has been published since 1997 -- originally created to
independent travelers to plan their own visits to France -- as a
illustrated print newsletter sold only by subscription.
FRANCE On Your Own is transformed. Our goals have not changed,
we have opted to provide an on line version in html format,
series of web pages. The online format allows us
include graphics, color photos, live links to other useful web sites,
on occasion, our trademark original pen and ink illustrations.
we are offering our newsletter FREE to
print issues are still available. They cover most regions
France, have fascinating articles by people who live in or visit France
offer travel and transportation advice and tips, provide cultural
and so much more. To see a summary list of all past newsletters or
order one or more back issues, just click above on the Archives
In December of each year,
we will provide links to that year's four issues
also on our Archives
page. But to receive current newsletters containing
timely information, please do
take a few minutes to read the excerpts below
past issues of FRANCE On Your Own that we believe
will be of interest to you.
scroll down the page to read examples of newsletters past.
excerpt from our feature on the PREHISTORIC
cave artwork was only discovered in the mid-nineteenth century, which is
hard to believe since it existed from 40,000 to 10,000 BC during the Upper
Paleolithic period, also called the Reindeer Age. The best of those
paintings were done by those who became known as the Magdalenians ~ people
who flourished in the Pyrénées region of Europe from 18,000
BC to 10,0000 BC. The Magdalenian creations have been around for
two-thirds of the time humans have created art!
is always of value to know of one's origins. People prepare family
their genealogy to discover who their ancestors were and from whence they
what about our common ancestors, Cro-Magnon man and woman, those very people
are known as "early man"? Perhaps one way to find out what they were all
through their creativity ~ the artwork they left for us in the myriad
caves of southwestern France
artwork that tells the story of their lives, their conquests, their daily
bread and their spirituality.
we will visit some very interesting sites.
about the Magdalenians: They were named for a site in France,
on the Vézère River. They were Homosapiens ~ Cro-Magnon
~ and very
today's humans. They were intelligent people who had many tools for
During the last Ice Age, a drop in temperature of 4 to 5 degrees was enough
to alter the plant
life upon which these people depended. In the Vézère
River valley, home to
sites than anywhere else in France, this cooling caused the disappearance
wooly rhinos, the musk ox, and reindeer, among others.
a primary source of food in the Périgord of Magdalenian times.
cave art was finally accepted by both anthropologists and art historians
as significant and authentic. As the 20th century drew to a close,
Europe boasted 277 authenticated sites, 142 of which are in France, with
others in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany and the Balkans. The art
work itself is extremely fragile, and once a cave is exposed, not
only to the outside air after being 'opened', but to humankind, the art
begins to deteriorate very quickly. One example of this is the cave
at Bédeilhac in the Pyrénées whose art vanished from
deterioration within six months of opening to the public during World War
installed in most caves today permits people to visit with less risk to
the art work, and even with that advantage, some are open for only brief
amounts of time to small groups of people, similar to the restrictions
placed on visitors to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Ancient art
work can disappear so quickly, so every effort must be made to protect
drawings were done by hands forming designs in soft clay, and this progressed
to engraving with sharp tools. Some of these drawings were on the
floors of caves and have long since disappeared under the feet of visitors.
Then pigments were discovered, and painting was done on cave walls often
incorporating the shape of the rock face itself to depict animals, the
most common subjects of this art form. Red, iron oxide, black, brown
and yellow were the available pigments, while white was used occasionally.
These warm hues, aglow in the caves by just enough light for visitors
to see the amazing work of our ancestors, are etched forever in one's memory
after a visit to one of France's prehistoric wonders.
important to know that caves were not the homes of early man, but
were most likely places of spirituality.
peoples of the stone age created art work outside the caves, those did
not last very long. They soon discovered that the caves would shelter
their creations ~ littledid
they know for how long!
from Discover Select Paris Suburb Treasures
go first to Vincennes,
eastern end-station of Métro line N° 1; the trip from central
Paris will cost you a single Métro ticket and about a 20-minute
century: for almost a millennium-and-a-half, and although often itinerant,
France’s Kings had headquartered on Paris’ Ile de La Cité in the
royal palace whose vestiges you can still visit at the Conciergerie. Then,
the irreparable happened: in 1358, during the Hundred Years’ Franco-English
War, King Jean Le Bon (John the Good) was captured by the English and imprisoned
in London. His 20-year-old son, Charles, became régent (acting king)
and found himself in a face-off with the Parisian townspeople, who slaughtered
– before the young man – certain of John the Good's supporters.
the new king-to-be, Charles V, fled the Conciergerie and went east, where
he created at the city's boundary – protected by moats from both
external and city enemies – La Bastille. Even there, he didn't feel
safe and decided to move still further eastward, to the royal fortress-cum-hunting
lodge at Vincennes where he had been born in 1338.
to reside there and also make it the seat of his government and administration
– a kind of second French capital! This required a complete architectural
revamping whose extraordinary monumental result you can visit still today.
