Why this blog?

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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Futuroscope is a French theme park featuring several IMAX 3D and 4D cinemas along with other attractions and shows. Patrice and I bought a two-day ticket to the park which is located about three hours south of Paris. I was interested in photographing the futuristic architecture which we'd seen several times from the highway,

but we weren't sure if the rides - such as the Lapins Crétins (Raving Rabbids (sic)  and their time machine - might be somewhat childish.

But no. We had a great time! We laughed a lot as we were strapped into seats and then subjected to rapid twists, turns, puffs of air and water splashing in our faces as we hurtled through a 3D universe.
Dancing with robots
We also enjoyed the Aerobar where we drank a beer with our feet dangling 100 feet in the air.

What a great view from up above!
I loved the colors after dark, too.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day

Yesterday we went to the Louvre to celebrate Valentine's Day by taking part in a kissing flash mob at precisely 2:14pm. (2/14 at 14:14). Fortunately, the rain stopped just in time enjoy the event. Everybody was kissing - including us!

Free flowers :-)

Want to watch the official video from the event?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


His name is Alain and he has occupied the same spot on the street for 14 years.

I started noticing him each time I rode along the bike path on my way to the Bois de Vincennes. All throughout the winter, bundled in layer-upon-layer of clothes caked with dried mud, I would see him: sometimes reclining on a cement step against the small bundle of his belongings, other times rummaging through a nearby trash can. I often saw him nursing a can of beer disguised in a torn paper or plastic bag. I puzzled at his choice of the shady, cold wall along the highway that circles Paris. Why not sit in the sun on the other side of the street?

Is he drunk? Mentally ill? Dangerous? As a woman alone do I dare approach?  But I am curious, wondering how he came to be in this place.

Last week I finally worked up the nerve to stop.
He is homeless, but he does not ask for money. He has no cardboard sign asking for pity. No outstretched hand, no recipient to collect coins from passersby.

I call out a greeting, mentioning that I am American and interested in talking with him. He shambles over to see what I have to say. "I often see you here," I begin in French, "have you always been here in the same spot?

"Yes, I've been here since the year 2000," he calculates, fingering his beard. "This winter is not so bad, much more mild than last winter. Last year at this time it was -10. The Red Cross came by wanting me to go into a shelter. But I don't like being cooped up."

"Don't you ever sleep in a shelter? Or eat a hot dinner?" I ask. He motions to the nearby pedestrian underpass where he sleeps and I'm surprised when he asserts proudly that he chooses to live this way - even in the cold - without constraints. I ask his name as well as permission to take his picture – a request that he seems to find amusing. I want to give him a few euros which he finally accepts - but only after some urging.

I discover that he reads the newspaper (when he can find one) and is remarkably well informed. He goes off on a long-winded capitulation of the day's news, commenting on the French president's visit to the U.S. as well as the situation in the Central African Republic. I am astonished by his lucidity.

What did I expect?

As we talk, or rather as he talks and I listen nodding in agreement, I notice the looks of condescension or disapproval by a few well-dressed passersby.

Alain goes on to lament the current rates of unemployment in France and the number of homeless people. But he doesn’t fault the government and I learn that his ideas are more socialist than capitalist. I wonder what circumstances have brought him here: Illness? Unemployment? Divorce? Alcoholism? He doesn’t say.

After the better part of an hour I must break away from the conversation. "I'll be back another day," I promise.

Friday, February 7, 2014


The beauty of living in Paris (and having a car) is that in only two hours you can visit the seaside. This week's photo excursion took us north. First stop -  the cathedral in Amiens which has one of the few remaining labyrinths.

Next stop: Fécamp on the English Channel where high tides and lots of wind created some spectacular waves.

We spent the night in Étretat which we visited last May.

The next morning, we woke up to clouds and rain but it didn't dampen our enthusiasm.
On the way back to Paris we stopped in Honfleur for a tasty lunch of oysters and mussels.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Daily exercise

Patrice and I are trying to get more regular exercise. Our new routine consists of daily bike rides to the nearby Bois de Vincennes.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chinese New Year

My son Eric is participating in his first-ever authentic Chinese New Year's celebration in Taiwan with the family of his girlfriend Shuchen. The celebration is full of traditions which include several banquets, visits to the temple and other rituals designed to bring good fortune for the year ahead.

I'm back in Paris now, and we were blessed with good weather for a photo expedition to watch the Chinese New Year parade through the Marais in the center of the city.

I wish all of my readers good luck and good fortune in this year of the Horse.