Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘France

If you would like to listen to me read from Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral check out Rebecca Bud’s Tea Toast & Trivia blog. https://teatoasttrivia.com/2022/09/08/season-4-episode-38-darlene-foster-reading-amanda-in-france-fire-in-the-cathedral/

While there check out some of her other podcasts. They are all great!

I woke up to this terrific post from Barb Taub which describes her love of Paris and the wonderful cooking experience she had there, as well as an amazing review of Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral. Please do pop over and read, you are in for a treat.

Barb Taub

A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.” —Thomas Jefferson

It’s possible, I suppose, that somebody somewhere doesn’t like Paris. After all, I’ve heard there are people who don’t like chocolate, and babies, and puppies. (Puppies!) But even if those people exist, they would still have to admit that Paris is one of the most walkable cities in the world.  One of my favorite walks in Paris is the early morning market cooking class I’ve taken on a couple of different Paris trips. It’s different but fabulous every time. Here’s a post from a class several years ago.


“Meet at Metro Maubert-Mutualité, in front of Café le Métro” the message said.

My market cooking class was gathering at the oldest outdoor market in Paris to choose the ingredients and determine the menu we’d be cooking that day. I got there early to…

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Sorry for my absence but I have been travelling lately and will share all about my travels soon. I wanted to share this amazing review by Teri Polen, who is an excellent writer. This review had me dancing on the ceiling.

Books and Such

Amanda explores the exciting streets of Paris, the fabulous Palace of Versailles and the gardens of the painter Claude Monet, while being drawn into the mystery surrounding the destructive fire of Notre Dame cathedral.

Amanda is in love! With Paris – the city of love. She’s in awe of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and Notre Dame Cathedral. While there, she gets to work as a volunteer and stay in a famous book store, along with her bestie, Leah, and Leah’s eccentric Aunt Jenny. A dream come true for a book lover like Amanda.

Except, while she’s at the Paris Opera House there is a bomb threat. Then the lights go out during their visit to the Louvre. Worst of all, a devastating fire blazes in Notre Dame. Why does a mysterious man, who claims to be a busker, writer and artist, show up every time…

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I’m over at Book Club Mom’s blog sharing my news. A great blog with excellent reviews and entertaining YouTube videos about books. Worth following.

Book Club Mom

Darlene Foster

Author name: Darlene Foster

Genre: Middle Grade, Adventure/Travel

Books: Amanda Travels Series

News: Book #9, in the Amanda Travels series is soon to be released. This time we find Amanda Ross in Paris, France.  She’s in awe of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral. While there, she gets to work as a volunteer and stay in a famous book store, along with her bestie Leah and Leah’s eccentric Aunt Jenny. A dream come true for a book lover like Amanda.

But things are happening that may ruin her trip to this amazing city. While she’s at the Paris Opera House there is a bomb threat. Then the lights go out during their visit to the Louvre. Worst of all, a devastating fire blazes in Notre Dame. Why does a mysterious man, who claims to be a busker…

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Everyone loves a beautiful bride! I know I do. I´m always excited when I stumble upon a bride while travelling. Here are a few of them.

Barcelona, Spain

Outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, also known as Barcelona Cathedral, the Gothic cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, I came upon a bride getting ready for a photo shoot.

Getting the gown just right
Don´t they just look adorable?

Aix-en-Provence, France

In Aix-en-Provence, we came upon a bride in the courtyard outside the town hall, waiting for a civil ceremony. One of the flower girls was having a rest.

Almost time.

Genoa, Italy

As we left a cathedral in Genoa, the bride had just arrived.

Notice how enthralled the little girls are.

I know I have more, but these are a few I was able to find in my thousands of pictures.

Have you encountered brides or weddings on your journeys?

I can’t believe it is almost a year since we drove to Paris and saw the most amazing sights. I’ve written about it here, here and here. But I haven’t yet mentioned my visit to the fabulous Musée d’Orsay. It was on my list of things to see it but was not sure we would have time. It was our last day and we had a couple of hours free in the late afternoon. My friend said, “Let’s go!” I am so glad we did as it was incredible. Seeing works of art I have admired all my adult life, made my heart sing!

The building itself is a masterpiece. It’s located in the centre of Paris on the banks of the Seine, in the former Orsay railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The building, no longer used as a railway station, was scheduled for demolition when the idea of using it to display collections of art from the period of 1848 to 1914 was suggested. In December of 1986 the museum was opened to the public.

Visitors are greeted by the magnificent decor of this former train station that came so close to being destroyed. I was gobsmacked the minute I walked through the doors.

