The Return to Paris and the Canicule. Some Sleep With The Fishes. I Sleep With The Ice Cubes!

It was hard to believe that the twelve days spent in Theoule-sur-Mer were ending so quickly, but on this sunny and clear morning, we were on our way to return to Paris.

Paris. Another pic of the Eiffel.

The return to Paris begins. Hey. What’s that red dot on my picture?

Neither of us wanted to leave the paradise of the Cote d’Azur—but, it was great to be returning back to Paris and Daniele for three more days before heading home to the States!

Our adventure started off with the return of the Hertz rental car. The return process is a quick and easy one, but there was a little issue this time around. We returned the car with a full tank, and cleaned of any maps and personal articles. However, there was a bit of sand in the car.

Hertz did not like this and let us know that an additional 60 euros would be charged.

Um? Excuse me? We rented a car on the Cote d’Azur! Surrounded by beaches. Beaches have sand! Feet and bodies are sandy after swimming—even after using the shower on the beach, the feet still get sandy.

You would think the entire coastline of the Riviera had been dumped in the car!

subway car filled with sand

Honestly, the Hertz people thought our car had this much sand! Come. On. Now!

Bonaparte did not pay the 60 euros. He will challenge this—it was a tiny sprinking of sand and I should have taken a photo!

Anyway, we had some quiet time at the airport before the flight and we returned to a very, very hot Paris.

Nice Airport. Lonchamp shop.

Quiet time at the airport means looking for deals!

By hot I mean the “canicule”. The canicule is basically the dog days of summer—European style—usually from the end of July throughout the end of August. This year the canicule came a knockin’ a month early!


The only saving grace about the canicule is that it may be hot as all get out, but it isn’t as humid as it is here in the Northeast of the USA!

The good thing is that the cab strike was over AND the elevator in the apartment building was fixed!

We didn’t have to walk up seven flights of stairs in 99 degree heat!

Did I mention that there is no air conditioning in Danielè’s apartment? It’s on the top floor? It was hot as balls and gave new meaning to the saying “Is Paris Burning?”


At least THIS version of “Is Paris Burning” can be seen in an air-conditioned theatre!

Despite the heat, we still had a great time during our last days!

We went to see an exhibit at the Maison Europeene de La Photographie Ville de Paris. Bonaparte’s grandfather, J. H. Lartigue’s color photos were on display. Bonaparte was thrilled to no end that the exhibit was crowded with fans. Human fans and admirers of Lartigue’s work!  I was thrilled to no end that the exhibit was in an air-conditioned building!

Paris. La Photographie ville d' Paris. Lartigue name!

It was fun to see the exhibit of Bonaparte’s grandfather’s photographs so expertly displayed!

The exhibit was great—and many of the photographs featured Lartigue’s much younger wife, Florette. Florette was the epitome of French chic!

Paris. La Photographie ville d' Paris. Lartigu brochure

Florette was really beautiful. Next to Barbra Striesand, Florette had the best hands on earth! Her manicured nails were epic! That’s Florette looking very coquettish if I must say!

Wimpy me risked getting kicked out of the exhibition by snapping these two shots. If I could have, I would have taken more–but I respect authority. Especially the French authority!

We enjoyed a relaxing evening of salads and cold roast beef. It was just too hot to cook!

Some people get to sleep with the fishes…


Luca Brasi–he STILL sleeps with the fishes!

That night, I slept with the ice cubes! I swear to you, Bonaparte, the human cactus who thrives on heat, thought I was crazy. I took ice cubes, wrapped them up in a towel and placed it on my chest, letting the cool water of the melting cubes bring me much-needed comfort. It didn’t matter that it looked like I wet the bed. It was water and dried quickly!

Danielè’s health was a big concern to me. She’s almost 90 years old! It ended up that she is more resilient to the heat than I could imagine! I’m so ashamed of my weakness to the heat!

The next day we decided to take a drive outside of Paris to visit Chateau de Maintenon.

Maintenon. En Route.

