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Two years after their 1978 study tour of Greece (and Turkey), the Society of Architectural Historians headed for France from May 23 to June 15, 1980; and among those who went were George and Mila Jean.  This was their first trip there together, but each had been to France before: Mila Jean during her Fulbright Year Abroad in 1955, and George during his 1966 Solo Jaunt in Europe.

As they had in 1978 and also during the extended Ehrlich family trip to England in 1971, both kept a journal of their travel experiences.  Again characteristically, George began with a pocket notebook of initial impressions and then expanded and expounded on these in a bound record book; while Mila Jean filled a steno spiral with hectic observations and a large manila envelope with souvenirs, including three picture postcards sent to (and later retrieved from) my brother Matthew, who was holding down the home fort in Kansas City MO.  George meticulously entered the date and day of the week as a header on each page of his journal; Mila Jean at one point neglected to enter any date on the minimal line breaks between her daily entries.  

One significant difference from previous trips abroad (or in the USA) is the absence of an accompanying photo album.  This was certainly not due to George's taking no pictures; part of his bound journal was devoted to a meticulous log of twenty-one film rolls lettered A through U, with twenty shots taken per roll.  But as Matthew would remark in 2022:

Those were the days when it seemed as though Dad was shooting nothing but slides, which I guess made sense from a teaching standpoint given the classroom technology of the day, but they weren't amenable to inclusion in an album.  At some point after Dad's death [in 2009] Mom and I went through his negatives and slides and donated everything that was primarily architectural to Western Historical Manuscripts.  My guess is that the images that Dad shot in France were mostly of that nature.

Indeed I recall being treated to an afterFrance slide show at 5505 Holmes (the Old Ehrlich Place) and regrettably dozing off midway through it, since KCMO had embarked on its summer-long Killer Heat Wave of 1980, and I was basking (or the cool-off equivalent) in air conditioning that didn't malfunction.

It would not be a traditional Ehrlich trek without recurrent worries about financing, aggravated by 1980's double-digit inflation rates in France as well as the United States.  Fortunately the Ehrlichs had long been accustomed to frugal habits ("We were poor but we were honest," Mila Jean would sing) and knew numerous tricks to make do and get by, such as saving part of their continental breakfasts to augment their luncheons.

Once again, counterpointing George's measured observations with Mila Jean's staccato responses is not unlike interspersing Beethoven with bursts of Broadway show tunes.  Yet they journeyed together harmoniously, arriving at the same destinations with much the same mindset.  And fortunately they both left a record of their explorations, allowing us to hear their voices speak once more.


To enhance the clarity of reading these travel journals online, I have amended punctuation, adjusted paragraph breaks, expanded most abbreviations, aimed for consistent capitalization and italicization, and corrected a few misspellings, mostly of names; but have left most of the shifts from present to past tense (and back) intact.  As in her 1971 British diary, Mila Jean usually referred to her husband as "Geo" and that has been left unaltered; ditto her ampersands and frequent tense shifts, being representative of The Mila Spiral.  Question marks within brackets [?] are my editorial queries of uncertain words; those within parentheses (?) appear in the original text.

This webpage is best viewed on a device using the four fonts I employed: Courier New for the itinerary, Times New Roman for George's entries, Comic Sans for Mila Jean's, and Verdana for my own.

At the time of the 1980 trip to France, George was 55 years old and Mila Jean had just turned 48.


FRIDAY, MAY 23, 1980

ITINERARYGroup flight to Paris / Depart John F. Kennedy Airport, New York City, Air France No. 022 at 10 p.m. / Times subject to change.

GEORGESteve Gosnell drove us to the airport in our car; Matthew stayed at home.  And so we were on our way.  And on and on.  We arrived at LaGuardia and despite the jam of holiday weekend traffic, got our luggage and piled out on the sidewalk to catch the transfer bus to Kennedy.  Having received three different pieces of advice on getting complimentary transfer we ended up having to pay since our tickets did not show transfer.  As the man said, pay the two dollars (but in this case it was $3.50 each).
     It was hot (90°) in N.Y. and we crept across Long Island.  At JFK we hit every terminal.  By the time TWA hove into view, I was properly subdued.  In the terminal the crowds checking in were enormous and multilingual.  After much patient waiting, we did manage to reach the desk and completed our check-in.  Now [we are] sitting in the departure lounge for gate three, waiting for the boarding call (about ten minutes).  I guess we are about on our way.

     It turned out that Mila and I were together in adjacent seats, but not next to each other; I was in the row behind her.  I shared a three-seat unit with two girls from California on their first trip over to Europe—and they were EXCITED!  Mila shared with two lads on their way to Cairo to play at the Cairo Hilton.  One had never flown and they too were to be in Europe, etc. for the first time.  The companions were nice and one can't complain.
     We arrived about three quarters of an hour late at Charles de Gaulle Airport and stoically worked our way—in a mob scene—through passport controls.  Got our luggage, put it on a cart, and just walked past customs, since we have nothing to declare.  We then made the round (for the main terminal is circular in plan, and Brutalist in appearance) to Air France to see if Rosann Barry was there.  And she was.
     We parked by Rosann and waited on the group flight which eventually arrived.  This larger group then transferred to a bus (with no shock absorbers in the rear) and thence into the city.  Though this was technically Saturday, it seemed the end of Friday rather than a new day.  That began with our first excursion out.

MILA JEANDeparted @ 10:00 AM with Steve attempting to operate unfamiliar car: cool & overcast.  Arrive & check in with no trouble—uneventful flight to LaGuardia except for a "chatty Kathy" type who starts in aisle & talks to couple on front of us.  Had pretty good lunch—quiche, vegs (zucchini, carrots, etc.), carrot cake with filling, cookie, roll & butter, coffee, salad.
     Arrive at LaGuardia—very hot (90°), horrible mess trying to get to bus to Kennedy airport (one hour or more) in closed bus—no air conditioning—had to drag all luggage on bus with us—had to hold part of it in lap—bump, drag, crash, etc.  Equal long wait to get luggage put through & get boarding passes, of course!  It is Memorial Day weekend & all of NYC is leaving town & all of Europe & USA are leaving USA!  Had orange juice (70¢)—tiny can.  Called home for Jane—not home—Liz answered.  Called work for Jane—no answer.  Called Pat Snyder.  Gone.  Bob answered & said she'd gone out of town to Long Island.  Am now sitting in waiting room—6:45.

     Plane late in taking off—I sit at end of row of three, the other two seats occupied by Tony and Andy—teenage musicians (in Naval ROTC), drums & bass—who are en route to Egypt to play jazz at the Casino Hilton.  It's like traveling with Wally & Beaver (Andy's never flown before!).  Geo sits with two American girls on their first trip to Europe—all very jolly.  I have a gin & tonic, chicken fromage with white wine.  We see Kramer vs. Kramer.  No sleep.  See the dawn come up.  Passport control takes half hour—walk through enormous transparent bubble (pipes) in walking escalator to Air France over where we run into Rosann & two others of SAH tour.  We sit for hours waiting for contingent from Air France flight.  Soon we will board bus to Hotel (Le Grand).  One of my bags has tar on it, the other is ripped (umbrella stuck through its old age).  Tour director is deaf.  (Glorioski!)  He will give us a talk tonight.
     By almost 12:00 about 25 people had assembled—great delight to see old friends—and all of our luggage was assembled into an enormous bus with apparently no shock absorbers because we jounced & jolted all the way into the Opera district.  (I gather we get another bus tomorrow.)

SATURDAY, MAY 24, 1980

ITINERARYGroup flight arrives 11 a.m. at Roissy (Charles de Gaulle) Airport, Paris / (Persons on group flight will be provided transportation from airport to hotel upon arrival in Paris) / FREE DAY / 5:30 p.m.: Introductory Lecture / Overnight: Le Grand Hotel, Paris.

GEORGE:  Professor and Mrs. G. Ehrlich were assigned to room 5207 Le Grand Hotel.  This looks over the great court and thus the sound of the streets is much dampened.  The room is no cheapie, though small by U.S. standards.  We have a double bed, two armchairs, a straight chair with arms.  The toilet is a true WC, separate from the shower, bidet and washstand, and these open off a small hall as does the bedroom.  All have doors, hence one can close off laving sounds, etc.  We freshened up, changed clothes—it is much cooler in Paris than N.Y.—and sallied forth.  Our primary aim was to find some food and to reconnoiter.
     We were out during the long afternoon "break" from commerce.  Most shops were closed.  But we did find a patisserie that sold sandwiches.  We had two
with paté that were modest in price, good to taste (on real French bread) and something to eat while walking.  And we walked and walked.  We did part of Rue de l'Opera, Rue Danielle Casanova, Rue [des] Petits Champs, the latter to the Place des Victoires.  From there, north past [Place de] La Bourse to Les Grand Boulevards: Montmartre, des Italiens, des Capucines and back to the hotel for some rest.
     The quality of the nineteenth century architecture is superb.  A lot of it is now cleaned, and I saw one unidentified 17th or 18th Century structure (it had to be late 17th) that was truly grand.  We saw the south facade of the Bibliothèque Nationale.  On Rue Réaumur just east of Rue Notre Dame des Victoires we saw an extraordinary riveted iron strapwork commercial(?) Art Nouveau facade.  It has to be early 20th Century because of the many rivets.
     Well, it is all stimulating and a bit much when one is rather weary
—not too much sleep aboard l'avion.
     Now it is approaching the time to rendezvous for the first official get-together for the group.

     We have met, though not at length.  We are oriented (so to speak) and discover that we will be buying most of our dinners as well as our lunches.  Ah me!  So we had a supper in a so-so but convenient cafeteria with Jack Parker and Tom Ridington.  They and Mila headed out to walk afterwards.  I feel fatigued and am listening to the news on TV.
     As I sit in an armchair writing this, I am very tired and thus little more will be said.  A note, however, that this room is rated at 530 francs per day, that is $132.50.  That includes continental breakfast of 28 f and service, but whether it is 28 extra for another I don't know.  When I changed money at the a
irport, it was 25¢ per franc.  It would seem to me that would have to be for two, but after checking again it says per person$7!!

MILA JEAN[continuing without a break from previous entry, lacking a date heading]   Get room assignments.  Ours is charming—apparently part of old servants quarters under the mansard roof: two rooms, one whole bathroom, plus extra room for the "toilette" tiled with light mauve & white figured tile in circular pattern: tub, bidet, stool—windows look out over courtyard; central hall, even the doors are papered in floral wallpaper (gets confusing at night!).  Bedroom has double bed with brown/gold stripes, bolster & pillows—all feels soft & goosedownish.  Two side tables with lamps (mine has no bulb), two armchairs with table.  Dressing table & big mirror with TV set.  Bath has tub, big dressing table with bowl bidet.  We walk around area & buy two sandwiches stuffed with paté and pickles.
     Have session with Earl Layman showing slides with all sorts of people smoking.  Lyle sits next to me & complains about smoke (a sinus infection).  We all doze off in the darkness—everyone apparently.  (Earl Layman's remarks & Rosann's remarks about behaving sensibly & not making political remarks loudly.)  Mercifully it ends & I who have had only one donut (coffee, juice) & one sandwich all day am famished.
     Tom, Jack, Geo & I go across street to cafeteria for some rather awful fast-food stuff: "roast" chicken, pommes frites, one section leaf lettuce & tomato, one lemonade, one tart for about $8—is that really right?  Geo goes back to hotel & boys & I walk some more.  Then struggle back at 8:30.  I take bath & try to sort things out but alas, it's too confusing.  Go to bed & sleep immediately.  Geo is restless at 2:30 and we check time.  Finally to sleep.

SUNDAY, MAY 25, 1980

ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Le Grand Hotel / 8:30 a.m.—12 Noon: Bus tour to St. Denis [scored through: followed by walking tour of le Marais, Place de Vosges, Rue St. Antoine] [handwritten arrow to what was originally scheduled for 1:30—4:30 p.m.:] Bus from Le Grand to Ile de la Cité, followed by walking tour of Notre Dame, Ste. Chapelle, Conciergerie, Ile St. Louis / Lunch on own / [handwritten: Afternoon free] / 8 p.m.: Grand Banquet: Le Cercle Militaire, Place St. Augustin (participants to arrange own transportation) / Overnight: Le Grand Hotel

GEORGE:  It is late in the afternoon as I write this and this does not mean the end of the day.  There is still the Grand Banquet for the evening to go to.  Before entering the highlights of the day, it might be appropriate to comment on the Grand Banquet.  It will be, apparently, haute cuisine in a period room.  We've already had to ante up another 10 francs per, though the major part is included in the overall tariff for the tour.  We learned of that last evening at our initial assembly.  We also learned, to our dismay, that in addition to about a dozen we-pay-as-we-go lunches, there will be that many (or more) dinners.  Granted, we are in a land of great cooking, but given the size of the tour cost, I assumed that as with Greece, most evening meals were included.  WRONG!  That has a double implication.  First, we need to find suitable places.  Second, there is the cost.  Prices (for U.S. citizens) are high.  It costs a great deal to eat.  It would be very easy to spend $10 to 15 per person for the evening meal, and a lot more.  We could go broke very quickly.  And I'm not sure I want to—or even can anymore—eat food that is too rich.  So we begin to improvise.  More on that below.
     To begin then.  Sleep came quickly to us both, but then, in the deepest of dark, I awoke being hot and uncomfortable.  After fussing as quietly as I could, I opened the window a bit (happily we have a courtside room) and went as quietly as I could to relieve myself.  Nothing helped.  Mila awoke—I then checked the time—2:30 a.m.  Well, back to sleep, or to try.  Finally a noise occurred: the wakeup call at 7:00 a.m.  Obviously we had gotten to sleep.
     We leave a card for breakfast.  Apparently I was not clear in my notation and nothing was arriving as I had hoped and requested.  I braved the telephone and presto, we soon had our continental breakfast.  Orange juice, cafe au lait, and plenty of rolls/croissants and butter and jam.  We scarfed that down, but saved two hard rolls plus some jam.  That I packed in some zip-loc bags to carry with us.  Lunch perhaps or a supplement.
     We assembled at the bus at 8:30 and soon thereafter were off to St. Denis to see the abbey church.  In the best of manner there was the usual scaffold here and there and an unexpected adjustment.  An extra long high mass was being said for the first communion for a group of girls.  While it was quite entertaining to see and hear the church in use (and it was quite crowded with a working class group, with babes in arms) it/this prevented us from being able to see le
musée of tombs and thus the chevet area and crypt.  We would not benefit from a delay since another mass would soon begin.  So we did something completely different.
     A half block away was the Sunday market in full swing.  Everything was going for sale, from clothing to live critters such as rabbits and chickens.  A number of us purchased various goodies.  Mila and I restricted our purchases to four Golden Delicious apples.  Others got other fruit, nuts, and what else I know not.  Thus fortified, we turned toward the bus and then headed for L'Ile de la Cité.
     La Cité, as it is known, was also the honey that lured other visitors that morning, and in great quantity.  Patric, our driver, managed to lose his way in and alongside Notre Dame's flank (near flank) and we debarked.  We walked around the apse (we were on the north side) and along the south flank to the place in front.  There is a great construction underway, all in wood, ranging across the front of the facade.  Only a narrow lane separated the porch from it.  Red carpeting was being laid on the many stairs, etc.  It turns out that the Pope is coming!  It will be the U.S. tour all over again, with much hoopla if the temporary structure is any indication.  The size of the timbers was quite impressive.
     We went first to Ste. Chapelle.  We arrived so we could use our pass, only to find [the chapel] open (as apparently it is at that time as a matter of course) and a line of people waiting to enter.  Our pass was rejected because it said musée, not monument.  A typical rhubarb based on lower functionaries not understanding what higher functionaries mean.  Presumably this pass expressly allowed us entrance into both musées and monuments.  Tom Ridington came to our rescue.  He inquired in French if professors could not enter free?  The answer was yes.  So out came IDs from those of us so equipped.  The ticket taker was not too swift and tried to comprehend what she was shown.  If it was official it was OK.  Mila used my business card, one used his senior citizen pass (with photo); I think anything printed was acceptable because we all got in.  (Later I learned some had to pay.)
     The windows in the upper chapel, which Michelin says are the oldest in Paris (etc.), are carefully restored so as to maintain character.  From Sainte Chapelle we went to the top (west/tail) of La Cité.  From there one gets a good view of the Louvre.  It was there that Mila and I ate apples (one apiece).  We then proceeded toward Notre Dame.  Oh, I forgot to note we went through Place Dauphine on our way to Square du Vert Galant (the [
illegible]).  This is somewhat still 17th Century in appearance.
     Well, back to Notre Dame by Le Tour de L'Herbage.  We went through the Sunday bird market and the Place du Parvis.  Since this now covers a garage recently built, considerable archaeology had been possible in conjunction with its construction.  Old sites (medieval) are now outlined on the pavement indicating the rue d'eglise.  An interesting concept.
     Notre Dame's interior, as before, is less impressive than the outside.  Partly it is the darkness.  Anyway, from there we went to the Square d'Ile de France and saw but was unable to visit the Memorial de la Deportation.  We sat in the Square and ate one of our rolls.
     We then decided to walk toward Centre Georges Pompidou, better known as the Beaubourg, since the Centre (the famous/infamous modern structure) is on Plateau Beaubourg.  By this time Mila and I were on our own, by choice, since others went to the Ile St. Louis for walk and lunch.  Pompidou Centre is, in fact, really something.  I'm not sure yet of my reaction, but it wasn't really negative.  More ambiguous.  It works, Lord knows.  To add to the situation, Sundays are free days.  But that is only part of it.  The plaza in front is the site of "street entertainers" doing their thing for tossed coins.  This last was something both aural and visual.  Given the topography of the area. which slopes down to the Centre Pompidou in its inner area, surrounded by a street level walkway on the other boundaries, one has a natural "arena" for both ground level and elevated viewing.  The latter includes people on the exterior walkways of the building.
     The building is a boy's Erector Set dream come true.  Indeed, it is exaggerated but consistent.  The west facade, facing the Plateau Beaubourg, is the one always photographed, with the exterior escalator.  The elevators, also on the exterior, do not have glass doors or walls, however; only the staircases and escalator automatique.  The east side is in line with other facades, and that is, indeed, unbelievable.  It has all these pipes and vents, etc., in multiple colors, and being in line with and at the same height as the conventional Parisian six-seven-story facade, you have a startling image indeed.
     Inside, where the industrial exhibits are, is a science-technology construct.  An indoor people-space.  The bibliotheque was in use but closed to us.  The third and fourth floors were open and in Modern Art (begins with Cubists and Fauvres).  The collection is good!  A lot of American for later stuff.  The fifth floor is temporary exhibitions.  This still required admission on free days.  We did not enter, more a matter of time than money.
     Oh yes, the cafeteria (expensive) is up there too.  A 7-Up type drink they called lemonade was 3 f (75
¢) per 8 oz? glass.
     From there we walked past the Les Halles site which is now called Porte Rambuteau.  Still under construction, it is apparently a combination transportation center and shopping center, largely underground.  If time permits we'll return.
     We finally headed back into the hotel, it was nearly five, or at least after four p.m.  We had started at 8:30 a.m.  We rested and then at 7:30 we walked with others (all dressed up we were) to this military club, Cercle Militaire, where we had a gala and fancy dinner.  The food was OK but messy to eat.  Elaborate service by young boys (late teens/early twenties).  Perhaps my taste buds are withering.  I found it all OK but I wasn't tempted to overeat.  I tasted the wine, but I've lost the taste for that.  In fact I refused refills (I deliberately requested a small portion first) so consistently I was nearly passed over on a refill on my water glass.
     Well, the grand affair was concluded and the retreat back to the hotel began.  It was 11:30 p.m. when finally we were in our room.  Our first full day was very full indeed.

