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October 2015 France

France | Paris | Port de l'Arsenal -Bastille

France | Paris | Place de la Bastille | Fall colors from Port de l'Arsenal

October 28, 2015

Dear Family and Friends, Beautiful fall in Paris. The weather has been lots drier than the UK was this summer. We had a week of colder weather with highs in upper 40's then it went back to 60's with a high of 70 yesterday. That's raining today so we are off to get much needed haircuts:-)

Our time here is flying by... We joined Musee d'Orsay and l'Orangerie for the year which we have visited a few times enjoying especially the 5th floor focusing on Impressionism. We sure like not having to wait in any lines and spending an hour or so each visit. Our last visit to the Lourvre we focused on the Napoleon apartments which were quite interesting. Our other big find was Classical concerts free or relatively inexpensive around the city. We've been to two excellent afternoon concerts at the Louvre auditorium and some free concerts at some nearby churches.

France | Paris | Eglise Marie-Madeleine| Faure Requiem

We heard the Faure Requiem song by a Dutch group with Parisian soloists at Eglise Marie-Madeleine. Al and I sang this when we were in college so it was fun to hear another group sing it. We just look online and can find all sorts to choose from each week.

We've gone to a couple of Thursday "French Classes" in the marina meeting room. Actually the rule is no English and bring wine. Well Al and I really get into the wine bit but French only makes for very little conversation by us or understanding what is being said. Reading French is a bit easier as we can look at it for awhile and figure it out. If I pick up a few key words I can sometimes get the gist of what is being said. But hearing French spoken quickly and not have a general idea of what is being talked about loses me totally.

We had our first medical experience...flu shots. We like to get a flu shot early because of traveling and not wanting to bring sickness when we visit our kids. So we went to the pharmacy and discovered that we should buy our flu shot for 6.50 Euro each and then take it to a doctor to administer it. Fortunately Charlotte our "French teacher" took us under her wing and away we went to her doctor's house/office. He would have come down to the boat but we said no we'll come to him. She introduced us, we got our shot, he refused payment and off we went.

France | Paris |Notre Dame |Carin, Al, Lars and Boris (dog)

France | Paris | Jardin Tuileries

October 18, 2015

We had sailing friends visit for a few days from Sweden. Lars, Carin and Boris (10 month puppy) came to Paris in their camper. We helped them get settled at Bois de Boulange campgrounds which is near the end of our Metro line. Boris is very well behaved and seemed to enjoy all the attention he would get from the locals. It seemed everyone who passed us buy needed to pat him on the head. Al teased Lars that he should start charging 2 Euro to pet Boris. (Funny story...on their way back to Sweden, Lars and Boris were waiting for Carin in a train station. Lars set his hat on the floor by Boris and a lady went by and stopped to pet Boris (he thought)but instead she tossed 2 Euro into his hat!)

France | Paris | Montmartre | Sacre Coeur| Mn friends Mark and Connie

We also had visitors from Minnesota passing through Paris on their way to Dubai. We had a fun day showing Mark and Connie some of the sights, speaking English again, and sharing a few meals. It's probably not funny but Al and I caught ourselves tripping over each other's conversations while we eagerly expressed ourselves in a language we could not only speak but understand.

France | Vincennes | Chateau Vincennes

October 27, 2015

We had another beautiful Fall day reaching 70F so we packed and picnic and hopped on the metro to enjoy another park we've been meaning to visit. We first toured Chateau Vincennes and Saint Chapelle Vincennce. It was built as a Hunting Manor in 12th century, a fortified royal residence in 16-17th centuries and then a military stronghold in the days of the Empire.

France | Paris | Parc de Floral | Dahlia gardens

France | Paris | Parc de Floral | beautiful fall colors

Our intention was to explore Bois de Vincennes (2nd biggest green space, forest in Paris) but turned left instead of right and ended up in Parc Floral de Paris. What a beautiful find. The Fall colors were magnificent, the huge Dahlia Gardens still in full bloom, and the 70F made for a perfect afternoon exploring.