Check out, for instance, the castle keep, some 50 meters high!
Charles V died at Vincennes in 1380, but the castle's story didn't end
then. . .
excerpt from one of our Provence features in 2006
newsletters have color photos and live links to useful travel sites as
(13) is clearly the 'mouth of the Rhône' River, and here lie the
marshlands between the Grand Rhône and Petit Rhône known as
the Camargue. Monitored closely to protect its fragile ecological
balance, this wild land still has it herds of black bulls, but the only
'wild' white horses left are those who escaped nearby ranches. The
heart of the Camargue is les
Saintes Marie-de-la-Mer, a town named for Mary Magdeleine, Mary
Jacobe (sister of the Virgin Mary) and St Martha who, it is believed, arrived
there from Bethany in 18 AD by boat. Today is the gathering place
for the annual gypsy pilgrimage.
the bustling port city founded by the Greeks, is nearby. A mile off
the coast from the city is Château
d'If, open to visitors who want to see the prison made famous by
Alexandre Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo. Nostradamus' birthplace,
the fine town of St-Rémy-de-Provence,
offers antiques shops, restaurants and tree-lined streets, and just outside
of St-Rémy are the Roman ruins at Glanum. A great place
to stop, shop and explore is Les
Baux de Provence; visitors can enjoy the older town in ruins
and the newer town below with its narrow curved streets, ancient doorways
and tourist throngs. Finally is the little fishing village of Cassis
~ the coastline known as the
Calanques (inlets and rugged cliffs)
stretches from here to Marseille and is an area rich in wildlife with over
900 species of plants, some of which are protected.
excerpt is from our special feature on the Wine Route of Burgundy
in gold and ruby: If there is one town that can be summed up in the
harmonious blend of two colors, that town is Beaune. Gold and ruby
are the characteristic shimmering colors of the great wines of Burgundy
of which Beaune is the undisputed capital.” Those words
may sound somewhat subjective, as well they should - they are
from the Burgundy tourist office. We have visited Beaune, and our
opinion is more objective. It’s a wonderful town!
Beaune is first remembered
for its narrow streets and bustling squares and the Hôtel Dieu, the
museum created from a charity hospital (in operation until 1971) founded
in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, the king’s chancellor, who came into great wealth.
He and his wife decided to establish an almshouse and hospital for the
city’s poor. The quotations of the time from Nicolas and later King
Louis XI are worth repeating. Nicolas wrote, “I set aside all mortal
cares and consider nothing but my salvation, wishing by a happy transaction
to exchange for heavenly riches those earthly ones bestowed upon me by
God’s favor, so to make transient riches eternal.” Sounds quite generous
and humble! However, Louis XI saw it differently, as there was always
some question as to how Rolin acquired his enormous wealth. Louis
said, “It’s only right that he who made so many destitute in his life should
build them an almshouse before he died.”
Today, visitors can explore
this remarkable place. The beds lined up along the walls in the huge
ward, each with a bedside chair and a small place for one’s meager belongings,
the magnificent sculpture of Christ carved from one huge piece of wood,
the apothecary of the nuns who served the poor, and the architecture itself
are all notable. And, no doubt, most photographed is the Burgundian
Rolin did achieve something
else that remains today. He needed to raise maintenance funds after
his wife’s dowry ran dry, and encouraged local vintners to donate land
- vineyards, to be exact. The hospice, now still supporting
240 elderly people in Beaune, owns 2000 acres of vines. The
annual wine auction, until recently held in the Hôtel Dieu, now takes
place in the market hall. Tastings are offered in the hospice on that day.
The auction is the focal point
of Trois Glorieuses, the three-day November wine festival.
