Sunday, October 2, 2016

Europe 2016: Trip Notes # 14

Europe 2016: Trip Notes # 14

Rueil Malmaison, France

Fully energized with delish French pastries and strong coffee, our plans were to take a side trip to Auvers-sur-Oise - known for the town where Van Gogh spent the last part of his life. Our map and GPS indicated that travel time would be about 35 minutes. However, we lost quite a bit of time between a traffic accident somewhere on the freeway ahead of us and the GPS ilk's.

Please Turn On - Please Activate!

How can we get to our destination when our other GPS is "too sleepy" to turn on?

Okay - It's Been 15 Minutes. How Do We Get To A86. Lost Satellite? 
Now What?

How does one choose the right detour when three devices tell us to "Bear Right" when there are three choices and each device directs us to take a different street? Or, at the same time, another device tells us to "Turn Left!" Ugh!

In any event, we found Auvers-sur-Oise - a charming town filled with beautifully designed period homes and buildings. Van Gogh's home (actually a boarding house where he rented a room before he died) has scheduled tours. We were fortunate enough to arrive at a time where there was a tour in French and English. 

                   Van Gogh's Bedroom Unchanged After His Death

While waiting for the tour to get organized, we had a chance to wander around a gift shop. We were very surprised to see so many Van Gogh's paintings - paintings that we never saw before on prints, coasters and other items. 

Following  an excellent slide presentation about Van Gogh's life, we visited the nearby Ch√Ęteau D'Auvers-Sur-Oise. We knew that the chateau emphasized  "The Impressionists." Upon arrival, we found that the tickets were extraordinarily expensive for visiting a chateau. 

Normally, tickets range from "Free" to $10. These tickets were around $25. To compound our surprise, the chateau offered no paintings by the great Impressionists. So, what was the deal?

The deal was: This was the best presentation of the Impressionist era that we have ever seen. Every chateau room (and there were many) had a sophisticated and professionally created audio-visual presentation of the era. Each room presented a different theme about the Impressionist Period.

We are used to seeing in museums the Impressionist's paintings that we love so much and cannot get enough to enjoy. However, we did not know that caricature drawings were very popular during this era. 

"Cartoons"were also popular

With technological advances during that time, advertisements became more complex, more mature as well as more interesting.

Typical Poster

Risque situations were very popular 
Looks Real? It's Not. This Is A Holograph!

Let The Show Begin! 

Can-Can Dance At The Follies - Another Holograph

Time to learn about late 19th century fashions - In real life...

Or, we can learn about fashions from the paintings...

Everyone enjoys time on a river or lake.

Social get together

Beer Anyone? 

A Festive Time

We can also learn about life styles from paintings

A Man Joins In With The Festivities 

Sunday By A River

Guess what this is...
Sewer Cover 

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As we finished our eclectic trip, we had two wonderful picnic evenings - one along the Siene, the other outside our hotel room. 
So Serene

Toasting To Health, To Good Friends and To Our Wonderful Family. Cheers!

The Closing Of A Wonderful Day 

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Our last evening in France...Dining on our hotel balcony - overlooking a beautiful park.

Clever Jerry - The Romantic!. .When the hotel clerk was not looking, he "borrowed" a heavy table in the reception area. He then got hold of place settings from the nearby restaurant. A bottle of wine was purchased from the bar and, with the finishing touches, he "found" a pretty flower in a vase. 

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One of our favorite lounges happens to be in Paris. Air Tahiti Nui shares a lounge with Cathay Pacific. A variety of Asian dishes are prepared non-stop. Between the congee, noodles, satays, good champagne and other unique dishes (along with watching planes take off and land), Jerry could not be happier... 


 This is Our Plane To Los Angeles
Sadly, This Is The End of The Trip. 
Hopefully, There Will Be More Opportunities...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Europe 2016: Trip Notes # 13

Europe 2016: Trip Notes # 13

A Few More Days

With hugs and kisses, we said our "Good-by's" to Lisa and Tom. Now on our own, the last few days would be used to check out some places that would not be on the typical tourist list.

Since Jerry did not have his California driver's license and I not being able to drive five hours to our next destination, we decided to leave the car in Roanne and take the non-stop, 90 minute TGV train to Paris and rent another car.

