Porte Dorée


It was a sunny Friday in late summer, and Elaine had taken the day off work so that she could spend the afternoon at the zoo with her nephew while her sister rested.  Nadine was in the late stages of pregnancy, and was finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with an active four-year-old.  Elaine had wanted to show Adrien the otters.  They were her favourite zoo animal, because they always seemed to be having too much fun to care about their captivity.  But it turned out that the zoo carpark was being dug up for purposes unknown, and Adrien was fascinated by machines, so instead of looking at animals, they had spent three hours watching a bulldozer, several trucks, and assorted construction machinery at work.  Adrien could name every single vehicle, and did so, often.

By the time Elaine dropped Adrien back at her sister’s apartment, she was not thinking about doors in the Métro.  Why would she be?  It had been nearly three months since that last, terrifying adventure after she walked through the wardrobe door, and longer still since the other adventures, and the whole thing was beginning to feel like a dream.  She had avoided the underground system entirely for the first month, but then came a day when it rained and rained without ceasing, and she ran down into the Métro for shelter, and nothing had happened.  Nothing had kept happening, and she had finally relaxed her guard.  It had never felt very plausible in the first place, really.  And she had been very stressed at work.  Maybe her subconscious was telling her to get out…

No, Elaine was thinking about her bed, and about whether she could get to that boucherie that made the really good ratatouille and confit duck to take away before it shut, and whether she even wanted dinner at all in this weather, and most importantly, whether she would be able to close her eyes without seeing endless construction machinery behind her eyelids any time in the next week.  She was thinking about how children were cute, but also exhausting, and wondering how on earth her sister was going to manage another one with her husband away so often.

She wasn’t thinking about doors at all.

But the door was there anyway.

It was gold and rather neoclassical in style, and it was just inside the entrance to the Metro, and Elaine felt something turn over in her chest with a sickening flop.

She stopped short, and looked from the door to the golden statue of Athena and back.  The artist appeared to be the same.  Charming.

She tried to walk around the door.

She didn’t see it move, but it was somehow still in front of her.

Elaine sighed.  She was not in the mood for this.  She turned around, and walked out of the Métro, towards the next station on the line.

The golden door was there, too.  It didn’t match the décor this time.

The golden door was at the next station, and the next.  Elaine was beginning to feel stalked.

By the time she had walked the five kilometres home, she was in no mood for dinner.  Hot, dusty and tired, she took a quick shower and went straight to bed.  She knew exactly what awaited her the next day, and her dreams were angry, fearful ones.

She walked through the door at République at 7:30 the next morning.

“Oh, God, not the orchard again.”

The words came without thought, and she shut her mouth quickly.

She heard masculine laughter behind her.  Of course.  She did not bother to turn.

“You won’t have to enter this one,” Nathair said, strolling up to stand next to her.  “See?  I’ve already picked you an apple.”

Elaine stepped away from him hastily, but said nothing.  She had no idea what the rules were this time, or why Nathair wanted to trap her, but as she had lain awake the previous night, contemplating what lay ahead, one thing had been clear to her.  Nathair wanted to trap her – she was trying to forget that he had also tried to kill her – but he also wanted to play with her, much as her cat would do with a mouse.

Silence made for a pretty boring cat-toy, and had the advantage of avoiding any risk of asking a question.

“Aren’t you going to look at it?” His voice was still amused.  Elaine held her peace, instead looking down at her feet, which were bare again.   Of course.

“And I suppose you don’t intend to talk to me, either.”

There didn’t seem much purpose in responding to that, so she didn’t.

A finger pressed under her chin, forcing her face up to meet Nathair’s gaze.  He smiled.  Elaine did not.  He shrugged again, and let go.  Elaine returned her gaze to her feet.

“Well, if silence is your intention, far be it from me to prevent you.  Of course, if I stood in your shoes, I should hardly wish to insult the Gods by ignoring them or failing to answer their questions, but perhaps you have a strategy that I am not aware of.”

This gave her pause, but since she was reasonably sure that Nathair was no god, she remained silent.

Nathair reached out to take her by the shoulders, turning her to face away from the orchard.   Elaine did not resist, nor did she look up.  Something round and heavy was pressed into her hand.  An apple, but not, she thought, one that could be eaten.  This apple was formed of metal – red gold? – and was engraved with Greek letters.

