Let’s Read France, Summer 1988!

France, an English language tourism magazine, has been published quarterly by The French-American Cultural Foundation since 1985. It has a curiously familiar tone, as if the intended audience has already been there and intends to visit semi regularly. It also has a prominent lack of interest points geared towards families with young children, leading me to believe that this magazine is targeted to wealthy retirees. It’s really more of a cultural newsletter to keep Francophiles up to date on current events than something like Paris Match. Have you had a long week? I sure have. Let’s pretend that we’re planning our totally awesome European summer vacation in the year 1988.

If you did have a totally awesome European summer vacation in 1988, do tell! I think I spent the summer of 1988 in a plastic kiddie pool in my driveway.

A disclaimer that this magazine may as well have just been called Paris.

From a piece on French perfumes. Perfume for children is apparently an everyday thing in France, and I don’t mean the little bottles of fruity plastic-scented perfume that came with Barbie – real perfume, competing brands, artistic packaging, the works. I personally don’t feel a need to Febreeze a baby, but that’s up to them.

I also admire the bottle design for the Byzance perfume – I see a shield, a nipple, and a doorbell all in one. Art!

While I am utterly heartbroken to learn that every Frenchman doesn’t look exactly like Jean Dujardin, at least I don’t have to worry about the average man judging me on whether or not I liked The Old Man and the Sea, so that’s alright.

A blessedly brief article on German (not West German) and French diplomatic relations. Remember, there’s still a few years left of the Cold War. But things are apparently going just great between France and Germany, thanks for asking?

Without context this is all pretty boring, but remember that at this time the Reconciliation had only been up for 25 years, and going from centuries of “We Hate You” being programmed into both countries’ national code and that whole World Wars thing, I don’t think anyone had expected the agreement to be friends to have lasted more than 24 years and 51 weeks. I imagine they have both found new and exciting reasons to hate each other in the intervening 30 years, probably having something to do with football, but wide consensus is that diplomatically they’re overall still on good terms.

You could be here! Staring up at this partially obscured lavishly painted ceiling! And a very fancy balcony! I think it’s a balcony? You also could probably look at the stage, which is what people generally come here to do, but maybe they also like to lay on the floor and pretend that the theater is in greyscale. Come to the Comédie-Française, and you can too!

A lovely piece on Parisian flea markets, which sounds pretty magical.

Are you a good haggler? I am not. I’m still a little traumatized by customers who would just rip the buttons off sleeves in front of me and then demand a discount from my days working in retail. I think the only time I get a discount is when vendors feel sorry for me because I’m clearly out of my element. I would probably wilt and die in this place, but it looks like fun.

A very long but very good overview of France’s many, many art museums. I don’t have any real commentary on it, but it’s nice writing and I like to read it and just pretend I’m exploring museums that I will probably never visit. I put the photo pages at the end so that the article would be more cohesive to read.

I appreciate the inclusion of comfortable-looking chairs for people to sit in and contemplate sculptures that are doing their own contemplation. All the museums I’ve been to have sturdy but uncomfortable benches that force you to limit your contemplation of contemplation to about five minutes.

How many names do YOU recognize?

This sounds pretty cool and ahead of its time. The experience almost sounds comparable to the Encyclopedia Encarta CD-ROMs from the early 90s that were bundled with home computers. This installation is now known as the Forum des Images and is still around, seemingly thriving. Its current incarnation, from what I got from badly auto-translated sources, is that it is a really fancy movie theater/ film library / film school? It seems amazing, that’s what it is.

Obligatory La Croix, Sweetie! But I don’t know what fashion show Ms. Rebecca Voight was at, because The Internet Remembers, and does this look QUIET to you?

Also worth noting, Mugler’s vampire-inspired fall line for 1988 was sick.

I suppose it is my American-ness that draws me to the steakhouse chain called Hippopotamus above all of these other famous dining institutions. Given the choice, apparently I will always go with the equivalent of Outback. Interesting that they indicate that the chain is relatively new, since it had been there since 1968 – but I guess when your restaurants seem to take more than a century to go out of business, twenty years is still very young.

“Parisians no longer think twice about venturing beyond…to stroll in the forest at Fontainebleau”, and they don’t explain why that was a problem in the first place, so I’m just going to say that the city’s campaign to flush out all the witches from the forest has been successful.

Evian and Perrier, meanwhile, are now the cheapest beverages that one can buy at 7-11 in the year 2019, and the hipster beverage of choice is sparkling water made by Americans with a French name that no one pronounces correctly. C’est la guerre.

I’m mostly featuring this page for the inset of the woman in the Food And Wines From France brochure, who is being eaten alive by the swaddling of her clothes and indulging in “glamour by the glass!”

It’s fully my own ignorance to not realize that France has a space program until now – France did event aeronautics, after all – but since budget issues have held them back since the 2000s, it’s easy to forget about.

Sometimes I just can’t with the style of just piling up a bunch of objects in a kind of half-assed exhibit style in order to photograph all of them. Please help yourself to all of this museum gift shop trash!

Can’t get to France and see their museums? Go to your American museums and see some French stuff! And…some historical American stuff, for good measure!

Les Miserables, a musical? Psh, what will they think of next? Flash in the pan.

Sounds good, let’s go!

That little boy and his mother are totally running a scam in which they get tourists to pose at restaurants while the child steals all the bread off their plates. Alternatively, fellow Avocado Monkeylint suggests that the boy is actually a little person trained as an assassin, with a sawed off shotgun hidden inside his baguette. Wish you were here!

That’s it for this week! Thank you of course for reading. I hope this wasn’t boring. I’ve been sick and in pain all month, so this had to be a light one. Next time we’ll be looking at Sunset, date TBD but probably the 80s!