MILA JEANPhone rings at 7:00 for wake-up.  Meal finally brought after we call at 7:45.  On bus 8:30, leave at 8:45 for Ste. Chapelle (also go to open market & Ile St. Louis, Notre Dame).  Have saved breakfast rolls, buy apples.  See concierge for arts, etc.  We shiver because it's quite cool, overcast & damp.  See mass & first communion at Ste. Chapelle—it's a working-class district, not pretty, but interesting.
     We eat apples & roll & set off alone at 2:00 for Centre Georges Pompidou—"Beaubourg"—wild avant-garde building with pipes & ducts outside—escalators are all in see-thru plastic tubes in arts de [illegible].  See modern art housed on one floor.  Have lemonade on top floor.  Rather impressive, really, though the initial shock is a bit staggering.  Public seems to love it.  Back to hotel at 4:30 to rest, wash & prepare for the Grand Banquet at Les Cercle Militaire, Place St. Augustin.  (Big formal deal—perhaps we can steal some food for the next day?)  Prices are out of sight & we have to not eat at all or use breakfast rolls & my "bird food" (health stuff with raisins, etc.) to keep us going.
     Two interesting experiences:
     1)  After Earl presented official documents to the Guard (a black woman) in charge of Ste. Chapelle, she said no, we could not be admitted free, since document admitted people to "museums," not "monuments."  (Here we go again.)  Tom interceded (charmingly), saying wouldn't our cards showing us to be professors, artistes, etc. get us in?  "Oh bon, bon," so we all tried to drag out official-looking cards (I had none so I became Professor of Art Ehrlich).  Other people used voter registration cards, senior citizen cards, architect cards, etc.
     2)  "Entertainment" of a street variety: sword swallowers, muscle-man in chains, mimes.  Huge crowds, of course, surround them.  Africans pounding on drums, dancers & do-your-own-thingers—looked like scene from Hunchback of Notre Dame.
     British & Italian architects won competition for the Centre, I suppose thus creating a big flap for not only design but non-Frenchmen winning.  All part of an overall redevelopment project incorporating Les Halles district—including much underground area: pedestrian concourse, antique center, private flats, boutiques, etc.; twelve acres in all.
     Musical Acoustic Centre (closed to public).  National Museum of Modern Art (we were in) all guards were young girls, well-dressed, some attractive & reading paperback books & not once looking up.  You could have stolen a Picasso for all they noticed!
     Jack Parker is mistily reliving his student days here in 1952—saw where his hotel was (Ile de Cité) where Antoine (of Living Theatre fame) lived across street (before Jack lived there, of course), where Simone Signoret lived/lives, where Chagall has his studio (two whole floors).  The Pope is to arrive next week: great excitement—building steps (with red carpeting yet) & viewing stand, pictures of the Pope in store windows—a whole contingent of church people, including a cardinal getting photos (& TV) taken in Notre Dame.
     Walked over to Cercle National.  Had "cocktails" (ugh) cranberry juice & Dubonnet—terribly sweet.  Mushroom, olives, "spine" pie with crust.  Roast duck with potato chips!  Lettuce.  Choice of cheese (I had camembert).  Glacé (coffee & vanilla) frozen.  Petits fours & café.  Mineral water, white wine, red wine.
     The company: Jack, Tom, George, Gerry (& assorted dull women) was terrific.  The food was ostentatious and not so good.  Duck good but potato chips!  Glacé good.
     To bed at midnight.

MONDAY, MAY 26, 1980

ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Le Grand Hotel / [in handwritten brackets: 9 a.m.—12 Noon: Walking tour, including Louvre, Tuileries, and Left Bank] [handwritten: in afternoon / morning free] / Lunch on own / 1:30-4:30 p.m.: [scored through: Metro to Montmartre for walking tour] / 5:30 pm: Lecture on Mediaeval [sic] architecture / Overnight: Le Grand Hotel

GEORGE:  It has been a long day, a day filled with much walking and some Metro-riding.  As a consequence, seated now at past nine in the evening, I was at a loss to recall where I had put this journal.  I was about ready to tell the hotel management that they should be on the outlook for a small red book in which I was writing, when I tried the bags again and found it.  The Sunstream bag has a lot of compartments indeed.  Well, now I can begin to relate the day's adventures, a day which also includes our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary.
     The day began later than will be the norm, since we were to have a free day in the morning.  Mila and I toured round the Opera.  It is, on the exterior, an extraordinary and extravagant building.  The details are remarkable in their complexity and variety.  It is, as I said to some of our fellows, "a statement."
     As we completed the exterior tour, noting there was no interior tours or anything going on, we ran into Marian Davis, Blake Alexander, Mitch Yamaguchi, Katie Woodbridge and Mary Carolyn George (Gene George is ill).  We decided to join forces and headed toward St. Sulpice on the Left Bank.  So into the Metro.
     We made a detour so Mary Carolyn could see the house where an artist she is working on lived.  The artist is a Texas-connected woman I must admit I know not, and the house is clearly gone, a modern structure stands at the number.
     From there to St. Sulpice.  It is quite an impressive structure, outside as well as in.  I knew it from pictures and they don't give the scale or the sense of volumes, inside and out.  The Delacroix murals in a chapel are OK but not worth the trip in and of themselves, except as one might be on a Delacroix trip.
     From St. Sulpice we headed toward the Val de Grace via the Luxembourg and its gardens.  The latter were handsome as I remembered them from sixteen years ago, and this being a holiday (Pentecost) it was filled with people.  The Val de Grace is much smaller than the severely classical St. Sulpice, and it is a rich Jesuit-like, very Italianate structure with elaborate carvings inside and out.  I took a number of pictures, more aide de memoire than for instructional purposes.  Atmospheric photos with people as well as buildings and views.
     Well, we Metroed back to the hotel and ate the remainder of our breakfast and our other apple for lunch then marshaled ourselves for the afternoon tour of the Louvre exterior and the Left Bank walking tour.
     I'm sorry to say Earl Layman is not a good tour guide; Marian Davis (our leader in the morning) is.  I won't go through the painful details except to say we walked and walked and got strung out, etc.  By the time we reached L'Ecole des Beaux Arts, Mila and I decided to split and tour on our own.  We ambled toward her old haunts of 25 years earlier and found her old hotel, etc.
     From there she suggested we head toward the Rodin Museum, and as we started off we ran into our companions of the morning less Katie Woodbridge.  So once again we joined forces.  We were instructed by Marian and saw numerous old facades, etc.
     The 7th arrondisement is heavily 18th Century and some earlier.  There is, of course, a lot of 19th (and even 20th) Century buildings.  But the street patterns are still medieval, and there are numerous courts within, to which facades face (as we can see here and there).
     One interesting thing is that there is a lot of Art Nouveau of a form I was not up on.  It isn't continental/Horta stuff, nor Guimard, nor is it Mac[k]intosh.  Rather, it is a bit heavy, with some plastic treatment of the facade, a bit like a heavy Rococo.  There is floral work and swelling brackets etc.  I really must learn more about it.  Some buildings are original, early 20th Century before World War I.  I don't recognize the architects.
     Well, we did end at the Rodin Museum and saw the collection and the Hotel Biron, the house which is late 18th Century.  The collection was interesting but familiar.  The gardens were interesting since they also served as a public park with mommies and children sunning and playing.
     We split with our companions after after being shoved out at closing.  We two walked (oh my poor feet) back to a student-type restaurant across from L'Ecole des Beaux Arts.  We had a fixe-prix dinner, sharing long tables with others, and there with our half-liter of wine we had potage, plat de poisson avec mayonnaise, plus une pomme et fromage.  And a lot of bread, pain but not pain.  Our anniversary meal.  It was notable.  It is in the tourist guides, but no quarter is given them.  And there were "students" much in evidence.
     From there is was to Blvd. St. Germain to take the Metro back "home."  And now it is near bed time, an hour after starting this.
     Near the Metro stop, by the church of St. Germain des Pres, more street entertainers.  One was playing the flute to the accompaniment of a stereo-cassette player providing a full orchestra.

MILA JEAN Today is Pentecost which really means it's a major holiday & almost everything is closed—including cafes, WCs, drugstores, not to mention some museums.  This wasn't too bad because it was a lovely sunny day—not to mention our anniversary—but when one is desperate to eat, it's not so amusing.
     Started out with a later breakfast that usual (we can't seem to get that going somehow) & left hotel about 9:00.  Walked around Opera (closed, of course).  Coming down steps ran into Mitch, Marian, Katie, Blake & Mary Carolyn (Gene George is under the weather) who were venturing out, so we joined them.  Got into Metro & went to San [sic] Sulpice, Val de Grace & Luxembourg Gardens with all of the children, mommies, dogs, etc. running around.  Perfectly lovely time with few if any people in churches & nice, knowledgeable companions—had to rush back by Metro for 1:30 tour.  Pepsi in Metro, apples and two rolls in room.  Downstairs we found out we were to walk to Louvre—it was very disorganized & noninformative.  The group kept splitting up, couldn't hear Earl, so Geo & I left the tour on Left Bank & went on our own up & down St. Germain.  Saw my old "fleabag," the Fleurys Hotel on Rue du Bac, & Geo took photo of it.
     On way to Rodin Museum ran into Marian, Blake, Mitch & Mary Carolyn.  Had a citron ice-bar & looked around at monuments & embassies—very nice time.  Went to Rodin Museum which was interesting & gardens even better with little children & ducklings & ponds & roses.  Stayed until 5:45 when guards ran us out.  Walked some distance to restaurant at 6:15 which was closed (the help was eating).  Went & sat down at Seine bankside & watched boats, barges & dogs.  Back to restaurant—the Beaux Arts on Rue San [sic] Sebastopol—price fixe for 25 f had potage, fish with boiled potato, fromage & bottle of white wine.  Went home just before 9:00, washed hair & tried to restore feet to some semblance of order—retired romantically about 11:00.

TUESDAY, MAY 27, 1980

[Starting today, no further handwritten corrections were made to the "Tentative Tour Schedule" except for one on June 10th]

ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Le Grand Hotel / 8:30 a.m.: All-day bus tour to Chartres / Participants to take (or buy in Chartres) food for own picnic lunch / Overnight: Le Grand Hotel

GEORGE:  Breakfast, this time, was on time, and our routine is becoming established.  Fortunately the hotel room/area is quiet (but over-warm to my taste), and I managed a decent rest.  We were on [the] bus at 8:30 en route pour Chartres.  As noted earlier, Earl Layman is not a tour guide.  He says nothing.  While a "chatty cathy" would be a bore, there are some obvious things to tell people.  He is, perhaps, intimidated by some of the knowledgeable ones, but I doubt that is the case.
     Well, we arrive at Chartres having left in rain and finding grey skies there.  La Cath
édrale loomed up as it is supposed to, and this time was more impressive than I remembered it to be.  We hauled in at an hour that would give us about five hours to explore the cathedral and the old town at our individual pleasure.
     First inside.  It is everything and more than one remembers it to be.  Indeed, with no concerns about touring en group we have a sense of adventure and discovery.  In this aspect I like the low-key Layman approach.  As our eyes became accustomed to the light, and it takes about half an hour, one received the full impact of the proportions of the church.  It is proportionally quite wide and that has an important effect.  Blake Alexander feels it is the arch arrises that carry all the way down the piers that give one a sense of relating to the upper spaces.  Perhaps it is the light, modulated by the windows.  The windows themselves are, of course, very impressive.  They are also hard to read—even impossible.  Perhaps they are the heavenly host hovering.  You know they are there, but that is all one can say.
     We exited to buy some picnic
[sic] and several of us ate by the cath
édrale.  We then were going to set out to see some of the city.  I turned back to a bookstore I'd seen on our way to the cathédrale to get a good guide to France, only to arrive as it closed for lunch.  I then decided to walk around the exterior of the cathédrale, and lo and behold another bookstore across from the south porch, open.  I got the Guide Bleu France, 1980 (Hachette) and now feel I can cope with further travels.  I used the plan de ville Chartres to guide us into curious medieval byways, including the pedestrian streets with steps to manage the grade differentials.  We visited St. Aignan, a curious wood vaulted pastiche with interior polychromy, and St. Pierre, where we were the only visitors.  Numerous striking views and the like to impress one.  In the process it began to rain, but we took shelter, finally, under the south porch of the cathédrale.  Mila and I have rain gear, but others didn't.
     At 2 p.m. a number of us climbed the tower and did the walk by the roof gutter.  Being up at that level has its problems, as did climbing the spiral staircase.  But at least I did it and gained some new insights concerning architecture, gothic churches, and me.
     Afterward, back in Paris, the Greek crowd, eleven of the fourteen on this tour, journeyed to the Left Bank in search of a modest (?) restaurant.  We ended, instead, on St. Germain Blvd. at La Belle Époque.  It was medium-priced for each by the time we got through (80 f each).  We then walked back, through the Louvre, having crossed Pont Carousel.
     We are slowly getting to know some of our traveling companions.  So far our boon associates are the old Greek tour folk, Marian Davis, Blake Alexander, Mitch, Tom, Mary Carolyn and Gene (who are now married), Gary, Katie and Jack.

MILA JEAN Abruptly awakened by phone at 6:20—stumbled around making toilettes—breakfast promptly at 7:00, out to bus in rain at 8:15 with dire predictions of a truck slowdown that came true on the way back.  Nice ride to Chartres alternating looking at countryside and reading Jack Parker's written reminiscences of China visit in December.  Got to spend five hours in not only touring the Cathedral, but in prowling the little town.  Cathedral dark, Gothic, with extraordinarily beautiful stained glass windows which we looked at through the opera glasses.  There were tons of tourists, especially notably British teenage school children (very cheeky & Teddy boyish) & hordes of well organized Germans.  Went out at 11:30-12:00 with Gary [&] Mitch to buy cheese, fruit, etc. each in individual little shops—quite charming.  Bought Granny Smith apples, Emmenthal cheese (we had rolls from breakfast).  Mitch bought a half a chicken!  Gorgeous slice of paté (I got some) & a whole bottle of mineral water.  Lovely sweets but we didn't succumb.  Ate on benches with Lyle—other couple shared their Brie—watching tourists & giggling.  Went on wonderful tour of backwoods Chartres—little corrals (saw dead bat on one bridge), two ancient churches with NO one in them, public latrines for the "necessaries."  It got darker & darker & finally let loose with steady rain up to 2:00 when we ran up to church enclosure.  Paid 3 f to climb many steps inside spiral staircase up to roof level to walk around—Jack almost had a heart attack & Mitch kept moaning all of the way up—everyone up there were SAH'rs—it had stopped raining & [there] was quite a nice, dewy look about the scene.
     Went back down into cathedral & looked at window(s)
Out to bus, buying coffee glacé bars.  Drive back, most people slept except during colossal traffic jam due to truck slowdown.
     Decided to meet at 7:00 (about an hour late) for dinner (a reunion of the Greek Gang).  Eleven (11!) showed up: Marian & Blake, Mitch, Gene & Mary Carolyn, Geo & me, Jack, Gary, Tom, Katie.  The trip in the Metro to the Left Bank was exciting with the door closing on Gene, me throwing myself into the closure.  Started to rain hard.  Ran.  The restaurant, the Vagenende (142 Blvd. St. Germaine) or Le Grand Epoque was gorgeous, turn of century, Art Nouveau, almost empty when we arrived (eventually to be filled in by horde of Danes?).  Beautiful mirrors, service, tilework.  Had fish wrapped in foil (Jack called it a "silverfish") with small new potatoes, had sorbet framboise (raspberry sherbet) for dessert (Mitch had to filet my fish).  Walked back to hotel.

