Wednesday, May 23, 2012

HOW CAN I EVER GO BACK TO THE FARM, NOW THAT I'VE SEEN "PAREE". aka EVENING IN PARIS

Originally my title was to be Evening In Paris, because of the wonderful evening we had last night with a farewell supper, and a cruise on the Seine River, and then watching the fireworks of the Eiffel Tower, and then a driving tour of the highlights of Paris. It just seemed like the perfect title of how we ended our day, but after reading Sue's comment, it brought to mind the old song from WW1. That prompted me to change the title, but going back to my first title....

Surely I am not the only one who remembers a perfume called "Evening in Paris". As young girls when we would stand at Mom's dresser and look at all the pretty things gathered on her dresser my eyes would always look longingly at the pretty sapphire blue bottle with the shiny pointed cap. Just the name of this perfume was pure magic..."Evening in Paris". It conjured up a name of place I would probably never visit and when we looked wistfully at Mom dabbing her wrists and neck with her perfume, sometimes she would "share" it with us and we felt special too.

I am jumping ahead of myself though. Today we breakfasted in Avignon, (and yes, I hummed the children's song, "Sur le Pont, d'Avignon" many times while visiting Avignon). Just as a matter of interest, did you know that Avignon Bridge does not go all across the river? It stops about 3/4 of the way across. Know one really knows why; whether they ran out of funds, changed their mind, or possibly that it was originally finished but damaged in a flood and just never repaired.


It has been a very pretty drive from Avignon to Paris. Much more open farm land than I expected. Lots of cattle...white cattle; called Charolais, beef Cattle.
We had a brief stop over in a little village called Beaune. Today being Wednesday, it was market day which was a treat for us. Many of the local vendors were in the village square with, cheeses, meats, breads, soaps, linens, herbs, pastries, mustards and much more. We stopped in a local cafe for cafe au lait and pastries. I could easily live in Beaune... Sigh.

...but Paris was a big surprise! Rome was dark, huge, congested and stunning, but Paris...! Such wide wide streets, much lighter stone works, the River Seine, the gold of the Palace of Versailles... Ooh la la !
So much to see and do that we just scratched the surface. Have a look.

Arc de Triomphe

Eiffel Tower at dusk.

And in the morning mist...

Paris from up on the Eiffel Tower.

...and from the bottom the sunlight. We took the lift up but walked back down from the halfway point...700 steps.

The opulence of the Palace of Versailles.

Yes people that is real gold...at a time when the people of France were starving...thus the revolution!

Lunch on the Avenue Champs Elysees.

Yes Sue, I'm wondering now, just how can I ever go back to the farm, now that I've see Paris!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Life Styles of the Rich and Famous

From Pisa to The French Riviera...what a contrast! Even though we were anxious to see Pisa, we were not really sad to leave there. The town of Pisa is very old and shabby. It seems that the leaning tower is really all it has to promote. We walked down a few cobbled lanes past peddlers and stalls of merchants and when we rounded the corner what a surprise to see this

We checked the schedule to see if we might be able to go up the tower to get the view from the but it didn't fit in our time frame, which was probably just as well, because we really hadn,t realized at this point in time just how serious the earthquake that had happened through the night had been. We were only about an hour away from the epicenter, and there was significant damage to several historic buildings. We took the obligatory pictures, made a potty stop and were on our way.

On our way to discovering a taste of the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Because of the Canne Film Festival our accommodations had to be moved from Nice to Monaco. What a sacrifice!!! We stayed down close to the waterfront of the French Riviera overlooking a Princess Grace Memorial Rose Garden. Our accommodations were absolutely delightful! We spent some time walking around the pier and trying to decide which yacht we wanted to buy and then did some shopping, saw the Pink Palace, the Monte Carlo Casino, dined at a charming inn high above the Mediterranean overlooking the water. It was raining most of the day, but it was enjoyable none the less. Two days in Monte Carlo, and an added bonus; it is the week of the Grand Prix...the most famous of car races! Lots of activity, the city was buzzing. I can't even imagine how much money was represented in this little city...have a look.

Our trip is quickly coming to an end. Today we visited a charming walled village called St. Paul de Vence. It would be a real pleasure to spend more time here but we had places to go and people to see, so it was a charming tour, a tasty cafe and croissant and then on to Lyon. Tomorrow on to Paris for two days ... But for now a few pics of St. Paul

It's ten p.m. and we have another early start to the day, so no night life for me..
" bonsoir mes amis reve doux" Cha cha!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mama Mia!

What a day!
Drove from Assisi to Florence. Beautiful weather, beautiful scenery! To visit the province of Tuscany here in Italy has always been a dream, and here we are! Florence, the home of Michaelangelo's David, the home of Galileo, Amerigo Vespugi; so much history!

Doors of the Baptistry carved from bronze.

Tower homes of the rich and famous over 700 years ago. The higher you built the richer and more important you were. These buildings are still being inhabited today. Many are 5 - 7 stories high with no elevators! You walk up and down the stairs every time you want to go somewhere and furniture has to be moved by a crane through windows...

So much history and ancient buildings, it seems so odd to see this...electric cars. They are encouraged and therefore are given free parking and charge posts. Driving and parking is a major problem in cities so congested with people, huge buildings and extremely narrow streets. For us foreigners looking on there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the way people drive, no rules, but it seems to work ok for the locals so who am I to argue.
Another big highlight to my day...I found a charming little quilt shop! Yes I took a few pics and yes I bought fabric, but the pics are on the phone and I am not equipped to load them on to the ipad. I looked specifically for fabrics NOT made in North America and managed to spend 100 euros and could quite easily have spent another couple hundred, but one must use a little self control when one is shopping for fabric...
Tomorrow we head to Pisa. ( I am told that the Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually straight if you drink enough wine ) I however do not plan to test that theory.

(Backup) (Backup) On The Road Again

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?lyrics=2035 Ok, telle me the truth...are you humming thatsong now? Cause I am and I fear it may be runni...