Monthly Archives: July 2012

Stuck on a boat during the Roaring Twenties (Cruise log #2)

Stuck on a boat during the Roaring Twenties (Cruise log #2)

Bonjour les amis,

This French Girl is alive, and well. 

My boys and I have just wrapped up our first week of happy sailing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. We left American waters on Thursday and entered the quaint and scenic Canadian Gulf islands.

The Gulf Islands: So far, we have stopped on Pender, Galiano, and Thetis islands.

How quaint are the Gulf Islands? Let me fill you in. 

We have left city life and le plancher des vaches (terra firma) behind. Nature is everywhere around us; evergreens, and the magnificent Madrona trees mostly found on the West Coast of the United States and in British Columbia; peaceful bays, where anchored powerboats (“stink pots”) and sailboats of all sizes coexist peacefully, bobbing along in the breeze; pretty beaches where kids play on the local “sand” (pale crushed seashells;) shaded trails where deer can be spotted on a daily basis… 

The Bench and the Madrona tree
Telegraph Harbor, Thetis island, BC

And then there are the marinas, where we have reservations, a necessity during peak season. Ah, marinas. You know you have entered Canada, when “restrooms” become “washrooms,” “soda” becomes “pop,” and dollar coins are named “Loonies” – or is it “Toonies?” I keep getting them confused, and that is a big deal because you need handfuls to get just about anything done: showers, laundry, etc. I am getting concerned a local will eventually hand me a giant rabbit or a black cat, the next time I take out a 10 dollar bill and ask for change!

This is all your fault, Looney Tunes!

Anchoring out solves the problem for a while, but then again we still have to go ashore, and the story repeats itself. I have been doing mental exercises. On my way to the marina office, I remind myself: “Loonies… Loonies… Loonies… Oh, what a nice dog… Toonies… Merde. LOONIES. LOONIES. How hard can it be?!”

Oh well.

Everyone is so nice here, and so helpful. When a boater gets in trouble, and his vessel is pushed sideways by strong winds while docking, neighbors rush to give a hand. People sit on docks and chat; tell you their life stories; introduce their kids and dogs. They help you forget that sometimes, taking a simple shower involves a huge leap of faith… The environment can be rustic. Water supply is limited. On occasion, an island can’t offer shower, laundry facilities, or garbage disposal. Even dog poop has to be picked up by the dog owner and taken away with the rest of the trash. Imagine Parisian chien owners dealing with this type of arrangement [insert hysterical laughter.]

“The washroom”
Wait: Didn’t I see this shack in the movie “Deliverance”?! 

Life is simple. Our days are spent traveling, and we enjoy the many adventures offered by a life at sea. We make new friends, furry or human. We read a lot. More about that later… We explore. We take pictures. The boys are creative and they hardly sit down. Sometimes, there is drama. While underway, when the wind dies down, and we have to turn the engine back on (putt-putt-putt…) we listen to the VHF on Pardon my French. Some of the real life stories unfolding on Channel 16, the emergency channel, beat any soap or reality show on TV. Anyone in the boating community can empathize with the emergency situations some fellow travelers unwillingly get themselves into. 

On Friday, on our way to Galiano Island, we were caught in a small craft advisory.  While the husband expertly steered the sailboat, in the cockpit, Junior and I were glued to the VHF and followed a crisis en direct (live.) A man lost steerage on a 42-foot powerboat in the middle of heavy swells, and called for help. The Victoria, B.C. coast guards responded immediately, and did a great job at coordinating a rescue effort, enlisting other boaters to locate the boater in distress, until the emergency services showed up and started towing him and his crew (an old dog.) 

Yes, there can be drama, and comedy too. on Friday afternoon, a local yacht club anchored out in the middle of Montague harbor. It was a sight to behold: Fifteen yachts, all tied up together, in a “circle the wagon” formation. That evening, the merry (power) boaters, a cheerful crowd, decided to celebrate “l’apéritif” in style and organized a karaoke party on a loud speaker. The boaters’ inebriated voices and Beach Boys music echoed across the bay until sunset. Finally, our neighbor on the dock – a sailor – could not take it anymore. He grabbed his fog horn (these things are VERY loud in case you don’t know,) and blasted it several times, pointing it at the boat formation in the harbor, fuming. 