Picture Postcard of Chartres Cathedral addressed to Matthew in KCMO, written by George:
     Yes, we made the crossing OK and were immediately into perambulating activities that have added numerous kilometers to my pedometer.  I'm glad I don't really have one, I'd be depressed by the knowledge of how much of Paris (and today Chartres) I've covered with your Mother being enthusiastic about almost everything—including the foot-dragging husband.  On that note, my feet are holding up—gout is at bay—and my spirits are high seeing so much.  And it has only begun, since this was only the third full day.  Our anniversary dinner was in a student restaurant on the left bank, elbow to elbow with others at "family tables."  Ah me!  Today was especially a good day at Chartres, and if you look at the other side, at the line where the green roof begins, Mom and I were up there walking along the parapet on the other side.  Hang in there, we're hanging in here and hard at it.  While we're writing to others, you might call in case cards are delayed.  /  Love, Dad and Mom


ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Le Grand Hotel / 7 a.m.: Luggage in halls / 8 a.m.: Bus departs for Poitiers / Own picnic lunch en route / Afternoon walking tour of Poitiers with historians from the University of Poitiers / 7 p.m.: Dinner: Hotel de France, Poitiers / Overnight: Hotel de France, Poitiers

GEORGEEn route pour Poitiers.  We took off early enough, though we were delayed by a missing Ben Schneider, and Ken MacInnes from Seattle who had some sort of nervous/chemical affliction that had equivalent symptoms of food poisoning.  He rode in the onboard WC for nearly an hour.  We passed through incredibly manicured rural-agricultural lands with little villages of farmers to the side, and occasionally a city near the freeway.  As we reached the Loire Valley, one could see the current prosperity of this largely agricultural land and visualize its attractiveness in medieval times.  It had to be [attractive], come to think of it, given the rise of Romanesque architecture there.  We saw large silhouette signs of the various famous chateaux, giving advance warning of later signs indicating turnoffs to them.  We, alas, had no time to visit any.
     Speaking of signs, we see none, or virtually none, advertising (other than for gas stations on the freeway).  Off freeway a very occasional small one.  Also, virtually no litter; really none for American experienced eyes.  It goes with the disciplined fields, gardens, etc.  I wonder if this is regional or national?
     We did see some modest, later chateaux from our speeding bus.  And speaking of the bus, it is worth noting that the no smoking sign seems to work on almost all who smoke about all the time.  And, as far as I can tell, there is very little smoking among the group.  Of the Greek Gang, only Rosann, Jack Parker and Mitch smoke.  Of the new acquaintances, very few do.  Hooray.
     Also speaking of the bus, we have an onboard WC that is a great advantage, except when the water pump switch for the wash basin went berserk.  It necessitated a stop at a parking (that is the word widely used along the highway instead of stationment)
area and Patric had to do an emergency repair.  The whine of the two pumps (basin and stool) are our occasional music.
     As we passed by close and above downtown Tours we saw the unusual cathédrale but little else of note.  But then we were heading for Poitiers, our principal target.  We arrived between 11:30 and 11:45 at the Hotel [de] France.  Directly across the street is a charcuterie, and someone spilled out of the bus and into it to inform the proprietor that many of us would buy our lunch there.  She [the proprietor] held open past the 11:45 hour.  We had been watching a very tiny lad try to sweep the sidewalk and a lady from the charcuterie supervising.  It was this that led some to surmise she was about to close.  We were waiting to debark after Rosann had gotten room assignments squared.  I whipped in and got two different pastries[?], one with a thin slice of ham, the other with mushrooms plus (? what) [sic].  Our extra breakfast rolls had vanished into our systems en route.  This repast with water we had in our room.
     The room is small, in the old section, and the twin beds plus the wardrobe, chairs, etc. make it very crowded.  We have a decent bain privée with a frosted glass door, but separated from the room proper by a bedroom door (as in Paris).  That enables one to use the facility at night without serious disruption for others.  Price listed is 200 f with
[illegible] 15 f each.
     Once "fed," we did a bit of sightseeing on our own and soon returned to the hotel to be led by a visiting doctoral candidate of the University of Oregon to the Medieval Center at the University of Poitiers.  There we met in a lecture room I later learned was in a 15th Century building.  The screens and blackboard are where once the fireplace and chimney were located.  We sat at metal tables, with individual chairs, and for each place there was a shielded low-intensity light.  The room, very high ceilinged, had [a] screen (double projection) above, [and a] lighted (shielded) blackboard below.  There was a lecturer's platform and desk, map rack to the side, and a portable lighted lectern in front, at the end of the aisle between the two rows of tables.  At the rear was a high platform with two 2x2 automatic cartridge Leitz [slide] projectors; two manual 3x4 plus opaque projectors by a German manufacturer.  Quite a setup, since two different voltages seemed required.
     Professor Pon, a historian, read/gave a lecture on medieval Poitiers.  I now have a confirmed stereotypical image of the French lecture, complete with small notepaper, out-of-focus slides, etc.  Our tired group dozed off, though he [Pon] did have a lot to say and did it in tolerable English.  The only problem was that at times it sounded French.  The reverse, no doubt, of my reading aloud (or trying to) French.  The Oregon lad was our guide and translator as needed.
     After this was done, Madame Camus, an art historian, guided us through Notre Dame la Grande and the Cathédrale.  She spoke in French (though she knows a fair amount of English) and Oregon translated in a rather abbreviated manner.  I know, not only because the difference in the length of the speeches, but because I was able to follow a good deal of it.  I was really understanding her clear, logical and expressive commentary.  She is, for me, a charmer.
     Notre Dame la Grande is much smaller than I expected, and weathering on the facade sculpture is bad, especially in the lower level.  It is an interesting but problematic building.  The curious truncated crossing is a case in point.  The choir is quite interesting with its ghostly fresco.  One senses the tentativeness of the solutions to the structional problems.  I must do some reading when I get home on all of this.
     Then over to the cathédrale.  It is a strange pile; all sorts of Romanesque elements, though basically Gothic.  It has a ribbed domical octite[?] vaulting.  It also has the oldest large-scale stained glass in France (though only a few windows).  But then came the unusual treat.  We got to go up on the vaults themselves.  Up a spiral staircase and into a side aisle by the choir; then into the choir, then into the higher nave.  A strange experience.  They are restoring the trusses of the roof and the roof itself, and one can see the old (last restoration was 18th Century, I understood) and the new timbers replicating the old.  It is like a wood roof supported by arcaded stone walls (over the columns).  The dust and such up there was much; but the experience was worth the trial (and later snoring).
     I should add, earlier we saw another strange two-aisle Romanesque church, that of St. Porchaire.  It, by the way, opens onto a medieval street that is now returned to its pedestrian origins, but modernized to suit contemporary facades.  It does provide lessons in such.  By the way, no food places etc.  Only shops, including at least three bookstores.  One had my newly acquired Guide Bleu for 98.50 f vs. 122 f, about $6 difference.  The medieval street pattern in old town remains very much in evidence, including widths.
     We returned to the hotel for a quick wash up and dinner in a group
—finally.  Food so-so.  Then off (by bus this time) to the lecture room for a champagne etc. reception with faculty members of the Medieval Center.  A strange experience.  Too much goodies for us—all of us bone-tired—and we were not overly involved.  I did talk haltingly in both French and English with Madame Camus.  There was champagne, Scotch, Perrier, orange juice, Cognac and Armagnac.  Little pastry things, and cigarettes (American) in opened packages, and small cigars (Havana).  We were paying for this, but apparently with a return on unopened bottles.  I was all too ready to totter in to my bed.
     And since my toe began to ache, I began the Clinoril.  What else will happen?

MILA JEAN Wake up at 6:15, breakfast at 7:00.  Supposed to leave at 8:00.  Will we?  What about truck slowdown?  Will we get out of town?  Uneventful packing, but sure enough a late start!  Dr. Ben had disappeared (presumably sightseeing) & didn't appear until 8:00, also Ken MacInnes had "food poisoning"?! & they couldn't decide whether to leave him or take him along.  They did the latter but he heaved in the john until halfway to Poitiers.  Poor fellow, locked in box.  Finally WC rebelled, sending out shrieks of complaint.  Had to stop bus (after some of us tried fixing it at "rest" stop (unfinished) & a lot of us piled out to "go" in back, which poor Patric was repairing the fuse—much hilarity.  It was cold.  Got to Poitiers about 12:30-45.  Outside the hotel was a little charcuterie where we where we bought goodies—staggered upstairs to "room" with luggage.  Went out exploring in slight rain through streets filled with students and motorbikes on the "pedestrian mall"—went in old church.  Kept running into people we knew (ate café bars).  Ran back to hotel to meet group, only to find we were going back to same place we'd been & beyond!  Excruciatingly boring & tedious lecture by M. Pon, lecturer at U of Poitiers.  He was introduced by Mr. Deal, a young PhD exchange student from U of Oregon.  M. Pon said "My English is out of tune."  We saw slides reversed—a lighted pointer that didn't work—funny pronunciation "rue" (reminiscent of Peter Sellers) history of architecture.  We all nodded & restrained our naturally ribald giggles.  Went on with woman lecturer, a Mme Camus (blonde with chic grey suit with wine-colored high heels) to churches—very thorough description of everything in French interpreted by Mr. Deal (who was young, mustached).  Some people thought it was tedious; we found it interesting, especially germane outside of ancient Romanesque church with all of the figures explained laboriously.  Went on at 5:45 (!) to Cathedral for same thing, including an incredible climb to the vaults?!  Stairs filled with pigeon guano & skeletal remains of dead pigeons & bats crunching underfoot.  It was dusty & filled with feathers—interesting though.
     Ran back to hotel at 7:15 to dress (complete from top to bottom) for dinner and reception afterward.  To me the meal was good: potage legume, salade nicoise, roast pork & mashed potatoes, not very good ice cream.  Went on to reception at very cold university.  Formal address by some official representing the President, expressing in French his sentiments.  We drank much champagne, sweet cookies, and finally brandy (SAH members took rest of bottles home).  Rather hysterical leavetaking & arrival at hotel.  Wild dreams at night!

THURSDAY, MAY 29, 1980

ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Hotel de France / 8 a.m.: Bus departs for Angoulême and Périgueux / Own picnic lunch en route / [no description of afternoon activity]  /  7 p.m.: Dinner: Hotel de France / Overnight: Hotel de France

GEORGE:  Today was early rise and shine to take the bus to Angoulême and [scratched-out attempt] Périgueux (there!).  It was raining when we awoke, and it did on and off thereafter, including a real gully washer at Périgueux, and another earlier at Angoulême.
     The latter was our first port of call, and it is, in fact, an acropolis insofar as the old city is concerned.  We exited, finally, by the
cathédrale, St. Pierre.  After studying the inside, which is impressive, and the exterior, which is so crisp after the restoration of the 19th Century it doesn't look old, we began an exterior tour of the upper city by walking the ramparts.  But first we headed for Les Halles, which I saw on the way to the church.  The market hall looked 19th Century, iron and glass, and was in full swing.  We bought bread, apples and cheese.  From there we walked the ramparts.  The views are striking and one can sense how this spot, so defensible, was selected as a city.  St. Pierre is right by the ramparts.  We also saw the Hotel de Ville with its two old towers, 13th and 15th Centuries, and the theatre (exterior).  The latter was rather nice but we had no date on it.  It might have been later 18th Century.
     From there we hurried on to Périgueux.  St. Front is heavily restored, and totally disoriented inside.  St. Pierre with its domes is still a church with an axial presentation.  St. Front, with a Greek cross, and entered from a transept, is confusing.  An altar (modern) is at the crossing, and chairs face it from all four sides.  There are other altars, and these have chairs facing them.  The west front is not an entrance.
     Restoration still goes on as it does for large portions of the old city around it.  That is nice to see.  All "old towns" are not necessarily that much to look at, but with a bit of care and maintenance, with some restoration, a great deal can be done.  One annoying thing was extensive noise pollution in the old area, loudspeakers substituting for "barkers" urging that attention be paid.  That was totally annoying to me.
     Then soon it was time to return, and the long drive began.  All told, we were gone eleven hours from the hotel.  We were in truffle and foie gras country, and there is much marketing of local products.  Paté are everywhere, and featured in charcuteries.  Our dinner (yes, another one) in the hotel had soup, paté, chicken and a slice of a large tart.  Lord, I wish we had more fruit and vegetables!
     In retrospect, the domed churches are a curious manifestation of the search for structural solutions to large churches.  They are interesting, but clearly they don't give an adequate spacial treatment, through
Angoulême wasn't too bad.  The 19th Century restorations are hard to discuss as to when they start and end.  It is often new materials substituted for old and stuccoing over the old, etc.  A problem.
     I won't be sorry to leave the Hotel France in Poitiers, though I'd like to explore Poitiers more, as I would other of the old cities.  It isn't just the matter of the plans or the oldest buildings, but the way various generations and styles of buildings coexist.  Rarely does a modern structure fit in.  The better 19th [Century] and even Art Nouveau (French heavy style) does.  There are lessons in that.  Also, there are lessons in how space is used, and how courtyards open up otherwise tight, convoluted "thorough"fares
     Oh yes, we stopped at Brantome briefly on the way back; very picturesque!

MILA JEAN Wake up at 6:15, breakfast at 7:00, out at 8:10 in rain!  Angoulême—more "rugged country" (note: one of the strangest sights yesterday was Dr. Ben in his impeccable business suit, scrambling over guano-crusted scaffolding).  Off reasonably on time after running across street to get mushroom quiche.
     Raining in Angoulême—see cathedral, walk in rain to City Market—an incredible experience—beautiful displays of fruits, vegs, flowers, bread, meat (whole lamb's heads), each place had a bouquet of flowers on counter.  Bought bread, cheese, apples (later ate in bus).  See beautiful theatre there.
     On to
Périgueux—hard rain, squall, hail, twisty road at breakneck pace, driver seems to be outdoing himself—get to feeling nauseated—take Dramamine, which makes whole town experience seem dreamlike.
     Stop several times by river to take shots of almost 19th Century Romantic views—really slows us up.  We don't get back until 7:10!  (Dinner at 7:30.)  Rush up & change.  Dinner: veg soup, paté, roast chicken with new potatoes, sweet (apple?) tart with Jack Parker.  Have brandy in lobby with "Greek" crowd.  Pack.

FRIDAY, MAY 30, 1980

ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Hotel de France / 7 a.m.: Luggage in halls / 8 a.m.: Bus departs for Toulouse, via Limoges and Cahors / Own picnic lunch en route / [no description of afternoon activity or dinner]  /  Overnight: Hotel Frantel Wilson, Toulouse

GEORGE:  Once again, up and at 'em early.  We have luggage in the halls by 7:00 and we are ready to depart at 8:00.  It is a long ride to Toulouse, and through rugged country.
     We begin by going to St. Savin, a very early Romanesque church with a simple barrel vault and remnants of the original frescoes (other paintings of a decorative nature restored).  A striking building.  Pseudo Corinthian columns in the choir.  Rather thick coarse plaster (stucco) on walls. etc.  I wonder if that replicates original interior finishes?
     After St. Savin, it is a rugged drive.  We go up and up, and then down into valleys.  Many curves.  It is like being on a ship on a stormy sea instead of a bus.  We are in sheep and cattle country, mostly sheep.  In St. Savin I bought a baguette (bread) before boarding the bus.  That plus apples and cheese left from yesterday will be lunch.
     It is interesting to see changes in rural and village architecture.  Towers (dovecotes?) appear; roof slopes change.
     We stop in Brive, at a park, to picnic.  Nearby is a Chalet de Necessité, 1 f.  They even give receipts.  At least a colleague shows us.
     We reach Cahors.  A curious city.  We are in the old town, a sort of peninsula flanked on three sides by an oxbow bend of a river.  We see the
Cathédrale, a peculiar church with domes and what all.  It really doesn't illuminate except perhaps Muslim influences.  A portion of the church was screened off with a plastic curtain; restorations going on inside.
     We wandered by the river and the old medieval streets, than back to the bus.  Men were playing a form of bocce!  We are nearing the Mediterranean and this must be some influence.
     Then on to Toulouse, a large city.  We are in the heart of the older town.  The hotel is tres moderne inside, but curious in its appointments.  Mila and I strike out to seek food.  We had seen a cafeteria near the hotel as the bus came in for a landing.  Lo and behold, it was open and we had choices (so to speak).  We had fish, I with spinach, she with rice (which we shared), and a nice bottle of house rosé and she a yogurt.  There was water, etc.  The whole thing was (for France) modest, a bit over 23 f.  One could even hot up [sic] things with a microwave oven!  We need to keep that in mind for later.  It is very near the hotel.
     Then from there to St. Sernin.  While it was closed (inside) when we got there, and restoration was in evidence, the exterior radiated in the late sunlight.  It was really impressive.  It has a lot of brick which is red, and in combination with the stone it is "colorful" somehow.  It is big and proud.  I was impressed.
     From there to the Capitolium, to arrive as a military band was assembling in the plaza.  Then costumed people, in various ethnic(?) dress.  Needless to say, Mila and I stayed to watch.  We thought it was for some sort of festival for which we saw a posted sign (and earlier people with kids heading for).  But no, it was some sort of awards ceremony in the old court of the Hotel de Ville.  What it was I know not, but there was a broaching of a cask of wine (by the mayor!) and a cake, and a spray of flowers for the winner(?) , a young girl.  Was it some sort of competition of folk dancers and such, and one group had won the prize?  Before the goodies, one group danced.  The military band played on for entertainment.
     But soon we really had to get back, unpack, do laundry, bring the journal up to date, and sleep.  Tomorrow is Carcassonne!

