Refugees 1792

Natalie de Laborde (Louvre plus)

“Portrait présumé de Nathalie de Laborde d’Augustin Pajou” © 1994 Musée du Louvre / Pierre Philibert

“Mrs. Fitzherbert, the Duchess de Noailles, and many other ladies of distinction, were present at the Cricket match, and dined in a marquee pitched on the ground, for that purpose. The Prince’s band of music attended, and played during the whole time the ladies were at dinner. In the evening, Mrs. Fitzherbert, the Duchess, Lady Clermont, and Miss Piggott, walked round the ground, seemingly the better to gratify the spectators with a sight of the French lady. The Duchess de Noailles appears to be 21, or 22 years of age, is very handsome, and her figure and deportment are remarkably interesting.”

Continue reading

‘Adieu’ or just ‘Au revoir’?

Café ROuge window Feb 2020Only eighteen months ago, the Palmeira Square area of Hove was home to several French restaurants (see blog of 5 August 2018: La Place Palmeira).  Since then, both La Cave à Fromage and Pâtisserie Valérie have closed their doors.  Now we have to say adieu to Café Rouge in Bartholomews which closed on 19 January 2020.

It was so good to see all those correctly used accents: Salon de thé and à toute heure.  Fortunately, the branch of Café Rouge at the Marina is still open and carrying on the good work.

Paris Wine Bar Hove Feb 2020Another ‘French’ loss is the Paris Wine Bar at 119 Church Road, Hove.  However, according the Argus, the restaurant was “not as French as its names suggests” – but for all the best reasons.  The wines served in the bar came from all corners of world and not just France.  Is this adieu to the Paris Wine Bar or merely au revoir?  Hard to tell.  Let’s look forward to its renaissance.

Vélo ami March 2019It’s not only food outlets that like to associate themselves with la France.  Cycling and bikes are also often associated with our French neighbours.  The bike shop, Velo Ami, at 73 Portland Road closed its doors in early 2019.  A result of the harsh economic climate for retailers?  But where oh! where was that accent on vélo?

 

fin symbol

Brighton’s French Festival of Music

Imagine the grand sight of two thousand musicians and choristers in “a daylight procession [starting] from the Pavilion at six in the evening and having marched with music and banners along the Kings-road to Brunswick-terrace, will return by the same route to the Pavilion grounds.” (Daily Telegraph and Courier).

Grand festival of music

What the advert above does not highlight is that almost each one of these two thousand performers was a Frenchman (with a few French-speaking Swiss and Belgians in the mix for good measure).  Conference delegates descending on Brighton en masse is nothing new, for this event took place in 1881.

Continue reading

Not all sweetness and light (1)

On Friday 23 August 1816, Captain Cheeseman, master of the Neptune packet boat, returned to Brighton.  He brough disturbing news for all his fellow mariners, for their passengers and for trade with France.  During the night of 19-20 August, Captain Thomas Partridge of the Nancy had been shot by French customs officers just outside the port of Dieppe.

Cotman V&A cdb01178-va-ss

Dieppe Harbour 1823 (John Sell Cotman) © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Continue reading

First check your facts, M. Conty

In 1888, the 4th edition of Conty’s guide to London was rushed onto the streets of Paris so that any M. and Mme Dupont could venture safely across la Manche [the English Channel]. As part of their trip, Conty strongly recommends that they spend a day in Brighton.

Source: gallica.bnf.fr / BnF

Source: gallica.bnf.fr / BnF

[To leave London without having seen Brighton (pronounced Brahaictonne) and its splendid aquarium would, in our minds, make for an incomplete trip.

Let’s just note for the record that Brighton, the land of pretty English girls, is the Dieppe of England and that, on a sunny November day, it reminds us somewhat of our beautiful town of Nice.]

Is that what they call a back-handed compliment?

Continue reading

The Queen’s favourite tipple

The Napoleonic Wars were long over.  The 1830 Revolution in France was done and dusted.  It was time for young Queen Victoria to visit the former enemy land.  It’s always good to be on congenial terms with your neighbours.  Early September 1843 was to mark the first visit of a reigning British monarch to France for over 300 years.  Louis-Philippe, King of the French, was at great pains to ensure that his guest would lack for nothing.  How did he go about ensuring comfort fit for a queen?

Victoria and Louis Philippe

Continue reading

Bonjour Brighton

Was this the shortest-lived Brighton periodical, ever?  Edition #1 appeared in May 2007.  Was there ever a #2?

Bonjour Brighton better

The magazine was bilingual and covered topics such as Que visiter à Brighton [What to visit in Brighton]; Tu tires ou tu pointes [petanque enthusiasts will recognize the reference]; Quoi de neuf en France with all the latest news about the hit parade and the 2007 presidential elections.

Continue reading

The French Revolution … in Brighton

When you have been out and about in central Brighton, you might have seen this fascinating French vehicle.UUI in Hampton Place

Arnold Rose and Judy Bow are co-owners of two such wonderful vans, UUI 8789 (a venerable 52 years old) and his partner, LUI 8785 who is a mere youngster at 41.

These little vehicles are Tardis-like and are hard workers.  The Citroën H-series van was originally intended as the workhorses of French farmers and more generally in French villages right up until they went out of production in 1981 … and well beyond.  A careful piece of astute bodywork and interior fitting and hey-presto!  Two mobile crêperies.

Continue reading