The Independent Traveler's Newsletter                                           PAGE TWO

Cézanne in Provence continued from page one
Cézanne AtelierHe was born here in 1839, attended school until the age of 19 when he left briefly for Paris, married here, and did his most important work in and around Aix.  He once described his hometown to a friend by saying, "When you are born there, you're done for.  Nothing else appeals."  Cézanne died in Aix in 1906, and this year the town will once again claim my friend Paul as its own.  If you come here and follow those brass studs through Aix, perhaps you, too, will begin to consider Paul Cézanne a friend.

Information on visits during the 100th anniversary celebratory events:  For tickets, hotel reservations, tours, itineraries contact 'Cézanne a la Carte' by email:

Barbara Beaumont operates Jaunts in Provence, a full-service planning company that will 
reserve tickets for the exhibition, find a suitable hotel or B&B, provide airport/TGV pickup, 
and organize other activities for a relaxing and enjoyable stay in Provence. 
You can contact her by email at for more information.

[Credits: Graphics and photos by Hitau are courtesy of the Aix Office of Tourism web site:]

Ici et Là

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.

o   Exhibits in Canada  Right Under the Sun:  Landscape in Provence from Classicism to Modernism (1750 - 1920) which will be at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts until January 8, 2006.  More than 200 works by sixty artists will be presented focusing on the evolution of art in the Mediterranean reaches of France.  Don't miss the exhibit at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum from December 15 through January 2007 of the glass of René Lalique entitled Déco Lalique.  The exhibit explores not only Lalique's shift from sculptor to his success in producing Art Déco artistry and marketing it to the world. 

o    Exhibits in the US   Beauford Delaney:  From New York to Paris is the exhibit now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through January 29, 2006, presenting 50 paintings, prints and watercolors.   Beyond the Visible:  The Art of Odilon Redon is an exhibit of the works given to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, by the Ian Woodner Family Collection.  On view at the museum through January 23, 2006.  In Los Angeles through January 8, 2006, at the J. Paul Getty Museum people can see fifteen miniatures and accompanying text from the 15th century work commemorating the coronation of Louis XII by Jean Bourdichon.  Entitled A Masterpiece Reconstructed:  Jean Bourdichon's Hours of Louis XII the exhibit will permit viewing of a collection that hasn't been together in more than three hundred years.   Clouet to Seurat:  French Drawings from the British Museum runs through January 29, 2006 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City presents four centuries of French drawings, some on display for the first time.  The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, will present French Impressionism and Boston:  Masterworks from the Museum of Fine Arts through March 5, 2006.  The show will highlight impressionism in France and the United States and how the collection came to be housed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  Fifty pieces by such artists as Hassam, Corot and Monet are featured.  Beginning December 17 and running until March 12, 2006, the public can experience French Drawings and Paintings from Harvard's Dunlap Collection at the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

o   Performing Arts  Take in a performance of Roméo et Juliette at New York's Metropolitan Opera House through March 9, 2006.  Natalie Dessay is Juliette and Ramón Vargas is Roméo in this new production.

o   Security in France  Following the terrorist attacks upon London subways and buses, the French are considering legislation to  increase video surveillance in public areas.  As Britain has more than four million cameras, several of which were instrumental in identifying the perpetrators of the London attacks, the French government now realizes that the 60,000 in France are simply insufficient.  Video cameras will be installed in in train, métro, and bus stations, shopping areas, religious buildings, and at nuclear energy plants, as well as outside office buildings.  The three weeks of rioting in France has ended with some 4700 arrests, and people involved are still being sought and arrested.  It isn't clear how many remain in jail, but the number 650 has been mentioned.  Any participants who are not French nationals will be or have been deported.   A curfew is still in effect as of this writing.  Several rap groups have been accused of inciting riots and violence with their music lyrics by several hundred members of the government who are proposing possible legal action against them.

o   Paris Radio Live!  Visit to listen to English language radio broadcasts from Paris. 

o   French economic news  State-owned EDF, the largest producer of electricity in Europe, will soon have some private ownership. The government is releasing 15% to privatization, a move opposed by unions.  The law permits the government to sell  up to 30%, but it claims that it will keep control of 85%.  EDF has become a global company with interests in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America and more than 42 million customers.  Air France-KLM Group, Europe's largest airline, has announced solid financial gains in its second quarter of 2005, a pre-tax gain of 50% for the year. 

The French company, Dassault Aviation of Saint-Cloud France, is adding the Falcon 7X long-range corporate jet to its line of aircraft.  Anheuser-Busch of St Louis and Cemex, the Mexican cement company, have already placed orders.  Dassault is Europe's only manufacturer of corporate jets, and is best known, perhaps, for its Mirage fighter craft.  The Falcon will challenge the corporate jets manufactured by the US's Gulfstream Aerospace Corp, and Canada's Bombardier, Inc.  Perhaps most interesting about the new plane is not that it's being sold, but that it relies on 'fly-by-wire' technology being used in most Airbus commercial airplanes ~ this means that electrical wires and circuits replace mechanical linkages between the controls in the cockpit and the moving parts of the plane.  But perhaps the most interesting and unique feature lies in its design and testing:  the company slashed development costs by one third because they designed the plane using 3-D software while wearing 3-D glasses!  Dassault used the program to make the machine tools needed to make parts and to design the factory where the plane was built.  The program allowed the company to use 'virtual' maintenance crews to see how the plane would be serviced.  The software was developed in part in the US office of Dassault in Woodland Hills, California.   Because of this advanced computer technology, the first plane was assembled in seven months instead of sixteen, and there was no need to build a mock-up or a test plane.  The result to buyers is a savings of twenty percent in operating costs and lower maintenance expenses.  The jet will sell for about $40 million dollars, and it  will have a range of about 6500 miles enabling non-stop business flights from Los Angeles to Paris.