Involuntarily, she looked up.  Three women stood before her, their gaze on the man who was now at her back.  All three were beautiful in a way that defied description.  All three had something in their gaze that made Elaine very glad that she was not the focus of their attention.

“Is this the mortal, Moros?”

Beside her, Nathair – who was now calling himself Moros, apparently – bowed low.  “It is, O Goddesses.  I present to you Elaine of Paris, who will judge between you.”

“A woman?”  The three goddesses looked at each other in consternation.

Nathair smiled, charmingly, “Who better than a woman to judge the beauty of another?  We men are easy to please, as you know, and any woman who smiles at us seems like a goddess in our sight.  But a woman is not blinded by such things.  No, her eye is trained to see the slightest flaw in her sisters, or indeed, in herself.  If anyone can say who is the most beautiful among you, it is a woman.”

Elaine felt her jaw drop at this breathtaking piece of chauvinism.  The goddesses, however, seemed to accept this explanation, though the tallest of the three rolled her eyes slightly.

“Choose wisely, my dear,” Nathair murmured in her ear.  “You wouldn’t want to make an enemy.  Wars have been started over less than this. Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed?  I am not the person you have to worry about today, though I shall be quite fascinated to hear your conclusions.  Consider this a gentle reminder that when I call, you must come, and that you had best come quickly.”

He bowed very low to the goddesses, and walked away.

Elaine looked down again at the apple in her hand.  It was easier than meeting the eyes of the three goddesses. This situation felt rather familiar, and she was fairly certain it was not one that had ended well for the mortal involved.  Annoying Nathair was one thing; angering these goddesses was quite another. She bowed her head and waited.

“Do you not know how to speak, mortal?”

The voice was stern and impossibly lovely – it was as though the goddess before her sang rather than spoke.

Elaine kept her gaze lowered.  “I do, my lady,” she replied, her own voice sounding harsh and cracked in her ears by comparison.  “But I have never been in the presence of a goddess before, and I don’t want to be disrespectful.  And… I don’t know what you are likely to find disrespectful.”

A second voice spoke.  Its music was lighter and sweeter than the first – a flute where the first voice was a french horn.   “There is no disrespect in looking at us,” the goddess said. There was laughter in her voice, and a hint of seduction. “Nor in speaking when you are spoken to.”

Elaine looked up, and felt dazzled again.  Her gaze fell immediately back to her hands.  She had always thought she had rather good hands, but her fingers now seemed blunt and stumpy, her skin rough, her knuckles awkwardly knobbled compared to those of the goddesses.

This little visit was not going to do anything for her self-esteem, Elaine realised, even assuming she escaped alive…

… which she might not, since she had no idea who these three goddesses were, and she did not think that they were going to like that.

“There is no disrespect in honesty, nor in admitting ignorance,” the third voice spoke.  It was like a cello, low and pure, but with an edge to it.  “Ask your question.  We will not blame you for it.”

Elaine swallowed, and raised her gaze again.  The three goddesses were still so beautiful that it was hard to look at them.  “I think, if you know that I have questions, you know what my questions are.”

The goddess with a voice like a flute smiled at her cheekily. “You want to know the nature of the man who brought you here.”

The goddess with the french horn voice regarded her steadily.  “You want to know how to get home, and how soon you can escape this place.”

The goddess who sounded like a cello frowned a little.  “You want to know how to escape your fate in these other worlds.”

Elaine sighed, and bowed her head.

The stern goddess spoke again.  “The first step on the pathway to wisdom is recognising what one does not know, and understanding the question.  You must ask, if you wish to be answered.”

Elaine sighed.  “You are all correct, of course. I do want to know how to get home, and the nature of the one you called Moros, and I definitely want to know how to escape what he has planned for me.  But the first question, and the one I hardly dare to ask, is this: who are you, and what do you want of me?”

AthenaThe cello-goddess nodded approvingly.  “We are Goddesses of Olympus.  I am Pallas Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and War, the daughter of Zeus.”

“Wisdom and war go together?”

Athena smiled, sternly.  “Would you prefer war to be governed by stupidity?”

There was no good answer to this question, so Elaine did not make one.

The woman with the french horn voice spoke next.  “I am Hera, Goddess of Marriage and Women, Queen of the Gods and the wife of Zeus.”

Elaine nodded.  “So Athena is your daughter?”

Hera stiffened, and Elaine stepped back, reflexively.

