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The Jersey Girls Take France and a bit of Italy

The Jersey Girls Take France and a bit of Italy

Aug 4th, 2012, 04:56 PM
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The Jersey Girls Take France and a bit of Italy

Some of you might recall that I was asking earlier in the year for advice about this group trip. You said to give a trip report when we returned. It's a long one, so I hope you meant it

We "Jersey Girls" are friends who all graduated from high school together in a small South Jersey town about 40 miles from Atlantic City. For the most part, we've known each other all our lives, in some cases growing up across the street from one another. My friends in Ohio (where I've lived for over 40 years) find it alternately "sweet," "lucky," or "really strange."

Last year five of us “Jersey Girls” jumped from weekends in New York or Maryland to a ten-day trip up the California coast. We rented a car in Los Angeles and slowly moved our way up to Napa. Along the way we visited friends and classmates who now live in that beautiful state, as well as Venice Beach, Hearst Castle, Monterey Aquarium, Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and Napa wineries. To say we had a blast would be an understatement. The most amazing part? Five women in one hotel room each night and not one incident of bathroom rage. Believe it.

Of course, the next logical step was to take this show global. So over the Christmas holiday a few of us decided that France—with a toe touch into Italy—would be a good start. I mean, a country that has been bouncing back from invasions since 1792 can certainly handle our little group, non?

By mid-January eight of us were on board and deposits had been put down on an apartment in Venice and a villa in St. Jeannett on the Riviera. We added a hotel in Paris for a few days, ordered two cars for the Riviera portion, bought plane tickets and started squealing things like, “really? Are we really doing this?” Which is pretty much what repeated for the past five months.

Let me interject something important (to me) here: This kind of trip is extremely doable on most budgets. Splitting costs eight ways brings things like a villa on the Cote Azure within reality. This is my first tip for your future travels. Thank me later.

So Venice Beach to Venice, Italy. Makes sense to us.

We met up at the airport in Philly mid-afternoon for our early evening direct flight to Venice, Italy. The U.S. Airways flight was smooth, the food was bad and the little old ladies of undetermined origin were out of their seats, visiting each other and blocking the movie screens most of the night. In other words, a typical trans-Atlantic flight.

Quick and easy immigration line and we were ready for the Aliliguna boat to take us into Venice. So we waited on the dock. And we waited. And waited. And sweat. And sweat. And bitched. And moaned. And sweat some more. The boat arrived, we got on with the other 427 damp people and enjoyed our one hour boat ride. At our stop, we were met by the caretaker of the apartment we rented and shown up the four winding floors to our apartment. Then up one more to the main area then up another floor to the loft bedroom and the rooftop terrace. Yeah, lots of stairs. 63, but who's counting. Great apartment, though. We didn't have enough air conditioning units for the entire place so it was really hot most of the time, but what a view of Venice!

We spent the next day and half exploring beautiful Venice. Most of the gang took an evening gondola ride. We were up early the next morning (around six) to walk before the heat and crowds descended. This is something I enjoy doing anywhere I travel. We walked through the narrow, cobblestoned streets and saw the vendors sweeping the area in front of their stands using handmade brooms of thick twigs tied to a broomstick. Much more efficient then straw brooms, I think.

During that sweltering day in Venice, some took in the Doge's Palace and others braved the crowds at San Marco Basilica. One, who shall remain nameless, purchased FIVE leather pocketbooks in various colors and is still searching for the perfect hobo bag in Tiffany Blue. Can you say late-blooming fashionista?

None of the meals were memorable. Usually just pizza and pasta. One evening everyone but me (I was down with bad knees) joined the crowds in Saint Mark’s Square and sipped expensive drinks while watching the masses dance to the dueling orchestras. They loved it.

Saturday morning at 5:00 am we were up and rolling our luggage down to the dock to pick up the Alliliguna that would return us to the airport for our short flight to Nice and the French Riviera.
MelJ is offline  
Aug 4th, 2012, 05:04 PM
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I should have mentioned something earlier: Although this was a “Jersey Girls” trip, my husband and the husband of one of the other gals went as well. That husband graduated with us, as did the person we are meeting up with in Nice so, three guys on this trip, as well.

