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AT HOME AND IN PARIS

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Adventures Since The Arrival and After The Departure of Lana

(Not Turner, but close)



As promised after my last post in November, I will continue to bring all my friends and readers up to date with my comings and goings, beginning with the arrival of our good friend Svetlana from Los Angeles for the first time since 2019.

I met Lana over thirty years ago when she was developing her thriving practice as an esthetician in Beverly Hills. No, she did not lie on my couch, but I had lain on her table every month for the most relaxing beauty treatment one could hope for. Lana originally hails from Riga, the capital of Latvia, and has resided in the States for over forty years as a citizen. Since she hasn't used this photo for her website advertising, I will take the liberty to use it here. She is a natural beauty and one of the best


girlfriends I've had in my adult life. Due to the continuing threat of Covid, she took the thoughtful precautions to stay in an Air B&B for three nights and two negative Covid tests before moving in with us for the remainder of her three-week visit.

We walked to dinner together the first night at Chez Monsieur in milder-than-usual weather for October. The following evening, we attended a concert at The Theatre Champs Elysee, consisting of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, ballet Petroushka, and The Rite of Spring, ballet and orchestral concert work written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company with original choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky.

We were sitting in front of the last row of the orchestra's second violin section, across from a gorgeous young hunk of a musician who Lana couldn't take her eyes off. So I snapped a pic of him for a souvenir, and Ted took a photo of the two of us as a souvenir of this sterling performance and the musical evening we were able to share.

Determined to make up for lost time. We spent one day visiting the Cluney Museum -- better known as The National Museum of the Middle Age -- just recently reopened after years of restoration. Afterward, we had lunch and strolled through the Marais enjoying each other's company.

The room in the Cluny that featured the famous tapestries on the theme of the "Lady with the Unicorn" was my favorite, as it contained at least a dozen enormous silk tapestries created by Flemish weavers and are considered to be one of the most important works of the middle ages.



The next evening we dined at the Mimosa, a gourmet restaurant in the Hotel de la Marine, which is not a hotel but a museum that finally opened after years of restoration. We came early to enjoy the exterior of the building and chatted about the day. When the door finally opened for us to enter, we saw this charming atmosphere and some good food and wine.


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Next on the agenda was Chateau Bretiul, which is well known as The Sleeping beauty Chateau, which Ted and I had previously visited but wanted to share with Lana the experience of this storied castle and her beautiful gardens, which I have previously written about in a post last year.


We also indulged in a first-class lunch in a Michelin Restaurant with scrumptious food and exciting artwork.We were delighted when the waiter offered to take a photograph of us together.

Mid-visit to Paris, Lana took a solo trip to the great city of Lyon, South-West of Paris. I have already described our visit there a couple of years before the Pandemic and knew that with her capacity to cover an astonishing number of miles on foot, she would have a fantastic visit and would see much more than we had in the same time span. Of course, we were happy for her, but our poor little Mickey could do little more than sit on her poncho and sleep on her bed all week, just waiting for her return.












While Lana was away, Ted and I caught up on some postponed errands and medical appointments haircuts. We also made up for lost time with some neglected friends. It was the sixtieth birthday of a special friend and writing and marketing guide Liz, who unfortunately lives in Santa Monica. If only we could have been magically transported there to give her our warm wishes in person.

We finally made it to hear our friend Terrence Gelenter sing in the lobby of the Madison Hotel on Blvd. St. Germaine, which he calls "the Stork Club on the Seine."He imitates Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra singing many of our favorites from the American Songbook twice monthly to quite respectable crowds.

I also gave some attention to my writing and sheepishly responded to emails, so many of which were way overdue; while Ted bravely wrangled various plumbers, electricians, and other services needed to keep our sanity and our home in order. Most important was the resumption of evenings with Mickey, who left his stake-out on Lana's bed to return to cuddling between us on the couch in the flickering light of the television set in the evenings.



We were also pleasantly surprised by an unexpected reunion with friend Barbara and her son Sasha, the daughter and grandson of two French friends with whom we had been very close. Sadly, they both became ill and passed away during our first years living in Paris. So we were so happy to relive precious memories of all of our times with Olivier's and Varenka's daughter and grandson while spending the afternoon with them after so many years. It was a joyful event that we can only hope to repeat again and again over thes next years.

We'd met Barbara's parents in Caen, France during an International Tustin Conference and the four of us had many beautiful times together in several cities and in Paris each time we visited before our emigration. We especially have fond memories of the 25th wedding anniversary party that Olivier and Varenka had organized in our honor in November 2007 in their warm and inviting home in our favorite

spot, L'île Saint-Louis in Paris, when Barbara was pregnant with Sasha. Tragically, some years later, Barbara was suddenly widowed when Sasha was very young, and as such it did us all good to be together after so long.




