June                    2007
VOL. 11               NO. 2
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

  Last minute vacation plans . . .

Last minute vacation plans . . .

Paris Enigmas

Ici et Là

Franco-American Portraits:
  ~ An Interview with Edwin Gerard
  by Arthur Gillette

Getting Married in France
  ~ Can I Get Married in France?
  by Corina Clemence
  ~ Weddings in Provence
  by Anita Rieu-Sicart

Petite Pleasures
    by Maxine Rose Schur
Château du Breuil, Cheverny - photo copyrighted 2005-2007 by Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.
                    Château du Breuil, Cheverny

The Bookshelf:
  ~ Dickens on France: 
     Fiction, Journalism, and Travel Writing

Letters from Occupied France
  edited by Arthur Gillette

   The Centre / Val-de-Loire
  The Loire Valley Golfing Holiday
  ~ 2 Last-Minute Offers in the Loire


Spring is here and those who planned in advance for their trip to France, whether a once in a  lifetime adventure or an annual visit, have already made all their reservations, secured their E-tickets online, rented their cars, and bought travel insurance.  Such tasks have become quite simple these days with the availability of so many services on the Internet. 

But, for those who haven't made arrangements or decided exactly what they want to do or where they want to visit, time is running short.  The first places to become fully booked are the prime rental properties ~ if you want a week in Provence near the water during the month of August, good luck!  Our bet is that the charming little villa with the pool and a view of the Mediterranean is no longer available.  In fact, it might be best to avoid visiting France in August if possible, as it is the holiday month for Europeans, and so many vacationers head for France.

For large groups planning to travel together, we always recommend a year in advance to make initial inquiries for suitable accommodations.  There is a limited number of comfortable rental properties with 12 or more bedrooms, all en suite!  If you wait too long to book, you might not find something in the area you want, or it may offer a little less than you had hoped. 

But, don't lose faith!  There are still some open weeks out there, and, if you are seeking a few nights in a bed and breakfast summer or autumn, you can probably secure a reservation if you do it very soon.  Keep in mind that France is the most visited country in the world year after year.  Granted, there also might be more guest accommodations ~ from average to luxury ~ to be found in France than anywhere in the world, but with people coming into the country by the hundreds of thousands, you must plan ahead to get your piece of the vacation pie! [See page six for two available rental châteaux.]

We know that many travelers to France are interested in courses they can take in cooking, painting, or other creative pursuits that being in France inspires.  In this issue you will find information about cooking lessons at a fine château in France's magnificent Sarthe region, more cooking at a wine estate in Provence during the Rugby World Cup events, and plans for Provençal tours in 2008 with a French language teacher.

This issue of our newsletter will take you back to the elegant Loire Valley, let you eavesdrop on Arthur Gillette's interview with actor and director Edwin Gerard, offer a literary  peek at Paris with 'Petite Pleasures', and look back at the turbulent 1940s in France with another installment of 'Letters from Occupied France'.  And, of course, we hope you will enjoy our book review presenting a little-known side of Francophile Charles Dickens. 

And, last but not least, for all the prospective brides and grooms the world over whose dream it is to be married in a French château, there are two articles written just for you!  Once again, however, we encourage early planning.  This is a special day in your lives, and advance planning will ensure that it goes smoothly and that nothing is overlooked ~ and those guests invited from around the world will also need to plan ahead for your romantic French wedding!

As much as we encourage traveling on your own, do take advantage of the many people in France who can help with wedding arrangements, who offer the perfect château for a family gathering, and all those invaluable travel web sites such as Rail Europe (from the US) where you can select and book your train travel online, or France Car which allows you to do the same for a rental car in France.  We also encourage you to visit our sister web site for very unique and historic château accommodations and rentals in France at reasonable prices ~ au Château

No matter what your plans, we always wish you a Bon Voyage!

Look inside

  to find all you need to know about having your wedding in France ~ either in the romantic Loire Valley or in irresistible Provence.


>  to continue reading communiqués in our series Letters from Occupied France...dramatic, real-life messages between France and the United States during what are known as France's darkest days.


> and come along with us as Arthur Gillette interviews Edwin Gerard for our June editon of Franco-American Portrait.


>   and, finally, return with us to the Loire Valley in Part Two of our series on the Centre / Val de la Loire, to discover that there is more to this region than just royal palaces.  Golfers out there will be pleased (and perhaps pleasantly surprised) about the many exceptional courses awaiting them throughout the region.

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

Question from the last issue:  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?

Answer:   Luckily for him, Garnier was a quick thinker and, inventing his answer out of thin air, shot right back: "Why, Madame l'Impératrice, this is Napoleon the Third style!"

"Whew," replied the Empress with a sigh of relief, "that's fine, then. Where do I sign?"

Our new question: Paris' oldest bridge, the Pont Neuf (New Bridge!), sports an equestrian statue of the king probably most admired by Parisians, Henri IV, originally erected by his widow, Marie de Médicis, soon after his assassination in 1610. According to legend, the king's raised right arm and the horse's belly are not hollow.  What is said to be in them, and why?

Contact Arthur Gillette,  and take advantage of his amazing knowledge of Paris
 by enjoying one or more of his Paris Through the Ages StrollsEmail:armedv@aol.com

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


Général Marquis de La Fayette

Join some members of the American Friends of Lafayette and
Merci Lafayette French American Alliance for Liberty on their visit to
 France in September of 2007 to celebrate Lafayette's 250th Birthday!
Only a few openings left!  Stay at beautiful Château Vollore in the Auvergne.
For more information, send an email to knuteoicp@webtv.net

[Reach many thousands of Francophiles by advertising in FRANCE On Your Own, email advertise@franceonyourown.com]

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