Why this blog?

To understand why this blog was created and where it got its name, start here

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Philippe

Today is my son Philippe's 35th birthday. I'm sorry I won't be in Colorado to celebrate with him and the rest of the family. I'll be thinking of him, though.

His first Christmas and birthday in Paris. Already interested in books.

Reading to Eric

Big brother

High school days

Graduation - Bachelor's degree

And now with his wife Rachel

Philippe and Rachel during a previous visit to Paris - before I moved here. They'll be coming again in May, 2011 !

I won't be partying today, but I will be counting my blessings which are captured in the photos above.

Love from Paris,
Elaine (Mom)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Foggy Tuesday

The Tour Eiffel has her head in the clouds today.

Now you can see why I appreciate the rare blue sky here.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I didn't have to wait until Tuesday. I saw Dominique today. Yes, that's the name of the new mystery man in my life. He lives in the suburbs west of Paris, and today I went west to meet him closer to his place. We met at the Chateau de Saint Germain en Laye.

We didn't bother to go inside, and instead took a walk in the gardens nearby.

As you can see from the photos, it's cold here, and we warmed up with a hot drink and a pain au chocolat following our walk.

I'll see him again tomorrow. And Thursday. And . . .

Friday, December 24, 2010

Paris panorama

A friend sent me this link to an amazing interactive panoramic photo of Paris. It's made of 2346 single photos of the city all taken on a single day from a single location in September 2009. The photos were then stitched together to create a very high resolution tour. Check it out!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday decorations

Christmas seems less commercial in Paris than in most American cities. And you don't even hear much Christmas music on the radio or in the stores.

Nevertheless, I thought you might like to see the holiday decorations in my neighborhood. Here's the view looking "down" la rue Saint Charles.

And looking "up" the rue Saint Charles.

Yes! I can see the Eiffel Tower from the front door of my apartment building. Unfortunately my large windows face west rather than northeast, so I can't see the tower without going outside . . .

Here are the decorations in the lobby of my apartment building.

I'll be staying in Paris for Christmas. I'll be spending Christmas eve with my landlord/neighbors René & Sophie and their daughter Nathalie. Not sure yet about Christmas day.

Although I'll be meeting someone new this afternoon. We "met" through eDarling on December 4th and have exchanged over 40 emails since then - but we haven't yet met face to face. And not a single phone call. However, I like his photos and I really like the way he writes. I wonder what he'll be like . . .

Another snowy day in Paris

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday in Paris

It's been snowing again so I went to the Tuileries Garden today along with hundreds of other photographers.

There's nothing special about snowmen if you live in Colorado, but you don't often see them near the Louvre.

The gulls (goelands) didn't seem to mind the mostly frozen fountain.

There were cameras of all shapes and sizes.

One guy brought pieces of croissant for the gulls - probably not recommended.

This couple seemed completely oblivious.

Friday, December 17, 2010

An excellent Thursday

Another delicious oyster lunch with René and Sophie. This time we shared a table with Monsieur Pons. He celebrated his 96th birthday at the Cabane on November 25th. Despite being hard-of-hearing, he is really quite "with it". Yesterday he expressed his wish to celebrate his 100th birthday at the Cabane. He'll invite the local TV stations - which will be good publicity for Francis!

Thursday evening I met Charles from Switzerland for an early dinner. He had a three hour layover in Paris while changing trains traveling from Switzerland to Brussels for business.

No, it wasn't a date - Charles is Sonia's cousin, and he is already spoken for. Sara is waiting for him back in Switzerland. You can read more about my visit to Switzerland last June here and here. By the way, Charles, also known as Karl Hausmann, is the author of a hiking and climbing guidebook to the Jungfrau Region. The current edition is written in Swiss German. Maybe he'll translate it into English or French? He speaks both languages perfectly.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A good week

Monday - book group at the American Library . .

Tuesday - a guided tour of the Ministère de Finance . .

Fascinating for its architectecture and art work.

Wednesday - birdwatching in Paris . .

To learn more about the little yellow birds that are regular visitors to my balcony.

So if my Christmas cards are late in reaching you, it's because I am out exploring every day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Dad, part 3

My Dad's birthday was December 10th. He would have been 83. I thought about him a lot that day. And then, coincidentally(?), as I was sorting through photos this weekend, I discovered this photo of him and me. I didn't even know it was there. It was taken at a combination birthday/going away party just before I left for Paris last March. My dad never saw this photo, but I think he would have liked it.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I finally made it to the Monet Exhibit at the Grand Palais. It has been the biggest art event of the year and tickets have been sold out since the beginning of the show. If you don't have advance reservations, you can still get in if you are willing to stand in line for two to four hours.

What a treat when my friend Sophie invited me to join her for a visit using her press credentials! We went straight to the head of the line.

The exhibit is a major retrospective of Monet's work over 60 years of a very prolific career. It includes many of his most famous paintings along with others seldom seen in Paris.

Here are a few well known images on display:

To take a complete virtual tour, you can go here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More snow in Paris

Wow, it is really snowing today! I decided to head over to Luxembourg garden to take a few photos. It was worth getting cold and wet. This is very unusual for Paris.

It didn't stop this jogger, though.

And of course the kids love to have snowball fights.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday sparkles

I signed up for a photography workshop to practice capturing holiday decorations. Good! I can learn some new tips and techniques for taking pictures at night.

However, I felt out of my league when I showed up with my simple point-and-shoot while others were experimenting with shutter speeds, color settings, and focus.

First assignment - the giant Christmas tree inside the Galeries Lafayette.

Then, outdoors to check out the store windows. Little kids liked the toys in the Galeries Lafayette windows.

While the windows of the Printemps appealed to a more mature audience.

I have no cool special effects to show off - but I'm still happy with my pocket-sized Sony camera.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lucca reunion

My Lucca traveling companions will be having a reunion this weekend - getting together in Boulder on Sunday evening to eat, drink, look at photos and reminisce about our trip to Lucca in September. I'm sorry to miss the party.

One of our memorable stops near Lucca was to visit Terre del Sillabo, a vineyard owned by Carla and Giampi Moretti. Carla conducted our tour, explaining how the valley soil and microclimate is particularly suited for growing sauvignon blanc. The day we arrived, she and her husband and a handful of workers were going through the vines one by one, trimming and removing individual grapes that had been damaged by too much rain.

The hills above the house are better suited for chardonnay grapes which are much hardier and easier to grow.

Their production is small, only about 1,500 cases per year.

I have one bottle left from this visit. Maybe I'll open it this evening and toast to my wonderful traveling companions back in Boulder.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chez Francis

I go to the Cabane à Huitres at least once a week. It's almost like home to me. My platter of oysters always contains a couple of extras and I never pay for more than one glass of wine. No, there's no romance going on. Francis and his wife Régine have been happily married for 45 years.

Where else can you drop in for lunch or dinner at a friend's place four days a week? Lunch or dinner, I always end up chatting with my fellow diners and I always come home happy.

Morning snow

Just a light dusting of snow here in Paris this morning, but a great day to visit the Andre Citroen park near my apartment.