Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Paris, Wednesday, September 22, 2011

The check-in process at RDU was rapid and easy, the two-hour wait for departure was quiet and comfortable - no background music and the CNN TV loudspeakers were relatively quiet.  The trip on Delta from RDU to ATL left a few minutes ahead of schedule and arrived in ATL ahead of schedule.  The wheel chair for Colette arrived quickly and we were off from terminal B to Terminal E at a dead run.  We were among the first passengers in the large and uninspired waiting room, no nearby coffee or food available, and again the almost two hour wait was relatively comfortable.  We asked for pre-board so when the departure was announced we were the first to board and to get settled before the crowd arrived.

Our seats were two abreast just behind an emergency exit - row 22 F & G, and the toilets were just ahead. By one row.  As the passengers came onboard the cabin crew turned on the music, ghastly noise in a minor key sung by woman with no voice to speak of in a minor key.  We complained to the flight attendant who said “other don’t mind it.”  The passenger next to us, in front of us and behind called out in chorus “We don’t like it.”

The flight was scheduled to leave at 8:35 PM, and we left about 10 or 15 minutes before that.  When cruising speed reached dinner was served followed by the drinks.  The dinner was approximately the same as the last trip we had on Delta, a choice of chicken or pasta.  Not bad, uninspired but it was hot.

In-flight TV was too far away to be seen, so Colette curled up and went to sleep, I read a little then pulled on a mask and also fell asleep.  Eventually breakfast was served, an egg scrambled with cheese and green pepper, very well warmed, but not very good.  We landed at Charles de Gaulle 40 minutes ahead of schedule it took more than 10 minutes on the ground before the plane was parked at its gate, and, again, Colette’s wheel chair was waiting at the door of the airplane.   Our pusher loaded Colette’s little wheeled overnight case under the chair, Colette took my shoulder bag with the laptop in it on her lap, and off we went. 

For once we were relatively close to the central terminal, our luggage arrived, oh happiness! Among the first, and the wheel pusher had us in a taxi and on our way at 12 noon instead of 12:30 PM or 1 PM as we had expected.  Traffic into Paris was relatively light and we were at the apartment in about 40 minutes and Euros 50.

Saturday,  September 25, 2011

Since our arrival on Wednesday the excitement in our lives on our return to Paris includes housecleaning, TV, cell phones, laptop WIFI and a dishwasher.  The housecleaning  is a result of the renovation work going on in the apartment above us.  It is owned by a little old lady who permitted her big, fat, unpleasant movie projectionist son to live there with who ever was his current live in girl friend.  Our early problems with him when we moved in in 1998 was the volume of rock and roll and his then girl friend who vacuumed at midnight wearing what sounded like high heeled shoes and an occasionally barking dog.  As these problems diminished as Colette harassed them into turning down the volume, quieting the dog, changing girl friends (the new one continued vacuuming at midnight wearing high-heeled shoes) new ones developed - more serious ones.  A leak developed in his kitchen that he refused to have corrected.  The property management company was ineffective in its intervention and the leak became more pervasive.  Eventually part of the kitchen and bathroom ceiling began falling and rot developed in the beams.

One of the important charms of our little apartment is the beams.  When the building was built - and we do not know where, the beams were hand carved from hardwood trees with dulls cutting instruments and they show it.  As a result of the water damage one had to be replaced.  The mother evidently decided that sonny should fend for himself and he was relocated (with girl friend) and the mother has let a contract to modernize the apartment and to sell it. A lot of the work involves drilling something and, as result, bits and pieces of the century’s old plaster ceiling showers down into the three room.  On top of that problem major plumbing work was done in the courtyard this last winter.  Happily we were not here!  The original plumbing under the court yard, probably dating from mid-1800’s, had to be dug up and replaced and this involved cutting a channel through the cement paving.  Our friend and neighbor was kind enough to do an initial cleaning up of our apartment with our little vacuum broom.  From his description it was not comparable to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the dust fall on Pompeii and Herculaneum but it was significant.  Even after the valiant efforts of Ricardo there is still plenty of dust for us to play with and to keep us from doing other more important things, like resting from the trip.

The TV does not work.  It took passive detective work to learn that Paris has been rewired and if you do not have cable - we did not - we need a little black box.  This was not easy and involved a visit to a nearby Darty, theFrench equivalent to Lowe’s without lumber and with electronics where our problem got no sympathy whatsoever.  I took our friendly bus 75 to one of our favorite stores, Bazaar de l’Hotel de Ville, VHV to the initiated, escalators to the 5th floor where, after three interviews with reasonably sympathetic sales persons I learned that what we needed was alternate TNT.  Sorry, we don’t have any and none are expected until next week, perhaps, try another store such as Darty or FNAC.  Darty was out of the question so I went to FNAC is the Forum.  This involved taking the escalator down 5 flights, three blocks on the Rue de Rivoli, then a right-hand turn and about 4 blocks through throngs of tourists to the Art Deco area of Le Forum which is now being torn down.

Into the Forum, underground, I found FNAC where every teenager of Paris was buying CD’s.  After inquiries and another escalator ride up one floor I found the TV show area where the first inquiry lead to a second, and the second inquiry lead back to the first, an Alternate TNT was located, Euro 24.  By this time my aged back was aching.  I found my way out, not easy, located an exit sign and followed it to fresh air and sunshine.  I passed the Beaubourg Museum, crossed rue de Beaubourg, another block to rue du Temple where I was beckoned by a friendly café where I collapsed and order a glass of red wine (Rhone) to rest.

After a glass of wine I thought I could manage the walk home and I found my way to the apartment 30 minutes later.

Now to install the Alternate TNT.  It was easy, the directions were clear, and the TV still does not function.  Unhappily there is no little shop where such things can be repaired!

The dishwasher has to have a visit by a qualified mechanical psychotherapist as after prolonged absence, it will not work.  It has to have it front removed, various pieces pulled and pushed before it will work again.  So we wash by hand.

The Paris-wide free WIFI is still in place but I cannot get into it and I can’t find anyone to help.  I have renewed my membership in Espace Public Nurmerique (EPN) but the person I need to see is not there.  So I cannot use my laptop in the apartment, and the EN is opened only during the week, so week-ends I am forced to come to the nearest café, the Café Leopard, and spend Euro 5.20 for a glass of red wine, and use its WIFI.  The drawback here is the Paris addition to really awful American music but I have found a corner where it is less loud.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

First impressions after an absence of 10 months are the visible numbers of what appears to be public works programs.  Driving in from the airport we passed a wonderful little park, our first sight of Paris and traffic jams.  However at lunch time the traffic is not as bad as during the early hours of the morning commute.  But at the cross streets traffic moves slowly and to the right a corner of the park has become a heavy equipment depot and supply center.  Large earth moving machines and stack of long and big pipe that are destined boo be buried in the appropriate holes at regular intervals around which traffic winds its way.  The sewage system of Paris is entering at least is second century of use and it is now being replaced.  20 minutes later we are circling the Place de la Republique and then into rue du Temple and a right in to rue de N.D. de Nazareth and home.

No public works programs here but later I walk back to the Place de la Republique to get my cell phone turned on and find that along the side walk wide and deep ditches reveal large cables, small cables, mostly black and large diameter orange ones that are a common conduit for many smaller cables. 

I watched in wonder as the operator of a small backhoe picked up a very large sack by one tang of his fork to open the mouth of the huge sack wider.  Here dirt is not piled on the side of the hole, it is put in these big sacks and carried off somewhere for storage.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The week-end went quickly.  Saturday afternoon I took my laptop to the Café Leonard and wrote the above and drank a glass of red (Rhone) wine.  Colette had purchase a frozen dinner at Mr. Picard’s shop (one of more than 200 spread across France) so preparing dinner was evening.  We still do not have television so I read a mystery set in the Renaissance in Rome and Colette looked at back copies of Antiquaties.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

After breakfast I pulled out the 2007 Paris yellow pages looked for Television, Arrondisement 3, and found a repair person.  First number dialed had been discontinued, and second number had an answer.  We discussed my problem and he man seemed to understand what our problem is, we fixed a time for this afternoon, cost of the house call (E35), and we hope that the situation will be resolved.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Paris 2004

Paris 2004

Letter from Paris, No. 1

Wednesday, April 28, 2004, as the romantic sound of the poubel, the very efficient garbage service of Paris underneath our windows, the flashing light on the top of the truck in my eyes, our first full day in Paris draws to a close.  We arrived a week ago after a difficult change of planes in Philadelphia, running from the C terminal to the new International Terminal and - against all odds - two breathless senior citizens were boarded before the doors closed, and we were en route.

On arrival in Paris, and against all odds, our suitcase did arrive, the last two, and then we were greeted by the “April in Paris” cold, heavy rain.  Good luck, we had a taxi driver, a charming woman, neatly coiffed, who knew our section of Paris.

The next day we took a taxi back to Charles de Gaulle Airport and a short flight to Rome.  We were looking forward to a reunion with dear friends that we had known in Saigon and had last seen in New York when Klaus was at the German Mission to the United Nations.

From Paris to Rome via Alitalia was pleasant, an excellent cold lunch was served and, interestingly enough, the three flight attendants were men not the accustomed gorgeous Italian young ladies.  On arrival our suitcase came quickly and we looked for taxis. 

We were accosted civilly several times by men in attired in black suits and white shirts and black ties offering cut rate fare to Rome, Euro 15 each.  We were tired of walking so we agreed, and followed our new guide to his little bus, already packed with luggage and other passengers.  His English was better than my Italian, he knew the neighborhood where we were going and off we went.  So for Euro 30 plus a Euro 5 tip we got quickly to our destination.  The normal fare would be Euro 45 or more.  Taking his card, we promised to call him for the return trip to the airport.  Moreno Perucci, Limousine e Minibus, tel 338 2820 554.

With the exception of Monday morning, during our stay the sky in Rome was as grey as Paris, and rain showers were frequent.

We arrived at Klaus and Angelica’s house in about 20 minutes.  Set in a very large garden behind walls, it is just outside the walls of Rome at the     Gate.  Angelica does not drive in Rome so she has learned to ride the city bus system to the surprise of many of her German, Italian and other expatriate friends.  Klaus was out-of-town for the day but would join us later at the German Cultural Center where an amateur jazz group from Berlin would be playing with food and drink accompanying it. 

Angelica ordered a taxi to take us into town and while the typical Roman taxi driver went with verve, unnerving us not by his speed or his audacity, normal in Rome, but his attention to the GPS screen in front of him.  While we caught up on each other’s news, children, and travel, Angelica let drop that the next time we came to Europe they would be in Paris!  Klaus had accepted a transfer. and they would move in July.  We expressed delight, of course, as we would be back in the fall, but disappointment as we were looking forward to another visit to Rome soon.

Saturday afternoon we had planned to take a bus to downtown Rome and look for Bramanti’s Tempietto.  Klaus volunteered to drive us there.  He had grown up in Rome, had most of his primarily school education there, where he had also learned to drive.  He had served there after his tour in Saigon, so obviously knows Rome and speaks Italian as a native.  The trip up to the Tempietto was challenging in a heavy rain and, as we turned into the court yard the skies really opened up and we were deluged by a heavy fall of large hail.  We decided to give up on sightseeing that day and return to the house where Klaus’ wife, Angelica, offered welcomed refreshments.

Sunday Klaus drove us to Ostia Antica.  Under a grey sky and cold breeze we explored the ruins.  It was a fascinating look into the life and times of a commercial port town in early Christian Rome.  Then on to lunch across the road from the fishing port at the L’Orologia di Fiumicino, via della Torre Clementina, 114, 00054 Roma, tel. 066505251, closed Wednesdays.

It is a very small restaurant where Klaus is well known; all four tables were filled, one with a family of 12.  Colette and I had tagliatelli with a mix of mussels and langoutines in their shells, and the tagliatelli had bits of fish and shrimp. Klaus had a salad of     and       .  The first course was followed by a whole baked sea bass, accompanied by a light, chilled white wine.

However, on Monday, the day before our departure we took the city bus into town and we had a lovely morning permitting us to renew our acquaintances with the Piazza Novena, the Pantheon, and trudging up a hill, the Scuderie del Quirinale, the wonderful art gallery across the top of the hill from the offices of the president of Italy, to see an exhibition of some Velasquez, Benin, and others on loan from El Pardon, London, Paris and Budapest.  Occasionally as our needs we required, I tried what is left of my Italian on policemen or innocent passersby and, with one exception, a lady with a tiny baby, all had enough English to solve our problem.

