The Independent Traveler's Newsletter                                             PAGE TWO

Ici et Là
This column is intended to advise you about cultural events, news and happenings
in France or France-related events taking place in the United States
between now and the publication of our next issue.

In France. . .

o  Man Ray Exhibit . . Philadelphia-born American artist Emmanuel Rudnitzky (Man Ray), was a major figure of twentieth-century art and known for his stunning photography as well as his paintings, sculptures and works in many other art media.  One of the pioneers of Surrealism and Dadaism, Man Ray (1890-1976) left his mark on Paris.  A show entitled, "The Workshop of Man Ray" will be at La Pinacothèque de Paris until June 1.  His 70 year career is well covered in this show, including pen and ink drawings, pastels, and many objects and photos that have never before been presented to the public.  He was known for his eclectic taste in art and objects in which he saw art; visitors will also see his interesting photographic experiments.  For more (in French) visit

o  Speaking of Man Ray. . . a very 'in' place to dine in Paris in the chic 8th arrondissement, has been a restaurant and club that began as Man Ray, which evolved into Mandala Ray, and is now called World Place.  You will find it at 32-34 Rue Marbeuf.  Owned by Sean Penn, Johnny Depp and John Malkovitch, the restaurant/club draws celebrities...none of whom we saw when we dined there in 2006 while it was still the Mandala Ray.  We recall the food and service were very good, and the restaurant had a certain aura about it reflecting the eclecticism of the artist who inspired it.  We've read mixed reviews of the new World Place ~ apparently the décor has changed but is still appealing; some feel the food isn't as good (a completely new fusion menu) while others think it's a great dining experience.  There seems to be a bit of nostalgia for the Mandala Ray in several of the reviews, and we're glad we experienced that phase of its evolution.  But, perhaps visitors to Paris should give World Place a try!  [Tues - Sat 7:00 PM - 2 AM.  Closed Sundays and Mondays.  Phone:]

o  The Knights Templar. . . have endured a bad reputation that, apparently, was not at all deserved.  The Knights were a military order of Medieval times whose job was to protect Christian pilgrims going to the Holy Land during the Crusades.  They became very wealthy and powerful (although they did not possess the Holy Grail as depicted in the fiction account The DaVinci Code).  However, they were charged with heresy in the 14th century by the upper classes. Pope Clement V in the Vatican found them not guilty, but was pressured by King Philip IV of France to punish them.  Famously, their Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake in 1314.  Now, seven centuries later, the Vatican showed copies of Pope Clement's original decision declaring them innocent ~ exposing it after it was secreted away in the Vatican archives all these centuries.  Without putting it into so many words, the Knights Templar are no longer heretics in the eyes of the Church but are cleared of heresy.

o  An incredible. . . heroine passed away on February 24 of this year.  Pearl Cornioley, born in Paris to English parents in 1914, was a secret agent during World War II who parachuted into France in September of 1943 to work as a courier for the underground movement.  She subsequently lead a team of 1500 people under the code name 'Pauline' to disrupt rail and telephone service, block roads and generally begin guerilla actions.  The Nazis had a price of one million francs on her head, but she managed to always keep one step ahead.  Her proudest moment was receiving her parachute wings in 2006 in her Paris apartment.  Pearl passed away in Blois, France at the age of 93. 

o  The European Commission. . . has just passed new rules allowing people to use cell phones in flight on European air carriers.  (This will not be allowed when flying in US air space, however.)  Many are against this change in rules, and those rules are specific: no cell phone use during take off and landing; the pilot has discretion to cut off service at any time if the 'noise' or technical interference becomes an issue and, perhaps, during long flights when passengers are trying to sleep.  Air France and Ryan Air will be the first to give it a try.

o  News out of Paris. . . regarding high fashion models:  French judges will be asked to enforce new legislation focusing on web sites, magazines and fashion ads that encourage eating disorders among young females.  As anyone knows who has been to Paris, French women and girls are naturally thin.  This legislation is aimed at those who literally starve themselves to death to be thinner, especially those associated with the fashion industry.  There is much controversy over this ruling, but France is free to exercise control on what the media puts before the public.

