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Archive for February, 2016

Leap Year in France

February 28, 2016 @ 11:25 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Café in the sun with leap year news

A lively tradition blesses La Presse fans in France tomorrow.  On that rare day – February 29 – newsstands throughout France will carry a lively broadsheet that is only published every four years – you guessed it – on leap day.

La Bougie du Sapeur – “Soldier’s Candle” – is welcomed by readers who understand that they won’t be looking at hackneyed articles.  After all, when you only publish every four years; your mind is fresh, and news is noteworthy, particularly if you have a great sense of humor.  Sapper, by the way, was a character in an old French comic book, one of the fated few born on the 29th of February.  In the continued vein of wry humor, the publication offers subscriptions at the rate of € 100 per century – obviously appealing to the optimist with a serendipitous streak!

The editor and publisher of La Bougie du Sapeur has no problem finding humor in the news; indicating you don’t have to work at being funny, because life is full of humor.  Honestly, all any of us needs to do to discover the truth of that is to look at daily headlines.  There’s always a buffoon out there doing something ridiculous!

So today in France, we can imagine hundreds (actually about 150,000) French men and women, seated at their petite café table with café au lait before them thumbing through La Bougie du Sapeur.  They’ll not be reading about the news with which they’ve long grown tired.  No, they’ll be reading the fresh humor that is only available to them every four years.  Rather like an aged wine or cognac, I would think.

We wish we were there to enjoy the moment, perhaps in a café on Ile Saint-Louis.
We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2016, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved

Please take a moment to browse through … and order … my book:

Autographed copies with notecard gift

Safe and Secure in Paris

February 2, 2016 @ 9:00 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Our apartment entry on Ile Saint-Louis

Revisiting today some information and advice that is as relevant now as it was in 2012.   Hope you are busy planning your next trip to Paris!

We are among those people who are not overly concerned with safety and security, at home or while traveling.  Certainly, we lock the doors of our home and vehicle and at least have a general awareness of the people around us, particularly at night in parking lots.

In Paris, though, we noticed some very solid safety and security measures, we usually don’t see in place in America.  Banks, for example, often have two locked entry doors separated by about 3 feet.  You are buzzed in to that space, and only when the exterior door closes does the interior door open.  That seems an effective way to assure oversight of people entering the bank.  The same buzzing takes place on exit, so it would be no simple matter to try to rob a bank and make a quick escape.  Not, mind you, that we were ‘casing’ the institutions with any such thought in mind.

Many apartment entries also employ exterior and interior doors, as an added measure of security.  Normally, you enter your electronic door code at the general entrance to your apartment building.  This allows you access to the mail and trash areas.  A second interior door also has a locking device; you hold your card up to the device to open the door.  Of course, the third and final entry is your individual front door.

When we rented a vacation apartment on Ile Saint-Louis, our entry door was very heavy and sophisticated.   If we turned the key once, a single steel bolt engaged to lock the door.  A second turn of the key engaged two more bolts at the top and bottom of the door.  Iron clad, we thought!  We also wondered how emergency personnel can access such a door, but rather imagine the apartment concierge or building manager must supply access codes or mechanisms for emergency cases.

In terms of general safety in Paris, we’ve never really felt insecure – perhaps, just watchful of our luggage, shopping bag and purses.  We did learn an uncomfortable lesson on our last visit.  My husband had just purchased a carnet of metro tickets, and we rode a rather steep, narrow escalator up to the street level.  En route, a few ‘hurried’ metro users hustled past us.  As we stepped from the escalator, almost immediately my husband realized his wallet was missing from his back pocket.  Naturally, we immediately checked back at the ticket place to no avail.

Fortunately, he kept one type of credit card in his wallet, another in a small, separate card carrier.  Still, it was very inconvenient making transatlantic calls to banks and credit card companies.  He no longer carries said wallet in his back pocket (lesson learned!), and we travel with a list of all credit card phone and account numbers.

Good to be cautious in crowds

We still don’t walk around with furrowed brows and suspicious glances at those around us.  It is wise to be careful in metros, RER’s and busy tourist areas; where thieves are more likely to work in groups to find an opportunity with a weary or distracted tourist.

For some specific safety tips for Paris travel, the Foreign Study website offers complete information.  Our parting advice – exercise a certain degree of caution, but embrace Paris the city with abandon!

We’d love to hear from you!

And some charming French gifts ….

Copyright © 2005-2016, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved

Please take a moment to browse through … and order … my book:

Autographed copies with notecard gift

And some charming French gifts ….

Yves Saint Laurent on Elegance

February 1, 2016 @ 5:18 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Exquisite French ceramic pulley lamps

“We must never confuse elegance with snobbery.”
                           Yves Saint Laurent

 

Merci, Monsieur Laurent.  You have redeemed my self image.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve looked at a beautiful artisan piece, only to discover a price tag to equal the creativity and craftsmanship the piece represents.  That’s when I say, “Oh, I’m such a snob!”

I always seem to gravitate toward the most expensive French items! Now I have learned my leanings have everything to do with elegance rather than snobbery.

Our friends at My French Neighbor store in Orlando used to carry these stunning French ceramic lighting fixtures … naturally I coveted them!!  Seeing hand-crafted works of art absolutely sears them into my mind and spirit.

Ceramic lamp ateliers

We’d love to hear from you!

 

Copyright © 2005-2016, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved

Please take a moment to browse through … and order … my book:

Autographed copies with notecard gift

And some charming French gifts ….