Provence Christmas Story
ExploreMargo LestzProvencal History

The Provence Christmas Story a Tale of the Santons

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: You may know the traditional Biblical Christmas story, but in Provence, there is a bit more to it. The Provence Christmas story is told in a Nativity play called a pastorale. It incorporates the main details of the traditional Nativity but sets it in a …

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Matisse in Studio
BoutiqueMargo LestzProvencal Artists

The Artist and His Objects: Matisse in His Studio

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: I’ve just been to a wonderful exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. It was called Matisse in the Studio, and it shows how the objects that Matisse surrounded himself with appeared in his art. Henri Matisse was a collector: He had an array …

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Renart Chantecler Foxes Roosters
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Renart and Chantecler: Two Animals that Shaped French Culture and Language

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: A few months ago, I wrote about the Gallic rooster and how it became the symbol of France. Then William Bahr, an online friend with whom I share an interest in the French Revolution, asked me why the rooster was called Chantecler. This caused me to do a …

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Margo Lestz Author Curious Histories Provence
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Curious Histories of Provence, Tales from the South of France

My books are called Curious Histories and my blog is called the Curious Rambler. I like the word curious because of its double meaning: On the one hand, it means eager to know or learn something – which definitely applies to me: I’ve always been a curious person. But on …

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Gallic Rooster France
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Discover the Curious History of the Gallic Rooster of France

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: Many nations are represented by the symbol of an animal. Normally, they choose one whose characteristics reflect those of the country: The United Kingdom chose the brave lion and the United States claims the majestic bald eagle. What animal do you think represents France? … The barnyard rooster. …Continue reading …

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Curious Histories Provence Margo Lestz
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New Book: Curious Histories of Provence: Tales from the South of France

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: Hello Everyone, I’m happy to announce that my latest book, “Curious Histories of Provence: Tales from the South of France“ is now published. Ahh, Provence… that magical place in the south of France. It fills our minds with images of lazy, sunny days sitting …

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Prints of Provence cotton fabric Markets
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Discover the History of the Prints of Provence: “Les Indiennes”

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: How could a fabric that originated in India, was copied by Armenians, and outlawed in France become a symbol of Provence? The kaleidoscope of cotton fabrics that punctuate the Provençal markets today, just seem to shout “southern France.” They are decorated with cicadas, olives, …

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Victor Hugo and the Joker
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Making the Connection Between Victor Hugo and the Joker

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: When you think of French writer, Victor Hugo, you probably think of his classic works, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Notre Dame de Paris)” or “Les Misérables.” You probably wouldn’t associate him with the Joker, that mad super-villain with the maniacal laugh who is …

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camargue-horse-in-sea @Margo_Lestz
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The Camargue: Horses, Bulls, and Gardians of Provence

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: Southwest Provence, around Arles and the Camargue, has a very distinctive culture: it’s a horse and bull culture. This marshy area, unsuitable for development, has been of little interest to humans over the years. Thus, it was a perfect place for herds of wild white …

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French Bakery
ExploreMargo LestzProvencal History

A French Superstition: Bread and Bad Luck

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: The French are a superstitious lot. They have many traditions that predict whether good or bad luck will follow a certain action. One such superstition states that you should never lay bread on the table upside down. It’s widely known that this action invites …

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