October

October and the first (slight) frost. A perfect fall morning today: intense blue sky, leaves changing, especially the small shrubs, Euonymous scarlet.

We spent two weeks in France in September, the first week in Paris and the second in Honfleur. We stayed with our friend Nancy Pratt( read her blog and see her photos from around the world at https://nancyhereandthere.wordpress.com) in Paris. For a week we lived more like locals than tourists, shopping in the streets of the Jardin Des Plantes quarter and the market on Rue Mouffetard, walking, taking the bus, or the Batobus on the Seine. Our friends, Anne and Alan Simpson and Hazel Hamilton found a lovely apartment a twenty minutes walk away from Nancy’s and a block from the Seine at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

market on Rue Mouffetard, Paris

Rue Mouffetard

Paris at night IMG_0613

For the second week, we rented a car and drove to Honfleur, Normandy and stayed in The Stables at Le Fond de la Cour, a charming bed and breakfast with some self-catering apartments. All of historic Honfleur was within walking distance.

Many of the Impressionist artists and modern ones painted in Honfleur. Something about the quality of the light drew them to the little town, which is still very pretty, in spite of thousands of tourists who descend on it every day.

Le Fond de la Cour, Honfleur

Le Fond de la Cour, Honfleur

We took day trips from Honfleur. Bayeux and its famous tapestry and Juno beach were the most memorable for me.

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur street

Juno Beach

Juno Beach

Now we’re back at home and I’m editing(still) my work-in-progress. I’m closing on the end, I think, or is it the end of the beginning!

Arles, France and Van Gogh

In The Child on the Terrace, the latest in the Dangerous Journeys series, Anne McPhail escapes with a child she rescued from kidnappers and travels across Spain and France into safe haven, she thinks, in Italy. One of the cities she passes through is Arles, famous for the paintings of Van Gogh.

Arles is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a town that has existed since the 7th Century BCE, and was an important Gallo-Roman city. During the later Roman Empire it was an important cultural and religious centre.

Frequent wars afflicted the area until it was finally handed over to France in 1378 CE.

The port flourished until the advent of the railway decreased the importance of the river trade. Today, it is again a prominent port for river cruises bringing tourists to its streets for the history and, for many, the opportunity to walk in the steps of Van Gogh.

http://www.vangoghgallery.com/in_his_steps/

Anne’s route took her over the Rhone river on the bridge made famous by Van Gogh’s painting, Starry Night over the Rhone.Unknown

Although the yellow house where Van Gogh lived and painted, including The Yellow Room, is a place many tourists would like to see, unfortunately, as it lay near the railroad bridge, it was destroyed by Allies forces in WWII.

Franco-American forces liberated Arles on August 25th, 1944.Van_Gogh_Yellow_House-500x396