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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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Europe 2016: Trip Notes # 12

Europe 2016: Trip Notes # 12


There was a great 1970 movie (The Out Of Towners) starring Jack Lennon and Sandy Dennis. On a trip, everything that could have gone wrong, and more, seemed to have occurred. Whenever there was "a situation," Dennis would proclaim, "Oh... my.... God!"

Well, our unexpected  "trip issues" did not stop as we left the cruise and headed for the Barcelona airport to catch a short Easy Jet flight to Lyon, France.

Jerry (thinking ahead) booked the "inexpensive flight" before we left, paid extra for our luggage as well as another "small fee" to ensure that we would sit together. 

Our Easy Jet Plane

Check-in went smoothly. Our extra (paid) fees were acknowledged. The ticket counter asked if we wanted to put our wheelies on the plane at no cost to us. Jerry had his laptop and cables inside his wheelie and did not want to transfer everything to his backpack. Also, since the "extra" piece of luggage was "free," why bother?

"Free" is not free until it is truly free! One of the gate agents demanded that Jerry pay an additional $80 for his "free" wheelie. Jerry went ballistic. The gate agent refused to speak to the check-in agent, refused to call a manager and proclaimed, " the $80 or don't get on the plane!"

He paid, "Grrrrrrrr-ring" all the way to his seat.

Of course, there was plenty of leg room...

More "Grrrrr-ing!"

The booked rental car that would take us to the barge would be a small, stick-shift vehicle. But, without Jerry having his stolen driver's license, guess who became the "designated driver." I was 18 years old when I last drove "a stick" - I was not comfortable driving this type of car, especially in Europe, We decided to change to an "Automatic." It was "a few dollars" more but, peace of mind...

New Car, Different Driving Patterns And Unclear Signage = Concentration!

Barging With Lisa And Tom

We were lucky. The car came with a GPS. However, the car's software was poor at best. Not to worry. We had to Garmen's + an i-phone that had Goggle Maps and another "App" called, Waze.

An hour drive to Roanne (south of Dijon) to reach Lisa and Tom took two hours. The GPS' decided to ignore the freeways and took us through the scenic, curvy, hilly, countryside route. Ultimately, we found the barge and we were ready for French champagne, Lisa's wonderful selection of cheeses, pates, followed by a great dinner paired with, of course, French wines.

Off To A Great Start!

We are very fortunate to have a barge experience with Lisa and Tom. This is our sixth trip with them. Our friends ask if we are bored. Not at all. Yes, barging each time has its similarities; but, on every occasion we have been with Lisa and Tom, our trips have had their own unique and wonderful opportunities to see something out of the ordinary.

One aspect that was "different" about this trip was that there was not a sense or urgency to visit a chateau, rush to a small town before the open-air market closes or see another church. 

Okay, we did visit a few churches...

Roanne's Church Behind This Home

We Discovered That Roanne's Church Was Built In The 1100's
(Lisa and Arlene Are Admiring The Altar)

...We found a special "fairy tale" castle...

Chateau De La Roche

What A Fabulous Backdrop!

Jerry And Tom Taking A Selfie
(Almost Straight!)

...We traveled the wonderful, quaint countryside towns and canals...

What Is Around The Bend?

What Could Be Better?

 A Beautiful Place To Tie Up For The Evening

Going Through Locks Is Always A Spectacle And a Tight Squeeze

...We met interesting people, ate great food...

Tom Was Able To Take A Break 

...We found time to relax, breathe in the fresh air and pinch ourselves...

Often We Spotted Old Buildings Partially Hidden In The Trees

...We found wonderful, freshly baked bread...

.. or other "goodies..."


...We discovered an 800-year old abbey...

...There was a small town that honored its fallen heroes...

...Close to the canal was an old village with timbered houses...

...There was time to take a morning walk...

...We had to duck our heads more than once...

Low Bridges

...Once in a while, we came across something unusual...

She Needs A Little Mascara

...Or we simply relaxed until the next gourmet meal...

Sadly, it's time to say "Goodbye."  

We love barging!

Thank you, Lisa and Tom!!!