o  The Passing of Alain Robbe-Grillet . . .  Monday, February 19.  This renowned avant-garde writer died at the age of 85 in Caen, Normandy.  Prolific, but never permitting his books to be made into films, Robbe-Grillet also wrote screenplays for such films as Last Year at Marienbad. He had been inducted into the French Legion of Honor and was one of France's 40 'immortals' of the Academie Française.

o  The Louvre. . . invites people to touch its newest exhibit: its Tactile Gallery.  Specifically targeting the blind and visually impaired, the exhibit contains plaster, bronze and terra cotta animal sculptures and reproductions of famous works found elsewhere in the Louvre.  Of course, everyone can enjoy this exhibit...children will especially appreciate it.  Contact the Musée de Louvre for dates and details.

o  Did you know? . . . that in the past this newsletter did a feature on the inventions credited to the French?  Well, there's a 'new' one!  It was recently discovered that the French had the earliest audio recording (preceding Thomas Edison) in the year 1860.  Although only 10 seconds in length, the song was recorded as an etching on smoked paper...17 years before Edison's patent of the phonograph.  The song?  Au Claire de la Lune. For those who would like to hear it for themselves, visit

o PARIS WRITERS WORKSHOP . . . . .is a  5-day Fiction Workshop, July 7-11, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM, conducted by Nahid Rachlin.  Call (from outside France) 33 1 45 66 75 50 for more information, or visit Nahid's web site at for time and location.  Look for Workshop 2008.  Nahid attended MFA programs at Columbia and Stanford universities, has published four novels, a short story collection, and her memoir.  Her stories have appeared in more than fifty magazines, and she has written reviews for the New York Times.  Among the grants and awards she has received are a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship (Stanford). Presently she teaches at the New School University in New York City.  The course in July will focus on building full, real, three-dimensional characters, creating complex people within the plot, dialogue, viewpoint and voice.

o  Nahid Rachlin . . .will have a reading from her memoir, Persian Girls, (along with two other authors: Vijay Seshadri and Catherine Texier) in Paris on July 8th at 7 PM at the Village Voice Bookstore, 6, rue Princesse, Paris in the 6th arrondissement.  Phone:  Admission is free.

o  Calais. . . for those traveling from the UK to France through Calais, you might find this web site very handy: not only for traveling through the town but so you can learn all about it and find reasons to stay there!  We found this site very user friendly and filled with information.  Visit it before your next Channel crossing!

o  Up for wine tasting in Paris? . . . Ô Château is an organization whose web site says, "Come join us for a great wine tasting in Paris. . . or take a ride with us for a memorable wine tour in France." Visit them for touring and tasting information at

In the US. . .

o "Spared from the Storm . . . Masterworks from the New Orleans Museum of Art" is the exhibit from June 4 through October 5 at Stanford University's Cantor Arts Center.  Included in this exhibit are works by both French and American artists including Monet, Picasso, Magritte, Degas, Braque, Cassat, O'Keefe, Pollock and others.  The majority of the museum's collection fortunately survived the ravages of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Some 80 important pieces will be on exhibit.   See these amazing works of art for yourself.  For more details contact

o Poussin and Nature:  Arcadian Visions . . . is the exhibit through May 11 at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.  About 100 drawings and paintings of the 17th century French artist will be shown, with emphasis on his landscapes.  For more information

o The Cultural Services center of the Embassy of France in New York will host the Florence & Daniel Guerlain Collection - Select Drawings of 140 pieces of art from around the world, many of which are French and American.  The work represents about one fourth of a private collection.  Through May 16th.  For further details:

o  Until May 11 . . . visitors to the Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, can enjoy the exhibit The Dancer: Degas, Forain and Toulouse-Lautrec.  Works on paper, sculptures and paintings on display depict the artists' fascination with dancers.  Learn more about this exhibition at

o In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet . . . is an exhibit of what became known as the Barbizon art movement of depicting nature in a more Impressionistic style.  This era of landscape painting is shown in 120 paintings, photos and pastels.  Through June 8 at the National Gallery, Washington, DC.  More information at

