Iwan2go went...to Lyon and Paris

Old Jan 19th, 2020, 12:43 PM
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Iwan2go went...to Lyon and Paris

First, thank you to everyone who gave advice and ideas. It was much appreciated!

Second, I have so many photos to share but cannot - apparently Apple’s new format on the camera is not one of the accepted formats on Fodors. So I need to convert each photo from HEIC to JPEG before posting. A suggestion: if you have an iPhone, CHANGE your camera setting from HEIC to JPEG. (Go into General, Camera, choose Most Compatible). Wish I’d know that before.

At any rate, here goes!My husband and I celebrated our Fiftieth Anniversary with a trip to Lyon (our first time there) and Paris from October 13 – 23 last year. I’ll concentrate on Lyon, and then the restaurants in Paris, because it was our ninth trip there and the focus was just on walking and relaxing, but am hoping that some of the information may be of help to someone else. For context, we are great walkers, love museums and gardens, good food, meeting people, and just being in France in general. The weather was good, light rain only one or two days. Lyon was cool, then warmed up; Paris was 50 – 58 degrees, and I was glad I had my scarves.

We left on Air France from Los Angeles around 3:00, arriving Paris CDG terminal 2E at 10:20, through security very quickly and in terminal 2F for our connecting flight by 10:45. Once in Lyon, we elected to take a taxi to the hotel – and are very glad we did. We fly economy, and don’t get lots of sleep, so the 70 Euros was worth it to us.

Our hotel in Lyon was the Hotel Royal, right on the Place Bellecoeur, a great location. Hotel le Royal Lyon | Hotel In Lyon | Hotel in Central Lyon We opted for a view room on the square, and we glad we did. While the room was very nice, it was not really updated, and had a weird freestanding closet I kept catching my fingers in. The bathroom was good, separate toilet room with a sink. It was fine, just not outstanding. I took a short walk while my husband crashed.



We knew that the traditional restaurants in Lyon were bouchons, which we understood focused on sausages, roast pork, duck, and pike quenelles. We do prefer lighter choices, and did not try much of the meats so I cannot speak to that, but did try a quenelle later that night at the nearby Le Comptoir des Marronniers. Most of the menu was very good, but I recall that the quenelle was a bit overcooked so perhaps not the best example. It was a very popular and friendly restaurant. Total with one glass of wine and water, 61E. Crashed for the night.

The next morning we went to the Musee des Tissus et des Arts Decoratifs – and that was fabulous! Lyon was a center of silk weaving, and the garments and fabrics were just amazing. Dresses, waist coats, wall hangings. We spent a few hours and highly recommend it.


1810 dress, exquisite!



Court dress, C 1750

We headed to La Poissonnerie for lunch, which I liked a lot – nice ambiance, good food and wait staff. Our meal of tuna, two plats and one glass of wine at 41.5 E. (I don’t see a website, but it was part of a collection of Thomas Restaurants).

The highlight of our trip was a walking tour at 3:30 with M&T Tours and Travels https://www.facebook.com/maudtoni It was GREAT. Toni, our guide, is originally from Barcelona but moved with his wife to her home town of Lyon. We started at the Hotel de Ville, moved across into the Old Town, walked up to the Roman ruins and amphitheatre, then to the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere. We took the funicular up to the Roman ruins, walked the three levels of the amphitheatre (I have to say, I wished I had walking sticks for balance then, the steps were high for me), and walked down a million stairs from the basilica.

Toni was thoughtful, well-versed, and interesting. It was the highlight of our trip. After it was over we stopped with him and some of our fellow travelers for a glass of wine, then on to dinner at La Cuisiniere for Mousseline, risotto, and another quenelle (total 29.5E). It was pretty good, nicely decorated, good wait staff, comfortable. https://www.lacuisinerie.com

I’ll take a little break here to post and continue later!
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Old Jan 19th, 2020, 02:22 PM
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Please don't wait too long! DH's illness cut short our Lyon visit so I'll enjoy every detail.
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Old Jan 19th, 2020, 03:23 PM
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OK, Dudette, I’ll try soon. Just wanted to see if my work-around for photos was successful - it was! Yay. This is the Basilique.
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Old Jan 19th, 2020, 10:03 PM
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Most of you probably already know this, but Lyon is famous as a silk weaving city. During our walking tour we saw the famous Traboules. The word traboule comes from the Latin trans ambulare, meaning “to cross”, and the first of them may have been built as early as the 4th century. These were passage ways, partially or completely covered, through which the fragile silks could be transported (avoiding the rain, snow, etc). The entrances to the traboules are often simple doors - they look just like the entrance to a house - so they were of great help during the Resistance of World War II, as people could meet, then exit far from each other.