One of the first paintings that caught my attention was Millet’s The Gleaners. I have always loved this painting of women collecting leftover grain after the harvest. Perhaps because of my rural background.

On the next wall I spotted Corot’s Le Moulin de Saint-Nicholas-lez-Arras and burst into tears. For the first ten years of my working life I was employed by a wonderful German woman who owned a gift shop in Medicine Hat, Alberta, called Ed’s Studio craft. She imported many things from Europe and was an art afficianado. She taught me so much about business, art and culture. We sold among other things, art prints and art cards. She gave me many wonderful gifts over the years which I treasure, including an art card depicting this painting. She sadly passed away at a young age.

Le Moulin de Saint-Nicolas-lez-Arras by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot. I always wished I could step inside that painting.

Of course there were many, many more of my favourites. Here are just a few.

Claude Monet’s Poppies

Renoir’s Dance at Le moulin de la Galette

Renoir’s Dance in the Country

Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone

Van Gogh’s The Church at Auvers

From the roof top of the museum is a great view of Montmartre with the imposing La Basilique du Sacre-Coeur (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)

Inside, looking through the clock with Sacre-Coeur in the background

Because it was once a train station, there are a number of impressive clocks in the building to add to the atmosphere. Perhaps telling us that art is timeless and stirs emotions from the past, the present and the future.

To view these works of art in this amazing place is a must. I wished we had more time but I plan one day to return.

Have you been to Musée d’Orsay? Or any art museum that stirred your soul?

Notre Dame de Paris – Our Lady of Paris

I love visiting cathedrals, especially those full of history. They each have stories to tell and represent the culture of the area. A fascinating cathedral is Notre Dame de Paris and I was delighted to see it, inside and out, during our visit in May. The Notre Dame Cathedral, with its fine sculptures and stained glass windows, was one of the very first Gothic cathedrals and is 800 years old. It has been through so much, including being plundered during the French Revolution and used as a storage facility. If those walls could talk.

Amazing sculptures adorning the exterior. Note the intricate detail.

The rib vaults of the nave

One of many gorgeous stained glass windows

It is breathtakingly beautiful inside. I was fortunate to hear the choir singing during mass while I was there. The hordes of tourists made it difficult to get pictures inside but I managed to take a short video to give you an idea of the magnificence of the place.

The next day we returned to the area and our friends took us to a quaint pastry shop, La Maison ODETTE, where we enjoyed a perfect cup of tea and melt in your mouth choux a la cremes on the top floor. The shutters were opened and we had a perfect view of the cathedral!! A quintessential French experience I will never forget.


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Our view of Notre Dame from the top floor of Odette

Odette is located opposite the charming Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre church, one of the oldest in Paris.

Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre Church (Church of Saint Julian the Poor)

I did not see the hunchback, but I certainly understand how Victor Hugo was inspired. My dream of visiting Notre Dame Cathedral was fulfilled.

Hola! Dot here. Mom said I could write this post. It’s my first try so I hope it will be OK. Two years ago Mom and Dad came to Malaga to pick me up from my foster home and we drove a long way back to my forever home. I was eight months old and hadn’t ever been on such a long drive. I think it was five hours. But it was fine because they stopped a few times and let me have walks and bathroom breaks.

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I didn´t make a sound on the five-hour car ride to my new home. two years ago.

So when Mom and Dad decided to drive to Paris and take me along I was fine with that. It was fun. Even though it was a long drive, we stopped lots at cool places that had different writing on the signs. So now I know a little bit of French. We stayed at dog-friendly hotels along the way. I’m glad I was with mom and dad as I don’t like sleeping in strange places.

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Mom got excited when we passed signs showing we were going to places she has always wanted to visit. Dad and I think she gets excited about the strangest things.

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The countryside was pretty from what I could see from the back seat. Mom took loads of pictures. We passed castles and cows in the fields. She took the pictures through the car window so they aren’t that great.

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French Charolais cattle in the fields

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Driving by a castle in the distance

 

When we got to Sèvres, near Paris we stopped at my friend Havane’s place. I was so glad to see her again and we had tons of fun playing together and running in the forest.

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Dot and her friend Havane.

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Dot playing ball in the forest.

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Havane protecting her ball from Dot.

I had a comfy bed to sleep on and I brought my teddy so I was happy.

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Dot feeling at home in France.

I didn’t get to go into Paris, which is OK as I don’t like busy cities with traffic and lots of people. I stayed home with Havane. But mom said they saw dogs there. One even stood on his dad’s shoulder while he played his guitar for money. I hope they made enough money for dog food.

