Winter                   2013
VOL. 17                 NO. 1


  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

 This newsletter is viewed best on a large screen with a Firefox browser.  It is not formatted for printing.


Finalists in our Photo Contest
  ~ Readers:  Make your  selection!

Paris Enigmas

Ici et Là 

The Bookshelf
  ~ Gauguin's Ghost Story
     an E-book by Tony Stowers

Opera!  In the south of France
  by Anita Rieu-Sicart

Queen Marie de Medici's Paris
    by Arthur Gillette

Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes.  Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes
on the River Sarthe

Featuring:  Fall in love with These French Villages - Part II 

Lost and Found - An Amazing Story!

                                                            "The most important trip you may take in life is meeting  people halfway." 
                                                                                                                                                                              -  Henry Boye

FRANCE On Your Own is sponsoring its second photo contest for amateur photographers who submitted their own photos of France.  It was two years ago this month that our first photo contest was on these pages.  Just like the last time, the variety of photos submitted was a pleasant surprise ~ from street bands and a cattle drive through a village to a statue of Napoleon and colorful baskets at a Dordogne market. 

We narrowed down the entries to eight that we thought would remind people the most of France as well as photos with good composition and interesting subject matter.  We hope you enjoy looking at them and will send us your vote.

Thank you to all those who took the time to send us their photos.  Now, the time has come for our readers to select the winning photo from the eight presented in this newsletter.

The top three choices will be in the Spring issue of FRANCE On Your Own.  The photo receiving the most votes from our subscribers will be our winner, and that photographer will receive a one-year subscription to France Magazine, courtesy of the French-American Cultural Foundation in Washington, DC.  We hope to have a small gift for the 2nd and 3rd place photographers as well ~ we are awaiting word now from the supplier.  We'll come up with something!

Please go to page three of this newsletter to see the finalists.  Each is numbered, so please make your choice, and let us know by simply entering the number on the subject line of your email and sending it to us at  We encourage all of our subscribers to vote for their favorite(s) ~ remember that we've narrowed down the selections that we feel represent France or French life.  Keep that in mind when making your choice.  Feel free to vote for more than one if you can't decide, in separate emails please.  Thank you in advance!

With this issue we begin our 17th year of publication; the first FRANCE On Your Own was in the Spring of 1997 in the days when it was in print format.  We wrote about driving in France and featured Normandy.  Many of those print editions are still available, and the subjects they covered can be found on our web site's Archives page.  Don't hesitate to order those that interest you. 
One year later, in 1998, our web site was launched, but it wasn't until February of 2004 that we published our first online newsletter.  No longer by paid subscription, it became free to subscribers, and we were able to reach a much wider audience. Please suggest that your acquaintances and friends join our group of readers.  All they have to do is send a blank email to with 'Subscribe' in the subject line to, and they will receive their own copy of FRANCE On Your Own four times a year by email.  Merci, and thank you for staying with us!
Look inside. . . with a click . . .

> to see the finalists' photos in our second Readers' Choice Photo Contest and to cast your vote! 


> and come to the opera in the South of France  with our favorite Provençal contributor, Anita Rieu-Sicart.  You will just love the beauty of the opera houses!


> for a little 'channeling' by writer and performer, Tony Stowers, into post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin's life and what the artist would think of the world today ~ in Gauguin's Ghost Story, The Bookshelf selection for this issue. 


> as we discover something many visitors to Paris know nothing about (nor did we!):  Queen Marie de Medici's Aqueduct  ~ a fascinating story that could only be told by Arthur Gillette.


> for our feature article, Part II of Fall in Love - with These French Villages.

> to read a lost and found story you might find hard to believe - a one-in-a-million tale with a very happy ending!

The "Notes from Narbonne" 
series has come to an end. 
We hope you enjoyed it!

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

Question from the last issue:  Many sources, including a very reputable guide book to Paris, show the floor plan of city's Notre Dame Cathedral as perfectly rectangular.  In fact, the Cathedral is slightly twisted, as you can see here:

Answer:  After much research and finding four different explanations (two of which involved construction errors and the third claiming a landowner was to blame - with the King of France overseeing construction it was unlikely), the one that makes the most sense is the fourth one:  Notre Dame is cruciform, symbolizing Jesus on the cross. Have you ever seen a representation of the crucifixion showing Jesus's head upright?  No, it always tips to one side. This seems to me to be the least unlikely explanation of the twisted floor plan. 

A new feature will appear here beginning with the Spring 2013 issue - as Paris Enigmas has run its course.  But, Arthur will still be offering interesting challenges to your knowledge of Paris, France and the beautiful French languages - so look for our new page-one feature in May!

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.


Terrace view

Charlie Heckstall-Smith & Jewels Newton -  Property Acquisition & Management

We offer personalized, retained service for those looking to acquire, rent 
or have property managed on the Côte d'Azur. Our service is comprehensive, 
experienced and diligent covering the buying, care, maintenance and management 
of property and small estates in the Var region of the Cote d'Azur.

Click on above  photo to visit their web site

                                                                                                                                         next page page 2
©1998-2013 Cold Spring Press   All Rights Reserved
Recommendations are not guarantees of satisfaction and are made only
to assist travelers with suggestions and web sites that we have found very useful.