MILA JEAN Early call.  On to Toulouse via (Limoges) Cahors.  A long, long drive.  In bus with some short stops for ten hours.  We all got punchy & the WC's sink started acting up—shrieking again toward the end of the trip.  The bus is alternatingly cold (with air conditioning blowing in our ears or on legs) or hot with sun streaming in.  The bus has blinds, though, & Patric obliges us.  He's even beginning to joke a bit—playing his tapes, etc.
     We have some leftover cheese, bread Geo bought in an outdoor market, apples, a few shreds of Mitch's half-chicken & Rosann's leftover cookies out in a beautiful park somewhere in SW France.  Sat on bench with Mitch, Jack, Gary, Lyle.  Saw a beautiful cathedral that Marian recommended seeing—all with interior painted domes & pillars called _________ [sic]  It's exquisite—all faded earth colors, pinkish marbleish—with vases of pink carnations & white lilies.  Glad we stopped.
     I could have lived without Cahors though it was great to get off the bus so late, but people tend to disappear, not only to photograph but to buy ice cream, beer & whatnot.  The couple from New Orleans opposite us have enough food to feed an army: beer, two flutes of bread, three huge chunks of cheese, meat, cherries—they are both "plump" and no wonder!
     Driving into Toulouse is a real thrill during 6 o'clock rush hour, traffic jams, etc. but the check in to the hotel was easy & the wait was worth it, after the last two nights in a rather smelly hotel.
     Hotel Frantel-Wilson, Toulouse.  What a surprise!  Sort of Art Deco: entry hall—walls covered with cocoa-colored fuzzy fabric.  One tasteful print "Musée des Augustins"—Toulouse cubists exhibition poster.  Luggage rack—desk—two bedside tables, white moderne.  Small white direction lights on either side of bed.  Grey headboard with separate radio panels, white and blue fuzzy Irish bedspread, cocoa-colored wall-to-wall carpeting, central air, white translucent drapes with red/white/black almost a Marimekko print—silver-based modern lamp with square white shade—color TV.  Bathroom unbelievable—grey bidet, toilet (with white wood ashtray by it), sink, tub.  It has perfume for man & lady, and toothpaste.  It's probably more schlocky & pseudo-modern & non-sound-absorbent & on the street, but it's clean & fun for three nights!
     Unpacked almost everything.  Should be interesting repacking.  Went out for a wonderfully cheap meal (23 f for two!) at a beautiful cafeteria, Flunch: chicken, rice, spinach, lemon yogurt, & a little bottle of wine.
     Walked around—looked at church from outside, and ran into wonderful folk festival complete with band of army reserves?  Hundreds of people in folk costumes, the mayor?
[sic] & his wife & observers witnessing some kind of ceremony awarding prizes?!  Much fun—lots of people laughing—one group danced—band played loudly, including drum & bugle corps.  Back to hotel 9:30, washed undies & caught up on journal.

SATURDAY, MAY 31, 1980

ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Hotel Frantel Wilson / 8:30 a.m.: Bus departs for Carcassonne via Cordes / Lunch on own in Carcassonne / [no description of afternoon activity or dinner]  /  Overnight: Hotel Frantel Wilson, Toulouse

GEORGE:  A number of us descend to the breakfast room only to discover we should have ordered breakfast served in the room.  It isn't worth sorting out the confusion, and I was trying my best to explain we were not the groupe touristes who were gathering and getting ready to leave at eight, we were part of a groupe touristes of La Societé d'Architectur, etc.  Some were having petit déjeuner continental dans ses chambres, etc.  Tomorrow in the room, despite having only one chair.
     It was raining a bit today, but we were nearly all hot to trot/ride.  Two or three stayed back (why I don't know), but that is their business.  And off we went.  We approached the medieval city called La Cité shrouded in mist and clouds.  Carcassonne may be elaborately restored, much more so than than is Monemvasia in Greece, but it had much the same flavor.  Many souvenir shops (mostly junk as far as I could see) and restaurants.
     There was a bit of confusion, and Earl decided to lecture us as we stood outside (instead of during the nearly two-hour drive there).  Earl is, as I've said, not really a guide.  I have no quarrel with what he is showing us, but he could do more with the interior details of the trip.  I'll write a separate commentary on that.
     Carcassonne in the rain, and then under scudding clouds, then under sun and clouds, and then repeat.  The wind was blowing up a fierce gale that damn near sent us off the ramparts.  It did my chronic
[two scratched-out attempts] catarrh no good at all.  (I note my spelling is disintegrating under the bilingual assault.)  But it was picturesque.  The outer works, rather than the inner buildings, are the truly picturesque views.  It is something of a challenge to try to decide what is "original" and what is restoration.  Since there are, in fact, levels of "original" stuff, one is indeed challenged.  I will need to read on Viollet le Duc when I get home.  Perhaps I shall find a book in Paris before we leave.
     Mila and I had omelettes for lunch with tea.  I made numerous photos, and perhaps some of the quality of the place is captured.  Before leaving, we visited the cemetery and saw what is perhaps a regional type, but so different from the U.S., even the old ones.  The family tombs in streets are really rather ancient in feeling, the sense of a necropolis.  We, on the other hand, have our individ
ual plots—suburbia—rather than the congested family tenements.  It might be worth making an observation on this in greater length at a later time.
     On our way back to Toulouse, we stopped briefly at Avignonet.  Presumably this was to make photos.  Other than the church tower, there wasn't much.  Then back into Toulouse at the height of the traffic.  It did give me a chance to look at Toulouse along some new streets.  As a largely brick city (red, and rather Roman brick in shape) one is struck by how different it is from the more northern cities we've seen so far.  It reminds Mila and me of Thessaloniki in its flavor (when the latter was compared to Athens).  Toulouse is #4 in size in France, and it has a different flavor.  Much of the older brick is very soft, poorly fired and disintegrating.  The petrol pollution doesn't help.
     We leaped from the bus on arrival, and headed for St. Sernin.  It was a jam of people to get through but it was worth it.  The exterior was solemn and majestic in its salmon-colored brick over pierre, but the interior surprised me.  Restoration is underway, and the inside has been cleaned, I guess, and is quite light, as if whitewashed and then washed again.  I wasn't prepared for the amount of brick inside.  It is hard to estimate, but clearly the vast majority of the fabric is brick.  The transverse ribs are brick.  Most of the light in the nave at this hour, late afternoon, came through the west window, despite a large organ that obscured much of it.  Some [light] enters gallery windows (not accessible).  It was, being cleaned, not as dark as it seems in photos, and there is interaction with the aisles.  The glare of the light from the apse windows makes it hard to see the apse.  That is part of the problem.  There are a few minuscule windows at the crossing, peeping through the panels between the ribs that cross in that space, but they do little.  The tower is not a lantern, and it appears that these southern towers at crossings are not.  The choir and the ambulatory were closed.  Nevertheless, one can see something of the spaces (as at St. Denis).  Some frescoes were in evidence.
     Altogether a most satisfying experience.  Afterwards we had oranges, purchased in Cahors.  Sitting on a very ancient, decrepit bench on the north side of the cathedral, in the sun.
     From there we went to the Jacobin, a brick two-aisle Gothic church built for Dominicans in the 13th and 14th Centuries.  Extensively restored inside and out, though the attached buildings are largely gone, it is a surprising space.  The two-aisle plan (we saw a Romanesque one is Poitiers) is a strange experience.  There is a very new cloister, though not overly fancy.  It was a serene way to conclude the looking of the day.
     We returned to the hotel and rested for awhile.  We then went to "our" cafeteria again: Flunch.  We had small hamburger steak (virtually uncooked) and got boiled potatoes and mixed vegs which we shared with each other.  I heated mi
ne 1½ times in the microwave, but the meat was still red.  But it was satisfying and cheap.  By the time we added a pitcher of wine and a Yoplait au lait avec fraises we paid 24.10 f or about $6 for the two of us.  A lot cheaper than Carcasssonne.
     I have severe catarrh, which is compounded by the cautious liquid intake during the day and the wind today.  I am well otherwise, though I still am on (half ration now) Clinoril for a toe that says I should keep remembering it.  But I [am] ready to go on to new adventures.

MILA JEAN Slept hard.  Difficult to wake up.  Staggered to breakfast room to find four of our party unable to make people realize what we were there for—Geo interceded.  It was frustratingly slow & we're going to try room service tomorrow.  Some members of our group are beginning to get me down (ninth day syndrome?).  Bus chaos with Patric trying to explain that the WC had no water, due to yesterday's breakdown.  We end up opposite WC in a terrible draft.  It is (guess what?) raining & cold.  We are on our way to Carcassonne—arrive & begin to notice terrific wind.  Dreadful delays while Earl tries to get official papers cleared.  Geo & I begin to cut out for cathedral alone.  Only join group once & it is part of a huge group with guide giving lecture in French!  Do everything alone, eat lovely omelette (cheese) with another couple with hot tea (tay).  Geo's throat is beginning to bother him due to extremely high (40 knots?) wind & blowing dust, especially up high on the ramparts.  The food is good & there is an adorable dachshund dog in restaurant.  Walk through cemetery—quite interesting.  Most sites have pictures of the deceased, whole families together.  Back on bus, some tensions are beginning to develop.  Unfortunately, Tom feels that someone "insulted" him.  We jump off bus to walk on our own to two churches.  Quite nice, though traffic & crowds of people are impossible on this Saturday.  Stagger back to hotel & collapse about an hour.  Out to Flunch for hamburger steak, new potatoes, mixed vegs for about 2.00, plus wine & a yogurt for me.  Nice atmosphere.  Back to hotel to wash hair (me), clothes (Geo) & journals (us).


     What can one say about the tour itself?  As a group and as a program?  For one thing, this tour has fewer obvious academics, that is art and architectural historians who teach at the college and university level.  There is Tom Ridington, Mary Carolyn George, Blake Alexander, Marian Davis (now retired), and us.  If there are others, I am unaware of them (Harry Schalck is another).  There are some librarians, active and retired, I know of: Gary Menges, Margaret Nicholsen (retired), Lyle Perusse (retired).  At least one museum person, Jack Parker.  Ben Schneider is a doctor (or was).  Architects include Michio Yamaguchi, Gene George and Trudy Berson (who does not practice).  There are a number of couples, seven in all counting us.  The Georges and we may be the only professionals; the others seem rolling
in dough—or is it my imagination?  Regardless, I intend to speak with them one by one and eventually learn more about them.
     As for the tour, it is going to good places, and by and large the amounts of time are within reason.  The guidance, whether in the matter of what we are about to see or in the mechanics of in-out, on-off, etc. are not handled well.  I don't want to be over-guided or over-protected, and I want time to do my own thing, but some advance alerting is useful, especially in areas where one finds much and might be looking out the wrong window and miss a notable view, monument, whatever.  We are presumed to be armed with guidebooks and maps, but let's face it, not all of us have been that well prepared that we could guide a group.  Also, there are differing interests, and some are better prepared on some aspects than others.  I believe this lack of guidance is making people restless, especially when it comes to having our leader lead.  His French is not that good, and he wears a hearing aid.  It seems to me others are doing more in asking and answering questions in French than he is.  Fortunately, we have some along who are secure in French, and at least a dozen, perhaps more, have my level of competency.  But there are those moments when Earl should be there to care for us in a matter of admissions, or in informing people as to who and what we are.
     But if people seemed cranky on Saturday, May 31, Sunday the first of June made a lot of difference.  It was a splendid day and part of it was the fact (at least so I believe) that Earl has been asked to be in tighter control and to exercise some leadership!

MILA JEAN Tomorrow is Sunday June 1st & we go off to Moissac, Albi & Cordes.  We note more & more Spanish & Italian names now, palm trees.  Toulouse reminds us of Thessaloniki—one thing is much emphasis on university students (much writing on walls, including churches!), congestion, conglomerate of people.  Hotel, though principal hotel in city, no one speaks English & they seem a bit out of it.  I do hope—as we move into June—that our little factions calm down.  Tom complains of his hurt feelings & hurt kidney.  Some people are fuming about Earl & his ineffectuality, others talk about snobs—ah, well.
     Observations about France: everyone smokes, men, women, seemingly children.  Lots & lots of dogs, lots of dog crap on sidewalk.  (Small dogs.)  Cars very aggressive—all small, mostly French, some Italian & a few VWs; no Japanese, no American big cars.  (We noticed Renaults for $11,000, $8,000 & $5,500.)  Everything growing beautifully—gorgeous neat farms with neat crops—not as much litter in cities as in USA.  Romantic vistas: canals, drooping trees, lovely flower arrangements; the French all seem to have good manners, are polite & little real rudeness—seem to be neat, smart & semi-amused at things, clean, organized & prompt.

SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 1980

ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Hotel Frantel Wilson / 8:30 a.m.: Bus departs for tour of Albi / Box lunch (from hotel) en route / [no description of afternoon activity or dinner]  /  Overnight: Hotel Frantel Wilson

GEORGE:  We totter down to meet the bus.  Mila and I slept very soundly and felt we should be early on the bus, an interesting combination of unfocused but determined.  In the lobby we saw a magnificent stack of boxes—OUR LUNCH, already paid for—and I peeked inside as did others.  A tray with bean salad, slice of tuscany [bread?], a small pizza, cheese, a custard with flake pastry, a roll, and a little bottle of wine.  Also a real knife and fork and serviettes.  Believe me, that improved tempers; and the weather was crisp and clear, another plus.
     Off we went to Moissac.  The church is a strange conglomerate, basically Gothic, and there is the deep narthex-type hall before it.  To the side, facing and immediately on traffic arteries, is the famous portal.  There is restoration, of course, and horrible disintegration of stone.  My!  St. Peter was there, looking a bit weatherbeaten but there.  The other things were fine, but that was my goal about 33(?) years since first I made his acquaintance.  The sad thing is that one can see contemporary damage as well as very ancient losses.  How much longer can it last?  The cloister is nice, but it is the capitals rather than the total ensemble.  And some capitals are more exciting than others.  One interesting thing is a giant tree in the cloister.  Very large and thus quite old.
     While in Moissac we heard music, and lo and behold a parade of people in costumes, including shepherds(?) on stilts.  It was market morning, and the parade (why, we don't know) went there and did a performance.  Later, they were seen on buses heading out of town.  We wandered the market a bit and then we also departed.
     When we got to Guillac, which has a handsome formal park, we picnicked with our fancy box lunches on the benches.  A pleasant interlude.
     From there it was to Albi, a place I was not prepared for and quite delighted with.  The cathedral is in a warm, brownish brick, and quite tall.  It soars.  The entrance is on the side, in the middle, and it is a flamboyant soaring thing that is in stone, contrasting most interestingly with the basic fabric of the church.  And the tower simply soars even higher.  The church is on a promontory to boot.  It, the church, is accessible on three sides, with the fourth side obscured in part by the bishop's palace, now the Toulouse Lautrec museum; more on that later.  The area surrounding the cathedral (St. Cecilia) is medieval, in brick, with some half-timbering.  The whole thing looks like an opera set, as one of our colleagues noted.  Obviously, Albi deserves more attention than we can give it.  I'd say a half-day would be the absolute minimum, especially if one wanted to look at the museum and to explore a bit.
     The cathedral inside is a surprise.  Elaborately and completely frescoed (by Italians of modest late Mannerist skills).  The church is divided into halves.  The "open" half faces the town and has an altar.  The choir is the other end, and it is totally enclosed by a jube of flamboyant style, including polychromed sculpture.  And with the stained glass, the interior is a total contrast with the exterior.  One should add that it is a single aisle church with deep chapels between the buttresses, which are internal.
     Then over to the museum.  A few "other" things, but it is mostly Toulouse-Lautrec.  From childhood things to mature works, there are gobs of drawings as well as paintings.  One doesn't need to comment on T-L and his work, but the early manipulation of his talent is very evident in what one can see here.  There are several examples of one subject, preliminaries and the like to provide additional insight.  I was quite taken with that was there to see.  And then it was time to reboard the bus, for there was yet another stop to make.
     We then went to Cordes, a medieval hill town that is surrounded, below, by the newer town.  We, of course, piled out to see the old town, and scampered(?) up the steep winding streets, oohing and ahhing at picturesque views and dramatic vistas.  Except for the inevitable and insistent little automobiles, the visit was indeed a pleasure.
     Finally back on the bus and back to Toulouse.  We went to eat (again) at Flunch, but this time with Ken LaBudde.  It was our first sit-down together and we had a pleasant conversation over our quiches.  Then back to the hotel to pack our bags for the morrow,.  I'm beginning to routinize packing so that I know, more or less, where everything is.  By the time I master this, it will be home again and a skill of no value.
     Tomorrow we go to Nîmes, where we will be four nights.

