Tuesday, May 27, 2014

la peste blonde and The Orient Express

Election Shake up in France

I don't know Marine le Pen, have never seen her in person but this is what's written about her - she's 45, with three children and twice divorced. She took over the Front National a party her father founded in 2011 which made a BIG showing in European elections Sunday. Fears are this will turn the party into the most powerful anti-EU and immigration force on the continent.
Her father, often described as an old Fascist, once predicted a bright future for Marine, the youngest of his three daughters, by describing her as “a big, healthy, blonde girl, an ideal physical specimen”.
Her detractors later nicknamed her “the clone” or “la peste blonde” – the blonde plague – a play on words with the Black Death and “la peste brune” – a reference to the occupying Nazi troops and their brown shirts.
But today, she claims to have detoxified the Front National, taken the “extreme” out of extreme-Right and succeeded in forcing her anti-European, anti-euro and anti-immigration agenda onto the French and EU political mainstream.
When asked what was the most formative moment of her childhood, she once said, “20 kilos of dynamite”. In 1976, when she was eight years old, a bomb tore off the front of the family’s apartment bloc in Paris while they were asleep. “I realized politics could cost you your life,” she said.

My friends had mixed feelings or none at all about voting in the EU election held yesterday. Only two people I know voted or at least said they did. Turns out there was only a 43% turnout in France. But most Parisians think whatever happens in the EU doesn't affect them. Well Marine wants to make sure it does.

Meanwhile on the Orient Express
 After fortifying with caffeine it was time to head along the quai under the Paulonia (sp?) trees to L'Institut de Monde Arabe
And board the Simplon Orient Express. There's a wonderful exhibit with the actual train cars of the fabled Orient Express. Inside the original cars it's like a stage set. Below is Graham Greene's typewriter.
The pages starts with the story 'Stamboul Express' he wrote onboard.
Cigarettes of the time, wine glasses, down to the original Bacarrat glass windows and fixtures.
Pearls and Champagne on ice from Josephine Baker's rail car.
The bloody body from Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express.
Even Agatha Christie's coat and cloche hat.
Not to mention a 'chien bizarre'

Cara - Tuesday


  1. "But most Parisians think whatever happens in the EU doesn't affect them. Well Marine wants to make sure it does." Perfectly put, Cara.

    I once rode the Simplon Orient Express...quite a change from the Long Island Railroad.

  2. Lovely photos from the Orient Express.

    If anyone in France isn't worried about Marine Le Pen and the National Front, I'd wonder what would worry them. She is as ultra-right as her father who is considered a fascist.

    A New York Times magazine story about her a few years ago quoted her as saying that the National Front had switched their focus from Jews to immigrants.

    What's not to worry about here?