“The Culprits” in Montague harbor
“I set these guys straight, dang it!,” says the old sailor, holding his fog horn

That is when Le Husband joined in the fun. [What camp was he rooting for? We will never know…] He turned on the sailboat’s loud-hailer and started singing too! Pretty soon, boats anchored in the bay followed suit, and for the next twenty minutes, you could not hear yourself think: Fog horns were blasting all over the once peaceful harbor! It was July 4th without the fireworks! Fun times. 

When we are not making total derrières of ourselves to entertain friendly British Columbia, I read. A lot. Before we left, I downloaded a few novels into my beloved Nook tablet. Some of these books had been waiting for weeks, ignored, on my bedside table. The cruise would be my chance, I surmised, to catch up on my reading. Did I ever. Problem is: I got stuck in a time warp. The Roaring Twenties to be precise. 

It all started with this book, a popular selection for book clubs all over America a few months ago. 

The book started slowly, but I got hooked on the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage, and his early years as a young writer, husband and father in 1920s Paris (I kept thinking of the excellent Hemingway impersonation by Corey Stoll, in the charming Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris.) If you have read the book, you know the story is mostly told through his first wife Hadley’s eyes. 

Once I was finished, it only seemed natural to hear Hemingway’s version of the events that unfolded in Paris as he struggled to make it as a writer. During these formative years, he met and befriended other expatriates, artists and intellectuals, Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, to name just a few. As soon as I could get a decent WiFi connection (a feat in some marinas,) I downloaded A Moveable Feast, published posthumously after his suicide. 

A favorite passage from that iconic collection of Paris vignettes focuses on Hemingway’s friendship with Francis Scott Fitzgerald. One story in particular drew my attention and made me smile often: a road trip both men embarked on from Lyon to Paris, and the drama that ensued. 

This got me thinking I had not read old Fitzgerald since college, and off I went. Seconds later, I had downloaded the next book in my ever-growing list…

Once again, I became engrossed in Jay Gatsby’s tragic story, and the novel only took a few days to read. 

I did not know it, but the Roaring Twenties were not finished with me quite yet. As I was catching up on my blog reading a few days ago, thanks to an accommodating – and much appreciated – WiFi connection, I found a glowing review for another book, Laura Moriarty’s the Chaperone. I had to get my hands on it. I was not disappointed, and devoured the story of the woman who chaperoned a young Louise Brooks (the future silent-movie star and fashion icon,) to New York city in the summer of 1922. A quick read, the novel is still a page turner, and I dare anyone to put it down after the first two chapters. It seemed I was doomed… I was going to be stuck in the 1920s for the rest of the trip. Hadn’t I just been reminded of Louise Brooks’ autobiography, Lulu in Hollywood, at the end of Le Chaperone?

Louise B. and the most perfect “Bob” ever to grace a feminine face
(photographer unknown)

Something had to be done. When I started calling Le Husband  “old sport” (à la Jay Gatsby,) he took matters in his own hands: He walked up to the  marina store, and there, on one of the five dusty shelves, between canned corn, toothpaste, and paper towels, he found this little book. “Voilà,” he said proudly when he returned to the boat (I was standing in front of the mirror, trying to style my hair like Louise’s – a lost cause…) “A small gift for you. This book is autobiographical, and the woman just wrote it. She lives on a boat somewhere on the Coast. You will like it.

I opened it and read the first page. I did like it. Thank you, husband. For the next few days at least, Ernest, Scott, Jay Gatsby and Louise Brooks will let me return to the year 2012. Well, that’s the plan, n’est-ce-pas? Tell you what: Why don’t I download Lulu in Hollywood right now while I still have decent WiFi… just in case? 

A bientôt.

The Gulf Islands, B.C.:
land of glorious sunsets and stubborn WiFi connections…

Unless otherwise noted, all photos by French Girl in Seattle
Please do not use without permission

39 Responses to Stuck on a boat during the Roaring Twenties (Cruise log #2)

  1. Donc , même au beau milieu des fabuleuses Gulf Islands, on peut être embeté par des voisins bruyants !!!:o)
    Fabuleux voyage , ceci dit, les images sont fantastiques, et quelles aventures! References aussi bien à Delivrance qu’à woody Allen , belles rencontres ou drames, que c’est riche!
    je suis juste étonnée par tes choix de lecture , je crois que je me serais plutot replongée dans Jack London ou un autre aventurier du même genre, peut-être même Melville, histoire de vraiment couper les ponts avec la civilisation..
    Le bouquin choisi par ton capitaine parait plus dans le ton! :o)
    Mais l’important, c’est de se faire plaisir, et tu as l’air de te regaler!
    Que les vents continuent de vous être agreables, à toi et ton equipage! Bises!