After the Pantheon, tired, hungry, we crossed the Corso and into a little street that we hoped would lead to the Scedure di Quirinale.  A few steps, then to the right, and we nearly tripped over two neat little tables with chairs.  We went inside the little bar, the sandwiches looked good, as they always do in Rome.  We selected two different ones, the barman put them in a grill, and after we sat down, he brought them to us.  Delicious, with a bottle of water, followed by a black coffee, we then had to the courage to continue.  The little bar is Wine Café al Corson, Vicolo Sciarra, 60 -00186 (angele via del Corso).

Now back in Paris, not much warmer than Rome, and we are faced with the housekeeping problems left over from a nephew who lived in our pied a terre for the last school year.  He did not have many housekeeping skills.  The telephone answering machine had to be replaced, the telephone does not work quite right, so we make trips to renew batteries.

However, our pied a terre, actually a pied on the first floor, is comfortable.  Built about 1850 +/-, probably as lower-income rental properties, with dubious plumbing and a water pipe on the landing, it has charm.  The previous owner chopped out the plaster in the roof to divulge the beams, some of them badly eaten by what ever bugs eat beams nominally covered in plaster.  The kitchen ceiling is a disaster since a long, slow leak from the kitchen above it has left stains, hanging bits of plaster, and each morning finds bits of and pieces on the floor.  A year ago at the annual meeting of the condo association it was agreed and promised that repairs would be made by the association; it has not be done yet.

What we call our section of Paris is not what most of you know from your several trips here.  We live in a working class neighborhood in the third arrondisement.  Our zip code is Paris 75003.  Known as the marais, it is one of the oldest parts of Paris.  Our apartment is located on rue de la Notre Dame de Nazareth, abbreviated as rue de la ND de Nazareth.  Its great advantage is we are equal distance from three Metro (subway) stations, Place de la Republique, Temple, and Arts et Metier.  It is a 10-15 minute walk from here to the Picasso Museum, to the Beaubourg Museum, and five minutes more to my favorite Paris department store, the Bazar de l’Hotel de Ville, and then the Seine.

Our neighborhood is very mixed.  The shops on the Rue de ND de Nazareth are primarily wholesale dealers in leather work and sport fashions.  The shopkeepers are Algerian, Tunisian, and Jewish.  Halfway between our apartment and the rue du Temple is one of the larger synagogues of Paris.   We have only one bistro, on the corner of our street and rue Volta, two doors to the left.  Happily for us, it is open only during the week from 8 AM to 6 PM so while it is busy during the day, evenings and weekends it is quiet.

On the corner of rue Volta and Rue de Vertbois is a restaurant, Le Clos de Vertbois, of which we have heard very good reports.  On the other side of the street is an Argentinean steakhouse that has good business, and to its right is Ami Louis, one of the more expensive restaurants of Paris.  When we are here and Chirac brings his friend Bill Clinton there to dinner, our neighborhood is sealed off from the outside world.

Of our neighbors, the most important of which is, of course, the boulanger.  Originally Tunisian, like so many of our neighbors, he has fresh bread four or five times a day, baguettes are the first in demand.  He also has some patisserie, and now soft, cold drinks.  For the occasional urgent purchase of salad, potatoes, milk, even a bottle of wine the Tunisian to the left on rue Vertbois is always glad to see us and, after ceremonial greetings, is ready to help us. 

Our apartment is small, very small.  The kitchen has a window, an antique table in front of it, a small refrigerator sitting in a support so we do not have to get on our hands and knees to look for some important element of our dinner, and a wonderful stove.  The stove has three gas burners, one electric burner, an oven with an electric, still unused rotisserie and, wonder of wonders, in the very bottom a very efficient little dish washer.  There is no room for a laundry machine in the kitchen, much less a dryer.

Washing clothes and household linens in no problem for the coin-operated washing place is just around the corner off rue Volta.  Colette puts everything in little trolley (Thrift Shop, Chapel Hill) and she is there in about three minutes.  One load costs Euro 3.50, and the dryer Euro 1.50. When she returns she always has observations to share about the other customers.  Once there were about five large young men and women trying to put all their dirty clothes in an oversized washer.  They asked Colette’s advice in broken French; she assisted them and learned they were from Georgia, in Russia, not the U.S.

In a little room in the back of the coin-operated washing machines is a cubby hole where a woman operates a little sewing business.  Recently Colette was there when a young man arrived to have a pair of slacks shortened.  With little awareness that he was not alone, he took off one pair, pulled on the new ones, and the sewing lady pinned him up and asked Colette’s advice on the length.  The young man then pulled off the new pair, put on the others, and left.

We cannot tell you much about the restaurants of Paris.  Lunch, at home, is usually a sandwich made from half a baguette, split in half, with excellent mayonnaise that comes in a tube that has a little Dijon mustard mixed in, and a slice of ham.  Each trip we plan an evening out but we have yet to make it.  We would like to try Le Clos de Vertbois but it does not start serving until after 8 p.m.  But after an afternoon outside, at a museum, window shopping, household errands, we are ready to eat at our normal dinner time, 7 p.m.  Since we are on vacation Colette resists cooking in our very little kitchen so sometime during the day we make a stop at Monoprix or, preferably, Picard, to see what frozen dinner meets our imagination.

Picard is a chain of stores throughout France that sells only frozen foods including veggies, fish, meats, snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and meals.  Frankly there is nothing comparable to it in the US.  I wish I could send you a copy of its catalog (see Picard.fr).  At Monoprix, an all purpose chain found throughout France, the frozen food section contains meals prepared using recipes of well known chefs.  Once again the choice is enormous and decision making is difficult.

When we need anything for the apartment or if we shop for food, in addition to Monoprix, there are several alternatives.  The first choice is the rue de Bretagne; there are several excellent butchers, the Marché des Enfants-Rouges.fr, a hardware store (quinquillerie), boulangerie and pastisserie, a very refined wine store, and don’t forget florists and other miscellany plus, of course, bistros, and a famous restaurant specializing in Tunisian couscous.

But speaking of food, no trip to France is complete without a visit to one of the two famous shops on the Place de la Madeleine.  Our favorite used to be Fauchon that is now upscale complete with a doorman.  However, walk by it and tourists are usually looking through the windows at the prepared dishes beautifully presented.  Fauchon has gone upscale with a very large picture of a young lady stretched at roof level, a doorman at the curb but it has lost the clubby feeling that made it so welcoming.

We have abandoned Fachon in favor of Hediard (see Hediard.fr), on the other side of the Church of Madeleine, very old world atmosphere, and a wonderful choice of anything that may be important to you: Wines, coffees, spices, canned exotica and, upstairs, a restaurant..  Of course it also has a doorman to help you in and out of your chauffeured car.  We arrive by foot from the Metro.  The service is personal and patient.

Travel in Paris outside of rush hours is easy.  The Metro has been renovated and its cars are bright and comfortable.  The bus system is more sophisticated but I have finally learned to use it between certain points, but traffic is heavy so it sometimes takes twice as long as the Metro.

Two of the Metro lines are extraordinary.  Line No. 1 from La Defense to the Chateau de Vincennes, crosses Paris.  The cars have large windows, comfortable seats, and there is no division between cars so you can see the length of the train.  The newest line is from Madeleine to the new National Library and it is quite extraordinary.  Completely automated, the doors open and close without your assistance, and again there is no division between cars so you can see the full length.  The stations are cheerful, and that at the Botanic Gardens has great plants.

Friday, May 7th, I took the Metro to the Chateau de Vincennes with one change at Nation, and arrived at the Chateau de Vincennes in about 20 minutes.  When I returned I took the bus, also one ticket direct to the Place de la Republique, 45 minutes.  I was fortunate to have a seat for most of the trip the bus was very crowded.

The Metro and bus system tickets cost Euro 1 per ride.  On the Metro you can change trains (Correspondence) at no extra cost.  With the bus system there is no transfers.

One of my ongoing projects is documenting the life of a French artist by the name of Jean Launois (1898-1942).  His father was a cousin of Colette, and Colette inherited a number of his drawings and watercolors.  When I am in Paris I try to continue the pursuit of details, not very easy, as Launois’s life is not that well documented although his pictures are relatively well known.

I am now well adapt at using the libraries and archives of Paris.  I have permanent cards to several of them.  I start at the little library on the 4th floor of the Mairie of the Third Arrondissement, where we live.  It is, of course, a branch of the main Paris library and although very small has good basic reference works, a collection of murder mysteries mostly translated from the English and American, and shelves of French novels and classics.  To get a card there you need proof that you are a resident of Paris which is done by providing a gas or electric bill with your name on it, and identity card, in my case a passport.  The librarians there have been very helpful in obtaining books through interlibrary loan and, on two occasions I have crossed Paris to use materials in other branches.

The National Archives in Paris, the National Library (the Mitterrand Library), and the Archives and the Bibliotheque of the Armee de la Terre at the Chateau de Vincennes is not quite the same nut.  There you present yourself, you explain your purpose, you produce identity, and you are given a card.  The nest step is to meet with a research advisor to begin the research process.  At the National Archives the documents are computerized; when your document has been identified you are given a paper with its identification on it, and you proceed upstairs where you check in, leaving coats, briefcases in a locker, then you are given a desk, you turn in your paper with the research information on it, and you sit at your desk and wait.  It can take anything from half and hour to a day, but you can leave and return, check in and out.

At the National Archives the box I was handed turned out to be a collection of correspondence from the Director of the Museum of the Palace of Luxembourg, from almost the beginning of the20th C.  Here were the original documents itemizing the purchase of pictures by the museum, and letters from him about his work.

Letter from Paris No. 2

The difficulty of a short trip to any destination, known or unknown is meeting your expectations and those of friends and family.  In our case this problem is amplified by distance.  Colette’s nieces live, respectively, in the south (Montpelier) and the west (Brittany).  My friends are similarly dispersed.  Once back in Paris we made telephone calls to set up our different itineraries.

My friend Brigitte and her brother, Gilles, have retired to the center of France in a little, very little, village of Meaulne. Brigitte’s family had a garage business in Bangui, Central African Republic where I was at the embassy from 1967 – 1969.  Another friend of the same period is Jean-Francois, now a retired General of the French Medical Corps and he lives in Brittany.  We agreed to meet in Les Sables d’Olonne, a fishing port, resort area, and a center for international sailing races.  The purpose of meeting there was to see and exhibit of drawings and paintings by my artist, Jean Launois.  To add to the complications, the niece of Jean Launois, Brigitte Launois Demay was to meet me at the exhibit where I would say goodbye to my other friends and leave with Brigitte Launois Demay for a two day visit with her at her home in Longeves, near Niort.

Friday, April 30, 2002

As part of our preparations for our trips, Colette to the south of France, me to the center of France, we prepared sandwiches, half a baguette with ham and mache for green.

I walked with Colette to the bus stop on rue du Temple where she took the No. 20 to the Gare de Lyon.  I returned home, had a cup of instant coffee, then closed the apartment and walked up to the Place de La Republique to take the Metro to the Gare de l’Austerlitz.  Just before the Seine the Metro surfaces and takes to the air past the new and awful Ministry of Finance building, across a bridge, to one of the few above ground metro stations. Pulling my little suitcase on wheels behind me I descended to ground level, followed the signs and entered the Gare d’Austerlitz, one of the least preposing of the railroad stations in Paris, now undergoing massive rehabilitation to brighten it up.  Austerlitz is smaller than most of the stations of Paris.  But it does not offer the variety of the others where there are shops, café/bars, ample seating areas and that make waiting for a train in Paris pleasant. 

My train to St. Amand Montrond was an old one, not a TGV (train de grand vitesse).  The trip was pleasant, and the French country side was in contrasting colors of green, gold and brown.  The green, newly sprouting fields of wheat, corn, or turnips (I guess!); the gold of the ripen rape awaiting harvest; and the brown the tilled, but not yet planted fields. 

I enjoyed my sandwich as we sped toward our destination, Bourges.  Coffee was sold from a cart; at Bourges the train was broken up and the part of the train in which I was a passenger tacked onto another electric engine destined for Montlucon.  French trains travel at high speeds, even the old ones, but stop only for two minutes to embark and disembark passengers.  I stepped down from the train, turn to give a hand to a spry lady even older than I am, and turned to find Brigitte and Gilles waiting for me, with Jeep, their West Highland Terrier.

From the time I first became acquainted with Brigitte and Gilles, their parents and cousins in Bangui, they were and continue to be the most avid approvers of all things Americans imaginable.  Especially automobiles.  In Bangui their company represented International Harvester.  They had a Buick in France for their vacation and until recently Brigitte had a Dodge Tourister modified to burn liquid petroleum, the same as we use for our bbq’s as well as the usual gas, not that unusual in France. Brigitte assures me we do this in the US but I have never seen it.  Before retiring they had a Volvo marine engine agency in the south of France; as part of their retirement they sacrificed the Dodge for a new diesel Volvo station wagon. 