The goddess with the voice like a flute laughed, stepped forward to lay a hand on Elaine’s shoulder. “It’s complicated.  I, for example, am Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, Beauty, and Fertility, and depending on who you ask, I am Zeus’s daughter or his aunt.  And sometimes we’re a little closer than that.  There’s not a lot to else do on Mount Olympus.”  She stepped closer, to whisper in Elaine’s ear. “It’s hard on Hera, though.   Poor thing, she has to be faithful – it’s part of her job description.  And Zeus, between you and me…”

Athena cleared her throat.  “Some of us find plenty to do on Mount Olympus, and elsewhere as well.”

Aphrodite rolled her eyes a little.  “Well, if you like reading, I suppose.  Or weaving.  Some of us are not so dull.”  She flounced back to the others.

Elaine, who had suppressed a reflexive shudder at the mention of weaving, let out a small breath of relief.  There was something uncomfortably sensual about Aphrodite’s voice at close quarters, and Elaine really didn’t swing that way.

“Some of us have morals.” The Queen of the Gods still looked offended.

“And brains,” noted Athena. “And a little discrimination.”  Hera’s approving nod turned into a frown.

Aphrodite rolled her eyes again, looking to Elaine for support.  “Slut shaming.  From the classical era to the modern world, it never grows old.”

“It’s hardly slut shaming,” remarked Hera. “Nobody said you had to marry Hephaestus.  I certainly wasn’t in favour of it.  And I didn’t say a word when you were all over Olympus going on and on about how much you loved a man who was good with his hands.”

Aphrodite winked at Elaine.  “And a toolbelt.  And all those muscles.  Blacksmiths definitely have it going on.”

There was a slight flush on Hera’s face.  “Indeed.  But since you did marry him, I’m hardly going to condone you having affairs all over Olympus, and disrupting everyone else’s marriages as well as your own.”

Elaine was beginning to feel as though she had walked into the middle of a family fight.  She looked down at the apple in her hand again, tracing the Greek letters with a finger.  Kappa, alpha, two lambdas, iota… kalli…?  She frowned, trying to remember the name of the next letter.

“Kallistei.”  Elaine looked up into the grey eyes of Athena.  She was almost becoming accustomed to the goddess’s beauty.  “It means ‘for the fairest’.  May I?”  She reached out for it with a smile.

The conversation between the other two goddesses had stopped, and they were both watching intently.  Elaine closed her fingers more firmly around the apple.  “Fairest, as in most beautiful, or fairest, as in most just?”

Athena frowned a little, and the other two goddesses relaxed.  “Fairest as in the most beautiful.  It’s ridiculous, of course.  Beauty is a social construct, and completely subjective at the best of times. A matter of symmetry and personal preference.”

“And a figure,” added Aphrodite, who certainly had an excellent one.

“And character,” noted Hera.

Aphrodite snorted.  “You keep telling yourself that.”

Athena spoke.  “It is in the eye of the beholder, of course.  But all else being equal, a woman with a lovely form and a fine mind must certainly be considered the most beautiful.”

“Did Cleopatra have a fine mind, then?” wondered Hera.  “In my experience, a fair body is made fairer by the possession of power.  A woman who rules, who has the power to transform lives, to bring justice to her world, is beautiful above all others.”


Aphrodite smiled.  “Neither of you understands the true nature of beauty.  Is not a woman who loves and is beloved more beautiful than any other?  Love is transformative – any bride on her wedding day outshines all other women, no matter how fair or foul she might normally seem.”

“But such beauty is transient,” argued Athena.  “The next day, there is another bride, and she is the most beautiful.”

“Not to her lover,” Aphrodite retorted.  “The bride was merely an example – a woman who is beautiful and loving is made more beautiful by the love that shines from her.”

She looked at Elaine, who found herself beginning to nod reflexively.  She frowned, and shook her head.

Aphrodite laughed a little.  “Of course, I could hardly expect either of you to understand that, given your situations.”

She looked at Elaine, a little pityingly.  “Then again, you’re in the same boat, aren’t you?  Late twenties, not married, no lover on the horizon.  It must be hard for you, especially living in a romantic city like Paris.  I could help you with that, you know.”

Hera regarded Elaine consideringly.  “I wouldn’t listen to her, if I were you.  You are quite lovely, for a mortal.  But that job of yours isn’t doing you any favours.  At everyone’s beck and call all day long.  You need to move up in the world – manage some of the accounts, perhaps.  You certainly have the capacity for it, with a little mentoring.”

