Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Popping into Paris!

30/04/2013

Bonjour mes amis!

I hope you'll respect me again, after all my funny stories yesterday...

Guess what?  The day after all my Car Troubles, I went back into Paris with Elaine...

By Train!

Ah!  Now that was relaxing...and fun!

We arrived in the Gare d'Austerlitz first.  Isn't this fun?  There's a Piano in the Train Station, and anyone can play it.  We've heard some very good pianists while waiting for our Trains over the last months.


We were headed to the Eiffel Tower, but we chose to walk along the Seine River, so we could view the French Statue of Liberty first!  Elaine was particularly interested to see this, since she is a Teacher, and has regularly taken her students on Field Trips to see our Statue of Liberty in New York.



As a Tour Guide, I seem to be required to take all my guests to see the Eiffel Tower...but, I love it.  Today, I'll just share a few pictures, since I've shared the Paris sights before on my blog...


Visibility wasn't too good the day we went to the Eiffel Tower...


I never tire of seeing the Arc de Triomphe in the center of this next photo.  All roads lead to it...


I managed some pictures on the Elevator on the way up.  Cool, huh?


It's just so iconic of Paris, isn't it?


Then, there were Views along the way to the Rodin Museum...




And, The Thinker is still there thinking...


How do you like this Musketeer?


The Kissers are still there, kissing...


And, the Garden at The Rodin Museum is ready for Spring...


We had a nice stop at the Arc de Triomphe...


Again, visibility wasn't that good from the top...


We ended our day with a stop at Notre Dame, and dinner at a Brasserie!


It was a typical Spring day in Paris...rain and clouds, but it was so nice to be stress-free and let the Conductor of the Train do the driving!!!

Have a "Jewel" of a Day!
Jan

Monday, April 29, 2013

Running on Fumes...


29/04/2013

Bonjour mes amis!

I promised you a Funny Story today,
but I actually have Three Short Stories to share...
All Car related...

I hope you don't mind if I sprinkle in some good stuff from The Louvre!

The Pyramid at The Louvre, Paris
I've been telling you about the visit of my childhood friend, Elaine, and our trip to Giverny and Paris.  Let me "back up the truck"!
The Louvre, Paris
I forgot to tell you about our evening near Giverny.  I've already shown you the photos from our stay in the Chambre d'hôtes.  Our kind Host made a Reservation for us for Dinner at a beautiful place.  We had quite a nice dinner, and then started our drive back to the Chambre d'hôtes.

Napoleon's Apartments
Since we were out in the country, Elaine suggested I put on the bright lights to see better where I was going...


Good Idea!  So, I put on the brights, and it made the drive in a strange place so much easier...


This little guy just made me smile!
Until...

We came upon a Small Village, and I forgot that I had my bright lights on.  And, lo and behold, a Police car is coming straight at me, flashing it's lights!  Uh oh!  I can't figure out how to turn off the bright lights!  I fumbled and fumbled, and finally stopped the car to try to figure things out...

In the mean time, the Police Officers backed up their car and evened up with me.  Oh my!  How embarrassing!  I rolled down my window, and apologized.


They weren't too warm about it, but in the end, just warned me to be careful about this.  Thank goodness I got the lights turned down, AND that the Police didn't get out of the car to deal with me.  If they spoke much more French to me, I'm not sure where things would have gone...

I guess they noticed our Red License Plate, which basically means that we are Foreigners driving in France...even though the guy at the Rental Agency jokingly told us that it identifies us as Diplomats!


An Urn with Style!


Yes, please!  I'd like this paneling in my house!







More Urn beauty!

I Love looking at these beautiful things, don't you?



All the Carved Stone is so exciting, too!


The day after my episode with the Police, we spent the afternoon at The Louvre.  Then, we headed back to Gare Du Nord to find the car in the Parking Garage.  On the way, we spotted this really cool Clock in the Train Station.  See how it even shows Military Time?


Exiting the Parking Garage proved to be a challenge.  When I got to the Lever to pay the ticket for parking, my credit card wouldn't work, AND I was jammed up next to the box to pay, so I couldn't exit the car.  I couldn't pull forward, or back either.  Elaine had to take my credit card out her door, to a man in a booth, and I had to yell out in French through the passenger's window that my card wouldn't work.  Fortunately, this embarrassing moment ended quickly.  Elaine was able to swipe my card with the man in the booth and get the ticket paid.  Ahhh!  We're out of the garage now...

But wait!

There's another problem!  We are almost out of Gas, and we are in the middle of busy Paris.  Ok.  Let's be reasonable...just plug into the GPS that you need to find the closest Gas Station and everything will be okay...

OR NOT...

The first Gas Station proved to be a Phantom, so we had to try the second.  But there were people everywhere, and we had to make numerous turns, and sit at numerous lights...

AND WE WERE RUNNING ON FUMES!!!