Their very pleasant three bedroom cottage would bed welcomed anywhere in the US particularly with its French doors from the two bedrooms, dining room and living room that face the little patio, and overlook a field.

Nearby is the home of Alain Fournier who wrote Le grand Meaulnes, a heavily romantic novel set in the years before WWI.  Alain Fournier died in action but his novel lives on.

The next three days included visits to the Abbaye de Noirlac, the Chateau of Meillant, George (without an s) Sand’s home, the Chateau de Nohant, the exterior of the Chateau of St. Armand Montrond, and last but not least the wonderful Palace of Jacques Coeur in Bourges.

Lets talk food for a moment.  All French women and French men are not wonderful cooks.  I’ve known some who could boil water but burn it.  Brigitte is an exceptionally good cook and her moules frites were wonderful.  Moules are, of course, mussels, cooked rapidly.  She cooks them twice, the first time to drain the salt water from them, which she saves; the second time with butter, white wine, then adds the water from the first cooking and a little cream, and it is wonderful.  Her French fries (produced by an American company in France, frozen: you cannot find the equivalent in the US) are excellent; she does them in an Italian deep-fat fryer and it does the work and does it well.  A second meal was wild salmon cooked in “pappiote.”  I’ll call and get the details.  It was very well done, the salmon succulent, not too fishy, and the little shrimp added color and taste contrast.

Tuesday morning we were up early, had a typical French breakfast of coffee, bread and butter (croissants are for the occasional Sunday extravagance), and were in the car and on our way by 6:45 AM.  The weather was not beautiful, cloudy, drippy, but it did not distract from the scenery.  We were driving west toward the Atlantic through the Bourbon country of France and the chateaux and forts are still visible at close hand, as are Roman period churches.  So much to see and not time to!

By 11:00 AM we were lost in darkest downtown Les Sables d’Olonne, but we did eventually find Jean-Francois, his miniature black poodle sitting at his side.  Jean-Francois had a cap, a shirt open at the neck and sleeves rolled up to his elbows.  He did not look the part of a distinguished, retired, medical General of the French Army.  He said he was not cold, but Brigitte, Gilles and I were glad to have our waterproof jackets against the fresh and strong breeze, with some light rain.  I would have welcomed another layer. 

Jean-Francois was already checked into the two-star Hotel de Commerce, 8, rue Hoche, 95100 Les Sables d’Olonne, tel. 02 51 32 02 80.  Brigitte and Gilles check in and we were ready for lunch.  With some confusion, cars and dogs were sorted out, and we set out for the port for lunch. The choice of restaurants was difficult, there were many, but the Hotel  Restaurant du Port, 14, Quai Garnier, 95100 Les Sables d’Olonne, tel. 01 51 32 08 47, was a happy solutions. Brigitte had a platter of oysters, coquillages, (little shell fish, three different types), and langoustines.  What she did not finish, we did.  Gilles and I had oysters, followed by tagliatelli with shellfish and langoustines, and Jean-François had a very large serving of oysters followed by stuffed ray. Les Sables d’Olonne is a fishing port, a summer resort, and a year around sailing port for the serious.

After lunch back into the car to drive to Le Musee de l’Abbaye de la Sainte-Croix where an exhibit of Jean Launois’ water colors of his Algeria period were hung; there were also cases with interesting familyj documentation. 

As planned, our cousin Brigitte Launois Demay met me there as scheduled, and after introductions, mutual interests were notified and the next half hour was a discussion of life in Algeria in 1942 where Brigitte’s mother and her four children spent the war years.  Jean –Francois was there as a young intern.

Brigitte and I said our goodbyes and left to drive to her home an hour away from the coast.  After a family party the next day, Brigitte drove me to Niort where I took the TGV back to Paris.

Saturday, May 8, 2004, Buy new umbrella, E 7.5, Musee National Medieval de Cluny, tapisserie, La dame a l’icorne, lunch at Pizza la Sirena, 73, boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris, Pizza au feu de bois, tagliatelli avec langoustines, mussels, very good.  Driving rain.  We replaced umbrellas!  Dinner with Jean Curtil, Sarkosy, taxi home in the rain.

Monday, May 10, 2004

9 PM, home from the library of the Armee de la Terre, the Chateau de Vincennes, where my research into the French Army on the Italian Front during WW I went ahead, but inconclusively.  The purpose of my research is to try to find first hand accounts of the battles the French Army units fought in Italy.  I have found some pictures in old L’Illustration, but nothing first hand for the period when my artist, Jean Launois, was serving in Italy.  His experiences were so dreadful that he said he did not want to talk about them.  The only descriptive material on the horror of this particular part of the WW I is in Earnest Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms, and the defeat of the Italian Army and its retreat across the Piavo almost a six-months earlier.. 

By the wonderful, open, bright Metro line Chateau de Vincennes to La Defense that crosses Paris, 20 minutes later I got off at the half way mark, the Hotel de Ville.  The purpose of the trip was to visit the Bazar of the Hotel de Ville, my favorite department store in Paris to shop for a non-battery powered telephone.  This accomplished, I started the walk home, up the Rue du Temple, left on Blvd. Reamur, Right on to Rue Volta (Italian Physician who developed the battery  the sign under the street name reads, in French of course), and soon I was tapping the code on the magnetic pad that has replaced the concierge to unlock the doors of our building into the court yard.

A glass of wine (biological,) while I prepared dinner and had a telephone call from Louise, our daughter in Raleigh, to assure me they were well, as were our respective dogs.  I spoke briefly to Ian, our son in New York City, who gave us news of his wife, Eva, also an architect, and Javier, his father-in-law, who was visiting from Rome. 

Watching the news French Channel 2 (our TV 5 at home in Chapel Hill) was depressing as more details were unfolded about the Iraq mess, and as I listened loud music interrupted the news broadcasted.  I opened the windows to peer out and saw a happy man with a paper cup walking back and forth across the street, looking up and waving and, behind him two musicians.  The first a trumpeter, the second playing what looked like a small French horn and pulling behind him a battery powered tap player.  I could recognize the music from the trumpeter and the horn player, but not the portable orchestra.  Only in Paris!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004, Achives, Chateau de Vincennes, cold, cloudy day.  After usual wait my two boxes were available, and neither produced anything of real interest about the Italian campagn.  Home, sandwich, the sun came out and for the firswt time a beautiful day.

After lunch and nap metro to the Trocadero and then a leisurely walk down, across the bridge to the Eiffel Tower, many tourists, seemingly as many French as foreign.  The wlk along the Seine was pleasant, cross the pedestrian bridge, taking pictures as I go.  At the Place Alma Marceau what appears to be a gold ball with wird spikes on top of pyramid draws my  attention.  I cross to the pedestrian island then take a picture, before crossing to the base of the pyramid to read the inscription.  It is replica of the flame of liberty held by the Statue in New York with an inscription of gratitude to France.  I bed George W. Bush has never seen it.

Thursday, May 13, 2004  Another cloudy day.  Buy and read Le Mond and The NY Heral Tribune, each more depressing than the other.  The news from Washington and Iraq. 


Hotel le Relais du Marais, 76, rue de Turbigo, 750034 Paris, anyl.pirba@wanadoo.fr
Musee Marmottan Monet, 7, rue Louis Boilly, 75016, Paris, tel. 01 42 24 07 02
La pierre du Marais, 96, rue de Archives, 75003 Paris, tel. 01 42 77 25 02

Saturday, September 17, 2011

 Chateau d'Ainay-le-Vieil, 10/9/05, "A renaissance chateau within a feudal enclosure complete with its moat.  In the part lived in by the owners thee are souvenirs of Louis XII, Colbert, Marie-Antoinette, Napoleon.  The renaissance chapel has murals from XVI and XVII centuries have recently been restored." It is owned and lived in by te same family since the 16th C.  We walked along the top of the wall, no guard rail, on the interior side and no place for for someone with a tendency toward fear of heights.!  It has a collection of gardens that we did not have time tovisit plus stables.

Église Saint-Eustache, Paris -

L'église Saint-Eustache is a church in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, built between 1532 and 1632. Situated at the entrance to Paris's ancient markets (Les Halles)The statue is "listening to the heart beat of Paris."

 Chateau de La Palice, Lapalisse, Auvergne, Allier, France, XVIIe, still inhabited by the La Palice family.

1895, Gare Montparnasse, brakes failed!
Square du Temple

Pierre-Jean de Béranger,  (born Aug. 19, 1780, Paris, France—died July 16, 1857, Paris), French poet and writer of popular songs, celebrated for his liberal and humanitarian views during a period when French society as a whole was undergoing rapid and sometimes violent change. Béranger was active in his father’s business enterprises until they failed. He then found work as a clerk at the University of Paris (1809). He led a marginal existence, sleeping in a garret and doing literary hackwork in his spare time. After the downfall of Napoleon, he composed songs and poems highly critical of the government set up.

Duck pond Square du Temple

Gare du Lyon (Railway station serving south of France).  Le Train Bleu is the name of the famous restaurant on the first floor still decorated as it was during
la belle epoque.
Interior Gare du Lyon

Hotel de Ville (City Hall of Paris)
Coletting resting, Newark Airport

Air France, Dinner.

Charles in Indonesia

A photograph of me, taken in the mountains near Bandung, Indonesia, sometime in 1974. The photo was taken by Willem van der ( ), whom we had known in Saigon during 1970-1972. Willem took the picture. I was sitting inside the little beer hall on a rickety chair, looking out over a deep and lush-green valley; Willem was standing outside his back to the vertiginous drop. 
I was in Indonesia as part of a team from the Asian Development Bank to identify and describe possible development projects.
Willem was the First Secretary of the Dutch Embassy in Djakarta, and we were on our way to the mountain guesthouse of the Dutch Embassy to escape, for the weekend, the steaming heat of Djakarta. Willem had all the instincts of a “get away” driver at the wheel of his new German sport sedan but none of the skills. The road from Djakarta to Bandung was steep, winding, and heavy with traffic in both directions - taxis, trucks, trucks loaded with logs, buses packed with passengers inside, on the roof or holding on outside! Willem looked everywhere except the road, changing gears noisily as we went up the mountain, passing on curves, pointing out sights as the road followed the side of the mountain, straight up on one side, straight down on the other. I never expected to make it to the guesthouse, much less back to Djakarta!
Just before the guesthouse we stopped at a rustic roadside stand for a cold beer, very much needed. Willem, using my Nikon that I had loaded with ASA 400 Kodax color film and, in spite of the cloudy and foggy atmosphere the sensitive lense and fast film froze my trembling lower jaw!
The guesthouse was not as attractive as I had expected, but comfortable, dating from the 1920’s. Unlike the guesthouses that I had known in French and English Africa here there was no houseman to serve (usually in a not very white uniform consisting of a shirt, shorts, and barefoot) nor a reasonably good cook in the kitchen. Dinner that night was from a can.
The following afternoon the drive back to Djakarta was equally thrilling!
Chapel Hill, NC January 20, 2005

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Paris, September-October 2010

Paris, 2/23 – 11/1/2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010. Depart RDU via Continental Airlines for Paris via Newark Liberty International Airport. #1 & 2, our flight at the gate. The in-flight announcements were loud enough to cover the noise of the turbo props and the creaking of the wings, or whatever it was that made the noise. On arrival at the gate in Newark, a wheel chair was waiting and the pusher set of at almost a dead run to get us to our departure gate. I had no idea that the terminal was so large! I did have a difficult time keeping up with Colette in the wheel chair, even by walking as rapidly as I could and using the people movers.

We did not have to go through security again, so Colette settled down #3 to waiting for our departure. The Continental personnel at the gate were making announcements, intelligible!, in both English and French. The problem as it developed was that our flight would leave on time but the 9 pm NYC-Paris flight had been cancelled because of the strikes in Paris. Continental was offering $400 plus hotel and meals to anyone who would delay his/her departure until the next day. We did not want the hassle.

We boarded on time, but departure was delayed both at the gate, then on the runway because the usual problem of the large number of flights leaving at the same time, mostly international. Once in the air the dinner was served almost immediately #4 & #5 but the drink carts arrived later. Gone are the days of elegant travel in coach. My seat mate was a pleasant young lady on her way to Paris for 5 days; she would meet a lady-friend from LA at the arrival area in the terminal.

Thursday, September 23, 2010 We arrived exactly on time – whatever that was – and for once the wheel chair ordered was waiting for us. Bravo for Continental Airlines! The pusher set out at almost a dead run and I had trouble keeping up. However we arrived at Terminal 1, the old one, that is built like a mushroom with satellites around it, and distances are not as great as they are in the new Terminal 2 where it is at least a kilometer or two to arrival formalities and the luggage arrival space. Our suitcases were not the first off but they both arrived, that already is wonderful.

