Europe, North America · 18 Days · 21 Moments · June 2018

Howard and Margaret’s Tour Through France


1 July 2018

Sun 1 Julliet The miso black cod is featured because we just had to return to Nobu’s, this time the one on 57th Street in NYC. FYI, Nobu’s 57 has nearly the same menu as the one in Monte Carlo, our first French meal. Black code there was €49, while Black Cod here was $40. Also pictured is an order of Oshitashi. We used the occasion to belatedly celebrate Lia’s 8th birthday. Lia had her favorite avocado sushi a la Nobu’s which meant wedges of avocado on top of sushi rice rolled. Dessert was complimentary of Nobu. This dinner provided a nice bookend to our tour of Southern France and Paris. Thanks for following our Journey.

30 June 2018

Sat 30 Juin Two events dominated Paris this weekend day: the Gay Pride parade and the World Cup game France v. Argentina, as our van left about noon heading toward Normandy and Giverny, home of Claude Monet. After the 90 minute ride I toured the Lilly pond he made so famous through his work. I took a photo of the real pond, the one Monet painted and one painted recently by a Japanese artist. I also toured his house and the Japanese Impressionists Museum dedicated to showing how the Impressionist were influenced by Japanese art after 1868, when Japan allowed Gaijin to enter. Tonight, our last Paris meal was spent at Shang Palace, located in the hill above the Eiffel Tower, recommended by Pat Francis. A beautiful restaurant with great food and service.
Sat 30 Juin Before I start Saturday, I wanted to include other photos I took at Giverny to be described next.

29 June 2018

Fri 29 Juin We had a lazy morning, late rising and breakfast in the room. Today, we visited L’Orangerie, a gallery devoted to the. Impressionists, especially, Claude Monet as, tomorrow, we will be visiting his home, Giverny, to view, first hand, many of the lovely scenes he painted. To me, L’Orangerie was more satisfying than D’Orsay. First, the distinctive Monet murals, Les Nymphes. Then a very nice exhibition of the turn of the century art dealer Paul Guillaume which included many nice Pieces. There was also a display by non-French artists to enjoy. After dinner in the room, I attended a performance of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” at Sainte-Chapelle, located next to the Paris a Courthouse.

28 June 2018

Th 28 Juin This is a view of Paris from the top of the Musee D’Orsay, home of the impressionist painters. The next photo is the back of the large clock on the top floor. I took photos of some of the paintings I enjoyed. To be frank, there is no comparison between the Jeu de Paume I visited in 1973 and today’s Musee d’Orsay. The former was smaller with a lot of natural light, plenty of large paintings: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Lautrec, Manets, Monet and Renoirs, many of the well known ones. I thought that NYC’s MOMA, 6th floor is much better. I took photos of a few. We spent this afternoon at Galerie Lafayette shopping for gifts. Tonight we had Japanese food at Azabu located in the Latin Quarter. The restaurant is tiny with two tables upstairs to seat 8, stools around a grill to seat 6 and 3 tables for two outside. Azabu has been there for 15 years. Complete staff from Japan. Everything was prepared well and very fresh.

26 June 2018

Wed 27 Juin Le Grand was the Hotel selected by Tauck. We were fortunate to get 3 nights in addition to the 2 included in the tour. Beautiful white hydrangea adorn the lobby. We are centrally located in the 9th Arr. next to the Paris Opera House. This morning we encountered one of the most complete and comprehensive breakfast buffets not a brunch. The tables were adorned with many varieties of bread, cereals and fruits. They included Chinese food including 6 kinds of dim sum. Japanese food was included with a variety of oshinko. On the way back to the room we noticed they had completely redone the flowers from white to pink. This morning we went on a Tauck guided tour of Le Louvre. We traveled by air conditioned bus to the underground entrance. We had an excellent guide. Here are some of the masterpieces seen.
Sun 1 Juillet I posted this photo of a statue of General Charles de Gaulle marching triumphantly into Paris, once the allies took back the city in WWII, to symbolize the collective will of the French people who resisted Hitler and prevailed to save its culture. In a way, the Germans wanted to preserve Paris by doing minimal damage to the structures we saw while visiting. I put together a compilation of some of the many we were fortunate to view this trip, to reminisce while on the return flight to JFK. We ended our trip by having dinner at Nobu’s on 57th Street to once again have the miso glazed black cod which is Nobu’s signature dish world wide.

