Honorary Kings of Carnaval Fashion, Karl Lagerfeld & Yves Saint Laurent
Later this week, I'm headed to Madrid for just a couple of days for the sole reason to see Sara Baras perform. She is a flamenco dancer "extraordinaire" who totally changed my view of flamenco and turned me into a serious aficionado. If you have never heard of her or seen her extraordinary performances, then be sure to put this on your "bucket list" as I know you will forever be thanking me for this advice.
I've never visited Madrid before. The Museo Nacional del Prado was top of the list (after Sara Baras) to visit, so the tickets have already been purchased. There are lots of other things to do in Madrid, so we'll be packing in as much as we can into 48 hours. Next Monday, you'll be hearing all about our adventures.
As I have noted in many previous Nouvellettre®, the ability to travel easily and inexpensively all over Europe is one of the greatest advantages of living in a city like Paris (or Nice) in the center of the EU.
CARNAVAL DE NICE
It's just as easy to get to Nice. The Carnaval de Nice took off Saturday night without me. What can I say? I'll get there at the end of the month, before it's too late, but meanwhile I'm living vicariously through the images. This year the carnival celebrates the "King of Fashion" from the 15th to the 29th of February as the 136th Nice Carnival offering up extravagant parades of floats, "grosses têtes" (giant puppet heads) and flowers...lots of them.
If you've never been, then put this on your bucket list, too. If you've participated in other carnivals, such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you might find it strange for a festival of this nature. The route is fenced in (security reasons), it isn't free to the public (they don't know how to get corporate sponsors or create "krewes" like in New Orleans), and the French don't exactly "let loose" like Americans. Still, it's worth the experience of understanding the cultural differences if nothing else. At the end of the month, I'll have my own set of photos to share with you, as well as personal anecdotes. Stay tuned.
THE MAKINGS OF A PARIS MAYOR
Oh my. I'm getting more nervous by the minute now that Paris will have little choice other than Madame Anne Hidalgo (Socialist Party) as the next Mayor of the City of Light. LREM's (La République En Marche) candidate, Benjamin Griveaux, withdrew his candidacy for the illustrious office on Valentine's Day, no less, when two rather explicitly sexual videos surfaced. The whistle-blower was Piotr Pavlenski, a controversial Russian artist who won political asylum in France (and who was sentenced to jail for setting fire to an entrance of the Banque de France as a work of performance art). He told the newspaper "Libération" that he had wanted to denounce Griveaux's hypocrisy about "family values."
En Marche is President Emmanuel Macron's party and Griveaux was his guy. It's fairly well known that Macron and Hidalgo are not exactly buddy-buddy. "Au contraire!" Anne must be very pleased, indeed, as it seems that as we get closer to the election, her win is even more of a shoo-in. The 2020 French municipal elections are scheduled to be held about a month away on March 15th and 22nd. Anyone who runs against her at this stage is likely sacrificing him/herself for what is predicted to be a defeat, as reported by political scientist, Christian Delporte.
"According to the latest polls, the voters of Benjamin Griveaux were made up of a hard core pro-LREM but also voters from the right and the center-left whose wish was not to see Hidalgo re-elected," analyzed Christian Delporte. "Benjamin Griveaux embodied credibility against Hidalgo. But we had started to see a trend reversal due to the candidate's third place in the polls. Center-right voters shifted to Rachida Dati, better placed, and those from center-left towards Villani and Europe Écologie-Les Verts." (Source: France24.com)
That hits the nail on the head. If I were a voter (unfortunately I'm not), I'd fit that category of somewhere between right and the center-left who wants Madame Hidalgo out on the streets where the homeless abound, the garbage piles up and the construction projects create massive traffic jams.
Notre Drame de Paris - A political pamphlet written by two journalists quite annoyed at being too often stuck in Parisian traffic jams: Airy Routier, columnist at Challenges and Nadia Le Brun, former editor-in-chief of La Parisienne. Accused: Anne Hidalgo, whose two authors detail a management they describe as calamitous.
Cédric Villani must be pleased as well. The flamboyant candidate is back on the campaign trail hoping Macron will fall back on him as his candidate, after losing the party's nomination to Griveaux. He was spotted Sunday at Place des Fêtes by friends of mine staying near there, shaking hands with constituents. They are old colleagues of his from his days as a mathematician. Villani has a distinguished look that lives up to his villainous name, always donning a big spider brooch on his left lapel. I was told by my friends who knew him well that he is a brilliant mathematician. He worked primarily on "differential equations, Riemannian geometry and mathematical physics, was awarded the Fields Medal in 2010 and was the director of Sorbonne University's Institut Henri Poincaré from 2009 to 2017." (Source: Wikipedia.org)
One thing I like about him would be his head for math, a scientific approach and hopefully economics, which the Socialist Party and Anne Hidalgo seem to lack. They have the Robinhood approach to life which is to take from the rich to give to the poor, rather than the idea of finding ways of making everyone richer by stimulating the economy from which everyone can benefit. (Can you tell that I'm still steeped in a bit of the capitalist idea while enjoying what the socialist idea has to offer? Why can't we have a balance between them?)
Meanwhile, Rachida Dati, the Republican candidate, is the favorite behind Hidalgo. She's a center-right politician who was justice minister under president Nicolas Sarkozy and is Mayor of the 7th arrondissement. She looks like a more stylish, more beautiful Anne Hidalgo (who is of Spanish-French origin) with her dark hair and exotic look (Moroccan/Algerian origin). She was a student of economics and law before launching her political career...something of which I'm also in favor. And I don't mind having a woman in power, even though the fact that Mme. Hidalgo is a woman didn't make her poor performance any more palatable.
Oh my. Just a month away till the City of Light has a new beacon. I have a sneaking feeling we're in for more of the same bad news.
P.S. Would you like to see your property on a House Hunters International episode? We're looking for properties in which we can tape to show comparisons! For tapings February 23-25 and March 7-10, a one or two-bedroom home or apartment valued at approximately 350,000€, located in Paris or any of the suburbs and with easy access to Paris. Taping takes about four hours, with a small crew and light equipment. We've never had any damage done to anyone's property. If you have such a property or know of one, please contact us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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