The advantage of the wheel chair for Colette is she is taken on priority basis through all the formalities and there is no standing in line, just like the flight crew. Same for a taxi, we go to the head of the line, so we were loaded into a car and off we went.

Friday, September 24, 2010. It was an exciting day filled with cleaning the apartment, getting my cell phone operating, making a futile trip to the library to try to find something not to improving to mind to read. The library here is modern, well equipped and serious. While I was in the library Colette went for a short walk to get a carry out at the Marché des Enfants Rouges, couscous with chicken and merguez (Algerian-type sausages made with lamb and spices but no pork). While we are here we enjoy take- out dinners from Picards – a chain selling only frozen foods and wonderful dinners (http://www.picard.com/), or several different Vietnamese or Chinese restaurants.

While we have several restaurants in our immediate neighborhood, including the famous L’Ami Louis, they are expensive and dinner is served late.

Saturday, September 25, 2010. The Gardens of Les Halles.

I had picked up a copy of Colette’s preferred magazine, Antiquités et Brocantes that includes a list of brocantes (street sales/flea markets/second hand stuff) and she had identified one taking place in the garden of the Forum near St. Eustache.

By 10 ag. we were leaving the apartment, taking a right onto rue Volta to the bus stop on rue Turbigo where we hoped we could take our favorite bus #75 to Pont-Neuf; we debarked on the rue de Rivoli and trekked into the area behind the Pompidou Museum of Modern Art, past the (1 & 2) fountain of the Innocents (1549, destroyed and rebuilt in 1786), and along the Forum des Halles.

Turn to the left toward the (3) church of Saint-Eustache (1532-1630) and there was the sidewalk market. #4 The ubiquités merry-go-round, and another picture of Saint-Eustache #5. The market was crowded with people shopping for winter clothes #6 & # 7. #8 Colette examining carefully everything for sale on a table. # 9 & 10, more tables of things to admire.

#11 In the plaza next to the church is one of many favorite sculptures in Paris, the very large head and hand by Henri de Miller “listening to the heartbeat of Paris.” It usually is engulfed in little children climbing in and around it while being photographed by loving parents.

I caught Colette looking for treasures #13 -#15. At another table watches and jewelry #16 - 17 were for sale including a working Gucci watch for Euro 100 that I did not buy. It was almost lunch time and Colette was tired. We were more or less one Metro station away from Art & Métiers so we continue slowly. At Art & Métiers Colette turned left on rue Vaucanson, past Ecole Centrale where Colette’s father completed his engineering degree toward our building.

I turned right on rue Beaubourg, admired briefly the twin towers of Notre Dame de Paris against the blue sky in the distance and walked the two short blocks to rue de Gravilliers where I turned left and walked the few steps to a little boulangerie and patisserie to buy bread and croissants for the weekend and admire the pastries, # 18 -22. I walked back to Arts & Métiers, took a snap of the Musée des Arts & Métiers and the statue Harmoni by Volti.

September 26, 2010, Marché Aligre

One of our favorite places and practically an “every Sunday morning” routine. From our apartment we walk the length of ND de Nazareth to rue du Temple, take our lives in our hands and cross that busy street, with the walk signal, then turn left and up the half of block to the Place de la République and the Metro station. There are five lines served here, and we take direction Crétail to Ledru-Rollin where we surface then walk the short distance to the Square Trousseau, turn right and then to the left down rue Thomas Boussel to the Place d’Aligre and the wonderful market. The covered market was originally built in 1779. The market of the Place d’Aligre is open to the sky, and is covered with tables where the merchants display jewelry, silver, African masks, shoe, book and everything imaginable in addition to the row of vegetables and flowers. The outdoor market flows up the streets leading to the Place. The covered market has been through several reconstructions and the present one was probably built sometime in the late 19th century with wonderful wrought iron construction. The pictures include outdoor and indoor stalls. The last several pictures are of my bistro where I sit and sip a glass of white wine (Euro 3).

September 27, 2010, Monday, brocantes les Halles

Should read Courtyard of our building with mysterious problems to our 150 plus year’s old pluming. The back-up was in building B, and happily we live in building A!

September 27, 2010, Monday, rue de Bretagne, Irene Fogarty and Nourredin.

Yet another picture of Harmonie by Volti against a dark sky. Rue de Bretagne is our commercial and market street and it is pleasure to walk along it looking at the open shops of vegetables, fruits, meats and, of course, the market of the infants rouges (red children). As I crossed rue Chariot up popped my friend Irene. She and Nourreddine had watched me coming I was very surprised. Monday and Irene had the day off and they were sitting in a café drinking coffee when I arrived. We switched to wine and had a welcomed chat.

The last three pictures are of the building where Colette’s brother-in-law lives, and two interior pictures Jean Curtil and his living room...

September 28, 2010, Tuesday, Ile de la Cité, St. Michel, Rive Gauche

Place St. Michel. By foot, on an almost chilly day, overcast, from the Place Dauphine past the Palace of Justice, along the Quai des Orfèvres to the Bridge, Pont St. Michel, to the Place St. Michel. The Quai des Orfèvres, formerly the street of jewelry makers (orfevriers), now the home of the police of the City of Paris (remember your Simenon), and believe the street is filled with neatly parked police vans.

The Place St. Michel is a bit too much in its décor. It was one of the places where the French resistance had a running street battle with the German during the last days of the occupation, as the allies, mostly American troops, were marching on Paris. Here and there, here and throughout the city, there are engraved, marble plaques with the name of resistance fighters who fell. During the late spring flowers are left beneath the plaques.

119, Quai Saint-Michel, a number of impressionist painter lived here.  The plaque over the door has been removed. I’ll check my notes for several years ago and send a correction. They include Jean Launois (cousin of Colette’s father, and we having some of his early drawings), Corot, Albert Marquet, Matisse, among others.

A view of Notre Dame de Paris from Quai St. Michel.

Rue du Chat qui Peche, reportedly the shortest and narrowest street in Paris, made famous by Hemingway.

Sandwiches, very good price, on the left bank, known for student hangouts and eccentricities, you are never far from food. There are some pretty crummy shops, souvenir emporiums as well as the Cluny Museum (don’t miss the Unicorn Tapestries!).

Treasures, Saint-Eustache les Halles brocantes.

Small teapot, Euro 1.

Small coffee pot, turn-of-the-century (1900), café service, Euro 2.

Japanese, small pitcher, export ware, small pitcher, early 20th c, Euro 3.

Small vase, export ware, early 20th c, Euro 1.

French, crochet-needle holder, decal ‘view Arromanche,” souvenir ware, early 20th c. The Association for abandoned cats at Saint-Eustache sold this. If you want more detail I’ll find the web site. Euro 12.

Japanese covered box, round, recent, Euro 1

Bird (ivory or bird) inside polished nut, Euro 1.

Japanese bowl, peasant ware, 17th or 18th c, Euro 5.

September 28, 2010, from our apartment on rue de N.D. de Nazareth, turn right onto rue Volta and walk straight ahead, cross the little triangular all cement park to the glass shelter for the bus stop on rue Turbigo. The neat thing about learning to use the bus system in Paris (unhappily, no transfers from line-to-line) is the covered, glass protected bus stops have maps, timetables, and an electronic screen. The electronic screen tells you when the next bus arrives. If there is more than one line using the stop, the screen rotates showing the line number and the next busses arrival time. The number 75 takes me to the end of the line to the Quai des Messageries on the Seine. Then it is a short walk to the Pont Neuf. The Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris; construction began in 1578 and was completed in 1606 during the reign of Henri III.
1. Pont Neuf to Ile de la Cité, and to the Left Bank.

2. Le Vert Galant, a historic landmark of early Paris where, among other happenings, was a favorite place for amorous meetings.

3. Road leading into the Place Dauphine,

4. Restaurant Le Caveau du Palais facing the Place, is distinguished by the elegance of its location, across the little Place from the Palace of Justice and clientele which includes, among others, my colleague from FM, Bill Whitaker.

5. Patrons with a large, fuzzy dog on the terrace of Le Caveau.

and 6. View from the terrace of Le Caveau. September 28, 2010, continued

St. Michel to the Bridge of Love, actual – September 28, 2010, continued

Oldest tree in Paris, planted 1602, if have details if you want them. This is a charming little garden next to one of the oldest churches in Paris, St. Julien the Poor. It is now an Eastern Orthodox Church and on Sundays and High Holidays the services are splendid, the cassocks and head coverings (I would not call them hats!) are splendid and the voices and music are extraordinary.

Bouquinistes. This tradition goes back several hundreds of years. Until recently these were places for serious students of whatever went to look for books, old, damaged and occasionally valuable. Colette says her father spent hours going through the collections, one by one. Now many of them sell soft porn, tourist stuff, and a few have good collections, but bargains are hard to find. The other day I did find a book by an author I collect, Francis Carco, first edition, for Euro 30.

The bridge across the Seine to the garden adjoining Notre Dame of Paris – The Garden of Pope Jean Paul XXXIII, The Bridge of the Archeveche (sp?) but now a Bridge of Love. This is one of two bridges that I know of those lovers of all ages and sexes tie ribbons or lock padlocks with inked in or engraved in names to memorialize their love. The City of Paris is not happy about it. The other bridge is a pedestrian one - the Bridge of Arts - from the left bank to The Louvre.

4, 5, & 6. A Japanese bride, apparently trying to call a taxi but, in fact, trying to cross the street. Her new husband is behind her. In the last picture she smiled just for me. Note the little crown tiara that has slipped to one side.

Septembre 29, 2010, Place de la Bastille and Place des Vosges

Motorized two-wheel vehicles compete with manually operated bicycles and automobiles in Paris. There is a motorcycle/bicycle parking lot under our bedroom window and the red job is exactly what I want for Christmas but Colette won’t let me have even a manually-operated model. Note the roof! It also has curtains. Neat!

This our street, rue de Notre Dame de Nazareth, abbreviated in the telephone book as rue de N.D. de Nazareth. Our neighborhood is a mixture of Jewish and Arab, and apparently they get along fine. They are mostly wholesalers of clothes of all sorts and in this picture the boxes are being loaded into a truck, and traffic is backed up all the way to rue du Temple. In theory it is illegal to use horns in Paris but believe they do as these roadblocks can last for 15 to 20 minutes and occasionally longer. We have never seen a policeman except on Jewish Holidays when all traffic is the street is closed to traffic because one of the major synagogues of Paris is just a few steps from this picture.

I took the city bus #20 to go to the Bastille and a class of very small children, under the firm control of two teachers who looked barely a few years older than their charges. The little students did not peep, squeak or giggle.

The Bastille Opera, built about 15 plus years ago, is simply enormous. We heard Renée Fleming sing Manon here. She was wonderful; the house was wonderful and enormous. The building covers more than a full block. My only tie to opera in Paris is my ENT physician who is the ENT for the operas of Paris. He has a keyboard in his office which is furnished in antiques. I was able to get an appointment on the same day that my GP asked for it. No sanitary white for him! My consultation costs about $100. It took 6 weeks to get an appointment at UNC!

As we enter Fall Paris becomes gray, and in fact boasts of having more rainfall than London. It certainly is dark, the sky lightening only after 7 a.m. So if this picture is dark I could not wait for a sunny day, as it is highly improbably we will have one anytime soon. In any case I was standing on the Place de la Bastille overlooking the Arsenal. Notice all the nifty boats of all sizes. The apartments overlooking the Arsenal is not where the Section 8 of Paris live, believe me. Twice a year there is a major brocante sale (antiques, and everything else you might imagine) set up on the Place as well as on both sides of the canal. This is the beginning of the Canal of St. Martin. There are excursion boats that make the trip to the Parc de Villette and back. The tunnel is under the Place and then opens to the sky. The neighborhood along the canal has only recently become fashionable, but the canal itself is beautiful.

Last is the Bastille memorial. There may be an elevator in it. Colette’s parent’s apartment, where she lived until we married, is about two long blocks from the Place de la Bastille

September 29, 2010, I fear this is repetitious but my trusty HP Laptop hides things from me that I know I have written and sent so please forgive me.

From the Place de la Bastille to the Rue St. Antoine is but a step but, to the right, is an almost invisible little triangle. The street may be rue de Bastille, but it is so small and short it is unnamed in the Paris Pratique (buy one) or the map the hotels give you. However, if you look closely you will see a patisserie or, to be more accurate, a viennoiserie, Le Notre. Among other goodies it has to offer include instant luncheons that you will need if you want to picnic in the Place des Vosges.

Enlarge the picture, look at the cakes! These are not the all hollow blobs of airs that you find in Harris Teeter but closer to pound cakes with eggs, sugar, real vanilla or chocolate. And look closely at the tarte covered with fruit and, two cakes behind it, the chocolate crown. While not made with silver and gold, you may want to take with you some gold leaf because they are worth their weight in it. Well, not really.

