Carlos Melia: Private Sailing Along the Seine

Author: , July 26th, 2015

Carlos Melia - Seine River Cruise

One of the experiences that I curated and hosted for my recent VIP Group to Paris for the Roland Garros French Open event, was a private sunset sailing along the Seine River, which included an outdoor cocktail, followed by a 3-Courses Gourmet dinner by Lenotre.

We were picked up at our hotels Le Bristol, and driven for 10 minutes to their Terminal/Lounge to board our private boat, the ACTE III. Not much more to say, so I will let you enjoy the photos and judge by them.

All I can add, is that our sailing was supposed to end by 10PM, and guests were enjoying their time so much, that we decided to extend for another 2 hours to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle right from the heart of the Seine River. This was not my first time doing a Private Sailing in Paris along the Seine River.

I have done it a few times before, but on a smaller scale and more private. See my post on Private Champagne Sunset RIVA Sailing along the Seine River. BTW Post today July 14th 2015 in honor of Bastille Day. HAPPY Bastille Day.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog | Paris Gay Travel Resources

Visiting Paris With Kids

Author: , July 24th, 2015

Paris, France Gay TravelParis, one of the most visited cities in the world, is a fantasy wonderland for anyone, including gay and lesbian couples with children. There is no greater joy for a parent than see- ing the expression on their child’s face when he or she gasps upon first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, tastes his or her first crepe, or looks wide-eyed at the impressive Notre Dame.

One of the first orders of business for President Hollande when he took office in 2012 was to make gay marriage legal in France.

Coupled with being well known as a gay and children-friendly des- tination, Paris is an ideal place to bring the family and to make memo- ries that will last forever in the City of Light. Here is our comprehensive guide of what to see and do, all broken down into specific categories as to not overwhelm you with all the marvels of Paris.

By Richard Nahem – Full Story at Passport | Paris Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Our Last Few Days in Paris

Author: , May 1st, 2015

Dolly Goolsby - ParisHello, again,

Yes, we are winding down our lovely Paris vacation. The weather helped us wind down, as the weekend turned cold and rainy, so it was more difficult to get out and go sightseeing. Saturday, as I told you, I was planning to make boeuf Bourguignon, but unfortunately, the apartment kitchen didn’t have a pot big enough to make the stew, so we had chicken again instead. While it was tasty, it wasn’t what I had my heart set on making. When we did go out, Frank pointed out that I could get that boeuf Bourguignon already prepared at the fantastic store next to our apartment. However, I wanted to make it myself….I was more interested in creating the dish than eating it.

Sunday was still chilly and rainy, but we ventured out, anyway. We caught the Metro, and traveled over to the western edge of the city to visit the Musee Marmottan Monet. This museum is housed in a mansion from the 19th Century. The literature told me it had been this wealthy man’s hunting lodge, which made sense, as it is very near the Bois de Boulogne. The Bois is a large park now, but was a forest before. The house was two stories, plus the basement, which held the largest collection of Monet paintings, plus sketches from his early painting days, as well as pictures of his wife and children. I enjoyed that visit very much, as Monet is one of my favorite Impressionist painters.

Although it was raining lightly, the canopy of chestnut trees kept us dry on our walk to the museum.

When we got back home, after dinner on Sunday, the Eiffel Tower was lit up again, so I just had to take the picture, seeing it through a rain-spotted window, from the 6th floor landing in our building.

Today, in spite of the 50 degree weather and 14 mph wind, I went for a walk. I bundled up, then headed toward the river, crossed over to the Right Bank, across the Pont d’Ilena Bridge.

As I walked, the clouds started going away, and the air warmed considerably. I walked further west, as there was another bridge that interested me, called Bir-Hakim. It had an alcove built out over the river, with a statue and some flowers. I had seen it from the elevated train, several times, and I had to check it out.

Further up the street I found a memorial statue, dedicated to some of victims of World War II. This was a more somber experience, as I had read about the round-up of Jews, in the book, “Sarah’s Key”, which was made into a movie, also. Unfortunately, it is a true but sad story of the government of France collaborating with Hitler. These people were arrested by their own French police.