o  Tacoma. . . Washington's Tacoma Art Museum offers an exhibit entitled Renoir as Printmaker: The Complete Works, 1878-1912 through June 29.  Renoir began to make lithographs to fill the demand for his work.  All 60 of the etchings and lithographs he produced are on display in this show.  Details can be found at

o  Bonnard and Vuillard . . . is the exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art, showcasing the Post-Impressionist works of these friends who were followers of the 'Nabi' movement which preferred decorative imagery over naturalism.  Their focus was on interiors and domestic life scenes.  The exhibit is through August 10.  For details visit

o  Louvre Atlanta . . .through 2009 visitors to the High Museum of Art can view what is considered to be an outpost of the Louvre.  There will be exhibits at various times from the Louvre's antiquities departments to Greek and Roman antiquities that adorned Empress Josephine's Malmaison.  The focus until September 7 of 2008 will be 'The Louvre and the Ancient World'.  More information at



                                                                                                                                               by Donald Miller

The final peace and independence for America occurred in Paris and Versailles 225 years ago on September 3, 1783. That double-treaty occasion will be commemorated in Paris September 1-5 of this year with an exceptional series of events offered to Americans and others. Gatherings will be conducted in English.

They will include: 

  • Monday, Sept. 1, Paris, registration and welcome at a reception with American Ambassador Craig Robert Stapleton.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 2: Visit to the old royal castle of Vincennes holding French army and navy archives; wreath-laying at statues of Franklin, De Grasse, Rochambeau. Lunch and visits to the War and Naval National Museums and Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, with an Institut de France reception. 
  • Wednesday, Sept. 3: Conferences and lunch at the Palais du Luxembourg (French Senate) on topics: The Enlightenment's impact on France and the United States; the European diplomacy before and after the war; peace negotiations from Yorktown to Versailles. Informal lunch in the Luxembourg. Followed by tribute to Lafayette, Picpus Cemetery; wreath-laying at Jefferson, Washington statues. Eternal flame-lighting ceremony to the unknown soldier, Arc de Triomphe. Visit to Versailles royal apartments and gala dinner (black-tie).
  • Thursday, Sept. 4: Franco-American fraternity of arms. Wreath-laying at the Lafayette Escadrille Monument, Marnes La Coquette. Wreath-laying at the World War I Bois Belleau Memorial (90 km), light lunch. Reims Cathedral, dinner in champagne cellars.
  • Friday, Sept. 5: free time and other celebrations. Morning: regular meetings of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Free hours for Paris shopping, fashion shows, visits. Evening: religious service at Saint-Denis Abbey, tribute to Louis XVI. Paris City Hall banquet (black tie).
  • Weekend departures to U.S. or continuing optional program: Normandy D-Day beaches, Burgundy vineyards, Engineering Museum, Angers: Homage to Gen. Louis Duportail, noted French engineer in the American Revolution.
The Congress’ high patrons are Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, Christian Poncelet, President of the French Senate, Bernard Kouchner, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, and U.S. Ambassador Craig Robert Stapleton. There is also an honor committee of eleven, including French ambassadors and presidents of the Societies of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution, president general of the Society of the Cincinnati and president of the Société des Cincinnati de France. 

Arrangements have been made for attendees to stay at the Hôtel Concorde La Fayette, 3 Place du Gen. Koenig, 75017 (Port Maillot), Paris. Phone: + 33-1-  Superior room single: 240 euros/night; double room 250 euros/night. Room rate includes buffet breakfast, city tax per person and per day. For more information, access: Participants are encouraged to register quickly at for the best arrangements, staggered advance payments and cancellation policy. 

Administrative cost: 1,500 euros, payable by credit card or bank transfer. This includes receptions, ceremonies, guided visits, bus transportation to and from this hotel only. It does not include hotel accommodation, insurance, airfare or transportation from and to the airport. Concorde La Fayette offers special congress pre-reservation fares: Contact: Or for direct contact with Polynome, call: +; fax: +

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