Asia, Canada, Countries, Europe

Bonne Fête Nationale mais non Bastille

Oui, the French are celebrating their national day today… Bonne Fête Nationale mais non Bastille.d Fr See e ex

But why did nobody well us that the French aren’t celebrating the storming of the Bastille at all?

And that it is only a coincidence that the day falls on the samed date as the start of the Federation of France.

Bastille daze

Oui mais non… Bastille

So, a tip ici. Don’t wish your amis Happy Bastille Day.

All of which makes sense.

I mean who’d make a thing of freeing seven prisoners.

And two of them lunatics, and one an Irishman who thought he was Julius Caesar?

Well without further adieu Bonne Fete National around la monde.

La Mère ship

Grab an Eiffel

Paris, France: Naturellement. And as you would expect it’s all fly past entertainment, fireworks and flag waving.

And free entry to the Louvre… say bonjour to Lisa and the Parisiens.

The Montréal thing

Vive Montréal

Montréal, Canada: And emigrées are toujours more Francaisez

Canadiennes whoop it up in French Canada with all the Paris pyrotechnics but a Canadian twist with their r own home-grown Montréal Cirque Festival.

Something to Prague about

On the King Charles Bridge in Prague

Kampa, Prague, Czech Republic And you might not associate our Czech chums with July 14

We don’t know if it’s a throwback to Bohemia to Napoleon tor if it’s shared experiences of 1968.

But it’s jazz time in Prague with thousands in the square by the Vlatva River and on Charles Bridge. Ah oui, la joie de sax.

Tahiti treatment that

Ooh, really rela la: Tahiti

Tahiti, French Polynesia: And doesn’t July 14 and every fête remind us all how interconnected we all are?

Coconut cracking, fire walking (ouch!), stone weight lifting, food tasting and beauty pageants in Papeete’s To’ata Square anyone?

It’s all part of the Heiva i Tahiti Festival since independence day from June 29. Maeva Tahitians.

Indian Côte D’Azur

Vive L’India

Pondicherry, India And this little bit of the Tamil Nadu in the south-east of India will for ever be France.

Which is why it’s often called the Indian Côte D’Azur (not to be confused with the original French one) or the Riviera of the East.

So fly the flag for India and fly the flag for France. Et a La Tricolore.

And we’ll return to morel in vexilology treats at a later date…

Only today belongs to the French et Bonne Fête Nationale mais non Bastille mon amis.

 

 

 

 

Countries, Deals, Europe

Bon Anniversaire Diana á 60

Bon Anniversaire Diana á 60 and here is her love letter to France.

Aujourd-hui est son anniversaire and our final images of Princess Diana are of her holidaying in France.

Princess of Smiles

Hers is a well-trodden path although none of us can afford a superyacht in the Med or the Hotel Ritz in Paris.

But there is a magnifique vacation (and that’s mon Francais exhausted) to be had in Paris/Cote d’Azur.

Diana’s City of Love

The French capital is, of course, heralded as the City of Love although for four spotty teenage lads there was nothing debonair about our overnighter.

Or Ritzy room. Instead we reposed on the floor of the Paris Saint-Lazare train station.

Fairy tale wedding

And were awoken not with a copy of Le Monde and a Mimosa but a kick to the ribs by gunned-up gendarmes.

But just to daydream a little, here’s what a fancy 218sqm Suite Impériale with a view of the Place Vendôme in the Ritz looks like.

Crowning glory

I don’t know how prescient it is to stay in the Marie-Antoinette Bedroom but here goes.

Ooh-la-la

The Ritz flag it up as a replica of the Queen’s bedroom at the Chateau de Versaille with a canopy bed, draped in silk.

You can look up in the Marie/Antoinette at 6m high ceilings

And around at features including massive chandeliers, screens, an embellished chaise longue, pedestal tables and antique clocks.

Suite, sweet

A wash isn’t a swish of water from the sink at the station but a large bathtub in a room done entirely in carved wood features.

Je suis un parade

You’ll be treated like a king, just like Louis XV as an 11-year-old in 1721, as a guest of the Duchesse de Gramomt, then the lady of la maison.

Now they can’t promise a parade as the Turkish ambassador brought down below then with his procession and camels.

French cuisine anyone?

But you will see Paris life in all its élan.

Suites are from €2500 a night and rooms from €1300, although we assume the Marie Antoinette is at the top end.

Princess Diana’s last Summer of Love began on that yacht off Sardinia before taking a private jet to Paris.

Chic: On the French Riviera

For us as 16-year-olds it never got past school French on the dance floor… Comment allez-vous?

Riviera of dreams

And un petit tent in Saint-Raphael.

I’ve upgraded on my travels to the Riviera since and sped on a boat around the coast of Cannes.

