Faith in Foie

Paris, 4 December The first world anti-foie gras day was a few weeks ago, on November 21.  It was not noted by any French newspaper that I could find.  Yet there was a demonstration in front of Fouquet’s, a renowned (and very high-end) restaurant on the Champs-Elysées, that attracted around fifty people.  The animal rights …

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Montmor’s House

Paris, 26 November 2013 This morning I decided to find Montmor’s house.  Henri-Louis Habert de Montmor (1603-1679) was the Master of Requests for  Louis XIII and XIV, and ran a much-fabled scientific salon from his home in the 1650s and 60s.  His hôtel still stands at the edge of the Marais at 79 rue du …

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“M. Couplet will find one”

When the anatomists at the seventeenth-century Paris Academy of Sciences wished to dissect an animal – which was often – they called on Claude-Antoine Couplet (1642-1722). Couplet was an élève (literally, a student) of the Academy, although he was hardly an adolescent.  When the Paris Observatory opened in 1672, Couplet moved in as its concierge, …

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The King’s Elephant

Last month, someone broke into the Paleontology wing of the Paris Museum of Natural History, and used a chain saw to cut off one of the tusks of the elephant skeleton there.  The skeleton dates from 1681 and is the oldest specimen at the museum.  Here is a little on the skeleton’s origins, from my …

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