought flowers. My husband enjoyed giving me flowers and I enjoyed the fact that he enjoyed giving me flowers. We had lunch on boulevard Saint-Michel and watched the people and their dogs go by. I fell in love with all things French.

We often went to the theater. I was writing a PhD thesis on Molière, so we attended performances of Molière’s plays. We also saw films and visited museums. While I was scrutinizing the Mona Lisa, the real Mona Lisa, a lady complained that it was much too small a painting. She was so disappointed.

The pictures above were made during the twenties, by a British illustrator: Henry Matthew Brock. They were used for teaching purposes. The twenties happened such a long time ago that they have now become once upon a time…

Doris Day: A Sentimental Journey
(please click on the title to hear the music)
© Micheline Walker
May 29, 2012