Summer                 2012
VOL. 16                  NO. 3
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

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Enter our Photo Contest
  ~ send us your best!

Paris Enigmas

Ici et Là 

Swish and Whizz! France's TGVs
  by Arthur Gillette

At Beaucaire: 
~ An Historical & Monumental 
  by Arthur Gillette

Petite Pleasures: Timeless Paris
  by Maxine Rose Schur

Featuring:  Fall in love  ~ with 
   These French Villages - Part I

Medieval Lautrec.   ©2011-2012 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved
Medieval Village of  Lautrec

Notes from Narbonne
  ~ Work and Play in the 
      Cathedral City by the Sea
  by Marlane O'Neill

                                           "The traveler sees what he sees.  The tourist sees what he has come to see." 
                                                                                                                                                                     -  G. K. Chesterton

FRANCE On Your Own is going to sponsor its second photo contest for amateur photographers who submit their own photos of France. Many of you have a photo taken in France that you think is special.  Share it with us!  The submission deadline is December 31, 2012, 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 Two in the subject line.

We will select a dozen photos to include in our Winter 2013 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.  The photo receiving the most votes will be our winner - and the photographer will receive a prize.

Gather your photos together and submit them to us - maximum of three photos per entrant, please.  Here is last year's winning photo of Najac Castle submitted by Garth Bailey of Alberta, Canada.

Najac Castle. Photo © Garth Bailey/photosbygar 2008-2012.  All rights reserved.

As many of you may be visiting France in the autumn this year, we want you to know about European Heritage Days, celebrated by citizens in 50 countries and established in 1991 by the Council of Europe. It was based upon a French idea from 1983 and has been a joint action with the COE and the European Commission since 1999 ~ putting new cultural assets on view and opening up historical buildings normally closed to the public.  In France it is known as Les Journées du Patrimoine (National Heritage Weekend) that is always the third weekend of September - this year the 15th and 16th.

Paris offers heritage trails and architectural trails focusing on Paris' buildings.  Or, on your own you can go behind the scenes at the Elysée Palace, the Moulin Rouge, and a host of places not usually open to the general public.  In the countryside, as well as in the cities, endless historic monuments, châteaux, museums, and more are offered without admission costs for those two brief September days.  For information about heritage weekend and more to see and do in France, read Ici et Là on page two.

Look inside. . . with a click . . .

> as we continue with a topic from our last issue:  a look into the origins of France's high speed train travel with Arthur Gillette in his article Swish and Whizz!


> if you are moving to Paris.  The American Church in Paris invites you to join Bloom - to jump start your social and professional network.


> to explore Beaucaire to discover  little-known treasures and secrets from Roman times, including an underground abbey!


as we return to Timeless Paris with Maxine Rose Schur as she visits Paris at a deliberately slow pace to experience the city differently than she had before.


> to come along as we re-visit some of our favorite French villages in our new series.  The two in this issue might become your favorites, too. Fall in Love  - with These French Villages.


> for a progress report on the makeover of Marlane O'Neill's neighborhood and the summer events and fun taking place in this issue's Notes from Narbonne.

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

Question from the last issue:  What did The Marriage of Figaro have to do with the American Revolution?

Answer:  Believe it or not, Royal Paris played an active role in helping the overtly anti-monarchist American Revolutionaries!  Not long after the Declaration of Independence, and hoping to find vast natural resources and markets if America did become independent, French King Louis XVI and his cousin, the King of Spain, created a Paris-based front company called Rodriguez y Hortaleza to furnish money, clothing and arms in secret to the American rebels.  The company's headquarters were located at the Amelot de Bisseuil Townhouse, which you can view in pretty much its original state at 47 rue Vieille du Temple where another Paris/US link - a relative of Ben Franklin - married a Scottish lass.  The company's CEO was a certain Caron de Beaumarchais, and while on the job (and paid by the Kings) he wrote The Marriage of Figaro. It's ironic that the play was considered anti-monarchy and, therefore, refused permission to premiere no less than seven times by the French Royal Censor!

Our new question:  What is the origin of the name 'Montmartre'?

Contact Arthur Gillette to take advantage of his amazing knowledge of Paris
by enjoying one or more of his Paris Through the Ages Strolls. 
Visit our Marketplace page for a complete list of strolls and information about Arthur.

[See the answer to this edition's question revealed in our Autumn 2012 issue.]


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and watch FREE sample videos!

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