November          2009
VOL. 13               NO. 4
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

  The French Easel

The French Easel
  ~ A glimpse of France through the art
     of Linda Hampton Smith

Paris Enigmas

Ici et Là

Gustave Eiffel 
  ~The 120th Anniversary of the 
      Eiffel Tower
      by Arthur Gillette

The Black Diamond of the
   by Jeni Matthews

Parisian Religious Buildings 
   Off the Beaten Track
  by Arthur Gillette

A Paris Restaurant Discovery
  Le Cardinal

Circus wagon, Narbonne.  Copyright 2009 by Marlane O'Neill.  All rights reserved.
          The circus comes to Narbonne

FEATURING: Cruising the Beautiful
  Canal Latéral à la Loire

Notes from Narbonne
  ~  Sand Dollars, Narbonne Nights
       and Wine Notes
  by Marlane O'Neill

  We want to begin this last issue of 2009 with some charming artwork from another of our kind contributors,
all of whom have a special place in their hearts for France. We hope you enjoy the talent of Linda Hampton Smith.

Copyright Linda Hampton Smith 2009.  All rights reserved.As a young girl, Linda Hampton Smith was mesmerized by the magnificent fairytale illustrations of French painter Adrienne Ségur. This greatly influenced her decision to become an artist, and she went on to study in Paris with Parson's School of Design. There, she was given daily assignments to paint en plein air at points throughout the city.  With her French easel (a foldable easel that transforms into a backpack), she painted everything from tiled rooftops to barges along the Seine to the bubbling fountains in les Jardins du Luxembourg.

Copyright Linda Hampton Smith 2009.  All rights reserved.

After having taught elementary school art for many years, Linda is now at work illustrating her own children's books. She enjoys inventing characters and placing them in all sorts of vignettes. These little characters very much mirror her passionate love of France. 

Copyright Linda Hampton Smith 2009.  All rights reserved.Copyright Linda Hampton Smith 2009.  All rights reserved.

Linda sells prints of her paintings at French heritage festivals and through her online store which can be found at  Linda may also have a booth at The France Show in London January 8 through 10.  If you plan to be in London in January, don't miss it!

Look inside

to join us on the next of our visits to Narbonne with Marlane O'Neill. Notes on Narbonne in this issue shows us how this bustling little city is in a constant state of celebration.


>  to learn about the mysteries of the truffle trade in the Rhône-Alpes through the eyes of Jeni Matthews of Red Balloon Travel and Consulting.


> for the first of our explorations to find Paris' least-known religious buildings in our new mini-series  Paris Religious Buildings Off the Beaten Track.


> as we learn more about the engineering feats of Gustave Eiffel as Paris this year celebrates the 120th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower.


and accompany us on a truly wonderful week-end cruise along the Canal Latéral à la Loire on the péniche Alphonsia Maria.

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

Question from the last issue:  Why is the elegant Place des Vosges, in Paris' aristocratic Marais neighborhood, so named?

Answer:   Money, money... Site of a 14th century palace demolished in the 1500s, it was called the Place Royale until the French Revolution. Afterwards, it changed names several times until finally taking its present title in recognition of the fact that, in 1800, the eastern Département des Vosges was the first provincial district to pay its full taxes to the central government.

Our new question:  What is the one high vantage point in Paris from which you cannot see the Montparnasse Tower (called a 'huge upended coffin' by one wag)?

Contact Arthur Gillette to take advantage of his amazing knowledge of Paris
by enjoying one or more of his Paris Through the Ages Strolls.

[See the answer to this edition's question revealed in our February 2010 issue.]



The City of Romance awaits you, so why not take it to
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They have 30 turn-key surprises from which to choose, from limousine and 
horse-drawn carriage rides to a marriage proposal in a hot air balloon.
Click on the banner above to visit their web site today!

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