    • Contente de te lire, comme d’habitude, Marie. Je me doute bien que tu aurais choisi d’autres auteurs “du coin” mais que veux-tu… comme le personnage interprete par Owen Wilson dans le Woody Allen, je me suis completement perdue dans les Annees Folles. Un detour fort agreable d’ailleurs. J’ai pris qq bonnes photos de bancs canadiens, que je te transmettrai apres le retour. Bisous.

  2. Our son lives in Everett, WA and we often visit the San Juans. We love it there! It’s nice now to get a glimpse of the Canadian island, too. Enjoy the adventure!

  3. Just remember, to use the loo, you might need a loony to get in! You’re welcome. 😉

    I know what you mean about being stuck in a time warp–how often have I found myself looking at the modern world with medieval-English or 18-century-Japanese eyes? Bonne lecture!

  4. Dearest Véronique,

    Great stories and it did bring back memories about the photos we received from Mama Thelma, the biological mother of daughter Liz. One photo in my post is of her on the ferry, just pulling out from Horsebay on the way to Nanaimo. You probably know where that was…
    Oh, that is a perfect ‘Bob’ even better than Mireille Mathieu’s!
    Love to you,

    • Dearest Mariette. Thank you for stopping by. I do remember that post of yours a few months ago. A touching story as I recall. This is a beautiful area, and a great choice for nature lovers. There are also some quaint little towns, fortunately for moi, the city girl 🙂

  5. Hello Veronique

    I am so impressed by all the reading you are doing. The interruptions and singing from the power boats made me smile. During our boating days, at our Marina, was a very handsome young man, who had a sleek boat and no trouble getting different girls each week. He, too would play his music loudly and as he left the marina, I noted he used his foot to steer is boat. From then on, we called him Joe Cool.

    Continued joy as you explore the coastline of BC

    Helen xx

    • Dear Helen. I am impressed by all the reading I have been doing too 🙂 It seems I never have enough time at home. Loved the story about your boating days. Will look around for “Joe Cool.” I might get lucky and meet him in person 🙂

  6. Would have liked to have heard the cacophony for a moment… Looks and sounds like you are up to your favorite pastime again : Having entirely too much fun.

    Happy travelling. Let me know if you see any abandoned houses or other rusty old items out there… 🙂

  7. I’m glad that you are taking in so many impressions and adventures. It’s very tempting to read all the books you have named. I have seen all of them in our bookstores, where they have a whole section for all to do with France. For me, the time of Hemingway, when he lived in Paris, is something like a special perfume. As soon as it’s mentioned, it appears in the air.

    • Then definitely start with “The Paris Wife.” You will love it, or take a short cut with “the original:” “A Moveable Feast.” Happy reading, dear Olga. Hope summer is beautiful in Toronto and you are enjoying your new home!

  8. a very fine post indeed -the one book leading to another- to another happens to me often! i get obsessed-love le h’s rebelious side too funny stay safe enjoy until next time ….

  9. Cela m’a fait plaisr de voir les jardins de Bagatelle en photos car il y a bien longtemps que je les ai visités. Your photos of Paris are super – c’est bien Paris ça. What a lovely trip you are having in the Pacific Northwest. We have been to Vancouver Island 3 times but never with a boat – there is so much to see there that I am sure you will bring tons of pictures. I read the Hemingway book and the Paris Wife. If she was as depicted in the book je l’ai trouvé un peu molle. J’ai lu des rapports sur elle dans d’autres livres de cette époque là (au moins 10) et il parait qu’elle n’avait pas inventé le fil à couper le beurre, si tu me comprends…

    • Dear Vagabonde. I truly enjoyed your bilingual message this morning, on lovely Thetis island, BC. I was quite interested in Hadley H, a complex character, certainly. I would agree with you on the “molle” assessment, but she was madly in love. This explains that, don’t you think?

  10. I loved ‘Paris Wife’ and the Woody Allen film…and like you, Veronique, I start pulling a thread and keep going. One of the best books ever read was about Gerald and Sara Murphy on whom Fitzgerald based ‘Tender is the Night.’ They were rich American expats who started the Juan-les-Pins Jazz festival–and a casino. In fact the elegant waterside hotel that exists there today was Fitzgerald’s one time rented home. (I met Marcus Miller one of the principals of the festival today in a Carmel-by-the-Sea cafe with his beautiful wife.)

