Summer                 2014
VOL. 18                   NO. 3


  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

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                                "It is life, I think, to watch the water.  A man can learn so many things."
                                                                                                      Nicholas Sparks - American screenwriter, novelist, producer


Water, not wine, in Paris?
A Tale of the Wallace Fountains
by  Arthur Gillette

Wallace Fountain Paris - courtesy Wikipedia
A Wallace Fountain, Paris

Twisted Tongues
      ~  Challenging French phrases 

Ici et Là 

Une Nouvelle Campagne
    pour Napoléon
Contributed by Anita Rieu-Sicart

Always Popular:
    Renewing One's Vows in Paris
    by  Arthur Gillette 

The Bookshelf
    The Battle for Wine and Love or How I    
               Saved the World from Parkerization
a book by Alice Feiring

Bon Appétit
   by  Jo Anne Marquardt

Travel Tips


Water, not Wine in Paris?  A Tale of the Wallace Fountains
                                                                                by Arthur Gillette 

If you’ve ever been to Paris, even if only via photos, you most probably cannot not have noticed one of these fountains.

For Parisians and visitors to their city, a typical feature found pretty much everywhere in the French capital (120 still exist) is the public water fountains of which this is but an example.                                                

The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 left much of Paris severely damaged and one of its major casualties was the aqueducts that supplied the city with drinking water. The post-war shortage was so severe, and the price of water so high, that alcohol was increasingly consumed, leading to rampant alcoholism.

Caricature of Sir Richard Wallace.  Wikipedia.Post-war reconstruction involved many philanthropic interventions, such as those by the recently created French branches of the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. This atmosphere – and the danger of mass alcoholism - prompted a Francophile British philanthropist, Sir Richard Wallace, to fund the design and construction of some fifty public drinking water fountains.

To be easily recognizable they all followed a unique aesthetic design (Wallace was an art-lover) and were all painted green; to be readily accessible each was equipped with a cup-on-chain.

The newly burgeoning Parisian Middle Class did not need the Wallace Fountains and even mocked them.  Here is an 1873 caricature of Richard Wallce with/as one of his fountains.

Designed not only to supply a basic need, each fountain offers a message via its four graceful caryatides symbolizing goodness, charity, simplicity and, of course, sobriety

Detail of Wallace Fountain in Paris.  Wikipedia.Artefacts that have come to symbolize Paris - and perhaps its unexpected ability to drink water as well as wine - fountain replicas are today found in several other French cities as well as in Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, Israel, Jordan, Mozambique, South Africa and Spain - not to forget New Orleans.

The next time you are in Paris (hopefully not just via photos), feel free to quench an H²O thirst at one of the Wallace Fountains.  Almost a century and a half after their creation, and much to the relief of today's homeless street dwellers who use them, they are still bubbling away and free of charge.

No doubt fittingly, Wallace is buried in the major Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.  I doubt, however, that (shunning a French custom) his casket contains a bottle of wine.


Look inside. . .

     with a click 

>  to explain why Napoléon's statue is now missing from Pari's Hôtel des Invalides: Une Nouvelle Campagne pour Napoléon  


>  if you can't find that favorite wine you loved years ago ~ the label tells you it is the same, but your palate tells you otherwise ~ Alice Feiring will explain if you visit  The Bookshelf.


>  for a few travel tips to make flying better and the process of getting to your destination more pleasant.


>  to enjoy French cuisine with Jo Anne Marquardt as she relates her dining experiences from her recent visit to France Bon Appétit!
                                  . . . and more!

We hope that you will enjoy
this abbreviated
Summer issue.


                                                                                                                                                     by Arthur Gillette

Welcome to Twisted Tongues, a French word game everyone can play.  See if you can come up with the correct translation of the phrase in question.  You may be quite surprised by how it differs from what you first thought it meant.

Answer from our Spring issue:  "Tirer ses grègues" = "Pull up one's socks?" No.  It actually means to "skidaddle away."

Phrase:  "Filer à l 'anglaise".  Does it mean "to spin (fabric) in an English style"?  Not only that ... look for the answer next time!

Look for the correct translation in our Autumn newsletter.  Have fun!

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.


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 who wish to improve their language skills. 

Authentic French videos include television programs, music videos,
 interviews, documentaries, and travel. 

Click on the banner to sign up or learn more!

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