Five Weeks in France
By Don Chesnut
June 27, Wednesday
Copyright © by Don Chesnut, 2018
Paula Shives picked me up at my house at 1 pm and drove me to
the Bluegrass Airport—Thank you Paula. There, I printed out my
boarding passes and then went through security. I got to my gate area
by 1:30. My flight leaves in two hours and I usually use this time to
start my journal.
I am attending the 5th International Palaeontological Congress
in Paris, France. These conferences are held someplace in the world
every four years. I have been to two of the previous ones, Sydney,
Australia and Nanjing, China. I will be doing a pre-meeting field trip
and a post-meeting field trip in France and attending a week of
conferences in Paris. After the conference, I'm taking a two-week tour
around France. I will be gone altogether a little over five weeks. I'm
taking only carry-on items, my 45-year-old red pack, and a computer
Anne would have driven me, but my brother-in-law Ernest
unexpectedly passed away and she is with her family. Ernest was a good
fellow, I will miss him and I'm sorry I can't be with his family.
I was in a panic the last few days because I had not received
any communications about my first field trip. I didn't know where or
when to meet it. Luckily, I got an e-mail this morning detailing the
information. The leader had sent out information much earlier, but, for
some reason, I failed to receive it. Perhaps it was my spam filter. I
feel much better now.
My hotels and the conference are in the Latin Quarter. Most
conference sessions will be in the Pierre and Madame Curie University
and the Museum of Natural History across the street. I have built in
several days to explore the area. I have a Kindle with Rick Steves'
Paris guide to help. My big problem is that I don't speak French, or
very little, at least.
I caught the flight to Detroit, landing a little before 5 pm.
I walked rapidly to the other end of the long terminal to my gate for
Delta flight 98. I boarded that plane and got my seat on the aisle.
An hour or so after take off, we were served dinner. I had
roasted chicken and vegetables, salad, bread, cheese, and red wine. I
watched a Will Ferrel movie, "Daddy's Home 2." I did laughed out loud.
I then watched "Hostiles," about the US Cavalry repatriating some
Cheyenne. I tried to sleep after that.
June 28, Thursday
I'm pretty sure I didn't sleep at all. A little after daylight, I had
yogurt and water. More was served, but I wasn't hungry.
We landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris a little after
8 am and
walked to passport control. It was the longest line I have ever been
in, but I got my visa in about 10 seconds once I got to the booth. I
then walked to the airport
exit and got in another line to buy a train ride into inner Paris.
Unfortunately, there is a rail strike and the trains run in segments
only. I went to the RER B line and was confused by the situation, but a
very outgoing fellow came to my aid. He was also helping another
foreigner as well. We had to take the RER to Gare du Nord, then we had
to walk to another platform to get on the next segment of RER B. He
walked several of us foreigners through the station. The other
foreigner asked where I was from. I said Kentucky. He said he lived in
Louisville for 8 years and has duel citizenship. He was from Cairo and
we talked about koshary, one of their national dished. The friendly
Frenchman asked what I was doing in Paris and I said attending a
conference at the Curie University and Natural History Museum. He said,
oh you're a scientist, what type? I said geologist and paleontologist.
He said he worked with a lot of geologists, he was a petroleum
I said goodbye when they got to their stop and I got off at
Luxembourg Gardens and walked to my little hotel, Hotel des 3 Colleges
on Rue Cujas, close to the Sorbonne. The Pantheon is close by too.
I checked in and went to my tiny room on the fifth floor. The
tall windows in the room are open, so I assume there is no air
conditioning. The temperature seems to be in the upper seventies. There
is a room safe, so I put my passport, money, etc in it. There is WiFi,
so I will try to log in tonight. I also filled out my notebook while I
was in my room.
- the hotel,
plaque for Nobel winner Gabriel
Marquez (Wikipedia entry)
who lived here, another
Miklos Radnoti (Wikipedia entry)
who also lived here, my tiny
hotel lounge, breakfast room,
I went out for a walk in the area of my hotel. There are a
great many restaurants, cafes, and similar places to eat. The hotel is
in the most ancient part of the city, dating back to Roman times. It is
called the 3 Colleges because there were the Cluny, Sorbonne, and
college of Cholets, all ancient. I think it was part of an abbey too. I
took photos of the Church at Sorbonne and the Pantheon.
for Place de la Sorbonne,
Auguste Comte (Wikipedia entry),
- the Pantheon,
closer view, another view, sign for Saint Etienne-du-Mont,
closer view, another view, historical marker for
the church, side view
of church, beer
I went back to my room and took a nap and it turned out to be
a hard sleep. I woke up at seven and went out again.
I walked to the Place de la Sorbonne again and stopped at Tabac de la
Sorbonne. I sat outside under a tree canopy and ordered house special
onion soup, and then Salad Nicoise, and a couple of glasses of red
wine. I was there for almost three hours. The temperature was perfect
and the ambiance was very nice. I just had the French onion soup which
was very good. Then the Salad Nicoise which was excellent, almost as
good as my Mom's. The anchovies were great, not from tins.
I got back to my room by ten and I was very tired. I filled out my
journal and typed some. I went to bed about 11 pm.
June 29, Friday
I got up at 8 am, which felt early. I brushed my teeth and went
down to breakfast. Breakfast is included with my room. A cheerful lady
asked me something and I showed her my room key. She said some more
things and I mentioned "continental" and "coffee," and that seemed to
work. I sat in a corner window with the view of a small intersection.
Parents are walking their small children to school up the block,
business people are walking to work, and university people are headed
to the colleges. Everybody is walking.
I was served a small baguette, croissant, cut fruit cup,
yogurt, coffee, orange juice, etc. It was here that I realized that I
lost my camera, must have been in my seat at the café last night and I
left it there. I'll go back and ask later.
In my room, I washed out my shirt and hung it out to dry on a
railing outside my window. I have taken four or five Patagonia AC
shirts and they are great in hot countries or summertime. They are made
of wrinkled cotton, are cool, dry, and don't show wrinkles or
perspiration. I've been using them exclusively for decades. I then
typed out some of my journal.
At ten I left the hotel and went to the café. They found my camera and
returned it to me! Excellent!
Then I hit the trail for the morning. I found Rue Saint Jacques
and followed it northward till I got to the Seine. What an excellent
view of Notre Dame! I then followed the Seine to the east and then
southeast till I got to the Natural History Museum. I walked through
the garden to the main building. I took a number of photos. I then
headed west on Lacepede. It was good weather for walking, about 80
degrees F with a breeze. I stopped at an outdoor café at Place de la
Contrescarpe and had a large Lefe (Belgian) wheat beer. It seems that
the wheat beers are the summer beers here, it's hard to get anything
else on draft. I sat outside to rest my legs. My right hip was starting
to hurt. The owner was about my age and the music was Caribbean Latin,
and African. I was tapping my foot the whole time. When I paid my tab,
I told him I really liked the music.
- Saint Severin,
marker, front of
church, inside, stained glass, vault, windows, gargoyles, closer view, another view, roof line,
- Notre Dame,
cruise boat, side
view, flying buttresses,
for Natural History Museum, Lamarck
of base, inscription
at base, another
another, main hall
of museum, map
of museum and gardens,
foamy tree, closer view, statue of Laclerc,
Comte of Buffon (Wikipedia entry), sign
at base, smoky quartz,
(separated), fossil fish,
I followed my intuition and made it back directly to my hotel.
I got back to my room by 1:45 and it was chilly. They do have AC and it
was on. I had left a tip on the pillow and apparently they liked it. I
filled out my journal and took a nap.
I got up around 3 pm and took another walk. I walked north on
Boulevard Saint Michel and the turned east on Boulevard Saint Germaine.
I walked to the end of St. Germaine at the Seine, then turned south on
some street for a block and then headed west on Rue des Ecoles till I
got to St. Jacques again and south to my hotel.
- Roman baths at Cluny
Museum (Wikipedia entry),
sign for the
- St. Nicolas-du-Chardonnet church
for Paul Langevin Square,
- Morgan 3-Wheeler
- the Sorbonne
My hip did not hurt this time. I took another shower to get
the street grime off. And then I typed some of my journal. Rick Steves'
guide for the Latin Quarter is not very good. He only has one walk and
it's on the northwestern edge of the Quarter. I may do that walk
I went out again about 8 pm to the same square as last night,
Place de la Sorbonne, but to a different café, "l'ecritoire." I ordered
a menu and selected foie gras for entre, confit du canard (preserved
duck) with sautéed potatoes for main course, and crème brulee for
dessert. I wanted a red wine, the waiter suggested Cotes du Rhone which
I had last night. It's too sweet for me, so he suggested Broilly, a dry
red, so I had it. The temperature is perfect, the breeze is very nice,
and there is no humidity to speak of. The foie gras was good, I don't
often get it. The duck was tender and moist, very good. I could not eat
all the potatoes. Then I was served the crème brulee, vanilla, with a
very thin shell of caramelized sugar. Now I had a glass of Cote du
- Sorbonne Chapel
at Place de la Sorbonne, another
view, Harley Sportster 48,
my table, another
view, foie gras,
I got back to my room by 10:20 and my hip was starting to get
sore again. I'll take something for it. I'm very tired. I brushed my
teeth, took my pills starting with the LSD, and then typed some of my
journal. If it doesn't make any sense, now you know why. I went to bed
about 11 pm.
June 30, Saturday
I did not sleep at all last night till about 5 am. I attribute
that to jet lag. I got up at 8 again and brushed my teeth. I washed out
the shirt I wore yesterday and hung it out to dry. I put on the shirt
that was already dry.
I went down to breakfast and ordered the same thing, even sat
at the same table. Today looks like another nice day. The receptionist
said it would not rain, but would be hot.
I headed north on St. Michel till I got to the Seine, then
headed west. I crossed to the Ille de la Cite at its western point and
took some photos. I walked back to the Left Bank and west till I got to
the Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge. Here I started Rick Steves'
walking tour that ends at Luxembourg Garden on my Kindle. I saw the
churches, St. Germain Pres and St. Sulpice on the way. It indeed became
hot, perhaps in the upper 80's with a hot sun. I took lots of photos.
This is Saturday and lots of people were enjoying the Luxembourg
Gardens. I got a pistachio ice cream and ate it in the shade.
- the Seine,
on Ile de la Cite, Fontaine
closer, the Seine
at Pont Neuf, statue
of Henry IV(Wikipedia entry)
who had the bridge built, another
view, sign for
river cruises, Square
of the Green Gallant (Henry IV), Art deco building near the
view, view of
Green Gallant park, the Institute
of France, Voltaire,
Rue de Seine street view,
Richard Wagner, another
view, the Delacroix
view, sign for
Delacroix home, corner
of Seine and Buci, narrow
Cour du Commerce St. Andre, another
another, and another,
for Saint Germain-des-Pres
view, window, paintings, another view, stained glass, sign for the church
- Les Deux Magots restaurant,
view of Rue
for Place St. Sulpice, St. Sulpice church
church, inside, another view, overview, painting in chapel, angel that looks three
mentioned in Dan Brown's Da
Vinci Code (Wikipedia entry
for the gnomon), another
from Rimbaud on Rue Ferou,
- Luxembourg Museum
at Luxembourg Gardens
museum, the gardens,
the sailboat fountain,
rent, child and boat, sailboat video, overview, rows of trees, shade-bathers (it was
very hot), another
view, pistachio ice cream,
pony ride, another,
After wandering around in the gardens, I walked back to my
hotel and got to my room about 1 pm. I caught up in my journal and
planned the rest of the day. I also backed up my photos.
I went out again to the medieval Cluny Middle Ages museum, but it
was closed for renovation.
So I went to Place de la Sorbonne and had a
beer while I consulted the Kindle. I decided to do the inner Paris tour
which started in front of Notre Dame. I did not go in because lines
long, but I did the walk instead. I took lots of photos. I visited St.
Julien de Pavre and St. Severin churches.
of Notre Dame
window, long, long
line to get in, statue
of Charlemagne, side
of Notre Dame, back
view, historical marker
for Ile Saint Louis,
bridge, happy couple,
for Black Locust
(common in Kentucky) in the Square Rene Viviani, St. Severin in the
background, Shakespeare & Co bookstore,
for Rue St. Severin, side
view of St.
crowd, bride with flowers,
another, gargoyles, church bells video,
- I had to have a Frog
beer here, their varieties,
Severin (there was a big game going on), another view,
I hear cheers from the cafes all over town. Apparently France is doing
well in football. I got back to my room by 5:30.
