Winter                    2011
VOL. 15                  NO. 1
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

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A Milestone . . . 

Paris Enigmas

Ici et Là

Paris Focus with Arthur Gillette:
    - A Visit to Paris' La Défense

  - The Small Museums of Paris

  - Discover Select Paris Suburb
          Treasures - Saint Denis

Our Readers Write about France
  ~ The Kindness of Strangers
  by Ellie Boutin

Ice Skating in Narbonne.  Copyright 2011 Marlane O'Neill.  All Rights Reserved.
                          Ice Skating in Narbonne

The Bookshelf: 
  ~ Cycling, Wine, and Men
    A Midlife Tour de France
    a book by Nancy Brook 

Finalists in our Photo Contest
  ~  Our readers will choose the winner!

Notes from Narbonne
  ~  Narbonne: How can I miss you if I don't go away?
   by Marlane O'Neill

" I met a lot of people in Europe.  I even encountered myself.”
                                                                                                                                                     -  James Baldwin

It's hard to believe that we are now in our 15th year of publication!  We never thought we'd be able to provide enough information and topics to last this long!  But, we underestimated La Belle France.  We've come to learn from our many travels in France and through the people who know France from the inside, that it is the most diverse and interesting place ~ from the incredible landscapes to the historical treasures, from the irresistible cuisine to the French themselves.  We couldn't have enjoyed our experiences more, and we hope that they can continue to provide us with endless pleasure and enjoyment.  We hope that for you, too!

This issue will take a little detour in that we won't be covering a featured region of France.  Instead, the space will be devoted to our first-ever photo contest.  We received many wonderful entries that took us to France through the eyes of our readers.  It was difficult, but we narrowed the final selection down to twelve photographs that we believe say 'France' in one way or another.  Some are landscapes or village scenes, others are things that the traveler came upon and immediately saw an artistic composition.  All of them, we believe, are worthy of your consideration.   Each of you will have the opportunity to vote for your favorite by email.  There will be only one winner, and it will appear with a full description and something about the photographer in our Spring issue. 

For our readers who find Paris the main attraction when they are in France, we will focus on some of its treasures in this issue and take you to Small Museums of Paris ~ highlighting those little-known places devoted to unusual subjects.  We will also visit La Défense, the office complex at the western end of Paris that turned out to be a much greater success than was believed when the concept was first introduced.  Last, we will step just outside the city and visit Saint Denis, an unique northern suburb of Paris.

Also, please visit The Bookshelf, to read our review of a travel adventure by one American lady who longed for the opportunity of cycling in France, and she finally took the plunge when her personal life needed a new beginning. Ride along with her from Bordeaux to Grenoble to catch a glimpse of cycling and personal growth in settings that only France could provide.

Last, but not least, we know that a lot of you are lovers of French wines, so you may be quite interested in Vin en Vacances, an article through which you can explore the region of Languedoc-Roussillon for those wines that are becoming increasingly popular ~ and that offer excellent quality for still reasonable prices. 

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter; we appreciate your interest and hope you will recruit your friends and family to join us as well.  A subscription is free!

Advertise with us on our web site Marketplace page or with a banner in our quarterly newsletters that are posted to our web site for an indefinite period of time.  We're happy to report that FRANCE On Your Own received nearly 95,000 unique visitors in 2010 from about 2 million hits. If you have a France-related product or service and are interested in more information about advertising with us, please contact us for details and answers to your questions at

Look inside

> to see if you would like to include a tour of Languedoc wine country in your next visit to France after reading about Vin en Vacances.


> to see a successful student exchange program between the Loire and Georgia (USA) ~ The Kindness of Strangers.


>  because it's time to vote for your favorite photo in our First Annual Photo Contest.


> for The Bookshelf where we review Cycling, Wine and Men ~ A Midlife Tour de France by Nancy Brook.


>  as Marlane O'Neill takes a trip to Toulouse in our series Notes from Narbonne.


Click here to order
Cycling, Wine and Men
A Midlife Tour de France

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

Question from the last issue:   Why does the Pont de la Concorde, leading from the Place of the same name to the Left Bank just in front of the National Parliament, have no ring-bolts, used in the archways below all other old Paris Seine spans to help boatmen haul their craft through against the current when navigating upstream?

Answer: There are no ring-bolts because the Pont de la Concorde was made with stone recycled from the Bastille after its destruction, and the builders wanted no symbolic reminder of chains or other forms of constraint.  (I'm not sure the boatmen appreciated this.)

Our new question:   In mid-June 1917, American troops led by General John Pershing arrived in Paris. According to legend, he made a point of going to Lafayette's grave and declaring, “Lafayette, we are here!”  Where is that grave, and what is wrong with the legend?

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 Spring 2011 issue.]


Peniche Alphonsia Maria - Cruising in France's Loire

 One of the most pleasurable pastimes in France is to cruise on one of its
many canals.  The peniche Alphonsia Maria offers four amazing compartments, modern
en suite bathrooms, superb cuisine and a few days or a week of gliding along the
peaceful and scenic Canal Latéral à la Loire.  Experience the barge moving through
the locks, and enjoy a few days of ultimate relaxation away from driving and reading maps!
Click on the link above or email to

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Recommendations are not a guarantee of satisfaction and are made only
to assist travelers with suggestions and web sites that we have found very useful.