Tag Archives: France


Detail from Notre-Dame, one late afternoon, by Henri Matisse (1902).

One brilliant afternoon in 1977, I was met at the door of Notre-Dame by a formidable ancient nun, who was swathed in a voluminous black habit and brandished a collection box. The photos I took of the cathedral were of typical amateur quality, but it meant a lot to me to have evidence that I’d been there.

I’m one-half French, so I can’t help but feel a bit hollow inside (despite my also being two-and-a-half generations American). It’s sad that modern technology could not prevent the catastrophe that has haunted all Gothic cathedrals ever since their erection. But the comfort I take from the demise of Notre-Dame is the reassurance demonstrated by the Founder of Christianity.

Not “Au revoir,” but “Je reviens.”

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Another Author’s Insight: Victor Hugo (1802-1885)


Victor Hugo in the 1850s.


“To learn to read is to light a fire;
every syllable spelled out sparkles.”


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Treats in the Trenches?

Read on, to get an old family recipe for the best butter cookies you ever made a hearty meal from: gauffrettes!

The Passions of Patriots: A Novel ~ Christine Plouvier, Indie Author

My father’s ancestors came from Nord, Pas-de-Calais, and Belgium. His grandparents had already emigrated by the time the Great War started, but the extended families they left behind were large, so I’m sure there were both soldiers and civilians of my blood who suffered through the hostilities.

Families on both sides of the war were keen to support their loved ones who had gone to fight, and as a veteran myself, I can testify to the importance of letters and packages from the folks back home. I can imagine that there may have been quite a few boxes of these delicious treats that made their way to lonely – and hungry – French and Belgian soldiers at the front.


Gauffrettes (also called “galettes”) are butter cookies that are made in Belgium and northeastern France. They travel well, and would keep a long time – if they had a chance!

This is my father’s mother’s recipe, but her mother-in-law…

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