Thanksgiving in Paris—Part Two! We Got a Car!

Bonaparte surprised me with the announcement that he rented a car for two days.  We would be driving out of Paris both on Friday and Saturday.   He wanted to take a drive out of the City and down memory lane to visit a few places that brought back memories of his youth.

This is NOT the car we rented.  It was a Jeep but I like this one better!

We started the morning out at Café de Paris with…. you guessed it.

Might I suggest if you are in Paris and staying in the 6th, head to Cafe de Paris for the greatest service and croissants and coffee. And if you sit outside, the people watching is stellar!

Coffee and Croissant.  And then he went off to get the car as I walked around and went back to the hotel to wait for his return.

It was still raining but not heavy rain.  It was a perfect day to drive out of the City and into the countryside.

I have to say that I was tempted to jump out of the car and run into CityPharma for a return trip!

Today ‘s schedule was an ambitious one.

This is one of the favorite photographs I took on this trip. We drove by the Eiffel Tower and I couldn’t resist.  

We left Paris early and as we drove out of the arrondissements, I admired the historical beauty of this romantic city.  The drive was pretty darned pleasant.  No manifestations to slow traffic and it was early enough so that the shoppers headed to Castorama and Ikea weren’t yet on the road.

No city can match the beauty of the buildings in Paris. I may be a bit opinionated but I just love the history….

Tout seul on the road and loving it!

We stopped at Saint-Hilarion to visit Bonaparte’s mother, Evie’s, grave.  She’s at rest in a tiny but charming cemetery.  The grounds are well-maintained and slightly unkempt at the same time.  There is a ton of history here.

Evie’s grave.  Although I knew her only after she lost any sense of being lucid, in her own little world, she was a very sweet woman. I wish I had known her before she became ill.

This “cimetiere” wasn’t morose, maudlin or morbid.  It was just charming, touching and beautiful in is natural state.  Check this out!

This old, tattered plastic watering can has been here for years.  Somewhere in the bowels of my photos, I have this same photo taken during the summer a few years back.  Some things never change!

A weathered and rusty cross…

A moss-spotted grave…

My husband in a thoughtful stance.

And, the little chapel that, last time we visited Evie’s grave, was in ruins.  It’s been restored inside and is just so peaceful in its pristine loneliness.

I like to believe that Evie and my brother, Pete, stopped the rain and gave us some decent weather!

The inside of the chapel has been restored. I kinda had to do some “nyc girl manipulation” and jimmy the lock to get this photo.  Rest assured I relocked before my criminal act. And I said an “Act of Contrition” too. All is well!

Next, we drove into town to Maintenon and walked around a bit.  We stopped at Chateau de Maintenon and it looks just as beautiful in the winter as it does in the summer.  The lampposts were decorated so elegantly and sparkly.

The Chateau de Maintenon  is one of the greatest chateaus I’ve ever visited. In the summer, the grounds are absolutely stunning and this time of year, it’s a bit sleepy but still gorgeous.

This church next to the chateau was securely locked. I wouldn’t even attempt my naughty act of trying to gain entrance.  Preparations were being made for a Christmas concert..

Another favorite photo.  Sometimes my SmartPhone takes smart photos.  Look way in the background and you can see the failed Aqueduct that Lous XIV built.  Thousands of lives were lost during the constrution but it is an incredible structure. The object was to bring water to Versailles.

.if you’re ever in Maintenon…

WTF decorates like this???!!  THE FRENCH DO!!  And it looks magical!

Then it was on to the estate, Le Moulin, also in Saint-Hilarion, where Bonaparte spent so many weekends of his younger days.  A little backstory in case you are new to reading this blog.  Bonaparte’s aunt was the actress Daniele Delorme. She was married to actor and director Yves Robert.  They had an apartment in Paris and this retreat.  I have a townhouse in Phoenixville, PA–LOL!


Can you imagine having this property?  The housekeeper’s home is in the background.  I’ll take it. I’ll clean the bathrooms with pleasure if I can stay here!

During the summer, there’s a family of ducks that hang here. I don’t know where they went. Hopefully, they haven’t been turned into someone’s dinner!

This gate leads to more property.  Bonaparte was getting stressed that I would try to break into yet another place because the owner almost caught me at the front gate.  I like to think of myself as a “real life” journalist if you will!

The home was always open to weekend visitors and many a French actor/actress or musician would be a guest.  My husband had wonderful memories of this home.  It’s a gorgeous old estate in the most bucolic setting.  The film “La Guerre des Boutons” was filmed on the property. Luckily for Yves Robert, he didn’t have to commute far to work!

And here it is. The main maison that Bonaparte spent years in.  Take a clue from me, if you want a decent photo of a French estate, do it in the late Fall/early Winter when the leaves leave the trees bare. In the summer everything is hidden by the foilage.  Don’t these people realize I’m downright nosey???

And much to my husband’s relief that I didn’t get arrested for trespassing or breaking and entering!  Back to Paris it is!

On the way back we drove past two town meeting centers—one named in honor of Bonaparte’s uncle and the other named after the character that Bonaparte’s brother, Martin, played in that movie.

I have no idea what these salles are used for.  Weight Watchers meetings perhaps?  I doubt it because the French are skinny.  Maybe groups to stop smoking!

Bonaparte’s brother, Martin’s P’tit Gibus ended up to be an incredibly popular character!  I swear Martin is as adorable now as he was then!