But, Beaune also offers visitors good museums, from the Musée
des Beaux Arts with a collection of works of Picasso, Chagall and extraordinary
Flemish and Dutch paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries, to the Musée
du Vin de Bourgogne housed in the former 15th century mansion of the
Dukes of Burgundy, where tours are given. Visit the museum’s 14th century
wine cellars to see ancient presses and vats, and get a real lesson in
historic wine-making implements, methods and the soils of the surrounding
vineyards. Don’t miss the Jean Lurçat Aubusson tapestry located
in the main room of the mansion.
From our Winter
2011 newsletter. . .dusty, winding roads . . .
resist stealing a few lines from Vin en Vacances web site
because they paint a wonderful picture of what would be in store for anyone
joining their tours. "Take a drive along its dusty winding roads
and discover this amazing land smothered in wild sage, thyme and rosemary
and huge craggy rock outcrops highlighting the rows of grape vines below.
Ancient villages sit on hill tops, medieval castles stand proudly on mountains
and the magnificent Carcassonne citadel, with its fluttering red flags
flying in the wind, welcomes you to this unique part of the world."
Gedney was first introduced to the area twenty years ago by her late husband
who knew a thing or two about wine and told her to watch out for what was
slowly taking place here. He predicted that the simple country wines of
those days would be replaced by some of the most exciting wines France
would produce, and he was right. Today, there are a great many excellent
producers, and many of the wines they make are world class.
the people who join Wendy's tours are novices where wine is concerned,
such as the group of Americans Wendy collected one morning last summer.
The tour started with a lovely twenty-minute drive through the vineyard
region of the Minervois eventually arriving at the ancient village of Rieux-Minervois.
When putting the tour together Wendy had gleaned that the group was very
interested in the history of the region as well as the wines. So she had
included this village because it has a very unusual seven-sided church
containing some incredible carvings produced by an anonymous sculptor who
is now called 'The Master of Cabestany' and who was active in the second
half of the 12th century.
. . and from our December 2006 newsletter
RECOMMENDATIONS ~ PARIS
want these restaurants to become too popular because we'll have
difficulty getting a table for dinner, but we feel we must pass along our
tips for great dining experiences at a reasonable cost when you next visit
Paris. They are all in our favorite neighborhood, the 7th arrondissement.
du 7, 56 bd. de la Tour Maubourg (phone 01.45.51.93.08) Lovely menu
selection, good service, quiet residential neighborhood. Our latest discovery.
Bistro de Breteuil,
3, place de Breteuil (phone: 01.45.67.07.27) Crowded and bustling, but
somehow not noisy, very accommodating staff. Discovered in September
because a friend in Paris suggested meeting him there. Quite reasonably
priced with good food.
le Maupertu, 94, boulevard de la Tour Maubourg (phone: 01.45.51.37.96).
Our favorite, as we've dined there several times, and it just seems to
keep getting better. Also, just around the corner from our favorite
hotel (completely refurbished during the winter of 2005/2006), the Hôtel
Muguet. Parisian friends joined us at Restaurant le Maupertu during
our most recent visit and loved it (which we see as a good sign!).
Wide menu selection, calm atmosphere and fine service. Across the
street from the Les Invalides ~ lovely all lit up at night!
excerpt is from Limoges: Where Works of Art Emerge
by Maribeth Clemente
Nestled into rich countryside
where the most prized cattle of France graze, Limoges is a city steeped
in a long tradition of arts and crafts. Along with its outlying area, Limoges
is most certainly the focal point of a visit to this delightfully rural
region known as the Limousin, located in central France.
The name Limoges is, of course,
synonymous with china of the finest quality. Although many people
think of it as a brand name, in fact Limoges is to china what Bordeaux
is to wine.
The fine white kaolin clay
of the region made this the ideal place for porcelain makers to set up
shop more than 250 years ago. Prior to that, the French used faience for
their tableware, a far less refined ceramic than porcelain. With explorations
to far-away lands — primarily the Orient — the French were introduced to
the rare qualities of china, which soon became the envy of French royalty.
The oldest porcelain maker of Limoges is the Ancienne Manufacture Royale,
founded in 1737, originally as a manufactory exclusively devoted to china
production for the king and his court. The Manufacture is in full operation
today, and although it is still producing ultra-luxurious creations fit
for a king’s table (or an Arab prince’s!), it is also one of the best places
to go for those beloved little Limoges boxes (astonishingly well-priced
Before you set out shopping,
though, try to schedule a visit to the Musée National de la Porcelaine
Adrien-Dubouché, a fascinating museum that features interesting
examples of ceramics from all over the world and across the centuries.
