Page 454. " he would ride in on his mobylette "
Motobecane Mobylette
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMotobecane Mobylette - Credit: Stahlkocher

The Mobylette, or 'Moby', was a moped made by Motobécane and launched in 1949.

The little vehicle was at the height of its success in the 1970s, but production finally ceased in 1997.

The term is now used to refer to mopeds in general.

Page 455. " Reading Nabokov's Ada "

Ada is Vladimir Nabokov's longest novel. It was met with mixed reactions upon publication in 1969.

The book tells the story of Van Veen's love for Ada, his sister.  Meeting as cousins (or so they thought) at a young age, the pair fall into a sexual relationship and only later discover the true nature of their familial link. Van's thoughts are revealed through his memoirs, later annotated by both him and his sister.

Nabokov is well known for his short stories, as well as his English language novels such as Lolita (1955), another controversial story.

Vladimir Nabokov on Book Drum

 

Page 461. " steeply angled mansard roofs "

The Château de Dampierre, Dampierre-en-Yvelines, France, garden facade
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Château de Dampierre, Dampierre-en-Yvelines, France, garden facade - Credit: Patrick Giraud (aka Calips at fr.wikipedia
The mansard, or French roof, was established in the 17th century by François Mansart, and became very popular during the Second French Empire in the mid-19th century.

Mansards have two slopes to each side, with the lower slope being the steeper.  The steep pitch, coupled with dormer windows, allows the roof to be used for living space.

Page 461. " Aubusson rugs on glossy parquet "
Public Domain"Fables de La Fontaine" (circa 1775-1780), an Aubusson tapestry designed by Jean-Baptiste Oudry, now in the Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris. - Credit: Daderot

The town of Aubusson in central France has been renowned for its tapestry and carpets since the 14th century.