By 6, I headed out again. I went back to Place de la Sorbonne
to "l'ecritoire" and ordered a mixed prosciutto, potted meat, cheese,
and bread plate, plus some kind of sweet wine (that part was a language
problem). It was a lot of salty, greasy, fatty food for a hot day, but
I managed. It would have been a nice appetizer for four. And now I'm
getting sleepy again. I did not take a nap today.
I got back to my room by 8 pm, earlier than usual. I wrote in my
journal, and went to bed early.
1 July, Sunday
I got up at 8, brushed my teeth, and went down to breakfast.
The intersection in front of me is blocked by six police vans and
policemen are standing in the intersection. I thing there is some event
at the Pantheon, they were erecting bleachers there for the last
days. The reception people said they were transferring something to the
Pantheon, but I could not understand what.
I headed north on Boulevard St. Michel till I got to the Seine.
From the Seine, I headed west then southwest. I passed the Museum
Orsay, L'Orangerie, etc., and ended at the Eiffel Tower. It is
difficult to comprehend how large it is. From there, I walked down the
park to the end and headed east to Invalides. I continued eastward, and
stopped at an outdoor café, Le Babylone at Square Baucicaut, on Rue de
Babylone. I had Kronebourg beer and goat cheese salad.
St. Michel blocked of traffic, part
of the Louvre, another
view, Pont du
to the Place du Carrousel, School
of the Louvre,
view, long line
- bus with Lido dancer
sign, Thomas Jefferson,
along the Seine, closer
view, Palais Bourbon,
- Grand Palais
exhibition hall, another
Alexandre III with cruise boat, close-up,
bridge, view of
Les Invalides, another
of statues on Grand Palais,
at Pont des Invalides (used as a water-level marker), triathlon,
view, massive base
of tower, the park,
lower level of tower, another view of tower,
- Les Invalides,
another view of
- my beer,
After lunch, I followed my nose and made it back to my room by
3:30 pm. It was a long, hot day. I don't know how many miles I walked,
but I'd rather spend my time walking than standing in line. Lines
everywhere would wrap around a football field. Back in my room, I took
a much-needed shower, and then a nap. I wrote in my journal and then
typed it out. Tonight I will pack because tomorrow is a travel day.
I went back out about 7:30 and heard talking on a loud PA
system. I walked to the Pantheon and the entire street was blocked off
to traffic. The statesman Simone Veil's body was being interred today
in the Pantheon. She was the first woman President of the European
I then went back to Place de la Sorbonne to the Tabac de la
Sorbonne and my waiter was the same one who saved my camera. I ordered
lamb chops with salad and a glass of Cote du Rhone. The evening has
cooled off nicely and the temperature is perfect.
I finished my dinner and went back to my room. I packed my things
because tomorrow I start my first field trip.
2 July, Monday
I got up a little before 7 am, and brushed my teeth. I went
down to breakfast and had coffee and a croissant. I went back to my
room and took a quick shower. I took my things down to reception and
then checked out.
I walked about a mile due east and came out exactly where I
was supposed to be, the Jussieu metro stop, and the entrance to Curie
University. I am early so I sat down and filled out my journal. It
looks like another nice day, but we are supposed to get rain during the
- meeting point,
(Sorbonne, Curie University campus),
I met with my group. There are five of us altogether, Loïc
Villier, the field trip leader, a fellow (Patrick) who works at the
Natural History Museum, a lady (Oeva) from Estonia, and a young man
(John) from Spokane, Washington. Everybody is very nice and interesting
to talk to. We are all in one car. We left a little after 9, and headed
to the southeast. We stopped for sandwiches at a truck stop, and
proceeded to the Jura wine producing region.
- the four of us
waiting for Loïc and his car, another
along the way, another
- roadside park
for lunch, sign
at park, poppies,
morning glory), linden,
By the time we got to our first stop, it was very hot. We met
with a retired geology professor (Michel Compy) who is an expert on
wine terroir and geology. We also met with the mayor of the village
Christian Villaume, also an expert on wine. This is a
stunningly beautiful landscape. I took lots
of photos. We looked at the Mesozoic strata that influenced wines in
the region, and we sampled three types of local wine products.
at Château Chalon, closer
view, walking in
the village, overlook, another view, view from side, valley in plateau, vineyards on the
slope, video pan, Michel in
hat and Christian in pink shirt, path
to cepage (varietal) conservatory, stone
view, sign on
building, path, view, path again,
wines in old classroom,
- wine tasting
with the mayor at Maison de la Haute-Seille, one of Michel's books, view from chateau, village
- Château Chalon
hill with village at the top and vineyards in the slopes, cliff of Middle
Jurassic limestone, view of conservatory,
discussing the geology,
cliff scene, Haute Seille, another view, map of the area, sign for
of Baume-les-Messieurs (Wikipedia entry),
reculee (re-entrant gorge, or retreating gorge, Wikipedia entry),
cliff, the Abbey (Wikipedia entry),
closer view, archway, courtyard, narrow village street,
or reculee, houses,
village view, another view,
We then headed to our hotel, Domaine du Revermont near Passenans. Their
internet was not working. We had dinner soon after we got there, and
Loïc ordered for us the red wine made on the next-door vineyard.
- our hotel,
Domaine du Revermont, lobby,
my room, another view, view from my window, bathroom, another view,
- the wine
he selected, made
view, dining-room view,
I went to my room soon after dinner, filled out my notebook,
and took a shower. I went to be by 10:30. Tomorrow is another travel
3 July, Tuesday
I got up at 7, brushed my teeth, and went to buffet breakfast.
I sliced some nice bread, had sliced ham and local comte cheese. I had
three cups of good café au lait.
I packed up and we loaded the car. We are following Michel. I grabbed
my journal so I could take notes. I didn't yesterday.
We stopped at an overlook on the east side of the N-S Bresse (Rhône) graben,
and looked across the plain. Michel explained the grape varietals
(cepages) associated with specific Liassic (Lower Jurassic) and Triassic strata. Michel
is the expert on this topic. We looked at the slope and outcrops
associated with the gravity thrust fault and ramps.
at Pupillin Belvedere, closer
view (hills in midground are knobs of faults (either duplex, imbricate, or listric) associated with
the toe of the gravity thrust sheet that slipped onto the Bresse graben), another
geology, stratigraphic section
of face of hanging wall, explaining
the series of faults, informative
marker about buried bottles of wine as a sort of time capsule, another view, closer view, overview display, discussions about
We got back in the car and headed to our next stop. The
scenery and villages are very picturesque, but it is difficult to take
photos in the moving car. We stopped at an outcrop of mid-Jurassic
limestone and underlying gray marls of Liassic age (Lower Jurassic).
We stopped at a vineyard and looked at an outcrop of Posidonia shale
(Toarcian)(= the famous Posidonienschiefer in Germany, Wikipedia entry).
Le Caveau de BacchusIn the village of Montigny-les-Arsures, we then stopped at Le Caveau de
Bacchus winery and went to their cellar
(cave). We met the owner, Lucien Aviet and sampled eight different
wines. It was a very interesting
place and interesting family.
- the village,
the winery's sign,
closer view, covered entrance, closer view, the cellar, Lucien in checked
shirt, casks, more casks, Bacchus carving, cartoon of casks, geological cask
(geology students at the university have special parties here),
Lucien's son Vincent,
yet another, and another, more casks, bottles, more bottles, wine tasting, one of the wines, box of wine,
We then went to the restaurant "La Finette" in Arbois, the town
which Louis Pasteur came. I had two regional dishes, a potted pork for
entre, and the regions sausage on lentils, plus we had a regional wine.
I took photos.
We then went to a wine cooperative, Fruitiere Viticole d'Arbois (their website),
where they showed us the
big stainless steel vats and wooden casks. The vineyard owners bring
their grapes here and here they are transformed into wine.
for the winery, the old maison,
of the maison, artwork
about wine making,
of winery, stainless steel vats,
wooden aging casks,
glass for viewing, another
view, close-up of skim
that forms naturally on fermenting wine,
Next door we toured a cheese making establishment, Fruitiere du Plateau
Arboisien (their website).
make Morbier which has a thin charcoal streak through it. This region
also makes Comte and we've had plenty of that as well.
We drove some distance and came to Salines
Royales, a sort of
museum and hotel (Wikipedia entry).
Salines Royales was built to make salt from brine
to our building, more
walking, old salt works,
the works, another
my room, another view, bathroom, another view, view from my window,
We drove to the nearby village, Arc-et-Senans, and had dinner at Le Relais
d'Arc et Senans. It was an old relay station for the horseback post. I
had sole rolled up with olives, also had aubergine, and samphire (a
succulent that grows along the coast—we have it). I had a local beer
flavored with gentian. The food was delicious and we had long
We rode back to the salt works and walked through some of the gardens.
We went back to our rooms and I was in bed by 11. I was very tired.
4 July, Wednesday
I got up around 7 and took a shower. I packed my things because we
We went to another stone building for breakfast. I had coffee,
baguette, ham, morbier and another local blue cheese, yogurt, and a
I went back to my room and wrote in my journal. I gathered my
things and took them to the car. Everyone on this trip is very nice and
I enjoy their company. I'm happy it's a small group. The next field
trip is a large group, I am told.
At 9:30 we met with an English-speaking guide who took us on a
tour of the salt works. The factory was designed by the famous French
architect, Claude Nicolas Ledoux (Wikipedia entry)
who led a very interesting life in its own right. I
took lots of photos.
of Salines Royales when it was planned, another view, architectural displays, design for brothel, more displays, Ledoux sign, art exhibit in salt works
structure, wooden pipes
to route water to salt works, long route
for brackish water, one of Michel's
After the tour we got back into the car, my turn to ride
shotgun. So far, our field trip stops have been on the east side of the
Rhône graben, the vineyards were in the west-facing slopes of the
we cross the graben and the rest of the field trip will be on the west
side of the graben.
We stopped at a small town, St. Leger sur Dheune, and ate at a
restaurant on a canal, Restaurant le Marchand.
I ordered veal head and a Picon beer which is flavored with three
herbs. The veal was covered with mustard, dill, parsley, chopped
pickles, etc. The flavor was nice. There was not much meat in the head
and it seemed to have lots of fat which I did not eat. At the end of
the meal, they asked me why I did not eat much of it and I mentioned
the fat. They said that it was not fat, but connective tissue which one
was supposed to eat. Oh well, next time I will know. It was good.
and boat, bicyclers,
bridge over canal, another view, our restaurant, walking, our view, our table, another view, front of menu, my dish, closer view,
side of bridge, another
We then went to a small vineyard, Domaine Jeannin-Naltet, in Mercurey.
the terroir and then we tasted four dry red wines from the fields that
we visited. I really liked all four, but especially the tannin-rich one
we tried last. I bought a bottle to share with everyone later. We
skipped one stop in order to save time (but picked it back up on the
last day) and we also re-ordered some stops..
of Jeannin-Naltet, closer
view, and another,
the maison, fermentation vats, another view, closer view, new aging
barrels, another view, brass fittings, shop display, wine tasting, first wine, second one, third wine, the fourth, all four,
Our next stop was an old hotel (hospital), Hospices de Beaune, in
in 1445 to assist the poor (Wikipedia entry).
It was a very interesting and photogenic
museum and we had English audio guides to help us understand it all. I
took lots of photographs again.
street in Beaune, plaque
for Beaune, another
to hospices, closer
main hall, a bed, stained glass and roof
for wealthy, model
of hospice, kitchen,
view, yet another,
We then drove to Bouchard Aine & Fils winery and went on
their tasting tour. The lady that led us was Chinese from Hangzhou. I
recited a Chinese poem about Hangzhou and she was very surprised to
at gate, another,
buildings, hmmm, wine tasting, first wine, stored bottles, second bottle, tools, another view, more tasting,
At 6 pm we headed to Dijon
to our accommodations. We got to
Hotel Le Sauvage about 6:45.
Then we walked to our restaurant, Dr. Wine
at 7. Loïc walked us past some very interesting old half-timbered
homes, churches, and official buildings. There also is a pedestrian
area that was part of our walk. I would like to come back and explore
sometime. At the restaurant, we sat outside in a courtyard under a
courtyard-sized umbrella and it started to rain. Loïc had to pre-order
our food and we had regionally famous dishes. Our first course was a
potted pork, second course was beef bourguignon and mashed potatoes,
and dessert was a black currant sauce with mousse and crumbles. Loïc
picked a Chardonnay for the first part and a Marsault red for the
second part, and finally expresso at the end. Everything was delicious.
It started raining harder, the wind picked up and it began to thunder.
It rained pretty much the entire meal and it actually became chilly.