Here you will be able to distinguish the extreme whiteness and astonishing
translucence of Limoges china, qualities that have earned it remarkable
prestige and a reputation for value over more than two centuries.
Your educational tour may continue at Haviland where part of its museum
pays tribute to table settings created for famous places and people including
Maxim’s restaurant in Paris, the Empress Eugénie and an impressive
number of American presidents. Bernardaud recently opened an exciting arts
complex that occupies part of their original manufactory.
In this living museum, you
can participate in any number of activities, including taking a guided
tour of the works or actually delving into the creation of la porcelaine
(great for kids!). A variety of temporary exhibitions also serve to educate
and entertain, but, as in the case chez Haviland, you might become
most consumed with their terrific factory discount shopping.
taste of one of our Regional Features, this one on the Auvergne
The Massif Central is a large,
diverse granite plateau infused with spectacular beauty, often called “la
France profonde” — the rugged heartland of the country. The
Massif encompasses nine départements, four of which make up Auvergne.
The others are the three of the Limousin, and the départements of
Lozère in Languedoc and Aveyron in the Midi-Pyrénées.
With few large cities, this part of France is a “must see”
on anyone’s itinerary to experience the beauty
of its valleys and mountains, castles, lush forests,
Romanesque churches, charming villages, delicious regional
cuisine, and wonderful local people.
Auvergne is special, as we
recently discovered. The highest peaks of the Massif are in Auvergne,
a rich land of green pastures and gentle foothills. Hiking, fishing
and boating are popular pastimes. In the winter months, cross-country
skiing is very popular, but, because the local mountains are not
extremely high or always covered in snow, there is less downhill
skiing. It is an ideal destination for lovers of the out-of-doors,
but certainly not limited to those pursuits.
Throughout the area castles
exist that are open to the public for visits. We have counted 45,
only seven of which offer bed and breakfast accommodations or dining facilities.
The majority have historic tours, museums, expositions, son et lumière
The Parc Naturel Régional
des Volcans d’Auvergne lies west of Clermont-Ferrand in the Puy-de-Dôme
— a region of extinct volcanoes — and is one of many areas
within Auvergne that are protected from incursion by any kind of development.
The area is still not overrun by tourists, and the local inhabitants are
happy with the level of activity as it is today.
An advantage of a visit to
this region, aside from the lovely open roads and lack of crowds, is that
prices are still so reasonable. The available inns are exceptional
in quality, as well, which makes it even more desirable.
One more delight of the Auvergne:
cheese! Saint-Nectaire, named for the Puy-de-Dôme village,
is made from milk of Salers cows feeding on volcanic pastures and is aged
in old wine cellars. A creamy cheese, it is one of many
fine cheeses from Auvergne. Others include cows’ cheese
such as Cantal and Bleu d’Auvergne, ewe cheese
such as Brebis du Lavort, and the goat cheeses Chevreton du Bourbonnais
and Briquette du Forez , among others.
sampling of our regular French Wine Report
Château Raymond-Lafon Exemplifies
the Best of White Bordeaux
by Panos Kakaviatos
Red may be the color that
comes to mind when one thinks of Bordeaux, but French wine journalists
will gather January 22 in Paris to taste and judge the already legendary
2001 vintage of one of the finest white wines in Bordeaux: Sauternes.
For this sweet white Bordeaux
variety, 2001 featured ideal weather conditions which allowed for the special
mold called botrytis cinerea to concentrate grape juices just perfectly.
Harvesters had a field day at Château Raymond-Lafon, one of the top
Sauternes producers, which will be the appellation standard bearer at the
Paris tasting this month.
“In 2001, we were able
to pick our maximum yield, which will result in about 30,000 bottles, “
says Charles Henri Meslier, the château’s wine maker.
The entire Sauternes appellation
includes some 6000 acres of vines in what is, arguably, the most beautiful
of the Bordeaux appellations: gently rolling hills, foggy mist from
the nearby Cerons stream, and a charmingly small and authentic town
50 acres are preciously located right near the world famous Château
d’Yquem. Pierre Meslier used to make wine for d’Yquem from 1961 until
his retirement in 1990; he bought Raymond–Lafon in 1972, and he and
his family have ever since been responsible for making Sauternes wines
approaching the quality of d’Yquem, at about one-third its price, according
to American wine critic Robert Parker. French critics also laud the
quality of this Sauternes, and the Swedish government selected Raymond-Lafon
for its Nobel Peace Prize dinner in 2000.
our feature covering special cities of France
ARLES - Gateway to the
It has been said that the
best preserved and largest collection of Roman ruins can be found in France.