MILA JEAN Very good day—Mére Day.  Began by breakfast at 7:00 with only three rolls, out on street at 8:00 AM (Patric did not arrive until 8:30!).  Fought for front seats on bus.  We all signed a "card" for Rosann for Mother's Day.  Interesting ride to Moissac—beautiful Gothic cathedral.  They were beginning mass, so most of us left to go to cloisters (gorgeous capitals on pillars—Daniel in the Lions Den, etc.) when I heard bagpipes—ran out to see a parade of young people in wild native costumes dancing & playing instruments like bagpipes.  Last in procession were boys & men on high stilts.  Imaging walking/dancing all through town to the marketplace on stilts!  We followed them to where Sunday market had been set up & wandered through it—everything was being sold including rugs (Gene Gorge bought a Basque beret), baskets, live rabbits, chickens, meats, cheeses, etc.  Lots of people.  Was this a festival for Mother's Day? or of growing things or what?
     Ate box lunch at Gaillac in a park (nice enough but cold).  Sat on bench with [the] Georges & ate: pizza quiche, small bottle of red wine, huge hunk of turkey, little French roll, cheese (wonderful), gateau, cold green beans—a real feast!  After lunch we discovered magnificent formal garden with an old summerhouse & river in back—straight out of John Fowles's Ebony Tower.  Was so enchanted that Mary Carolyn & I & Jack Holden were fifteen minutes late getting back on bus.
     Trip to Albi uneventful.  It is an incredible church—a huge medieval fortress—almost [the size of the?] two churches we were allowed to go into Saturday.  Quite baroque & spectacular.  Went into museum which is mostly all Toulouse-Lautrec works—quite interesting & almost exhausting.  By now it's almost 4:00—we go to Cordes, a medieval walled city.  Have to walk a lot to get to uphill climb, then climb, climb for spectacular views (in sun!) over parapets—walled garden, flowers, & lots of tourist shops & cafés.  Geo buys "illumination."
     Tiring ride to Toulouse—going-home mobs of traffic.  Arrive at hotel at 7:10—go out with Ken for dinner at Flunch at 7:30—quiche, green salad & fruit cocktail.  Back to pack & take bath.

Picture Postcard of Notre-Dame-La-Grande Church in Poitiers addressed to Matthew in KCMO, written by George:
     Dear Matthew / I hope our earlier card reached you; one never knows.  We are both well and hard at it.  There is much to see and do, and never enough time or energy.  We are in the south of France now, and going farther down tomorrow.  It is a beautiful country and very diverse.  My French is improving very slowly; the reading is best and useful, but my rehearsed speeches are tangled under pressure.  Alas!  Call others to tell them all is well.  /  Love, Dad and Mom

MONDAY, JUNE 2, 1980

ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Hotel Frantel Wilson / 7 a.m.: Luggage in halls / 8:30 a.m.: Bus departs for Nîmes, via Beziers and Aigues-Mortes / Box lunch (from hotel) en route / Dinner: Hotel Sofitel, Nîmes / Overnight: Hotel Sofitel, Nîmes

GEORGE:  A slow day today.  The only interruption to driving to Nîmes was a brief stop on the road to photograph Carcassonne in good light at a distance.  We also could see the Pyrenees in the opposite direction at a distance.  They were snowcapped.
     We then stopped at Béziers.  Some changed money, some of us went to see a rather dusty and unimpressive cathedral.  We then sat in a park-like/promenade/parking setting to have our box lunches.  [scratched out: Suddenly,] Then it was off to Nîmes by way of a road by the Mediterranean Sea.  Lovely, including a drive through Sete, a fishing village with other improvements.  The restaurants lining the main street were filled with luncheoneers as we passed.
     We arrived at the très moderne hotel in mid-afternoon.  We are not in town but in Nîmes-Ouest.  Mila and I took advantage of the non-schedule to relax and do laundry.
     Rosann called me.  As a director of SAH, I'm asked to inscribe suitably the gift book for Earl, and to get the others to sign it.  It is Paris: A Century of Change, 1878-1978 by Norma Evenson.  An obviously suitable book.
     For reasons not clear to me today, I feel loggy and out of it.  I think I shall have to take it easy on the food, perhaps it is a little too rich for me.

MILA JEAN Strange day.  Breakfast late due to maids taking bags down early.  Leave even before 8:30.  Sit fairly far up front for longish & bumpy drive.  Beziers—strange Met [Meditteranean] city [where] we walked to an exceedingly dusty church with a beggar (legless?) in doorway, lots of wash hanging out facing narrow streets.  We eat box lunch in town's central park: chicken breast in jelly (looked more like lard with flower design), potato salad, cauliflower in oil, bread, cheese, chocolate éclair, tomato stuffed with rice & crabmeat? [sic] & bottle of wine.  Depart for Nîmes via Montpellier & Met Sea.  When we arrive at Sofitel Motel [sic] the natives are definitely getting restless—don't like kitsch hotel way out from nowhere, etc. etc.  I gather some have set off on foot for Nîmes.  Some of us sit around pool in bright sunshine & high wind.  Up to room for a rest & wash.  Large room with two large double beds, beige carpeting, gold covers, white walls, orange drapes & chairs, pseudo wood luggage holder & table, bright orange bathroom with extra bowl near main door—color TV.  Strange futuristic lamp on wall & by each bed like blown-up flowers [tiny sketch] (one doesn't go on).  Dinner: two eggs, mayonnaise, chicken provencale with onions & mushrooms, pommes fritte, fromage (choice of four), glacé with strawberry sauce, with Blake & Marian.  Speech(?) by Earl changing itinerary for next few days.  People keep "escaping" across highway or into town by taxi.  I & assorted "men" stay by pool & watch sunset.  To bed early.


ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Hotel Sofitel / FREE DAY / Shuttle trips of bus from Hotel to Nîmes and return throughout the day (optional walking tour witll be scheduled of Roman structures in Nîmes) / Lunch on own / 3 p.m.: Bus to St. Laurent for visit to village and wine cellars / Reception given by Mayor and citizens, followed by country buffet / Overnight: Hotel Sofitel

GEORGE:  Starting late this morning helped.  The beds are comfortable and the room is big and quiet.  I for one benefitted by this.
     Our bus schedule was a couple-three hours in Nîmes, basically on our own.  We began with the arena, which is now used for bullfights French style.  There are wooden bleachers erected in the lower half of the arena to accommodate people, since so much of the surface has vanished (into the fabric of Middle Ages houses and churches no doubt).  But it is surprising how much still stands.  It is one of the best-preserved according to the Guide Bleu (or rather the local handout).  It is an impressive structure.  I wasn't prepared for the scale of the steps; the risers are rather tall and so are the seat risers.  We explored the several levels and the passageways (whose technical name I've forgotten as I write this).  It is two-tier, with plain pilasters on the lower level, rather bold in relief, and engaged Tuscan columns in the upper tier.
     From the arena we went to the Maison Carrée.  While there is a little space around it, it sort of sits at a busy intersection with a street going around the side and back not on the corner.  In fact, there is no sidewalk in front, making that approach rather hazardous.  The excavations have reached down to the old level of the bottom step leading to the temple (and the podium), but in front there are further steps down in each corner.  Was the street level even lower?  I don't know.  I haven't been buying the guidebooks to cities and monuments in part because of the cost and part the contents.  But they probably wouldn't tell me.
     Anyway, the Maison
Carrée reaches up, when you are near it.  The steps in front have tall risers.  The cella interior is rather small and is now a museum.  The cella is all later restoration with a skylight.  The quality of the carving outside varies insofar as condition goes, but overall it is in good shape.  One can see why Jefferson was enamored of it.  The proportions are graceful and there is a statement of purpose in its appearance.
     From there we headed, I thought, to the Roman baths, but instead got turned around.  Finally corrected our error after seeing a street map posted with vous êtes ici.  We then reached, tardily, the gardens and began climbing upwards, and upwards, and upwards to the old Roman tower.  I did not then climb the tower (as did some of our colleagues).  From there, a lovely spot, we descended to the baths, including the "Temple of Diana."  This is not a temple, but part of the Roman fountain and baths.  Interesting details, but very much a ruin.  Then I scurried back to look closely at the
Maison Carrée, then back to the bus.  We probably needed more time in Nîmes, but I saw the things I needed to see.
     After a large lunch at the hotel, we went to St. Laurent des Arbres, near the town of Lirac.  St. Laurent has perhaps 2,000 inhabitants and has an important cooperative cave et cru, which is a cooperative winery for about 120 people with vineyards.  By the way, Remoulins is the largest near town (in the map sense).  At the cave we met [Mme.] Jacques (Cynthia) Lasserre, a woman from Boston now 25 years married to a Frenchman.  She was right out of the Junior League and quite charming.  She was our hostess.  Soon M. Marcel Chevalier, a person of some importance, drove up.  M. Chevalier reminded me of Henry Scott in his late years, perhaps a little stouter.  M. Chevalier was the head (?) of the cooperative and, we soon learned, former mayor of St. Laurent for 25 years.  Mme. Lasserre translated for us.  She now has a summer (?) home in St. Laurent, and she and her husband plan to retire there.  More on that later.
     Chevalier explained how the winery works, their appellation wine is called Lirac, and it apparently has some reputation.  Some [on the tour] got bored with the explanation.  I found it fascinating, simply because of Chevalier.  He seemed très amiable and very knowledgeable, and in love with his subject.  Or, perhaps I should say two subjects.  The second is the history of St. Laurent.
     We then went into the village.  It is quite old, with a Romanesque church that was made part of a fortification during the Gothic period
—during the Babylonian captivity of the Pope.  There, in the church, we saw a young man in mufti arranging things.  It turned out he was the priest getting things ready for some children to rehearse their first communion.  The kids were outside making a great deal of noise as we had a very brief lecture on the town from M. Chevalier and a woman who spoke quite good English.  More on that later.
     We were given the privilege of climbing the church's tower (there are two other towers) and that had its moments.  I bumped my head only once going from the roof up the stairs/ladder and into the tower where the bells were.  Then we had an opportunity to go with the "other woman" to visit her house.  It was once one of three mills outside of town.  Her house has a 16th Century courtyard, and this we visited, plus a vaulted section (now used as a storage basement) and the principal chambre.  It had the souvenirs of several generations of her family (mother's side) and visible damage done by Directoire soldiers during the Revolution, when they were being anticlerical.  A mass was being said in the room when the soldiers arrived.  The cupboard in which the priest hid is still in the room!  All in all, it was quite a treat.  The lady is only now the "new" owner, and they plan restoration in time.
     We saw, from the outside, another of the mills, beautifully converted to a house.  It was reminiscent of the Monemvasia experience or that of places like Arrow Rock or Boonville.  Apparently this sort of finding old houses, in historic villages or towns or in picturesque settings, for retirement homes is universal (or at least French as well as American).  And rehabbing them with restoration is a basic activity.
     We walked out and while walking back we saw the town's skyline with its three towers and the remnants of its ramparts.  Quite interesting.  We then assembled in the courtyard of Mme. Lasserre's house.  The former mayor was there, and the new mayor's assistant
(?) .  I'm not sure but what he is something more like a city manager, and perhaps for several towns.  It was not clear and I did not talk with him.  His English was excellent (he had been in the U.S.) and he welcomed us.  This time (after discussion of failure to respond in Poitiers, at the reception, by Earl) I acted; I spoke up, and on behalf of the directors of the SAH who were there, I thanked him, M. Chevalier and Mme. Lasserre.  Apparently my tour colleagues thought highly of that gesture.
     There was wine!!!
[sic] here, of course.  This was an occasion where I felt I had to break my near-total abstinence on this trip.  They are noted for their rosé, so I had that.  It was good.  Dinner was a rather elaborate picnic-type repast which I sampled sparingly, since we['d] had a rather comprehensive four-course luncheon.  The supper's dessert was Bing cherries.  This is vinyard and orchard country, and they are noted for their cherries, which have suffered this year due to excessive rain and cold.  Even so, they were delicious.
     Today was a good day.  Everyone was mellow and content on the way back to Nîmes.  Unfortunately, there is a serious problem with the WC on the bus, due to a broken pump (to pump out water) and a bum switch
[sic] for another pump.  Parts from Germany are needed.  This is not a pleasant prospect.
     But at least the evening was a delight, the village historic and picturesque, and the hospitality grand.

MILA JEAN Walking tour of Roman ruins/amphitheatre monumental & huge, gorgeous gardens & baths high tiered to tower (did not go up to top), beautiful sky, trees, flowers.  Home to wonderful lunch: salad [of] lettuce, shredded carrots, cabbage, tomato, cucumber.  Ratatouille, pork, cheese, crême caramel.  Out to St. Laurent to visit village & wine cellars!  A wonderful enchanted day—St. Laurent & its inhabitants are straight out of central casting: Spanish-looking children—all local people stared at us amused-like, children waiting for first communion all wanted to have their pictures taken, the young priest in mufti, the Boston matron named Cynthia who had been married to a Frenchman for 25 years & had a "summer home" at St. Laurent they were remodeling, the glamorous brunette widow in pale beige tissue-thin dress with lovely perfume, the country wife with five children (ranging from fifteen to ten months) whose family owned a Renaissance house that originally had been a mill who led us on a quarter of a mile walking trip down a country lane to visit the courtyard and to see one summer room filled with curios & souvenirs of her family & the fireplace where revolutionaries had decapitated Cupid because they thought it was Jesus.  It was all so picturesque: the cornfields (shades of Van Gogh), the swaying grass & wildflowers, snarling huge (usually black) dogs (Mme had two), the accompanying blonde plump Mme in high heels with a soldier son named Yves—and above all the mayor—Marcel Chevalier—straight out of central casting—tall, blue-eyed, big-nosed (Henry Scott), explaining the wine factory, welcoming the group, describing the church (with the priest patiently waiting for communion), holding the statue of the Virgin (with her tulle skirt & voluptuous body), singing, sharing the wine from the keg, Jack passionately kissing him goodbye (after having read the mayor his poetry), my spilling rosé wine on Mitch & his genial response, the drunken ride home through the gorgeous sunset (at 10 p.m.!).  The WC has been declared très mal & needs a part from Germany.  Patric seems to be getting increasingly well-attuned to the group.


ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Hotel Sofitel / 8:30 a.m.: Bus departs for Pont du Gard, Avignon and Arles / Box lunch (from hotel) en route / 7 p.m.: Dinner: Hotel Sofitel / Overnight: Hotel Sofitel

GEORGE:  If yesterday was grand, today was less so, even though we saw interesting things: Pont du Gard, Avignon, and St. Gilles.  We had been noting the steady wind ever since arriving at Nîmes, or in the surrounding area.  Yesterday at St. Laurent, we learned that is rwas the MISTRAL.  Yes, we were experiencing the famous mistral.  With it, the sky is absolutely clear, a cold/hot blue, and the sun is very bright.  The famous son of the Midi, the sun of Vincent van Gogh.  Toward the end of this day's travels, on our leg from St. Gilles to Nîmes, I saw how the cypresses (and all other tress) whipped and writhed.  I actually saw waves progressing across the fields with grain in them.  I am now certain in my mind that what Vincent was trying to show the wind and its effects when he developed that curved short brush stroke.  I will have to reexamine his work in this context.  I wonder if anyone has even written on this?
     Well, back to the day's adventures.  This was day thirteen.  Not a matter of superstition, but rather the start of the second half of our tour.  It had some weak links in the chain of events.
     First, the bus was late.  Not by much, but we were ready to board around 8:15/8:20.  Patric didn't arrive until 8:35/8:40.  But once aboard, all seemed OK.  We went to the Pont du Guard (very near Remoulins I discovered).  It is impressive.  A narrow one-lane road has been constructed along the lower arcade on the east side with the same construction methodology and stone as the old.  It is really well done (18th Century) and not obtrusive since the upper two arcades are not changed.  The stone is a warm honey color.  The condition is remarkably good.  I chose not to cross on foot, thought I did go out a piece on the lower level, and I did walk a piece into the water channel on the upper level.  I then clambered up to a vista vantage point to look at the pont and the view of the Gard.
     From there it was off to Avignon.  That was not well handled, partly because Patric and Earl were not communicating today, or something.  Instead of being let out in towm, we ended up at a bus park just inside the walls.  That was so we would know how to get to the bus for our sack lunches.  There is a lot of new construction and various building and street repairs underway between the bus park and the Palais des Popes.  The result was total and understandable confusion getting up to the Palais.  This we did at 11:00 or later.  The Palais closed for two hours 12 to 2 (like a museum).  So we moved through it with a guide who simply kept us from getting lost.  Here too there is much reconstruction.  What we saw was quite interesting except that the great court was filled with what appeared to be rather permanent bleachers with shaped seats (that tilted forward to keep clean?)  That was a peculiar first sight, to say the least, of this 14th Century structure.  We were actually locked in at noon, but our guide had a key and we exited safely.  It is hard to decide what to say about the Palais.  It is as much a fort as a palace, and we saw primarily "state chambers."
     So we returned to the bus and boarded it to have lunch by the Rhone River.  We were halfway there when it was discovered that Ken LaBudde was missing.  Someone spotted him going to the bus park as we were tooling along on the peripheral road by the walls.  There was no way to stop and out "leaders" were quite concerned (Rosann was not with us and Genevieve was supposed to be the shepherd).  Patric pulled into a sandy median strip that was more a car park than a park.  This had some stone slabs (benches?).  The mistral was creating a dust storm.  Most of us finally scrambled across the road and its traffic to sit on the uninspiring bank of the Rhone.  Lunch was OK but too much food.  There was a piece of a baguette, a chicken breast, an egg, two pieces of cheese, salami, butter, a tomato, an orange and an apple.  No utensils, no seasoning, no liquids (though we brought water).  I ate sparingly and I believe wisely.
     Adding to the confusion was the time for reassembly.  We had been given an hour and a half at this forsaken spot
—hardly what we required—and there was the problem of Ken still missing.  Then, half an hour before he was supposed to appear, Patric appeared.  Had I missed something?  Everyone was now confused.  We tooled back into town and got off at the major square near the Palais.  Why couldn't we do this before??  We were now told we had until 3 p.m. (75 minutes free time).
     At first I thought I'd wait until 2 and visit the museum.  Then, instead, Mila, Gene George (Mary Carolyn was in Nîmes recovering from a bout with flu or something) and I went up to the garden of the Palais.  What a lovely spot.  There was, however, exposure to an exaggerated mistral effect.  As a lookout point over the Rhone, I was hard pressed to stay standing without leaning into the wind, literally leaning.  But what a view: Cezanne colors everywhere.  It was from there that I saw the waves in the grain.  The three of us had a limonade naturelle (a fizzy colorless lemonade made with real lemon juice).  That was a charming place.  The public WC was not.  I can see the role for the attendant, but even then the public facility is extremely fundamental.  (While drinking our limonade, we saw a young mother washing her child's behind in a decorative fountain—a stream of water coming from the beak of a goose.  Ah me.)
     We descended, somewhat bedraggled and begrimed by wind, dirt, and experience to see the bus waiting.  So we boarded and there was Ken LaBudde.  Exactly how the contact was made I know not, but I suspect people will be more cautious in the future about seat partners, etc.
     We then plowed off to St. Gilles.  We now discovered that the bus air conditioning was made for Germany and not the Midi.  Frankly, the bus isn't all that good or comfortable.  A messed up WC and inadequate ventilation, both things we have paid for to be in satisfactory condition.  Rosann, of course, will be burdened by all of this since I'm sure the complaints are coming in to her.  Yet everyone seems determined to be reasonable—even the genetically-imprinted bitchers (we have at least one obvious case).
     We go to St. Gilles through Arles (which we visit tomorrow).  It is hot and we track through Arles on a busy narrow road which shows us nothing.  But after leaving it, one begins to see Van Gogh paintings.  This was when I see the movement in the cypresses in Van Gogh terms.  At St, Gilles we park by a WC in a place for tourists to park.  Tom Ridington and some others set off like they knew where they are going when we are told we have half an hour for the church.  And we are led wrong!  We ask directions in a curious place with people lounging on their stoops in the narrow medieval street.  We get some gauches et droits and eventually we reach it.  A funeral is in process!  But we study the facade (the nave is Gothic).  It has curious pieces of restoration, but on the whole a coherent arrangement and truly different.  It was worth even the few moments we had.  It was, after all, an add-on to the schedule.
     I track over to the Bureau de Tourisme up a short street (there was a banner over it) to find it closed!  But there was a map and the Romanesque house.  I figured our path back (incorrectly the first time, correctly the second with Earl) to the bus.  I deciphered the bus location by a WC on the map!  And we descended, quickly and directly, to the area of the bus.  We clambered aboard and got back to Nîmes quickly, though Patric missed his turn off and had to turn around.
     It was necessary showers and such before we could descend for dinner, which was outdoors.  There is another group or two in the hotel and we have to maneuver carefully.  The waiters seemed less with it tonight (too many people?).  I think if less was put on plate shuffling and all that, and more on moving things in and out, it would be easier all around.  Granted, one is served, but I wonder how a convention meal for several hundred would be handled?
     Well enough of that, and this, for tonight.