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Busker in Paris with his dog.

Here are a couple of videos of me and Havane at her home and in the forest. Watch how I always get the ball.

 

Au revoir mes amis!

Dot the dog.

Since we have been following the excellent British-American-Franco-Canadian television series, Versailles, set during the construction of Versailles Palace during the reign of notoriously flamboyant Louis XIV, we were delighted to actually visit this French Historic Monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace oozes opulence and is breathtaking.

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I made it to the Palace of Versailles!

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A huge line up to get in. Booking online saved us a long wait.

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Originally his father’s hunting lodge, the young King Louis transformed it, between1661 and 1710, to become this extravagant palace surrounded by stylized French and English gardens. Moving from Paris, he made it the official Royal residence and centre of his government. Every detail of its construction was intended to glorify the king.

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The gilded gates to the palace. Note the Sun King motifs.

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Louis chose the sun as his emblem and symbol of power, and is known as the Sun King.

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King Louis XVI in front of his palace.

The interior of the palace is amazing, filled with art, gold and fine furniture. Louis was a patron of the arts and filled his home with valuable pieces. I love how the ceilings were painted in heavenly scenes.DSCN1854

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The Royal Chapel

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The King’s infamous bedchamber

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The Queen’s staircase

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Marble statues of the king at various stages of his life are displayed throughout.

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An older King Louis XIV. Reigning for 72 years, from 1643 to 1715, he outlived his son and grandson.

The most amazing room is the famous Hall of Mirrors, created by King Louis himself and used to entertain guests and show off his wealth and success. This was also the room where the Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919, ending the First World War. In spite of the many tourists, jostling to get the perfect photo, it was still exciting to be there.

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The Hall of Mirrors

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Standing in the Hall of Mirrors

Time did not permit us to wander around the extensive gardens and exquisite fountains. But they can be viewed from many rooms in the palace, especially from the Hall of Mirrors.

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The fabulous gardens viewed from the Hall of Mirrors

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A glimpse of the spectacular gardens

The only room not packed with other tourists was the Gallery of Battles which traces the military history of France from the reign of Clovis I to Napoleon. Dozens of paintings depict key battles, and the hall contains more than 80 busts of celebrated military leaders. Here I found a painting of a childhood hero, Joan of Arc or rather, Jeanne d’Arc

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Jeanne d’Arc in the Gallery of Battles

From the natural simplicity of Monet’s home in Giverny to the splendour of the Palace of Versailles, we had a glimpse of two very different French lifestyles and a piece of history I have been reading about all my life.

In case you are interested, here is the trailer of the final series of Versailles with King Louis XIV brilliantly portrayed by George Blagden.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p068mfqk

 

 

 

 

When our friends inquired what I wanted to see while visiting them in France, I asked if Giverny, the home of Claude Monet, was near. They said it was only one hour away and would be happy to take us there. I am so glad we went to this magical place. It felt like I had stepped into a Monet painting.

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Monet’s garden

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The village of Giverny is storybook delightful and I can see why Monet chose it as a place to live, paint, garden and raise his large blended family.

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The village of Giverny

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The gardens are simply breathtaking. This was Monet´s happy place and it is evident he was inspired by the amazing array of shapes and colours. I gazed mesmerized at the well-known and oft-painted lily pond.

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And I stood on the same bridge I have long admired in his painting. Not only was this visit a dream come true, it felt like a living dream!

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“I must have flowers, always, and always.” ― Claude Monet

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“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. ” – Claude Monet

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A profusion of colours

His charming house is incredibly comfortable with views of the gardens from every room. As I entered, I half expected Monet to be there welcoming me as he did many guests in the past. His art and that of his contemporaries adorn the walls of all the rooms as it did when he lived there. His spirit permeates the rooms.

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Monet’s house in Giverny

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My favourite room was the sunny, cheerful kitchen. I imagined Claude, Anne and their eight children laughing and chatting as they shared meals.

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We visited the Impressionist Art Gallery on site and had a lovely meal overlooking part of the garden. I stopped at a small shop in Giverny and bought the perfect, handmade French hat to remember this auspicious visit.

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Water Lily Pond with Japanese Bridge by Claude Monet

I could have stayed all day, but alas it had to end. This is now my happy place which I will return to in my mind many times. Thank you, Alain and Cathy, for taking me here!

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Friends in the garden

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“I must have flowers, always, and always.” ― Claude Monet

The photographs by Darlene Foster, Paul Foster and Cathy Marsen 


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