The inscription translates to: ” The French Republic, in homage to victims of racist and antisemetic persecutions and of crimes committed under the authority of the so-called Government of the State of France, 1940 to 1944. Forget Never “.

I won’t go into this incident much more, except to tell you the round-up occurred over 2 days of July, 1942. If you would like to read more about this, I found a good article on Wikipedia, called Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup.

I continued my walk back to the apartment, and it was getting warmer all the time, especially when I got out of the wind. I went upstairs to our apartment; then, after a few minutes of relaxing, Frank and I went out for lunch. After lunch the two of us took another walk, toward the river again, but turned east this time. I have had my exercise today!

Tomorrow we have to pack and get ready to leave. Our landlord arranged for a driver to pick us up at 7:00 a.m. Thursday morning and drive us to the airport.

So I will leave you, for now. I may not get another opportunity to write a blog post, so I will close, hoping you have enjoyed Paris with me this past month.

Oh, an addendum: if any of you are planning to visit Paris, and want to rent an apartment for your stay, I highly recommend this rental agency. Pascal was so helpful, with answering any questions, bringing us another chair when one broke, as well as just being a genuinely nice guy.

The website is http://www.rentalfrance.com. There are 14 apartments in Paris, plus one in Nice, on the website.

Au revoir. We will be home soon.

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Paris Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Using a Museum Pass in Paris

Author: , April 26th, 2015

Paris - Dolly GolsbyHi, Everyone,

If you have missed me, I apologize. You see, last Wednesday we purchased Paris Museum passes, that are good for 6 consecutive days, beginning with the day we bought them, at the Rodin Museum.

We had been taking leisurely walks in the city, visiting old favorite neighborhoods, but once we bought the museum passes we felt obligated to go to at least one museum a day, to get out money’s worth.

As I said, we started with the Rodin museum. I believe I told you about that, earlier.

The next day was busy. We had some mundane household chores that needed to be done, and we had to find a dentist for Frank. We got an appointment with an English-speaking dentist for 7:00 p.m. On Thursday. Therefore, after our household chores were done, we got on the Metro and went to visit the church, St. Chapelle.

Construction of the church, under the direction of King Louis IX, began somewhere around 1246. The dates are not certain. Of course, many restorations have occurred since then. The church has the largest collection of stained glass of any church in the world.

Pictures cannot do this church justice. Those windows are 50 feet tall, and there are a total of 15 of them in the upstairs chapel, plus a large stained glass Rose window.

Friday we tackled the Louvre. The museum is open until 9:45 p.m. on Friday, so we took our time. Frank and I have gotten separated at the Louvre before, so after entering under the pyramid, we set a meeting point and time, then went our separate ways for three hours.

That was a very long day. We left the museum and had dinner at a nearby restaurant, and by the time we got back to the apartment we were ready to call it a day. There are so many halls to walk, so many pictures to see, it is mind-boggling.

Yesterday we took it easy. We went to the Pantheon, hoping to see the giant pendulum that is supposed to be there, but of course, it is gone, for some reason, while the Pantheon gets much needed repairs. It is still beautiful and worth the trip out there.

We had lunch at an English pub across the street from the Pantheon, called “Bombardier”. We both had very good fish and chips, that were served with “mushy peas”. I didn’t care for the mushy peas, but the food was good and they had very good beer, also.

We then walked to the tiny Delacroix museum, then to the St. Germain-des-Pres, the oldest church in Paris, constructed in 1163. Right across the street from the church was a bar called,
“Les Deux Magots”, which was one of Hemingway’s hangouts in the 1920’s, so we sat at an outdoor table, had a glass of wine and pretended that we were Ernest and Hadley Hemingway.

Today we went to the D’Orsay Museum, which is my favorite. It is housed in an old train station, on the Left Bank of the Seine, across from the Louvre, which is on the Right Bank. We spent a couple hours looking at paintings and sculptures, then had lunch in one of the museum restaurants. That was an enjoyable day. I got to see the Rodin sculptures, the Impressionist paintings, plus more than I can remember. I have been there before, of course, several times, but it is the one museum I am always looking forward to seeing again.