In 1804, Joseph Marie Jacquard invented a device using punch cards to a power loom, which simplified the process of manufacturing complex textiles like damask, brocade and matelasse. The Jacquard process, using replaceable punch cards to control the sequence of operations, is actually considered an important step in the history of computing hardware.

(Funny side story. My first job was in the Ophthalmology department at Tulane University School of Medicine as a research assistant (lowly - just out of college). Anyway! One of my projects involved someone on the team giving me a number, which I needed to convert to binary and punch in the card. Cool, no? Hahaha.)

ANYWAY! Back to Lyon, and now I’ve figured out how to post some photos, so here you go.





On the streets of the Old Town.



The view of the basilica from our hotel.

The following morning we set out for the Musee des Beaux Arts. The building itself is magnificent, originally a monastery, then the Royal Abbey of the Sisters of St. Pierre. It is centered around a beautiful cloister with sculptures and a central fountain, and we spent several hours there. Here are some of my favorite paintings and a view of the cloister.






Alexandre Seon, Le Sar Peladan



David Girin, le Matin

After a few hours we decided to try a place I’d bookmarked for lunch. Victoire and et Thomas. https://www.victoire-thomas.com What a find!! We sat outside at a tiny table and ordered the set menu. I’ve never had tete de veau (tete de veal, I’m sorry but it was a-maz-ing), fish, and a pear and kind of rice pudding. We were in foodie heaven. I’ve posted the menu so those of you who understand French can see what it was.












Anyway. I noticed waiters going back and forth to a restaurant across the street, and realized that that place – Colina Hortus - was also in my notes for vegetarian cuisine, which my husband particularly likes. We asked the server about it and she said, oh yes, it’s very, very popular and reseervations are hard to come by. It looked really interesting, so I walked over and was wowed by the design. Oh my gosh, whomever was the designer was really talented. I asked if I could take some photos (sure!) and then, hey, do you have any openings in the next day or so? Actually – yes, we just had a cancellation for tonight, want it? Well, YEAH.

From there we walked over to see one of the murals Lyon is famous for, the Fresques des Lyonnaise Celebres (Famous Faces of Lyon). On a huge building, a troupe l’oeil painting of the Lumiere brothers, Paul Bocuse, and others.



Paul Bocuse




We walked over into the old town to the Gadagne Museum, a combination puppetry and the history of Lyon, where we spent an hour or so there before returning to the hotel to get ready for dinner.. Here is a little carving I thought was lovely. I wish I had photographed the Jacquard loom! It was fascinating (and complicated - all those strings!)




To make you salivate again (or bore you, I don’t know!), this was the meal at Colina Hortus: Mushroom ravioli with roasted girolles; potato, cepes and spinach, for dessert fresh figs and raspberries with verveine cream. O M G. Here’s a look at the restaurant itself, too. Culina Hortus

Both places were wonderful, so if you’re going to Lyon, they’re worth the meals!!

















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Old Jan 19th, 2020, 11:13 PM
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The dishes look delicious! Did you find any gardens? Can you stroll the river?
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Old Jan 20th, 2020, 03:03 AM
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I’m enjoying the history, the photos, the food....lovely report.
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Old Jan 20th, 2020, 03:10 AM
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Thanks for this. I love Lyon. Must get back there sometime soon! One of my favorite little city tours of all time was seeing the murals that decorate the city.
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Old Jan 20th, 2020, 06:35 AM
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Gorgeous!
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Old Jan 20th, 2020, 09:07 AM
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Tête de veau is one of the secret treasures of French cuisine. Luckily most visitors have no interest in it, or the price would rise considerably.
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Old Jan 21st, 2020, 02:37 PM
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Lrice, we did somewhat stroll the river (certainly walked over a lot of bridges!), but unfortunately did not make it all the way to the major park, the Tete d’Or - I am sorry we missed it, because it looked beautiful. kerouac, I had certainly never heard of tete de veau, and am so glad that I was (for me) adventurous enough to eat it, because the flavors were amazing.