Seven of us arrived in Nice around ten o'clock in the morning and we picked up two rental cars before settling in to wait for our eighth classmate, John, to arrive from Florida via Atlanta and Paris.

Six hours later he arrived at the villa by taxi (you didn't think we were going to kill a day in Nice sitting in an airport, did you? Please. He's a big boy!). He had horror stories about Air France that topped our U.S. Airways tales. Must the French try to outdo us in everything? Isn't it enough that the women can eat foie gras and drink wine and still lose weight? And is scarf-tying taught during toilette training? I digress...

We spent the weekend swimming in the pool, lounging on the terrasse(s) and trying not to lose anyone in the 2,377 rooms. But seriously, this is a beautiful villa perched on the hillside below the medieval town of St. Jeannette, which is just a ten minute walk up the hill. Well, that's what the books say. If you're 60 years old it takes twenty minutes and a Peaugot. But it's worth the jog, especially after two Mohitos and a midnight trek down the dark streets to get home. The vistas were incredible, the pizza was lousy and the weather was perfect. In other words, we didn’t want to leave.

At first glance, Nice Is not what it looks like in glossy magazines. But then, it turns out neither are actresses and models, who are heavily air-brushed, too. That's what I first thought as we drove through, "ah hah, so the magazines airbrush more than just waistlines,” but, no, it appears that Nice just has a congested, rather soiled downtown district like any big city. What it has over Detroit, however, is that you can leave the soot and diesel behind and within minutes be surrounded by the blue water of the Mediterranean sea as you drive down the Promenade de Aglaise.

Our destination one day was--wait for it--Miami Beach! As you pass each section of plage you note that every two hundred yards or so the beach is renamed. A good idea if you get separated and need to know what section of the Cote D' Azure you left your bathing suit top on after going in the water. Diane had been here two years ago and liked this stretch of beach. Now the big question for me became: why do people pay huge amounts of money to live and play on the French Riviera when the beaches are covered in stone??? It was awful, I tell you. You had to leave your shoes on and even wear them in the water. But make sure they aren't flip flops or you risk having them float out with a wave and leaving you sinking into stones in two feet of water. This could further lead to the embarrassment of being pulled out of the ocean by a friendly Frenchman (yes, they do exist) and seeing one hundred pairs of eyes staring at you and feeling sure they know you're American and definitely not used to the finer things in life, such as shredded feet from rocky shores. But, no worries, they soon lose interest and go back to laying face up in their Speedos (men) and tiny suit bottoms (women).

Oh, to be an uninhibited European, unafraid to expose your breasts, whether 22 or 82 years old, to your children, husbands of friends and in-laws. And, yes, I do mean that. A little. No tan lines, ladies. But my feet, and my pride, are still a bit bruised.
MelJ is offline  
Aug 4th, 2012, 05:08 PM
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During her thorough investigation of the South of France, one friend found that there is a stretch of beach hidden away and not crowded that has real sand beaches--Juan le Pins. We hurried over there tout suite. I guess you can take the Jersey girls out of Ocean City, but you can't make them spread a towel on rocks.

We were busy living the good life, talking about how we could not have rented this beautiful villa without all going in on this as a group. Laying by the pool, eating in one of the three dining rooms, grilling out by the pool, walking the hill to the medieval town for cocktails and driving to the beaches for a dip in the Med. And then we decided to go to the Rothchild Mansion on St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and we saw what true decadence is.

Beatrice Rothchild, a daughter of one of the five brothers who came from Russia in the 1800's to build their fortune in the European banking industry was left a fortune on the death of her father. Although she had homes all over Europe, she wanted to build the ultimate mansion in the perfect location. And she did. The mansion was built between 1905 and 1912 on a cliff at the bottom tip of the Cote d'Azure. A pink wedding cake perched over the sea, she filled the home with treasures from her travels all over the world, not the least of which were some choice pieces from Versailles. She hired a huge staff of gardeners to landscape seven separate theme areas, such as the Japanese, Spanish, French and desert vegetation. I'm anxious to get pictures up, as this is truly an incredible place.