Back on rue St. Antoine and to the left is the church of St. Paul St Louis, the second oldest church in the baroque style in Paris and modeled after the Church of Gesu in Rome. It was completed in 1692 and only recently the exterior has been cleaned and the original color of the stone can be seen.

You are now looking for rue Birague and when you find it turn right and at the end of the street you will be seeing a wonderful three-story building in muted tones of red, the Pavillion du Roi, the King’s Pavilion, the entry into the Place des Vosges, but don’t walk too fast, because there are interesting little shops, restaurant, green grocers and a two-star hotel (not expensive).

The statue of Louis XIII in the center of the Place des Vosges, surrounded by trees, and if the light is right – as it was not on the day I took this picture – it glorifies Louis III.

The Pavillion de la Reine, The Queen’s Pavilion is on the north side of the square and now you can enjoy the wonderful symmetry of the Place des Vosges. I suggest you buy a house there. There are restaurants, lots of galleries and shops, off the arcade around all four side of the Place. The Place des Vosges is a wonderful place for a picnic, with a bottle of wine, sitting on benches in the shades of the well-manicured trees.

Let’s do it. And last but not least,

Picture of a bicycle rack. Every time I mention using them Colette has a fit. You see these racks all over Paris, you use your credit car (actually more difficult than that!), hop on a bicycle, and away you go. When you find your destination, there is supposed to be another rack within 100 meters (if I have my numbers correctly), you park and away you go. You can tell the rental bicycles as they all have front and rear lights, and are wonderfully maintained in spite of the usual juveniles who disrupt the world we live in.

October 1, 2010, Brocantes, Blvd. St. Martin, 75003 Paris

Brocante, in French, translates into English as “flea market” or “second-hand market” according to dictionaries on line. It really is more of a street fair, or side-walk faire to be more accurate and there is one or two, every week-end, someplace in Paris. I find it amazing that the professionals sellers who populate these markets unpack and repack every day that they are working. Some of them, like the rug people, are well recognized professionals who probably have shops. Others, the furniture people, also. The others, however, do this full time and travel throughout France to participate. The two magazines that Colette purchases each have several pages listing the brocante dates and sites.

Colette, as a serious collector of luster ware, or luster ware, and antique oriental pieces, tries not to miss an opportunity to enlarge her collection. It now occupies most of the shelf space in her sitting room in Chapel Hill in addition to boxes and large paper bags courtesy of Whole Foods filled with carefully wrapped items.

Passage du Pont aux Biches provides a pedestrian connection from rue de Notre Dame de Nazareth to rue Meslay (pronounced Maylay), and was open on October 18, 1881. It consists of 46 steps (count them) that leaves all but the youngest a little breathless. A Wallace Fountain, one of more than 50 throughout Paris, is a landmark also. # 1 The Wallace fountains were a gift of Sir Robert Wallace in 1871 after the Siege of Paris. Look at Google for more. The Passage from our street to rue Meslay then another passage from rue Meslay to Blvd. St. Martin is a short-cut to/from the bus from the Gare du Lyon or to the opera, the center of Paris.

The brocante on Blvd. St. Martin was not the biggest but was satisfactory. # 2 The rug stand, one of several, was very well done.

# 3 Silver, just the place to buy what you need.

# 4 Colette finds a treasure, a little Chinese saucer, possibly XVIII c.

# 5 Furniture some good, some indifferent.

# 6 African Masks

# 7 Need a winter coat?

# 8 Trinkets

# 9 Colette

# 10 Dinner service, vase

# 11 Necklaces

# 12 Newspaper and magazine kiosque, you see them all over Paris.

#13 Antiques! This stand was on the corner of Place de la République and Rue du Temple, a very busy intersection.

# 14 Sauerkraut purchased ready to eat except for the hot dog.

October 2, 2010, Saturday

#1 Manifestation in the Place de la République by the unions protesting the raising of the retirement age from 60 to 62. In Germany, England and other European countries the retirement age is usually 65 years or older. Nicolas Sakozy was elected with a 65%+ majority yet the protest was supported by 65% of the population according to opinion samples. The statue is of Marianne, the symbol of France.

#2 An important part of manifestations is food, hot the grill. There are merguez, all lamb and North African spices made of lamb and hot dogs as well. There was probably a large metal casserole filled with paella and sometimes another with sauerkraut.

#3 Note the table top grill with merguez, hot dogs, green and yellow peppers!

#4 The crowd starts to move forward. The only thing missing is a marching band, but there are participants with loud speakers exhaulting the participants to stand up for their rights.

#5 The crowd is big on balloons, of all sizes.

ne of them any advantages of living near the Placde de la Républi. que is there are 5 major Métro lines here. I take Balard line across Paris ( major stations include Opera, Madeleine, Concorde, La Tour Mauberg) and get off at Ecole Militaire and walk about a block and I am on the Champs de Mars, the park that crosses from the Ecole Militaire to the Seine and a bridge across the Seine to the Trocadero.

#6 Ponies for hire!

#7 The Eiffel Tower on a dark day, with the ubiquitous tourists (American!) admiring it.

#8 Approaching the base of the Eiffel Tower.

#9 The ticket line for the Eiffel Tower, a 45 minute wait this particular afternoon.

#10 The intersection of Quai Banly and the Pont d’Iéna facing the Trocadero.

#11 The Merry-Go-Round on the Eiffel Tower side. There are many in Paris including the Place de la République and the Hotel de Ville. The one at the Hotel de Ville has two levels.

#12 A bride and groom crossing the bridge. As they passedme the groom was saying “we are crossing the bridge.” Pretty exciting. I cannot imagine where they were going on foot. A civil marriage normally precedes the religious ceremony, and usually in the morning.

#13 Same bride and groom.

#14 The Palace of the Trocadero overlooks the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. The walk/climb up is easy until the very last. I usually go in the opposite direction from the Trocadero to the Eiffel Tower because it is all downhill!

#15 Closer to the Trocadero.

#16 The Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero.

#17 The esplanade of the Trocadero was, as usual, crowded with tourists and souvenir sellers, break dancers and various and sundry other attractions, mostly annoying.

#18 Down the stairs to the Métro while others are coming up !

#19 A souvenir shop in the Metro Station. The owner was not happy that I took this picture! The Metro stations often include shops and snack bars, musicians and sellers of various fruits and bottled water. If I were not so lazy I would do an analysis of the Chatelait/City Hall/Beaubourg connections reputed to be the busiest rail station in Europe and with an extraordinary variety of commerce. Hower, the connecting walks are long and one of them even has a people mover.

#20 A photo of me taken by the mother and daughter sitting across from me.

#21,22 The mother and daughter, we developed nodding acquaintances as a young man, drunk out of his mind, had collapsed into the seat next to me.

October 3, 2010, Magny-le-Hongre, Sunday in the country!

Colette and I took the Metro to the other side of the Seine where her brother-in-law lives so we could join him for a drive into the country. Our destination was Magny-le-Hongre about 45 minutes north. When Colette’s niece, Anne, and her husband, Jean-Paul purchased their house it was, for all intents and purposes, a village that had been forgotten. They bought their house, or rather two houses, from a antique dealer who wanted a more active life. The houses, typical farmers’ house, two stories, fireplace, kitchen, rudimentary bathroom and toilette (separated) with a door knocked through the separating wall. By the time they finished renovating the fireplace had been enlarged and opened to bth the living and dining room

Jean-Paul, an Air France captain, had time on his hands between international flights, became a politician and got himself elected mayor.

We were visiting them in March of 1985 when to our amazement Disney announced it was going to build its European theme park nearby. Jean-Paul began an energetic program to develop Magny-le-Hongre into a Disney world support center, to coin a term.

Now their three sons are young men, two with wives and one child each, still living in Magny-le-Hongre. Antoine, the oldest, is in real estate. This last year, with the help of a bank and, we suspect, his grandfather, he bought a free standing farm house that was all but abandoned, stripped the interior and began rebuilding it. Today would be our first visit to it.

#1 the house from the street. It is a duplex and the side nearest the camera is rented, is much smaller.

#2 & 3, second floor overlooking dining area,

#4, third floor master bedroom, bathroom on second,

#5, Dining area seen from living area, kitchen to the right.6, Ella, Colette’s grandniece, one of a pair of identical twins, left the following day for to spend two months in India and to learn yoga and to meditate.

October 4, 2010, Colette and another owner.

The previous Friday, at 6 p.m., there was the semi-annual meeting of the condo association, in French, the (translated) the co-owners and the management company. The presiding person was a young lady who looked like she was in her very early 20’s but, as the meeting progressed, it was obvious that she knew what she was about. The issues under discussion included repairs to the septic system that is probably 150 or more years old. The cemented courtyard will have to be evacuated and all sorts of interesting things done at a cost approaching Euros 100,000 (or perhaps more!). The thorny issue of parking in the courtyard was again raised and no satisfactory result achieved. This is a difficult problem as the owner of the parking does not enforce it and the renters of commercial space who use it offer it to friends. It is a constant irritant. But, on October 1st Colette and I attended the semi-annual meeting of the management company that that provides essential services to the building in which we live. Keeping in mind we do not know how old it is, someplace between one and two hundred years, its maintenance is needed but not always delivered. While I am sure there are any numbers of condo that are simply delighted with the services provided by their respective management companies, I have yet to meet anyone who owns and lives in a condo who is delighted with the cheerfulness with which the condo management personnel listen to complaints.

The same is true here, of course. The meeting started on time and the young person who conducted it was obviously professionally trained and experienced. The owners were, with some exception, not overwhelmed by her responses to our inquiries. And, guess what, the major topics were parking (there is none but!) and plumbing.

Parking. Our neighbor and friend, Ricardo (Argentian, a pal of ms. Sarkozy for whom he directors photograph) complained about the three carfs usually parked in the court yard during weekdays when there are, in fact, only two. A little, white-haired lady with an outthrust lower jaw said sweetly to Ricardo, “I’ve told you to write me a note about this problem.”

Ricardo replied in his heavily accented French, what would you do? Why do we have to write you notes. The discussion would have become more active but the chairperson put a stop to it but not before Colette and others had spoken to the issue. Then the next issue was why someone was parking during the week-end when it was not authorized!

Nothing was settled. The next issue was plumbing, always a thrilling subject to any property owner. Keep in mind that this building was plumbed long after it was completed. When running water was added (as in NYC in the 19th C) it was added by a pipe and fawcet on each landing. Then more serious plumbing was added but pipes on the outside, run through the walls, and along walls and, in the case of bathrooms and toilets, always separated in France, the pipes were laid on the then floor and covered with about a four inch layer of concret. Incidentally makes getting in and out of a shower-equipped bathtub challenging.

We learned during this meeting about Euro 100,000 (about US$ 140,000) at current rate of exchange would have tobe borrowed to modernize the plumbing under the courtyard. This announcement was not received with joyous cheers.

This introduces the issue can we sell the apartment if we want. Of course,but how much would we realize before and after. Currently on the Paris market it is pretty inexpensive, about Euro 300,000 (x $1.40 for US). However whatabout the plumbing?

The next issue is how do you determine the value? This is tricky as sale prices of residential property is confidential and most people use an average number prepared by the Nortary Association of Paris. In France a notary is a kind of lawyer who manages property, investments and through whom real estate is bought and sold. There is almost no way of doing a CMA except by sophisticated guessing.

Another problem is listing and selling property. There is no such thing as a multiple listing process, and each listingcompany guards its listings jealously.

October 4, 2010, Monday, The Sacré Coeur.

#6,7 Bleached out by the sun#, the Sacré Coeur is at the top of the hill. #8,9 The funicular to the top of the hill, one goes up and one comes down. #10 The Sacré Coeur seen from the road above the funicular. #11 My visit to the Sacré Coeur coincided with the fall wine festival, so after I took a picture of the Wallace Fountain # 12, the following pictures #13, 14, 15, 16, 17 were of stands where the producers were present and, in a few cases, offered samples. #18 a producer selling foie gras de canard (foie gras of duck), rilletes, and other goodies, heating some up for tasting. Rillettes I don’t sample.

#19, 20, 21 Cheese, 22 wine, 23 james jellies andchutnies, 24 champagne, 25 the fair and the Sacré Coeur, 26 the basalique another view, 27 oysters, 28 cakes and things, 29 foie gras and wine! 30 charcuterie (sausages etc.) of various kinds and shapes, 31 I don’t know what this is, but is mostly potatoes and the basin behind is filled with margues, 32 marguez, 33 more charcuterie.

