Philip Womack

A love letter to France

An adolescence spent in the British embassy in Paris instilled in John Julius Norwich a lifelong passion for French history

When John Julius Norwich was a boy, his father was British ambassador in Paris.School holidays were spent in the exceptionally beautiful embassy which had been purchased by the Duke of Wellington from Pauline Borghese. He would mix dry martinis for Jean Cocteau, and sing songs to the dinner guests which he had been taught by his father’s mistress, the poetess Louise de Vilmorin, who got on famously with his mother, Diana Cooper.

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