    Love your pix, story….thanks for taking us along! Glad the boater was rescued!

    • Bonjour Suzanne. Some threads are worth pulling, I guess. 🙂 This thread is the thread that keeps on giving. What a great story you had for me this morning. Loved it. I will have to check out the old Fitzgerald rental home next time I drive through Juan les Pins! Take care.

  11. Enjoying your fantastic photos and descriptions. Loved reading “Paris wife” and,like you, it prompted me to read Hemingways “Movable Feast”. Hadley and Hemingway had a bit different take on their Paris experience. Have a safe trip!

  12. I’m glad you are having such a wonderful, if kind of rustic, 🙂 sailing vacation. And you are a reading dynamo! I too loved ‘The Paris Wife’, and i have ‘The Chaperone’, but haven’t yet read it. And i read ‘A Movable Feast’ quite a few years ago, but perhaps i should reread? I did enjoy it. Isn’t the Pacific Northwest gorgeous in the summer?! And god knows we wait long enough for this weather, don’t we, Veronique? 😀 I think i’d love the sailing part of your vacation, but perhaps not the ‘iffiness’ of a hot shower. I think i’m quite spoiled.. Have fun on your continuing travels, and keep us posted!


    • Bonjour Mary. Yes, you are right, we DO wait long enough for this wee bit of summer weather! Life as a liveaboard is similar in many ways to camping: You get close to nature, but a bit too close sometimes. Some of the “washrooms” or marina facilities would not work for everyone. Water restrictions are also hard to deal with for all of us spoiled Americans, but what does not kill you makes you stronger, they say, right? Come back soon… and happy reading!

  13. That last shot should be my screen saver. It’s gorgeous. I loved the map as I’ve never really known exactly where my blog friend Victor’s Gabriola Island was located. Smooth sailing my dear.

    • Bonjour V. Great to hear from you. Glad the map helped (it helped me too, as I am a bit directionally challenged…) Good thing we have a knowledgeable skipper to steer us through all these islands and shoals! A bientôt, amie d’Alabama.

  14. It all sounds like a fabulous adventure…………..nevertheless, I was born a city girl (Paris, New York, Philadelphia) and I will probably die as such. I’m not very adept at roughing it at this stage of my life, although I have fond memories of backpacking around the world in my youth.

    Living rough for me these days is a Holiday Inn.

    Happy sailing. Love the Logs.

  15. I forgot to add that one of the most wonderful weeks we ever spent on vacation was on a péniche in the canal du niverny in Bourgogne. It was fabulous!!! We were the only guests on board, so we had this beautifully refitted boat and a personal chef at our disposal. It’s what is referred to as luxury hotel barging. I guess it doesn’t exactly count as “roughing it,” does it?

  16. Dear M-T: From one “city girl” to another, I will happily be reunited with my comfortable home in a few days (and my beautiful American bathroom 🙂 The scenery around the islands is breathtaking, but I could use a few more stops near towns 😉 As for your luxury hotel barge, you’re right, it doesn’t qualify as “roughing it” — Then again, neither do three weeks on our beautiful Hunter Legend. Baby steps for us, city girls, right? 🙂

  17. Sounds like quite an adventure! Love your book list…I have read most of those novels and loved them; however I have not gotten to The Paris Wife yet. Now, thanks to you, it has shot to the top of the list!

  18. Ummmm I was obsessively looking up The Chaperone, only to discover that the author lives 40 minutes away from me and teaches creative writing at the local university. AWESOME. So, that is definitely the next book I’m going to read.

    Please let me know how Lulu in Hollywood is as well. I want your opinion before reading it because you’re honest in reviews and I appreciate it.

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17 Responses to Cruising the Pacific Northwest… rain or shine (Cruise Log #1)

  1. Your pictures remind me of what a absolutely beautiful area the northwest is. It looks like you are having a great time. I hope you get more sunshine and warmer weather for the rest of your time on the sea. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures.

  2. v i love getting this little glimpse into life aboard your vessel-she is a beaut…your husband did a GREAT job and my most favorite part is the runaway dingy- i really dig the free spiritedness of anyone or anything…be safe- have fun- keep us posted-LOVE IT!! OVER AND OUT!

