Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Getting real...

Paris in 4 days!!!  It is starting to seem real.

Guess I better get some euros!!!!
Countess Bedelia 9/25/2012 09:39:00 AM | 0 comments |

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Living the Parisian life at home

Today I am preparing the guest suite at the Castle Bedelia for the arrival of my Paris friends.  We will have a week of strolling, eating fabulous cuisine, and drinking many bottles of French wine...right here in the beautiful Berkshires.

This picture is courtesy of the Facebook page of "Visit the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts".  The leaves are changing and autumn weather is here.  As much as I love to travel, there's no place like home!

I'm sure there will be many discussions about Paris activities during the week and this web page listing the Best Paris Sights and Attractions will get a lot of hits from me.  When I am in Paris it will be wonderful to refer to my blog anytime I need to look something up.

Days 23 to 30 Preparation for Paris trip:  Walk 2 miles every day and talk about Paris.....a lot!
Countess Bedelia 9/16/2012 11:05:00 AM | 0 comments |

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Packing for a Trip to Paris in October

About.comParis Travel is an endless source of information about visiting Paris.  Each month has its own page for expected weather conditions and what to pack.

October in Paris is generally chilly and damp, with average temperatures at around 52 degrees F. Rain is common and October is generally best-suited for indoor activities like visiting exhibits at Paris' many fine museums, or people-watching from inside a warm, cozy cafe. While temperatures rarely dip to near-freezing in October, make sure to bring a few sweaters, warm socks, and a coat suitable for autumn conditions.

Cloudy, rainy conditions are frequent in October. Make sure to pack a sturdy umbrella and at least one pair of waterproof shoes. Also make sure your shoes are suitable for walking: Visits to Paris usually involve lots of strolling, and the Paris metro is notorious for its seemingly endless tunnels and stairs.”

The October Thermometer
·         Minimum temperature: 9 degrees C (48.2 degrees F)
·         Maximum temperature: 16 degrees C (60.8 degrees F)
·         Average temperature: 11 degrees C (51.8 degrees F)
·         Average rainfall: 56 millimeters (2.2 inches)

I might even have to visit the original Chanel store, located at 31, rue Cambon, to pick up a little haute couture for an evening out on the town.

Fortunately my friend gave me a nice warm pair of sox to wear as we stroll, saunter, and amble our way around Gay Paree.

Day 22 Preparation for Paris trip:  Pack the fox fur wrap in the Paris suitcase.  That will keep you warm!
Countess Bedelia 9/15/2012 01:08:00 PM | 0 comments |

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nuit Blanche (White Night) in Paris

I am sooo excited to find out that Nuit Blanche (White Night) will be held on October 6th this year while I am in Paris.  Just the kind of party I like...a whole city open all night!
It is the night when Art and Culture reign until dawn. First launched in 2002, Paris Nuit Blanche has become a hotly-anticipated annual celebration of all things art and culture in the city of light. Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, Nuit Blanche sees countless Paris galleries, museums, city halls, and even swimming pools open their doors all night to visitors-- with free entry. Elaborate light installations, edgy performances, concerts, and unclassifiable happenings of all sorts await.

This year for the first time, the banks of the Seine river, from Maison de la Radio in the city's west to the eastern suburb of Ivry, will be transformed for the occasion of Nuit Blanche. Installations will be concentrated on the banks but also further inland. Drifting and zig-zagging is highly encouraged this year.

NuitBlanche is best experienced by ambling. You might choose a couple must-see events and leave the remainder of the evening to chance. Treat Nuit Blanche with the avant garde spirit it represents, and remember, you, too, are part of the happening.”

There is an official website HERE to help plan an itinerary for the night,
Day 21 Preparation for Paris trip:  Practice “ambling” just like the guide book says J
Countess Bedelia 9/14/2012 08:45:00 AM | 0 comments |

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Comédie-Française

A trip to the theater is always at the top of The Countess’ agenda on any day but when in Paris we MUST go to the legendary Comédie-Française .  Even though I don’t speak French, I am sure I will thoroughly enjoy the performance.

The Comédie-Française  is one of the few state theaters in France.  It is the only state theater to have its own troupe of actors. The company's primary venue is the Salle Richelieu. The theatre is part of the Palais-Royal Complex.