One of the roads leading to Maintenon. It was a really beautiful drive!

This incredible Chateau was “gifted” from Louis XIV, to his second (and secret) wife, Madame de Maintenon.   This visit was such a great way to spend an afternoon. The grounds alone are covered with beautiful gardens, a path of shade trees that have a luxurious scent, an amazing and an unfinished aqueduct. The chateau, although privately owned, does offer two sections of living space that are opened to the public. Those spaces are incredible! And…you aren’t allowed to take photos. I wimped out so here’s photos of the exterior!

Maintenon. View of the back from under the shade of the tree

Can you imagine having a better half like Louis XIV to gift you with this chuck of real estate?

Maintenon. View of chateau with Roses in front.

And, unlike Giverny crowds, Maintenon wasn’t crowded at all–it gave me time to actually stop and smell the roses (and not get stung by a bee either)!

Maintenon. Lovely tree-lined pathway

The path behind the chateau offered cool shade and a pleasant stroll.

Maintenon. Back view from garden

The gardens so well-maintained!

Maintenon. View of aqueduct from my phone.

The amazing aqueduct was never completed. The intent was to carry water to Versailles. However 30,000 men DIED while building it. Can you believe that????

Maintenon. Cobblestones. How did these women walk in heels

I had a hard time walking in flat sandals on these cobblestones leading to the chateau. How did these women do it in heels and all those layers of clothing! I hope they had strong deodorant in those days!

Maintenon. Me. Welcome to my new home.

Yours truly getting ready to oogle the living quarters at Maintenon!

 We also took the time to visit the cemetery, in St. Hilarion, where Bonaparte’s mother and grandmother are buried.

St. Hilarion. Chapelle in Cemetary

Little chapelle at the cemetery in St. Hilarion

Interior shots of the little Chappelle. Check out the cobwebs on the door. I must’ve been the first person to enter this building in years. Luckily, I did not see any poisonous spiders. I prayed they wouldn’t be there.

St. Hilarion. Water buckets.

A charming touch–two water cans inside the walls of the cemetery. There was a spigot nearby so you could water the flowers on the graves or in the little garden.

and Le Moulin, the estate that Danièle and her husband, Yves Robert owned.

Le Moulin Better view of grounds and main home to the right.

Wimpy me could have gotten arrested for voyeurism after taking this shot of the estate!

Le Moulin. Brook

This babbling brook was the site of many afternoons of fun when Bonaparte was a young boy!

France. Church where Daniele an Yves were married.

The church in Epernon where Daniele and Yves were married!

We drove by the church in Épernon where they were married. All to bring back some instant memories since Danièle was feeling a bit under the weather that day and couldn’t join us!  She really did brighten up when we showed her these photos! It was all good for her!

Her rest was well needed because we had dinner reservations at Restaurant Chez Paul on Place Dauphine. The three of us, along with Bonaparte’s cousin Andre, enjoyed dinner outdoors. The chilled Rosé helped to combat the heat. Actually lots of chilled Rosé helped to combat the heat!

Paris. Place Dauphine. Chez Paul and Le Caveau. Sunday AM June 14 2015

Restaurant Paul, or Chez Paul in the foreground. Place Dauphine is a great place for people watching while enjoying a meal!

Paris. Place Dauphine. Old lab at the resto!

An old lab waits patiently while his owner enjoys his meal. French dogs are so well-behaved and obedient. I need to send Chippy to France!

I drank so much wine that I only got two food pics. The pic on the left, of seriously great potatoes, were obviously taken before all the wine I consumed, as displayed in the blurry pic on the right. That’s my risotto with duck. It was great!

We were able to watch the “boule” teams at play while enjoying dinner and each other!

Paris. Place Dauphine. After 10 PM and still not totally dark.

Ten o’clock and the boule teams are still at play!

Paris. Place Dauphine. Restaurant Paul. Cchairs stacked up because its almost closing time

We stayed at the restaurant until the chairs were piled for the next day!

Paris. Place Dauphine. One light up bar, empty corner

..and until the only light came from a little bar.

