I read these from True Pleasures by Lucinda Holdforth:
"The famous French 'Salon', the best school of talk and of ideas that the modern world has known, was based on the belief that the most stimulating conversation in the world is between intelligent men and women who see each other often enough to be on terms of rank and easy friendship."
What does "to be on terms of rank" mean? You have equal social standing.
"When an Australian tells you you're a Francophile, it's generally less an observation, more an accusation. ... Pointless to say: but I don't love France, I only love Paris. This only increases the crime, suggesting an atrocious refinement of decadence."
What is "an atrocious refinement of decadence"? A rather rude suggestion that the Australians regard refined culture as decadent [ie - they are concerned primarily with non-intellectual matters]
Student or Learner