  3. Bon voyage, Veronique. I hope you have a lovely time and that the weather brings more fair than foul. I think I see some sun in the forecast this week, so hopefully you’ve got smooth sailing to look forward to. Have fun!

  4. What great adventures you are having on your beautiful boat. Pictures are fantastic, especially got a laugh at the bench and chairs in front of the “coors sign”.

  5. J’adore cette photo, avec la brume sur les montagnes.. (soupir).Voyager sous la protection conjuguée du drapeau pirate, du pavillon niçois ET du capitaine Haddock, ça met toutes les chances de votre côté! ;o)
    je trouve le mauvais temps tres photogenique, mais je souhaite quand même que le soleil vienne vous saluer un peu, ça serait surement plus agreable pour vous. Je constate que la-bas,comme ici, les bancs sont toujours dans des endroits fabuleux..

    J’attends la suite avec impatience!

  6. What a lovely boat! I’m always impressed at how cleverly marine designers create storage spaces.

    Now I’m wondering…does the Zodiac still speak with a French accent? 😉 (oh, and if your boat is Pardon My French, perhaps the skiff should be Zut Alors! or Sacré Bleu!)

  7. LOVE! I love sailing and after my recent 8-week road trip along all of coastal Oregon….appreciate this even more. I’m not from a rainy part of the country–but learned to ‘go with the flow’ and look forward to the sparkling freshness ‘apres le deluge.’

    Junior is so adorable–what great all around memories and skills he is acquiring. Thanks for taking us along!

  8. Thank you all, my friends! Online time is limited due to busy vacation schedule AND inconsistent WiFi access. I appreciate each and every one of your comments, as always. We have made our way into the San Juan islands and are docked in a deep, fjord-like cove in Rosario, on Orcas Island. The sun has finally made a much anticipated appearance, and it is starting to get warm! Yeah! More good news: The stubborn French Zodiac has not tried to secede again since its last failed attempt. Thanks to Alison’s suggestion, the skiff has been renamed: “Zut Alors!” — Talk to you soon, from an island somewhere. Headed into the Canadian Gulf Islands tomorrow morning.

  9. It’s so much fun to be on a boat. How lucky you have your own to take off on whenever you want. And maybe those clouds are a good thing, keeping you from getting scorched.

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66 Responses to Ten Steps to experiencing Paris like a Parisian…

  1. Ten steps that could be used in a lot of other cities all over the world, and in France too! :o)
    Being curious is the secret of a good trip, a good blog, and even a good life, I’d say.

    1-Madame Mutti me fait penser à l’actrice americaine Holland Taylor.
    2-Ton banc est posté sur le blog de bancs.
    3-Et le centenaire a été célébré à la Rotonde du Negresco !


  2. Firstly, Mutti really does look like the ultimate Parisienne! Great selection of stunning photos with a commentary which kept making me smile. I like Deauville and used to visit Le Touquet quite often but haven’t been for a few years – I wonder if it’s as lovely as I remember. Thank you for your comment – you were indeed one of my very first followers and it’s always a pleasure reading your encouraging words. Just to let you know that I have really appreciated you taking the time to visit my blog and I’m so flattered that you enjoy my posts!

  3. like the tips L-O-V-E the photos-my favorite way to pass the time anywhere is people watching-second fav bench/chair with a good book-the adjustment for the photo detail is like hd looks really good-until next time….

  4. No one can wear a pair of jeans like a Frenchman. Don’t even try. 🙂

    That photo of Canal St. Martin was taken right at the end of the street I lived on, Avenue Richerand. That’s my old neighborhood! It wasn’t nearly as hip 15 years ago as it is today, but it was always pleasant walking along and across the canal. Especially when the local pompiers are working with their hoses next to it!

    I think my favorite photo is the long view between the trees at Palais Royal with the solitary figure in the path.

    • Bonjour Alison. You can only wear jeans right in France: They are too darn expensive to do otherwise!
      Yes, your old neighborhood has certainly changed and is now the heart of “Boboland” (Bourgeois-Bohemian– a fascinating breed to watch in action 🙂 As for watching les pompiers in exercice, well, I can think of worse things to do. An American friend of mine commented just last month in Paris that these guys have one of the most flattering uniforms she had ever seen… 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

  5. Great tips, Veronique. Now I just want to return to Paris and test them out. And I love that you ended with a glass of champagne at Café de Flore, probably my favorite spot to watch Paris go by. Thanks for taking be back there!