I’m backing up a little bit to add a few things. First, I found this photo from our tour; I took it inside one of the traboules. Toni, our guide, explained its significance. Staircase towers were built to impress guests with their fortune and power (the higher the tower, the more powerful you were). On the other hand, they did not want the tax collector to see them, so they hid them inside courtyards. Curiously enough, the highest tower in Lyon belonged to the taxman..




Here’s another picture from the Gadagne Museum of puppets. The most famous Lyonnaise puppet is Guignol (the one on the right, top shelf).




Finally, a shop with amazing silk scarves. I didn’t end up buying one, but they were just beautiful! The woman shown here designed them with a narrow strip of silk in a kind of sleeve; you pulled the silk “string” and the ruffled design was created. Just lovely, but a little out of my price range, and maybe a little too formal for most of my needs - but maybe someone else would like them!





So…now it’s our fourth and last day in Lyon. We did a little shopping (some cute shirts for our grandsons with “Intrepide!” on the front, some earrings for our granddaughter) and then stopped at the Musee Minature et Cinema. It is a collection of film special effects, props, and minatures in a beautiful 16th C building, created by an interior and set designer, Dan Ohlmann, with the support of a Swiss collector. It was really amazing – particularly the minatures. Take a look at these – they are maximum maybe 24” wide by 18” high. https://www.museeminiatureetcinema.fr/en/







This is the same vignette as above - standing back to give you an idea of the scale.



Again, a tiny vignette!

I also wanted to show an overall photo of the trompe l’oeil building in the last section. It’s basically a big, flat building - all of those balconies are painted on.




Lunch time now, so we walked along the river and noticed well-dressed French people ducking into a restaurant, so we followed suit. Celestins was the name of it, and the pizza was very good. Back to the hotel the long route, shopping a little more along the way, then a rest.

Dinner was another wonderful experience at Epicurious, a small Mediterranean restaurant run by a darling married couple. We chose some dips (lentils, tapenade, tuna rillette), chicken, cauliflower (wow), and two desserts: a Valrhona tarte with ice cream (“the tarte is the simply the vehicle for the chocolate”, she explained), and a dish of Greek yogurt with honey and pears. Yummy, and recommended. https://www.facebook.com/epicurius69001








Goodnight, Lyon - one last look out our window, then to bed, and tomorrow, to Paris.


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Old Jan 21st, 2020, 07:38 PM
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What a wonderful report! Thanks for the photos and details!

What was your overall impression of Lyon? Was four days enough? Would you go back or is it a city that you enjoyed and will cross off your list of places to see?

It seems like you have seen so much of France!
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Old Jan 21st, 2020, 09:21 PM
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Thank you for your kind words, Irice! I did enjoy Lyon, and four nights - or maybe five - was about right for us, I think. It was enough for us to see the old town and the museums we wanted. But I do wish we had seen some of the gardens and maybe the Confluence Museum. We chose Lyon because we had been in Madrid in May, and my husband wanted to limit this one to nine or so days and only two places (one of them Paris).

This is just my opinion, and I know that other people just love Lyon, but for me I would say, it didn’t quite make my heart sing like some other places. We have been to France maybe ten or eleven times? It is probably our favorite country. I especially loved some of the smaller towns, on trips when we drove: L’isle sur la Sorgue, the Luberon, St Remy; Pont Aven and Quimper; Albi; the Dordogne. We are tending to rely on train travel more now, not driving (as we get a little older), which is kinda sad, because we both really enjoy the countryside a lot. I realize that just outside of Lyon, you can go to places like Annecy (which we did, back on our very first trip in 1999) and maybe Grenoble. I read about a little village just outside Lyon, accessible by train - we just did not make it there. It’s partly our own fault. We were just being lazy.

I would like to go to Alsace and stay maybe in Colmar, see some of Switzerland (I just read some posts here, walking along Lake Geneva - ohhh, how I would love to do that!). See the Moselle valley.