25 June 2018

Tu 26 Juin Last evening I took this photo on a nearby bridge here in Lyon. Today is moving day. We packed last evening in preparation for our trip to Paris, our home until Sunday, July 1st. We were taken to the train station by shuttle, then took the TGV or bullet train, a 2.5 hour trip to Paris. Upon arrival, we boarded a comfortable, air-conditioned bus. In addition to Aurora, we had another Paris specific guide. During our last visit some 25 years ago, we didn’t have time to see the many beautiful landmarks and buildings we saw this time, e.g., Les Invalides, Latin Quarter, and Napoleon’s tomb. We revisited others: Arc De Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. We had dinner at Restaurant Vefour, suggested by Pat Francis. We had warm lobster for starters. Margaret had turbot while I had oxtail and truffles. For dessert, Margaret had a red berry dish. I had crime brûlée with artichoke.

24 June 2018

Mon 25 Juin Last night we had dinner with Travis Burgeson and his wife Susan Collins from Kailua Kona on the Big Island. The crew entertained us with various skits and dances. This morning we awoke in Lyon and, shortly, will be shopping for a new iPad for Margaret. We went to one of the two Uber stores in Lyon to wipe clean Margaret’s old iPad and buy a new one. We spent the afternoon packing. Had a nice dinner with a couple from Vegas and London. Now listening to French jazz singer and daughter, very talented. Took some photos,of Lyon at dusk.

23 June 2018

Sun 24 Juin This is the Château de Cormatin which I missed seeing this morning. It is one of the few moated castles left in France. Instead, we took a walking tour of Tournus-sur-Saone where we were docked. The quay made a nice pathway to the center of town for the approximate 6,000 inhabitants. Part of it was lined with baskets of summer flowers that thrive in full sun. Even home have decorative flower baskets. We visited an art gallery for local artists. We stopped in the main church, established in the 1100’s.

22 June 2018

Sat 23 Juin We awoke in Chalon-sur-Saône, in the heart of Burgundy. After breakfast, we explored views from the sun deck shown in photos. In the afternoon, I joined about 8 others to visit with the Compte de Ternay at Chateau de Rully. The count is the 26th generation owner of the estate from the 13th Century. The family has grown Chardonnay since the 16th century. He is married with two young sons. He gave us a tour of his home and offered wine tasting. Before dinner, the reception featured the appetizers and wines of burgundy.during dinner the boat sailed to Tournus.

21 June 2018

Fri 22Juin After dinner last night, we actually passed Lyon and cruised up the left fork of the Rhône which is large enough to have its own name, the Saone. In passing Lyon, I took photos of unique architecture. We docked in Macon located about 1.5 hours north of Lyon. In the morning we strolled around town, buying a couple of things. Returned to the boat for lunch, then a movie, and demonstration by the chef how to make tart flambé which I’ll make for the bridge group next session. Dinner was wonderful, rack of lamb with ratatouille, warm chocolate cake and banana split for dessert. Afterwards, the crew lead us in a game of liars, as we docked at Chalon-sur-Chalon for the night.
Thurs 21 Juin We awoke in Tournon-sur-Rhône-Sur-Rhône/Tain-Hermitage, a small medieval town on the west side of the Rhône. After breakfast we strolled into town. Here’s a photo of the butcher shop. Another is of the chateau/fort, town church, and a photo of the wineries on the hill requiring hand cultivation, having excellent drainage and costing up to $1,000 per bottle. Cruising up the Rhône is similar to lying on a bed at the shore at Tahoe with shade and air conditioning, so relaxing. It’s also nice when you are provided with fresh local fruit from the markets at mid-afternoon, topped off by a piece of dark chocolate. At the pre-dinner champagne reception, one of our guides told us about Chateau d’Ampuis as we passed it, see photo of large chateau. Tonight we joined another couple for the chef’s 5 course signature dinner, menu in photo.

20 June 2018

Wed 20 Juin Today we chose to stay on board as the boat backed south from Avignon to the fork in the Rhône, then started up the left fork northward toward Lyon with a stop in St. Remy-de-Provence And Andance. To navigate the river through different elevations, we have to pass through a series of locks or gates that lift the boat up or down. As we are moving upstream, the device moves up. In the afternoon, Aurora gave us a lesson about the French people and their language, e.g., don’t call the waiter garçon (boy) as it is very rude. One has to ask for one’s check as it will not be brought otherwise. Dinner tonight was superb as it has been throughout. Photos of pork Wellington and desserts. Last photo was of sunset out window where we were docked.