MILA JEAN Forgot to mention meal last night: ham, veal, paté, salami (sausage), olives rolled in oregano or rosemary, two kinds of salad (green & potato), bread, four kinds of cheese, three kinds of local wine (the rosé was superb), cherries.
     Today was a washout.  Patric was thirty minutes late.  Not only is the [bus] john non-functioning, but so is the air conditioning.  Earl seemed to lose total control of group & was particularly inept (does he turn his hearing aid off on purpose?).  Ken LaBudde wandered off by himself & got left behind.  I used the public WC in a beautiful park in Avignon & it was so incredibly filthy I couldn't even stand in the footholds & wet all over myself; the ride home was hot; Patric kept missing signs.  But Pont du Gard was cool, a magnificent Roman bridge in a scenic setting—walked in front & looked at view; we & Gene George (Mary Carolyn still ill) found some lovely public gardens [in Avignon] & had limonade at a little outdoor spot overlooking pond with ducks, swans & geese—the French do such wonderful things with flowers—whle banks of pansies: purple, violet, fuchsia—fountains (this one with a graceful female nude), ferns, places to sit & face scenic views, etc.  We came home hot & surly about 5:30 to wash up & completely cleanse selves.  Thirteenth day!
     Saw rice fields today (Mitch got excited), all sorts of Van Gogh-type landscapes, banks of cypresses whipping in wind, wheat fields waving (like his curly lines) in the mistral wind.  (Saw a street called Place Frederick Mistrall with WC etc.)  We're sure part of Van Gogh's problem stemmed from the wind; we all start to feel crazy too!  That, plus the sun & it's only early June—what must it be like in July & August?  The people in general seem really very nice, accommodating—around here they look Basque—hooked noses, straight black hair, black eyes (Hemingway's bullfighter).  This hotel's motif is bulls—one dining room is dominated by huge paintings of bulls, matadors, matador killing bulls (not appetizing)—all bright colors—this hotel capitalizes on bright colors: orange, red, gold especially.  Evening meal out by pool consisted of two kinds of ham, lettuce, pickles, rosé wine, large whitefish with spinach & baked potatoes & tiny croissant, green salad, & glacé with stawberry sauce.  Went across highway (!!) with Tom, Mitch & Jack to this supermarché (French version of Venture) & bought grapefruit for Mary Carolyn, Guide Bleu [for] Mitch, cassis for Jack—got "caught" by Roseann majestically surveying our return from her hotel window.  Had cassis in Room 403 until 11:00.  We hope for better things tomorrow—


ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Hotel Sofitel / 8:30 a.m.: Bus departs for le Puy / Box lunch (from hotel) en route / 7 p.m.: Dinner: Hotel Sofitel / Overnight: Hotel Sofitel

GEORGE:  We enjoyed a late start (9:00 am) this morning, and we noticed another interesting change.  The wind had died down.  The change was quite noticeable.  There was a haze as well.  Today was going to be different.
     Out first stop was Arles.  We arrived OK, but Earl managed to take us by a rather indirect way to the arena.  The advantage was we saw it first with the sun-struck portion of the exterior.  Then we learned that the ticket sellers were on strike!  Entrance to every monument other than the churches themselves was interdict today.  We toured the exterior of the arena, and it did apepar to be more capacious insofar as the transverse vaults seemed deeper.  Perhaps the slant of the seats is less steep than in Nîmes.  Here too, bleachers were created within, and there are bullfights.
     We went by the theatre.  We peeped through the fence, here and there.  It too is used[?], but with a heavily reconstructed seating area.  Then we went over to St. Trophime.  We could see the portal (very dirty and in the shade at this hour), the interior of the church, but not the cloister.  Inside the entrance there is a very nice explanatory plan with illustrations pointing out features of interest  That, I thought, was quite a good idea but not typically done, however.  What remains most fixed in my memory of St. Trophime are three things.  For whatever reason, I don't know what, it doesn't look like the pictures (even though it does, of course).  I recognized it, but non in that sense of: Hey, there it is.  It isn't like at St. Gilles, where I was surprised by the size of the portals; it is much bigger than St. Trophime and my imagination.  Second was a 4th Century sarcophagus; it was much like that of Junius Bassus.  Third was a display (unlighted and behind a gull in a chapel) of reliquaries.  Then plan by the door said they were 19th Century, though the reliquaries looked older.  One could see bones in the larger ones with glass covers.
     Our plans were modified at Arles due to the strike, and we were scheduled to leave at 11:00 instead of 12:00.  I took advantage of the time to break a 500 f note in a bank. and as we wended our way down to the bus we were held up by a demonstration-parade with banners.  The handouts informed us that it was over a revision(?) or some changed in health coverage.  It seemed much like in England, or in the U.S. with their charity hospitals.  People can't see comprehensive care and treatment and medicines at no cost to them or at low cost.  I kept the handout to read later on in greater detail.
     So off we went to Les Saintes Maries de la Mer.  This small town is literally on the Mediterranean Sea, by the mouth of the Little Rhone River.  It is in the delta area, and there we saw salt marshes, rice fields and ponds.  It is a place they raise a special breed of bills, and horses.  The latter are very much in evidence and are grey.  In town we sat on some quarried rocks just above the sand by the sea and ate our sack lunches (once again I was sparing in my intake).  There is little else in town (it is a resort town now in a modest way) other than an old fortified church.  It opened at two and one could see a very dark interior.  In the crypt there was a vending machine for small jar-type votive candles!
     Oh my, I forgot an episode between Arles and Saintes Maries.  We went to the ruined abbey of Montmajour.  Some restorations have taken place.  It was open (briefly before closing) and we saw the church, cloister, crypt, and some other structures.  The early part is Romanesque.  I did not climb a tower there, nor at Stes. Maries.  It was mostly a matter of time.  I'm sure the views would have been worth it.
     Well, then it was on to Aigues-Mortes.  This is a rectangular walled city with a gridiron plan built in the 13th Century!  Frankly it was not overly interesting except for the walls and the plan.  We did not spend much time there and soon headed back to Nîmes.
     There was a BYOB party before dinner and a fairly decent dinner.  I've inscribed the commemorative book with a suitably positive yet neutral statement, as follows:
     "This book is presented to Earl D. Layman to commemorate a memorable trip to France.  We now understand Earl's love for LA BELLE FRANCE.  The 1980 SAH Tour of France."
     I am sitting in the room writing this as people come up from supper.  The book is open, and so is the door to the room.  I've begun to snare people [in] to sign in.
     And tomorrow is a brute of a day.  We have to get up [at] 5:45 and luggage has to be in the halls by 6:30.  We leave at 7:30.  Phooey.  But so be it!

MILA JEANA hot ride to Arles, Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer, etc.  A much better day, thought hot in the sun—also we grabbed seats high up to the front in the bus.  Started at 9:45 in Arles to find out that there was a municipal workers strike, ticket sellers included.  So we couldn't get in to see inside of amphitheatre or regular theatres—finally found an area where we could peer through the bars & take photos of "orchestra" area.  Went through church & used public WC & went on to another Romanesque church only about five minutes away—it was interestingly rustic, had dark crypt & light cloisters.  Best part of day was spent eating picnic lunch by the sea with all of the surfers, bikini-clad nymphets & others cavorting about.  The sea was beautiful but cold with a stiff wind blowing—made eating a real challenge but it beat that mess in the mistral yesterday.  Rest of town looked like a set from MGM technicolor extravaganza in a Mexican tourist town.  Tom & I spent some time hunting for a WC—he settled on a pissoir & I eventually found a private one in a café while Geo quaffed a limonade.  Back on bus & on to Aigues-Mortes (a fortified town that seemed to have died years ago) which featured lots of medium-sized dogs that either fought or slept in the middle of the road.
     Tonight is Earl's cocktail party—to which I'm not panting to go—poor Earl, he seems to live in another world (maybe he's been deaf too long?).

     It really was rather frenetic: first with no air & tons of cigarette smoke, then with confusion of everyone coming in with his/her bottle, except Patric—the people who had gone on to Aix-en-Provence even brought cut-up melons.  We are with Jack & Mitch in a very hot dining room: fish & veg soup, some meat Provençal with onions.  It was jolly but we were relieved to go out by pool only to be attacked by mosquitoes—had hot tea (a mistake?) with Mitch etc.  Geo had asked some people to come to our room to sign book for Earl.  I finally washed hair at 10:30!

Picture Postcard of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer addressed to Matthew in KCMO, written by George (with text partly obscured by postmark ):
     (We were here today)
     I realize that we still [...] days to go, but since th [...] mailed until tomorrow [...] won't reach you until [..] before we return.  So this [...] postcard.  The days vary in activity and adventure.  The mistral of the past three days finally quit, creating a significant change.  The mistral is a non-storm, high-velocity, constant wind.  We are both holding up quite well and are reasonably attuned to the routine of travel.  Happily, I don't have to do the driving.  I won't bore you now with listing all we have seen.  Just give folks a call to tell them we're doing all right.  Even financially!  Take care, see you soon.  /  Love, Dad and Mom

FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 1980

ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Hotel Sofitel / 7 a.m.: Luggage in halls. / 8 a.m.: Bus departs for Clemont-Ferrand, via Issoire and Chaise Dieu / Box lunch (from hotel) en route / 7 p.m.: Dinner: Hotel Frantel, Clermont-Ferrand / Overnight: Hotel Frantel, Clermont-Ferrand

GEORGE:  We start out very early, on the bus before 7:30 a.n.  Even so, all of the better seats (those toward the front) are taken.  We head into the centre de ville and see several ancient monuments as we head for our secondary "direct" road to Le Puy.  We pan by the arena and we see a portico passing down another; it is the Maison Carrée.  The light is just right, at that early hour, for the portico.  Then we sweep by the baths and soon are out of town.
     he day is mostly mountain driving.  This is extremely fatiguing on all, especially those of us in the rear, on the sunny side.  Our target is Le Puy, which we reach at near noon.  The scenery on the way is quite impressive, with only small communities along the way, often at considerable distances from each other.  Very different from the Loire.  A lot of rock houses, very simple, though stucco is a rather common finish material.
     Seeing ruined fortifications on a hill, surrounded by a small town (the uniform tile roofs with occasional slate) has become commonplace!  The Middle Ages, at least back to the 12th and 13th Centuries, are rather evident.  That I hadn't expected
—the quantity!
     We reached Le Puy and parked by a park.  We took our sack lunches over to the park, and finally found an adequate place on a bench with others.  Scenic it wasn't.  Then we discovered there was no bread in the sacks, we had departed too early!  Furthermore, the usual was less usual.  Instead of ham or chicken or veal, we had a slice of terribly rare beef.  The salami and unrecognizable cheese I skipped.  Well, to summarize, I had a tomato and an apple, saving my orange for later.
     We began the walk-climb up to the church.  It was an interesting climb since this is a pilgrimage church.  We decided to do the 102 steps in front, which really were quite easy; and it was worth it.  Not only is the approach fascinating, but the view from above back down is worth the experience.  Inside, the church is quite interesting.  It isn't simply the domes.  There is a different quality in the furnishing, paintings, etc.  This is somewhat off the foreign tourist track in contrast to some other places we've been, though they do get tourists.  While we were there, we were really the only group.  While in the church, there was an organ recital—very nice to hear that sound in such a place.  The pilgrimage has to do with the plague and the original miracle dates back to the early 4th Century.  This was the 1550th anniversary year!  The cloister is very nice indeed.  There were two demi-Corinthian columns with flutes in a dark corner, plus the more usual medieval ones.  The multicolored stone used in the church is more evident in the cloister area than on the grimy facade of the church.  Another influence on H.H. Richardson perhaps.  Also, the Pont du Gard's superimposed arcade?
     From the church, we wended back to the bus by a different path.  There are old-style wooden shopfronts.  We stopped at a patisserie for a little sweer before reaching "bus-level."

     The hotel is a strange one in Clermont-Ferrand.  The reason for this abrupt shift is simply that we went direct from Le Puy to Clermont-Ferrand.  We arrived shortly after 5 p.m.  The group straggled off the bus "in fragments."  The rooms are strange and non-rectangular: F.L. Wright misunderstood hexagrams.  The street noise is intense and constant.  To breathe we must open windows: a no-win situation.
     But dinner is good.  Afterwards, though I'm really too tired to go walking, several decide to do so, including Mila.  So I figure I better go to.  We visit the cathedral exterior at night.  It is an imposing volume with the west front by Viollet le Duc soaring up into the dark sky.  Gargoyles loom way out over our heads, grotesques to frighten one if one weren't too tired to be imprinted.
     We return to the hotel.  I fall into bed and sleep better than Mila.  We have to keep some window open and the street noise is formidable, especially motor bikes and other such sputtering creatures of the automative/internal combustion world.

MILA JEANUp at 5:30 AM, a no-fun trip on June 6th, though Alpine scenery was spectacular—too much so with twisty turns & precipitous drops.  Finally took a Dramamine which helped, though made me punchy (we were in back of bus!).  Stopped after two hours in little village to use public toilet (bah![?]) & buy sweets (not uis).  On to Le Puy for pinic lunch in park (by zoo)—same old lunch.  On for an interesting trek to Notre Dame de Puy, a very holy pilgrim church (102 steps up to cathedral door on knees!) in Middle Ages.  We investigated most of it by ourselves—the organist was practicing quite beautifully & it rang through the domes—the cloisters were particularly interesting, with wonderful grinning or grimacing capitals of animals & "men"—also went to winter chapel.  Staggered down steps to Square & some cholatal [?] raspberry sweets.
     Ride to Clermomt-Ferrand a bit steep but we all seemed to sleep.  The hotel is plastic with huge windows looking out over what is seemingly the center of town—sounds like NYC.  We had to open windows to get any air & then the noise is staggering.  This Clouseau place sports a faucet that takes a genius to run & then it leaks over the sink.  We have to keep window open because of no air circulation.  However, there are compensations: the serving staff (one pale girl who seems to do everything & a "head" waiter) is pleasant & the foot well prepared (fresh ham & scalloped potatoes, wonderful salad with carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms etc. in vinaigrette sauce, cheese & an elaborate dessert with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge sauce on a shell of hard sweet).
     Walked out to cathedral after dinner (at 10:00) with Katie, Tom, Jack, Mitch & Yona.  On to bed & the traffic.