In the south there are many examples, but our utmost favorite is Arles
in the Bouches-de-Rhône — not just for its Roman ruins, but
because this is an inviting and pleasant city. You may be surprised
to learn that Arles is the largest city in France with a
surface area of 758 square kilometers and surrounded by the
exceptional beauty of the Rhône River, the Crau plains, les
Alpilles and the wild Camargue. (Do plan a visit to the Camargue!)
In Roman times, Arles
was a bustling metropolis and a symbol of ardent Christianity. This
is seen in the Roman arena completed in 70 AD, said to have seated 23,000
spectators. Two of its original three tiers still stand, and today
it is the site of bull fights (the bulls are spared), concerts and public
functions. A Museum of Christian Art can also be found in Arles,
tying it again to its strong Christian origins. Antiquities from
the Greek and Roman era can be seen at l’Eglise St-Trophime, a former
church, now a museum, displaying Greek and Roman statues and tombs
as well as a statue of Augustus Caesar. Also worth visiting (you’ll
need to drive) is the Alyscamps (Elysian Fields) burial grounds southeast
of Arles used until the twelfth century.
When in Arles be sure to visit
the Roman Theatre on rue Porte de Laure, used today for the Arles Festival.
It may be best recognized for its two remaining columns known as “the two
widows” which stand like sentinels.
Frederic Mistral, the French
poet, owned a 16th century Gothic house in Arles which today is the Musée
d’Arlatan, home to artifacts, costumes, furniture and the implements
of daily life in the Pays d’Arles, something he found fascinating and a
collection which he established with the money from his Nobel Prize in
Another famous resident was
Vincent Van Gogh, who was in the city two short years (1888-1889) painting
the townspeople and local buildings. Considered eccentric,
he was not well liked by the people in town. He committed himself
to a sanitarium in nearby St-Rémy-de-Provence. . . In Arles,
there is a cultural center, Espace Van Gogh, formerly the hospital
where he received treatment in 1889, dedicated to his life and work.
Arles’ location, history and
charm have ensured its status as a prominent and much-loved tourist center,
and it has avoided modern-day industrialization. With a population
just over 51,000, Arles has a small-town feeling as it is explored on foot.
Winding narrow streets, red-roofed buildings, and, in the air, the ever-present
scent of someone cooking with garlic — add to this a good climate,
and it is almost too good to be true!
Before you leave, be sure
to cross the Rhône on Pont de Trinquetaille, turn right onto
St-Pierre and go as far as the cemetery. Stop there and look
back across the river for a wide-angled view of this gem of a city.
Excerpt from the February 2004 French Wine Report
by Panos Kakaviatos
dinner at Chateau Mouton Rothschild "
1,800 guests came to Château Mouton Rothschild – including Bernadette
Chirac, wife of French President Jacques Chirac, and Claude Pompidou, widow
of late French president Georges Pompidou – to enjoy a festive dinner party,
known as the Fête de la Fleur, on the last day of Vinexpo.
tenor, Placido Domingo, sang live on stage, surprising everyone
with operatic songs over a sumptuous feast featuring the mythical 1982
vintage of Mouton Rothschild among other fine wines.
in tables of twelve under a colorfully lit and immense tent-like metal
structure, guests were treated to an ambiance resembling the Cannes film
festival, with noted cinema stars such as actress Catherine Deneuve and
actor Jean-Claude Brialy turning up for the party held by Mouton Rothschild
owner Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, herself a former actress.
du Bontemps, a brotherhood grouping Médoc, Graves, Barsac and
Sauternes, has organized the Fête de la Fleur annually in
Bordeaux since 1952 to celebrate the vine flowering in anticipation of
the autumn harvest -- but the party also marked two special anniversaries.
the dinner, a short film about Mouton Rothschild’s history was screened
to mark both the 150th anniversary that Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild of
the family's English branch bought Château Brane Mouton and
renamed the vineyard located in the heart of the Médoc, as well
as the 30th anniversary that Château Mouton Rothschild was promoted
as one of the top five “premier cru” wines in an otherwise rigid 1855 classification
of top Bordeaux wines.
film, the Baroness asked guests to turn their menu to the page including
words to a song called “the hymn of Mouton,” announcing that the double
anniversary was the perfect occasion to sing that song.
who will sing it?” she asked rhetorically.
diners – at least at my table – fought tooth and nail for every last drop
of the 1982 Mouton Rothschild, a perfect 100 points on the Robert Parker
scale, lush red curtains behind the Baroness rose and Placido Domingo,
who had just flown in that afternoon from London, burst into song.
property of Panos Kakaviatos 2003-2006. All rights reserved.]
time to time we 'travel' with our readers to some of the Most Beautiful
Villages of France
excerpt is about a wonderful village in Burgundy's Côte d'Or département.