Still early enough to have a large part of the afternoon free, we arrived back in Paris, parked the car and headed to the Ministry of Culture.

Back in Paris. No rain but clouds abound!  We’re on our way to enter the Ministry of Culture to catch the Jacques-Henri Lartigue exhibit!

Presently, there is an exhibit being held that showcases Bonaparte’s grandfather’s photographs.  What a family—huh?   There is a rumor going around about my family that those who may have been naughty Irishmen fled to Australia. That’s why I have relatives there.  We are worlds apart—LOL!!

If you’re in Paris between now and January, stop by!!

So, we went to the exhibit.  For me, it was fun to have a more in-depth look into the world of Jacques-Henri Lartigue because there were quite a good number of his photos that I’ve never seen before.

The start of the exhibit..

“Champs de courses d’Auteuil”  Paris, 1911. This remains my absolute FAVORITE JHL photo.  I would wear any of those outfits today.  What a stunning photo!

This photo was taken in 1969 during an photo shoot for Courreges dresses.  I love this because Andre Courreges is/was my favorite designer of all time and this also looks like an Irish Dance competition photo!!!

Um…. the husband wasn’t very pleased with the way the exhibit was displayed or curated.  And that is all I can say on the subject!

This is where things got weird–according to ME!  There was a fantastic slide show, which I was completely mesmerized by because these were personal photos which gave me more insight to his grandfather.  HOWEVER,  it was presented on a wobbly TV screen?  It would have been so much better if presented on a blank wall in a dark room.  Man was my husband ticked off!

And then we were off again!

We did a bit more walking then hailed a cab back to the hotel.  Something you outta know.  There was a time when it was nearly impossible to get a cab on the street in Paris.  Then Uber happened. And after strikes by the cab companies, and manifestations, it seems that the Uber/Cabbies have learned to tolerate.  It’s now a hella lot easier to get a cab. Thank you, Uber!

Another enjoyable walk before getting a cab. Late afternoon into twilight would soon be happening!

And after a rest at the hotel, we headed out to GET dinner. This time in the form of a walk to Rue de Buci to Carrefour for sandwich makings to have in our room!

Dinner was quiet.  We headed to Carrefour, picked up sandwich makings and finger foods and enjoyed a simple meal in our room.

I’ll tell you all about Saturday in the next installment!!

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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12 Responses to Thanksgiving in Paris—Part Two! We Got a Car!

  1. Joni says:

    That was interesting Catherine, and I admire the fact you know how to jimmy a lock! Love the dress photos too!

  2. Heather says:

    Thank you for these recaps. We were in Paris last May and I used many of your tips and suggestions … also your CityPharma advice from last year was a lifesaver!

    • Nancy says:

      Hi Heather and Catherine- I am taking my first trip to Paris in May and so excited/happy. Will only be there for 2 days (on a tour so some time already scheduled but will have one day free). Can you please share with me links to what to purchase at CityPharma as well as any advice you gave in past blog posts? I looked for a search window on the blog but didn’t see one. Thanks in advance.

      • Catherine says:

        Hi Nancy! Here’s an old link CityPharma in blog post I don’t know if it’ll work since this is in the comments. My other guess is to look through french brands of beauty/skin care and list what you think you would like. I am addicted to Embroylisse and the products are half price of what they are here. I’m also working on another blog post about tips in Paris. XOXOXOXO

      • Heather says:

        Nancy – my only advice is to do lots of research before you head in. I was not prepared the first time I went in and was overwhelmed. So I went back to our hotel – read the CityPharma blog post, made a list and then went back. I still bought ALL the things (the Embroylisse skin primer/mask business is wonderful) but I was more ready. The store isles are very small and at least when I was there it was PACKED with people. Catherine also suggests a mascara that is fairly inexpensive and works really well. Have fun! 🙂

  3. what a treat to see all your wonderful photos accompanied by charming anecdotes. I intend to review again and savor it all!

  4. audrey says:

    I’m fairly new to your blog but you’ve been on my mind often since I read about the loss of your brother. I’m not a crazy person but it’s CRAZY that you’ve been on my mind and I don’t even know you! You’ve touched my heart with your humor and your youthful spirit. You really are a delight and that’s why I was thinking of you so often. I hated to think of you being sad. Please accept my most sincere condolences.

    I’ve enjoyed this series on your holiday in Paris. Your photos are great, and you never fail to get me to smile. From one 64 year young gal to another – I am wishing you peace and love in the new year. xo

    • Catherine says:

      Dear Audrey, I just now saw your comment. And I thank you so very much for your kind and thoughtful words. I’m truly touched and I know you are not a crazy person. Your condolences are appreciated in every way. Thank you again! XOXOXOXO

  5. suth2 says:

    I am loving your account of your travels. I feel as if I am there on a virtual holiday.

  6. Juliet says:

    Really enjoying the travels and loving the photos – yes I am totally nosey too, and I would be climbing walls and trying to pick locks right alongside you whilst gravel-guy had conniptions with the Frenchman. Paris cemeteries (havent seen any outside Paris) are weirdly uplifting – not morbid at all arent they – you can feel a family ties to their ancestors and the love and veneration they have, beautiful. My friend and I have actually had “favourite Paris graveyard” conversations – yes, we actually have (mine would be Monmartre)

  7. Juliet says:

    And I forgot to say – that exhibition looks excellent!

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