Thirza's next appearance


Thirza will be the guest of the Cornell Universtiy Reading Group at the American Library in Paris, on Tuesday 11 December 2012

The evening will be devoted to Romain Gary's novel La Vie devant soi (Life Before Us) and the film adaptation — Madame Rosa —  starring Simone Signoret. An extract of the film will be screened.

Thirza will share the floor with Jeanne Koré Salvato and will be talking more specifically about the neighbourhood of Belleville where the novel takes place.

Where: The American Library in Paris, 10 rue Camou, Paris 75007
M: Ecole Militaire, RER Alma
When: Tuesday December 11, 2012, 7.30PM

Books will be available for sale and signature.

"Thirza was a revelation. I learned more about Paris in two hours with her than in 30 years of trips to the city".

Thirza Vallois lectures worldwide on Paris and French art and culture. All her lectures are accompanied by stunning visual aids.

Book Thirza for a presentation here:

Following is a list of some of the topics she presents:

The Paris of Artists and Writers
Whereas in pre-Revolutionary France, the arts were predominantly a state-owned monopoly, in the 19th century the artist carved for himself a new place in the new Parisian society that emerged out of the French Revolution. In this lecture we shall see how he gradually shook off the shackles of convention and conformity and brazenly brought about a revolution in the arts, which continued into the 20th century and outraged bourgeois upright Paris. When appropriate, we shall deal with Paris as a source of inspiration for the artists' work and as a magnet to the international community.

Paris, a city in the Making  
Paris has always been a hectic building site, a city of destruction and reconstruction and of constant change, brought about by new strategic, political, demographic and economic realities, by transient fashions and also by the aesthetic inclinations or sought-after prestige of its rulers. Despite so much feverish turmoil, the geographical growth of Paris has always been amazingly well-balanced, never shifting its centre from its original site, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, around which the city has spiraled out, allowing for potentially limitless growth, as we are still witnesses to at this moment of writing.

As we follow the different stages of its development, we shall also find out how these affected the redistribution of the population in the different parts of the city according to their social and professional classes.

Tourists, often goaded by the media and publicity, are usually enthusiastic about the new monuments and recent transformations of Paris. Locals at times have a different perception and can be downright hostile to these renovations, as they were in the past. We will try to gain an insight into how Parisians feel about the evolution of their city and the current projects for its future.

Baron Haussmann's Paris - The Capital of Modernity
Come and discover how and why Haussmann carved into the old Paris of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and turned it into the world’s dazzling capital of modernity.  Discover too how he used the project to tackle the burning political, economic social and health issues of the day, and how his audacious vision, allowed him to achieve his unprecedented goal.  We shall also explore, through the eyes of the artistic and literary community, the impact Haussmann’s new Paris had on the lives of his contemporaries.

Paris in Bloom - An historical Overview of the City's Gardens 
A Journey through Paris's most famous gardens, from the medieval and Renaissance recreations, through the classical French gardens — the Tuileries, the Luxembourg, and the Jardin des Plantes — to the English gardens of the 19th century — the Buttes Chaumont, Parc Monceau and Parc Montsouris. We shall end the visit with some of the city's contemporary gardens, La Promenade Plantée,  Parc de la Villette, Parc de Bercy. 

Left Bank Paris  
A journey through the oldest part of mainland Paris, the stronghold of the intelligentsia for nearly one thousand years. We shall travel from Roman Lutetia to the great medieval abbeys, from the early open-air University of Paris to the College of the Sorbonne, and detour to the fabulous Hôtel de Cluny. We shall stop at the St Germain Fair, where coffee was first introduced into France and Le Procope, the city's first coffee house, where Benjamin Franklin drafted the Franco-American Alliance, and where the Philosophes paved the way for the French revolution. We shall then join the Expatriates of the 1920s, later the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir as the clouds of war gather, and finally rejoice in the explosion of jazz after the Liberation. 

The Russians Are Coming: Diaghilev's Ballets russes take Paris by Storm
No company had so profound an influence on 20th-century ballet as Diaghilev's Ballets russes. Descending on the Châtelet Theatre in 1909,  like "a great flaming comet", their inpact on Paris was overwhelming. At a time when modernity was fighting its way to the limelight, Diaghilev's troupe dazzled, astonished, occasionally scandalised, an essentially conservative society.   
 Modernity embraced novelty and innovation by its very definition, and brought down the barriers between  high art and the decorative arts, between art and functionality. Diaghilev added another dimension to modernity when he brought down the barriers between the different expressions of art. Drawing on the unique reservoir of artists, composers and writers Paris had on offer, he took them to task and wedded them all to his venture, making the Ballets russes a team project embodying the very spirit of modernity.

Focusing on the sets and costumes created for the company's productions, the lecture will look into their sources of inspiration and into how, in turn, they became a source of inspiration to the artists and craftsmen working in Paris at the time, in particular in the world of fashion and design. Finally, we shall  examine their contribution to the revolution in the art of ballet brought about by Diaghilev and his troupe.


PAN, Paris Alumnae/i

*photo credit Discover Paris.

Shakespeare &
Company, Paris

Presentation and signing

shakespeare and company  

WH Smith


Ashland, Oregon