Overnight and early this morning it actually rained! So we got much needed haircuts, did some boat chores and the sun is shining again. Workers have been busy all week setting up temporary tents surrounding our canal preparing for the opening of the Grand Marche d'Art Contemporain. About 500 amateur artists will exhibit and sell their works over the next 4 days. We understand after the art fair ends on Sunday the flea market will use the same tents for another week. So the port will be bustling this next week. We have our winter trip booked arriving in Chicago December 1 and returning to Paris March 1. Hope all is well Love and God Bless Sally and Al

France | Paris | Pompidou Center | sculpture fountain

France | Paris | St. Augustine Church

France | Paris | Palais Garnier - Opera House

October 5, 2015 Dear Family and Friends, We've had two fabulous weeks trying to get to know Paris. We've had glorious weather until today so haven't found time to write a log. We have found an English speaking catholic church St. Joesph's near the Arc de Triumph. It's 15-20 min. train ride from the boat but it gives us an excuse to start at that side of the city to explore on Sundays. The first week we tried the 1100 mass but decided the guitar music wasn't for us and that half the day was gone by the time we left church. So now we go to the 9:30.

France | Paris | Luxembourg Garden | sail boats in front of Luxembourg Palace

France | Paris | The Pantheon

France | Paris | Jardin de Marco Polo

France | Paris | Bois de Boulogne | one of many gardens

France | Paris | Bois de Boulogne | Parc de Bagalette | grotto

France | Paris | Bois de Boulogne | Fondation Louis Vuitton

We try to get going early each day and walk in different areas of Paris. The trains are easy and relatively inexpensive but we see much more walking. We'll plan a destination but always find ourselves covering way more ground than anticipated. We did join the Louvre Museum so that we can visit often and make shorter visits. We've only been the one time so far because the weather has been so fantastic. We've explored Eiffel Tower area, Montmartre-Basilica Sacre Coeur, cemetery area, Ile d'Cite and Ile de St. Louis, Jardin Luxembourg-Pantheon, Bois de Boulogne, Parc de Bagatelle, Place des Volges, Hotel de Sully courtyards, Pere La Chaise cemetery, Canal St. Martin, Notre Dame, Ste. Chapelle and Conciergerie, Musee Rodin and gardens Palace Royal, Hotel de Ville museum, Les Halles-Eglise St. Eustache, l'Opera, Place de Madeline and church, ... these were destinations but since we were walking we saw much of what was in between and have walked all the major boulevards and bridges. We did tour Notre Dame, Ste Chapelle and the Concirgerie. Other fabulous buildings will just have to wait.

France | Versaille Gardens

Last Wednesday we took a train out of the city and spent the day touring Versailles: the chateau, gardens, Trianon Palaces and Marie Antoinette estate. It was a beautiful day. The audioguides were great.

We've only been to one concert so far in a church near Luxembourg Park but hope to do more. Thursday we were invited to the monthly BQ at the marina. The first Thursday of each month they gather, stoke up the barbecue and uncork the wine for a boating community gathering. This was our first opportunity to meet people here at the marina. We also plan to start French lessons on Thursdays.

Saturday we went to an all day workshop for English speaking people living in Paris at the American Church. It was very informative and we met some nice people. So as busy as we've been I think we've made a good start on our stay here in Paris. On our agenda is to get into the museums more, concerts, and seeing some of Paris after dark. We are so worn out when we return to the boat each day we haven't gone out after dark yet.

We have plans to hear our friends Catherine and Doug's daughter Ellie Dehn sing the role of the Countess in the Marriage of Figaro with the London Royal Opera Company. It's being broadcast live at several cinemas in Paris tonight Oct. 5 but the theater near us at Bastille is showing it Nov. 5 so depending on the weather we'll go tonight or wait. She's also scheduled to appear on Prairie Home Companion Oct. 24 for Garrison Keillor's radio show at Anoka High School Field House Minnesota. Excited to see her perform again as it's been several years since we've had the opportunity. We hope all is well and you are enjoying some nice Fall weather. Love and God Bless. Sally and Al

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