Nota Bene

Looking for something to read or watch about France, French-speaking countries, or Italy? Note well this cultural cornucopia.


In The Discovery of France, author Robb Graham recounts his 14,000-mile bicycle tour of the France that’s not in guidebooks. In a scintillating and resourceful mix of personal observation, scholarly insights, and history, Graham recounts how the French character and the French state were formed.

Author of

La Haine de la musique

(The Hatred of Music), Pascal Quignard wrote the novel—and the musically lush screenplay—

Tous les matins du monde

(All the Mornings of the World), based on the life of the 17th-century viola da gamba player Marin Marais and his teacher, Sainte-Colombe. One of the most iconoclastic of contemporary French authors, Quignard won the coveted Prix Goncourt in 2002.

Olivier Bernier and Umberto Eco (author of The Name of the Rose) team up to deliver a fascinating voyage in an armchair—Italy: The Best Travel Writing from the New York Times.

With a novelist’s eye for the gripping story and rich detail, and a connoisseur’s eye for secrets hidden in the corner of a painting, Margaret Anne Doody unpacks the richness of the city called “the Bride of the Sea? in Tropic of Venice.


La Grande Séduction
A much-needed boost, in the form of a new factory, is promised to the residents of a tiny fishing village in Québec, provided they can lure a doctor to take up full-time residence on the island. Inspired, the villagers mount a no-holds-barred crusade to bring in a big-city doctor.

Bienvenue chez les ch’ti (Welcome to the Sticks)

This comedy, which was hugely popular in France, exposes the French people’s regional prejudices as it tells the story of a man from the south of France who finds himself transferred to the north. The film has sparked great interest in regional languages and cultures, chtimi or ch’ti being the name of both the Picard language and its speakers. You might want to view the subtitles from time to time!


Cédric Klapisch’s latest movie tells the story of Pierre, a professional dancer, who suffers from a serious heart disease. While he is waiting for a transplant that may (or may not) save him, he views the Paris around him from the balcony of his apartment. Not exactly the Paris that director Jean-Pierre Jeunet presented in Amélie. . .



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This page contains a single entry by cla published on January 30, 2009 10:01 AM.

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