March                  2007
VOL. 11               NO. 1
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

  A New Decade for FRANCE On Your Own

A New Decade . . .
  ~ FRANCE On Your Own in its 11th year 

Paris Enigmas

Ici et Là

Homage to L'Abbé Pierre
  by Kristin Espinasse

Do You Know this Paris Museum?
  by Bryna C. O'Sullivan

Franco-American Portraits:
  ~ An Interview with Catherine Domain
  by Arthur Gillette

Château de Chenonceau, copyright 1999-2007 Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.
              Château de Chenonceau

French Wine Report:
~ A Tour of Bordeaux with an Expert

           The Centre / Val-de-Loire

  Including The Loire Valley - a Veritable
                               Gastro-Cycling Paradise
  by Corina Clemence

It seems like only yesterday that we composed and mailed out our first newsletter to some 30 (yes, 30!) paid subscribers.  We wrote about planning a trip to France, driving in France, working with a travel agent and the choices of accommodations most suitable for travelers and their families.  And, we took our readers to Normandy ~ our first regional feature. 

A lot has changed since the Spring of 1997: we have evolved along with technology into a free online publication.  Because of the Internet, we now network with many people in the French tourism industry, enabling us to bring so much more to our readers and to those who visit our web site every day.  These last ten years have expanded our world as well and brought us many friends and close business associates  ~  we may have benefited from our work more than anyone else! 

Best of all, however, are the hundreds of thousands of people we now reach around the world.  Our newsletter began in 1997, but it was 1998 that our web site went online.  It took a few years for people to know we were there (and to discover that the Internet was the most incredible way to make travel plans), but our site is now visited by over 8,000 people per month.  Our newsletter subscriber base, starting with 30 people, now numbers in the many thousands.  Yet, our goals are the same: we want people to visit France, to make their own plans and decisions about where to go, where to stay and what to see, and to discover all that France has to offer.  If we can, along the way, suggest exciting destinations, worthwhile things to do and high-end (yet economical) accommodations, all the better. 

This issue, the first of our second decade, will take readers to one of the most popular regions of France:  the Loire Valley. . . the Centre.   It is a place we have visited many times to experience the royal châteaux brimming with intrigue and history, the vineyards producing France's lesser-known but superb varieties of wine, the beautiful and incredible villages and cities of the region, and the River itself ~ an important waterway both in France's history and in the 21st century.

In keeping with this issue's regional feature on the Loire, we will begin a five-part series about the highlights of the Valley written by a transplanted Australian lady who is now the proud owner (with her husband and children) of a magnificent Loire château near the city of Blois.  We are confident that her prose and depth of information will appeal to you, and that her articles for our newsletter will give you an insider's perspective so important to fully enjoying a destination.

Also in this edition of FRANCE On Your Own, we will tag along with Arthur Gillette as he visits with Catherine Domain at her unique book shop in Paris, and Bryna O'Sullivan who tells us all about an equally unique Paris museum.

Don't miss our regular columns and special reports such as those by expat, Kristin Espinasse, on the passing of a much-loved French priest.  And, thank you for being with us as we begin our 11th year of publication.  Please tell your friends about FRANCE On Your Own ~ each issue is like a free visit to France!

Look inside

  because there's more to Paris' name than meets the eye!  Learn about all the possibilities of how this grand city got its name.


>  to read about an interesting little museum that's been on the scene for over 70 years ~  certainly not the first Parisian museum that comes to mind, but one that may deserve your attention.


> and come along with us as we visit France's Valley of the Kings:  the lovely Centre ~ the Loire Valley, beginning with an insider's look at visiting some great Loire châteaux on bicycles.


>   and, finally, wine aficionados won't want to miss the tour offered by The Bordeaux Wine Experience ~ a tour that will allow a peek behind the scenes at some of the world's most respected producers of French wines.

  PARIS ENIGMAS . . . A Quiz on Your Knowledge of Historic Paris
                                                                                        by Arthur Gillette

Question from the last issue:  Ever wonder why the French capital is called Paris? 
There are almost as many etymological theories on this subject as etymological theoreticians! So don't get your hopes up – I don't have a definitive answer. But I have researched the enigma and hope that some of the major explanations advanced will intrigue you as much as they do me.

Answer:   The answer is a story in itself, so please visit page 2 of this newsletter for the complete and unabridged explanation!

Our new question:    After narrowly escaping an assassination attempt after attending a performance at the old Paris Opera, Napoleon III decided to build a new opera house with an imperial escape ramp ~ just in case.   He entrusted the operation to his consort, Empress Eugénie.  Architect Charles Garnier was pre-selected for the job and, in due course, presented Eugénie with plans for the building that still stands and serves today.  When she saw the rather complicated maquette (somebody later referred to the Garnier Opera as 'an overladen sideboard'),  she was aghast and blurted out,  "But, but Monsieur Garnier, what on earth is this style?"   How did Garnier win her over?

Contact Arthur Gillette,  and take advantage of his amazing knowledge of Paris
 by enjoying one or more of his Paris Through the Ages

[See the answer to this edition's question
revealed in our June 2007 issue.]


Europe Along Scenic Routes

Canadian Dan Graydon escorts small, personal tours of France and Europe. 
You can obtain all the details of Europe Along Scenic Routes on our 
Marketplace page, or simply click on the above banner to visit his web site
and see the schedule of upcoming tour dates.  You won't want to pass up these tours!

[Reach many thousands of Francophiles by advertising in FRANCE On Your Own, email]

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