Thursday, June 29, 2017

Time flies!

In May, France elected a new president and in June, a new legislature. I must admit I'm happy with both results. The député for my district is not the one I voted for, but I'm not unhappy that the one who got elected did. It was a close call and they were both good choices, in my opinion. It was the first time in a long time that I entered a voting booth not really sure whom to vote for because I rather liked them both. Usually, if I can't decide, it's because I can't stand either.
 For the first round of the legislative election, we were out of town and had given our proxies to neighbor friends. We were down in Arles. We didn't visit the city this time. We were there for a very special occasion -- a friend from the Pierwige days was hosting a féria. (in French). He invited a group of us from the Pierwige, student days, but mostly the guests were business associates, partners, customers, and family, too. There were no bullfights, but there were games, if you like, with young cows -- testing the females to see if they would be good for breeding bull fighting stock and a bit of acrobat running with cows in the little arena. In the afternoon, there was a small equestrian show. Between the arena events, there was a pre-lunch appetizer cocktail, then lunch. Plus a hayride and or horse ride. It was enough to occupy the whole day.

 It was hot, too. Coming from Paris, we were not used to the heat. Of course, since then, we've had a heatwave, even in Paris, with temperatures getting close to 40°C. (over 100°F). And we still do not have air conditioning, so it makes for difficult sleeping conditions.
During this heat wave we had a visit from A. for a short week. We went to the Musée d'Orsay on Saturday morning. I had bought the tickets on line, so we had no wait at all. We were there just after opening, so it was still mostly empty. There's no way you can do the whole museum -- we stuck to the pre-Impressionists and the Impressionists. We had lunch in the restaurant, which is the original train station restaurant in all its 1900 beauty (walls and ceilings, not furniture) and took a long bus ride home. On Sunday, we "did" Ile de la Cité -- the Sainte Chapelle, the Conciergerie, the Archaeological Crypt and then a long bus ride home along a different route. Taking the bus is also a way of doing some tourism. Unfortunately, the buses we ended up on were not air-conditioned. In the afternoons, we sat out in the shade of the hazelnut tree in our yard.
 Monday -- a pleasant drive to Giverny. We got there early, but it's always crowded. It's a good thing we had our tickets, already. Parking used to be really near the house. Now, they've stuck it a good distance down the road. I did see where the old parking lot still is and how to get to it for the next time. None of the signs lead you there. If you follow the signs, you end up where we were. Also, the on-line ticket does not tell you to go to the group entrance, which is closer to the parking lot. We walked all the way to the main entrance only to be told to walk back to the group entrance. There were lots and lots of school groups. It was crowded in both the house and the gardens. It was a very nice visit, but paced a bit faster than we would have wished. We felt pushed along by the people behind us. We ended up at the restaurant where we'd reserved much earlier than planned, but that was not a problem. After lunch, we set the car's GPS to not allow highways and took a leisurely, but long route home, with a stop at La Roche Guyon. We were very happy to spend 3 hours getting home in the air-conditioning!
After three full days of excursions, we stayed home on Tuesday. Well, we went for a little walk into Nogent and around the Nogent market, but it was early -- too early for any shops to be open on the main street. Even the market was not very busy.
Wednesday, we headed out, again, to Chantilly and visited the Château with it's extensive art collection and antique books. The collections require air-conditioning and controlled humidity, but humans do not, so the restaurant (see the movie Vatel) is not air-conditioned, but it wasn't too bad. The high ceiling and being on the shady side of the building helped. After lunch, we hiked over to the stables, visited the horse museum and took in the little equestrian show before heading home.

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