But that wasn't enough to remind us that we weren't ready for prime time. One evening a few of us went to Monaco to visit the Casino de Monte Carlo and gawk at the beautiful people and even more beautiful cars. We're talking rows of Rolls Royce's, Bentleys, Mazaratis and Ferrarris. Oh, and the eighty-year-old men with twenty-something's on each arm (yes, most had two). The girls looked happy. Ce la vie.

By the way, the hub won 6.5e so Monaco is a little poorer. Not that they'd notice.

Someplace along the Cote d'Azure, is a medieval town called Eze. Perched high on a cliff, to get to it one must drive the twisty Corniche, risking death by going over the side just to let a stubborn sanitation truck past (though we actually had that same scare maneuvering the switchbacks to our place more than once). Once you've arrived at Eze, you find a space to park among all the other tiny cars packed together like sardines and say a silent thanks once again that you purchased CDW (collision damage waiver) insurance. Then you walk. Uphill. For a long time. A really long time. Have I reminded you lately that we're all 60? When you get to what you THINK is the top, you find...

Gift shops. They were inside every little medieval nook and cranny. Don't get me wrong. The stone walls and fortifications were truly amazing and a reminder, once again, that we in the U.S. are the poorer for our "tear it down and replace it with glass" mentality when it comes to crumbling structures that represent the early years of our short history. What do we have to show our children? A replica of Plymouth Rock; a model of the Mayflower, a carefully (if beautifully) rendered recreation of the original settlement in Williamsburg, Virginia. But I think I'd rather see the original footprint, even if only partially there, so see the craftsmanship originally used with cruder tools.

Moving on..and up. We were at Eze, but not yet totally within the walls. To get to the gardens at the summit meant climbing many, many more winding flights of stone steps. I say "many" because I gave up after the first few levels and almost everyone forged ahead without me. They declared the view spectacular. I thought the cold diet coke I drank under a canopy of trees as I waited for their return spectacular.

As for what i missed by not putting my knees through an additional hour of pain, I'll wait for the pictures.
MelJ is offline  
Aug 4th, 2012, 05:10 PM
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Such a great TR, can't wait for more!
DebitNM is offline  
Aug 4th, 2012, 05:14 PM
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Looking forward to more!
joannyc is offline  
Aug 4th, 2012, 05:19 PM
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On Saturday, July 14th we bid farewell to John at the Nice Airport as he reluctantly headed home to Florida and the rest of us boarded our plane for Paris. By eleven in the morning we were in our taxi heading for our boutique (a euphemism for tiny, inexpensive two-star) hotel in the non-touristy Fourteenth Arrondissement.

After checking into our hotel, we went across the street to Cafe Rendezvous for lunch. Hamburgers are becoming trendy here and those who ordered them gave the French version two thumbs up. I had onion soup that was exceptional. We then wandered around a bit and made plans to meet later for a little exploring before heading back to our rooms. This was the first time we'd been truly separated in ten days. No communal kitchen or shared living room.

A few words about the hotel: We stayed at the Hotel Du Lions on Ave General LeClerc in the Fourteenth. Of course the rooms are small and there's a flight of steps to walk before reaching the lobby, but it's very clean and comfortable and staffed by friendly people. Only 33 rooms and once you reach the lobby they have the typical tiny elevator so no worries about winding staircases to a garrett. Good metro stop directly in front (RER C from CDG), good neighborhood bistros and patisseries and a MickeyD's next door for cold coke with ice. I'll definitely look for an apartment in this area next time I'm in town. Consider this recommendation my Tip of the Day: Ask for Ishmael.

Fireworks the day we arrived. Who says the French are reserved? Sure, it was Bastille Day, but we prefer to think this was all for us. Kind of a merci for returning Lafayette from our revolution so he could start theirs, if you will.

