Today is Ascension Day. Even though France is the most unreligious country you could imagine, they still have national holidays for Ascension, Pentecost and Assumption. So does Germany, where Ascension is called Christi Himmelfahrt, which in English has unfortunate connotations. Germany also has a holiday called Buss- und Bett-Tag-- Repent and Pray Day. This year it's November 16th.
It's the beginning of a four-day holiday for many French people as they take the "pont" [bridge] of Friday. From now until September, Paris will empty out every weekend.
Paris felt a bit deserted, and most stores were closed. The few that were open often had a forlorn-looking employee standing in the doorway, bored.
Everyone is talking about Prince Albert of Monaco's little black baby! He has recognized the paternity of the child, whose mother is a Togolese flight attendant. ("Not even a pretty one!" I heard someone exclaim.) The story came out in this week's Paris Match and today I saw little groups of people clustered over the photographs.
The New York Times reports, "If true, Prince Albert's affair is not a first for the royal family. His sister, Princess Stephanie, has had three children with men to whom she was not married and Prince Rainier's own mother was the daughter of Prince Louis II of Monaco and a young North African laundry worker [actually it is said she was a cabaret singer, not a laundress]. A California woman also claims Prince Albert, 47, is the father of her daughter, though he has avoided a paternity test to settle the matter." What the newspaper does not mention is that Prince Rainier's mother, who was illegitimate, was the only child of her father, the Prince, and was later made heir to the throne. (She never ruled, but passed the throne to Rainier when her father died.) I wonder if this could happen again?
Apparently Albert has a well-known liking for African women. I think it would be really fun if there were a part-African royal family in Europe!
Okay, I admit I did not buy Paris Match. But I have an appointment next week to get my hair cut so I will read all about it then.
Prince Albert once dated one of my cousins. He lost interest when she wouldn't go on his boat without a girlfriend.