Athena looked from Elaine to the other goddesses, and then back to Elaine.  She smiled a little. “You’re an intelligent woman, and wise enough to stay out of our arguments, I think.  And I don’t think anyone gets into a job like yours without enjoying playing with words and writing.  I don’t think you need any help to find love, if that’s what you want, or to improve your career.  But there is a world of things to study and learn and write about – wouldn’t you like to explore more of that?  I could definitely help you with that.”

Elaine looked at each of the goddesses, then back down to the apple, cold and heavy in her hand.  Almost as cold as the realisation of where all this affirmation was coming from.

“Are you trying to bribe me?” she asked, incredulous.

“It’s hardly a bribe…”

“You could make so much more of yourself…”

“Really, that’s rather insulting…”

Elaine shook her head.  “I’m not trying to be insulting.  But I don’t understand why you want the apple so much.  You are all goddesses already.  You are all beautiful.  You rule over some of the most important things in human lives. What difference does an apple make?”

“It’s the principle of the thing.”  Athena smiled rather drily at Elaine.  “You’ve heard how we argue.  We need someone to settle the matter.”

“But with a beauty contest?”  Elaine was incredulous.  “That doesn’t even make sense.  Whose idea was this, anyway?”

“Zeus.” Aphrodite rolled her eyes.  “He said he could not possibly judge – he had a conflict of interest.”

“A fine time for him to develop ethical judgment.” Hera’s voice was long-suffering.  “Though, to be fair, he wasn’t the one who brought the apple into it.  He just didn’t want to make a decision that was bound to offend Aphrodite and Athena.”

“Or you,” suggested Athena, drily.


“My husband is the King of the Gods.  It goes without saying that his wife must be the most beautiful of all goddesses.  He knows that as well as I do.”

“Hence the conflict of interest,” murmured Aphrodite.

Elaine thought several highly impolite thoughts about a King of the Gods who was so afraid of offending two goddesses that he gave that job to a human.

Athena looked at her as though she knew precisely what Elaine was thinking.  Aphrodite giggled, and Hera looked pained.

“I still don’t understand why this is so important to you all,” Elaine said at last.  “It sounds to me as though there is no possible way anyone can gain from this.”

“I think that was pretty much what Eris had in mind when she threw the apple,” said Athena.


“Goddess of Discord,” said Aphrodite.  “I don’t think she’s that bad.”

“You wouldn’t,” muttered Hera.

“Be that as it may,” said Athena, “the fact remains that Elaine has to make a choice.”

“And I suppose that if I make a choice, nobody will hold that choice against me?”

Hera shrugged.  “All choices have consequences.  But having a powerful goddess on your side would be some protection.”

Aphrodite smiled.  “If everyone around you loves you, you will be safe.”

“Wisdom is its own protection.  You would not be at the mercy of the whims of others.”

In other words, she was doomed no matter what choice she made.  So she might as well choose honestly.

Elaine looked from one goddess to the next.  Each, when Elaine looked on her, was the most beautiful woman Elaine had ever seen.  Wisdom shone from Athena’s grey eyes; Hera’s green eyes glowed with power and majesty; Aphrodite’s blue eyes sparkled with sensuality and love.

Elaine looked down at the apple in her hand, and took a deep breath.

“I am not going to judge between you,” she said.

All three goddesses frowned, and Elaine thrilled with fear.  She held up a hand

“You are the embodiments of power, of wisdom and of love – three of the most important things in the world. How can I possibly judge between you on the basis of your looks?  It’s ridiculous and insulting.  Athena – is your face truly more important than your mind?  Or Hera, is yours more important than your power?  Aphrodite – is appearance truly the most important part of love?”

“She has a point,” noted Athena.

“Nonetheless, she must choose.”  Hera’s voice was firm.

“Why?  I can’t possibly win – you’ve made that clear.  Whichever of you I choose, I will be punished by the others.  The Gods themselves are apparently unwilling to take that risk! If my doom is inevitable, then I might as well follow my conscience.  If I choose one of you, then I am accepting the idea that your beauty is really what matters most, and I don’t accept that.  I don’t accept that a woman’s face is more important than her mind, or her heart, or her strength of character, whether she be goddess or mortal.  And even if I did accept it, and did choose, that wouldn’t settle the argument.  You would simply tell yourselves that I am a foolish mortal and continue to fight each other for priority.  But who does that serve?”