We also visited the exhibition of Fussili at the Musee Jacquamart Andree, which Lana had seen before she left. Of course, this gave us an excuse to have tea and cakes in the beautiful Cafe.

We even found some time for a visit to the Musee D'Orsay (since Lana had already seen that one too) and enjoyed a fantastic exhibition of the work of the great Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. His best known work, The Scream (1893), has become one of Western art's most iconic images. But in this exhibit there is such a wide range of his talent, including a self-portrait that demonstrated his capacity for realism.

His childhood was overshadowed by illness, bereavement and the dread of inheriting a mental condition that ran in the family. Studying at the Royal School of Art and Design in Kristiania (today's Oslo), Munch began to live a bohemian life under the influence of the nihilist Hans Jæger, who urged him to paint his own emotional and psychological state ('soul painting'). From this emerged his distinctive style.





When Lana finally returned from her very exciting and satisfying trip to Lyon, the three of us hopped into Evie, the shiny, sparkling black Lexus I've written about ad nauseum, and began to embark on a whirlwind of activity until the night before she left.

First, we took a day trip to the wonderful Chateaux de le Chantilly, just an hour away from Paris, and dined in the chateau at the Capitainerie, where along with the Gourmet luncheon with deserts topped off with that special French whipped cream, we also enjoyed the ancient interior decor affording alternate views of parts of the outside of the Castle and its wonderful gardens. After indulging in the King's cuisine, we walked off the calories to visit the unique museum of the History of the Horse, located in what had been the royal stables, and we enjoyed watching training sessions of two of the spectacular animals at their most elegant.






Following this day trip, Ted and I treated Lana to an unusual evening at the Théâtre Nesle, set deep in a cave, a stony two floors underground where we heard an unusually entertaining song fest, performed by Le trio LES OISÈAUX RARES who entertained us for nearly three hours with encores singing and playing the songs of one of France's most well-known poets and entertainers, Georges Bressens. After the soiree, we met with our friend Caroline at the terrific Greek restaurant, Les Délices d’Aprosite.



A Long day trip followed to the city of l'Amiens in northern France, located 120 km north of Paris and 100 km (62 mi) southwest of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in the region of Hauts-de-France. In 2021, the population of Amiens was 135,429.

A central landmark of the city is Amiens Cathedral the largest Gothic cathedral in France and reportedly twice the size of The Notre Dame of Paris . This was the first stop in Amiens, which also has one of the largest university hospitals in France, with a capacity of 1,200 beds.

The author Jules Verne lived in Amiens from 1871 until his death in 1905, and served on the city council for 15 years. We also took advantage of a visit to his home, where we saw the room in which he had written 20,000 leagues under the sea, the replica of the front


the ship that played a huge role in another of his stories, many items that he had invented in his mind and then created the living models of as well as descriptions that existed in his books, and a huge assortment of movie paraphernalia from all of the film productions of his many books.





French President Emmanuel Macron was born in Amiens. The town was fought over during both World Wars, suffering significant damage, and was repeatedly occupied by both sides. The 1918 Battle of Amiens was the opening phase of the Hundred Days Offensive which directly led to the Armistice with Germany. The Royal Air Force had heavily bombed the town during the Second World War. In the aftermath, the city was rebuilt according to Pierre Dufau's plans with wider streets to ease traffic congestion. These newer structures were primarily built of brick, concrete, and white stone with slate roofs. The architect Auguste Perret designed the Gare d'Amiens train station and nearby Tour Perret. Amiens has an important historical and cultural heritage, on which a significant amount of tourism is based. Apart from the cathedral and the house of Jules Verne, there are the hortillonnages -- houses built in the midst of floating gardens, the Tour Perret, the Musée de Picardie, the zoo, and the quarters of Saint-Leu and Saint-Maurice.

A total of 60 monuments are listed in the inventory of monuments historiques, over 1600 places and monuments listed in the general inventory of cultural heritage of France, and 187 objects listed in the inventory of monuments historiques. During December, the town hosts the largest Christmas market in northern France. It is known for a few local foods, including "macarons d'Amiens", almond paste biscuits;

"tuiles amienoises", chocolate and orange curved biscuits; "pâté de canard d'Amiens", duck pâté in pastry; "la ficelle Picarde", an oven-baked cheese-topped crêpe; and "flamiche aux poireaux", a puff pastry tart made with leeks and cream..


