Letters From Provence

Letters from Provence

I Go to the Doctor (Take 2)


As the Republican Party keeps up its bitter assault on the Affordable Care Act, I continue to be amazed by the more far-reaching, no-frills, government-supported and regulated health care system of France. Today I made my second visit since our arrival to Dr. Mariele Crespo-Mora, whose office is a three staircase walk-up on the upscale…

Aix-en-Provence’s ‘Wild Beauties’


At its best, the sometimes stylized, creative imagination of the French is without peer. Who but the French would think of putting an exceptional exhibit of carved, painted, drawn and wire-sculpted wild animals in an 800-year-old church?  With an Afro-Brazilian band just outside to lure in the crowds? On something called European Museum Night, which…

Dissing the Poor of Provence


France continues to be a land of double-digit unemployment and considerable economic discontent, as  far-right National Front party’s gains in this year’s municipal election show.  Yet affluent Aix-en-Provence for the most part co-exists cordially with the street people who sit quietly in front of churches and outside other well-traveled locations seeking a handout. Today we…

My French Icebreaker & Other Bits


I’ve learned to use the same line when I give my name in France, whether for an interview or a restaurant, hotel or car reservation. “Le nom est Lanson,” I say. “Comme le champagne (like the champagne).” This, it seems, never fails to draw an appreciative chuckle if not always access to an interview subject. …