The Comédie-Française is located at 2, rue Richelieu in the 1st district of Paris, metro stop Palais-Royal.

According to Wikipedia the theater was founded by a decree of Louis XIV on 24 August 1680 to merge the only two Parisian acting troupes of the time,  Guénégaud Theatre and that of the Hôtel de Bourgogne. On the death of Molière in 1673, the troupe at the Guénégaud had been formed by a merger of the Théâtre du Marais and the Troupe de Molière.[2] Thus the Comédie-Française may be said to have an unbroken tradition reaching back to the days of Molière, and to have had theatre connections for more than a century previous to the death of the great dramatist in 1673.


There are two Moliere plays on the calendar for the time I will be there, Dom Juan and The School for Wives.  Either one will please me.

Day 20 Preparation for Paris trip:  Read Moliere’s plays in English so that I will know what is going on!
Countess Bedelia 9/13/2012 01:18:00 PM | 0 comments |

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Le Bistrot Paul Bert – Paris

My dear friend, Catherine, recommended Le Bistrot Paul Bert  and so I wanted to document it on the blog for reference when I get to Paris.  She said the food was so good that she and her husband photographed themselves eating it!

A quick search on Google came up with several travelers guide recommendations:

From Zagat: “Off the beaten path” in the 11th lies this “boisterous” bistro serving a “solid”, midpriced menu “with beef the star” (“best steaks in town” claim many) plus “interesting” wines; the old-school look is straight “out of central casting”, as are the “brusque” waiters, adding up to “everything” one “imagined a French bistro would be.”

The restaurant is located at 18, rue Paul Bert, in the 11th arrondisement. Metro: Faidherbe-Chaligny

Hours: Tues-Sat 12pm-2pm and 7:30pm-11pm; closed Sun & Mon

The desserts look heavenly....

dessert al grand marnier
Day 19 Preparation for Paris trip:  Visit The Patisserie Lenox and buy a French dessert!
Countess Bedelia 9/12/2012 12:32:00 PM | 0 comments |

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 remembered....

When I started writing my annual post about 9/11 to remember Janis Lasden and Don Ditullio, passengers on Flight 11, it occurred to me that there might be a Paris connection to tie in with my Preparing For Paris series.  A quick Google search and I found out that last year, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of this horrible event, Paris had several events planned but the most impressive was held at the Palais de Chaillot (Trocadéro) opposite the Eiffel Tower.


Replicas of the two New York World Trade Center towers were constructed at the Palais de Chaillot, each ten stories tall. A large white banner was draped down the length of each replica tower; one listing  the  names of those who died in the attacks and the other containing thousands of messages and signatures collected in the U.S. and elsewhere.

This site was chosen for the opportunity to show the Eiffel Tower positioned between the two World Trade Center towers as a symbol of solidarity, sympathy and friendship between France and the U.S.
"The choice of the Palais du Trocadéro is essential because these are the only two twin buildings overlooking Paris, the axis Eiffel Tower/Trocadéro is the most important tourist center in France, as well as the twin towers of the World Trade Center symbolized the entrance of the City of New York," said Jean-Pierre Heim.   Heim is a French architect who co-founded “The French Will Never Forget,” a group he started with three other individuals in 2003 to show support for the U.S. after 9/11/2001.

Remembering my friends…..

Don DiTullio and Janis Lasden
I met them both at the Village Inn back in the day when country line dancing was so popular. We were part of a group that showed up faithfully several nights a week to dance and socialize. That was long before I took pictures everywhere I go and I often wish I had a picture of Jan and Don dancing. They would twirl around the floor looking like the country version of Fred and Ginger.  I like to think they are still dancing in that big country dance hall in the sky.

Day 18 Preparation for Paris trip:  Live every day as if it is the first and the last.


Countess Bedelia 9/11/2012 07:34:00 AM | 0 comments |

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pont Alexandre III

This bridge, with its exuberant Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs, and winged horses at either end, was built between 1896 and 1900. It is named after Tsar Alexander III who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892. His son Nicholas II laid the foundation stone in October 1896. The style of the bridge reflects that of the Grand Palais, to which it leads on the right bank.

View of Seine river and Eiffel Tower through the sculpture on the famous Pont Alexander III bridge in Paris, France.