Tomorrow is the last day for our Paris Museum pass, so we will have to find some museum that is open on Mondays. I am sure we will find something.

I do hope I haven’t put you to sleep with my tales of museums. I have other things to write about, too, but will write another blog post about those items.

Until then,

Au revoir,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Paris Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Beautiful Paris

Author: , April 17th, 2015

Aaah..the weather has turned so lovely, it would be hard to stay indoors. After the rainy, cold Saturday, Sunday turned out to be perfect. Frank didn’t feel up to taking a long walk, so I went out by myself. I walked into the more central part of the city, still on the Left Bank.

I came to St. Sulpice Church, intending to walk inside and just view the many pieces of art work, as well as being able to see the display of the Shroud of Turin, but I knew the real deal is in Turin, Italy. However, the church was preparing for a Mass, so I decided to stay. From my experience with Catholic Masses, they are usually pretty short. I am not Catholic, but I love going to the services in Catholic churches in Europe. I do get such a sense of connecting with God, and I love the ceremonies, although I usually don’t know what certain things mean.

However, this Mass turned out to be the longest service I have ever attended. I should have known when no less than 10 priests came down the aisle, with a Cardinal at the end. I did stay until almost the end of the service. There were many hymns being sung, and responses by the congregation.

Paris - Dolly GoolsbyA French lady came in and sat next to me. I gave her the booklet with the hymns that I had received when I entered the church. I explained to this lady that I did not read French. She thanked me in English, and asked me where my home is, and I told her. Later, when the congregation had a response, she turned to me, with a grin, and said, “This one is in Latin”. As if I knew Latin better than French! I shared the booklet with her then, and sang the Latin response.

Almost two hours later, I made my exit, saying “Au revoir” to both ladies on either side of me. Both had been so nice, and welcoming to me.

From the church I headed east, coming to the Luxembourg Gardens. It was such a pretty day. The sky had these little puffy white clouds and the flowers in the gardens were so attractive.

It seems that no matter where one goes, the Eiffel Tower continues to be a beacon.

As I walked, I heard music coming from the bandstand. Now, wait a minute! The music was polka music. Munich beer hall music…it seemed incongruous to me…why am I hearing this in the center of Paris? However, if any of you know me very well, you will know that I LOVE that kind of music. Apparently, so do many other people in Paris.

The polka band, The name of the band is “Les Pils-Scnapps”. They are from Alsace, which, when I jogged my memory, remembered that Alsace is bordered by the Rhine River, just across from Germany. This region has been fought over many times; therefore, Alsace been German at some times, and French at others. Now it is French, with a Bavarian flavor.

Later, I walked back home via Boulevard St. Germaine I wanted to see the oldest church in Paris, and when I got there, a Dixieland band was playing in front of the church. Talk about incongruous!

That is one thing about travel that I love. Just keep going and something unexpected will pop up to meet you, and usually these are pleasant experiences.

Yesterday I just had to walk along the tree-lined path, from the Pont d’Alma to the Concorde. It was hard to remember that just two weeks ago, these trees were bare.

This time Frank went with me. It was a lovely walk, but we started to get pretty warm, so at Concorde, we walked back over a bridge and headed home. Frank said he needed a beer. We found a little beer garden/cafe down near the river, almost to the Alexander III bridge, and there we had lunch.

Today we went to the Rodin Museum, but unfortunately, the museum was closed, but we walked through the gardens, which had many of Rodin’s sculptures.

This is “Burghers of Calais”, which tells the story of an incident during the Hundred Years War, where six leaders of villages sacrificed their lives to save the village people.

From there, we went to the Opera district, but instead of sightseeing, we went shopping. Too boring, I think, to elaborate.

