‘I sometimes joke I must have been French in a previous life, probably in 19th-century Paris.’ Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

I completed the longest journey of my life on Thursday, in a functional room on the third floor of an annex of the Préfecture de Paris. There were 70 (...)

Stamps are another thing I miss about postcards. Photograph: Getty

My dad used to travel a lot for work. After a while I asked him to stop sending me pictures of airports. Another favourite was a blank blue rectangle (...)

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras: Continual change of direction is almost de rigueur in Greece, where adherence to the past can be fatal. Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters

For decades it has been agreed by politicians and educationalists that the Greek school and university system needs to be reformed. But, as with so ma(...)

WB Yeats – “I think it better that in times like these/ A poet’s mouth be silent ...”

“Never such innocence again” In his poem “MCMXIV”, looking back on the first World War two decades later, Philip Larkin writes of it as the des(...)

Aristocrat?: Guglielmo Alberto Wladimiro Alessandro Apollinare de Kostrowitzky, aka Guillaume Apollinaire, with his fiancee, Madeleine Pagès, in 1916. Photograph: Mondadori Portfolio via Getty

In Rome in 1880, Angelica de Kostrowitzky registered the infant who would become France’s greatest war poet. Guglielmo Alberto Wladimiro Alessandro(...)