Sunday, March 31, 2013

Adventure in Orly

Un hôtel excentrique
Returning home from France, our plan was to fly to Orly Airport from Nice, stay overnight in a nearby hotel, and fly out of Orly the next morning. I found a hotel online called Hotel Air Plus which appeared to be near the airport. And the hotel had a free shuttle service.
 A plethora of poisson at Nice Airport.
It was all I could do to resist this Hermès hat at the duty-free shop.
Euros were burning a hole in my poche.
On arrival at Orly Airport, we found the shuttle (navette). Malheureusement, it was 3 p.m. and the next shuttle pick up would be at 5. To the taxi stand. When we got in the taxi and told the driver that we were going to the village of Orly -- mon dieu! The driver was not happy. "I waited for 2 hours for a fare, and you are only going 2 miles," he uttered ever so charmingly in French. But gallantly, he drove us, me wondering just what I was getting us in to. All I could think of was that we were out in the strange exurbs of Paris and our taxi driver didn't like us. So I said, " Je suis desolée." (I am sorry.) He said, "Je vous en prie." (Basically, it's OK.)
We arrive at Hotel Air Plus. 
 "Art" installation.
It's actually quite charming in an ivy-covered sort of way.
Check in.
The walls are covered with airplane-related pictures and memorabilia.
The owner of the hotel must be a pilot.
Orly is 7.9 miles from the center of Paris and 
about 20 minutes by train. 
This hotel is a good, money-saving option for travelers on a budget.
Our room was 110 euros.
Almost looks like an early Miro.
We missed la navette and ran afoul of a taxi driver.

These are the houses near the hotel.
Orly turned out to be a charming place.
We were quite hungry, but the hotel restaurant was not open. We were told there were restaurants in town, so we set off to discover Orly, on foot, of course. We found a bar, Le Narval.
 We went in for a glass of wine. They were out of sandwiches.

We began to explore the town. What we quickly realized, though, was that we were in the old, original part of Orly. There was another, modern part, not far away, with pizza parlors. And the old part of town was being gentrified. It seems we had discovered a gem. The name Orly derives from Latin Aureliacum, "The villa of Aurelius." The population of Orly is 21,691.
 Cute, little houses, and alley-like streets in Orly.

 A fixed-up building.
Perhaps the type of person who might settle in
 Greenpoint, Brooklyn if they
were American appreciates the charm of old Orly.

This épicerie just popped open like a mushroom about 4 p.m.
 Ripe for renovation. The old stone houses of Orly.

Dinner at the famed L'envol restaurant in the Hotel Air Plus.
The next morning we were on our way home on Open Skies Airline, 
business class, bien sûr.
 Sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella for an appetizer.
 Le dîner.
Dessert and coffee.
Movies. I watched "2 days in New York." It was good.
 I drew on a magazine page.
À Bientôt!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Travel Lite

This is an acronym for how to pack and travel à la Carol.

PL = Pack Lite
I am a meticulous packer and our 3-week supply of clothes
and papers fit in these two cases.
The secret is to build in layers and use every available pocket of space.
You wear one pair of shoes on the trip.
That's my free bag from Topshop when they opened in Soho 
on the top left.

 Richard and I use two Rimowa "international" size suitcases which
 are 20" x 15" x 7"
These are smaller than an American carry on.
These don't have those fancy swivel wheels
but that would be nice.
W = Wash
I found this great wash by hand gel in a grocery store in Paris.
Wash out your underwear and socks every night.
Create an installation in your shower of underwear.
Your femme or homme de chambre will love it.
You can have the hotel dry clean your shirts and pants.
CCC = Check and Color Code Your Bags
We always check our bags. Then you don't have to wrestle them up on those tables for inspection. I will never understand why they don't have a conveyor belt to take bags up from the floor to the table.
Color Code your luggage tags so you can spot them on the baggage carousel. We got these neat neon tags at Flight 101, a travel store in the West Village.
CUGB = Cut Up Guide Books
Don't take the whole, heavy guide book.
 Cut out the pages that you will need.
Follow these packing tips and you
will be a happy traveler.
And leave room in your suitcase for
le shopping à Paris!!

À Bientot!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Bad Marriage and an Excellent Villa

Beatrice Builds a Villa
One day while we were in Nice, we decided to take a trip to Cap Ferrat, a peninsula replete with luxury homes jutting out into the Mediterranean. It was there that Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild built her beautiful villa in 1905.

 Richard at the entrance to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.
Exotic tropical gardens at the Villa.
Beatrice, who was born in 1864, was the daughter of a filthy rich banker and major art collector, Baron Alphonse de Rothschild. At 19, she married a man 15 years her senior, (pourquoi, je ne sais pas) Maurice Ephrussi, a Parisian banker. This marriage turned into a disaster in more ways than one. She caught a disease from the fellow which rendered her childless, and, it turned out, this guy was a big gambler.
 The villa is positioned to overlook the sea with
views to Villefrance and Beaulieu.
Maurice ran up debts amounting to 12 million in gold francs (about 30 million euros today), enough to make old-man Baron de Rothschild blanch. He took Maurice to court to demand a separation.
In 1905, Beatrice's father died, leaving her a vast fortune, and she built Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild as a winter residence.

The Villa holds Beatrice's art collection of over 5,000 works of art.
It was early, and the charming cafe beckoned. I had the strawberry tart.
Richard chose a raspberry parfait. Here is the waiter building the parfait.

 Beatrice had all manner of pretty things.

Puppies with their little armchairs.

 Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild has magnificent gardens.
 Views to the sea.
I am reading The Richard Burton Diaries, edited by Chris Williams and published by Yale University Press. In October of 1968 Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were aboard their yacht, the Kalizma off the coast of St Jean Cap Ferrat. Their boat could have been one of these seen moored off Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. I quote from a diary entry of Saturday, October 12th:
"Aboard the Kalizma. We flew last night from Paris. We shall go ashore later and probably go to La Ferme Blanche for lunch. Simon and Sheran are with us. They are delightful and so is the boat. The Monet is in the living room or salon, the Picasso and the Van Gogh are in the dining room. The Epstein bust of Churchill is brooding over the salon and there is a Vlaminck on the wall in stairwell to the kids' cabins. We finished early, about 6:45, and I went to pick up E and the guests at the Boulogne Studios. I saw W. Beatty who gave me a drink and was extremely flattering about Elizabeth. He said how remarkably beautiful she was and great film actress. The flight was as smooth as smooth, and took about an hour and a quarter. No one seemed to be nervous but of course we were stiffened by a few drinks.
We didn't go to bed until 3:30 because we were so excited at the joy of the boat. I can't as 'twere stop touching it and staring at it, as if it were a beautiful baby or a puppy dog. Something you can't believe is your very own.
Kevin McCarthy just appeared swimming, if you please, from the Voile d'Or (a hotel on Saint Jean Cap Ferrat). He is coming for lunch tomorrow."

The interior courtyard.

 This little boy was surprised by the fountains starting to spout.

 Pine trees along the sea.
Lunch followed the tour of the villa.
I had read in a guide book about a beach restaurant called Plage de Passable on Cap Ferrat. It was described as an enchanting spot sheltered by pines and palms. A place where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton might have dallied while they were in the environs.
 Sun worshippers on the beach next to the restaurant.

We dined on pizza and a rose wine.

For this trip, we hired a car.
Our chauffeur awaited après le déjeuner.

À bientôt!