After we finished, we walked back in the rain, only Patrick thought to
bring an umbrella.
to restaurant, repurposed old
timbered building, pedestrian
street, half-timbered buildings,
building and placard,
Notre Dame de Dijon,
closer view, another view, yet another,
- Our table
at Dr. Wine, a toast,
back, old building,
back of Notre
Dame, Palace of
the Burgundy Dukes, Place
de la Liberation in the rain, entrance
to hotel compound,
We got back to our rooms by ten.
I brushed my teeth, etc. and filled out my notebook. I went to bed by
5 July, Thursday
It rained off and on throughout the night, but I didn't hear
any thunder. I got up a little before 7, brushed my teeth and took a
I joined the others for breakfast. I had Emmental cheese, ham,
croissant, yogurt, and coffee.
We made geologic stops in the fog and some light rain. We
looked at limestones and, at one place, very fossiliferous marls with
extremely abundant, loose terebratulid brachiopods, bivalves, and I
found two whole cidaroids. I took a lot of photos.
of countryside, another
view with vineyards, blue
of fields, fossil hash
in red-colored limestone, another
slopes, light rain
and fog, another
view, walk in
the mist, limestone
fracture in limestone, cidaroid
echinoids, thin- to medium-bedded limestone,
in calcareous shale, rugose bivalve,
terebratulid side view,
folds and sulcus, nice
nice ribbed bivalve
with epizoans, another
and shale, fossilferous shale
and overlying limestone,
We next went to a vineyard and the oldest medieval church, Fixey
the region (10th and 11th centuries). I took photos here as well. It's
a small church. It is not
- gravel road and vineyards,
the church, sign, view of church, another sign, inside, another view, wood-vaulted roof, another view, round window, roof and doorway, enclosure wall,
We spent some time in the car traversing a lot of Grand
Crus vineyards (Wikipedia entry),
the is the Rue de les Grand Crus.
We went to an abbey which was also a vineyard, Château of Clos Vougeot
and toured it. The abbey was started in 1110 AD. [Family note: It was
here that Patrick told me that
Phillip Tacquet, the paleontologist was a Huguenot. I feel certain that
we are related because I descend from a Phillip Tacquet (line now
Tackett) who was also a Huguenot who settled in the American colonies
after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.]
- the chateau,
entrance, placard, sign, bottles of wine, stained glass, courtyard, corner, well room, pulley system for well, another view, courtyard again, courtyard from above, rafters, cart, room available for
giant wine press, sign,
actual giant wine press,
another one, yet another, another view, cart, view of their vineyard,
We continued our drive
past Grand Crus vineyards.
We drove through Nuit
where the name Cote de Nuit got its
name. We went to the Campaillette boulangerie-patisserie and
got five ham-cheese
baguette sandwiches, and it was raining very hard. We went to a little
picnic area and the rain quit. We ate our sandwiches and shared the
bottle of wine (Mercurey 1er Cru, Les Naugues,
Jeannin-Naltet) that I bought yesterday. It was a nice, but
We then went to the Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson vineyard
and tasted about ten of their wines,
all organic, which is unusual. Their wines were excellent.
We had a long drive and it rained off and on. I took a couple
of naps. We stopped to look at an ancient salt work, a Gothic cathedral
in a small town, Yonne, and then drove more.
- vineyards on the slopes of Corton Hill, truck, Patrick riding
- Notre Dame
(Commune de Saint Pere, Yonne) taken from car (we returned and had a
closer look, see below),
for Les Fontaines Salees (ancient salt springs, Wikipedia entry),
old works (the
site was closed when we were there),
of Notre Dame (Commune de Saint Pere), another view, closer view, sign for
bell tower, small flying
Gothic vaulted ceiling,
other side of
bell tower, another
We got out at a
walked up a long hill till we got to the Basilique of
Vezelay (Vezelay Abbey, Wikipedia entry).
We were inside when it started raining hard. After half an
hour, it let up some, and we walked back down the hill. I got pretty
damp by the time we got down.
street up the hill, another
another, the Basilique,
yet another, upper part of doorway,
stone rats, other side of doorway,
closer view, inside the church, choir video, view from side
blowing in video,
We drove some more and got to the town Nitry. Our hotel is
Hotel de la Beursaudiere (their website).
This is a very eclectic place, all sorts of
antiques and rambling hallways and rooms. It's a very nice and
entertaining place as well.
sign at our hotel, gate
to restaurant courtyard,
to rooms, courtyard,
my room, another view, bathroom, another view, toilet, later my room, antiques in room, more antiques, courtyard near my
After a few minutes we went to the hotel restaurant Auberge de
la Beursaudiere (their website).
I ordered escargot for entre, a cheese-walnut tart
with salad and potatoes, and for dessert, crème brulee. Loïc picked a
regional Chablis and a red for the table. It was another excellent
I got back to my room by 10:30 and filled out my notebook. I
was unable to log onto the internet. I brushed my teeth and soon went
6 July, Friday
Several sets of bells tolled at seven. I got up, brushed my
teeth, and took a shower. We had breakfast at 8. I had coffee, sliced
baguette, old cheese Epoise, aged ham, croissant with bramble honey,
We checked out and I bought an unusual candlestick holder for Anne (I
hope it makes it through airport security; it did!).
We went to several Jurassic outcrops and saw some coral reefs.
I took lots of photos.
to outcrop, crossbedded
the geology, overview, closer view, closer
- limestone quarry,
with coral reefs, another
climber, boat in
We drove on to Irancy
and stopped at the Gabin et Felix Richoux winery.
Here we tasted wines from the same grapes and the same plots, but from
different years. We started at 2013 and had a taste from each year to
2008. It was amazing the difference, largely based on weather
differences for each year.
- the Richoux
to cellar, closer
tasting with owner,
of wine tasting, vineyards
of Irancy, closer view,
legend, explanation, some of their wines, wines we tasted, another view, Loïc, Patrick, John, Oeva,
We walked down the street to a restaurant Le Soufflot on Rue
Soufflot, named after the famous architect, Jacques-Germain Soufflot
who designed the Pantheon in
Paris. I had smoked salmon for entrée and grilled beef for main course.
Loïc chose a red wine for the table.
We walked back to our care and drove a short distance to a
nice overlook for photos and then hit the road for a long drive to our
We stopped at a Lutetian age (Eocene) paleontologic site, La Cave aux
Coquillages (their website)
In this case, it had been a cave dug into the soft Eocene limestone for
storage of wine or champagne. The
owners discovered many fossil sea shells and converted it into a sort
of walk-through museum. The large Campanile
giganteum (Wikipedia entry)
marine snails were especially impressive. I took lots of photos. They
also had their own
champagne and we tasted it.
at street, sign,
through the cave, fossils,
large one in
roof, another, more large ones, active site, another view, more specimens, so abundant, another view, yet another, nautiloid, more Campanile,
soil profile for
tasting (Domaine Legrand-Latour),
of large Campanile
in the gift shop, display
of fossils for sale, more of the large
smaller ones too, kit
for preparation, with price
tag, their champagne,
We drove to Épernay
in the heart of Champagne country and
stayed at an interstate-type hotel, Hotel Campanile, without any charm.
After ten minutes
we re-boarded out car and went to downtown Épernay to a very nice
restaurant, La Table Kobus
(Michelin rated)(their website).
I ordered lamb rolled up and wrapped with thin ham.
Everyone laughed when I ordered because I really butchered the
pronunciation. I had a local dark beer for drink. For dessert, I had an
apricot dish and cafe americano.
- Notre Dame
- the restaurant,
rated, view from
our table, menu,
my local beer,
my lamb, another view, yet
another, my impressive
We then walked along the Avenue de Champagne (Wikipedia entry)
with all the champagne
company mansions lit up at night.
for the famous avenue,
Moet & Chandon,
yet another, and another, yet
another, Perrier Jouet,
mansion, another, yet another, Collard-Picard, another view, yet another, Esterlin, another view, Leclerc Briant, Pol Roger &
Co., Venoge, a mansion, Boizel, another view, Michel Gonet, another view, a mansion, Paul-Etienne Saint Germain,
We got back to the hotel just before midnight. Everyone is very
happy because France just won the next round in football. I brushed my
teeth, and wrote in my journal. I went to bed a little after midnight.
7 July, Saturday
I got up at 7:30, brushed my teeth, and took a shower. I also
packed up. I then joined the others for breakfast. I had ham,
emmenthaler, something like yogurt (fromage blanc, Wikipedia entry), really good honey,
cut fruit, croissant, crepe, and lots of coffee. All of our meals have
been included, which was a pleasant surprise. We have had excellent
meals throughout this trip.
We loaded into our car at 9 and headed toward Reims (rrahns).
We went to the famous Reims Cathedral (Wikipedia entry)
where most of the French kings
- Reims Cathedral,
closer view, another view, yet another, and
of doorway, another
view, front of
view, another view,
Adenauer-de Gaulle meeting,
necks, demon, statues, interior, stained glass window, vaulted ceiling, circular window with
with fake oculus, vault,
list of kings
crowned here, high
glass, more, model of church, colors from windows, another view, three modern windows, Marc Chagall windows, sign for Marc Chagall
windows, Joan of
pipe organ, gargoyles, side view of church, corner, toward the back side, gargoyles, going to hell, rising from the dead, another view, songbird, another view, those dancers again, another view, close view, another view, yet another,
Next we toured the Vranken-Pommery Champagne cellars. These were
galleries that were dug into Cretaceous chalk. At the end of the tour
we tasted a Brut and a vintage champagne.
Pommery, the grounds,
cellar, sign, map of region, another view, label for map, lady posing in front of
giant cask, two beautiful ladies,
view, elephant, sign,
- bas relief
in cave, skylight,
in the deep cellar, bottles, large bottles, bacchanal bas relief, walkway, carving, old bottles, stairway,
- champagne tasting,
ready, two types,
another view, yet another, shopping, the two tastings, Ms. Pommery,
We stopped at a boulangerie-patisserie and got a variety of
things to try for lunch. We drove a bit and found a picnic area, and
had our lunch.
- the boulangerie,boulangerie, another view, the patisserie, another view, yet another, Oeva,
We drove a short distance to Chartillion sur Marne
saw the large statue of Pope Urban II who infamously started the first
Crusade (Wikipedia entry).
was from this village. This stop was actually planned for Friday, but
we cut it to save time.
- old church,
another view, inscription, statue of Urban II, inscription, view from hill, another view, overview map, a ruin, old building, grape sign,
After that, we had a long drive back
We ended up at Curie University campus of Sorbonne. We said our
good-byes and I
walked a short distance to my next hotel, Hotel Saint Christophe on Rue
Lacepede. The desk had my reservation, but it started tomorrow.
Somehow, I miscalculated (I did not receive the updated itinery until a
couple of days before I left). However, they had room, so I was able to
check in. I got to my room about six.
Because our days in the field were very long, I didn't have
time to type my journal. Over the next few days, I should be able to do
I washed three of my shirts in the sink, and hung them on my little
balcony. I don't think it will rain.
I went out for a little walk. I made my way to Place de la
Contrescarpe again. It is a busy Saturday evening. The Place is ringed
by cafes and everybody is out, and the weather is nice. I managed to
find a seat at an outdoor café, Delmas. I ordered Kronebourg 1664 beer
and watched the people. It's nice to relax for a change.
After awhile, I went back to my room and sent out some email
journal entries. I did not eat dinner because I was not hungry. I went
to bed shortly after.
8 July, Sunday
I got up around 7:30 and brushed my teeth. My three shirts were
dry so I folded them and washed two more and hung them out to dry. I
also typed some more.
The last couple of days, my short pants developed a large hole
in the left front pocket. I went to the front desk and asked for a
needle and thread. The two ladies gave me a tiny needle and some
thread, but none of us could thread the needle, nor even see the eye.
The only other needle they had was a large embroidery needle. I took it
to my room and repaired the pocket, then returned the needle.
I then went for a morning walk north and south on Rue Monge.
There was hardly any traffic this early Sunday morning. I luckily came
across a farmers' market at Place Monge which was very interesting. I
took lots of photos.
- Roman arena,
inscription, historical marker, produce, Rue Monge, another
at Place Monge, produce
stand, crepes, cheese, meat, fountain, flowers, more, cheese, more flowers,
city wall, inscription,
another, another view,
When I came back to my room, it was being cleaned, so I went
to the lobby to write in my journal. I met several people from South
Africa as they were checking in. They were also attending the
conference. They were all vertebrate paleontologists.
When my room was cleaned I returned to it and typed for hours.