The closest Gas Station didn't even prove to be a Station, just three Pumps along the side of the very busy road.  Elaine spotted it first.  I pulled up, shut off the car, and breathed a sigh of relief!  A girl came to our aid, and I told her to fill it up.  (At this point, I didn't really care what the price was...but we did ask!)  I hurried out of the car to speak with the girl pumping my gas...(I didn't know there was anywhere in the world that still offered full-service anymore)...and then followed her into a store front, where a man rattled off in French to me.  Once my brain started working again, and I could comprehend what he said to me, I responded, and he told me that I spoke French very well!  Wow!  What a nice compliment after a harrowing 30+ minutes of Stress!

You are probably laughing about my Predicaments, and I can laugh now, too, but it really wasn't funny at the time...

I'd like to leave you today with one more Picture from the Louvre...



And, I wish you a "Jewel" of a Day!
Jan


Sunday, April 28, 2013

I AM with you!

28/04/2013

Bonjour mes amis!

Some dear friends are struggling with some difficult issues right now.  This week, I was reminded of this Verse for them.  I hope it is encouraging for you today as well.

"Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you,
I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 42:10

Have a Blessed Day!
Jan


Saturday, April 27, 2013

I won't do it again!

27/04/2013

Bonjour mes amis!

I just won't do it again...

Let me ask you a question...have you ever driven in Paris?  Or, have you ever driven in New York City, for that matter?  Well, the two cities are one and the same with regard to stressful driving...

I've been there...

And I won't do it again!

I truly understand why people who live in Big Cities don't usually want to own Cars!  Delivery Trucks everywhere!  One way Streets!  Pedestrians all over the place!  Construction!  Massive Traffic!  Yuck!  It's no fun! I don't know why I even agreed to driving in Paris, but I won't do it again.

Now, let me assure my future visitors...no worries...I will collect you at the Airport!  (For some reason, I can handle traffic on a highway a whole lot better than the stress of the City)!

Enough complaining, though.  We survived...

We parked in the Gare Du Nord Parking Garage in Paris!  (I think we were on the lowest level, so the lot was not nearly as full, which I was thankful for)!  Then, we got to site-seeing...

My friend, Elaine, and I headed to the Metro to find a line to Montmarte, because Elaine wanted to see where all the Parisian Artists hang out.  It's kind of a Tourist Trap, but still fun to stop there.  Elaine was on a Quest to buy Art from a Local Artist...



I don't know how these people continue to paint and sketch with all the Tourists gawking at them while they work!


The Man below turned out to be the Winner!  Elaine bought a Piece he had painted the day before!


He was a nice older gentleman, so I decided to try out some of my limited French to learn something about him.  It turned out that he'd been painting for 40 years!



Next, we jumped on the Metro to head to the Louvre.  We were treated to Music in the Subway on the way!  Amazing acoustics in the Metro Stations!



It's always worth sharing a few coins for some good Music!

Next stop...The Louvre...and a Funny Story...although it definitely was not funny at the time!  Sorry!  I'm saving this Story for Monday's Post.

But, to sum things up for Today...If you come visit me in France, I'd love to take you into Paris...

But we'll take the Train!

Have a "Jewel" of a Weekend!
Jan

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Peaceful Retreat!

26/04/2013

Bonjour mes amis!

Looks like we're going to get some rain here today, but that's okay, because the temperatures are still Spring-like, and everything is budding and blooming, and the trees are becoming green again.  So beautiful!

Yesterday, I told you about a visit to Monet's Garden, and I commented that I wanted an Overnight Stay.  One of my favorite things to do in France is stay in Chambre d'hôtes.  This is the equivalent of a Bed and Breakfast in the United States, but for me, I enjoy it so much in France.  Many of the Chambre d'hôtes in France are in very old, historic Manor Houses or Farm Houses from the 15th and 16th Centuries, yet the Owners have updated, keeping original details, but making these places comfortable to enjoy overnight.

I have become a "connoisseur" of finding quality Chambre d'hôtes in France.  We have stayed in quite a few over the years, so if you want, I can probably make a Recommendation for you if you plan to visit France.  I can usually tell when a Home Owner "has the knack" for updating and decorating their Old Home.

A stay in a Chambre d'hôtes, of course, also includes a French Breakfast, which usually includes...
  
Coffee or Tea and Juice
Baguettes and Homemade Confiture (Jam)
Croissants (including Pain au Chocolat)
and Natural Yogurt.

I truly enjoy this, because typically, the Homeowners also have a lovely view to enjoy while dining.

While my friend, Elaine, was here we managed an overnight at L'Aulnaie, near Giverny...



Look at the View from the Room we stayed in...


The Homeowner picked up these huge bottles at Flea Markets.  Wish I could take some of these back to the U.S. with me...




And, the Room was clean and pleasant...


One of the Homeowners is an Artist, and we found her artwork all around the Home.


I always love the Stone Walls in these Old Places...


Such Charm!  I wondered if this is where the Artist in the family does her painting and sketching...


A Creek ran along the back of the Property...



For most Americans, this next photo would be considered a junk-pile, but we found this little spot so charming with the old Wheelbarrow, Bottle Drying Rack, and Wine Barrel!


Have you had a Peaceful Retreat lately?  Even one night away is so refreshing...

Have yourself a "Jewel" of a Day!
Jan

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