Did you see the film “Chocolat”?
If you did, then you have already paid a visit to Flavigny-sur-Ozerain,
for that is where the movie was filmed.
This walled Burgundian hilltop
town, about 170 miles south of Paris, does not possess a chocolaterie
or, as Juliette Binoche portrayed in the movie, a chocolatière.
It is, instead, a town famous for the manufacture of anise sweets and dragée
(sugared almonds) - and has been since the ninth century!
village population is a mere 400, but it gained fame from Miramax’s movie
in 2000. If you are driving along the D905 north from Vitteaux (on
the way to the Fontenay Abbey) and come upon the tiny D9 on your right
before approaching Venarey-les-Laumes, make the turn. You will end
up in one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France.
Besides adding it to your
list of villages you've visited from Les Plus Beaux Villages de France,
you will enjoy its cobbled narrow and winding streets, the peace and calm
of a village with a small but devoted population, and perhaps a glass of
wine at Renée Meugnot’s family “Café Trop Chaud”, only open
on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It may have been her
café that convinced the movie’s director to use Flavigny as the
setting for Chocolat, for it is the first place he visited when
he arrived in town.
If you want to spend the night
in town, you might try the Hôtel le Relais de Flavigny (hotel/restaurant),
owned and operated by Monsieur Guillier. The phone from outside France
A charming B&B with two
rooms that comes highly recommended by travelers is the Couvent Des Castafours
- your hostess is Judith Lemoine. The contact phone for reservations
from outside France is: 22.214.171.124.24.92). Visit her web
A visit to Flavigny-sur-Ozerain
will be well worth your time. Its mayor, Gérard Foutheneu,
says that Flavigny is “frozen in time”.
of Marc Troubat, a resident of Flavigny sur Ozerain. All rights reserved.]
of our newsletter will know that we give a great deal
coverage to Paris ~ articles written by those who know the city well.
is an excerpt of just one of those:
The Street Markets of Paris Capture
the 'Spirit of the Village'
by George Medovoy
is no better way to breathe the spirit of Paris than to do as Parisians
do, and visit its lively street markets to find the 'spirit of the village.'
Paris has all sorts of street markets: from permanent markets to roving
markets served by truck farmers; from organic markets to specialty markets;
and, of course, all-purpose flea markets.
my teeth, so to speak, on one of the city's food markets, which enticed
me with fresh produce, fish and meats, as well as delicious pastries and
breads. But one shouldn't forget the specialty markets, whose products
run the gamut: old posters, perfumes, honey, exotic birds, paper products,
absinthe glasses, kitchen linens, cheese, wine, and fashion. Goodness,
one could build an entire visit around these markets – each of them, to
borrow the words of the French writer Honoré de Balzac, "an undiscovered
place, an unknown retreat."
the Paris street market scene on the rue Mouffetard, one of the city's
oldest market streets, a narrow lane framed, like a living painting, by
architecture dating back to the seventeenth century. Nearby is the
des Plantes, or Plant Gardens, where King Louis XIII's doctors planted
a royal medicinal herb garden in 1626 and which today, with its zoo and
alpine garden, offer pleasant diversions during an afternoon picnic.
the Romans inhabited Paris, which they called Lutètia, the rue Mouffetard
was a principal thoroughfare. They built the nearby Arènes de
Lutèce, a 15,000-seat amphitheater for performances and, as
expected, gladiator fights.
morning out, the number 27 bus dropped me off at a little square dominated
by the fifteenth-century Church of St. Medard. There, fruit and vegetable
stalls marked the beginning of the market. But before I jumped into
the market, I spied La Flute St. Medard, a quaint little pastry
shop with lovely, fresh pastries in the window. What a lucky break!
It was morning, and since I hadn't eaten a thing for breakfast yet, I went
inside. The bell clanged as I opened the door. It felt nice and warm, a
welcome change from winter's cold.
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