I've been in Paris on New Year's Eve and this was much the same. I love the joy with which they celebrate. They are full of Bonhomme. There were a lot of restricted roads as they prepared for the fireworks, concerts and other celebrations so we walked in circles a bit, but we were able to be part of the crowds this way, so it was all good.

We arrived too late for the parade down the Champs, but caught a bit live on TV before heading out to explore. We went first to the Trocadero for the requisite pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower, only to find it was cordoned off. We could get no closer to the Tower, either, and many of you know just how far the Troc is from the ET, so that gives you some idea of the security.

The army was out in force, but in friendly force. They stood on Camouflaged tanks and hauled up children who wanted their pictures taken with real soldiers. They paraded down the streets all day and into the evening, waving out the windows of their jeeps and accepting the kisses and cheers from the spectators. The fervent show of patriotism was a reminder of our own, just two weeks before.

The next day, Sunday, we headed out on the Metro at 9:00 am for the Richard Lenoir street market. Every Arrondissement has street markets, but on different days. The Lenoir, held at the Bastille on Sunday and Wednesday is, in my opinion, the best. Probably a mile long, the sights and smells alone are enough to make you stop and say, "Paris, you really are a crowd-pleaser." We bought scarves, shoes, grapes, pralines and, as it started to drizzle, several 5euro umbrellas. Sadly, we had to pass on the roasting chickens with "drippy" potatoes, beautiful veggies, pates, breads and prawns because we no longer have a kitchen. However, the hub and I, staying on in an apartment, would be back the next week.

After a morning at the market we headed for the Marais. We wandered through the Place des Vosges, where I purchased two water colors from an artist I have bought from before. The Place is the oldest park in Paris and so lovely in its symmetry. We eventually found our way to the Hotel DeVille, where we caught a Metro back to our hotel.

That evening, Three of us skipped the boat ride down the Seine, but the rest enjoyed it. We three enjoyed gorging on Profiteroles, which came three to a plate. Decadent. Tip of the day: in the summer, it doesn't get dark until after 10:00pm. Wonderful if you like daylight but not ideal for viewing the "City of Lights" unless you can stay up and out past midnight. We couldn't.
MelJ is offline  
Aug 4th, 2012, 05:22 PM
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Our last day as a group. One couple decided to hold hands and explore Paris on their own. I'm glad they found that "Paris is for lovers" is not just a cliche. The rest of us headed to Montmartre. Before reaching Sacre Couer there were more scarf purchases, as well as postcards, magnets and the other assorted souvenirs one must bring home and dust regularly.

After the church we headed to--of course--Place du Tartes so the artists could tempt the tourists with quickly-rendered scenes of various monuments. Though frequent visitors tend to turn their nose up at the commercialism of the Place, I think it's time we all agreed that some are actually quite good and few of us can afford to buy from the studios on rue Josephine anyway.

Lunch at Le Cremallerie, an authentic Belle Epoque bistro from 1900 with a beautiful interior and decent food, and we were on our way down the hill to Pigalle for pictures of the Moulin Rouge. ("that's it? Yup, that's it") and a discreet peek in the windows of the sex shops. Oh, stop. You know you would have looked, too!

We then headed to the posher end of town, Place Vendome. Home of the Ritz, last stop for Princess Diana, and which will close at the end of the month for two years of renovations.

A detour: On arrival in Paris, the hub was unable to get cash from the ATM. We returned to the hotel and I checked our account on my iPad. Turns out we'd been cleaned out. Wayne had also been taken for $300. How did this happen? Had to be a scanner set up at an ATM machine the guys used in Venice. Several calls to our bank and the fraud department and, because we had told them we were taking our cards overseas, they agreed to reimburse our account within twenty-four hours. However, before that could happen, we had to pay cash to the person who was leasing the apartment we were moving to the next day.

