The Independent Traveler's Newsletter                                     PAGE TWO
This column is intended to advise you about cultural events, news and happenings
in France or France-related events taking place in the United States
 between now and the publication of our next issue.

In France. . .

o News from France:  French President, François Hollande, spoke to a group of some 300 entrepreneurs in Paris to help small businesses in a bad economy.  He has plans to encourage foreign investment and help French businesses expand abroad.  He discussed some tax issues that had troubled those in the audience, offering an 85 percent exemption for those who had owned a business for at least 8 years, with smaller rebates for shorter periods of time.  He also announced an 'entrepreneur visa' for foreigners who want to open a small business in France providing they have sufficient funds.  These and other announced plans will be included in the 2014 budget and will be implemented beginning in January of 2014. . . .The first peregrine falcons born in France since the 19th century have just hatched atop a heating tower near the Eiffel Tower.  Conservationists are thrilled that they were successful in breeding programs that returned the species in France from near extinction.  Three chicks were born in an artificial nest placed atop the tower, and the male parent has been faithfully feeding them.  He can fly up to speeds of 200 miles per hour, and the head of France's Leagues of the Protection of Birds, said, "They are the cheetahs of the skies."  Following the second world war, the numbers of peregrine falcons declined due to the use of organochlorine pesticides such as DDT.  Since banning these weed killers, the falcons have returned to cities.  It is estimated that New York City currently has 16 pairs of peregrine falcons. . . Filmmaker Woody Allen is planning his next movie for this coming summer in the south of France, and it is yet untitled.  It will star Colin Firth and American actress Emma Stone. . . 

o  L'ange du bizarre - Le romanticisme noir de Goya à Max Ernst is the Musée d'Orsay's exhibit of Dark Romanticism beginning with Goya's depiction of wartime atrocities to Max Ernst's Surrealist paintings and 1920s cinema.  Films, paintings, engravings and sculptures are presented in the exhibit until June 9.  Details at

o  Until June 30 visitors of the Musée National de la Marine can view the works of Mathurin Méheut (1882-1958), considered Brittany's favorite artist.  On display will be his depictions of nature, country and shipboard life, and sea creatures.  Visit for more information.

o  Paris' Hôtel de Ville will be the venue for one hundred designer outfits, photos and sketches from Paris's prestigious fashion museum, the Musée Galliéra, in an exhibit entitled Paris Haute Couture, providing a peek at the world's most famous designers from inception to the fashion shows.  Until July 6th.  Details at

o  The Musée du Luxembourg will host an assemblage of nearly 100 works from France and abroad of Marc Chagall entitled, Chagall, entre guerre et paix.  Focusing on the artist's life from wartime in Russia, to Paris between the world wars, to his exile in the US, and finally the post-war years in France, the show presents the artist's depictions of those four periods in his nearly 100 year-long life.  Until July 21.  Visit for more information. 

o  Eugène Boudin, called 'le roi des ceils' by artist Corot for his mastery of painting skies, is the subject of an exhibit at Paris' wonderful Musée Jacquemart-André on Boulevard Haussmann through July 22.  The show follows the artist's travels from Brittany and Normandy to the Côte d'Azur and Venice through sixty oil paintings, watercolors and drawings.  Everyone should visit this museum when in Paris, but the Boudin exhibit makes it even more exciting!  Details at

o  If you plan to be in Normandy between now and September 29th, visit www.normandie-impressionniste.frfor information on more than 600 cultural events taking place in the region entitled, Festival Normandie Impressionniste.  Exhibits, performances, films and literary gathering throughout the region as well as fashion shows, a regatta, and a festival for amateur painters will take place over five months.  A special exhibit at Rouen's Musée des Beaux-Arts tells how shifting reflections on water used by Monet, Renoir and Sisley conveys the transitory nature of reality. 

o Reims will be the venue for the exhibit of 400 works of art created over 300 years ~ sculpture, paintings, drawings, engravings and decorative objects ~ celebrating the region bubbly beverage: Les Arts de l'effervescence - Champagne!  Until May 26 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts.  Contact

o  The Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins is the only museum in France nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award.  The award recognizes recently opened or revamped museums that present a unique, imaginative or creative approach to education and social responsibility.  Winners of the award will be announced this month.  Details at

In the US . . .

o  Bijoux Parisiens:  French Jewelry from the Petit Palais, Paris offers visitors a glimpse of the haute joaillerie of Lalique, Cartier and Boucheron in drawings, prints and photographs following the evolution of jewelry from the time of Louis XIII through the Art Déco era.  Until July 21 at the Dixon Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee.  Details at

o  The Paris-based Ballets Russes combined the talents of composers, dancers, designers and artists.  Daighilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909-1929: When Art Danced with Music will showcase 135 original costumes, set designs, works of art, photographs, and film clips at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC from May 12 through September 2.  Telephone for more information:  1 202 737 4215.