I was able to catch up to today in my journal. I sent out many email
At 3:15 I walked to Curie University and to the IPC5
registration. I got my credentials, program, cloth bag, and many other
items. They also had a nice spread of wine and cheeses, bread, and
fruit. I ate a lot of the cheeses, there were five or six varieties. I
talked to several people I knew, but not as many as I expected.
Three of us went to the Place de la Contrescarpe and had a
Kronebourg beer. It's pretty warm, but in the shade, it's not too bad.
The conference starts tomorrow and there is nothing planned
for tonight. I walked a bit and then returned to my room. I washed the
shirt I wore today and hung it out to dry. I took a shower and then
caught up in my journal. I am assuming I won't have a whole lot to
write about during the conference.
I brushed my teeth and then studied the program for tomorrow's talks. I
went to bed by 11.
9 July, Monday
I got up at 7:30 and brushed my teeth. I removed my shirt from
the balcony railing and folded it up. I typed out yesterday's entry and
sent it out.
I went to the breakfast room in the basement. Breakfast is not
included in my room rate. I waited and waited, meanwhile the lady
served other people who came in later. She just did not notice me. I
finally got up and left. I went to a café a short distance from the
hotel and got a nice coffee and croissant. I sat outside and read my
program. There will be coffee breaks during the conference so I won't
need breakfast after today.
I went to the plenary sessions and saw invited talks about
fossil wood in southern Africa, early animal life, and giant dinosaurs
For lunch, I walked back to Delmas on Place de la Contrescarpe
and had a salmon club sandwich on flat bread, a salad, french fries,
and a red wine from Irancy (where we had been). This seems to be my
After lunch I went to a long series of talks on the Ediacaran
fossils. I was able to stay awake for most of it. I was glad to see
more old friends from previous trips. The talks ended at six and I
walked back to my hotel.
I am still absolutely stuffed from my late lunch. I walked to
Delmas again and had a beer and stayed a long time to people watch.
from Delmas, musicians at the Place de la Contrescarpe video,
At 9:30 I went back to my room and wrote in my journal. I did my
evening ablutions and then went to bed.
10 July, Tuesday
I got up at 7 and brushed my teeth. I went down to breakfast
and this time the lady noticed me. I said good morning to the
vertebrate paleontologists as well. I had coffee, baguette, and jam. I
studied the program for this morning's talks. It is cloudy for a
change, so I may take my umbrella.
I took a shower, washed out yesterday's shirt, and hung it out to dry.
I went to the morning sessions including one on large igneous
provinces and extinctions, Ediacaran and Cambrian faunas, and another
on Devonian faunas. I did not eat lunch, but had coffee and snacks at
the coffee breaks. I attended Ediacaran and Cambrian talks in the
afternoon. I found out from my friend Markus Arretz that the next
Carboniferous Congress will be in Cologne in 2019. I plan to attend.
At six we left the sessions and a thousand of us walked to the
back of the museum for a group photo. After that we went into the
Grande Galerie de L'Evolution of the Museum of Natural History, closed
for us to have a
"Dinotoire" with lots of food and champagne.
another, the gallery,
sign, the main hall, another view, yet another, elephant and tiger, display on evolution, overview, Loic, fish, aquatic life, mola, chimaerid, another view, baleen whale,
After an hour or so there, I went to Place de la Contrescarpe
again and had a beer. Apparently tonight is a big football night and
France beat Belgium in a close game, that means France will be #1 or #2 in the World Cup in Russia. It was very loud and the
crowds were rowdy. I filmed part of it. And I clapped and chanted with
them, having no idea what they were saying.
I got back to my hotel by ten or so and filled out my journal. Many
horns are still honking and people are still shouting.
11 July, Wednesday
I got up at 7:30. I brushed my teeth and went down to
breakfast. I had baguette, jam, Gouda cheese, fruit cup, yogurt, and
coffee with milk.
I went back to my room, typed out some entries, and sent out
email entries. I took a shower and washed and hung out yesterday's
Today is a non-session day. I'm free this morning, but I have
a geological walk this afternoon. I read the guidebook for the walk in
About ten, I walked to the paleontological building at the far
corner of the museum/botanical-garden complex. I bought my 9 euro
and went in. It is set up in the classic style, especially the
invertebrate floor with display case and underlying collection drawers.
I took lots of photos including some from Big Bone Lick, Kentucky.
- walking past the botany and geology building,
- bronze sculpture
on paleontology building,
bird carving, another, monkeys, Stegasaurus,
the Lazarus species Wollemia nobilis,
- the vertebrate
view, the amphibian Dutuitosaurus,
tooth whorl, sign,
ray, ray-finned fish,
fish, sign, Lepidotus
fish, unusual dorsal fin of Exellia,
deep bodied Mene,
sloth, sign, Glyptodon,
sign, the proboscids, mastodon tooth from
Big Bone Lick, Kentucky, label,
sign, ratite birds, Sarcosuchus,
head, label, Dromeosaurus,
label, Mastodon from Big Bone
floor, coiled cephalopods,
sand dollars, view of vertebrate
A little after noon, I walked to Rue Monge and found the
café/restaurant "le village Monge." I had roasted chicken, mashed
potatoes, bread, and a Broilly white wine from Burgundy.
When I finished, I walked quickly to a meeting point at the
museum for a geological walk through the Latin Quarter. It was
interesting and we had lots of good discussion. I also saw more of my
old friends that I hadn't seen yet. We saw lots of military aircraft
flying overhead the duration of our walk; this is practice for Bastille
Day which will be this Saturday. We ended up at a Roman arena built
almost 2,000 years ago. I took lots of photos.
- water used to show coiled nautiloid
in paver stone, looking
at nautiloids, another
view, yet another
map of France, another
view, leader of
walk on the right, two kinds
of stone, another
view, liesegang bands
in sandstone, old quarry,
another view, hill of debris, polished slab of
granite cobbles, rough and porous rock,
old quarry, different
paver stones, location
of ancient foundation (Curie University), cross-bedded limestone
at Roman arena
cross beds, another view, the arena, the stone,
I then went back to my room about 4 pm. I took a nap and then
filled out my journal. I typed some, and backed up my photos. I also
went over the program for tomorrow morning. I did not go out to eat
because I was still full from lunch. I watched BBC and then went to bed
12 July, Thursday
I got up at 7:30 and brushed my teeth. I went down to breakfast
and had a granola-like cereal, fruit cup, croissant, cheese, and
coffee. I went back to my room and took a shower and then headed out to
I went to a series of talks on lagerstätten (look it up in
Wikipedia, lagerstätte) in the same lecture theatre that Lamarck used.
After that I went to my room. I may be coming down with a cold
or allergies and tonight is the conference dinner. I had a rest, hoping
to nip it in the bud.
At 5:30, I took another shower and got ready for the dinner. I'm taking
my sport coat although it is warm out.
I left the hotel at six and walked to the quay at the eastern
end of the botanical gardens of the museum. Hundreds of us waited there
for our two restaurant boats for our big conference dinner. This is not
the normal stop for the boats and there was no room at the quay for
them to dock, so hundreds of us had to walk to a bridge, cross the
Seine, and then walk back to a boat slip. Eventually we all got on
board. I ended up sitting next to a young German fellow who was working
on his PhD in Plymouth, England, and a young Muslim lady and her mother
from South Africa. The young lady is a PhD student and she brought her
mother along on this trip.
The boats cruised up and down the Seine and, as the sky
darkened, all the lights came on all over the city. We were served red
and white wine, a snack, fish in a sauce with peas and asparagus, and a
dessert with red berries, thin cake, meringue, and sauce. The two
Muslim ladies adhered to Halal and didn't drink wine or the main
course. They had a vegetarian dinner instead.
of the restaurant boats, a friend
of mine and his crew, our white
wine, the view, another view, my foie gras, shore view, our red wine, the fish dish, dinosaur on another boat, going under a bridge, Eiffel Tower, another view, yet another, and another, another,
We ended at the Eiffel Tower at 10:30. No transportation back
to the university was offered and most people took metros back. The two
Muslim ladies were apprehensive about the Metro, so I walked them back
to their hotel about 1.5 hours away. I got back to my hotel by 12:30.
I brushed my teeth, filled out my journal, and went to bed.
13 July, Friday
I got up at eight, brushed my teeth, and took a shower. I
washed out yesterday's shirt and hung it out to dry.
I went to the
talks a little after 9. Today is the last day of talks. I went to the
morning sessions, chiefly ones on fish fossils and fish evolution. I
had lots of coffee and pastries at coffee break and looked at some of
the poster presentations.
I got back to my room by 12:30. I thought there were afternoon
sessions but the morning sessions were the last. There are a few
meetings dealing with the next Congress and other congress issues, but
I don't usually attend those. I wrote in my journal and typed a bit.
I went to Delmas at Contrescarpe again. I had a large
hamburger, fries, and a Kronebourg 1664 beer. It was too much to
finish. I stayed there for hours though. I walked north to the Seine
again, but I was not hungry enough for dinner when the time came.
I eventually made my way back to my room where I typed, sent
out email entries, and backed up my camera. I watched a little BBC and
then went to bed.
14 July, Saturday
Happy Bastille Day!
Let me tell you how I spent Bastille Day. I started early, at 1
am, my stomach started hurting. You could hear the thump, thump, thump
of bands playing up and down the neighborhood. By three, my stomach was
hurting so badly that I couldn't sleep. It's the worst stomach ache
I've ever had. This wasn't the usual travelers stomach problems with
vomiting and diarrhea. There was none of that. I couldn't get in any
comfortable position, lying down, sitting, standing or walking, so I
did all of those for the next three hours. I had several cases of dry
heaves, but nothing else.
At six I went down to the desk and asked the night clerk to
call the hospital. An ambulance came and took me to the University
Hospital—I did not know where I was at the time. They did a bunch of
tests and took blood and urine. They said that my dry heaves were from
the pain, I didn't know pain could do that. After the tests, they gave
me morphine. The morphine finally kicked in and I was able to rest for
The doctor came in and confirmed that my illness wasn't an
infection. He pushed on my stomach and back some more and told me that
I had kidney stones. I had considered that as one of the possibilities
myself, but had had no experience with them to know.
After the morphine wore off, they gave me different IV drugs
that targeted the kidney stones and the pain they cause. That seemed to
work very well. Around noon the doctor came around and gave me
but he thought that the worst of it was over. I thanked him and he said
I was free to go. They will send me a bill.
My cell phone still had a charge when I left, so I opened the
maps app. It turns out that I was at the University Hospital and about
1-2 miles from my hotel. It was a nice day, so I walked back to my
When I got to my room I took a shower and washed out my shirt.
The shower felt great. I was pretty tired, so I drank some water and
took a nap. The nap turned out to be a long sleep, I'm sure I needed
it. I filled out my journal and typed it out. I was expecting a lot of
neighborhood celebrations this afternoon and evening like we have on
July 4th. Most of the people here live in apartments and there are no
yards, and, I guess, that makes a difference. Most of the big
festivities are planned for the Champs Elysees. And that is too far for
me to walk today.
For the evening I stayed in my room and watched the BBC. I went to bed
15 July, Sunday
I heard some thunderstorms throughout the night. I got up at
6:30 and it started raining. I sent out an email entry and then went
down to breakfast. I am still not hungry and I haven't eaten since
Friday's lunch. But I thought I should eat. I had yogurt, coffee, fruit
cup, cheese, and croissant.
Today is a travel day. I start my second geology field trip this
afternoon, so I started packing. I also took a shower.
I checked out at 11 and stayed in the lobby till 12. At 12, I
walked to the meeting point for the field trip to Anjou. My left kidney
started hurting again. I found the group and told the leader that I had
been sick. I started getting pretty bad pains for the first two hours
of traveling. One of my Chinese friends, Huang, talked to me to help me
keep my mind off the pain, and it really helped. After about two hours,
it subsided and I could sleep. It was not as bad as yesterday's pain.
We arrived at a complex of caves dug into the Miocene rock, Les
Perrieres Centre (their website) in Doué-La-Fontaine.
This is part museum and part hostel. All the men are
in a couple of rooms on the ground floor and the women are on the floor
above. These are very nice facilities.
lot, sweeping crossbeds
of shallow marine calcarenites, another
to rooms complex, barracks,
in bathroom, toilet,
controls for temperature),
They had a computer projector and we watched the big
France-Croatia game in Moscow. France won and everyone was very happy
here. I drank two small beers in hopes of flushing my kidneys.
I took a shower, but had no towel. I was a little wet for
awhile. We went to dinner and had vegetables with couscous, green
beans, bread, apple pie, and Anjou rouge and blanc.