Elaine turned, and threw the apple as hard as she could, back towards the orchard whence it came. She heard a thunk and a faint ‘ow’ in the distance, and hoped, very much, that it was Nathair. She turned back to face the angry goddesses, her hands shaking, and was struck by a thought.

“Actually… who does that serve?  Why would someone set you up to compete like this?  It seems a little bizarre.  And pretty sexist, frankly.  Do gods do sexism?”

Athena snorted.  “Gods definitely do sexism.  Have you read any mythology?” She looked thoughtful. “As for who this might serve, Apollo just can’t cope with the fact that I am the Goddess of Wisdom when he is the God of Truth and Prophecy. He’s always badgering Zeus about it.  And of course, Poseidon is still annoyed with me about Medusa.  And Odysseus.  Among other things.  I’m sure there are others who would like me to be distracted elsewhere.”

Aphrodite was still looking past Elaine, into the orchard where the apple had fallen.  She smiled vaguely.  “I’m pretty sure all the Gods like me.  They certainly seem friendly enough.”

Hera rolled her eyes.  “Aphrodite, dear, of course they like you.  You are the embodiment of desire, and Gods are not known for their ascetic natures.  But it can’t be denied that your affairs cause a certain amount of turmoil on Olympus.”

Aphrodite shrugged.  “I’m always nice to them, though.  I can’t imagine they would want me out of the way.  Zeus, on the other hand…”

Hera looked grim.  “If I’m not in Olympus, Zeus is probably pursuing his affairs elsewhere.”

There was a sympathetic silence.

“The apple is a distraction,” decreed Hera.

“A deliberate one,” agreed Athena.

“But so pretty…” began Aphrodite.  The others looked at her, and she sighed.  “Yes, alright, I probably haven’t been doing my best work while we’ve been down here.  The Gods only know what Cupid has been getting up to when I wasn’t around.”

Hera looked at Elaine.  “Thank you for your judgment, Elaine of Paris.  You are right; the apple insults us all – it reduces us to our basest qualities, and sets us against each other.  We shall investigate and discover who is to blame.”

“And ensure that they are properly repaid for their actions,” added Athena.  “The more I think about this, the more I think the Gods have been working against us. Trying to keep us under control.  Look at poor Hebe.  What sort of a job is that?  And that business with Persephone, of course.”

“Demeter is still furious about that.  We should definitely talk to her.” Hera nodded.

“And Artemis.  She has been swearing vengeance on Zeus ever since he transformed her lover into a stag, and put it about that she had killed him deliberately,” added Aphrodite.

“Wait, Acteon was her lover?”  Athena was astonished.

Aphrodite smiled.  “Oh yes.”

Hera frowned.  “I didn’t know that.  Clearly something must be done.  The Gods need to learn that we Goddesses are not so easily insulted.”

Athena brightened.  “I haven’t had a good war in ages.”

“I was thinking something more along the lines of Lysistrata…” suggested Hera.

Aphrodite shot Hera a dirty look, and she smiled ironically.  “It was effective.  You should be happy to know that.  The whole play is a demonstration of your power.”

Aphrodite wrinkled her nose.  “I suppose so, but it’s hardly fun.”

Athena smiled.  “The fun part is the bit where we bring the Gods to their knees.”

Aphrodite giggled, and Hera held up one hand.   “Enough, my dears.  We can discuss our strategy later.  But first, we should thank our guest, and see her on her way.”

She gestured with her right hand, and a door appeared in the air.

“Go with our blessing, Elaine of Paris.”


The two other goddesses echoed her words.  Elaine bowed her head in thanks, and turned to go.


Athena’s voice stopped her before she could reach the door.  She turned back.

“You sought knowledge from us.  Ask, now, and we shall answer you.”

Elaine bowed her head gratefully. “Then, if you would, could you tell me more about Nathair, or – what did you call him?”

Hera regarded her gravely.  “Moros.  He is a son of Nyx, or so he calls himself here.  He has other names elsewhere.  His true name is Ankou, and he is the one who drives mortals to their final fate.”

Elaine felt blood drain from her cheeks.  She swallowed.  “I see.  Is there any way I can escape him?”

Aphrodite looked concerned.  “How did you first encounter him?”

“I walked through a doorway that shouldn’t have been there, into a garden.  He manipulated me into eating a piece of fruit, and told me I would have to return when he called.”

Athena’s grey eyes were full of regret.  “I am sorry.  That is a strong binding, and we cannot break it.  But as long as you continue to solve his riddles, and to find the doorway home, he cannot destroy you.”

