Aug 1, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris, Day 1

Our hotel room overlooked Rue Faubourg St. Honore – there was so much traffic I didn’t see how we’d sleep but I slept like a baby. While having our Continental breakfast in the room, we dressed and packed as we were being moved back to the Hotel de ParisI contacted the current-day Hotel de Paris to see if they were the same one that mother would have mentioned. They replied, 'in reply to your mail , we are pleased to inform you that our establishment was HOTEL DE PARIS since 1837 .'. The tour picked us up at the hotel and we got on a bus and saw “Moderne Paris” – some of the things dated from Napolean’s time. Place Vendome, Place de la Concorde, Champs Elysees, Bois du Boulogne, Palais de Chaillot, Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Quai D’Orsay, etc. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed every minute.

After returning to L’Opera, we sat at La Cafe de la PaixCafé de la Paix (French pronunciation: kafe də la pɛ) is a famous café in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, France. It was designed by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris Opéra (located across the plaza). It is said that if one sits at the café, one is bound to run into a friend or acquaintance due to the café's popularity and reputation. – on the sidewalk naturally – had beer and sandwiches. Our hotel is just a short walk and we found our rooms (unmade) adjoining and overlooking Blvd. de la Madelaine. French doors onto a small balcony right over a sidewalk cafe. We are well-pleased with the view and the location and the room is fairly large & comfortable. The bath is enormous & includes a bidet – no soap and terrible toilet paper but…

After a little rest & unpacking, Jeannette and I window shopped for about an hour, meeting Harry at Cafe de la Paix & later going to the one at the hotel. It is delightful just to sit and watch the people.

Allen had bought himself a beret and looked very French tho’ actually we have seen very few of them and he had a hard time finding it.

Allen and I figured out the Metro (subway) – we had only a block to walk to catch it at the Madelaine church and without any trouble arrived at our stop at Montmartre. We rode the funicular up to the Sacre Couer and the view was superb – overlooking all of Paris. We walked on to the Place de TertreThe Place du Tertre is a square in Paris' XVIIIe arrondissement. Only a few streets away from Montmartre's Basilica of the Sacré Cœur and the Lapin Agile, it is the heart of the city's elevated Montmartre quarter. With its many artists setting up their easels each day for the tourists, the Place du Tertre is a reminder of the time when Montmartre was the mecca of modern art. At the beginning of the 20th century, many penniless painters including Picasso and Utrillo were living there. and it was very gay. We sat outside and saw more goings on – artists, musicians, many odd characters – it was simply fascinating. Allen had his silhouette cut – in 1 1/2 minutes. We ate dinner at a little place, Le Vieux Chalet, in a little patio. It was delightful – inexpensive and good steaks. Afterwards, we wandered all through the district looking at art stores and watching people. We found our way down to the Moulin Rouge, had a drink across from it. Then on the Pigalle where there are many girlie shows. But we resisted, caught the metro back to the Madelaine.

Harry used the street “W.C.” – Jeannette and I earlier (in the Vieux Chalet) had an interesting time in the W.C. there. We sat at the sidewalk cafe again before going upstairs to bed.

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Aug 2, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris, Day 2

We slept until 9 o’clock, had breakfast in our room and about 10:30 struck out with the Earlys. They met some friends from Dallas near the hotel on the Madelaine – the Ed Reeds – who will be in Baden Baden when we are.

Today we tackled the bus – from the Opera to the Pont Neuf – it was easy. We wanted to do the Ile de la CiteThe Île de la Cité (French pronunciation: il də la site) is one of two remaining natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris. It is the center of Paris and the location where the medieval city was refounded. on foot and on our own. So we walked from one end to the other – went through St. Chapelle – which is hard to find but lovely when you do. Then – Notre Dame – I was unprepared for its elegance & beauty even tho’ I’d read so much. It is magnificent. Jeannette walked the 287 steps Interestingly, I found references to the '300 steps' to see the gargoyles, 'nearly 400 steps' and '383 steps'. I guess by the time you get to the top, you lose count! up to the level of the gargoyles but we couldn’t make it. Harry want to buy a candle and light it for the Tiltons – so we did and then walked across to the Left Bank and looked at the boats, stalls and bought cards. We wandered down the street to Place Maubert – past all sorts of food and drink shops. Sat and had an aperitif on the square – I had Pernod/perˈnō/ Noun An anise-flavored liqueur. out of curiosity – it’s like absinthe – & I won’t do that again.

We went to a restaurant behind Les Invalides, Chez les Anges, for lunch – again had a wonderful steak – and wine of course. Harry is a hog about the wine and we’ve developed a taste. However, this restaurant served water!

We met at the Place de Pyramides the tour to Versailles. Our guide had to direct in German & English & was the peppiest cutest one imaginable. It’s about 15 miles to Versailles and the drive & weather were both pretty. Versailles is quite a large town & has some lovely houses, gardens, avenues lined with trees. But Versailles was most impressive – we walked through several rooms & then in the gardens but oh – our feet were hurting. It was most memorable tho’ – very well worth it.

Upon returning, Harry and I went to the flower market at the Madelaine & picked out a bouquet for Mrs. Abeel. At the hotel when trying to arrange for them to be put in her room, we learned that, sure enough, they’d cancelled her room with bath. Harry stewed and argued & we finally moved out of our own and into hers.