I went to be in the dorm about ten.
16 July, Monday
I got up at 7:30, but didn't sleep much because of dormitory
sleeping. Someone was up every half hour, or snoring. I did feel much
better, however. I found that taking naproxen reduced inflammation of
the kidney and I had no pain. I brushed my teeth and went to breakfast
at 8. We all had the same thing, baguette, butter, jam, drink, Frosted
Flakes, milk. For drink I had coffee with milk. They gave several of us
towels and soap.
We went to the field and saw some interesting sites. The field trip is "Fieldtrip Booklet: Anjou Noir,
Anjou Blanc, Anjou Rouge: Paleontology and Geology of the Loire Valley,"
by Fabrice Redois, Damien Germain, and Gael Clement. The director
from the Angers Natural History Museum, Benoit Mellier, joined us and
he sat next to me. We talked a lot and he asked me where I was from. I
said Kentucky. He said he really liked a musician from Kentucky and he
asked me if I'd ever heard of Bill Monroe. He started playing the banjo
because he was amazed at Bill Monroe's music. I told him that my
daughter, Nora also played the banjo.
in the Perrieres center on way to bus,
in Ordovician slate (that we will visit), the Loire, another view with longitudinal
levee, field of
flowers, in the bus,
- Stop 1: Trélazé
(deep mines for Ordovician roofing slates)
composite flower, Fabrice
(a very entertaining fellow), blue
blue flower, bush
with berries, road
to hilltop, view from hill, discussion, overlook map, more purple flowers, headframe at top of
deep mine, information
board about slate mining, sawn end
We visited a historical outcrop, La Roche de Mûrs and the nearby
vineyard. La Roche de Mûrs is where Royalists forced six hundred
Republicans over the cliff to their deaths during the French
Revolution. This is an outcrop of Ordovician and Silurian strata. We
talked to the owner of the nearby vineyard and his spokesman. At lunch
in a park, we had
sandwiches, etc., and tried some of their wine. It was very good. The
owner gave me his card with photograph.
- Stop 2: La Roche de Mûrs in Mûrs-Erigné, memorial to the
hundreds that plunged to their deaths here, placard, another view, the cliff, cliff top, our group, view from cliff, Louet River (branch of
the Loire), another
in the river, another
- the adjacent
at city park, semi-enclosed urinals,
on road to next stop, another
to early flight attempt by Rene Gasnier (Wikipedia entry), another view, vineyard, another view,
We stopped at a Pennsylvanian-age pull-apart basin and saw an
old coal mine and associated geology. People collected some plant
fossils from the spoil pile.
- Stop 3: Les Malécots in Chaudefonds-sur-Layon: headframe replica for
old coal mine, closer
placard, bus and
vineyard, another view, yet another, mine spoil, plant
fossils on the spoil,
across the road, trench
view with lycopod stump (nearly upside down), geologic explanation, another one, the trench, lycopod stump, another one, yet another, outcrop on other side
of trench, volcanic
view, yet another,
and another, another, and another, outcrop, Stigmaria,
We went to a Peugeot car lot, walked behind it and looked at an
Ordovician-Silurian contact with graptolites.
We also went to the natural history museum in Angers and had a
sparkling wine party provided by city officials.
We spent several hours at the museum, it was closed to the public while
we were there.
- bus view
of Chateau d'Angers (Wikipedia entry),
begun in 9th century, closer
to museum, rotunda,
with Director Benoit, explanation,
(we will visit one later), modern
chateau, another chateau, base of old windmill, windmill,
The bus driver, Francois, took us back to the caves where we
were staying and we had dinner. We had bread, vegetables, salad,
potatoes, fish, broccoli, and red and white wine. I also had beer for
my kidneys. After dinner, I took a shower.
People gathered in the courtyard and played Petanque (Wikipedia entry),
like bocce ball. The balls were metallic and much heavier, and the
polina was called cochonella (?), little pig.
Then I went to bed around 11:30.
17 July, Tuesday
I got up at 7:45 and brushed my teeth. Then I went to
breakfast. I had a nectarine, baguette, jam, butter, cereal, and lots
of coffee. I mixed some with hot chocolate to have mocha. Back at the
dorm, I caught up on my journal.
We started our field trip and Benoit sat next to me again,
wearing a "I love banjo music" T-shirt. We stopped at a quarry and
collected very many ammonites and other fossils from the Middle
Jurassic limestones. I gave my fossils away, but
took lots of photos. The bus driver, Francois, got into it and
collected a large quantity. We were all given yellow vests with IPC5 on
it to keep as a souvenir.
to the bus, field
of sunflowers, closer
chateau, closer view, city wall,
- Stop 6: Saint-Éloi quarry at Montreuil-Bellay: Fabrice explaining the
geology, one of
the pits, our yellow
large one, another one, gastropod steinkern, cleaned up, overview, small ammonite, bivalve, ammonite?, belemnite, large ammonite, bivalve with Serpula worm
view, ammonite, larger ammonite?, terebratulid?, ammonite, bivalve, part of large
other side, another, ammonite fragment, bivalve internal mold,
ammonite, another one, bivalve, bivalve?, bivalve, brachiopod?, nautiloid, ammonite, group of fossils, belemnite, group of fossils
including nautiloid, group
of fossils, large ammonite,
We got back on the bus for our next stop for lunch. We went to
a park below the Montreuil-Bellay
castle and had a nice ham and cheese
sandwich, potato chips, and red
and white wine. I also had a nectarine.
We walked from the lunch stop up a hill to the Montreuil-Bellay castle
part of which dates
back to the 11th century.
of castle, another,
priory, sign for
priory and church, the ruins,
steps up to
castle, view of
ruins, flowers, rocks in wall, Fabrice explaining
wear on softer rock, upper
town street, castle
plan, the castle,
castle gate, another view, another gate, sign, taking photos, lady under umbrella,
We re-boarded our bus and had a 25-minute ride to our next
stop. We stopped at Ackerman winery and toured their caverns cut into
Late Cretaceous limestones. They make
sparkling wines and we sampled a white, pink, and red. My favorite was
- Stop 7: Ackerman cellars and the Tuffeau d'Anjou at Saumur:
building, the limestone
the cellars, skylight,
more of the
tilted to control sediment, bottle
exhibit in cellars, another
another, sign in
cellar game room, bowls
on curved board, another
ready for tasting, first
sparkling wine, the pink,
We got back on the bus and drove along the Loire River. We
stopped at a small UNESCO world heritage town, Saint-Saturnin-sur-Loire,
and looked at Eocene
to City Hall. We had a nice view of the Loire Valley.
We next headed to an old windmill close to a castle. This was Domaine
Bablut (their website)
and the tasting cellar was in the stone part, or lower part of a
windmill. The windmill is no longer there. We met the owner, Mr.
Daviau, whose family owned the domaine since the 16th century. The wine
we tasted was called "Ordovician" because the grapes were grown on
Ordovician slates. It was a very nice white wine.
The winery itself is located on Ordovician-Silurian sandstone.
- the Loire
and its sandbars, another
view, a passing
flatboats with masts, windmill,
- Stop 8: Saint-Saturnin-sur-Loire: succulent on Eocene
from Fabrice, walk
to city hall, another
rock walls, interpreted
as rooting, Eocene sandstone
exposure, leaf imprints
in sandstone block next to city hall, another view, UNESCO monument, another view, broad
part (i.e., Paris Basin part) of Loire
Valley, Neolithic dolmen,
- Stop 9: Domaine Bablut at Brissac-Quincé: stone base of
room under the windmill, entering
the shop, asian
for tasting, the
view up to
windmill base, Ordovicien
axes, celts, holding a hand axe,
went back to our cave dormitory. The mayor of this town, Douné La
Fontaine, gave us a champagne reception and he welcomed us
Then a truck with a large, round oven came and made special pocket
bread. When that was ready, we sliced o
pen the pockets
and put a variety of ingredients into it. Choices were minced pork,
minced salmon, baked pork, herb butter, butter, goat cheese, and
camembert. If you wanted a sweet one, they had home-made jams, salted
caramel, chocolate, and other things. We also had a large variety of
wines especially chosen for us by one of the crew.
- the cook
making the pocket bread, another
view, the special
oven, balls of
the dough, rollers
to flatten the dough, ready
to go into oven, cooked
bread, video, cutting
the bread open, another
cooked bread, even
more, jars of meat
and other items to put in the pocket bread, closer view, Chinese participant, wine selection, filled pocket, another view, dinner,
A young man, Valentine, showed us his special fossil
collection which was amazing. The specimens had been specially prepared
and shown in display cases.
is the one looking into the camera,
This was our big end-of-fieldtrip party and we all had a great time.
Everyone sang songs from their country.
I went back to the dorm at 12, brushed my teeth and went to bed.
18 July, Wednesday
I got up at 7:30, brushed my teeth, and took a shower. I went
to breakfast and had baguette, butter, home-made pear jam, Frosted
Flakes, and lots of coffee with milk and hot chocolate. After breakfast
We had a tour through the caves which was fabulous. It was an
amazing audio and video art exhibition, very creative and effective,
but hard to record.
in the morning, another
explaining the geology of the Perrieres caves, method of capping the caves,
the caves, inscription
in cave, galleries,
yet another, upper part, jellyfish in art
view, another inscription,
another, sea urchin
many, another inscription, daylight part, another view, yet another, and another, yet another, carving,
After the tour, we loaded onto the bus with our luggage. After
a long ride, we got to a stone structure called a "dolmen." These
are Neolithic burial chambers that originally had been covered by small
rocks and dirt. The large stones were Eocene quartz sands with some
bioturbation. We had our picnic lunch there. I had a baguette with tuna
fish, mayonnaise, lettuce and very ripe tomatoes. I also had potato
chips, golden apple, and a beer and red wine. After the nice lunch, we
got back on the bus. Today will be a hot day.
We stopped at a quarry in Eocene sediments to look at marine
sands, very loosely cemented. I heard a very melodic bird; Damien told
me it was the Alouette bird (a skylark), namesake of the song.
We found shark
teeth, other vertebrate bones and teeth, bivalve shells, and lots of
bryozoans, and parasitic corals on bryozoans. It was indeed hot and
sunny. I drank lots of water and took my anti-inflammatory. After and
hour or so, we got back on the bus.
with spiral steeple,
hayfield, sunflowers, more, and more, closer view,
- Stop 11: Miocene shelly sands at Saint-Laurent-de-Lin: sign for the quarry, looking for Miocene
fragments and bivalve, making
fresh exposures, sharks
fragments, another shark
bryozoa, one with parasitic
We headed toward Sauvigné
in the Tours region, not in
Anjou region. We visited a nice natural history and history museum
there and saw
lots of fossils from the Miocene strata from which we had collected
earlier. We had an afternoon coffee in the garden and the leaders, who
were staying behind, said their goodbyes. This was the last stop of the
field trip and now we head back for Paris.
We stopped at a truck stop to fill up the bus at 4:30 and most
of us got an ice cream bar. In Paris,
we arrived at the museum gardens
entrance next to the Seine where we initially met for our field trip.
We said our goodbyes and I walked about a mile to my new hotel, Hotel
Des Nations St. Germain on Rue Monge, about two blocks from my last
hotel. I checked in by 8 and took my things to the room. I wanted to
watch the news, but the TV system wasn't working. People were telling
me that I should be seeing what Trump is doing with Putin, but I
- my hotel,
lobby, wifi code, my room, another view, yet
bathroom, view from my room, another view, breakfast room, view
from breakfast room,
Anyway, I walked to Delmas on Place de la Contrescarpe again
and had a Kronebourg 1664 beer and a Delmas bowl, a big salad with nice
greens, goat cheese, rainbow radishes, cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans,
quinoa, dressing, and bread. After I finished, I had a glass of Irancy
red. It was a comfortable evening and a popular place. Several
After the meal I went back to my room and washed out three
shirts from the fieldtrip, and a pair of socks. I also took a shower. I
hung the shirts out on the small balcony and filled out my notebook. I
brushed my teeth, took my flatulence pills and went to bed by 11:30.
19 July, Thursday
I slept in and got up at 8:30. I brushed my teeth and went down
to breakfast. I had whole wheat toast, butter, marmalade, ham, sausage,
bacon, scrambled eggs, dried fruit, and lots of coffee. I will pay for
breakfast because it's not included; I will pay when I check out.
My hotel is on Rue Monge, not too busy, but a larger street
than my two previous hotels. My room is on the street side and I am
only one floor above street level. The room is quiet, however.