The apartment owner wouldn't let us move in without it, even though our deposit covered the first night. Seemed it would entail his meeting us to provide access and returning the following day for payment. He lived twenty minutes from the apartment and didn't want to make two trips. Let me note here that he does not have a job to work around. Leasing his apartments all over Paris is his full-time business. So we spent another night in the hotel and paid for that night at both places. The bank actually took several days and multiple calls before reimbursing us, but our fabulous daughter floated us a loan. I guess that this being the first incident of its kind in over twenty years of overseas travel makes us lucky.

Our wonderful "Jersey" reunion was now coming to an end. We gathered for a last dinner and drinks and said our good-byes. The group would be leaving for the airport early the next morning but the hub and I would remain in Paris.

For those of you contemplating an adventure with old friends, let me assure you that it can work. It takes a little space, a lot of compromise and complete honesty about your expectations and your specific needs. But, mostly (in my opinion), it just takes genuinely caring about each other and a great sense of fun and adventure.

We're already strategizing about next year's trip. I think that says it all, don't you?

Next chapter: And then there were two - the hub and I
MelJ is offline  
Aug 4th, 2012, 05:28 PM
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My sincere apologies, MelJ. I mistook you for a male in your other thread, and a misogynist to boot. Haven't spent much time here in the past year or so, the only usernames I seem to recognize are St Cirq, Thin, and xyz. And of course a few of the lounge rats. Had I known you were a woman who endured that awful ATM theft...

So sorry to read you had no memorable meals in Venice. I could have helped you there. Pizza and pasta are not indigenous to Venice. But the millions of hungry tourists, you know. I've yet to experience mind-blowing pizza in Venice, the kind you easily find elsewhere in Italy. Some places try awfully hard. Delicious pasta can be found, but you need a good map with a few hot spots circled.

You'll do better next time, I'm sure.
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Aug 4th, 2012, 05:29 PM
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The hub and I moved from the hotel to an apartment on Wednesday. We decided to try a new part of town since we were looking for very inexpensive digs near the terminus of the Tour de France on Sunday. Although I always thought of the Champs Elysee and surrounding area as very commercial, we settled on a small studio on rue Du Colisee, directly off the Champs. Well, surprise, we loved it! Franklin Roosevelt has wonderful stores, patisseries and restaurants and the metro is at the intersection of our street and the Champs.

The one thing that would keep us from recommending this area is that the metro connections are not great. Only two lines run from our stop, which means lots of changing to get anywhere and a masters in puzzle-solving to do it without accessing the dreaded Chatalet stop!

I might have mentioned earlier that this is our first summer visit to Paris (did I mention that it's because we are but poor vagabonds and off-season gives the most bang for the buck?). Well, surprise number two: the weather was perfect and the crowds minimal. One day we walked the entire length of the Champs to the Place de Concorde, through the Tuilleries-a traditional walk for us--through the Louvre courtyard, across the Seine to the D'orsay before our feet called it an afternoon. Home for lunch and a rest and neighborhood Thai for dinner. I would love to put the little Sri Lankan lady who runs the Thai restaurant in my suitcase and bring her home. Always smiling and friendly, she does all the cooking in the basement and her spring rolls are unbelievable.

The next day we headed for St. Germain and walked the Luxemburg Gardens. Wow! It has been so lovely to see the gardens in full summer bloom instead of waving good-bye in the fall. Over the weekend we hoped to walk the Promenade Plantee, an elevated garden walkway that runs through the twelfth arrondissement. Off the tourist shuffle and usually deserted in the cooler months, I looked forward to seeing it full of color.

One evening we headed back to St. Germain for dinner at Chez Fernand. Our dear friend on this forum, Avalon, introduced us to this place years ago and it's now a favorite stop. On rue Christine off of rue de Augustins, by the quay. Always good, always friendly. Tonight's dinner consisted of a terrine of duck foie gras with a sweet onion chutney for my starter and a gratin of onion soup for the hub. We both had Beef Bourguignon for main and shared a desert of molten chocolate souffle and salted caramel ice cream. A bottle of a nice white rounded it out and a good walk to the metro seemed prudent after. Almost as good as our gourmet lunch at MickeyD's!

