Montgolfiere Weekly

An exploration of culture in its many forms


October 2016


by Patricia Lightfoot

Budapest looks a little down on its luck after Vienna, but again features some wonderful Art Nouveau buildings, in various states of repair. One fine example is the Gellert Hotel, featuring a massive Art Nouveau stained-glass window on the staircase, which appears to show the hunting of a stag in a sunlit, luxuriant forest. In the foyer, anachronistic room keys with large, round fobs hang behind the hotel reception desk, which should have been tended to by M. Gustave, if that “most liberally perfumed man” was not overseeing the staff and guests at the Gresham Palace or our “own” beautiful Hotel Palazzo Zichy. Continue reading “Budapest”

An event in the Eifel

By Anita Hamilton

Thought I’d tell you about an event that took place recently. Mostly it was an art exhibition, but offered more than that. For this, I need to go back a bit further: One of the members of our choir is a woman called Rita, whose company I have always enjoyed. A couple of years ago Rita invited the choir to an exhibition of her husband’s work — he’d just finished a major project on their property. We went and were totally astounded by the number of “major projects” there were, all done in papier mâché (formulated so it can withstand being outside in all weather conditions). Continue reading “An event in the Eifel”

Temptations: A clothes-free year, part 3

By Barbara Sibbald

Summer sales beckoned. I spotted the “50% off” sign in my favourite women’s clothing shop. It couldn’t hurt to just look. But do I need the temptation? What about my clothes-free resolution? Casting aside the lure of saving some dough, I tried to recall previous end-of-season bargain purchases. The three that immediately sprang to mind had subsequently been given away: those French dress pants that fit perfectly but were an appalling shade of beige that showed every mark; that brightly hued sleeveless tank that was impossibly garish in the sunlight; that asymmetrical, slightly snug skirt that seemed so au courant, but turned out to be a tummy-enhancing reminder of my failure of will power. They all went out to St. Vincent de Paul where I’m sure they found a good home. When I thought about it, I realized that nearly all the clothes I’d recently given away were bought on sale. Continue reading “Temptations: A clothes-free year, part 3”

A place and time

By Kristen Hines

Place: Apple Opéra, 12 rue Halévy, Paris (first two photos); Carrousel du Louvre, 99 rue de Rivoli (last one)
Time: October 5, 2011
What is happening: It’s easy to exaggerate how different other cultures are from our own. And it probably goes without saying that Paris is the most easy city of them all to romanticize. Be they about Paris’s thriving bookstores (that sell only books!), insouciant street style, lax traffic rules or the pervasive belief that Parisians don’t gain weight despite a steady diet of pastry and cheese, the mythologies abound. Continue reading “A place and time”


by Patricia Lightfoot

Vienna was more imposing and imperial than Prague and Budapest, with its broad streets and monumental architecture. It was also the most prosperous and restored of the three cities. The ending of foreign occupation in 1955, as opposed to 1989, clearly made a great difference. Continue reading “Vienna”

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