Today is my only relaxation day for a long time. When it was
time for the cleaning lady to come, I went to the lobby and read the
New York Times. I was shocked. I spent a good hour reading it. After
finishing that, I went back to my room. She still hadn't gotten to it,
but she came to the door as I was leaving. I said bon jour to her and
left to spend some time.
I walked to Contrescarpe again and had a large beer and
watched the people. I didn't eat because I had a large breakfast. After
a couple of hours, I went back and the room was clean. I filled out my
notebook. My shirts and socks were dry, so I brought them in and folded
I looked for any English news channel, but there were none
available at this hotel. I ended up watching Hercule Poirot in English
with French subtitles.
At 8 pm, I went to Delmas again and the whole Place was
packed. I finally found a crowded seat and ordered the Italian Salad,
Kronebourg, and Irancy. Half of the salad was like a chunky capenade
with wild capers, olives, etc. It was topped with thin slices of
country ham (prosciutto). The other half was mozzarella with spices on
greens and eggplant slice. There was also a nice ripe tomato. The salad
was served with sliced baguette.
I was pretty crowded by a guy who felt the need to swing his
arms wildly while he talked to his lady. I thought he would knock all
my dishes over. He even hit the cellphone in my back pocket. I let him
know I was there and it stopped. Otherwise, it was a nice evening.
I got back to my room at ten and filled out my journal. I
brushed my tooth, took my pills, and went to bed after watching some
mindless French TV.
20 July, Friday
I woke up at 7:30, but got up at 8. I brushed my teeth and went
down to breakfast. I had pretty much what I had yesterday, bacon,
sausage, ham, cheese, scrambled eggs, wheat toast, jam, butter, and
lots of coffee. I had a long breakfast, reading the New York Times
I got back to my room by 9:30, and took a shower. I packed my
things and checked out by 11:30. I caught a taxi to my next hotel
beyond the Arc d' Triumph. I had planned to walk there, but my recent
renal reality rendered me reticent to rally forth in such a manner,
especially in the heat of the day.
I got to my new hotel, Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile by 12:30. I
was met by Becky Regan, our tour manager for Collette Tours. She filled
me in on details of the tour that I am now starting.
- my room,
safe, my view, another view, yet
I left the hotel a little after 1 pm to walk around. I found
my way to Avenue de la Grande Armee. I walked to the Arc d'Triumph and
stopped at a couple of many motorcycle shops along the way. At the
Harley shop, I bought a couple of T-shirts and a pin. I showed them a
video of my Pan. They were impressed and asked me questions about it. I
also showed them a photo of my Fatboy.
On the way back, I bought my kidneys a large Urthiel Belgian beer. They
At 3:45, we met in the lobby with the new group. There are 27
people, mostly couples around my age. They were tourists and most had
not traveled much. They were Canadians and Americans, no other
After our briefing, we boarded our bus and went to the boat
quay on the Seine. There were thousands of people there trying to board
the tour boats going up and down the Seine. We already had our own
tickets so we boarded directly. Our boat did become pretty crowded. We
went up and down the Seine looking at the sights. If I had known in
advanced what the boat tour was like, I probably would have bailed out.
another, the Seine,
family on the tour,
from my seat on the boat, another
After awhile, we docked and got back on our bus. We went to
the Bastille area, the bus let us out and we walked to the Bofinger
Restaurant (not pronounced like you think). It was an interesting
old-style restaurant. I had French onion soup for entre, Scottish
salmon, mashed potatoes for main course. I had a red wine for drink,
but they didn't leave the bottle for us to examine. For dessert, we had
a dish with three small items, a small crème brulee, chocolate mousse,
and a small éclair.
After that nice meal, we re-boarded our bus and returned to
the hotel. I was pretty tired. I got to my room around 10:30. I filled
out my journal, brushed my teeth, and took my pills. I watched CNN and
BBC, nice to be able to see news for a change. I went to bed about
21 July, Saturday
I had a pretty rough night for about an hour last night, till I
took two more naproxen tablets (four for the evening). I got up at
6:45. I read messages from Anne about very destructive storms in
Lexington. She is still without power and there are trees down
I went to down to breakfast, which is included. There is a
tremendous variety of everything to eat. They even had kumquats. I had
croissant, coconut, pineapple, fig, kumquats, prosciutto, other ham,
nice blue cheese, and lots of coffee.
I went back to my room and took a shower. And I gathered my
things for the morning tour. I went to the lobby at 8:15 and then we
all boarded the bus for our city tour. We got out to get in line for
Notre Dame. I didn't want to do that so they told me to wait for them
at a cafe. So I sat at the cafe and people watched. At 10:30, we met
back and got on the bus. We toured the Left Bank, which I already knew.
We then went to the Right Bank and saw some of the things there. I took
lots of photos.
the bus again, fountains
at Jardins du
Chaillot in background, close
Tower, Greek Warrior statue
by Devault at Pont d'Iéna, our city
guide, the bridge,
Les Invalides, closer view, right side, left side, Grand
Palais and Alexander
III bridge, Notre
at Square Rene Viviani park, mounted
police at park, back
of Saint Séverin church, end
of Luxembourg Park, Luxor
obelisk at Place de la Concorde, another
at the Place, another
another, Palais Garnier Opera
view, the Louvre,
The tour ended at 12 at the Louvre. Some had signed up for an
afternoon tour of the Louvre and those people got off the bus there.
Some left to go exploring on their own. The bus then took people to the
Eiffel Tower. I stayed on the bus and was dropped off at the hotel.
I got my prescriptions and walked across the street to a
pharmacy. I got three prescriptions filled that were written at the
hospital, one is a special anti-inflammatory targeting the kidneys, one
was a medicine to protect the stomach before a meal (perhaps the first
medicine irritates the stomach), and the last is a pain killer.
I put my pills in my room and walked down the Avenue de la
Grand Armee again, and stopped at an outdoor café (same on as before).
I got a formula plate that included a choice of entre and choice of
main course. For entre, I got a molded terrine that included
chicken and vegetables on top of a tomato sauce. My main course was
ribs d' porc a la provencal which also came with a vegetable couscous
and some greens and dressing. It was all good. I had an Urthiel beer
After lunch, I took the long way back to my room, roaming a
few neighborhoods. When I got back to my room, I took another shower.
Then I filled out my notebook and typed it out on my computer. I also
backed up my camera.
At around 7:30, I went back to my café and ordered the foie
gras maison and a glass of St. Chinion red wine. I spent a long time
there, and then wandered through the neighborhoods back to my hotel by
10 pm. I filled out my journal and packed most of my things. We leave
at 8 tomorrow.
I brushed my teeth, took my pills, watched a little TV, and went to bed
22 July, Sunday
I woke up throughout the morning, not wanting to
oversleep. I got up at 6:20 and brushed my teeth. I went down to
breakfast at 6:30, when they opened. I had kumquats (which I put in my
pocket later), cut coconut, fresh pineapple, and strawberries. I also
had croissant, prosciutto, scrambled eggs, cheese, roasted tomato half,
and sweet potato dish. I also had two big cups of coffee.
I went back to my room and took a quick shower, and then
brought my luggage to the lobby. While waiting, I filled out my
We boarded our bus for a long ride to Caen (kohn). We
at a truck stop, but there were so many buses and tourists there, that
I couldn't use the toilets.
We got to the Peace Museum (Le
Memorial de Caen, Wikipedia entry)
in Caen and
went through it. We
watched a movie and then had a guided tour through the museum about
World War II.
Hawker Typhoon fighter,
I had to have a D-Day beer,
closer view, dining
area, old car,
stairway to German command bunker,
main museum display,
We then went to Gold Beach, Juno Beach, and the Juno Beach Canadian
cemetery. It was all a sobering experience about war.
to Gold Beach (Arromanches),
part of pontoon
harbor elements, touristy
area, overview, another view, artificial harbor, another view, yet another, cliff line, another view, bridge components, dock and harbor
vehicle, Juno Beach sign,
Juno Beach list
of dead, sign
for memorial bricks,
piece, another, tetrahedron beach
entrance, bunkers, the beach, old friends, beach again, bunker, memorial sculpture, Canadian cemetery, inscription, grave markers, closer view, another view of
We drove to our hotel, Mercure Centrepoint Hotel in Caen. Three of us
walked to a nice outdoor café about three or four blocks away. I had a
fried goat cheese wonton salad for entre, and a confite du canard for
main course with french fries. I had a 1664 beer for my kidneys and we
shared a bottle of Burgoygne red from Beaune (where I had been a couple
of weeks ago). It was a nice meal.
checking us in, my room,
hallway, bathroom, another view, view from my
of old city wall, our restaurant,
from our table, my goat cheese wonton salad,
view, our wine,
view inside the
I got back to my room around 11, and took a quick shower, took my
pills, and filled out my journal. I went to bed by 11:40.
23 July, Monday
I got up at 6:20, brushed my teeth, and went down to breakfast.
I had bacon, ham, cheese, croissant, yogurt, and coffee. I went back to
my room and took a shower.
We boarded the bus at 8 and went to the American cemetery at
Omaha Beach. Over 10,000 soldiers are buried there. We also went to the
interpretive center, which was very informative.
the bus, walls
around the Chateau de Caen on the hill, more walls, another view, yet another,
in the American cemetery, reflecting
pool and flag, the Garden
of the Missing, map
in memorial, statue
in garden, another
map, the cemetery,
chapel at center, another
Beach and the Channel at overlook, another
view, map at overlook, reflecting pool at
visitor's center, field
From there, we went to Omaha Beach. The losses here were much
higher than that of any of the other D-Day beaches—2,400 American
After that, we went to Pointe
du Hoc where the Rangers
had to scale the cliffs with ropes in order to destroy emplaced German
guns in concrete bunkers. I went in one of the bunkers.
for Pointe du Hoc, bomb
on bunker, another
view, view from
another view, German
mount, bunker, closer view, monument on bunker, another view, firing port, beach where Rangers
cliff line, closer
to bunker, firing
port, view from within
with more bunkers, another bunker
We went to the town of Sainte
Mère Église where some of the paratroopers
landed. Three of us went to a café and I had grilled ham and French
fries, and a Stella beer.
After lunch, I walked to the local church to look at bullet
holes in the door and the strange roof. Red Buttons, in The Longest
Day, played the real character, John Steel, whose
parachute got caught
on the church roof. He played dead for several days so that the Germans
wouldn't shoot him. The church has an effigy of this man on their roof
and wall. The stain glass windows also depict the paratroopers'
I then walked through the excellent paratrooper museum. We got back to
the bus by 3:40.
for Airborne Museum, tank,
tank, effigy, glider building, cockpit, sideview, wing view, C-47 building, C-47
We then went to Utah Beach. It is a beautiful day, and there is
a nice breeze. Sunbathers are laying out on the beach. It's hard to
believe there was a fierce battle here.
at Utah Beach, another
We went to the German cemetery where over 21,000 German
soldiers are buried. The markers are flat on the ground and there are
several bodies under one marker. This was our last stop of the day.
- German cemetery memorial building,
closer view, inscription inside, view from building, another view, marker with two
yet another, view from monument, another view, monument,
We had a 45-minute ride back to the hotel, and Becky played an Andrew
Sisters CD through the bus speakers.
We got back to the hotel and met soon after (7 pm). We walked
across the street for our group dinner at Le Carlotta. The
restaurant had an interesting interior. I had a seafood salad with
mackerel, fish roe, greens, potatoes, and dill. My main course was a
cod dish with mashed potatoes, mashed broccoli, and a bit of mushrooms
and capanade. I had "Floating Island" (meringue in a vanilla sauce) and
caramel. I had red wine to drink but they never leave the bottle so
that we can see what we're getting.
to Carlotta, another
view, my seafood
view, my dessert,
After the nice dinner, I went to my room, filled out my journal, typed
it up, and sent out a couple of email entries.
I packed my things, brushed my teeth, took my pills, and went to bed by
24 July, Tuesday
I got up at 6:20 and brushed my teeth. I went down to breakfast
and had the same things that I had yesterday. After breakfast, I went
back to my room and took a shower, and finished packing. I took my
things down to the lobby and boarded the bus at eight.
We had a 45-minute ride to Bayeaux
where we got out and walked
to the Bayeaux tapestry museum. As you know, the tapestry commemorates
the lead-up to and the outcome of the Battle of Hastings and the defeat
of King Harold by William the Conqueror. It is truly amazing that the
tapestry has survived for such a long time.
- castle walls
of Chateau de Caen again, another
for Bayeux, water
wheel on walk to musum, another
view, yet another,
view, water wheel video, stone
for museum, entrance,
the street, another sign,
in stone steps, another
view, type of boat
We got back on the bus and had a 2-hour drive to Dinan. We got
out at Dinan at 11:30 and scattered to get lunches at different places.
