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Dreaming of France: 29 Avenue Rapp

Scrolling through my Instagram& finding this image, I’m surprised I haven’t shared this particular French door for Dreaming of France before. 29 Avenue Rapp boasts what might be the most famous door in Paris. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful.

Designed by Jules Lavirotte in 1901 it’s a striking example of Art Nouveau architecture and features the very risque sculpted Adam and Eve above the door. I first saw the building in the movie Gigi as the building where Gigi's Aunt Alicia lives and where Gigi goes for her lessons in how to catch the right man. Preferably someone rich like Gaston.

Naturally when Mark and I visited Paris, we had to pay the building a visit. What struck us about 29 Avenue Rapp was how many people just walk on by, as if were nothing special, just another old stone edifice, the door, just another entry. I think even if I lived on the block, even if I saw the building and its door every single day, I would still have to pause and take it in. Not a whole …

A + for The A-Word

Have you discovered The A Word yet? The show is a BBC adaptation of an Israeli drama series called The Yellow Peppers. The A Word, in case you didn't know, is autism. The series stars Morven Christie—who we love in Grantchester—and Lee Ingleby, 2nd banana to George Gently, as the parents of an autistic boy named Joe. Joe, played byMax Vento, is ten and spends most of his time listening to music on his earphones. 

As with most autistic children, a regular schedule is vital to Joe’s comfort level. After school he is used to going to the playground before they walk home. When Joe’s parents decide to send him to a school where his needs can be met more appropriately met, they have to travel a long way from their home in the lakes district all the way to Manchester, so that schedule takes a radical shift. His parents determination to understand their son and do their best by him is incredibly moving, and understandable to every parent out there.

There are other characters in the show, Joe has an older sister whose boyfriend doesn’t quite understand her devotion to her brother. Joe’s grandfather, a truculent man who may have had some undiagnosed issues of his own. Friends and neighbors with intersecting stories and at least two other young men with special needs who we get to know. The show, about how people navigate the world of the special needs community is funny and sweet and at times painfully realistic. Above all, it is entertaining.

The A Word is set in Britain’s beautiful Lake District.

Series writer Peter Bowker was a huge fan of the Israeli series and told the show’s creators that ‘‘has tried to respect the original during the course of the writing, adding that the project affords an opportunity to do something funny, tough and realistic about the life of a family dealing with autism in a society in which any imperfection comes with guilt.
He noted that it seems right to examine the way the family and the wider society relate to autism. It is, he said, a drama full of ideas about parenting, disability, communication and community, which will connect to viewers.’’

It’s also a drama that is full of ideas that are absolutely charming. For anyone who has had a connection with autism, you’ll appreciate the  authenticity and understanding but whether you do or don’t have any experience with a child—or adult—on the spectrum, I highly recommend it. Here in the US you can watch Season 2 on Sundance where it airs Wednesday nights. I’m catching up On Demand.

Check out more British Isles Friday news and reviews at 


  1. I hadn't heard of this one. I enjoy reading about the Lake District -- it would be a real treat to see it in a series.

    1. I think you'd love it, both because of the stunning scenery but also, with that big heart of yours, you won't be able to escape being touched by Joe and his parents' journey.


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