#34 now we are moving toward the Place du Terte. Artists selling their skills to do rapid portrains; #35 copper cook ware for sale, #36 the Place du Tertre, if it is crowded in early October imagne what it must be like during the summer tourist season.

October 9, 2010, Brocante

#1, book seller, #2 Colette has found something and is bargaining, #3 rugs, #4 flowers, Paris must have more flower shops per square mile than any other city in Europe or the US, #5 more flowers, #6 Colette perhaps she has found something, #7 more treasures, #8 Place de la République and Marianne, the symbol of France. This is the Place where many of themes manifestations begin and end.

October 10, 2010. Square du Temple

If you come out of our building, through the little door set inside the carriage doors, walk a few steps pas the bistor on the corner, turn right on rue Volta, cross the street than look back,#1 & 2, is what you see. It is where a form 18th or early 19th century apartment building was razed and, hopefully will be replaced as prmised by a “social building” or low-income apartments. The scaffolding is, obviously, to hold up the buildings on either side. The building behind is building B of our apartment and, happily, we are in building A. Our friend Ricardo lives on top of this building B and when the older building was being dismantled his apartment was damaged and his roof leaks and his walls are cracked. That was several years ago and he is still waiting for the townhall of the 3rd arrondissement and the coop. to work out responsibility.

#3 & 4, the corner building in which the Argentinian steak restaurant (expensive) is located. #5 T, The front of the same building that has been reconstructed and next to it, on left, L’Ami Louis, also a well-known, expensive restaurant. The former president of France, Chirac, brought Bill and Hilary here for dinner one evening and the whole neighborhood was sealed off to everyone’s annoyance.

#6 The Square du Temple, #7 The statue of Charles Beranger, an 18th century satirist overlooking the Square. #8 This is our nearest park on the site of the former Donjon (tower) of the Square where Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette and their children and servants were held captive until Louis XVI was sent tof the guillotine and Marie-Antoinette was separated for Louis XVII and sent to theConciergerie where she was held prisoner until she, too, was guillotined. The fate of Louis XVII is still debated #anddiscussed. He did not survive, that we know.

#9 The main entrance of the town hall of our arrondissement. The street has been blocked off and is reserved for play space for thenearby elementary school. #10 & 11 The children’s sandbox, always active.

October 12, 2010, rue Volta

Sorry, mislabeled as the rue Volta. # 1This is, in effect, the corner of rue de Bretagne and the cross street rue Charlot, I think. #2,3, & 4. I went to the library to return books, read dmagazines, and take out something for the week-end and found it closed. The evening before the motorcycle and automobile parked in front of it had been torched, and had set fire to the little apartment building to the left of the new condo building in which the basement and first floor of our library was located, now badly damaged by smoke and some water. The little apartment building was completely burnt out from the ground up.

October 13, 2010, Hotel de Ville to Place de la Bastille

From our building, turn right on rue Volta, walk two blocks, across the little square to the bus stop that is a glass shelter. On the interior a bench, and on thewall a map showing the bus routes and above that an analog display showing the bus’s destination, the Pont Neuf, and the arrival time of the next bus. Nifty! The #75 follows rue Turbigo for about two blocks at at the intersection at Arts & Metiers, turns left on rue Beauboug, passes the Musée Beaubourg and turns right on the rueRivoli where I got off tobegin my jaunt. # 1, 2 & 3 Is the Hotel de Ville, formerly on theSquare des Grèves, where, before and during the Revolution, was the site of public executions, well attended by the public. The funny semi tower behind to the left is the corner of the Bazar de l’Hotel de Ville, one of Paris’s department stores. The current Hotel de Ville is bilt over the former Hotel de Ville that was burned down by the 1871 Commune. The interior is splendid and go to its website, ‘Hotel de Ville de Paris” for pictures.

#4, 5 & 6 The rear of the church of St. Gervais. This is a charming anddelightful neighborhood in the 4th arrondissement. I was looking for the own hall of the 4th arrondissement as our library in the 3rd was closed because of a fire, and borrowers were requested to return books to the library of the 4th. #7 an apartment building standing all alone with a very attractive restaurant on the ground floor.

#8 & 9 The square in front of the town hall of the 4th arrondissement, on Wednesdays and Saturday an kopen market. As usual the food was very attractive. The International Lion’s Club sponsored a free diagnostic eye clinic principally to identify cases of Aging Macular Degeneration (AMD) the common cause of blindness in persons after 60 years old (ask me about it!).

#10 & 11, the courtyard of the town hall.

October 14, 2010, Les Invalides, the Tomb of Napoleon

I took the Metro to the tomb of Napoleon and it seemed ok but a bit more crowded at 3 p.m. than it would be normally. I got off at La Tour Mauberg (the stop for Colette’s b-in-l’s apartment. The weather has been splendid! Cool, almost cold at night and wonderful in the middle of the day, a coat and scarf welcomed, and a bright blue sky. The walk around the Invalides was pleasant and the view over the park to the Alexander III bridge to the Concorde was wonderful.

I walked through the Invalides, bought a ticket for E 9 (12 US) for the tomb.

Les Invalides (The Invalids) was built by Napoleon as a hospital, convalescent center, and home for the aged and infirmed soldiers about 1812, long before the US did much for its soldiers. It is still used as such.

The tomb of Napoleon, The Dome of Napoleon, semi-gothic, I guess and the dome is highlighted in gold. The interior is impressive with a space under the dome and Napoleon’s tomb is a great piece of dark red marble. In order to see it you have to lean over the solid railings (handy for taking pictures), thus bowing to the great man.

A double marble staircase takes you downstairs to an eye level view. It was a little crowded today, I actually saw and heard some French tourists scattered among what sounds like maybe Russians.

The walk from The Dome across a vast space covered by gravel (no place for high heels) to rue de Tourville, I think, then a 15 minute walk to Ecole Militaire and a Metro Stop. As I walked I watched an orderly crowd, a large crowd for an American, small for France, crossing the great intersection. I met them as I was about to go down the steps to the Metro station and, as one, they followed me. When the train did arrive in a moment it was packed, not as tightly as the subway in Rome that I have experienced. It was all very intimate, being pressed by so many ve girls and an occasional young male.

Many of them got off at the Concorde so it was a little easier.

Saturday, October 16, 2010, Manifestion/Strikes

We are happy the weather has turned cooler, and even happier that we had the heating repaired. The downside is, of course, the cloud covering and bit z pieces of rain when you least expect it.

Over Colette’s objections yesterday afternoon, camera around my neck, cell phone in my pocket, Metro ticket in hand, I walked as briskly as possible up rue Volta to rue Turbigo, turned right, admired my favorite statue, Harmonie, and took the stairs down to the station. We are in the middle of a major strike but the Metro and buses seem to operating, if erratically. A Metro train arrived as I got to the platform and in three stops (République, Goncourt, Bellville) I reached my destination.

Belleville is what used to be, and Colette maintains still is, the tough part of Paris. Too me it is busy, peopled, and filled with Arab and Oriental shops selling mostly food, raw and cooked, and the prices look substantially lower than our neighborhood. On my list were carpet slippers that are not to be found in a more sophisticated section of town. Most of the non-food shops had rows of baskets on the side walk and I found one filled with slippers. I picked up one, left foot, size 42, and looked for right-foot. As I stood in the light rain looking for the matching right foot, the lady proprietor popped out and explained that the right-foot slippers were kept insight.

The purchase completed, I continued my downhill walkthrough the light rain, dodging and begging dodged on the busy sidewalk. At an Arab butcher shop (Boucherie Arabe) I purchased two merguez sausages (each about 8” long). These are indigenous to North Africa, contain no pork, and are spicy and good.

They will contribute to our dinner this evening of couscous (lamb in tomato and spicy sauce served with couscous, North African pasta, looks a little like cream-colored rice).

One of my favorite walks is along the St. Martin Canal. It was built in 1801 upon the orders of Napoleon 1and is 4.5 kilometers long, and drops by 25 meter from the Ourcq Canal to the Arsenal Basin and the Seine River. It is still in use, and there is a tourist boat that makes the trip. It goes under the Place de la Bastille, the Place de la République and other roads, and about half of its total length is covered. The guide book tells us it is only 2.7 meter deep, but it looks more than that, and looks cold.

20-25 years ago I tried to convince Colette we should look for an apartment along the canal but it was then considered not a desirable neighborhood. Now it is much sought after and you will see new construction if I am able to get my laptop to send pictures. One of the buildings is about 18 stories high and, in theory, nothing more than 6 – 8 stories is allowed in Paris.

After a short walk along the canal, and climbed the high, arched pedestrian bridge over it, I was within a block of the Place de la République, and I heard the sound of heavily amplified voiced invoking action of some sort. There was a manifestation against the government’s plan to extend the retirement age by two years. Hopefully you will see the pictures of people, large balloons, but you will not smell the open-air food stands selling grilled meats and merguez for sandwiches. You will also see the City of Paris Clean up squad, street-cleaners and vacuum trucks prepared to follow the strikers on their march from the Place de la République to the Place de la Bastille. The clean up squads were also used to move the demonstrators on their way! Note the nifty uniforms the street sweepers wear, standard garb for all city employees for sanitary work.

October 17, 2010, Sunday, Couscous and rue de Bretagne

Monday, October 18, 2010, Construction of Notre Dame of Paris,

as we now know it, began in AD 1113, 997 years ago. This last Monday was really the first cool to cold day we have had this fall, a bright blue sky, and a light jacket and scarf were welcomed but there were hardier souls in t-shirts!

I took the Metro from the Arts & Metiers station, close to our apartment, with stops at Rambuteau, Hotel de Ville, Chatelait and viola Ile de la Cite. This is one of the deepest metro stations and you can see the inner walls of the steel caisson, 20 meters deep (FYI the deepest is Abbesse in Montmartre, 36 m.). Happily there is an elevator for the ride up. This station was opened in 1910 and it is an original art nouveau station (#1). You come up into the flower market of the Ile de la Cite, and if you have time, it is well worth the visit particularly if you like orchids. Also visible is the Sainte Chapelle (see the steeple?). Behind the high steel fence, well decorate, is the Police Headquarters. (#2). (#3) Notre Dame, (#3) the Nave, (#4). Tthe rose window on the north side dates from the 13th C. My little digital camera could not cope with the colors (#5), the altar (#6), and the charming statue of the Virgin and child, 14th C (#7). I am always pleased to find the model of how ND was built (#8) as it is moved here and there. And last is a view of ND seen from the Pont du Double from the Pavis (Place) de ND to the left bank. While the picture gives the impression of serenity, the break dancers - not young – and their very loud music were not an addition! Thursday, Oct. 15, 2010

The strike has not affected us so much. For the commuters it is unpleasant but trains and buses are working but on a reduced schedule so a lot of people get up earlier in the morning to start for Paris. I have seen no reports on traffic, strangely enough, but I am sure it is difficult normally so it must be worse now. Delays are measured in kilometers!

Good news on keeping warm. Last year, and again this year, but only for the first three weeks, complained about the heat and now, suddenly it has turned brisk if not cold. An apartment with walls as thick as hour, more than a foot, cools off slowly, but once cooled, stays cooled. 2 or 3 days after our arrival Colette went to see the lady who has a maintenance business who, for the 10-12 years, has been our resource for maintenance, had sold out. She left her name with a man sitting at a desk and asked him to call her when he could come over. She telephoned several days later to remind them of her request to send someone over to look at our non-operating heat system. No word for more than a week so I went by and found 3 very stylishly dressed men (open collars, sweaters) looking a laptops on their desk, and gave them, I explained, for the third time, the information. No one knew anything about it, but notes were made, and promises reiterated. Subsequently no more action. Then yesterday Colette was walking home along rue de N.D.de Nazareth (not a very exciting street except between us and rue Turbigo) and saw a sign advertising an electrician. She stuck her head in the door and was greeted courteously. She explained the situation, given a telephone number to call, and promised help would be returned. She called, and talked to a person who promised to call back this morning.

He did. At 9:15 the telephone rang and I answered, and I spoke with a man whose French was rapid and not easily understood. Fifteen minutes he was at our door, and turned out to be young, bulky man with a great smile and a pleasant manner and a funny accent to his French. Colette had to disassemble the corner cupboard behind which is hidden the electrical connections, then the young man started working our electric heaters. We though at least one would have to be replaced. It turned out the one in the living room was not set correctly, and the other in the bedroom had some crossed wires that had not caught fire, new fuses were inserted here and there and, for an hour’s work E 30 (US $ 43.40) instead of the anticipated E 400 or more. What a pleasant surprised. Before I left, having listened to his French carefully, I asked him if he was Spanish and he said no, Romanian.

I wish we could bring him back to Chapel Hill!