And you don’t have to be a princess or a Dodi either to enjoy Cannes with the family-friendly Mimozas, Mandelieu-la-Napoule,

Bon Anniversaire Diana á 60.

 

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – International Women

Women I will try to express my inner feelings and thankfulness for showing me the meaning of success. Woman, John Lennon

And on this International Women’s Day a celebration of international women in the places they celebrated.

La Vie en Paris

La Vie en Rose: Edith Piaf

Edith Piaf, Paris: A solemn fan stands in contemplation at the grave of La Chanteuse in Pere Lachaise.

And gives out to the family trying to negotiate their way through the myriad streets of the huge graveyard in Paris.

Before Le Custode rang the bell on us, in our ears.

Moi? Je ne regrette rien.

La Vie en L’Ecosse

Take it as red: Eddi Reader

Eddi Reader, Scotland: My own wee country has produced many memorable Scottish singers and singers of Scottish songs.

But I’m picking out Eddi Reader, once of Fairground Attraction, for making Robert Burns and Old Scotland hip again.

With songs such as Jamie Come Try Me and Comin’ Through The Rye.

Scottish Warriors

Eddi learned her craft in Paris where she channeled her own Edith and then brought that vibe over to old Scots.

Old Scots translates too to our brethren and sistren in Ireland.

Where she owned the audience in my adopted town in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, and Dublin.

La Vie en New Jersey

Movie star: Debbie Harry in Union City www.imdb.con

Debbie Harry, New Jersey: Was there anyone racier for an adolescent schoolboy in the late 70s than Debbie Harry?

And when she sings in French on Sunday Girl… incrèdible!

On the New Jersey side

Debbie made even the starkest landscape sing and who can forget the video of her flirting with the camera in the Union City. boatyard?

La Vie en New Orleans et Orlando

Pretty Patti: Patti LaBelle

Voulez-vous coucher avec mou c’est soir?

Not an invitation, though it was to the thousand or so in Orlando’s Rising Star Karaoke Club in CityWalk, Universal Orlando.

En route to CityWalk: Universal Orlando

I channeled my own Lady Marmalade there and while you’d be forgiven for knowing it wasn’t French New Orleans.

The compere was gracious enough to tell the audience that that was the way to deliver a girls’ song.

ICI, AUX FEMMES

Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Hey Willie, I’m On the Road Again

On the road again, I just can’t wait to get on the road again, the life I love is makin’ music with the my friends, and I can’t get wait to get on the road again.

Willie Nelson

And when I was asked by woman-of-many-trades (she asked me to write this) Aileen Eglington to pick my song for her Destinations Anywhere show on Dublin South FM I plumped for Willie Nelson’s classic to the Open Road.

And so continuing my top roads I’ve been on (or hope to trudge) which included the Appian Way, Rome. Beale Street, Memphis, The King’s Highway in Jordan, the Royal Mile, Edinburgh and Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem On the Road again… I give you five more.

The arc of angels

arche de triumph
There’s a golden sun. Photo by TravelingTart on Pexels.com

Avenue des Champs-Elysees, Paris: And, yes, you are taking your life into your own hands when you cross the road here.

The Arc de Triumph with its record of French victories is, of course, the centrepiece although there hasn’t been an inscription on it for many a year. Either in war or the Tour de France which passes through it. See https://en.parisinfo.com.

Aspiring Dublin

O’Connell Street, Dublin: And if you like your streets lined with historical statues then this is for you.

At one end is the Liberartor Daniel O’Connell, with bullet holes from the Easter Rising, and at the other ‘The King of Ireland’ Charles Stewart Parnell. There’s the modern-day Centennial Spire but my favourite is the statue of workers’ hero Jim Larkin. See http://www.visitdublin.com.

The long, long road

Yonge Street, Toronto: And why let the facts get in the way of a good story. The Guinness Book of Records tagged it as the longest in the world until it became clear that they were conflating the Downtown Street with Ontario Highway 11 to make it 1,896kms.

When it’s actually 56kms long. And this being Toronto it’s cleaner, safer and with a laid-back vibe than New York which it is often unfavourably compared to. See http://www.seetoronto.com and Canadian high.

It’s a Shambles

The Shambles, York, England: The Old York, as it’s never called, has something the New York has.

This has overhanging timber-framed buildings that date from the 14th century. And if you like your trains there’s also the National Railway Museum. See https://www.visityork.org.

A night on Der Town

Beatles history in Hamburg

And if it’s good enough for the Beatles then…

This is where the Beatles grew up and George Harrison got his first taste for mud-wrestling Germans. It’s the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. And let Stefanie Hempell who runs the best music tour you’ll find.

See http://www.hamburg.com http://www.hempels-musictour.de/en/ and Hamburgers and ships and The Beatles in Hamburg – With Stefanie Hempel and Why German trains always run on time.