Sleep came easily with the copious amounts of wine and I dreamed that I would spend the remainder of the summer in Paris!

Our last day.   My packing was almost completed. I had to be very strategic to ensure I wouldn’t be over the weight limit for my suitcase. I ended up literally stuffing as much as I could into my carry on and into my Lilly for Target straw bag.

The straw Lilly for Target bag is empty now, but I’m telling you, THIS bag held a TON of stuff! It was amazing what I was able to fit into this thing!

I used the straw bag as my “purse”—stuffing even more items than you could ever imagine. I even managed to stuff my Longchamp Le Pliage bag, which was in turn filled to the brim with stuff, into the straw bag. It was a Turducken of baggage!

Besides, we were going shopping on this last day. I had to make room in my suitcase for the stuff to bring back!

My “soldes” post from yesterday–just in case you didn’t get the chance to read it!

We also drove around Paris one last time—trying not to be too sad that our three weeks was ending—it’s hard to process!

Paris. Place Dauphine.empty during the heat

In Place Dauphine to get the car. See that little fence on the left? That is the stairway leading to the garage where we park the car.  And..still, no sign of Daniel Auteuil, the actor, who is supposed to live in an apartment on Place Dauphine and who I never get to see!

Paris. Place Dauphine garage. Got the car. Smells of cigs and Heur Bleu!

Daniele’s car. It reeks of cigarette smoke and L’Heure Bleu perfume.  And it is the best scent ever because it reminds me of her!

We also bought an arrangement of lovely yellow roses for Danièle to thank her for continuing to allow us to stay with her during our visits. The yellow is bright and cheerful—just like Danièle!

Paris. Daniele's Apt. Pretty Yellow Roses we got her.

The yellow flowers were as cheerful as the apartment!

It was still incredibly hot!

It was so hot that when I cooked dinner, I didn’t need to salt the food. The sweat pouring off my body did the salting!

Airplane sweat

Remember the movie “Airplane”? I was sweating more!

Our last dinner was a plate of chilled and refreshing haricot verts and omelettes aux fines herbes. Danièle’s appetite has been dwindling but she ate every bit of the omelette I made for her! Bonaparte and I were extremely happy!

One last look at the sun setting and the view of the Eiffel tower giving us a wave good-bye with her lights, it was time to bid farewell in a matter of hours!

Paris. Last Night.  Daniele's apartment. View from salon window. Bye bye Paris. Next year!

Good night Paris!

Paris.  Last Night.Daniele's Apt. View from her window. Eiffel Tower lights just coming on. Bidding us bye!

Bonne Nuit Eiffel Tower

July 4th! Independence Day in the USA and a return trip home for us!

Paris. Daniele's Apt. Last View I'll have till next year!

See you next year!!!

Paris. Daniele's Apt. Me. I'm actually going home in shorts and with my hair in a messy topknot because of the caniscule!

Yup! First time ever that I flew in shorts. My hair was up in a messy topknot. Basically I looked like Merde!

The heat was intense enough for me to do something I’ve never done before—in Paris or on a plane. I wore shorts home. Oh. Yes I did! It was so early in the morning and I didn’t want to be uncomfortable so I bummed it. Hey, at least I had my Rondini’s on—so it wasn’t all that bad!

The street was empty early that morning. The cab ride to the airport was silent—we were a bit too sad to leave Danièle. The flight back gave Bonaparte time to sleep and gave me time to read.

Paris.Outside of Daniele's Apartment. Returning home to the USA

The empty street. Is the street as sad as I am?

When we arrived back home at Philadelphia Int’l., the customs lines were atrocious. The airport has added a step in the process of going through customs. Little kiosks. You place your passport into the kiosk for scanning. Then, the camera, which is built into the kiosk snaps your picture. OMG—had I known my photo would be taken, I would have finger-combed my hair and put makeup on.

Ttheoule. Me getting ready for dinner.

Hard to believe that THIS face could look like….