All that said, this was a wonderful, relaxed trip, and we are very, very lucky to be able to travel. And we know it, believe me.
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Old Jan 21st, 2020, 10:02 PM
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Irice, I just saw your thread on staying a month in Europe - oh wow, that sounds exciting. I have not yet been to Bordeaux, but LOVED the Dordogne. I think I have a trip report on it here. Because St. cirq was suggesting it for your sojourns, and the Dordogne is close to Bordeaux.

and you live in LA! Whereabouts? I’m in Chatsworth. 😎
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Old Jan 21st, 2020, 10:24 PM
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Oh my! I am down the street in Oak Park! My youngest started at UCLA last year and will be studying in Florence and Siracusa this fall, so my husband and I are venturing out for a month. I want Paris; he wants a house outside a village in the Luberon! LOL! So, I have an apartment on hold in Aix-en-Provence -- a beautiful street in the Old Town recommended by a friend -- thinking it is a compromise. But I am a "gatherer" and am always reading/researching. I can't confirm plans until my DD gets her study abroad confirmed so have another month to ponder.....
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Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 08:37 AM
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Here is a closer look at the fabulous museum of miniatures and cinema for anybody interested: Lyon: Musée Miniature et Cinéma | Any Port in a Storm
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Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 07:05 PM
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We bid adieu to Lyon, caught the TGV to Paris, and checked into our hotel, right on the Tuileries. We’d stayed at the Hotel Brighton several years ago and loved it; this time we upgraded our room to a view over the gardens. The room was very nice, good bathroom with a deep tub, and a little balcony where you could perch out and view the Louvre to your left, Orsay straight ahead, and Eiffel Tower to the right. Sigh.







We hot footed it over to the rue de Bac and our late afternoon walking tour with Paris Walks, Paris Cafes and Food.. Our guide showed us the oldest restaurant in the city, La Petit Chaise, which dates back to the 1600 (and is still busy!). We had some snacks and chocolates, but my favorite were the caramels at Maison le Roux. I bought a jar of confiture tatin, a caramel apple jam….oh my, is it good. I had to hide it from my brother in law before he finished it off. Note: this was not a full-on eating tour, simply an interesting way to taste a few different things at the cost of 30E. We ate at a nice place at the end of the tour, Un Dimache a Paris – a combination chocolate shop and restaurant. Back to the hotel and sleep.

The following morning we got a Paris Museum Pass on the rue des Pyramides. Even if we’re not spending long hours in each museum, the ability to bypass the lines is worth it to us. Off to the Louvre, to marvel at one of my top three sculptures in the world, the Winged Victory of Samothrace.







Oh my gosh, seeing her across the hall, walking up the steps, standing to the side – she is just magnificent.





A view from the galleries




Jean Jacques David, General Napoleon

We wandered through some of our favorite galleries for a few hours, did some shopping, and headed for lunch at another place I’d bookmarked, Zebulon. Wow!!!! Was it great. Such a warm welcome, nice ambiance, and the food, oh boy was it good. Butternut squash soup with dashes of nuts? Fish with cauliflower. Total with wine was 69E and we immediately booked lunch three days ahead.
https://www.zebulon-palaisroyal.com

In May, after seeing Copenhagen and Stockholm we’ll be back in Paris for a few days. I was hoping that I could find a place near the St Michel RER, to make things simpler (and cheaper), so I wanted to check out some hotels over in the 5th, near the Eglise St Severin. So we walked over there. Well…I changed my mind. It’s just not the same as the other areas (I think Kerouac had made that observation). We’ve booked a place near Odeon instead. But it was a nice walk, back along the river, had dinner on the gardens of the Palais Royal at Muscade (ok but I wouldn’t go back), and home.

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Old Jan 23rd, 2020, 09:42 AM
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Loving your TR, Iwan2go. Lots of detail and great pics. It sounds like a great time!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2020, 03:42 PM
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Fabulous photos. THANKYOU!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2020, 05:42 PM
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Busy work week, but I’m back to finish up this trip report! I’ll put in some more pictures, since someone said they liked seeing them.

It was now our third day in Paris. A friend at home recently asked if we’d ever visited the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine. No, I’d never even heard of it, so we decided to walk over there. (Side note: We never even used the Metro this time. Talk about getting in your 10,000 steps…). Through the Tuileries, past the Grand Palais, to Trocadero... there’s the building, but where was the entrance? We walked all the way around it to discover it, on Ave. du President Wilson. FYI, from the river/ Eiffel Tower, if you walk straight past the Trocadero fountain and between the two curved facades of the flanking buildings, you’ll find it. Or take the Metro to Trocadero, and it’s in front of you.

