Grandpa and Gracie (G & G Blog)


Grandpa’s Thoughts

François-Marie Arouet (1794-1778) became Voltaire to the entire intelligentsia of 18th-centry Europe – kings, scientists, fellow philosophers and writers in many genres. A consummate gadfly of the powerful, he knew the Bastille from the inside and enjoyed stimulating exile in England and Switzerland.

As perhaps the continent’s leading advocate of free thinking and free expression, he enraged the powerful of church, state and high society. Happily, he was taken in by several famous admirers, including Prussia’s Frederick the Great (who bored him) and the beautiful, brilliant Marquise du Châtelet, his multi-dimensional long-term mistress (who drove him wild and did not bore him)…

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Gracie’s Impressions

Voltaire? That old French writer and philosopher who was known for causing trouble? Yes, that’s the one.Well, I visited the place where he lived. I ate at the restaurant dedicated to the famous man…with my grandpa. Helped by delicious drenched-in-chocolate profiteroles, I understood Voltaire much better. I learned about his attitude that got him sent to England (he asked for it, literally) and how the French fell for all his little tricks. He was ‘going out’ with a wild lady, Madame de Châtelet, who drove him crazy, just like the crowded métro station that was named after her.
Thanks to a friendly waiter and a mention about this blog, we saw Voltaire’s REAL window; not facing the Louvre but looking at a courtyard covered wall-to-wall by lilacs. So, if you ever heard that Voltaire died looking at the Louvre, it’s false.
A taxi strike slightly dampened the day but the métro was pleasant enough (although I stepped in dog poop and that we were going the wrong way).
Mais bon, we had a wonderful time that I would qualify as ‘awesome’ and, although visiting Voltaire’s apartment is not permitted, you can contact the lady who inhabits the place now and visit it!
Do you think Voltaire’s ghost comes down to visit the restaurant that was built in his honor?