Oh, I forgot to tell you. Yesterday, Frank decided he needed a haircut. I know, from personal experience, that getting a haircut in a place where you do not speak the language, is a dangerous thing. Frank told me he closed his eyes and fell asleep during the haircut, and here he is, the new Frank.

All that gorgeous white hair gone. He assures me it will grow back, and if and when it does, no one but Rochelle will cut his hair again. When he came back to the apartment, after that haircut, I didn’t know what to say… For once, words failed me. I have to remind myself that this is still the Frank that I love. One thing is certain, he will not need another haircut while we are in France.

For now, you are caught up with our adventures. We had a quiet dinner in the apartment this evening. We have been busy researching French wines..trying a new one every few days. Let me tell you, French wines are very good. Like everywhere else, though, one can get pretty bad wines if you are not careful. That’s my job…the wine research.

I will write again in a few days. Now with the good weather, we will be out and about everyday.

Au Revoir for now,

Dolly

By Dolly – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Paris Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Dinner on the Eiffel Tower

Author: , April 13th, 2015

Dolly and Frank - Eiffel TowerHello, Everyone,

Yes, indeed. We had three lovely days in Paris. Today turned chilly and rainy again. We contented ourselves with shopping for our dinner. What fun I had. I went to the butcher shop for chicken, then to the vegetable market for ingredients for a chicken stew. Of course I had to go to the wine shop for wine to go into the stew, as well as wine to go into us, with our dinner…on to the boulangerie for our baguette.

The one vegetable I just could not believe was celery. The heads of celery were huge…they were all at least eighteen inches tall. I was not discouraged, though. I went into the supermarket and they sold celery by the piece.

Our stew turned out very good, with chicken and all sorts of vegetables, and our fresh bread and wine.

Yesterday, we had dinner on the first level of the Eiffel Tower. I had made reservations some time ago, from home, so we had priority seating: a window seat overlooking the river and the Trocadero across the river.

What a fabulous meal. For an appetizer, Frank got the most delicious mushroom soup I have ever tasted. (Yes..I did have to try a sip.). I had giant shrimp with avocado and tiny bits of pink grapefruit. We both ordered the rack of lamb for our main dish. Of course, we had wine with the meal, too. The waiter was very attentive, and refilled our glasses before we had a chance to ask for a refill. Our dessert was this fabulous profiterole. I have always had profiteroles as little cream puffs with ice cream or a cream filling and a chocolate sauce.

Finally, after our dessert and a coffee, we left the restaurant and walked around that level of the tower. It was getting windy and chilly by that time, but we were able to take in the view from all sides of the tower. At 9:00, there were twinkling lights all over the tower, for about ten minutes.

We made our way home, walking off the calories of a wonderful meal, and knowing we had just experienced a once-in-lifetime event.

So, we were not too sad today, that we didn’t have another adventure. Last night was definitely an evening to remember.

I will say, “Bon nuit” now and head for bed.

You will hear from me again soon, I know.

Au Revoir,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Paris Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Beautiful Paris

Author: , April 11th, 2015

Dolly Goolsby - ParisBonsoir, to everyone,

It is amazing. What? Today is Thursday. On Sunday, I told you about the cold. Yesterday and today have been gloriously warm. I love it.

We are trying to do all the walks in Ricks Steves’ Paris guide. On Monday, we did most of the Left Bank walk, but frankly, it became a bit boring. We walked to see some of the homes of famous people, but found, when we got to these places, there would be a small plaque above the doorway, stating who had lived there. However, getting to these places gave us a lovely walk through some of the previously artistic neighborhoods, and we enjoyed looking into the shop windows, seeing the parks and enjoying the sunshine.

We crossed the Pont des Arts, where the bridge is so full of padlocks that the pedestrian sides of the bridge have been covered with boards, as there is no more room for padlocks. This picture was taken of the back of one of the fences around the side of the bridge. The point of the padlocks is that a couple will place a padlock on the bridge, then throw the key into the Seine River, so that there love will never be unlocked. I love the idea, but have seen this done so many times, it is not very exciting anymore, to me.

While we are crossing the bridge, I looked straight ahead to see the Institut de France.

