Cool Stuff in Paris. By Manning Leonard Krull.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The tomb of Comtesse Marie Potocka / Princess Soltikoff

This is one of my favorite tombs in my favorite cemetery in Paris: it's the tomb of Comtesse Marie Potocka (and Princess Soltikoff, I guess? or Comtesse Marie Potocka was also known as Princess Soltikoff?) in the Cimetiere de Montmartre. I don't know anything about this lady/these ladies, and a few brief web searches haven't turned up much; mostly just other tourist's photos. But this ornate Russian-style tomb really stands out from all the traditional, drab, plain stone tombs in this and other Parisian cemeteries, and it makes me smile every time I wander by it.

Looking at the close-up photo, I just noticed the dates below the nameplate. It's tough to make out, but zooming in on the original high-res version of the photo, I believe it says she was born in St Petersburg in 1807 and died in Paris in 1845. I'm really stumped as to who's in this tomb and what their story is. The names certainly make it sound like there are two people, but the dates are clearly for just one person: the first one says "born" and the second says "deceased." Hooboy, I really don't know enough French/Russian history to be able to sort this out, and I'm certain as soon as I post this some brilliant reader will clue me in. Anyway, I like the tomb! It's a nice tomb.

Update: Check out the comments below which clear up some of my confusion! Comtesse Marie Potocka and Princess Soltikoff were indeed one and the same. Thanks for your help, readers! I wish I could tell you exactly where this tomb is situated in the cemetery, but I can only tell you it's toward the North-middle or North-West section.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

UK archivist says uncovers real-life Quasimodo


LONDON (Reuters Life!) – A British archivist believes he has uncovered the real-life inspiration for French novelist Victor Hugo's mysterious character Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

Adrian Glew, who works on the Tate collection's archives in London, was studying the seven-volume handwritten autobiography of 19th century British sculptor Henry Sibson when he came across a reference to a Frenchman whose nickname was "le bossu," or hunchback.


Monday, May 10, 2010

News Flash! France To Permit Women To Wear Pants

"A long-standing law in Paris, France that forbids women to wear trousers, might soon be repealed, the Telegraph UK reports. Ten French ministers submitted a bill to parliament to get rid of the outdated law, which was put into place in 1799. The law was amended several times: once in 1892 to allow women to sport trousers while riding horses and again in 1909 to permit the ladies to wear pants while on bicycles..." (Link)

Friday, April 30, 2010

French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment

"A 50-year mystery over the 'cursed bread' of Pont-Saint-Esprit, which left residents suffering hallucinations, has been solved after a writer discovered the US had spiked the bread with LSD as part of an experiment." (Link)
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