Archive for May, 2014

Friendship Train Bound for France

May 30, 2014 @ 12:14 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
France friendship

Friendship Train bound for France and Italy

Today, we see ‘tweets’ that circle the globe in rapid fashion; and we see causes garner attention and galvanize action through YouTube and Facebook posts that shine the spotlight on people or places in need. Well before those popular social media outlets existed, there was a columnist and broadcaster that soon became aware of the power of the media to ‘make things happen’.

In October of 1947, Drew Pearson conceived the idea of a “Friendship Train” that would take food donated by Americans to Europeans struggling in their existence following World War II. Pearson was in Europe, when he noticed the appreciation offered Communists for the few carloads of grain contributed to the people. He was then determined to rally the American people to the cause of feeding the hungry in Europe.

Mr. Pearson was astounded at the response to his plea. Across America towns, cities and states rallied with plans to collect food for the “Friendship Train”. Five weeks after his original announcement, the train moved from Los Angeles through eleven states to New York City. Along the way, every state had connected to deliver their own contributions to the Friendship Train.

friendship train WWII

From California to New York

No money was spent on food, labor or transportation; and at the end three trains delivered 270 boxcars of donated food to be loaded on a ship bound for Europe – food from Iowans’ gardens, baby food from Gerber, carloads of sugar from Hawaii and incalculable carloads of donations gathered at fire departments and City Halls throughout the nation.

And true to his desire to demonstrate the good will of America, the Friendship Trains that found their way through France and Italy were well posted with signs and banners ‘from the children of the USA to the children of France and Italy”. The Mayor of Paris at the time was General de Gaulle’s brother, Pierre, who greeted Mr. Pearson and his committee at City Hall.

French Friendship Trains made their way from Paris and Lyon to Bordeaux, Brest, Lorient and Toulouse with welcoming celebrations at each stop.

Every package of food had this label:

All races and creeds make up the vast melting pot of America, and in a democratic and Christian spirit of good will toward men, we, the American people, have worked together to bring this food to your doorsteps, hoping that it will tide you over until your own fields are again rich and abundant with crops.”

And soon, we will post the French response with the “Merci Train”.

We’d love to hear from you! swsheridan@francedailyphoto.com

 

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Sculpture of Rodin’s “Master”

May 28, 2014 @ 12:11 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Exhibition of sculpture, Paris

The sculpture of Rodin’s Master

Just imagine.  If we were in Paris today, we would have the distinct privilege of taking in a special exhibition at the magnificent Château de Compiègne Museum just north of the capital.  Until the end of October, the works of one of the most renowned French sculptors will be on display, that of Albert Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1824-1887).  One of the premiere sculptors of the Second Empire, Carrier-Belleuse is considered Rodin’s Master, as Auguste Rodin was a student in the sculptor’s workshop.

Seemingly no artistic genre attracts me more than sculpture, where the materials under masterful hands deliver beauty and energy, brute force and quiet repose.  Carrier-Belleuse seemed tireless in his sculpting, turning out busts and statues, bronzes and figurines.  No material seemed indifferent  under his piercing talent.

While he began his training as the apprentice of a goldsmith and later studied at École des Beaux-Arts and Petite École, the sculptor spent over five years designing ceramics and metalwork models for  companies like Wedgwood in England.  When he began to exhibit large sculptures at the Salon in Paris, he attracted important patrons and significant commissions.

Emperor Napoléon III tapped his considerable talents in numerous public projects during the rebuilding of Paris between 1851 and 1870 – from the torchères for the Paris Opéra to the marble Bacchante purchased by the emperor for the Jardins des Tuileries.  Later the State awarded a Medal of Honor and the cross of the Légion d’Honneur for his marble Messiah that was allotted to Saint-Vincent-de-Paul in Paris.

Fine arts sculpture Paris

“Printemps” by Carrier Belleuse

Though continuously producing abundant pieces for international patrons, Carrier-Belleuse was highly visible and commercially successful in the applied arts.  Appointed director of works at the state Manufacture de Sèvres, he significantly elevated the stature of applied arts and impacted the careers of younger sculptors – like Auguste Rodin – who apprenticed with him.

Might I be among the first to recommend you take a little time from your enjoyment of Paris to take in this remarkable exhibition?  For less than the cost of a movie in the United States, you will enjoy the energy, humor and unrivalled imagination of Albert Ernest Carrier-Belleuse.