Those of us on the walking tour met at the information center at 1:05.
I had no time for lunch. We had a guide and walked through this scenic
and picturesque town. I took lots of photos. Most of us stopped at a
bar close to the bus and had a cold beer while waiting.
of Bertrand du Guesclin the Ugly (Wikipedia entry),
close-up, inscription, walls of Chateau
place for tour, Place
Du Guesclin, covered
tower (Tour de l'Horloge), another
view, old buildings,
old street, another view,
yet another, and another, and more, street view, old building, more buildings, street view, cafes, streetview again, the steep Rue du Jerzual, another view, and another, city wall and gate, shops, gate, city walls, another view, city wall, on the ramparts, view of the lower town on La Rance
river, closer view, back side
Saint Sauveur, garden area,
view with Horloge, inside
the basilica, front, musical instrument video,
a round of
At 3:30, we boarded the bus and headed to St. Malo (a locality
in All the
Light We Cannot See). We got there a little after 4 and
our rooms at Hotel Oceana. I have extra time, which is unusual, so I
a quick shower and washed out two shirts. I also updated my journal and
typed some more.
About 7, we met in the lobby and walked through the winding
streets to our restaurant, Restaurant L'Absinthe (their website). I
had a sweet and savory roasted
peach and sobrassada sausage entre, and then pork tenderloin with
candied shallots for main course, and a raspberry pavlova for dessert.
I had red wine for drink. This was the best house red I have had for
- off-shore fort,
Saint-Vincent in the extensive city wall, street view in Old
sign, my pre-order,
our room, remnants of
my meal, New Orleans bar
that I've been to and had absinthe there, my absinthe dripper on an
absinthe spoon [No one else had had absinthe before, so I ordered one
and then passed it around for others to try--I don't think anyone did.
- walk back through
La Grand Porte,
After dinner, we walked back, and I was in my room by 9:45. I
filled out my journal. There is no English language news channel
available at this hotel. I brushed my teeth, took my pills, and went to
25 July, Wednesday
I got up at 6:15, brushed my teeth, and went down to breakfast
by 6:30. I was the first person there for a long time. I had scrambled
eggs, bacon, sausage, croissant, cut fruit bowl, yogurt, and lots of
coffee. I enjoyed talking to some of the others on the trip.
I went back to my room, and took a shower and got ready for
the day. It may be windy so I'm bringing my sport jacket. We took the
bus to Mont St. Michel.
We parked and walked to a shuttle loading area.
We took the shuttle to the base of Mont St. Michel. I took photos of
the tidal flats and tidal channels. The tide appears to be going out.
We walked up the narrow and very busy pedestrian street lined
with shops and cafes. We got to the top and took the Abbey audio tour.
I took lots of photos.
schedule, in the bus,
view of Mont St.
view, tidal flats
and tidal channel,
cut bank, view of the Mont,
tidal flat near
the Mont, ripple
marks on tidal flat, Mont
St. Michel and granite,
the Abbey, entrance courtyard, gate, crowded street, narrow street, another view, uphill crowd, gargoyle souvenirs, steep street, the Abbey, another view, steps, another view, abbey entrance, more steps, another view, bedrock, high walls, early abbey model, the
road in and
channel, tidal flats
and the sea, tidal flats,
yet another, video, vaulted ceiling, another view, colonnade around courtyard, another view, yet
another view, romanesque vault, another view, gothic vault, windows, fireplace, large columns, another view, vault, altar, another view, treadwheel winch, another view, yet another view, and another, winch chain, sled brought up by
winch, another sled
and chain, another
view, cable, another view, another chamber, stairway, another chamber, room with columns, another view, yet another, fireplace, view of tidal flats, again, another view, abbey walls, another view, students on tidal flat, stone building, crowded
Afterwards, I walked with several groups. Five of us stopped
at a creperie. I had a salad with goat cheese and toast points and I
bought a bottle of regional specialty, a dry (brut) cidre (cider).
After that, we filtered back to the shuttles and rode back to the bus.
goat cheese and
toast, granite, out the entrance, tida flat, another view, Mont St. Michel, another
tidal flat, model
in visitor's center,
We had a long drive back to St. Malo. I went to my room and
worked on my journal and computer. After a shower, I went out for
St. Malo has a large Old Town that is surrounded by ramparts.
I walked the ramparts all around the Old Town and took lots of photos.
It was all very scenic. I then walked through many of the streets. In
the old days, the guards let loose twenty or so English Mastiffs after
ten o'clock curfew. Anyone out after curfew was mauled by the dogs. I
had a beer at the place they used to keep the dogs.
my walk, Porte
for gate, plaza
(place) inside the wall, Cathedral
Saint Vincent, Porte
des Bes access
to lower wall and beach,
yet another, rampart view of beach,
Bastion de la
Hollande, sign, cannon, more, next beach (Beach of
the Mole), more
for bastion Saint-Philippe, port
view at Porte de Dinan (my restaurant on the lower left), ramparts near the
view, street view with band,
street view, city museum
St. Vincent gate street
hall, another view
of city hall, view near
another, view from Fort
a la Reine, sign,
from Bidouane, sign,
another view of
Hollande Bastion, view
back, view of
Fort again, beer
near guard-dog quarters,
sign, Saint-Sauveur street
historical marker, interesting sign,
I then found a nice restaurant near the Porte de Dinan. I had
a very large bowl of mussels, and a nice white wine the waitress had
suggested. It was all excellent.
After dinner, I wandered the streets a little more and then
went back to my room. I brushed my teeth, took my flatulence pills, and
went to bed by 10:30.
26 July, Thursday
I got up at 6:20 and went to breakfast at 6:30. I had a bowl of
granola (muesli) and milk, and then scrambled eggs and small sausages.
I also had lots of coffee.
I went back to my room, took a quick shower, and packed up. I
was down in the lobby by 7:30. I boarded the bus and began filling out
my journal. We have a very long bus ride today to get to the Loire
We stopped at Chinon,
and scattered to different cafes along
the street. I had a salad with avocados, tomatoes, and fried chick
strips. I had a beer and water for drink. It is very hot today.
Apparently it was 94 degrees F and the sun is fierce.
We then took an elevator up the hill to get to castle ruins (Chateau de Chinon,
the top of the hill. This is the place where Jean d'Arc convinced
Charles VII to go to Riemes to get anointed as King of France, instead
of Henry II of England who also wanted to be king. We toured the
remnants of the castle under the hot sun. I took lots of photos.
wall on hill, bedrock
with cross beds,
castle, hot discussion,
yet another, recreators and
visitors, St. George statue remnants,
explanation, another, displays, tapestry, suit of armor, another view, helmet, and another, yet another, and another, fireplace, another view, bed, bridge over moat, Tour du Courdray, another view, river view, Boissy
Tower sign, short tower, view of river, another view, lower town, stone building, river view, river and vineyard, hemispherical mirror,
river, clock tower, sign, clockworks, another view, view from tower, another view, view toward royal
got back on the bus and headed toward out hotel, the Abbey of
Fontevraud, which is also a museum (Wikipedia link).
This hotel doesn't
have air conditioning, but it does have a fan in each room. I turned
mine on. I washed out three shirts and hung them in the room to dry. I
took a shower, which felt great.
for abbey, our
outside abbey, walk
to the hotel part of abbey grounds, interesting
- my room,
toilet, view from my window, another view, and
At seven, we all met in a
large dining hall. We had Ackerman white sparkling wine. I had been at
this vineyard during our field trip last week (see 17 July) when we
went to the Anjou
We were served three courses. I've already forgotten what was
in them because they were all complex combinations fresh from the
market. I did take photos too. The chef
here has won awards and I don't doubt it. He came out and talked to
Becky, I'm not sure I got his photo though. His name is Thibaut Ruggeri
according to the room brochure. All the flavors were complex and
bright. We had water and the Fontevraud labeled red wine to drink.
- the menu,
view, our sparkling
view, our table,
photo, pre appetizer,
appetizer, next course, our water, another view, the next course, chicken and beets,
view, dessert, another view, yet
I went back to my room and filled out my journal. I brushed my
teeth and took my pills. After watching a little BBC News, I went to
bed by 10:30.
27 July, Friday
I developed a head cold over night. One minute my sinuses were
like concrete, the next, like a watering can. There was coughing and
sneezing as well. I got up at seven and went down to breakfast at 7:30
when they opened. I had poached eggs, ham, goat cheese, bread, granola,
and lots of coffee.
We gathered at the lobby and walked half a click to the bus by
8:30. We headed to Chateau
de Chenonceau (Wikipedia entry).
We got out and walked to the
Chateau. We had an audio tour and I took many photos. It was crowded.
outside the lobby, walking
to the bus, fossil
gastropod that I found in the gravel, one
of the abbey buildings, plaza
outside the abbey, another
line to chateau,
canal, sign, tree-lined walkway, sphinx entrance, outer buildings, the chateau, entrance to formal
and another formal garden, chateau
and tower, river, chateau front, crowded room, closer view, tapestry,
bedroom, again, another view, one fancy frame, everyone, interlocking initials,
under it, another
view, tapestry, hallway, kitchen area, meat hanger, copper pots, butcher area, another view, yet another view, fireplace, closer view, kitchen, another view, fancy cabinet, fireplace, fancy frame, closer view of man
with big hair, formal
with tapestries, entrance
tower, another bedroom,
print, ceiling, formal garden, painting, gallery, sign, gallery view, fireplace, yet another bedroom,
wood window carving,
chateau from garden, another
We got back on the bus and made our way to Amboise. We walked
to a series of cafes. I sat with Becky, our guide. We shared a menu of
crepes. First came a savory crepe made with buckwheat flour. It had
ham, emmentaler cheese, potatoes, and spices. I had brut cidre and
water to drink. It is another very hot day. Next came the dessert crepe
made of white flour and covered with honey and roasted almonds. I'm
glad we shared, because it would have been too much for one person.
After lunch, we got back on the bus and rode a short distance
to Chateau de
Clos Luce (Wikipedia entry),
where Leonardo da Vinci lived out his last three
years. Anne and I had listened to a series of CD's of a recent book
about Leonardo. I took lots of photos again.
for the Clos Luce, another
sign, part of
the chateau, closer view, another
cabinet, copy of
one of his paintings,
another bedroom, display,
but by Durer, lady with hat, desk, post-it notes, closer view, gadgets, another copy, yet another copy, drawings, more things, a book, drawing, another, curios, desk, fireplace room, fireplace, Leonardo weapons, another view, tank, pump, gadgets, the chateau, view from chateau,
We got back on the bus. We rode to the Chinon area. We went to
the Domaine de Noir winery. After the short tour by the owner, Jean
Marc (?), we tasted about six wines. My favorite was the last, a red
one, Caracteur (sp.).
the owner (in
dark pink), stainless steel fermentation vats, sign, in the cave, sign, tasting room, one of the wines, next, and the next, and another, my favorite,
We then boarded the bus and went back to the hotel. I took a
shower to cool down. I watched some BBC News, filled out my journal,
and went to bed by 10:30.
28 July, Saturday
My sinuses were not as bad as last night, but still active. I got up at
7 and brushed my teeth.
I went to breakfast in the dining hall, and had poached eggs,
ham, nice bread, croissant, granola, yogurt, aged goat cheese, and lots
I went back to my room and took a shower. I finished packing
and walked half a click to the bus at 9. Today is all bus ride with
comfort stops along the way. We are headed to Lyon.
At eleven, we mad a stop and I got an ice cream. We got back
on the bus and after awhile, I saw the high mountains of the Massif
Central (Wikipedia entry),
which are about the same height as the Smoky Mountains. I was
not expecting them to be that high. We made another stop in the
afternoon and I got another ice cream.
- my seat,
in the distance, more
hayfields, more fields, quarry, more hills,
We got to Lyon
about five and checked into our rooms. I was in
mine about 5:15. My room is a handicap room and there is a seat in the
shower. It is not that comfortable while taking a shower.
over the Rhône in Lyon, sign,
part of our group, lion in front, hotel stars, hotel sign, hallway, restaurant and bar
area, my room, again, another view, view from my room, bathroom with shower
view, safe and
fridge, Becky's schedule
We met in the lobby at 6:30 and took the bus across the two
rivers to a Bouchon Les Lyonnaises restaurant that serves
Lyonnais regional food. For entre, I had a pork sausage in gravy and
salad. For main course, I had anduillette tripe sausage (not at all
like the andouille sausage of the States). For dessert I had a sweet
praline pie. Our start drink was cassis mixed with white wine. For
dinner I had red wine and water. Everything was excellent. I was only
one of two who ordered the anduillette and I'm glad I did.
the Rhône, square,
city view, bridge over Saône, St.
