Friday, October 28, 2011
Dogs can go everywhere in France - even in restaurants, and Paco traveled extensively with Patrice, his late wife Giselle, and his former companion, Chantal. Here is Paco in his younger years.
Paco also accompanied Patrice and me when we visited Moret sur Loing
Patrice and Paco taking a snooze.
My condolences to Patrice and Chantal.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Patrice's wish for our anniversary was to take my Toyota 4x4 and try out some of the dirt roads in the mountains of Colorado.
The weather was gorgeous despite some early season snow.
This trail was rated "easy" in the guidebook, but I still found myself holding my breath as we sloshed through half-frozen water holes
or wobbled through a rocky stretch.
The view from the top was spectacular.
I was quite relaxed as we headed back down the trail -- it wasn't that frightening after all. Now I suppose he'll want to try this trail next time!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
She was married at 17, a mother at 18, a grandmother at 40, and a great-grandmother by the time she was 64. And in spite of life devoted to others - she says she would do it all over again.
Marilyn in high school
Mom holding me in 1950
With my dad in 1970
She came to Paris in 1975 for the birth of my son Philippe - her fifth grandchild.
Here she is today - at 80.
We love you, Mom, and wish you many more years of happiness.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Last Sunday was the first ever national primary election for the French Socialist party. Voters are choosing between six contenders prepared to take on Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential elections next October.
Patrice follows French politics extremely closely, and we spend a lot of time comparing and debating the differences between the French and American systems. Did you know that paid political advertising on TV is illegal here? And there are few, if any, references to one's private life - pleasantly different from the U.S.
I accompanied Patrice to the local elementary school to vote.
I wasn't the only person reporting on the event.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
We live near the Bois de Vincennes on the southeast edge of Paris. The Bois (woods) is huge - about three times the size of Central Park in NYC. It offers several miles of trails for walkers, runners, equestrians, and cyclists. It has four lakes, a zoo (currently closed), a botanical garden, and a chateau.
Patrice is the proud owner of a new second-hand bicycle - a surprise to friends and family who know him better as a motorized guy. He got his first motorized cycle - a Solex - at the age of 11.
So the fact that he is pedaling and then carrying both our bikes up and down the steep stairs to the cellar means he must really love me, right?
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Work began on the project in 1997 and will take some 25 years to complete. In the meantime, the public is invited to visit the construction site. All of the building materials are found nearby and the castle is being built using only hand tools which are also produced and maintained onsite.
Here is what the site looked like in 2005:
And here's what it looked like when we visited on Saturday:
The chateau will require about 60,000 tons of stones which must be split
And lifted into place
Without using any modern machines.
Can you see the two guys in the "squirrel cages" who turn the wheels that lift the load?
The blacksmith keeps the tools in shape
Using a foot pedal to turn the sharpening wheel
And the rope maker creates all sizes of ropes from the hemp and linen that grow nearby
Guédelon is surrounded by an oak forest. The woodcutters use hand saws to fell the trees, then transfer the task to the carpenters who fashion everything from the timbers supporting the roof, down to the wooden tool boxes, interior doors, and cart wheels.
When finished, the château will look like this:
Here is the website so that you can plan your own visit.