What an amazing museum! Upon entering,
you see the layering of rooms, stretching into the distance, with a collection of casts made of entire porticos, pediments, monuments and details from all over France. As the website states: “The thousands of full-size plaster casts in the gallery were collected over the last 130 years. They originate from Eugène Viollet-le-Duc’s Museum of Comparative Sculpture, opened in 1882 in the Palais du Trocadéro, and which, after the Cluny Museum (1843), contributed to enhancing public appreciation of medieval architecture and sculpture at a time when the art of Gothic cathedrals was still disregarded by the Académie des Beaux-Arts.” There are rooms with stained glass, an upper floor dedicated to architecture of the 19th - 20th C – le Corbusier, Prouve, et cetera. This became one of my favorite museums in all of Paris. https://www.citedelarchitecture.fr/en




One of the long views





Paris, Hotel de Rohan


A drawing by Viollet-le-Duc of the spire of Notre Dame

After several hours of marveling, we walked to our lunch reservation at Semilla, over in St Germain des Pres (which was another 2.5 miles, we’re racking it up here). We’ve been there several times and love it. Had salad, soup, lamb, poached pears and chocolate dessert; with one glass of wine it was 122E. BTW, for context: the exchange rate USD to Euro was 1.12 ($1.12 for one Euro) – almost at parity. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaura...de_France.html

Back to the hotel, where my husband napped and I shopped at the Musee des Arts Decoratif (a tote that folds up in your purse) and the Carrousel du Louvre – a lovely shopping bag at Fragonard and some insulated bags I get as gifts from Maison du Chocolat, and a stop at our local Lauduree for some macarons. We weren’t hungry at dinner (must have been my macarons...) so just had some onion soup at Chez Flotte nearby (just ok, but close by).

Monday we walked to the Cluny. Much of it is under construction, but the part that is open is light and well designed. Here are some photos - one of the series of the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, and a small altarpiece from the Meuse.








From there to the Isle St Louis for lunch at les Fous de L’isle (the waitress was very rude, food was ok but I’m not going back). I had spotted a jewelry store last year and wanted to stop by, but it was closed. We did find some beautiful napkins, though, for our daughter-in-law at Caravane – a GREAT shop for interesting home items (they have some stores in London, too). https://www.caravane.co.uk

A view along the way, one of the oldest buildings in Paris.




We did a little bit more shopping (purchases as well as window shopping) in the Marais followed by a pastry and tea break at a little place facing the Place des Vosges. Ah, Paris.







At the Place des Vosges


A charming window display in the Marais

My husband rested, and I went back to the Louvre to finish shopping for family Christmas. In both England and France, I found fabric embroidered ornaments of personnages and monuments and bought one for each family member: a can can dancer, a Frenchman with a beret, a raven at the Tower of London, Joan of Arc, van Gogh, Napoleon and Lord Nelson…some really great conversation pieces!. Same local place, Les Flottes, for a light dinner.

Tuesday, our last day, went through through the Tuileries, which had some sculpture exhibits in the gardens. I’m not sure what this one was all about, but it was interesting!



We crossed the Seine to the Musee d’Orsay and spent several hours there. We had a museum pass, which helped, but the security line was still over thirty minutes. By the way – if you don’t have a Paris Museum Pass and want to get one easily, they ARE sold at the little kiosk right in front of the Orsay. I talked my husband into diverting to the jewelry store I’d missed the day before – they have a branch in St Germain des Pres – and I got the most beautiful tatted earrings, with pink thread, tiny pearls, and pink beads. Worth the walk! https://www.lorina-balteanu.com Back to the Palais Royal area for lunch at Zebulon (yum, another wonderful meal), and a rest.

My husband said he preferred not to go out to dinner, so I walked over to the rue Cler: cheese, a baguette, some cooked entrees and antipasto at a little Italian place, a dessert, and once again, Lauduree for some macarons to take home. We have hooked our son-in-law (well, everyone, but he makes a big deal about it) on macarons, and I used one of my Maison du Chocolat bags to keep them chilled for our journey home.

As I crossed the Pont Alexandre, the lights went off on the Eiffel Tower and I stopped to just take it all in. The view – to Invalides on one side, the Grand Palais on the other – it is just breakthtaking. Back to eat, pack, and bid goodbye to Paris.





And that was it! A wonderful way to celebrate our Anniversary, relaxed and easy, revisiting old friends and discovering new places, with my favorite person. I hope some of this helps you in your own journey! And thank you for all of your help in creating these lovely memories.


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Old Feb 3rd, 2020, 01:25 AM
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How lovely...
thanks for sharing
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