The following day, we invited Lana to attend a very special exhibition. Grand Palais Immersive is a new venue dedicated to programming immersive exhibitions, which opened in September in ParisThe exhibit, the first of many set in various wondrous cities in Europe, is all about Venice, Italy. The invention of Venice is nothing short of a miracle, and this is what the exhibition "Venice Revealed" aims to help visitors discover and experience.

A miracle of engineering, architecture, and art for several centuries this peerless city built on the unstable mud of a lagoon has been fighting the sea, representing both a merciless threat and the source of its immense wealth. As they explore, visitors unearth the countless secrets and treasures that escape the eye when strolling through the city. To walk through walls and discover what hides behind them is the dream of all lovers of Venice, and is made a reality by the exhibition Venice Revealed. This exhibition is co-produced by Grand Palais Immersif adjacent to the Opera Bastille. It is a subsidiary of the Grand Palais) and Iconem in collaboration with the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia. This was not held in the grand Palais itself because of all the renovations taking place these next two years. But it still has found a suitable home and was quite a spectacle to behold


In both culinary and historical terms, our last evening together was spent at a very famous restaurant Restaurant Le Coupe Chou was special. The Coupe-Chou consists of four houses dating from the 14th, 16th and 17th centuries.

And one goes naturally from one house to another by climbing a few steps or by crossing narrow corridors. Two years of work, historical research, and months of prospecting among antique dealers in search of furniture and trinkets, give this house back its former appearance. By restoring the cellars of the Coupe-Chou, the owners discovered the remains of a Gallo-Roman city of the 2nd century AD, contemporary of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius: hot water pipes, a Gallo-Roman pool and also pottery of the 12th century, statuettes and ancient medieval

plaques on Chartière and Mont Saint-Hilaire streets (formerly known as Lanneau street), the “Saint” of which was chiselled during the Revolution. We had the pleasure of admiring these plates behind the Coupe-Chou bar.



In the 16th century, before the construction of the main building of the Coupe-Chou, there was a small square at the corner of the current streets Jean de Beauvais, dead-end Chartière and Lanneau. In the centre of this square, a well was drilled by Abbé Certain in 1572. Many houses have unfortunately disappeared but the bases of this well still exist in one of the many cellars of Coupe-Chou.In our district of the fifth district of Paris, everything tells you about the ancient medieval city, the winding streets, the uneven cobblestones, the high facades of the houses. You are in the very heart of the city: the wall of Philippe Auguste, which surrounded Paris at the beginning of the 13th century, still remains at 3 rue Clovis, massive and crowned with ivy. As early as the 14th century, all the students of the colleges and universities of the district: Collège de la Sorbonne, Collège Coqueret, where Ronsard and Du Bellay, founders of the Pléiade, studied, frequented these streets. Until 1880, our street had 14 bookstores! Today, Le Coupe-Chou is an elegant restaurant, discreetly open to the narrow and picturesque rue de Lanneau, surrounded by ancient houses of Old Paris whose history we like to remember. Notre-Dame de Paris, the Seine, the Contrescarpe, the Latin Quarter, Rue Mouffetard and the Panthéon are witnesses to our history, which the Coupe-Chou knows so well, during an unforgettable evening, to revive us.We were indeed fortunate to enter this romantic home for an evening out of time, and to savor such traditional cuisine with such fresh ingredients.

So, for three, short, weeks we had, on and off, the company of a good friend, visiting and staying with us, enjoying things that we might not otherwise have experienced. I sincerely apologize for having taken so long to be able to produce even a sample of the delicious places and people and food and drink from these three weeks, and it has been an honor to be able to share some of the sites and sounds and especially the history of my new beloved country. Needless to say, so many things have happened since Lana's departure.


The month after she left concluded with a lovely trip to Berlin where we were freezing cold but dry, helping to make it even more joyful to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and Ted's 74th birthday. Such a journey at this time of year has another function besides celebration since the two anniversaries bookend what would've been the Thanksgiving holiday in Los Angeles, always a wonderful time to be with family. But since we've moved to Paris we have lost that joyful holiday and the annual contact with that branch of Ted's family. But we count our blessings and only bemoan the lack of hours in the day, especially since I will have to postpone the remainder of my story including the details of our trip to Berlin for a little bit and hopefully will have another chapter of my adventures at A Home and in Paris (and of course other places) to share with you before the end of this year. So in the meantime, I wish everyone happy holidays, a Joyeux Noel, and a peaceful Chanukah from us at rue Vignon !





PS. Calls for snow Tuesday night, Wednesday, Thursday and maybe even Friday. And who knows what will happen after that.

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