I intend to stroll over many of the famous Paris bridges while I am there.  To practice strolling over bridges, I walked across the Williamsburg Bridge while I was in New York City this weekend.  This is a picture of lower Manhattan taken from the walking path just before crossing over the East River.

 We are going to have SO MUCH FUN in Paris!” was the rallying cry this weekend. Cannot wait, mon ami!!

Day 17 Preparation for Paris trip:  Practice having “SO MUCH FUN” !!! J
Countess Bedelia 9/10/2012 06:09:00 PM | 0 comments |

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Paris Metro

Since I've been living in New York City for the past couple of years, I have become an experienced subway traveler.  I hope to transfer that skill to the Paris Metro system.  Step One is to familiarize myself with the Map.

The internet makes things so easy today.  I googled "Paris Metro" and came up with all kinds of sites with instructions and tips for getting around with ease.

The Complete Guide to Paris Transportation even tells about bus and river tours.  A boat ride down the Seine might be fun if the weather is good.

Day 15 & 16 Preparation for Paris trip:  Ride the New York City subway system and walk, walk, walk!
Countess Bedelia 9/08/2012 02:20:00 AM | 0 comments |

Friday, September 07, 2012

The Cafés of Paris

The cafés of Paris are legendary.  Every tourist knows that just sitting in a café drinking coffee or sipping wine is an integral part of the Parisian experience.

I found a website that describes the Top Traditional Paris Cafes starting with the Café De La Paix which is located in Le Grand Hotel at 12 Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement.

“Declared a historic site by the French government in 1975, this iconic café is the setting for many a painting and poem. The ornate frescoed interior and proximity to the Paris Opera make this classic look more like a museum than simple watering hole. Once loved by French writers such as Guy de Maupassant and Emile Zola, the café is so well-known that legend claims that you will surely run into a friend there.”

But every Paris corner seems to have a café just waiting for the tired tourist to enjoy.  This blog gives tips for an enjoyable café outing… Having a Drink at a Paris Café.

 Café LES DEUX MAGOTS, 6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés

“In France, life happens in cafés. You are sure to see lovers having coffee at a café terrace watching the world go by, or a group of friends drinking beers at the bar while discussing politics.”
Day 14 Preparation for Paris trip:  Watch the world go by while drinking a glass of French wine.

Countess Bedelia 9/07/2012 12:46:00 PM | 0 comments |

Thursday, September 06, 2012

In Paris, the best arrondissement to live in is ???

There are 20 arrondissements, and each arrondissement is attributed with its own number, according to the pattern of a spiral, beginning with the 1st arrondissement in the heart of the capital and ending with the 20th on the outer northwest.  Parisians describe their neighborhood by the arrondissement number instead of place names.

A broader division is applied by Rive Gauche (reev gohsh),meaning the Left Bank, the south side of the river Seine or Rive Droite (reev dro’aht), meaning the Right Bank, north side of the Seine.
A view of the Seine looking north from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
This website on expatica. Com gives a good explanation about the character of the different neighborhoods.

Since I will be staying in a private apartment in Paris, I have become very interested in the different arrondissements as each seems to have a different flavour to it.  I am so looking forward to exploring the arrondissement that I will be living in.

Day 13 Preparation for Paris trip:  Read more about the different arrondissements (can you tell I like this word?) of Paris
Countess Bedelia 9/06/2012 04:00:00 PM | 0 comments |

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Harry's New York Bar

As everyone knows, The Countess drink of choice is Glenlivet scotch.  So, while I am certain that I will be sampling many fine French wines during my Paris sojourn, there will be a time when a nice glass of scotch is the only thing to fill the bill. 

Harry's New York Bar has been a mainstay of the American expatriate community in Paris since the bar was acquired by former American star jockey, Ted Sloan in 1911, who converted it from a bistro and renamed it the "New York Bar." Sloan then hired Harry MacElhone, a barman from Dundee, Scotland, to run the place.  In 1923 it was acquired by MacElhone, who added his name to the bar, and who would be responsible for making it into a legendary Parisian landmark.

The bar is located at 5, Rue Daunou, between the Avenue de l'Opera and the Rue de la Paix.  They advertise their location for Americans by saying to just tell the taxi driver "sank roo doe noo".

