Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Voltaire lived here - Colmar

Actually, Voltaire only stopped by for a drink at the Maison des Tetes (House of Heads), and lived in an apartment nearby along with Émilie du Châtelet and Françoise de Graffigny.

What, you ask, does this mean to the cranky old man. My mother's family came from the tiny village of Graffigny in nearby Lorraine, France.

Maison des Tetes, Colmar, France

French or German, like a game of tag, Alsace has changed hands many times. Once part of the Holy Roman Empire, it became part of France in the 17th century. Germany took it back after the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. Back it bounced to France after World War I.  Then Hitler incorporated it into the Third Reich during World War II. Today it is French again, but at home almost half the adults speak Alsatian, a German dialect, and in the restaurants, one hears quite a bit of German from tourists.

Descartes Thinks
I blink
I think
I am
No more

Voltaire Replies
Now dead
I think
I stink
But who’s
To know
For sure

 “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe