Author • Speaker Winter 2010 Newsletter


Winter 2010 Newsletter

Bonjour Friends,

In September, I lived in Paris, in an elegant, courtyard apartment on the Ile Saint Louis, three blocks from the Notre-Dame Cathedral. While much of the city has been modernized, this island remains romantically frozen in the 17th century. It is residential, dotted with cafés, boutiques, and ice cream parlors. This was my fourth prolonged Paris retreat and the first for my "fashionista" niece Mindy. We saw every major attraction, walked about seven miles a day, ate lots of baguettes slathered with goat cheese, and still lost weight.

Ile Saint Louis

Café Flore: Below, I'm posing in front of my favorite Paris café, the Left Bank salon of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, existential celebrities of my college years. I lounged there for hours with stacks of reading material compressed into my Kindle: blogs, newspapers, magazines, guidebooks, and French history. I sipped cups and cups of hot chocolate (the thickest on the planet), ate healthy Nicoise salads (with fork in my left hand, knife in my right), and nibbled spicy apple tarts.

Cafe de Flore

apple tart

Notre-Dame Cathedral: In 1828, Paris began lighting the Avenue de Champs Elysees with gas lamps: the first city in Europe to light up; it was named La Ville Lumiere or "The City of Light." The name now refers to Paris's intellectual preeminence. One Sunday morning, we immersed ourselves in the mass at the Notre-Dame. The music was otherworldly. Construction on the church began in 1163 and was completed in 1385.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

The Arc de Triomphe: The triumphal arch honors those who fought for France during the Napoleonic Wars. Beneath it lays the tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. We climbed to the top—it's 162 feet high—for a spectacular view of the city's 12 grand boulevards radiating from the arch. Gazing down, we could see a raucous crowd of people encircling a dance troop who strutted, jumped, and spun to Michael Jackson tunes.

Arc de Triomphe

The Eiffel Tower is the tallest building in Paris and is among the most visited monuments in the world. The tower was built as the entrance arch for the 1889's World Fair. Mindy climbed as far as the stairs would take her and then rode a sweaty packed-elevator to the top where she could see the rolling green hills beyond the city. I had experienced the tower many times before, so was content to wander aimlessly throughout the city's narrow side-streets, popping in and out of boutiques.

Eiffel Tower

I'm now home on a tropical Hawaiian island, surrounded by plumeria blossoms, waving palms, and crashing waves. So when is my next Paris rendezvous? I just sold my book, The Givers and the Takers, to a French publisher, so may return next fall for book-signings. This trip would be tax deductible. Parfaite!

Au Revoir,
Cris Evatt
 

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