19 June 2018

Tues 19 Juin This is the seal of Avignon, a well-preserved medieval town. In the 14th century, it was the seat of papal power and remained under the papal flag until 1791 when it came under French rule. The Palais des Papes and St. Mary’s Cathedral dominate the main town square. A great wall surrounded the old city. Much of it remains today. We took a touristy train ride around the town, cheesy but informative and more comfortable than the many still cobble-stone streets. After lunch on board the Emerald, we took a walk to Le Pont d’Avignon and back. Tonight, we had dinner at the Duchy of Uzes, home to Jacques de Crussol, the 17th Duke of Uzes, who has an MBA from Columbia. He, and his grandmother, starting in 1951, have spent considerable sums of money renovating the chateau to medieval times. Uzes is called the first Dutchy of France, the oldest ducal peerage. Since 1572, the Duke of Uzes is the first peer of France, Count of Crussol, Prince of Soyons, and is 1st noble in France.

18 June 2018

Mon 18 Juin It’s nice to be able to unpack just once and to have laundry cleaned and returned the next day. No bags and unpacking on board the MS Emerald until we arrive in Lyon this Sunday, 24 Juin. This morning was spent strolling through the really old part (Roman occupation) of Arles. Quaint merchant signs, amphitheater, colosseum, and churches, preceded a blustery west wind of some 35-50 MPH. At 5:30 PM, the Emerald left toward Avignon. Here’s a photo of the lobby and a video of the West Bank as we moved through the Rhône at a speed of 40 MPH. Dinner for me was very French, snails, bouillabaisse, linguine a la mere, tart tartin. Highlight of trip is approach to 13th century bridge were Vatican of 12th Century located.

17 June 2018

Sun 17 Juin We awoke early this morning to the sight of a large 600+ foot schooner anchored in front of our room. Its name is Windsurf, a 314 passenger sailing ship. We enjoyed breakfast for the first time at the Horizons Restaurant. Great buffet with every kind of bread, fruit and the traditional hot dishes. We left about 10:00 AM for a 6 hour bus ride from Monte Carlo to Arles including a 2 hour stop in Nice where we enjoyed the farmers’ market and lunch, of course, a salade Nicoise. We also paused in the local cathedral. Throughout, our guide, Anne, regaled us with history of the region. We then headed east to Arles where the MS Emerald waited for us. Upon boarding, we discovered that Margaret’s small carry bag with her iPad was missing. With the crew’s help we searched everywhere to no avail. The Find my iPhone feature wasn’t set for her iPad. Anyway, dinner was great as you can tell by the photo.

16 June 2018

Sat 16 Juin The card players were not speaking French but an indigenous language combining colloquial Italian and French called Monegasque. A likely explanation is the founding families in the 12th century were from Genoa, IT. Also, Italy is less than an hour from here. Colore means flush. This morning was a late rising one, in time for a light brunch, then a bus trip along the French Riviera to a town called Menton, the “pearl of France”, about 40 minutes east of Monte Carlo, the last town before the Italian border. After a stroll through the town, the group took a train ride through the old town and history. Margaret elected to stay home and laze. Upon returning we returned to Nobu for dinner. Margaret had black cod and I had Wagu ribeye. After dinner, Margaret recognized John Elway and wife Paige Green. After we packed and early to bed for a big travel day tomorrow to Nice and Arles where the riverboat is docked.

15 June 2018

Friday, 15 Juin. Slept in to compensate for previous all nighter in traveling here. Photo of ships from terrace of restaurant shows yankee clipper vessel arriving next to modernistic version of schooner, where wedding is planned for Russian family this weekend. After a continental breakfast, we walked next door to the Grand Casino to pay my taxes to the principality and Prince Albert. Then, we took a cab to the palace square and saw the Prince’s family residence. To the right of the palace, I took a photo with Margaret and view from the palace to yacht harbor below. On the opposite side is another, smaller, yacht harbor. A canon guards the palace grounds. We then visited the Monaco Cathedral where Price Ranier and Princess Grace was buried some 46 years ago. This evening was a group dinner of about 75 people where our hostesses Aurore Beranger, Anne Peault and Janet Richards from the U. S. Introduced themselves and described the activities for tomorrow and Sunday.

14 June 2018

12-14 Juin. We left LAX on Tuesday morning spending the night at the Hilton near JFK, then leaving the next day for Madrid. Only a six hour flight, we arrived about 7:30 AM, transferred to a regional plane that arrived at the Côte d’Azur Airport in Nice, FR about noon. The approach to the airport was very scenic, reminded me of approaching HNL. The ride from Côte d’Azur was east, away from the Rhône and Nice through many tunnels to Monte Carlo, Monaco. After checking into the Fairmont, Monte Carlo, and following a light lunch, we visited the Prince Albert Musee Oceanographique. We returned on a city bus to prepare for dinner at Nobu’s, Monte Carlo, located in the hotel. Am writing this entry from our balcony with a view looking south to the Mediterranean. And, yes, the hotel has its own casino. Our first dinner in Monte a Carlo was a nice sized miso glazed, black, followed by some hold’em with a double-up, and to bed, so tired.