o  Architect Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light will make its US debut in New York at the Museum of Modern Art.  This pioneer in the use of exposed iron framework created, among other structures, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.  Watercolor drawings, photos, and fragments explore his philosophy of design as well as his students and followers both in France and abroad.  Through June 24.  More information at

o  Georges Braque and the Cubist Still Life, 1928-1945 is an exhibit of 40 paintings from a little-known period of the artist's career, featuring work of World War II and the years leading up to it.  June 8 through September 1 at The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.  Information available at

o  New York's Museum of Modern Art hosts Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes with samples of of his work as an architect, interior designer, artist, city planner, writer and photographer featuring early watercolors of Greece, Italy and Turkey to models of his projects.  From June 9 through September 23.  Details available at

o  The 12th Annual Sacramento French Film Festival presents a variety of new, classic and short subjects, along with two midnight screenings followed by coffee and pastry.  This event runs June 21 to June 30 at the Crest Theatre.  Phone or email for information: 1 916 455 9390  |

o  Chicago is the venue for Scenes from the Stone Age, an interactive multimedia exhibit of the cave paintings of Lascaux.  Take a virtual tour of this fragile World Heritage Site through accurate, full-size replicas of the 20,000 year-old cave paintings.  Through September 8 at the Field Museum of Natural History.  Telephone for further details:  1 312 922 9410.

THE BOOKSHELF:      A Tour of the Heart by Maribeth Clemente

A Tour of the Heart cover

I've known Maribeth for many years, and her guide and shopping books, The Riches of Paris and The Riches of France, are part of our extensive library of books about France.  Published in December of 2012 and now available where books (and eBooks) are sold, A Tour of the Heart, A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, tells of her two trips to France between 1999 and 2001 with her boyfriend, Peter.

It all began in a bike shop in upstate New York where he, the dedicated cyclist, worked and where she was a customer.  They hit it off and Maribeth convinced him that a cycling tour of France, where she had lived for many years, would be a wonderful experience.  Anyone who has traveled anywhere for an extended stay knows the stress involved in making all the necessary arrangements, packing enough (but not too much) for weeks away from home and away from laundry facilities, and remembering to take all the essentials including medications.  But, after reading the chapter about taking apart and packing your own two bicycles, having to retrieve them at Paris' de Gaulle airport, reassembling them and adapting them to the odd bike rack on a rental car, everything we ever had to do seemed easy by comparison.

They began in Strasbourg.  It was 1999, when we happened to have been there as well and remembered how perfect the weather had been. I was happy that they were cycling out there on the back roads under such perfect conditions.  They traveled through Alsace, into Burgundy and discovered more and more about each other's personalities along the way.  The rides didn't always go as smoothly as Maribeth and Peter would have liked, but they did have their good times. The couple stayed in charming places and enjoyed good food ~ something that the reader who isn't as much into the trials and tribulations of cycling as interested in French food and lifestyle will appreciate.  Provence became more difficult with some unexpected rain, and they proceeded from there to Languedoc and the southwest before returning to Paris ~ with many eye-opening experiences and adventures along the way. 

More difficult for Maribeth was convincing Peter to return to France a second time to track stages of the Tour de France in 2001.  He finally agreed, and an entirely new cycling adventure, with a generous share of romance, ensued.  The author touches on bits about her family and earlier life including her former marriage to a French man, so in some ways her story was reminiscent of a book we reviewed a few years ago, Cycling, Wine and Men by Nancy Brook ~ the difference being that Nancy was off to cycle on her own in France to rediscover herself while Maribeth, who had often traveled alone to France, was finally going with someone she loved to discover more about what they might have together.

A Tour of the Heart is an easy read and enjoyable for anyone who has traveled extensively in France, as their cycling route takes them and the reader to familiar villages and reminds us of the little quirks one faces in France ~ such as missing lunch when your travel schedule doesn't go according to plan, and you arrive in a village just as the restaurants have closed for the afternoon.  Do get a copy either in paperback or as an eBook at Amazon.  You'll enjoy it!

Visit Maribeth's blog at

Bonjour Colorado features stories on travel, beauty, shopping, food and wine 
and more from France to the Rocky Mountains. From Paris to Telluride,
this blog offers an interesting perspective on life, love and adventure.


Click on the Amazon Link to order your copy today!

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