Picture may follow if my laptop will let them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010, Overcast, occasionally sunny, from cold to less cold, most museums closed on Tuesdays , so what to do? Colette was feeling up to the challenge of going to downtown Paris. Wrapped up against the cold, we crossed rue de N.D. de Nazareth and took the 46 steps up the Passage aux ponts des biches (passage of deers’ bridge?), crossed rue Meslay (absolutedly the dullest street in Paris), through the Passage Meslay to Blvd. St. Martin where we could take the bus to the Opera and from there walk the two or so blocks to Blvd. Haussmann and the grands magazins, the great department stores. Our objective was the grocery store on the second floor in the second of the block sized buildings of the Galleries Lafayettes. On your next, or your first, trip to Paris don’t miss it.!

Unhappily the fluorescent lights seem to dull the colors, but never mind.

Picture No. 1, The Opera which is, for some of us, the center of Paris. From here you can walk to most of your destinations as it is the center of a number of important streets including the rue de La Pay, where you buy jewelry if you have a very productive oil well. Our destination was behind the Opera on blvd. Haussmann.

Picture No. 2, Street stalls of the Galleries Lafayettes offering wonderful opportunities for example, watches for E 10. There also were stands selling scarves, knitted hats and women’s berets, the funny hats French used to wear and are now favored by the armed forces. Another had what looked like corsets. We hope the young women in these stalls have heaters for it was not warm.

Once inside, we took the elevator up the 1st floor, and the first thing we see are shelves of foie gras, # 3, the next was mustard , #4, then I found the fish counter and lobsters ready-to-go, #5. There were five or six bars serving food and wine and the platters of fresh sea things was very tempting, # 6. There also was one for cheese, cold meats, oriental hot soups and pastas, you name it and it was there. The pastries were magnificent, #7, and the spread of spices in bulk, #8, and peppers was splendid.

On the way out there was a coffee stall on the sidewalk also offering soup # 9! And we crossed the street another luxury shop had an outdoor Italian gelato stall # 10.

This is but a small sample of the wonders of the great market in the Galleries Lafayette. Too bad Harris Teeter can’t do something like it.

October 20, 2010, Le Palais Royal (The Royal Palace).

A brilliant, sunny day, so bright my digital camera can’t seem to cope with it, and colors are burnt away.

I took the Metro from the Place de la Republique to the Opera, where I changed trains. The Opera station is usually clean and bright, the fruit stand (#1) is attractive, but there are stairs up and down to change trains. Unlike New York City each line has its own station so, when you change trains you walk, you climb stairs, you go down stairs. The station in Chatelait is, according to one source, the largest and busiest in Europe and you can walk miles, it seems, and some corridors have people movers to make it easier. Keep in mind that a lot of the Metro stations also have stations for suburban rail lines so stamina is necessary. The Paris Metro is not wheel chair friendly, although the buses are.

Opera to Palais Royal/The Louvre is quick. All the exits are numbered, and my destination is Place Colette, no. 5, that takes me under rue de Rivoli, and up to daylight. This Metro station is weird, decorated with multicolored glass bulbs that reflect the sunlight but, again, my camera can handle the extremes and I do not know how to correct it. #2

Place Colette is named after the French novelist who wrote, among many other things, Gigi, and lived in the Palais Royal. During the last years of her life she was crippled with arthritis and confined to a bed, next to a window overlooking the gardens. The Place is also shared with the Comedie Francaise.

The first courtyard includes regularly spaced columns of different heights designed by the sculpture Daniel Buren, in black and white marble. It is a wonderful opportunity to disagree with those who don’t like and those who do. What is art? #3

The palace dates from the 17th C. I suggest you look it up on the internet as it has a rich history. It is, according to my count, 4 stories high. The ground floor galleries (#4) provide a covered walk with shops of all sorts as well, as to be expected, restaurants including the Grand Veford, consider one of the gastronomic opportunities of PRIS (fixed menu for lunch, E 88 not including wine). The shops have lofts.

Sorry, I can’t tell you more about the interior of the upper stories but they do have a splendid view of the manicured ranks of trees (#5) and the central garden. The nymph is part of the décor, and the benches provide resting places for a picnic lunch. (#6). The large fountain is the center of the garden. (#7) The pigeons and sparrows can be fed by hand if you like that sort of thing. Even as cold as it was yesterday in the sun it was pleasant enough to be outdoors.

The little dog, #8, without a lease, waiting for his owners to complete a purchase in a chic shop. Be sure to admire the mosaic walk.

Paris is a city of passages. There is an illustrated book about them. We have one across the street from our apartment, with a Wallace fountain and further up, a restaurant, serving only lunch, that has tables on the sidewalk now enclosed by a plastic partition to protect the patrons from the cold. #9 & $10 are pictures taken of the Passage Colbert and Passage Vivienne. Jean-Pierre Gaultier has a shop here, and of course there book stores, interior decorators, restaurants, all under cover. The art students were having an exercise in drawing perspective – I listened surreptitiously to the instructor working with a student.

#11, Basilica of Notre Dame des Victoires the construction of which was stretched from 1629 to 1740 is the center piece of Place des Victoires and its shops of mode (women’s clothes and some for men). There used to be a restaurant here that we enjoyed where the specialty was stuff, boned little roasted chickens, wonderful!

#12 Square du Temple, about 3 blocks from where we live. This was the site of the chateau of the Templers, the tower of which served as a prison for Louis XVI and family. It was torn down in the 19th C and became a park. The point of this picture is the apartment building, very nouveau art (in correct French art nouveau), admire the roof line of towers and, bleached out by the sun, the sundial, a fixture on many buildings of that period. I would love to have one of the apartments on one of the higher floors overlooking the Square, and a wonderful view of the roof line of Paris.

October 1, 2010, The garden of the Tuilleries and Contemporary Art.

Colette heard an announcement on television that the fall outdoor sculpture show in the Tuilleries was open today. In the past there have been original and sometime funny things, usually in one of the reflecting ponds. One year there was a partially submerged submarine, another time a truck apparently floating on the surface. There was a quick shot of a funny house that Colette wanted to see.

It is an international art show, and this is the 37th year! It is sponsored by Foire Internationale de l’Art Contemporain (International Fair of Contemnporary Art). Go to http://www.fica.com/. It is also showing at the Grand Palace, the enormous glass exhibition hall that was built for one of the Paris international exhibitions late in the 19th C. I am too lazy to stand in line to see that show, but the television coverage has been extensive and some of the art and sculptures are wild!

For the first time in several years Colette felt like she could face the walk it would involve so we bundled up and off we went. We took the Metro from Republic to Place de la Concorde. The Concorde Metro station always involved walking but eventually we surfaced in front of the Ministry of the Marine.

Our son, Ian, was in fine arts and painted before he went into architecture. Ian reminds me, when visiting museums, you have to bring something to your viewing. He suggests open mindedness. Presumably the works on exhibition in the garden of Tuilleries and the Grand Palace were chosen by peer competition.

#1 The Ministry of the Marine, to its right, the Hotel Crillon, highly recommended and can afford one of the best hotels (and most expensive of Paris) and to the right of the Crillon, you can’t see it, is the American Embassy.

#2, Standing with our back to the Jeu de Palme (the former royal covered tennis court, now reserved for art) and looking over the vast Place de la Concorde. The obelisk is the center of the Concorde and since September 1999 also serves as a sundial. I take the word of The Green Guide of Paris (Le Guide Vert, the best guide I know of and there are many, it is also available in English). The obelisk was the gift of a vice-king of Egypt to France and was erected in 1831. On one side, cared into the marble and highlighted in gold leaf, is an illustration on how it was put into place. In the distance you can see the Eiffel r. The Place de la Concorde is the beginning of the Avenue des Champs- that terminates at the Arc de Triomphe and other on the other side begins the Avenue of the Grande Armée that, in turns, terminates at the Defense where there is the Great Arch (La Grande Arche). I went to the top several years ago and it has a fense is a new, planned urban center and now is the home of international commerce. Line # 1 of the Metro runs from Vincennes to the Defense so it is easy to get to.

#3, A statue, weird.

#4, People taking the sun on a cold and breezy day. http://www.tuilleries.com/. The gardens of the Tuilleries date from the 17thC. Paris is a city of parks, but this is one of the most accessible in the center of the city. There are at least three open-air restaurants as well as one pond where you can rent little toy sailboats and play. There are also plenty of benches and chairs. Keep in mind that paris is a city of apartment dwellers, and most apartments are tiny to small, so the only outdoors available to many are parks and sidewalk cafes. And now that smoking in the interior of restaurants is illegal, sidewalk cafes and parks are the only alternatives. PS Smoking has actually increased this year and the ministry of Health is very unhappy about it. It is though the reason is stress.

#5 A stabile, I think. Apparently a pile of metal shavings.

#6, Floating artwork, little silvery balls, corralled and moved by the wind.

#7, Walking man, very suggestive of Rodin.

#8 & 9, Multiheaded thing cradling an egg made of polished tin cans. Very Indian – subcontinental that is as is the artist. Observe the perfect symmetry of the egg!

#10, Weird statue,

#11, Large rocks in a row, or waiting in line.

#12, Prehistory inspired,

#13/14 Funny house all doors.

#15/16 Colette playing hide and seek in the funny house,

#17, Inside the funny house

#18/19, An Indian couple from Princeton, NJ asked me to take pictures of them and another funny statue, like something for space.

#20, Tree in a little pond.

#21, Sticks inspired by the US flag.

#22, Bits and pieces of cast iron, it looks like.

#23, A bicycle tour of Paris!

#24, Maillol, Aristide, La Rivière

#25, Maillol, L’Air. There are 16 other Maillol statutes I am going to have to look for spread around the gardens.

#26, Great court of the Louvre, the famous glass pyramid reception center designed by the Chinese/American architect Pie is almost invisible. I’ll take you there tomorrow or the next day.

#27, Arc de Carousel, if you have really, really excellent vision , standing under the arc you are in perfect alignment with the Arc de Triomphe and the Grande Arc de la Defense!

#28, Colette resting.

#29, La Seine, Ile de la Cite, the Vert Gallant which, in the 16th c, was a small island not yet joined to the bigger island, and where the major immolations took place, the most famous being that of Jacques de Mollay. If you want the details and they are pretty grim, read the History of the Templars in Paris. This where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and their children and servants were imprisoned. See also http://www.tour/ du temple paris.fr.

www.templiers paris.fr, see the English version.

#30, St. Germaine-l’Auxerrois was, in its time, the parish church of the kings of France.

#31, Waiting for the bus. Happily there are plenty of the glass enclosed waiting stations for buses in Paris. We are delighted that the casseurs, the juveniles who go around setting fire to cars and breaking windows, have left them standing for the moment. Colette is the last on the bench.

Pictures may follow depending on the mood of the software in my laptop.

Saturday, October 23, 2010, The Louvre.

A cloudy day, on and off sprinkle of rain, but nothing too serious. However, not a good day for outdoors so the next alternative was The Louvre. By Metro from Arts & Metiers (# 1 & 2) to the Opera , and then changed trains, lots of stairs, to the platform of the train, the station with the wonderful African murals (#3).the Palais Royal/Le Louvre. I took the Rue de Rivoli exit so could go in the old carriage entrance and look through the windows at the statuary court yard (#4) through to the Pyramid (#5).

or a rainy day, the great court yard appeared crowded and the line long, but I timed it and it took about 3 minutes before I was in the Pyramid and had gone through security. #6 is inside looking out to the Louvre, and #7, looking down at the reception area.

Buying an admission ticket was challenging but eventually the machine gave in and accepted my E10 bill, gave me E .50 change and a printed ticket. Happily there are several check-in counters for coats and umbrellas but not, interestingly enough, not hats.

The Louvre is enormous and is, in fact, several palaces that, over the centuryies, werelinked together. The Pyramid, designed by the American/Chinese architect Pei, is – as it were – a gigantic skylight covering the enormous reception area. If it gave the appearance of being crowded yesterday afternoon with its masses of tourists – particularly Japanese! – I dread to think what it may be in the summer, in august, in the height of the tourist season. At least now it – the Louvre – is airconditioned.

The exhibits I wanted tovisit were in the Pavillion Denon – everything is well marked and I had picked up the map of themuseu. Happily there are escalators and by following the signs, a reproduction of the Mona Lisa, I found my way up to Borghese Collecdtions (#8 & 9), into a hall of Greek statues including the Discus thrower (#10 & 11).

The Victory of Samathrace appears small from the Greek hall of statuary but once close to it, it is not (#12, 13, 14).