    • Expensive champagne, au Cafe de Flore, but that is what you get for sitting in such a legendary place! This year, I did the touristy thing for the first time and splurged on several of their coffee mugs, now displayed proudly in my Seattle kitchen. After all, I have become a tourist when I visit Paris, too… Bonne fin de semaine, Jeanne.

  6. Bonjour Veronique

    How beautiful to see Paris through your eyes and such wonderful common sense thrown in too.

    Your MIL is beautiful and gracious.

    I can feel your passion for the City you love and know

    Helen xx

    • I do love Paris, Helen, but it is nothing compared to Mutti’s feelings for the city she has always lived in! It is always interesting seeing it through her eyes… she never gets tired of it, and is always interested in learning new things… A bientot!

  7. Dearest Véronique,

    Lovely post about Paris. Oh, the terraces and dining outside make me long for Limburg where this is so normal. You have to read my post for tonight 8:00 PM (EST) about Bastille Day. Yes, we have so much French culture in our province de Limburg. I miss it at times, sure… but like you we must kick off and move on in the nouveau monde.
    Love to you,

  8. OK, this brought tears to my eyes. The gorgeous photography, the exact right words…i.e. IPhones at lunch???? Really?? How boorish it that!

    My son is a French citizen who attended grad school in Paris and lived there many years. He adores France but is glad to be out of the city. This post makes me realize I MUST live in Paris for a year…at least. I must be more than a visitor. My love of France is so ridiculous…and you Veronique, make me love her more!

    And your darling MIL. She’s just an adorable peach 😉

    • Good luck with your travel plans. It is not easy to move to Paris (be prepared to deal with the famous French Administration – oy! -) You would love it, however. Do you speak French? If not, time to study. This will make all the difference in the world. Bonne chance Suzanne!

  9. Whenever we stay in Paris, we just be near the Bois so my husband can “faire son footing” in one of his two favorite parks (the other is Central Park in NY). He discovered the Bagatelle on one of his runs through the Boi and adores it.

    How delightful that you have discovered it as well. I have yet to see it.

    • Merci M-T– You did a great job catching up with this summer’s France Travelogue at once. I can’t believe you left a comment on each and every story. Merci beaucoup (you were right, I was sad there was no time to reply to my readers during the trip, but I loved reading them all the same, bien sur.) We used to go to Bagatelle as kids when we visited an uncle of mine who lived near Paris. I had not been back in years, mostly because it is out of the way. So happy I did! Bon weekend, M-T.

    • Carla– Thank you for your visit. Had you been with me on the trip, my photos would have looked even more striking, especially the “people pictures.” I – and the faithful Panasonic Lumix LX5 – did our best! 🙂

  10. Wonderful rules to adhere to while visiting paris! Be curious, sit outside, people watch, stay calm ( those street maps!).

    We must have just missed you! Looking forward to seeing your photos.

    Enjoy your weekend

    • That’s right Leslie. As for the street maps, you need to get yourself a copy of that great little blue book I mentioned just two posts ago… Unbeatable to navigate Paris! Glad you had fun in the French capital, too!

  11. We love Paris, everything about it! Three weeks is the longest I’ve stayed in Paris to date, but perhaps a month for my next adventure. I never tire of walking through this city and allowing serendipity to be my guide. Your gorgeous images and oh, so perfect words, make me long to return to my favorite city. Merci!

  12. Oh what a wonderful batch of experiences, your wonderful mother-in-law and super dogs. Love the photos. And hey, you have used a photo on your profile I took of you in Menton. Wonderful! Super memories. French people do pick up after their dogs. It’s the law now. Perhaps not all, but most do – at least around here.

    • Bonjour dear Jilly. I loved your comment about dog owners. Even though picking up after your dog has only been a law for a few years, the city of Paris has spent millions (no exaggeration there) and years, trying to appeal to the Parisians’ “civic responsibility.” To no avail, apparently. I did notice a slight improvement over the last 5 to 8 years or so, but a very slight one indeed. Be happy people in Menton are a bit more responsible! 😉

  13. Lovely, perfect post. I love your 10 ways. They make all the sense in the world. And that guy wandering around shirtless. He needs a little lesson in modesty. Only for the beach dude. Only for the beach. 🙂 And all those beautiful parks and places. Paris is definitely my kind of city. Filled with people who love to read, love good food and wine, and love their dogs. I love that les chiens go everywhere. So awesome, they are! And the walking ‘thing’, i adore that too. Best exercise there is. Thank you for sharing all this, Veronique. And i’m happy you had such a magnificent trip back home…

    • Bonsoir Victoria. Ah, un connaisseur! 🙂 I spent some time near Canal St Martin the day I met my brother for lunch. He works in the neighborhood. It has changed so much over the last 10-15 years, and will likely keep evolving as the new “Bo-Ho” crowd keeps moving in. Will look up that church the next time I go there. Bon dimanche!

  14. Love your caption about dog poop. I find the lack of scooping poop here to be really strange and wrote about it on my blog actually. I’m changing one French person at a time, American style!

  15. Ah, Veronique! I love it. What a perfect post. Mutti certainly is the quintessential French woman, isn’t she? All of the photos were great but I especially loved the one of the ados standing in the playscape chatting and the one cozy reader with her legs akimbo on the bench. Beautiful tribute to your capital city.
    bisous mon amie,
    aidan x

    • Bonjour Aidan. Les Ados collaborated with me nicely– I took a few shots, and I noticed the girl was “posing” a bit by the end 🙂 A tribute is exactly what this was, and my MIL loved it! Not all Parisians follow these rules, of course , preferring to make their own (in true French fashion…) but one has to start somewhere, of course.

  16. En 1991, j’ai travaillé six mois à Paris en tant que fille au-pair et je garde un trés trés trés beau souvenir de tous. J’espère y aller une autre fois. Amicalement de l’Espagne. ;o)

  17. I hope I look half as good as Mutti when I get to her age! Geeze! Wondrous photos of Paris. I can’t Believe I was one of those kids holding hands wiith my classmates…as we roamed around Toulouse. ;)I love seeing French children still do this today.

  18. Ah, you’ve got it down pat. Or ex-pat, whatever. In any case, you deserve a pat on the back for this resumé of how to profit from Paris… maybe the list could go on and on though, there are oh so many ways to enjoy Paris.

  19. Mutti is sensational! She reminds me aging Danielle Darrieux, so beautiful in her time. I’ve seen her on stage Théâtre des Champs Elysées in “Oscar” in 2003, still charming at 86 (!)

    Your Parisian tips are so timely as I’m packing for Paris in a few days.
    The last photo is so simple, beautiful and so symbolic. That’s what we ideally imagine dreaming about Paris…


  20. I missed so many posts while my Sister was here–thank goodness Carla mentioned this on her blog because I would have been very sad to have missed this–I think it is my favorite FGIS post ever (and that is saying something). Your love for Paris just shines through. Natalie’s comment about Mutti looking like a younger Danielle Darrieux rings true for me too and hooray for Chez Fernand!

    • Welcome back Heather. I know you had a great time with your sis’ — This was worth missing a few posts for! 🙂 Thank Goodness you mentioned Carla’s story. I may have not seen it otherwise. I will make sure to thank her AND pass your comments on to Mutti. Come back soon.

  21. Une très jolie promenade… J’ai pris du retard et ce fut un réel plaisir que de visiter cette publication… Honfleur… Je suis amoureuse de cette ville. Je connais chaque recoin, chaque maison…! puisque je cherche à acheter une maison à Honfleur. J’ai été très déçue dernièrement… J’allais signer pour l’achat d’une maison, celle où était né le peintre Eugène Boudin, mais son propriétaire, malade, a décidé de ne plus vendre…

    Paris est une ville si surprenante et si raffinée…

    Gros bisous et merci pour l’ensemble de tes belles photos.

    • Merci beaucoup Martine. Quelle histoire que l’achat (presque reussi) de cette maison a Honfleur! J’imagine tres bien la source d’inspiration qu’elle aurait represente pour l’artiste Martine Alison! Dommage, mais il y aura d’autres maisons…

  22. What can I say? Of course, I’m awfully jealous. These are not just photos, they are ideal moments in life, captured by you. I really loved looking at these places. I showed them to my daughter, who simply said “Jealous!”

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An afternoon at the Parc de Bagatelle

An afternoon at the Parc de Bagatelle

Il était une fois Bagatelle… Once upon a time, Bagatelle, a modest château surrounded by beautiful gardens, on the western edge of Paris’ 16th arrondissement. Tucked away inside the expansive Bois de Boulogne (twice the size of New York’s Central Park,) it is easy to miss. Many visitors do, because they don’t know about it. Even if they…

24 Responses to An afternoon at the Parc de Bagatelle

  1. Well now I know where to take my garden loving belle mère when she visits in a couple of weeks time! Thank you for revealing yet another Paris gem on my doorstep that I knew nothing about. Beautiful photos too!