Kiosk Pic dupe

Tthis!  Thank you TSA for installing security kiosks that take photos without telling me. I’m sure that from here on in you have me on watch after THIS beautiful pose! Yeah. Tthat’s right–the camera takes your pic while you are complaining about the kiosk!

It killed me. Hundreds of citizens going through customs upon returning back home and ONE staffer working the crowd. Ninety percent of the travelers were confused with the procedure of using the kiosks. I’m telling you, these things were not installed last year at this time! It was crazy!

Add to that, when we got to the baggage claim, our luggage was strewn about on the floor rather than on the conveyer belt.

Whadda welcome back!

We also arrived to much cooler temperatures—and it was great to come home to our own little chateau, unpack, enjoy the remainder of the July 4th holiday, having a light meal on our deck, watching fireworks and sleeping in our big, comfy bed!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip and aren’t sick of reading about it!

Moving on to other things…’s a belated July 4th song celebrating our country. Neil Diamond’s “America”! As much as I love and adore France, her people, her food, her history, but I’m an American! XOXOXOXOXO!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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14 Responses to The Return to Paris and the Canicule. Some Sleep With The Fishes. I Sleep With The Ice Cubes!

  1. Lori says:

    Love the stories, love the pictures, you were missed! Welcome home 🙂

  2. Catherine says:

    Thanks Lori! I’m glad you love the stories and pics! Good to be back! XOXOXO!

  3. gk says:

    You look gorgeous in shorts! Have really enjoyed reading about your exciting travels!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks gk! LOL. The shorts were well-needed during that heat. The funny thing was that the weather was on the cool side when we arrived home!! XOXO

  4. Leslie Preston says:

    What I think is so nice about your trips, is that you get to go back again next year! You don’t have to rush and see every single thing in one trip because you’ll be able to return in a year! Does your shoe have a dog-eaten part missing? No problem! Have it fixed in France next year!!! How “cool” is that?

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Leslie,
      I have to say, I am very lucky to be able to return year after year. I never take anything for granted. The one year I had skin cancer, I had surgery in April–my face was kind of cut up, so we opted out of our trip and I surely missed it! But–now I am very safe in the sun! But it’s true–I’m lucky that I was able to have my sandal fixed–and that is totally cool! But–no matter where we all travel, we all need to stop and take a moment of pause and enjoy the present. No trying to rush a trip or have the need to see everything within a matter of days. It’s just nice to do nothing and everything at the same time! Right? XOXOXOXO–and hugs!!!

      • Leslie Preston says:

        That’s exactly right! No rushing! I don’t travel much (not at all), but if I did,I’d have to spend lots of time in one place and just breathe, you know? By the way, you do have wonderful feet. I’m recovering from bunion (and then some) foot surgery, and when I see shots of your feet, I just have to remind myself that my feet NEVER looked like yours….I’ve got pictures…

      • Catherine says:

        Leslie! Oh my god–I’m in the beginning stages of a bunion and freaking out–simply because I’ve heard the surgery is extremely painful. I hope you recovery is a quick on–and those feet of yours will be so pretty afterwards!!!! XOXOXOXO!

  5. Irene Albert says:

    I am looking forward to next year and more stories and photos about your three weeks in France.

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Irene!! I’m telling you, I’m looking forward to next year too! Now it’s time to get back to business. Hope you are enjoying your summer to the fullest and am savoring these wonderfully long days! XOXOXOXO!

  6. welcome to the challenge

  7. BunKaryudo says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the heat, but other than that it sounds like your last few days in France were great. I wish my other half would buy me an amazing chateau. Last year for my birthday I got a book.

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Bun. Ugh. Did WordPress change their formatting or something? I’m unable to post videos……….

      • BunKaryudo says:

        Hi Catherine! I’m not sure I could post a video even if WordPress was behaving itself. I’m trying to find a good way to say I’m not very technical but all that keeps popping into my head is the phrase, “I don’t have green fingers for blogging.” Obviously, I don’t have green fingers for thinking this morning either.

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