Arriving At Paris Train Station - Lots Of Excitement 

The rental car office was conveniently next to Gare de La Lyon. Within an hour, we were heading to a Paris suburb (Reuil Malmaison) and a hotel which would be close to what we wanted to see.

We've been to Paris countless times. As we headed out of Paris and tried to navigate around and to the other side of the Arc d' Triumph, we were in awe as to how this particular day was so spectacular. 

What a gorgeous day!

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Historically, Reuil Malmaison was a small village which continued to grow to the point that, now, it blends into the Paris area. Think in terms of the relationship between Santa Monica and Los Angeles. 

"Reuil" or "Malmaison" is quite close to charming villages or small towns often used as a backdrop for the Impressionist Artists.  

This town is the perfect location for doing day tours "West" of Paris. It has a picturesque town center as well as beautiful pedestrian walkways and bike paths situated along the Seine River.

City Center - City Hall

Saturday's open market was one of the largest.

When In Paris...

We had a grand time buying gourmet food for an evening picnic later in the day

Cheese Anyone? 


 Okay. If You Insist!

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All towns have a city center church. Josephine and Napoleon III are buried here.  

Relatively small church. still, quite moving!

Reuil Malmaison is also known for Josephine's chateau and at times Napoleon's "office." Although "steps" from Paris, hardly anyone was here. 

The chateau is filled with period and personal things. 

Statues And Statuesque!

Napoleon's Study. His Desk Is In The Background

            Is This The Kitchen? Please Prepare A Dinner For 24 Guests!"

                     Every Gold Plate Has a Different Design Or Pattern

                                             Josephine's Bedroom 

Two Of The several Displayed Napoleon Swords 

Guess Who? 

   Napoleon's Toiletry Kit 

The chateau has so much "stuff" that statues, artwork and other significant items are stored in an outdoor pavilion.

     Wagon Used To Carry Napoleon's Coffin. Notice The Railing Size Used                             To Hold The Coffin In Place. It's Not Very Long                                                             Napoleon Was A Small Man

Cover For Sewer Line

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Nearby is the Chateau Breteil - not well known, per say by its name but its famous for the relationship between the chateau owners and Charles Perrault.

Where Are The Tourists? We Are The Tourists!

Without "Googling, the Perrault name, we challenge everyone to figure out the importance of this person.

5...4...3...2...1...Time's Up!

To save time, Perrault is the author of many fairy tales: Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Mother Goose, Blue Beard, Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.

Sleeping Beauty

Puss In Boots

Actually, there were a few other tourists - all French and all driving from Paris to spend some time in the countryside. The property has remained in the Breteuil family since 1610 when construction was completed. Our "tour" so to speak started with a greeting from an "older fellow" (probably our age), short, bent over and using a cane. 

We spoke to him for a few minutes. It turns out that he is the Chateau owner. His title is, Marquis de Breteuil. His English is perfect. In fact, he was a Los Angeles Lawyer for the well known firm, Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher. With the short time with the Marquis, we learned that his grandmother was Russian and his mother was American. Besides some Protestants and Catholics, there is also some Jewish background in his heritage.

It would be interesting to find out more about him because...

Original Painting: A Gift To Past Family Members From "Louis"

More current relationships between The Marquis and with other government leaders.

 Only Two Years Ago

French President Jacques Chirac

Throughout The Chateau: Many Original Documents And Other Amazing Artifacts 

One of 50 Known Sets Of Books/Drawings Of What Napoleon Saw While Campaigning In Egypt

The Chateau de Breteuil, besides filled to the rafters with original and historical items, the family made an attempt to incorporate "more life" into the visit by using wax figures representing significant historical people and situations - i.e. "royals" from different nations, advisers, Marie Antoinette as well as chateau staff:

Arlene Joins The Meeting

Working In Bed

Almost Like Downton Abbey

Music Room Untouched Other Than For Dusting 

The Famous "Teschen Table" Presented By Maria Teresa Of Austria. The Original Is In The Louve

Our plans for the day was to include visiting the nearby Chateau de Rambouillet which (historically) is important. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to do everything planned for the day. 

Next trip!

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