ITINERARYContinental breakfast: Hotel Frantel / 8:30 a.m.: Bus departs for tour of Nevers-Vezelay area / Box lunch (from hotel) en route / 7 p.m.: Dinner: Hotel Frantel / Overnight: Hotel Frantel

GEORGE:  We start out by taking the bus in a most circuitous route to the cathedral.  For various logistical reasons not clear to me, we start late.  That is unusual.  Are we getting a little punch drunk?
     We arrive at the cathedral and we spend time there before going over to Notre Dame du Port.  Then we return to the cathedral to get back on the bus.  As for this last, more on that later.
     The cathedral, basically a 13th Century Gothic work, is impressive inside.  We tour it slowly and after a while go to Notre Dame, a Romanesque church.  It too is impressive.  We see the basic Auvergne-type church with its multicolor stone in patterns and complex crossing.  Also the elaborate chevet and crypt are visited.  After due admiration for the apse end and the tower and such, we return to the Gothic cathedral.  It makes an interesting contrast.  The light and space are so different
—as well as the size.  As we look and study, we notice a great crowd gathering within.  There are young children, mostly girls, in white religious-type habits.  Some sort of ceremony is to begin and the orderly French are clearly being overwhelmed by more people than they planned for.  Is it a first communion, confirmation, or a graduation of some sort?  We never learn.  They are still sorting people out when iyt is time to leave to board the bus.
     The plan is to return to the hotel and drop off those who wish to remain in town.  At the hotel we learn there is a fuel leak on the bus and repairs are needed.  Off we pile, toting our sack lunches.  Mila and I adjourn to the room to eat some of it and wait for our repaired bus.  We assemble on the appointed hour and no bus.  More time drags by and finally the bus reappears repaired.  Plans must be revised.  By now our company is reduced.
     We head for Issoire for the church there.  It is a fine example and much appreciated with its historical capitals, splendid chevet exterior, etc.  Then we head for Brioude.  This church is a surprise.  Excavations or restoraion or something is taking place near the choir and it is a partial shambles.  It was so strange to walk in the transept and find all the chairs facing west with an altar set up before the locked west doors.  The floor consists of a stone mosaic pattern in two colors (at least).  This ia very "untouched"-looking church in contrast to Issoire with its 19th Century paint job.  There are even, still, ancient doors.
     Then it is off to St. Nectaire du Haut, up in the high country.  That is a small but charmingly situated church at a picturesque location.  It too is of the Auvergne type.  The use of two colors (at least) of stone is logical, since the area abounds in rocks of multicolor.  I noticed old houses with a random use of such found stones in walls.  No photographs are allowed inside St. Nectaire, and a crisp business in cards and prepackaged slides is quite active.  Also, to see the treasures, one must insert one-franc coins to activate the light (eerie filtered light).  Same is true for the dome.  A guard in the choir has a mike to alert people as to dos and don'ts.  How commercial, but this is the bus business besides the medieval waters below.
     In contrast, at Brioude we interacted with a wedding party heading in a little parade to the church after the tolling of a bell.  A street bazaar of the traveling kind was just shutting down by the chevet exterior.  We were simply part of it all.
     From St. Nectaire, Patric took us over a most scenic road to Le Mont Dore and then back to Clermont.  It is wild, scenic, Alpine (kind of) country.  The winter snows were in the final stages of meltdown (I'd seen the rushing brooks elsewhere—now I saw the cause).  We moved back in time to the lilacs and eventually to trees just budding, then above the tree line.  It was really quite dramatic here in the Central Massif.  It is ski country—we saw one very large and long lift.  We also saw a car over the side, down the mountain.  It was an exhilarating ride though a bit hair-raising at times.  The scenery is spectacular, but not in the Rockies or the Mani sense.  Rather, it was the rapid changes in character and kind.
     Soon we were back in Clermont-Ferrand.  This country is about aan hour's drive from the city.  We had a nice supper.  I made my little talk* and then Blake Alexander.  Then others spoke. And then I was in the room writing this.  And now, it is time for bed.

* I was coordinated with Blake to discuss [the] need for support for SAH.  I am becoming the SAH rep on the tour whether I like it or not.  Blake is too shy and Earl too not with it!

MILA JEAN Hotel Frantel, Clermont-Ferrand.  8:30 leave (pardon, 9:00)/  Went through both churches in Clermont-Ferrand (Earl, per usual, ineffectual).  Geo & I mostly on own—in the big cathedral they are preparing for first communion of seemingly hundreds of white-clad girls (brides of Christ?) with thousand of proud parents with cameras & grandmamas—the priests kept trying to clear the aisles to no avail.
     Found out (after all this & after handing out box lunches—ugh!) that something (leak in diesel fuel pump) needed repair and Patric intensely rushed into the hotel, only to stand at the desk going through the Yellow Pages for repair shops!  So all of us had to pile out solemnly (and rather surly) up to rooms to eat one more box (sack) lunch in room.  We are getting so sick of them!  French bread, chicken, ham, cheese, hardboiled egg, etc.  Most of us throw a lot of it away by now.  More's the pity.  We had been told to assemble by 11:45 which gradually (and even painfully) lengthened untol 1-1:30, with little knots of disconsolate people sitting (some on floor) of lobby looking like displaced persons. There was talk of mutiny, threats against Patric (sure, he was OK out there somewhere eating his hot lunch while we scattered crumbs in lowly hotel rooms, etc.).  Soon, howeverm he arrived & was avalanched by a group of some 35 people (some stayed back) eager to so somewhere.
     We did.  In fact it was even a good afternoon (we didn't get back until 7 PM!) and included churches (I can't begin to describe them, except [that] some are Romanesque & attempts to repaint them with earth colors on the columns etc. are interesting & that one had [an] intriguing stone-patterned floor).  More interesting to me are the sights, sounds, & smells of the local color—and apparently Patric, in an effort to reingratiate us, took us on a path of his own devising up into the mountains (luckily I was up in front) into some spectacular scenery: wild mountain flowers, glaciers, volcanic mountains, snow & mist surrounding the top of the ski lifts (at 4,000 feet), fir trees, rustic people (a hunchback dwarf) in village (all looking like an opening scene of an operetta featuring an Alpine village)—the people going to the "sacred"church & to the "waters."  The only thing detracting from the view is Elaine Loudmouth who sits next to me and talks a blue streak the entire afternoon.
     We arrive back at hotel late, mildly hysterical from the "highs" of the trip and the further adventures of the Clouseau security.  Had nice dinner (Prosciutto with olives, chicken with Creole rice, cheese & floating white fluff pudding).  Walked out with Jack after dinner but there is next to nothing to see in this city.  It apparently was badly bombed in the war & all of the new buildings are schlocky.  To bed to combat traffic noise & Geo's snoring.





[click on the > at the end of each Note to return to that date's entry above]