We’d love to hear from you! swsheridan@francedailyphoto.com

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Remembering……..

May 26, 2014 @ 9:25 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
France WWII

American Cemetery in Normandy

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

– Winston Churchill, about R.A.F fighter pilots

 

Not so very long ago, the Ukrainian people lived in what appeared to be relative peace.  The streets were calm.  Homes felt safe.  Day-to-day chores were accomplished, and children played with one another in the parks.

And in the blink of an eye, shouting and fires and armed troops and killing replaced the security they had known.  I know it isn’t that simple.  Nothing is.  But I would wager that the “average” person in Ukraine would rather resolve their differences without destruction and death.

After a somber visit to the American Cemetery in Normandy, we drove down to the beach.  Where the infamous conflicts portrayed in “Saving Private Ryan” and so many other war films played out, the beach this day was filled with holiday visitors … children playing along the shore, kites and wind sails across the sky … peace and happiness won at such a great price.

erquy france

And just down the road, elderly women return from fishing

Today, as we remember all the sad losses that have occurred because of hatred and conflict, greed and arrogance and all of those interminable reasons ‘mankind’ loses its’ way; I hope one day the abiding desire for peace will overcome the destructive actions of war.

 

Île Saint-Louis “Second Homes”

May 22, 2014 @ 11:56 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Paris mansions

Private mansion at the tip of Ile Saint-Louis

Last time we were in Paris, we stayed for a week in a charming vacation rental on Île Saint-Louis.  Other than the sometimes grueling climb up four flights of stairs, we were absolutely enchanted to enjoy our residence on one of our favorite places on earth!

BUT that is also when we first heard from our best friend in Paris that, “The island has changed.  So many foreigners have bought property here, and it no longer feels authentic.”  Well, I’m sure I’ve paraphrased somewhat, but the key thought remains the same – the long famous and revered Île Saint-Louis doesn’t feel so French anymore.  I hasten to add that we do not share that sentiment, perhaps because we are blinded by the island’s charms!

Mind you, if we had the ‘spare change’ to buy property on l’île, we would jump at the chance; but we also would spend lots of time there.  Recent studies show that many foreigners, including Americans, have gradually driven out less well-off Parisian residents; and the second-home nature of their ownership and brevity of visits has had a negative impact on neighborhood shops and local schools.  Authors of the study indicate that this district is the only one in Paris that is losing inhabitants.  Given the French love of heritage, home and history; you can imagine how this ownership transfer has been received.

Those tensions resulted in quite a clash between historic and new residents, between architectural designers and cultural protectors.  A Qatari prince purchased one of the island’s most beautiful, historic and revered buildings – Hotel Lambert.  Once home to Chopin and Voltaire not to mention the Rothschild family, the 17th century mansion contains many artistic treasures, including priceless frescoes by artist Eustache Le Sueur created around 1652.

Paris vacation rentals

Our vacation home on Ile Saint-Louis

As if the drastic structural changes anticipated by the prince were not enough, a significant fire broke out in 2013 and caused the rooftop to collapse and destroy the Le Sueur designs.  Part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, the building was empty and undergoing the controversial renovations. Nonetheless legal actions still are underway to assure that changes to the famous building are in line with historical dictates.  One heritage architect specialist went so far as to describe the proposed changes as “a monstrosity with the aesthetics of a James Bond villa”.  Parfait!

The hotel was originally designed and built for the personal secretary – Lambert de Thorigny – of King Louis XIII.  Voltaire was said to have courted his mistress, the marquise du Châtelet, at the Hôtel Lambert; and prior to being sold in 1975 to the Rothschild banking family, noteworthy visitors included Chopin and Balzac.

Perhaps on a more positive note, it seems that many of those owners of second homes in Paris want to blend in, opting for traditions like visiting the local boulanger for bread and La Presse for the daily newspaper.  It is, in fact, that village feeling that so many of us seek, when we arrange our vacation rentals in the City of Light.

If you have always opted for hotel stays in Paris, we highly recommend the more authentic and cost-effective vacation rental.  You still may eat out as often as you wish, but that morning cup of coffee in your own apartment is quite nice!

Fired Up for France: The Promise of Paris – now available!
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We’d love to hear from you!

swsheridan@francedailyphoto.com Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.