Just the place to have a glass of scotch in the tradition of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Day 12 Preparation for Paris trip:  Go to Rumpy's Tavern (the Harry's Bar of the Berkshires) and have a glass of Glenlivet
Countess Bedelia 9/05/2012 07:34:00 PM | 0 comments |

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

"Be prepared"

"Be prepared," I was told, "for lots of rain in October and November in Paris."  So I googled 'Paris in the rain' and, voila! several blogs and articles popped up.

This article on Eurocheapo.com gives recommendations for 5 activities for Paris when it drizzles.

This blog post describes lots of food options to chase away the gloomy weather, and I love the last sentence, "It could always be worse, n'est-ce pas??"

Another 'Rainy Day in Paris' blog describes what the author calls a "serendipitous discovery"....the  MUSÉE DES LETTRES ET MANUSCRITS.   "This museum had an amazing collection of letters and manuscripts by the likes of Byron, George Sand, Colette, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Jules Verne, Proust, Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Mozart, Beethoven, Monet, Van Gogh, Thomas Edison and Einstein - and this just to give you a few examples." to quote the blogger.

Looks like a little rain won't stop me!  I added the following items to my packing list: raincoat, rainboots, and 2 umbrellas.

Day 11 Preparation for Paris trip:  Buy a new umbrella

Countess Bedelia 9/04/2012 09:12:00 AM | 0 comments |

Monday, September 03, 2012

Arc de Triomphe

So much history to absorb before I visit Paris!

The Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle at the western end of the Champs-Élysées.

With its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, the Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets and one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world. Several French monuments are also on the street, including the Arc de Triomphe  and the Place de la Concorde. The name is French for Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology. The Champs-Élysées is known as "The most beautiful avenue in the world".

Day 10 Preparation for Paris trip:  More walking......lots more walking!
Countess Bedelia 9/03/2012 11:57:00 AM | 0 comments |

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Lost in Translation!

I've been making a list of useful words and phrases to prepare for the Paris trip.  Although my traveling companion speaks fluent French and knows his way around Paree, there might be a time I am on my own and will need to speak for myself.

Thank you =   merci 

You’re welcome =   soyez le bienvenu 
Please =   s'il vous plaît 

Where is the ladies bathroom located? =   Où est la salle de bain dames situé 

Scotch with ice, please =   Glenlivet Scotch avec des glaçons, s'il vous plaît

However I am fearful that this cartoon will be how I end up.  Hopefully I will get extra Scotch instead of food!
Day 9 Preparation for Paris trip:  Read the French-English dictionary
Countess Bedelia 9/02/2012 03:11:00 PM | 0 comments |

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Edith Wharton Connection

One of the great houses in the Berkshires is Edith Wharton’s estate, The Mount, in Lenox.

Four years ago I became involved in the creation of The Wharton Salon to produce Edith Wharton stories as plays on the property she built. “Xingu”, “Summer”, “Autres Temps”, and “The Inner House” (based on Edith’s autobiography) have been performed over the past 4 years to sell out audiences.

In 1907, Edith Wharton left The Mount and what she deemed a self-righteous and cynical America to travel around Europe. When she arrived in France, Wharton saw Paris as an ideal escape from the United States’ restrictive norms.  Residing first in a quaint apartment at 58 Rue de Varenne and then at 53 Rue de Varenne, Wharton found Paris wholly captivating and adopted the city as an expatriate.
The plaque outside her house at 53, rue de Varenne says Edith Wharton was the first American writer to come to live in France for love of this country and of its literature.

In 1916 she won France’s highest decoration - the Légion d'honneur. She was also the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature.

 It seemed fitting today to sit down with my friend, Catherine Taylor-Williams, the founder of The Wharton Salon,  to finalize the accounting for our production of “The Inner House” which just ended a successful run at The Mount last week.  Over Hendricks Gin martinis we toasted the success of another year and made plans for the future.  Catherine shared the story of her pilgrimage to Edith’s Paris home which totally delighted me.

Day 8 Preparation for Paris trip:  Research the Wharton – Paris history and plan a visit to her Paris home

Countess Bedelia 9/01/2012 07:43:00 PM | 0 comments |