May                   2008
VOL. 12            NO. 2
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

  An Architectural View of France

An Architectural View of France

Paris Enigmas

Ici et Là
  ~ Peace Treaties Commemorated

A Brand New Medieval Château
  Near the Loire Valley
  by Arthur Gillette

Petite Pleasures...Paris by Heart
  by Maxine Rose Schur

Le Corbusier
  by Florence Chatzigianis

Interior - Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris

The Influence of Charlemagne
  by George Ohanian

Romanesque to Renaissance
  ~ Defining Architectural Styles
  by George Ohanian

Other Architectural Styles
        in France

The Bories of France
  ~ Dry Stone Architecture

One of the most appealing aspects of visiting France is experiencing the many distinct periods of architecture ~ from the engineering feats of the Romans and those structures and ruins that France has preserved so very well, to the Parisian impact of Baron Haussmann, and all that came between and that which came later.  There was the Medieval period of Romanesque simplicity followed by Early Gothic ~ France's distinct and graceful contribution to architecture ~ and then came variations on Gothic including Flamboyant Gothic, followed by France's own adaptation of Renaissance, then Neoclassicism and more recently Art Nouveau, Art Déco and modern. Architecture in France is an integral part of its history, each style expressing the spirit and meaning for its time, and each telling its own story. 

This edition of FRANCE On Your Own, focusing on French architecture, will hopefully provide some insight into the history and purpose behind the diverse styles of the buildings you might find on a visit.  Several contributors have written articles that may give you inspiration for your next trip, as well as let you in on some lesser known architectural destinations to add to your itinerary as you travel in France on your own.

Very interesting is A Brand New Medieval Château, a discovery of Arthur Gillette, who has provided us with a fascinating look into a project that is the realization of one man's dream.  No less interesting is a visit to the Riviera's Cap Martin, a location loved by architect Charles Edoard Jeanneret, known to the world as Le Corbusier and to many in art and architecture simply as 'Corbu'.  It was here that he lived in his later years, and it was here that he died.  We hope you enjoy Florence Chatzigianis' recounting of those times. 

And, in a slight departure from established architectural design, we will introduce (or re-introduce) you to the borie ~ a unique and enduring building found not only throughout France but in many countries of the world.  Of course, our focus is on the French examples.

Several years ago, when this newsletter was a print publication, we had a feature on French architecture which we are revising for this issue:  Romanesque to Renaissance ~  architecture as it transitioned through the centuries through new ideas, new requirements of the people and new artistic creativity. 

There will be no regional feature in this edition of FRANCE On Your Own, but we will return to that format in our August issue.  Instead we want to devote this newsletter to those beautiful buildings and monuments found everywhere in France, from small village churches in pure, simple Romanesque style dating to the 12th century, right up to the decorative flourishes of Métropolitan signs in fabulous Art Nouveau style.  There is such a wealth of design found throughout the country, and it all plays a part in why France remains the number one destination of travelers year after year.

Not to neglect Paris, this issue will take another look at this inspiring city through the eyes of Maxine Rose Schur and her series Petite Pleasures ~ this one entitled, Paris by Heart.  And, of course, our regular feature Paris Enigmas will test your knowledge of the city with the help of Arthur Gillette, our expert on Paris and its history.

We hope you enjoy this special issue and that it brings an appreciation of the incredible variety of architecture found in France.  When visiting France again, perhaps you will see it all with new eyes and a brand new perspective.

Bon voyage!

Look inside

  to read about Maxine Rose Schur's love of Paris through her Petite Pleasures.


>  to discover one man's childhood dream realized as he builds a new Medieval chateau from the ground up.


> and enjoy Florence Chatzigianis' (author of 26 Gorgeous Hikes in the Western Côte d'Azur), account of an interesting time in the life of architect Le Corbusier in a part of France much loved by him.


> as we explore the history and endurance of the dry stone building called a borie.


> to read about the Emperor Charlemagne's influence on the  architecture and daily lives  of the people in Medieval France.

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

Question from the last issue:  In topographical terms, why were the Seine's Right and Left Banks in Paris so named?

Answer: With respect to the direction of the river's current, the Right Bank is to the right of the Seine's downstream flow, and the Left Bank is to...well, you certainly guessed it!

Our new question:   What and where is the oldest tavern existing in Paris?

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 August 2008 issue.]


EasyToBook online!

Finding a hotel in Paris can be daunting - where do you begin?
A click on the link above will take you to EasyToBook's Paris pages where you 
will find a selection of fine hotels all offered at the lowest prices available.
EasyToBook also offers hotels in other cities in France and Europe. 

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