Again, following theMona Lisa signs (La Jaconde, in French) I found the galleries of Italian masters. My first stop ws to say hello to Il Condottiere (a military commander #15) painted in 1479 by Antonello da Messina. If you look on the internet by picture title you will find much better reproductions. #16 the Italian Gallery, then turn right into the large room in which the Mona Lisa is the principal attraction. (#17, 18, 19) Sharing the same large room as the Mona Lisa is Deux chiens de chasse, (# 20, Two hunting dogs) painted in 1548 by Jacopo dal Pente. Bring a dog biscuit.

Go to ArtList on internet to see better reproductions. Rafaello Santi, aka Raphael, (#21) painted Baldassare Castiglione metime 1478-1529. Another Rafael masterpiece is Dona Isabel de Requersens, and I can’t find it on Artlist.

Michelangelo Merisi, otherwise known as Caravagio, (#23), 1571-1610, painted The Fortune Teller (French, La diseuse de bonne aventure) between 1595-1598. He came to a bad end, go to the internet and read about him.

Now we move to the Spanish Gallery and the wonderful paint of a little boy with a long name, Luis Maria de Cistué Marting (1788-1842, #24), by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, 1746-1818. Another favorite of mine is Portrait de Inigo Melchior Fernandez de Velasco, 1650, painted in an elegant suit by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1618-1682 (#25).

As usual my laptop software is jumping all of the place and it just dumpted several paragraphs that I will have torewrite. Everyone knows the onderful, almost life-sized portrait of Maria Waldstein, 9th marquise of Santa Cruz, 1763-1808, also painted by Goy (#26).

And do not overlook the two great pictures (#27, 28) by Giovanni Paolo Pannini (1691-1765), Galerie de vues de58.la Rome moderna, (Gallery of views of modern Rome) 1759, and Galerie de vues de la Rome antique, Gallery of views of antique Rome) 1758. These two you will have to look up on internet as it is pictures with a picture.

Now we move on to the French large picture, andImean very large pictures. #29 is Paul Delaroche (1707-1856) of Napoleon crossing the Alpes painted in 1848. #30 is another familiar one, Eugene Delacrois’s the 28 july la liberté Guidant le people (July 29, Liberty guiding the people). You need to read the history back of it.

#31, Le radeau de la Méduse (The raft of the Méduse) is based on fact and is pretty grim. Géricault (1791-1824) painted it on the basis of fact. Our neighbor here, a photodirector, recently did a shoot of this picture using people for a centerfoil picture in Paris Match.

If you like horses, don’t miss #32, Géricault’s Officier de chasseurs à cheval de la guarde imperiale chargeant (Officer of the royal guard charging), present at the Salon 1812, when the artist was 20 year’s old. #33 by Jean-Auguste-Dominque Ingres, 1780-1867, uneodilisque aka La grande odalisque. Lots of warm body colors.

#34 introduces the work David with his Portait of Mme Recamier. This is one of David’s smaller, more intimate works, but nogo onb to #35, the crowning of Josephine by Napoleon…

October 25, 2010, Les Champs-Elysees.

#1 The Arc de Triomphe now has tunnels under it to facilitate traffic. #2 The offices of the international advertising firm, Publicis, where my friend Irene works, a block below the Arc de Triomphe. #3 Arc de Tiomphe, again. #4 Peugeot showroom. #5 Peugeot showroom where the classic Peugeot bicycle draws admiring glances. #7 Sidewalk café, heated, not the man with the coat with a hood. It was not too warm. #8, 9 Toyota ‘concept’ car. #10 Toyota’s verison of the Smart car hanging on the wall. #11 Entrance to a shopping arcade, in shadow. #12 Imagine have a flat tire on the Champs-Elysees. Note the driver has a safety vest on, required by law in France. #13, 14 A 1937 Renault sedan, beautiful. #15 A very early, pre WWI Renault. #16 The Citroen building, #17 The view toward Place de la Concorde, #18 Close up of the Citroen Building, #19, 20 & 21, more Citroen building.

October 27, 2010, The Orangerie. http://www.discoverfrance.net/France/Paris/Museums-Paris/Orangerie.shtml.

This web site, in English, provides a short history of the Orangerie. The renovation work has been completed and it is a delight to visit. I regret to say this was my first visit but it has been closed from 2000 through 2008. I hope my pictures taken with my little Canon digital camera will encourage you to look at the pictures on line where the photography will be less distorted.

#1 Place de la Concorde, the Ferris Wheel (not yet assembled) and the refreshment stands and pedal taxis. #2 view of the Place de la Concorde toward the Ministry of the Marine, to its left is the Hotel Crillon and behond that, and not visible, is the American Embassy. #3 The Kiss by Auguste Rodin , an original casting, outside the Orangerie with the Place de la Republique in the background.

I had never heard of André Derain, but this first picture captured me and I would love to have it in our living room. I think it would fit. There are others in the collection here, at the Orangery, to which I would be delighted to give wall space as there are in the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay and the Hotel de Picasso. Oh well, I could not afford the insurance. Some pictures, and one’s own string quartette, would make life pleasant.

André Derain, 1880-1946

#4, L’Age d’Or (The Golden Age)

Chaim Soutine, 1893-194 ? #5, Le Village, #6, Arbre Couché, #7 Paysage, #8 Le Gros arbre bleu

Maurice Utrillo, 1883-1955, #8 Rue de Mont-Cenis, 1914 (Montmartre ?), #9 La Mairie au drapeau, 1924,

André Derain, #10 Grand nu couché, vers 1926-27

Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, #12 Femme au tambourine, 1925, #13 Grand nu à la draperie, 1920-21,

André Derain, #14 Nu au paysage,

Henri Matisse, 1889-1954, #14 Le nu rose ou la jeune fille et le vase de fleurs, #15 Odalisque à la culotte grise, 1927, #16 Femme au canapé ou le divan, 1921, , #17 Les trois sœur, 1916-17,

Picasso #18 Nu sur fond rouge, 1906, #19 Femme au peigne 1906, #20 Composition : paysans, 1906,

Amadeo Modigliani, 1884-1920, #21 Le jeune apprenti, 1918-19,

Henri-Julie Felix Rousseau, 1844-1910, #21 La noce, vers 1904, #22 Promeneurs dans un parc, 1900-1910, #23 La navire dans la tempete, vers 1890, #24 Les pecheurs à la ligne, 1908-1909 , #25 La carriole du Père Junier, 1908

Modigliani, Anatonio vers 1915, #26 Portrait d’une femme,

Marie Laurencin, 1883-1956, #27 Danseus espagnoles, #28 Portrait de Mme Pul Guillaume, 1924,

Paul Cézanne, 1839-1906, #29 Le Rocher rouge, #30 Arbres et maisons, #31 La barque, et les baigneuse, 1890.

Paul Gauguin, 1848-1903, #32 Paysage 1903, #33 Fleurs et Fruit & Fleurs dans un vasse bleu (two pictures hung together), #34 Madame Cézanne au jardin, 1879-1880, #35 Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, #36 Vase paillé, sucrier et pommes , # 37 Portrait du fils de l’artiste, 1881-1882, #38 Portrait de Mme Cézanne, vers 1890.

Pierre-August Renoir, 1846 – 1919, #39 Femme nue coucheée (Gabrielle), #40 Gabrielle et Jean, #41 Portrait de deux fillettes.

Miniatures of : #41, 42, 43 Bureau of M. Guillaume (note miniature reproductions of art), #44, 45, 46 Dining room,

Monet, #47, 48, 49, 50 Les Nymphias, #51 Interior of the Gallery, #52 Exterior of theOrangerie,

Auguste Rodin, #53 L’Ombre (Shadow), #54 Méditation avec Bras (Meditation with Arms), #55 Ève,

#56 The Garden of the Tuilleries, bleached out by strong contrast of light, #57 View of the Tuileries with the Place de la Concorde in the background, #58 Fountain, #59 Eiffel Tower as the sun sets, Place de laConcorde and heavy traffic (taken with telescopic lens, the Tower is actually several miles in the distance). #59 Statue of horses (les Chevaux de Marly) also taken with telescopic lens with the Ministry of Marine to the right and the Hotel Crillon to the left. #60 Obelisk in the center of the Place de la Concorde.

#61 Contemporary art (see October 21, 2010 ) #62 Putto (Italian for a little angel) with flower, entry tosouvenir book store at the entgry to the Garden of theTuilleries.

For more detailed history of the Place, the Obelisk etc. go to the web and look for Place de la Concorde.com, Chevaux de Marly. com.

October 28, 2010 Manifestation and then to the Place St. Michel

#1 & 2, I walked the length of rue de N.D. de Nazareth to rue St. Michel then up to the Blvd. St. Martin where I found a major manifestation. #3 the imposing lady in front of the street rack of Gibert Jeune appeared to be competent to handle any crowd. The store did not have a copy of the book I wanted but the sales person checked her computer, found that the main store at the Place St. Martin did, telephoned to reserve a copy and I was on my way. I made my way through the crowd to the Métro # 4 and I was soon waiting for the elevator in the St. Michel station, one of the oldest and deepest of Paris.

#5 The marble plaque on the wall of the monument reads “Here Robert Cauthier, student, engaged in the FFS (The French underground) fell for the liberation of Partis, the 21 August 1944 at 21 year’s old.” There are many of the plaques in the Left Bank, and on the dates of the death of the defenders of Paris bouquets are placed beneath them.

#6 The momument at the Place St. Michel, ot really an artistic triumph but one of my favorite places in Paris. #7 – 12, no shortage of places to eat inexpensively on rue de la Huchette that runs parallel to Quai St. Michel. # 13 Rue du Chat qui Peche reputed to be the shortest street in Paris that links rue de la Huchette to Quai St. Michel. #14 Yet another restaurant with Greek goodies in the front window.

#15 Notre Dame de Paris seen from the corner of rue du Petit Pont and Quai St. Michel. #16 Another plaque honoring young men killed in the liberation of Paris. #17 Notre Dame. #18 The merry-go-round on the Place of the Hotel de Ville. I keep intending to do a census of the merry-go-rounds in Paris, I know of three, the other two being on the Place de la République and on the quai of the Trocadero.

#1 The newly opened adjunct to the famous L’Ami Louis. This addition is Chez l’Ami, Tripier. Tripes, in English, not my favorite thing. There are several ways of preparing them from the east of France, with Champagne, but the most known is in the manner of Caen. # 2 On the rue St. Michel the corporate headquarters of Paul Gauthier, the fashion designer. This is a wonderful example of a turn-of-the-century mansion (hotel particulier, in French). #3 Rue au Maire, another private mansion with the door opened ondto the court. It is a printing company that does bindings of special editions. #4 Other tourists and a delivery man resting. #5 A hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop, # 6 close up.

#7 A very friendly butcher, a rarety I assure you. #8 Pouring cement into molds above the street. #9 & 10 Passage Vendome from the rue Beranger to the Place de la Republique. Inside there are two Viet-namese restaurants, one Turkish restaurant, a shoerepair shop and other little businesses.

October 30, 2010, Brocante/side walk street market, Blvd. St. Martin. Miscellaneous views of things you cannot live without!

October 31, 2010, # 1 – 10 Louise Fogarty (I don’t know her married name) wearing my new E 5. Hat and holding her sleepingdaughter in her lap in thelobby of our hotel. This is the Hotel Paris France where we spend the night before our departure for home after Colette has cleaned and closed the apartment, turned off the utilities, and I have pulled the suitcases to the hotel. # 2 Louise and Irene, whom I met in a bistro over coffee and trying to get my laptop tied into the bistro’s wifi signal several years ago. Irene is Irish and now has American citizen, and works in Paris for Publicis writing advertising scripts for TV. #11- 12 Bistro on the corner of rue du Temple and rue Dupetit-Thouars, roast chicken and fries, very good. I recommend it.

Nvember 1, 2010 From Paris to Newark,yet another difficult trip. Unusually exensive tax, almost $75 to the airport, wait to check in, Colette did not ask for a wheel chair, turned out to be a mistake. # 1 – 6 This is Terminal 1, the original terminal for Charles de Gaulle airport. I is designed like a group of mushrooms, with the larger, center mushroom the hub for the little mushrooms which contain security, limited bar service, and quite comfortable facilities. This was another frustrating example of hurry up and wait. Once on board, we had then to disembark, then reimbark. #7 Lunch was served about 3 p.m. and it was the usual airline menu of chicken and something.

We arrived at Newport about 3 hours late. Colette’s wheel chair was waiting for us and her Bangladeshi pusher took off for our departure gate like a man possessed. He got us through arrival formalities, customs, rechccking our suitcases and to the departure gate. #8 There we learned our flight was delayed, no departure time shown. # 9 Colette, exhausted. Eventually we checked in for another, later flight, trotted from departure gate to departure gate, and eventually we did leave but late. Happily Ramon was a RDU waiting for us but we were tired. The following morning we both had medical appointments that had to be kept.