Speaking of flying to Paris, Emily is home again in Appleton, Wisconsin.  You may recall the saga of a small cat who somehow wandered from home and settled down in a container of paper bales at a company's distribution center not far from her home.  Suddenly, she was being shipped to Nancy, France, via Chicago and Belgium!   Workers in Nancy at the laminating company, Raflatac,  discovered the weakened feline,  whose smart owners had put identification tags on her, and she has been flown home in business class on Continental Airlines!  During her time in France she had regained the weight (and more!)  lost as a stowaway, and apparently preferred French cat food to anything else offered on the return flight (and why not?).   Safe at home for Christmas with her family, Emily would have quite a story tell if she could only talk!

Don't forget that you can get the inside scoop (in English) for all that's going on in Provence's Var département by reading Anita Rieu-Sicart's Var Village Voice.  Filled with interesting articles on dining out, wine, entertainment, fighting the bureaucracy and more, the VVV is a valuable resource to all the English, American, Swedish, Danish, Dutch and German residents in the Var...its calendar of events is treasured by them all!  We most like 'Trencherman', a regular contributor whose humor alone is worth the price of a subscription. So, whether you already live in the region, are planning to visit for a vacation, or are looking for a home in the Var, you can obtain more information about the newsletter with an Email to Anita at  or pay a visit to her informative web site at

o   Transportation in France  A tax will be added to plane tickets for every passenger boarding a plane in France on any airline.  Although opposed by most European countries and the US, President Chirac is hoping that the policy will spread worldwide, as the money from the tax will be used solely to provide health care in poor countries.  Currently, his plan has support from Britain, Chile, Brazil, and seems to be gaining approval in Norway. The amount of tax could be anywhere between one and forty euros, dependent upon distances traveled.  A lengthy transportation strike in Marseille has come to an end.  The forty-six day strike by Marseille bus and métro workers didn't seem to be of much benefit to them.   Originally, the protest was against privatization of a tramway proposed for Marseille, yet that plan will proceed.  It is estimated that the strike cost the public transportation authority in Marseille some five million euros.  A one-day strike in France against the SNCF (French national railway system) with the strikers receiving an acceptable package from the railway.  Workers received a bonus of 120 euros, a salary increase and their demand to hire nearly one thousand more workers.  The president of France interceded to assure workers that the railway system would remain in government hands and not be privatized.  This strike cost the government about 25 million euros.

o   Entertainment, Euro-style  The French cultural minister, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, addressed a conference on European diversity and culture in Hungary, stating that the European Union should establish "European Cinema Weeks" to encourage showing European-made films in theaters.   Currently, some seventy percent of films shown in Europe are made in the United States. 

o   Exhibits, Fêtes and Festivals in France  Dada enthusiasts will enjoy the exhibit at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, until January 9, 2006.  The Paris International Nautical Fair will take place at the Porte de Versailles from December 2 to 12, 2005.  The Mimosa Festival at Mandelieu-la-Napoule will run from February 2 until February 19, 2006.  The Carnival of Nice will take place in Nice from February 11 through February 28, 2006.  Transmusicales featuring pop, techno pop, rock and hip-hop will be held in Rennes from December 8 through December 12, 2005 and in Menton from February 10 to February 26, 2006.

The Kind and Helpful French

What a wonderful trip we had this September!  Nearly perfect weather, an opportunity to spend time in many extraordinary French château bed and breakfasts, delightful villages and historic monuments to explore, and the reinforcement of our belief that the French are some of the most hospitable and most helpful people a traveler could be fortunate to meet!

We emphasize helpful because there were several instances that could have spoiled it all ~ times when we needed assistance, twice rather desperately.  The French came to our rescue each time, and we cannot thank them enough.

The incident that most seriously affected our travel plans related to a leaky right rear tire on our rental car.  We were happily traipsing around the countryside completely unaware that one tire was nearly flat ~ a problem that we, unfortunately, discovered on a Sunday.  Let this be a lesson to you all!  Do your shopping, check your car, fill your tank, and take care of anything that might become important on Saturday

"But, it's Sunday", became the mantra we heard from a waitress and others when we asked where we could find an air pump for our ailing 'pneu'.  The waitress sent us backtracking to Montcuq, and, as fate would have it, two members of the town's Gendarmerie were just about to leave the station across the road on an assignment.  "But, it's Sunday", was spoken more than once with great empathy, while the look of urgency on their faces told us they were supposed to be elsewhere in 'dix minutes'.  Despite their tardiness, and sensing our desperation, they offered to fill our tire from the compressor at the back of the Gendarmerie!  We couldn't say 'merci' emphatically enough!  We were not forced to spend the rest of the the day and night in the parking lot of the Total station until Monday morning, and we gained a new appreciation for all those filling stations in the US where air pumps are always available as long as you have a few handy coins in your pocket! 

Arriving later that day at Château de Séguenville, in an absolutely magnificent region of France, our tire seemed fully inflated. By morning, however, it was once again flat, and another French native came to the rescue in the person of our hostess, Madame Marie Lareng, who kindly spent an incredible amount of time on the phone with Europcar to arrange for help with our situation.  Thanks to her,  a mechanic arrived at the château to change our tire, and we then went to the nearest Europcar location for a new car (not a new tire) where we found the staff extremely helpful and courteous as well.  It was a relief to be on the road again fully inflated! 

Travelers are bound to have times of need, for example moments (mostly in busy cities) where a map doesn't always help, so one must ask strangers for directions.  Not every need is a crisis.  But even in those minor situations, we've always been fortunate not only to be cheerfully assisted, but lucky to consistently choose the proper stranger:  someone who actually sent us in the right direction.  Vive la France!


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