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I love her tenderly…I am French only by this great city: the glory of France, and one of the noblest ornaments of the world.” ~ Michel de Montaigne. The great thinker’s statue above is at the entrance of the Sorbonne where First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy studied. The nearby highly polished Avenue Montaigne dates back to the mid-1600s and is appropriately named for Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592).
From one of France’s wealthiest families… Montaigne’s first three years were spent in a humble cottage on his family’s estate. His first language was Latin. As a humanistic author and statesman of the French Renaissance—he inspired Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nietzsche, Isaac Asimov and importantly--Rousseau whose ‘Social Contract’ based America’s founding documents. Montaigne is known as the father of the literary essay that merges deep intellectual reflection with personal storytelling. His essays are free online: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3600grea He wrote, “To compose our character is our duty…Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things…are only little appendages and props, at most…The beautiful souls are universal, open, and ready for all things.” His ideal of grounded strengths was in editing and perfecting not piling on—was reflected in Chanel’s revolutionary simplicity that changed the world of fashion. Other establishments on Avenue Montaigne today: Vuitton, Dior, Chanel, Fendi, Valentino Ralph Lauren, Céline, and the 1889 Art Nouveau Plaza Athénée. If you observe closely you’ll see how they reflect the ideals of their proud street’s namesake: Beautiful words from Michel de Montaigne: “I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself. The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
“A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears. The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness. ” “My art and profession is to live. Saying is one thing and doing is another” “When I dance, I dance; when I sleep, I sleep; yes, and when I walk alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts drift to far-off matters for some part of the time for some other part I lead them back again to the walk, the orchard, to the sweetness of this solitude, to myself.” “There is no knowledge so hard to acquire as the knowledge of how to live this life well and naturally.” “Every movement reveals us. No wind favors he who has no destined port” “Valor is strength of heart and soul; it consists not in the worth of...our weapons, but in our own.” “The thing I fear most is fear.” “The finest souls are those that have the most variety and suppleness.” “Not being able to govern events, I govern myself...The great and glorious masterpiece of man is to live to the point.” “No spirited mind remains within itself; it is always aspiring and going beyond its strength; it has impulses beyond its power of achievement.”
More photos, information and links: http://www.frenchheart.com