Wednesday, October 29, 2014


On perhaps the last beautiful day of our été indien we headed for the hills this week and returned to one of our favorite perches, the twelfth century donjon overlooking a meander of the Seine at the village of La Roche-Guyon. From a lookout window in the donjon, above, we captured a river barge. The tower's 250-step chiseled spiral stairway leads up a steep, ancient tunnel excavated in the chalk cliff. From the top is a commanding view--even though the fortified tower today is only half it's original 38-meter height. Below, a view from a road stop on the same plateau. 

un méandre: a meander, an oxbow
un colimaçon: a spiral staircase
un donjon: a donjon, i.e. a massive inner tower in a medieval castle

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Sunday, October 26, 2014


One of the prettiest, small public marketplaces I know of is in one of the most beautiful villages in France--La Roche Guyon. The bird's eye view below of the 18th- to 19th-century market and town hall is seen from the heights of the donjon of the Château de la Roche-Guyon.

For more, click here.

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Mobile juice bar
After a day of walking through the grounds of the Domaine de Versailles, nothing quite hits the spot like a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice available at mobile electric kiosks. This one is usually positioned just outside the pink marble Trianon palace.

photo courtesy of Tom Byrd

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


There's a fungus among us. 
"Il y a un champignon parmi nous" simply doesn't have the same effect as its English translation. This glorious cluster of fringed, non-comestible mushrooms came of age on the grounds of France's largest equestrian center, the Haras de Jardy, on the outskirts of Versailles.

un champignon:  a mushroom
à la périphérie de:  on the outskirts of

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Sunday, October 19, 2014


For better or for worse, these past few years a movement to display contemporary art inside and on the grounds of the Château de Versailles has firmly taken hold. Does it bring added value to the visitor's experience? Or do the works, which often interfere with the perspectives originally created by André Lenôtre and so dear to the Sun King, make them feel cheated? Whenever one of these temporary conceptual installations springs up, we can't help but think of the perplexed people who pay to visit the royal palace expecting to see the château and its park the way it was, not a perfunctory, denaturing of the historic grounds. Proponents proffer that were Louis XIV here today, he would be the first to welcome the works in a spirit of avant-gardism. Debatable as that may be, the above trompe d'oeil du sol does have some interest. The vertical metal plaque, reminiscent of the beginning scenes of the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, is buried in the gravel of the parterre du Midi. But seen from afar along with a second and horizontal plaque which serves as its shadow, an illusion that it's floating over the esplanade is created. The current enigmatic  implantations are the work of the Korean sculptor, Lee Ufan. 

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Friday, October 17, 2014


It takes a certain amount of cheek to permanently affix one's own effigy on a public thoroughfare; French street artist Gregos' has it. Numerous of his molded 3-D self-portraits have appeared in urban Parisian settings since 2006. All with different expressions. This one is on the corner of rue de Rivoli and rue Saint Roche. 

du culot:  cheek, nerve

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Thursday, October 16, 2014


View of a small schooner on a fine day off the Pink Granite Coast near Ploumanach in French Brittany. Because the coast is famous for weather where there are all four seasons in one day, the Bretons have a proverb that says: "Attendez la nuit pour dire que le jour a été beau." Wait until night to say that the day was beautiful.

une goélette:  a schooner

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Sunday, October 12, 2014


The world is your oyster
Cancale, the oyster capital of Brittany, has already been A French Education's blog subject, but we love the authenticity of the small port town so much that we can't help but return there again and again. It's the real thing.

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Friday, October 10, 2014


Low tide in Ploumanach,  a mysterious cove on France's Brittany Côte de Granit Rose, an other worldly stretch of stunning pink granite formations. From the rocky Ploumanach inlet a path leads to the sentier des douaniers, a trail custom officials walked to patrol the coast. The trail with its magnificient sea views is an easy walk and links the tricky to navigate rock-filled cove to the nearby seaport and marina of Perros Guirec. The view above is from a boutique hotel bedroom window, Castel Beau Site. The photo below was taken on the trail.

un sentier:  a path
un douanier:  a customs officer
une crique rocheuse:  a rocky inlet (from the sea)

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


A dream job: tending flowers in the scrolled, wide rows of the formal gardens at the Château de Versailles. Louis XIV's landscape architect, André Le Nôtre, originally designed the boxwood scrolled beds to be patterned with black and white marbled tiles. A generation later, however, Louis XV's daughters complained that the checkered pattern was sad and begged their father to have the tiles removed and replaced with flowers.

un damier:  a checkerboard
à damier:  checkered
un parterre:  a flower bed
un jardinier:  a gardener
un boulot:  a job (familiar)

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Monday, October 6, 2014


For Your Information:  It's a 5.5 kilometer- or 3.4 mile-walk all the way around the Grand Canal in the park of the Château de Versailles.

à titre d'information:  for your information

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Sunday, October 5, 2014


A bumblebee, or bourdon, visiting the gardens at the pink marble Trianon Palace on the grounds of the Domaine du Château de Versailles. Another glorious Indian Summer day.
un bourdon:  a bumblebee
bourdonner:  to buzz; to hum (motor)
un bourdonnement:  a humming

©2014 P.B. Lecron

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Still adrift in Monet's gardens at Giverny during this exceptional Indian Summer.

Related posts:

©2014 P.B. Lecron