Summer                 2010
VOL. 14                  NO. 3
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

                                         This newsletter is viewed best on a large screen and is not formatted for printing. 
  Patrimoine . . . 

Patrimoine . . . 
 ~ An opportunity for free access to
    France's finest  historic buildings

Paris Enigmas

Ici et Là
  ~ A special PBS program in September:
  Lafayette:  The Lost Hero

Our Readers Write about France
  ~ Sole Searching
  by Rosemary Chiaverini

Gallery Openings in Provence
  and Paris

l'Hôtel des Invalides in Paris' 7th arrondissement.  Copyright 2006 -2010 Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.
        l'Hôtel des Invalides in Paris' 7th

  Paris' 7th Arrondissement

Vaux le Vicomte 
  ~ Versailles before Versailles 
  by Arthur Gillette

Notes from Narbonne
  ~  A Door Story
  by Marlane O'Neill


". . . your correspondent has decided that the French combine the greatest simplicity with the best results." 
                                                                                                     -  Westbrook Pegler : France in One Easy Lesson

This issue will arrive in email boxes in mid August when many of our readers are away on vacation ~ in France, we hope!  Therefore, it will be one page lighter than usual, but still packed with lots of useful information and interesting articles.

We want to remind you that the third weekend in September is Patrimoine...a delightful time to be in France, both for great weather, few crowds and, important to today's frugal tourist, free admission to many public buildings including magnificent royal châteaux.  Officially known as Les Journées du Patrimoine (the national heritage weekend), it is a time when a traveler not only saves the cost of admission to public buildings, but he or she also gains access to private homes on the list ~ homes that would not normally be open to strangers.

Official Logo of the French StateThis year Patrimoine falls on the 18th and 19th of September, and, if you are fortunate to be in France at that time, be sure to take advantage of the wealth of money-saving and historically significant opportunities both in Paris and the countryside.  Some 14,000 buildings will be open for visits, so you are bound to have the chance to get inside one or more beautiful and enlightening historic buildings.

At this time the official web site is not complete, but it will be on August 23 for you to visit and see the list of buildings that are included. Monuments historiques (listed historic buildings) that are privately owned are expected to participate in Les Journées du Patrimoine especially if they received money from any level of government to complete historically authentic restoration work.  To learn much more about this interesting cultural opportunity during your time in France, visit the web site later this month at!  In the meantime, visit the site below that, among other categories, lists works by village.  Choose a village that you may be visiting in September to see what  national treasures will be open over the Patrimoine weekend:

Château de la Barre in the Sarthe département of northwestern France
invites guests to stay with them September 17 to 20th, 
and take part in a guided tour of the region during Patrimoine weekend. 
For more information contact

FRANCE On Your Own is going to sponsor a photo contest for amateur photographers who submit their own photos of France. Many of you have a photo that you think is special.  Share it with us!  The submission deadline is December 31, 2010, and all photos must be the sole property of the sender.

Photos should be emailed to us in .jpg format and no larger that 2000 pixels on the long side.  They must be fully described in an accompanying email as to date taken, exact location and include the complete name of the subject of the photo (building, monument, village, beach, national park, etc.).  The name, email and country of residence of the photographer must also be included.  Send to with Photo Contest in the subject line.

We will select several photos to include in our Winter 2011 newsletter, and we'll ask readers to vote for their favorite.  The top three choices will be in the Spring issue of FRANCE On Your Own.

Look inside

> to read how one reader took travel to France into her own hands ~ enjoy Rosemary Chiaverini's Sole Searching


> and learn about the newest gallery exhibits soon to open in Paris with Sandra Hindman.


>  and come along with us for a brief visit to our favorite Parisian neighborhood: the wonderful 7th arrondissement


> for a guided tour of Vaux le Vicomte with our expert on French and Parisian history, Arthur Gillette.


>  to read the next installment in our series Notes from Narbonne by Marlane O'Neill ~ this is an enticing French city indeed!


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

Question from the last issue:   At the center of Left Bank Paris, near St-Germain Church, is the Carrefour de la Croix Rouge, Red Cross Crossroads/Square.  Where did its name originate?  Perhaps, Henri Dunant's 19th century initiative?

Answer: Nope, not our Red Cross! Fairly widespread worship of the goddess Isis (thought for a long time to enhance female fertility) lasted in Paris until the 16th century. Periodically, the monks of St. Germain des Prés made excursions through their neighborhood to exorcize such pagan practices by brandishing brightly colored crosses at the population. Tiring of these sorties, they finally planted a large one – painted red – at this crossroads.

Our new question:    Across the main (western) façade of Notre Dame Cathedral parades the 
'Gallery of Kings', officially to recall the successive rulers of the Hebrew 'tribe' of Judah. The statues were beheaded during the French Revolution but faithfully reproduced in the 19th century by restorer Viollet le Duc. He replaced the 28 kings placed there by the Medieval masons.  Wrong number! But why?

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 Autumn 2010 issue.]


Bonjour Colorado

 Maribeth Clemente, author of the Riches of France and the Riches of Paris,
invites you to visit her web blog and to listen to her monthly NPR radio show from 
Telluride, Colorado, focusing on travel adventures from the Rockies to France.
Click on the banner to visit her blog, or click here to contact her by email.

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