Elaine swallowed again.  This was not comforting.

Hera spoke again.  “Take comfort from this: you have defeated him four times now, and names have power; there is no reason to suppose that you will not defeat him again.”

Athena spoke next.  “Take comfort from this: while he may deceive you in many ways, he cannot tell a direct lie to you without losing his power.  Pay attention to his words, ignore his implications and you will prevail.”

Aphrodite took her hand.  “Take comfort from this: you have our blessing and we wish you well.  That counts for something, even in the shadow worlds you will visit.”  She drew a ring from her finger and gave it to Elaine. It was gold, and shaped like a swan.  “Wear this, on your finger, or in your pocket, or around your neck.  And when your doom seems inescapable, drop it on the ground, and help will come.”

She curled Elaine’s fingers around the ring, turned her around, and pushed her gently through the now open door into the Metro.  There was a squeal of railway wheels as the train drew up at the station, but Elaine did not move.  Her handbag was heavy on her shoulder, and her shoes heavy on her feet.

The only light part of her was the ring on her index finger, which looked like a swan, but weighed nothing at all.

She stood for a long time on the platform, watching the trains come and go, then turned, and climbed up the Metro stairs.

It was the long way around, but today, she was going to take the bus.


Goddesses and Golden Doors

Porte Dorée, which opened in 1931, is in the 12th arondissement, near the border of the Bois de Vincennes and the Parc Zoologique.  Doré actually means golden, but depending on who you ask, the Métro station actually got its name from a gate in the old Thiers wall, or from a reduction of the phrase ‘porte de l’orée du bois‘ (gate at the edge of the wood).  Alternatively, it may have been named for the golden statue of Athena that now graces the fountain right by the entrance to the station.

Given the presence of Athena and all that gold, I couldn’t resist having a play with the story of the Judgement of Paris.  For those unfamiliar with the story, Paris, a Prince of Troy, is asked to judge which of the three Goddesses is the most beautiful.  Hera offers him power, Athena offers him wisdom, and Aphrodite offers him the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife, who happened to be married to the King of Sparta at the time, but never mind that.  Paris chose Aphrodite, who helped him elope with Helen of Sparta, thus provoking the Trojan War. Oops.  (As far as I can tell, the moral of most Greek myths is ‘avoid at all costs the attention of the Gods’.  Or possibly ‘most heroes are stupid’.  Both apply here.)

Incidentally, while there are several possible etymologies for the name of the city of Paris, there is a story that claims that the area was settled by the Trojans after the fall of Troy, and that this group of people became the Parisii, taking their name from Troy’s dimmest Prince.  So there’s another little Paris connection for you.

This is the fourth story featuring Elaine. Her story started in The Garden Door and continued in The Hair Loom and Between the Seams. There are many, many other gates and doors in the Paris Métro, so you may be certain you will be seeing her again.  The character we have known as Nathair will continue to use a variety of names depending on the story he is in, but Ankou is his true name.  You will learn more about him as the stories continue, but if you have read much Breton mythology, you will have some idea where this is going.  (Hint: nowhere good)

I have used four pictures to illustrate this story, all in the public domain.  Hera is illustrated with a painting by R.F. Jehanne from 1913, called ‘The Peacock Complaining to Juno’, which is in the public domain and available from Wikimedia Commons. Aphrodite is, of course, ‘The Birth of Venus’ by Botticelli, also available from Wikimedia.  Athena is illustrated by a fragment from a painting by Rubens, called ‘Hercules and Minerva expelling Mars’.  Finally, I included François-Xavier Fabré’s painting of ‘The Judgment of Paris’ (also available on Wikimedia Commons), mostly because I like the way Athena seems to be flinging up her hands in exasperation with Paris, while Hera is almost, but not quite, giving him the finger.

If you want a soundtrack with your somewhat subversive mythology, I highly recommend the amazing 1997 French production of Orphee aux Enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld), which is available on YouTube here.  It’s very funny and silly (there are even subtitles), and I may just possibly have included a reference to it in this story…


Michel Bizot
fleur8left Porte Dorée
fleur8right Porte de Charenton

2 thoughts on “Porte Dorée

    1. Catherine Post author

      Thanks so much, Christine! I always feel like I’m going out on a limb with these stories (a quite explicitly feminist limb in this case), so I’m very glad you enjoy them.


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