When in paris, Saturday morning is traditionally spent at the Porte De Vanves flea market. Not to be confused with the overwhelming Marche de Puce at Clignoncourt, to which people are usually referring when they speak of "Paris flea markets."

This market takes place deep in the fifteenth arrondissement and is not a permanent site, like Clignoncourt, but a street about a mile long where vendors dump their wares from the back of their vans onto the sidewalks. In the past we've found some good stuff, but the days of collecting are over, I think, except on a small scale. Today's haul? An old metal Harley Davidson sign Gene got for 10e. I was proud of myself for passing over a sketch I really wanted.

A stop at Cafe Diderot to split a club sandwich and order of frites and it was back to
the apartment to do laundry and, later, cook a dinner of scrambled egg sandwiches. Yes, we do travel glamorously, I know. Try not to hate.
MelJ is offline  
Aug 4th, 2012, 05:39 PM
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Sunday, July 22nd, the Tour de France concluded with a triumphant seven laps through the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs Élysées. We were front and center when Wiggins, trailed closely by a horde of muscular calves, sped by over and over again.

The Brits were out en masse and rightfully proud of this rookie's showing. I think it was more exciting than Bastille Day last Saturday.

At the same time, we were remembering with a ceremony earlier this week, the rounding up of over 4,000 French Jews on June 16, 1942. Mainly children, they were dragged from their homes by the French police in cooperation with the German government who, although they had taken Paris, did not participate in the round-up. This was strictly a French action, though the reasons have never been made clear. President Hollande, in remarks while laying a wreath at the site of the former Velidrome (where they were taken and held for ten days, in the heat, with no toilet facilities and little water before being transported to the death camps), repeated President Mitterand's apology of 1996, by taking responsibly on behalf of France. Reportedly, less then 100 survived the camps.

I report this because I find it so ironic that this took place in an arena that was built for indoor bicycle racing and was, from the turn of the twentieth century until the 1960's, a place of pride for Parisian cyclists and fans. Yes, they resumed using the Velidrome after the war. It has been since torn down and only a small plaque marks its original spot in the Fifteenth Arrondissement. For more information, read the fictional but historically accurate novel, Sarah's Key.

Tomorrow we go to the exposition center at the Porte de Versailles to see the Tut exhibit. 12.90e on Mondays, 15.90e every other day

Our last day in Paris; I think we spent it well:

After breakfast at "home," we headed for the base of Montmartre to browse a few shops for last minute presents to take home to friends. Then the metro to the Ile de la Cite to leave our "love lock" on the Pont de Arts bridge behind Notre Dame. After securing our lock, making a wish and tossing the keys into the Seine, we headed to Restaurant Le Tournebievre for a late lunch. With a view of the bookinistas, the Seine and Notre Dame, we had frissee with bacon and poached egg (me) and tomatoes with mozzarella (Gene) for starters then steak Tartare (me) and Lieu Jaune, or Pollack, (Gene) for plats. Both excellent.

After lunch we walked to the Ile St. Louis for Berthillon cones. We both chose double dips of chocolate and caramel burre sel. I knew I had to wait until the last day for this treat or I'd have been in line at Berthillon's every day and needed a second seat on the plane home!

Tidying up the apartment and packing in the afternoon. Of course, I tossed a few articles of clothing in the trash in order to fit the new stuff and gifts. (Yes, THAT is how serious I am about carry-on only.)

The hub made a final run to the patisserie for our last baguette and croissants which, along with some leftovers in the fridge, comprised our dinner.