We met the Earlys at les Deux Magots (St. Germain-de-Pru) – which Bill Abeel had recommended & had several apertifs. I was determined to go for dinner where there was French music and a chanteuseA female singer; often specifically a popular or cabaret singer. So turned and asked a girl at the next table. She spoke no English but gave me 2 names of places. The first was closed – many places are for August – the second had gendarmes, machine guns, paddy wagons & we thought the Tunisians were at it againThis probably referred to the Bizerte Crisis, which occurred in July 1961 when Tunisia imposed a blockade on the French naval base at Bizerte, Tunisia, hoping to force its evacuation. The crisis culminated in a three-day battle between French and Tunisian forces that left some 630 Tunisians and 24 French dead and eventually led to France ceding the city and naval base to Tunisia in 1963.. But all calmed down & we entered the cave – night club – Le Grand Severin. It was small but elegant. There was music and chanteurs (all Negro), and a tiny dance floor.

I started talking to the people at the next table & they helped us order and were tres amiable all night. The men kissed our hands when we left. We had another excellent meal with wine and were very festive. Harry and I had some kind of fowl in sauce – delicious, but A & J had kebabs and some very tasty rice. My desert was strawberries Alaska – also good. Came back to the hotel in a cab and found Mrs. Abeel already settled. It was so good to see her. We then woke Hugh up & while he dressed I went on down to the sidewalk cafe. I began talking to a young man to prove to Harry I could do all right on my own. The man was from Greece, spoke no English but we conversed in French. He was scared out of his wits when Harry and Hugh joined us but bravely stayed and we had a grand time.

Harry insisted I go on to bed while he & Hugh walked to Cafe de la Paix. He came in much later just delighted with himself – they had had two propositions.

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Aug 3, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris, Day 3

I got up and dressed and left Harry sleeping while I went to the breakfast room for the usual coffee & rolls. Sat with a young Spanish woman with 6-year-old daughter. We conversed in French – it was hysterical.

I had my hair done in the beauty parlor near the hotel, Joffo’s, & came out looking very odd, but very Parisienne. Harry was still abed, mal a tete from too much wine so I went on to the Champs Elysees by bus. I walked from the Rond Poinit clear to the Arch de Triomphe – quite a way. Met the South African (Britishers) couple, the Barries, and they walked part way with me. I crossed the Etoile – quite an accomplishment with all that traffic, bought a tickets, went by elevator to the top. It was a beautiful day & tho’ I wasn’t familiar enough with the landmarks to pick out many, it was a gorgeous sight – especially the 12 boulevards which come into the Arch – Etoile.

I walked to Forquet’s & met Allen & Jeannette for drinks & lunch. Harry found us in a little while. We all had cheese omelets & mixed green salad. Saw Red Buttons at an adjoining table but didn’t recognize anyone else – it’s supposed to be a fashionable spot for celebrities, business men, etc.

We returned to the hotel by cab and we were moved to still another room – the fourth we’d been in in Paris – a different one each night.

The bus for the tour picked us up – this was “Old Paris” – the Louvre, Ile de Cite, Latin Quarter, Luxenbourg, Sorbonne, Place de Bastille & Montmartre. We (J & I) enjoyed Notre Dame again with a guide. Harry and Allen were enjoying a bar. We were glad to go again to Montmartre & sit in the square. We were all dead tired and rested before meeting in Allen’s room for drinks. Mrs. Abeel & Hugh joined us. After looking forward to Le Petet Bedon (Bill Abeel’s suggestion) the concierge hadn’t made reservations. We returned to Fouquet’s, had a very elegant meal upstairs and only had to cross the Champs Elysees to the Lido. The place was packed but the show began immediately. I was very good – many bare breasts, beautiful costumes & elaborate staging – in sequence – stairs, an ice rink, a pool for a seal, revolving trapezes, even horses. Drank champagne – we had more than we could finish. Enjoyed a British couple sitting next to us from Birmingham.

Late as we were getting home, the men wanted to prowl the streets. Harry said later that business must have been poor that night ’cause they had many solicitations.

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Aug 4, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris to Avignon

This was one morning we both got up early to pack & dress & eat. I went down to the beauty parlor & had my hair brushed out and redone.

We four met and caught a bus to the Louvre and with the Holiday book in hand, took a very brief tour thru. Saw the Winged Victory, Venus, some frescos of Fra Angelio, Botticelli, the Grand Gallery- Raphael, da Vinci (Mona Lisa), Medici gallery. On our way out – after only an hour, I just happened on the 2 Slaves of Michelangelo – thrilled to pieces over seeing them.

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We had a hasty lunch at sidewalk cafe at hotel and left for Gare de Lyons. Had to carry our own bags halfway to train before getting a porter. Found our car (not a Pullman afterall) and had a restful trip (6 hours) to Avignon – lovely countryside again – fascinating to watch. Bill and JoannThis would be Bill Abeel and his wife. Bill was a childhood and lifelong friend of dad's. He lived in San Francisco and was very successful. His mother is the 'Mrs. Abeel' referred to in Paris.  met us in his Citroen, took us to Hotel d’Europe for an aperitif (vin blanc Chassis) and a brief tour of Avignon & a long drive thru countryside to Le Mas St. siste. We sat in the courtyard for drinks, had dinner upstairs in dining room (above kitchen) – many courses, much wine and conversation. Le Mas is charming – old and quaint – much is unfinished but much has been done.

To bed very late to the sound of Bill’s playing guitar – he’s very accomplished – the setting was very romantic.

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