  The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) was founded in 1940; its mission is to promote "the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes, and urbanism worldwide," plus "meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national, and international programs."  >
  See Parts Four, Five, and Six of Arrived Safely No Catastrophes Yet Love Jean: The Fulbright Year AbroadMar. 30 to Apr. 4, Apr. 18-28, and June 17 through July 25, 1955.  >
  The remainder of George's slide-and-negative collection was donated to the State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center (which in 2010 assumed management of Western Historical Manuscripts) upon Mila Jean's death in 2016.  >
  Actually a "Tentative Tour Schedule* / *Schedule changes will be announced each day for the following day (i.e. changes in itinerary, free time, special events, etc.)."  George made handwritten updates the first couple of days in France, then left the changes unnoted on the itinerary, which is presented in its original printed form.  >
  Stephen James (Steve) Gosnell (1941-2012) was a longtime friend of the Ehrlichs, their neighbor on both sides of Holmes Street, and a colleague of George's in the UMKC Art Department, to which his monumental back-patio portrait of George and Mila Jean was donated in 2016.  The Ehrlichs were also very close to Steve's wives, Nelda Gay Younger Gosnell (1938-1982) and Mary Lou Pagano (born 1951, married 1985).  Steve's obituary called him "a true Renaissance man.  He was known for his intellect, sense of humor, curiosity, storytelling and singing the blues...  In retirement, he enjoyed camping, fishing, gardening, biking, birdwatching, creating paintings and building guitars."  >
  George occasionally cited this line from a Kafkaesque vaudeville routine, originated by Willie and Eugene Howard and later filmed by Victor Moore and Edward Arnold, where a man is fined two dollars for spitting on the floor of a subway train.  His lawyer insists on contesting this fine ("I dare you to arrest my client!") and puts the man in mounting legal peril despite his hapless pleas to "Pay the two dollars!" till finally he is sentenced to death.  >
  In 1966 critic Reyner Banham associated the "New Brutalism" in postwar minimalist architecture with Le Corbusier's béton brut ("raw concrete," left unfinished and exposed as part of Structural Expressionism).  >
  Rosann S. Berry (1919-1980) was the SAH's first Executive Secretary, a position she occupied for over a quarter-century.  "She never wrote a learned article, but throughout much of the English-speaking world her name was more closely associated with architectural history than were those of many who did," commented her SAH obituary after Rosann's death on Oct. 10, 1980 (less than four months after the French tour) and a fellowship was created in her memory.  Mila Jean, who usually added an E or two and often a space to Rosann's first name, described her during the Greek trip as "big Momma—heavy, sweating, wears tenty-type clothes; super-efficient, tight permed black (dyed) hair, round face, smokes in holder, married, four kids."  >
  Mary Jane Davis was born in Chicago in 1929, raised in Kenosha, and began college at Northwestern before her family moved to Missouri.  She attended the University of Kansas for one semester, then transferred to the University of Kansas City where she became lifelong friends with Mila Jean.  After receiving her bachelor and master's degrees from KCU, Jane taught English, speech and drama in the Midwest, New England and New York; meanwhile acting in and directing many theatrical venues, including at Kansas City's Lyric Theater; she also worked as a paralegal and with the League of Women Voters.  Jane married David Findlay Dobbs in 1958 and, following their divorce, married Colin Carter whom she met while working at the Racine Theatre Guild.  She died aged 86 in Racine on Dec. 26, 2015: a sore blow to Mila Jean shortly before her own death two months later.  >
  Jane's daughter, Elizabeth Dodds Trimbach (born 1962 in New York).  >
  Le Grand Hôtel at 2 Rue Scribe, opened by Empress Eugenie in 1862, was built with four floors for guests and a fifth under the mansard roof for their servants.  In 1981 Le Grand was placed under the InterContinental Hotel chain's management; the hotel would go through major renovatations in 1985-90 and again in 2001-03.  >
  The somewhat freely translated website UnJourDePlusAParis.com calls Rue Réaumur "the most important symbol of Paris architecture in the early 20th Century, bearing the signs of a new urbanism...  [It] had above all a commercial purpose.  The buildings had to house wholesale and textiles.  The architects coped so with two challenges: design a building in which you can both produce and sell, and propose an original architecture unknown until the
n"—the modern style dubbed Art Nouveau, with "adaptation to business imperatives."  >
  John William (Jack) Parker III (1922-1981) was Assistant Director of Museum Education at the Chicago Art Institute.  During the 1978 Greek trip Mila Jean compared him to Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill: "Tall, fleshy, walks in rolling gait, glasses, gray hair ... swims & then wears white shorts.  Is really adorable—eats four kinds of cereal mixed up together for breakfast, dances at disco on ship."  >
  Thomas M. (Tom) Ridington (born 1928) taught art at La Salle College (now La Salle University) in Philadelphia.  Mila Jean's 1978 description: "Very nice, charming, aims to please, tall, black hair, mustache.  We've hit it off—[he's] Charles Nelson Reilly without frenetic quality (Billy de Wolfe in a few years)."  >
  According to USInflationCalculator.com, $7.00 in 1980 would be the equivalent of $25.41 in 2023.  >
  Chairing the SAH's 1980 French tour was Earl Drais Layman (1916-2001), graduate of the University of Oregon and then Fountainbleau's Ecole des Beaux Arts.  After teaching art, design, and architectural history at Auburn and Kansas State, he served as Seattle's first Historic Preservation Officer—the first such municipally-funded position in the United States—from 1975 to 1982, and was "instrumental in creating and protecting many historic districts of Seattle" (per his biographical note at Archive West).  "Earl Layman spoke his mind when it came to saving a good piece of architecture," remarked his obituary in the Seattle Times.  >
  In the 1950s Lyle F. Perusse (1916-2001) was head of the Pasadena Public Library's fine arts department, and wrote "The Gothic Revival in California, 1850-1890" for the Oct. 1955 Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians.  in 1978 the Mila Spiral got extra Spirally in describing him: "Librarian (ha ha
)—lives up to his name—Truman Capote—round, quiet & hideously affected way of speaking—very nice—has lots of expensive clothes & camera—swims 35 laps at home!"  >
  The Basilica of Saint-Denis is the French royal necropolis, where nearly every king for ten centuries was entombed along with relics of Saint Denis, first bishop of Paris, who (according to legend) brought his own decapitated head there for burial.  >
  Per the Encyclopedia Britannica, a chevet is the "eastern end of a church, especially of a Gothic church designed in the French manner."  >
  Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis are two islands in the Seine; bridges to and from them link the Left and Right Banks of Paris.  >
  Pope John Paul II's apostolic journey to Paris took place from May 30 to June 2, 1980, and included addresses to the local Polish, Jewish, and Muslim communities.  >
  The Sainte-Chapelle is a 13th Century Gothic chapel in the royal palace on the Île de la Cité.  >
  The Place Dauphine (named by Henri IV after his son, the future Louis XIII) is a public square on the west end of the Île de la Cité; the Square du Vert-Gallant is a small park on the island's western tip, next to the Pont Neuf bridge.  >
  After Pope John Paul II's death in 2005, a proposal was made to rename the Place du Parvis (a public square on the east end of the Île de la Cité) in his honor.  By way of compromise, the square is now called "Parvis Notre-Dame—Place Jean-Paul II."  >
  When George visited Notre Dame on July 19, 1966 he remarked that its interior was "very dark, so that one had to watch one's way.  Here then a different solemnity."  >
  Opened in 1962, the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation is a tribute to the 200,000-plus people deported from Vichy France to Nazi concentration camps.  >
  The Centre national d'art et de culture Georges-Pompidou (National Georges Pompidou Centre of Art and Culture), a multicultural complex built in "inside-out" (Postmodern/High-Tech) style with exterior structural and mechanical systems, was opened in 1977.  >
  According to the Blogspot BrianGoesToTown, at the beginning of the 20th Century the Plateau Beaubourg "was much like any other large swath of working-class Paris—crowded, dense, and miserable," known as "Insalubrious Block Number 1."  Renovation was continually delayed by world wars, the Great Depression, and postwar recoveries, during which the plateau served "as an enormous surface parking lot in the heart of Paris" until construction of the Centre Pompidou began in 1971.  >
  Les Halles, once the central fresh food market of Paris, was demolished in 1973 and replaced by what the Guardian called "a grim underground shopping centre topped with mirror-glassed lumps, in one of the worst acts of urban vandalism of the century.  Nicknamed 'the hole of Les Halles', with a[n overground] park that became a magnet for drug dealing," it too was demolished in 2010.  Porte Rambuteau is a neighboring street with a Metro station.  >
  The Cercle National des Arm
ées was built in 1924 as a private club for military officers—active or retired, French or foreignand still gives them priority welcome.  > 
  André Antoine (1858-1943) founded the profoundly innovative and influential Théâtre Libre in Paris in 1887.  >
  The official May 25th menu: "Le Vol-au-Vent à la Chambord, La Canette de Challans au Citron Vert, Les Pommes Gaufrettes, Quelques Feuilles à l'Huile Douce, Les Fromages de France, Le Délice Glacé Pompadour, Les Petits Fours."  The first item is defined by The Menu Book: Fourth Edition of Practical Gastronomy (1908, viewable at Google Books) as "small fish quenelles, mushrooms, and truffles heated up in velouté sauce, filled into vol-au-vent [hollow puff pastry] cases."  The other dishes translate to "Duckling of Challans with Lime, Wafer [Potatoes], Some Leaves in Sweet Oil, Cheeses from France, Pompadour Frozen Delight, Petits Fours," with Château de Conterie and Saint-Emilion wines.  Pomme Gaufrettes are in fact thinly-sliced deep-fried "potato waffles."  >
  Geraldine E. (Gerry) Fowle (1929-2011) was a key member of the UMKC Art & Art History Department for over forty-five years, and a close friend of the Ehrlichs.  As with George, a scholarship was created in her name to provide support to students seeking an art history degree.  >
  To spare their families and longtime friends from traveling expense, George and Mila Jean had two weddings: the first in Kansas City MO on May 26, 1956, followed by a second on June 16th in Urbana IL.  >
  During the 1978 Greek trip Mila Jean described Prof. Drury Blakeley "Blake" Alexander (1924-2011) of the University of Texas (Austin) School of Architecture as "Tall, distinguished, ... natty dresser, classic profile.  Always the companion of [arrow to next entry] (they've traveled together for years), he has pancreas problems, wears beige suits, hat, carries umbrella"—and Prof. Marian B. Davis (1911-2000) of the University of Texas (Austin) Art Department as "Older, white hair, small, quiet, apparently distinguished scholar, sharp.  [She and Blake] travel abroad together always."  >
  Michio (Mitch) Yamaguchi (1943-2015), a San Francisco architect and expert on affordable housing, was eulogized in the SAH Newsletter as "a frequent SAH Study Tour participant and beloved friend to many SAH members."  In 1978 Mila Jean compared him to "Buddy Hackett ... fat & funny (in dry way) ... wears horrible T-shirts & jeans most of the time & complains that his feet hurt him.  Buys & eats copiously ... will eat anything on the menu."  >
  Catherine A. Baldwin (Katie) Woodbridge (1905-1984) of New York was headmistress of the Nightingale-Bamford School from 1958 to 1971, and the widow of Fredrick J. Woodbridge (1900-1974), consulting architect to Columbia University.  In 1978 Mila Jean called her a "very old, thin lady who turned ankle but has gone on anyway—a real trouper, head of school for exceptional(?) children in New York.  She wears strange & unusual clothes—very interesting & strangely attractive taste.  Good spirit, smart, good sense of humor."  >
  On the 1978 Greek trip Mila Jean noted "another couple who is traveling together, but not rooming together."  This was Walter Eugene (Gene) George Jr. (1922-2013), architect, educator, and a leader of the historic preservation movement in Texas: "Used to be head of School of Architecture at KU [University of Kansas, 1962-67].  Real Glenn Ford rugged Western type, tall, graying, masculine, good-looking.  Quiet, but asks knowledgeable questions.  Some people think he is 'uptight'"—and Prof. Mary Carolyn Hollers Jutson (born 1930) of the San Antonio College Art History department: "Pretty, graying, rather 'straight' & guileless—said I look like Vanessa Redgrave!"  On May 20, 1980 Gene and Mary Carolyn got married in Texas, so the SAH tour of France served as their honeymoon.  >
  The Church of Saint-Sulpice is the second-largest in Paris, edged out sizewise by Notre Dame; it was built between 1646 and 1870.  >
  The Church of the Val-de-Grâce was built as part of a royal abbey between 1645 and 1667.  During the French Revolution the church and abbey were converted into a hospital, avoiding the vandalism and destruction other Parisian churches suffered.  They continued to serve as a military hospital till a new facility was completed in 1979.  >
  Visiting the Jardin du Luxembourg on July 19, 1966, George made the Mr. Spock-like observation: "I am impressed by the formal parks and gardens I have seen everywhere in Europe.  Particularly the flowers are very impressive."  >
  During the summer of 1955 Mila Jean spent six weeks at Fleury's Hotel, 66 Rue du Bac: "This room... is very noisy, but I love it—the hotel is in between a billiard room and an ice cream parlor—I took a photo of it, but seriously doubt if any of this roll will come out, due to the fact that I took all of the shots in semi-darkness and complicated matters by dropping the camera on the floor before leaving Bristol."  Today Fleury's is the Hôtel Bac Saint Germain.  >
  Victor Horta (1861-1947) of Belgium was one of the founders of architectural Art Nouveau, influencing French architect and designer Hector Guimard (1867-1942).  Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) was a leader of the Glasgow Style, regarded as the first original Art Nouveau architecture in Great Britain.  >
  The Hôtel Biron, built between 1727 and 1737, became a boarding school for aristocratic girls in 1820 before being subdivided into lodgings in 1905.  Rodin, who rented several rooms for storage, turned them into his studio and then arranged for the entire Hotel to become a Musée of his work in 1919.  >
  Prix fixe is applied to meal of several courses served at a total fixed price.  >
  The Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, originally part of a 6th Century Benedictine abbey, has been destroyed/damaged and rebuilt/restored numerous times over the centuries.  >
  Both George and Mila Jean favored the British English spelling "grey," as they also did ""theatre"; George later writes "spacial" rather than the American spelling "spatial."  >
  George previously visited Chartres on July 20, 1966, taking a "canned tour [that] was run with some finesse."  >
  An arris is the sharp edge formed by the intersection of two architectural surfaces, especially those found on the (so to speak) underside of a groin vault.  >
  During the 1978-80 trips to Greece and France, Gary L. Menges (born 1937, "youngish, reddish beard & hair, rather funny, always wears T-shirts & jeans") was Assistant Director for Public Services of the University of Texas at Austin's General Libraries.  He later spent over thirty years with the University of Washington Libraries, retiring as their Preservation Administrator, and would correspond with Mila Jean until her death.  >
  The Teddy Boys, so-called for their cut-rate Edwardian-style outfits, were primarily working-class teens inclined to violence—preying on immigrants, rioting during showings of The Blackboard Jungle, etc.—during the 1950s and early '60s.  >
  As of 2023, the Brasserie Vagenende is still in business at 142 Bd. Saint-Germain.  Housed in what had been a 19th Century patisserie, Vegenede opened in 1904; "a superb Belle Epoque style reigns throughout with mirrors and beautiful woodwork.  The glass roof over the terrace, the Pivain's glass panels displaying 36 different landscapes, the fruit-decorated earthenware and the bronze coat racks are not to be missed either.  But to really step back in time, simply request that they turn the handle of the old mechanical piano."  (Per the Vagenende website.)  >
  A. Benedict Schneider, Jr. MD (1914-2004) practiced medicine in Cleveland, taught at Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine, and was a leading light of the Cleveland Museums of Art and Natural History.  >
  Seattle architect Kenneth J. MacInnes (born 1948) was Coordinator of the Seattle Historic Preservation Office from 1972 to 1975, and Chairman of the Pike Place Market History Commission after 1983.  As such he worked with Earl Layman, whom he would recall as having "a tendency to pursue his ideals sometimes when it wasn't practical.  So, he would step on toes and get the wrong people opposed to things...  There probably would have been a lot of buildings saved even if Earl had not been appointed to this job [as Preservation Officer].  But they probably would have been the wrong buildings."  >
  There is no indication that George ever smoked; during his military service he suffered when cooped up in aircraft with smoking crewmates.  Mila Jean indulged in cigarettes during her stage career but gave them up while pregnant with the present author.  During my youth, the scent of tobacco in the Ehrlich home usually indicated that a party was taking place or had recently ended.  >
  Construction of the Tours Cathedral, begun in the 12th Century, was interrupted by the Hundred Years War and didn't reach completion till 1547.  This resulted in a complex mix of architectural styles, and the local maxim "Not until the cathedral is finished."  >
  By 2023 the Hotel de France at 28 Rue Carnot in Poitiers had become the Best Western Poitiers Centre Le Grand Hôtel.  >
  Delicatessen.  >
  Probably Georges Pon (born 1938) who received his doctorate in medieval history from Poitiers in 1972.  >
  Almost certainly Marie-Thérèse Camus (born 1934), a specialist in French Romanesque art; later Deputy Director of the Center for Higher Studies in Medieval Civilization (established in Poitiers in 1953).  >
  Notre-Dame le Grande in Poitiers dates from the late 11th Century.  According to legend, a besieging English army was routed when the keys to the city miraculously appeared on a church statue of the Virgin Mary.  >
  Ribbed vaulting was a "skeleton" of arches that could bear a heavier ceiling/roof than earlier barrel or groin vaults.  Domical vaults have concave surfaces meeting at a central point; some are octagonal, which might be indicated by George's word that I have interpreted as "octite."  >
  This is the Crucifixion Window, dating from circa 1165; it includes depictions of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, who began construction of the Poitiers Cathedral.  >
  George was a champion snorer.  After my brother and I moved out of 5505 Holmes, Mila Jean took over our bedroom as her own; though I imagine the intervening wall didn't wholly muffle George's nightly serenade.  >
  The St. Porchaire church unites a Romanesque porch bell tower with a Gothic double nave and a Baroque altarpiece (per the VisitPoitiers website).  >
  George became subject to gout in middle age.  Clinoril (generic name sulindac) is, like Advil/ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication; both came into general use in the 1970s.  >
  Potage de legumes is vegetable soup; salade niçoise is a classic French salad "in the style of Nice."  >
  Angoulême, located on a plateau called "the balcony of southwest France," was the fortified hub of many Ancien Régime roads and thus underwent numerous sieges.  >
  Périgueux (as George indicated) is known for its truffles and pâté de foie gras, as well as the Cathedral of Saint-Front, one of the largest in France.  (In 1954 actress Simone Mareuil of Un Chien Andalou died by autocremation in a Périgueux public square.)  >
  Besides potage de legumes/vegetable soup, the menu from the Poitiers Hotel de France lists terrine de canard, poulet à la poitevine, pommes rissoles, and tarte aux mirabelles (duck pâté, chicken Poitevine [i.e. Poitiers], hash browns, plum tart).  >
  Charlemagne founded the Benedictine Abbey of Brantôme in 769; twice laid waste by Viking raiders, it was rebuilt in the 15th Century.  >
  Le Théâtre d'Angoulême opened in 1870; its facade features statues of Comedy and Drama by Jules Blanchard.  A 1997 renovation was careful to preserve the 19th Century exterior, "reforming without denying, but by renewing."  >
  The well-preserved Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, dating from the 11th and 12th Centuries, has been called the "Romanesque Sistine Chapel."  >
  Mila Jean saved the very official-looking Chalet de Necessite receipt from Ville de Brive-la-Gaillarde.  "En payant, réclamez ce ticket qui devre être présenté a toute réquisition" ("When paying, claim [show] this ticket which should presented on demand").  >
  Except for its portal and rose window, the Cathedral of Cahors (consecrated in 1135) looks far more like a fortified castle than a place of worship; its medieval bishops were also feudal counts and barons.  >
  Bocce developed in Italy in the 17th Century; the French variation is called pétanque>
  The Basilica of Saint-Sernin was originally part of the ancient Abbey of Saint-Saturnin, founded in the 4th Century; the surviving Basilica was largely constructed between 1080 and 1120.  >
  The first version of the Capitole de Toulouse was a 12th Century municipal palace; its current Neoclassical facade dates from the mid-18th Century.  Only a gate and courtyard remain from the medieval Capitole.  >
  Oscar McDuffie Gwin Jr. (1918-2000), Chairman of the Board of the Eureka Homestead Society, and hiw wife Elaine Schneider Sims Gwin (1924-2017), who'd been elected chairlady of the New Orleans Country Club Ladies Golfers for 1976-77.  >
  By 2023 the Hotel Frantel-Wilson at 7 Rue Labeda would be known as the Mercure Toulouse Centre Wilson Capitole, or "Mercure Wilson" for short.  >
  The bright bold fabrics and designs by Finnish textile manufacturer Marimekko Oyj were popularized by Jacqueline Kennedy and had a significant impact on 1960s fashion.  >
  The Flunch chain of self-service cafeterias was founded in Lille in 1971.  >
  In The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Dorothy L. Sayers remarked that an old lady witnessing a display of fireworks "enjoyed the entertainment as heartily as the youngest child."  This was a lifelong hallmark of Mila Jean's personality—so long as the festivities were genuinely entertaining.  >
  La Cité de Carcassonne is a hilltop citadel on the River Aude in southern France.  Originally fortified by the Romans in the 4th Century, it is well-preserved from medieval times thanks to strong opposition by historians, archaeologists, and the local populace when a proposal was made in 1849 to demolish it.  >
  The Ehrlichs and their SAH colleagues had visited Monemvasia, "the Gibraltar of Greece," on May 31, 1978: precisely two years earlier.  >
  As George and Mila Jean would later note, this was the mistral that affects the Mediterranean coast of France, especially in winter and spring, and which had blown Van Gogh and Gauguin around in Arles.  >
  Mucus was so phlegmatically prevalent in the Ehrlich household that George dubbed 5505 Holmes "Catarrhal Hollow" in the mid-1970s and spelled out that title in plastic letters above the cellar door.  >
  It's mildly surprising that George had not already read up on architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) who restored many French medieval landmarks beside Carcassonne, including Notre-Dame de Paris.  >
  The SAH Greek tour visited Thessaloniki June 6-8, 1978.  >
  Literally stone or rock.  >
  The Church of the Jacobins dates from the early 13th Century, when St. Dominic founded his order (nicknamed "Jacobins") in Toulouse; it is the chief shrine of St. Thomas Aquinas.  >
  Strawberry yogurt.  The Yoplait brand was launched in France in 1965 and introduced to the United States in 1974.  >
  Harry George Schalck (1926-2012) taught history at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.  George initially thought he was an "engineering editor."  >
  Margaret Esther Nicholsen (1904-1999) had been Head Librarian at Evanston Township High School in Evanston IL, and was the lifelong partner of Mildred L. Batchelder (1901-1998), one of the foremost advocates of children's library services.  >
  Gertrude Letsch Berson (1910-1992?) was born in Switzerland and lived in Montreal, the widow of Gordon Berson (1908-1967).  >
  Moissac Abbey, founded in the 7th Century, had to withstand raids from both Vikings and Moors.  The Abbey church of St. Pierre remains in active use, and the sculpture on its crenellated portico is said to be a Romanesque masterpiece.  >
  The Cathedral Basilica of St. Cecilia in Albi, constructed between 1282 and 1480, has been called the world's largest brick building.  As George notes, its lavishly colorful interior is in marked contrast with its stark fortresslike exterior.  >
  Mannerism is another term for the Late Renaissance in European art, starting in the 1520s and giving way to the Baroque two centuries later.  >
  A jube separates a church's chancel or sanctuary from the rest of the interior.  It consists of a screen and rood (crucifix) plus a loft or gallery from which "Jube, Domine, benedicere" ("Command, Lord, to bless") is pronounced.  >
  In 1993 the hilltop village of Cordes was renamed Cordes-sur-Ciel, to denote its height over clouds in the valley below.  >
  Kenneth J. LaBudde (1920-2000), an old friend and colleague of the Ehrlichs, was Director of the KCU/UMKC Libraries from 1950 to 1985 and developed its Special Collections to a level of national significance.  >
  In France, Mother's Day is the first Sunday of June if the last Sunday of May is Pentecost (as it was in 1980).  >
  John Fowles's novella The Ebony Tower, set in an enchanted domain, was published in 1974.  >
  John E. Holden (1920-2013) and Elaine Ewing Holden (1922-2003) hailed from Mount Joy PA, twenty or so miles west of Intercourse PA (where Mila Jean's ancestor Andrew Snyder lived before and after the Revolutionary War).  Jack Holden's self-composed obituary said he led "a life filled with endless laughter and debauchery," winning the Distinguished Flying Cross during World War II "and the Distinguished Fleeing Cross for avoiding numerous women who were seeking child support under unproven circumstances."  After serving as vice president of Hubley Manufacturing he became an independent toy designer, and was reputedly banned from the Mickey Mouse Club "after providing housing for a number of stray cats."  His wife Elaine's more sober epitaph said she was "dedicated to the preservation and future" of Lancaster PA.  >
  During my parents's first visit to Seattle in Jan. 1989, we visited the Seattle Art Museum (then in Volunteer Park) where I bought The Toulouse-Lautrec Album.  Mila Jean, with a brooding glance at its cover photo, asked me "Do you think he was happy?"  >
  The Cathédrale Saint-Nazaire-et-Saint-Celse de Béziers dates from the 13th Century.  >
  Norma Evenson (1929-2001) taught history in the Architecture Department of the College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley, from 1963 to 1993.  Besides her prizewinning book on Paris, she wrote about urban planning in Brazil and India.  >
  George presumably meant logy (logey), "slow to respond or react; lethargic"; but the clearly-written double G may have been intentional.  >
  Chicken Provencale (Provençal) is a Mediterranean dish cooked in a sauce made with plenty of garlic, herbs, tomatoes, and olive oil.  >
  Despite the dining room paintings described by Mila Jean on June 4th, the goal of a French matador (raseteur) is not to harm the bull, but to pluck a ribbon from between its horns.  >
  Tuscan columns are uncarved and have no ornamental scrolls.  >
  The Maison Carrée (Square House) i
n Nîmes is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman temples, completed in the year 2 AD.  >
  A cella or naos is the inner chamber of a classical temple.  >
  In 1787 Thomas Jefferson, then the American minister to France, wrote a friend that "Here I am, Madam, gazing whole hours at the Maison Carrée, like a lover at his mistress."  Collaborating with French architect Charles-Louis Clérisseau, Jefferson modeled the new Virginia State Capitol building after the Maison Carrée.  >
  This 1st Century building may in fact have originally been a library; it was later a medieval monastery.  >
  The village of Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres is dominated by three historic monuments: the fortified Church of Saint-Laurent, the ancient castle keep of Tour Jacques-Deuze, and the substantial Tour de Ribas.  >
  Cellar and vineyard.  >
  Evidently Cynthia Wright Lasserre DeVezeron (born 1931?) who graduated from the Milton (MA) Academy in 1949; by 2001-02 she lived in Paris while spending "the warmer months in her house near Avignon."  >
  Henry Edwards Scott, Jr. (1900-1990) "was an art historian, educator, portrait painter, and violinist" (as per his personal archive's biographical note).  Graduating from Harvard in 1922, he taught there and at Radcliffe (1923-26), the Universty of Rochester (1928-29), the University of Pittsburgh (1929-34), and Amherst (1935-43).  Following naval service in World War II and earning his master's from Harvard in 1946, he taught at KCU/UMKC from 1947 until retiring in 1970, and chaired the Art Department until being replaced by George in 1964.  >
  Marcel Chevalier served as Mayor of Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres from 1953 to 1977; his successor Armand DiMascio served until 1983.  >
  Viticulturally speaking, an appellation is a legally defined and protected area where wine grapes are grown.  France regulates what varieties can be used, how densely they can be planted, and how ripe they must be before harvesting.  >
  The Lirac appellation, on the western side of the Rhône River north of Avignon, mostly yields full-bodied red wines.  "The southernmost cru in the Rhône Valley and probably the least well-known, it grows in tranquil isolation, far from the beaten path" (per Wine-Uncovered.com).  >
  The oldest parts of the Church of Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres date from the 11th Century; the dome was added in the 12th and the entire church, with triple towers and battlements, was fortified in the 14th under the leadership of Jacques d'Euse or Duèze (1244-1344), the future Pope John XXII.  >
  After the death of Pope Benedict XI in 1304, French and Italian cardinals deadlocked for a year over his successor; the conclave finally elected Clement V, most likely at the behest of Philip IV, the "Iron King" of France.  Clement moved the papal court from Rome to Avignon, where it remained (in "Babylonian captivity") till the Western Schism of 1378 set up rival popes in both places.  An attempt to resolve this at the Council of Pisa in 1409 resulted in three claimants to the papacy, till settlement was achieved in 1417.  >
  The Directory or Directorate governed Revolutionary France from the National Convention's dissolution in 1795 to Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'état in 1799.  >
  Arrow Rock and Boonville are in the "Boonslick," derived from Boone's Lick (a salt spring used by Daniel Boone's sons Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone).  This region along the Missouri River was a major thoroughfare during western migration, and George Caleb Bingham's artworks illustrate the pioneer experience there.  Many local buildings have been preserved or restored, and are on the National Register of Historic Places.  >


List of Illustrations




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