In the morning, a taxi to the airport at 8:00 am then home. Until next time.
MelJ is offline  
Aug 4th, 2012, 06:38 PM
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Great report! What fun your group must have had, and how great that you have all remained friends all these years! Keep on traveling! Many thanks.
taconictraveler is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 04:52 AM
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Loved your report. Carry on for Venice, Nice and Paris - very impressive! Will look at Chez Fernand and Hotel du Lion for our trip in October.
Micheline is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 05:29 AM
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Mel, great report. Sounds as if you did it all!
latedaytraveler is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 05:59 AM
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hi, Mel,

great TR of what sounds like a terrific trip. so far, fortunately, I've not suffered from scamming of my ATM card [touching wood madly] but it must be quite frightening when oyu first find that there's no money in your account. you've made me think about what we should do for our up-coming trip to Sri Lanka, certainly.

just one little niggle:

The Brits were out en masse and rightfully proud of this rookie's showing.>>

Bradley Wiggins is no rookie - he was 4th in the Tour in 2009, and has a fist-ful of olympic medals including 2 golds from Beijing. [plus another gold he picked up in 2012].
annhig is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 06:34 AM
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Excellent report, MelJ. Thanks for taking so much time to do it in such full detail!
kerouac is online now  
Aug 5th, 2012, 06:40 AM
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“Beatrice Rothchild, a daughter of one of the five brothers who came from Russia in the 1800's to build their fortune in the European banking industry was left a fortune on the death of her father. Although she had homes all over Europe, she wanted to build the ultimate mansion in the perfect location.”

Mel, thank you for your description of the VILLA EPHRUSSI DE ROTHCHILD on Cap Ferrat in Villafranche near Nice. It is spectacular.

For those who have not been there:


Factoid: Beatrice Rothchild married Maurice Ephrussi from another wealthy Jewish banking family in Paris whose forebears came from Odessa and were successful grain merchants.

The best seller THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES by Edmund de Waal is an account of the Ephrussi family who lives and fortunes were destroyed in the Holocaust.

Again, great report...
latedaytraveler is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 07:35 AM
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Thank you, all.

annhig: I excerpted this report from my blog. I learned about Wiggins' wins after I posted and forgot to make that correction before posting here. Thanks for the heads up--I'll fix it on the blog.

latedaytraveler: Weird and funny thing: I have had "The Hare with the Amber Eyes" in my Kindle for so long that I didn't even remember what it was about. When we got home I started reading it and saw the connection to Rothchild. Before visiting the mansion I had never heard of the Ephrussi family and making the connection so close to visiting the home was kind of eerie. I'm enjoying the book, though it's somewhat dry. I love the connection to Paris, especially the casual mention of the Nisam de Comando family, who's home is my favorite "museum" in Paris. I wish I'd opened the book while there so I could trace the Ephussi family's steps. Ah, another reason to go back.
MelJ is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 08:00 AM
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Great, fun trip report, thanks.

Traveling with old friends is wonderful.
Nikki is online now  
Aug 5th, 2012, 01:33 PM
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Hi Mel, as they say, great minds think alike, eh?

I am just re-reading THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES and regret (like you) that I did not do so just before my recent trip to Paris. I would have checked out those Ephrussi addresses in the area of Parc Monceau.

You also wrote:

“At the same time, we were remembering with a ceremony earlier this week, the rounding up of over 4,000 French Jews on June 16, 1942. Mainly children, they were dragged from their homes by the French police in cooperation with the German government who, although they had taken Paris, did not participate in the round-up.”

Among those unfortunate French Jewish citizens in July 1942 was the writer Irene Nemirovsky. Have you read SUITE FRANCAISE? Fabulous – a tale written in real time about the evacuation of Paris in June 1940 as the Germans entered the city. She had proposed a five part narration, but only lived to finish two.

Her daughters found the manuscript in the late 1990s and it was published shortly thereafter to worldwide acclaim. SUITE FRANCAIS, is among my top ten favorite books for what it is worth.

Again, merci, for such a lively report….
latedaytraveler is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 03:26 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Great minds, for sure! I read Suite Francais years ago and--kismet again--on a subsequent visit to Paris, while at the Shoah Museum, they were doing a retrospective on Nemirovsky. I wasn't even aware it was going on until we got there. Manuscripts were in French, but just to be so near someone I admired was goose-bumpy! I have recommended her book to many people and all loved it. It is most definitely among my top ten. Perhaps top five.

I recommend The Invisible Bridge for more of the same (can't think of the author right now).
MelJ is offline  

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