Summer                  2015
VOL. 19                   NO.  3


FRANCE On Your Own banner

  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

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                " . . . The American arrives in Paris with a few French phrases he has culled from a
                                      conversational guide or picked up from a friend who owns a beret."

                                                                                                                         - Fred Allen, American humorist (1894-1957)


Les Étangs de Corot
by Arthur Gillette    

Twisted Tongues
      ~  Challenging French phrases

Ici et Là

The Bookshelf - A Passion for Paris        
~  a book by David Downie

L'Hermione, Greenport, LI, NY   Photo copyright Marie Zipfel.  All rights reserved.
L'Hermione with Tall Ships America
July 2015, Greenport, Long Island

Featuring:  The Lot département

Escape to this enchanting place in France where you can explore unique geographic and historic sites, dine on local cuisine, and have a tranquil holiday away from the tourist throngs.

We hope that you enjoy this abbreviated edition of FRANCE On Your Own ~ we will return to the full five pages in November with the publication of our Autumn issue.  Have a wonderful summer!

Paris Plage 2015 - Image:
Paris Plage 2015

LES ÉTANGS DE COROT - Peaceful Countryside Relief from Busy, Busy Paris                                                                                    
                                                                                                                         by Arthur Gillette

Somewhat – or quite – stressed by Paris, nipping from monuments to shops to museums to restaurants? What about a bucolic visit to one of the suburbs' calmest and most beautiful rural venues?  High among the favorites of mine and my lady are found at Ville d’Avray village, the Étangs de Corot. These are two adjacent lakes named for the 19th century painter who frequented them and left this 'souvenir'.

Etangs de Corot.  Painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille COROT.  Wikipedia

Some twenty minutes by train from downtown Gare St. Lazare (by RER, Regional Express Railway, Line A to nearby Versailles) and about the same amount of time on foot from the Sèvres-Ville d’Avray station, the Étangs (ponds) are surrounded by a forest dominated by majestic weeping willows. They are not only beautiful but also peaceful and generally (mercifully!) little-frequented, at least on weekdays.

Ville d’Avray was settled in the Middle Ages and long focused on vineyards. Its étangs began to attract noble visitors in the 17th century as a relaxing getaway from the royal hustle and bustle at King Louis XIV's nearby Versailles.

Perhaps to avoid making his brother jealous of his (that should probably be His) Versailles, Louis gave him the St. Cloud domain toward Paris from Ville d’Avray. Its castle, destroyed since, was then nobly rebuilt. To provide water for its extensive new park and lake, created by master landscaper André Le Nôtre, the future Étangs de Corot were mobilized and enlarged, taking the shape you can see today.

Ëtangs de Corot today.  WikipediaIn the late 19th century, after the railway opened, they drew the Parisian haute bourgeoisie, not to forget artists like Corot.  And, they simply haven't changed since.

The visit is anything but strenuous.  Leisurely strolling along the paths that surround them, and stopping a bit here and there perhaps to observe the local birds' flapping and diving shenanigans, you can circle the étangs in about three quarters of an hour.

Hungry afterwards?  You can find respite at the rather luxurious, four-star Étangs de Corot hotel/restaurant overlooking one of the lakes.  My personal preference there is the relatively inexpensive (€29 for a meal, wine not included but affordable) Café des Artistes where you can sit outdoors surrounded by shrubbery with your feet almost in the nearby Étang.

Bonne promenade et bon appétit!                          

Look inside. . .  with a click  

for our review of David Downie's newest book, A Passion for Paris, on  The Bookshelf. 

to read about what's happening in France and the US, culturally speaking, as well as news from France you may not be seeing reported elsewhere, visit Ici et Là.

> to travel with us to the Lot, our Feature for this issue.  Discover one of France's loveliest départements offering visitors everything from prehistoric treasures and impressive medieval villages, to striking landscapes and exceptional cuisine.

Coming in our Autumn issue. . . 
Take a tour with us to some of the
many Cistercian and Benedictine

monasteries of France

                                                                                                                                                     by Arthur Gillette

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

Answer from our Spring issue:  "Se planter".  It doesn't mean "to thrust down one's roots", but it does mean "to be mistaken."

Phrase:      "Une caisse"-  Does it mean "a case or box"?  Literally, yes.  But in slang it has a different meaning. Can you guess?  

Look for the correct translation in our Autumn 2015 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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Recommendations are not guarantees of satisfaction and are made only
to assist travelers with suggestions and web sites that we have found very useful.