George church, another view, across the river, courthouse, colorful courtyard,
the restaurant, closer view, another view, our group, in the cellar, another view, placemat, our group,
geologic map of
view, yet another,
sausage and gravy entre,
- fountain square
in front of courthouse,
at night, night
We took the bus back to the hotel and I was back in my room by
10. I brushed my teeth, took my pills, and filled out my journal. I
went to bed by 10:30.
29 July, Sunday
cold has moved down to my lungs and I have a tickling cough. I got up
at 6:30, brushed my teeth, and went down to breakfast. I was still full
from last night's meal. I had bacon, scrambled eggs, croissant, and
I went back to my room and packed up. I also took my morning shower.
At 8:30 we met in the lobby and boarded our bus. We have a city
guide with us and he is very entertaining. We had a bus tour, getting
out occasionally and walking around. We visited a food market and he
talked about local food and the famous chef that was from here. We
toured around the Roman and later age areas of Lyon. It was very
fruit, meats, meat in bread, sausage, local nougat, local pastry, bread, pastries, more pastries, even more, macaron, cheese, Lyon-based
Chef Paul Bocuse
his name at
market, and another,
tapas bar, fish,
Bridge, Fountaine Bartholdi,
for French-Roman theaters,
de Fourviere, another
another, and another,
"Eiffel" tower, guardian lion, church steps, frieze, model of the three
parts of town, another
view, view across
the rivers, video,
through Old Town, small
with vaulted passages, another
courtyard, use of squinch,
narrow street, merchants' courtyard,
narrow street, spiral
view, art gallery
under squinch, narrow
through courtyard, passageway,
At the end, we scattered for lunch. I ate by
myself at another Lyonnais bouchon, Le Palais St. Jean. I had a formula
menu. For entre I had onion soup. For main course, I had medium-rare
flank steak. For dessert, I had creme brulee. I had Chardonnay for the
first part, and Hermitage red wine for second part, all regional wines.
It was all good and I took my time.
We met back at the bus at 2 and proceeded to Avignon. This is
a long bus ride. We made a comfort stop at 4:15. I saw lots of
mountains on both sides of the road, but I don't know if these are
still part of the Massif Central.
view, mines?, another view, power station, another view, yet another, dipping
strata with castle,
closer view, another view, distant view, dipping strata, Rhône, branch of the river, old buildings, remnants of Avignon
bridge (Sur le Pont...),
yet another, and
closer view, Palais des Papes, another view, city walls, bronze statue, another view,
We were in Avignon
about 5:30, and slowly made our way up into
the fortified Old Town to our hotel, Hotel Mercure Avignon Centre
Palais des Papes by 6:45.
The temperature is in the mid 90's.
My single room is pretty small. I washed out three shirts and
hung them in the room to dry. I then took a shower. I was hoping to
catch some news but the television doesn't work. At least WiFi does. I
also filled out my notebook and typed some out. I then sent out two
I went down to the hotel cafe which is outside in a plaza with
lots of trees. Many cicadas were making their chorus. I had a liter of
Belgian Jupiler beer. That took an hour. Then I went back to my room,
brushed my teeth, took my pills, and went to bed.
30 July, Monday
I got up at 7, brushed my teeth, and then went down to
breakfast. I had scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, croissant, and lots of
coffee. They also had Tabasco sauce which I used liberally. They had a
machine that made orange juice automatically from whole oranges. The
machine had a hopper full of oranges, a wheel rotated and oranges
dropped into sockets on the wheel. As the wheel turned, it sliced and
squeezed the orange to make juice. Neat, so I had some.
After breakfast, I took my morning shower. It is supposed to get up to
103 degrees F the next three days.
We met in the lobby at 9 and met our Avignon guide, Benoit. We
walked a short distance to the Papal Palace (14th century) and he
described the building and the history of the Avignon papacy. I took
lots of photos. We also walked to other sites on the upper hill as
well. We ended a little after noon.
- Becky's schedule,
view of papal
palace, carved facade
in building at plaza in front of palace, another view, and another, entrance to palace, another view, again, another
view, sign, Palace Plaza, another view, and
view of tower, another view, bell tower, courtyard, great room, another view, chimney with squinch, kitchen, another view, another view, recreated chamber, ceiling painting, statues, relief carving, gallery, marble figure, Georges
from other side, fancy
- St. Pierre church,
sign, another view, front, carved doors, inside, another view, marble carving, choir and
flying buttress walkway,
- carved facade
at palace plaza again, papal
museum at end
Dame, sign, another view, inside the church, another view, stained glass, painted ceiling, armored door,
Fort St. Andre, pope's vineyard,
vineyard sign, another view, bridge again, bronze at fountain, another view, Notre Dame, theater facade, clock tower in background, closer view,
Five of us went to the cafe in the plaza close to our hotel. We had
charcuterie and other items and Jupiler beer.
After that, I went to my room and took a cooling shower.
After cooling down, I went out for a walk. I went to two of the
city gates. After 1.5 hours, I retreated to my room to take another
shower, and cool down. I am drinking water to stay hydrated and keep my
At 5:15, we met in the lobby and walked a click down to the
bus. The bus took us to another part of Old Town to the restaurant,
Maison de la Tour. The chef had worked with Paul Bocuse at some point.
I had Pissaladiere (tart with anchovies), mussels in white butter sauce
over risotto, and creme brulee. For an encore, the chef brought three
people up from our group to demonstrate how to make creme brulee. It
was all entertaining, education, and funny (I got his recipe too). The
food was excellent.
at city walls, gate,
part, inside, another view, yet another view, our group, salt container, top, the salt, anchovy dish, another view, mussel dish (after I
ate the mussels), creme
brulee, the chef,
another view, demonstration, final touch, the participants,
We walked back to the bus. The bus drove to our part of
Avignon, and then we walked to our hotel. By the time we got back, it
was warm, but no blazingly hot.
I brushed my teeth, took my pills, and filled out my journal. I went to
bed at ten.
31 July, Tuesday
I got up at 7, brushed my teeth, and went down to breakfast.
The breakfast room was crowded because there are at least two tour
groups here. I had coffee, scrambled eggs, tabasco sauce, sausage, and
croissant. It was too crowded to get anything else.
After breakfast, I went to my room, took a shower, and packed up. I
went to the lobby by 9:15 and walked to the bus.
We headed south or southeast. We first passed mountains of the Luberon
range, and then the Alpilles (Alp foothills).
We got to Antibes
about noon and walked around the Old Town. I
walked to the beach and stuck my feet into the Mediterranean. The
temperature is now in the upper 90's. I went back to Old Town and sat
with some friends and had a 1664 beer. It's too hot to eat.
and statue, dolphin
view, Antibes sign,
city wall, city
map, within the
walls, cafes, produce market, sculpture near beach,
We walked back to the bus by 2, and proceeded to Gras. The bus
stopped at the Fragonard perfumery. Four of us decided not to do the
perfume factory tour and walked up the hill in 98 degree temperature to
a bar and had some beers. We had a great time telling stories. At the
allotted time, we returned to the bus.
We then drove to Nice.
We checked into La Splendid on Victor
Becky led a walk to the beach and to Old Town and left us
there to find our cafes. I wandered around with others for awhile and
finally just struck out on my own.
I found my way back to the hotel,
had a Paulaner beer, and then went to my room. The television works, so
I watched the news in English. I washed out today's shirt and hung it
out on my balcony. I then typed out some of my journal. I backed up my
camera as well.
I brushed my teeth and took my pills, and went to bed a little after
1 August, Wednesday
I got up at 7, and went up to breakfast. I had scrambled eggs, bacon,
croissant, cut fruit, yogurt, and coffee.
At 8, we met in the lobby. We took the bus to the edge of Old
Town and walked to the center where there was a long pedestrian area
lined with trees. In the mornings, it is a flower market. Not only are
there flowers, but there is produce, charcuterie, and artwork. It is
hot and humid already. We met back at the bus at 9:30.
- Becky's schedule,
fruit, tea, yellow building, vegetables, naked Neptune again, mini statue of
We headed across a series of very scenic mountain highways to
After parking under the aquatic museum where Jacque Cousteau
worked, we walked up the hill to the Royal Palace. We watched the
changing of the guard ceremony under a brutal sun. We roamed around for
cafes, but I just couldn't eat in the heat.
in niche, boat
point, view from
hill, hill-top fort,
coastline, another view, complex peninsula, another view, view of bay, another
outcrop, bay, protected docks, peninsula again, steep view, steep hillside, rugged coastline, another view, overlook, view, rocky hilltop, another view, cliff, royal
to palace, outcrop,
view, guard booth
at palace, guard building,
palace, guards, changing of the guard,
another view, video,
tourists, harbor at Monte Carlo,
We then caught a city bus to Monte
Carlo (you can see it
from the Royal Palace, so it's not far). We got out and walked around.
Temperatures was 103 degrees F and very humid. There was little shade
and very little breeze. We didn't have anything to do but wait in the
sun for a couple of hours. This was not good for my kidneys, and I
drank two bottles of water. This was the most miserable day of my
entire stay in France. In front of the casino were Rolls Royces,
Ferraris, Lamborghinis, high-end Porsches and Mercedes, and a Corvette.
When Becky returned, we walked to our bus, and rode back to our hotel.
At the hotel, I got my boarding passes printed out for
tomorrow's flights. My new updated schedule from the airlines makes for
a very tight series of connections. I always plan to have time to make
connections, but the airlines just change everything according to their
whim. There is nothing I can do about it.
I was back in my room by 4:30 or 5. I took a shower to cool
down. We are supposed to have another dinner tonight, but I couldn't
bring myself to attend. I had a beer in the hotel and then went back to
I watched CNN till the signal failed for some reason, and then
I watched BBC. I also typed out my journal, and backed up my photos. I
couldn't send out emails because something blocked most of my access to
several sites that I use.
I brushed my teeth, took my pills, and went to bed early because
tomorrow is an early travel day.
2 August, Thursday
was afraid of over sleeping, so I didn't sleep much in the morning. I
got up about 6:30 and took a shower. I finished packing and went down
to the lobby and checked out by 7. Becky came down to see us off and I
gave her a tip for the two weeks.
Our shuttle driver picked five of us from Collette and drove
us to the airport. We are all on the same flight to Paris. We got to
the airport in about 20 minutes. The others went to check-in their
luggage, but I went straight to the security area. For some reason my
pack was flagged, so I had to stand in a line of others whose carry-on
was flagged. Most of the people in front of me had liquids in their
luggage even though the signs warned against this. The lady in front of
me had some grandkids with her and had never flown before apparently
because they spent a long time going through her things. After all
that, she decided to check her bags back at check-in. They went through
my little red pack but couldn't find anything of interest. I found my
gate area, and shortly after the other four from Collette came in. So
this time, carry-on didn't save me any time.
I boarded my flight to Paris on Air France (DL8396) around
9:40 and made it to Paris about 11:45. I made my way to the
international terminal 2E-M and went through Passport Control and then
airport security again. I boarded my Delta Flight (DL0099) to Detroit
at about 12:30. I watched "The Shape of Water," which was a little
better than I expected, and then "Saving Private Ryan" again because I
had been to Omaha Beach a couple of weeks ago and wanted to see it
through new eyes. Part of it was actually filmed at Omaha Beach because
I recognized the pill box (or at least they had a good facsimile of
it). I also recognized the cemetery for Omaha Beach and had walked
along those very paths. I was served some chicken with broccoli and
risotto, the chicken was not very good, but I ate the risotto, a small
bun, cheese and crackers. I didn't eat the salad because I was afraid
of stomach issues. I had red wine and water for drink. I watched parts
of other movies not worth remembering.
We landed in Detroit about 4:10 pm. I went through Passport
control which was very confusing because they kept switching me from
one line to another, each longer than the earlier line. It made no
sense. Then, of course, I had to go through airport security again. I
hate this kind of travelling. I barely made it to my next flight to
Lexington (DL3743) around 5:15 pm, I was the last to board. I switched
on my phone and got a text message out to my family that I had made my
last flight. We got to Lexington about 6:50. Anne texted that she was
waiting in the car queue outside. My entire travel, about 18 hours, was
in daylight, because my flights followed the sun. Anne drove me home
showing me some of the storm damage and downed trees following the
storm two weeks ago. Even my dog was glad to see me. It's good to be