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Bagatelle is one of the great gardens in the Paris region. You took some stunning pictures and really capture its beauty. And thank you for explaining its origins. I had no idea….

    Anothergarden which is not all that well known is out here in Versailles. No, not the formal castle gardens but the le Potager du roi (the King’s kitchen garden).

    All the best,


  3. i really can never convey truly how much i ENJOY your posts it really is like being there…i adore the cabana style eating space shaded, semi-private and perfectly situated to the space pleasing to a weary vistor’s eye-i hope you found all well upon your return and life hectic summmer’s pace is feeling normal-have a wonderful week-

  4. You really did a maximum of the three weeks you had in France! I’m not surprised, you seem always to be full of energy and ethusiasm! … and I know these beuatiful gardens (have even posted about them a few times)! You are absolutely right, definitely worth the visit, even if it may take some time to reach them.

  5. Excellente idée que d’attirer tes lecteurs hors des sentiers battus (et rebattus?..) de la capitale! Quel endroit magique! Les roses y sont sublimes! et quelle tranquilité!..
    Dans la même veine, connais-tu la Fondation Albert Kahn?Autre jardin sublime et ignoré de tous , aux portes de Paris, avec en prime des expos photos fabuleuses.

    • Merci Marie. Je pensais bien que ce poste te plairait. J’ai pris une photo des bancs du parc que je t’enverrai ce matin. 🙂 Je ne connais pas encore la Fondation Albert Kahn, alors merci pour cette suggestion. Bonne semaine a Nice !

  6. So beautiful. The rose garden looks stunning. We’ll have to jump on the Metro for a visit the next time we’re in Paris!
    PS- Aren’t you glad the Seattle weather improved while you were away?

  7. I have been to Paris quite a few times but have never been to this garden or for that matter ever heard about Jardins de Bagatelle. Your pictures are beautiful and we will definitely make a trip out there when we are next in Paris. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Wait, that was built in 63 days?!? Sheesh. That’s pretty freaking incredible. He must have really wanted to win that bet! If a house was built that quickly here in the US, I think a heavy wind would be able to knock it down in a second, much less have it still be standing hundreds of years later haha!

  9. I am familiar with the gardens that you mentioned at the beginning of your post but not the wonderful Bagatelle – so much to admire. I was mesmerised by Monet’s gardens at Giverny and I know that I would be impressed by this beautifully maintained garden. Already added to my ‘Paris List’ – thanks for the introduction and of course for your stunning photos!

  10. Such wonderful pictures and descriptions! I must confess, during my time in Paris, I did not make it to the Bagatelle gardens – for precisely the reason you said: I had no idea it was there! But next time I go to Paris, I will most certainly pay it a visit!

  11. Though I lived in the 16th for 8 months as a student, and ventured into the Bois de Boulogne many times to go read a book, I never stumbled on the Bagatelle… will have to rectify that “lacune” one of these days !

  12. Audrey Hepburn did a fantastic presentation of the famous rose show here as part of her ‘Gardens of the World’ PBS series:
    Here’s a trailer for the series that she recorded on a number of continents shortly before her death. I watched the series over and over….just outstanding…esp the rose tape:

    Thanks for the lovely reminder and your gorgeous photos, Veronique!

  13. What a stunning garden – and yes French Heart, I remember the Audry Hepburn film. I just love some of the details, for example those signs that indicate the names of the roses. Aren’t they just wonderful! Not to mention the roses themselves.

    The story of the building is extraordinary and I just love your photography. Oh well done, dear Veronique. And I note the Vittel Menthe -even tho it’s an Evian Menthe. This, thanks to you, has become my favourite drink – when I’m not drinking wine, that is!

  14. Absolutely Love your fantastic photos from the gardens. I missed this on my trips to Paris. My daughter and her husband will be in Paris in Feb. I am sure it will look much different, but the history is fascinating.

  15. Veronique,
    It’s so pretty! I love the chickens and peacock roaming around. I have never heard of this park either but thank you, now it’s on my list for when we visit Paris this fall. The kids will love it.
    I hope you’re happy being back in seattle, not missing home too much and that sharing your trip with us helps you to keep it alive in your heart.
    i just don’t get the menthe. esp with no ice. you Frenchies!

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