This is the building where 40 linguists meet periodically, to either admit some words into the French language (for instance, “email”) or keep the French word as it is now. Keeping the French language pure is very important. Do you think they read my blog about the language having too many vowels?

We stopped for lunch at a cafe where artists had dined for over 100 years. That was fun, and we had a very nice, inexpensive lunch, that was delicious.

Yesterday we walked across the Alexander III bridge, and eventually made it to the Arc de Triomphe. There were many tourists out, as well as hundreds of policemen. I do not know why there were so many policeman, but we enjoyed our walk feeling quite protected.

Now we were at the The Arc de Triomphe. We could see people on the top of the Arc, but we elected not to climb up there. We had done that a few years ago, so did not feel the need to do that again.

Today we went to the Marais district, starting with the Bastille. We walked through the lovely Louis XIII park. The park was filled with people enjoying the sunshine. One thing I noted, was that the trees, which were bare ten days ago, are now leafing out and creating shady areas, where one can relax. Unfortunately, the pictures I took on my phone did not download to the iPad, so I can’t send those now.

Finally, we returned home, tired, but ready to go out again tomorrow.

So I will say, Au revoir, and see you again soon.

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Paris Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Musings From a Frustrated Language Student

Author: , April 9th, 2015

Dolly Goolsby

Happy Easter, Everyone,

I do wish everyone a Happy Easter, but here I go with my frustrated comments.

Number One, before I even get into my frustration, let me say, I am trying my best to learn some important words in French. The one thing I have learned is that the French language uses far too many letters in each word. I wish I could tell someone (someone who would listen to me) that we need to be more conservative. May we, please, (S’il vous plait). Drop the “l”, the “s” and the “t”, and you have “See vu play”. Can we not just use the letters we need? For goodness sake!

For instance, the phrase in the subject, “joyeuses Paques ” means “Happy Easter” but it is pronounced, “joyous pac”. See what I mean? All those vowels absolutely wasted. Here is another: “un bon vin blanc”. That not only is confusing, because one would drop the last letter from each word, when speaking…but now…vin, I understand, but it is pronounced “Van” as in moving van, but drop the N. So the entire phrase is pronounced thus : “oo bo va blan”. Seriously?

Yes, that is not all….if a word ends in an “n” or an “m”, that letter is never pronounced. In fact, most of the ending letters in a word are not pronounced…that just doesn’t make sense to me. I have struggled for several years trying to learn Italian, but I want to say here, the Italian language is a piece of cake, compared to French. I do believe my Italian will improve by spending this month in Paris. I keep comparing words in French to the same word in Italian. Both languages are what are called Romance languages, as is Spanish. That doesn’t refer to romance, as we think of romance, but rather, these are languages that are derived from the Romans, with a Latin base. Therefore, many words in all three languages are very similar, some are exactly the same,

I am being a bit facetious here, but I am trying very hard to say the right thing in French when I need to converse with a waiter or a shopkeeper. I try to think how confused I can be, in the United States, trying to speak with an immigrant from another country. The French people thatI have encountered, have been very patient. If they laugh, they laugh with us, not at us. The Romantic languages are so beautiful to hear, until one hears the language being murdered by an American.

Therefore, I will continue to try to learn the important phrases, and also try not to cause a waiter to commit homicide.

Until then, the most important phrase I can remember, and say it often, is “Do you speak English?”

Au revoir, until next time,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Paris Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – A Rainy Day in Paris

Author: , April 8th, 2015

Dolly in ParisGood evening,

Or I should say, “Bonsoir”. As I told our waiter in the restaurant this evening, I am learning the French language one word at a time. Most of the people we have encountered here have been very friendly and most speak English…thank goodness, and all have been patient with me searching my brain for the correct word.

I think I might have to make a cheat sheet and stick that in my purse, so I will have a handy reference at my fingertips. I am not trying for long sentences, but I do want to remember to use the “magic words”: pleas, thank you, excuse me, I am sorry, and the proper words to address someone.

Today was cold and drizzly rain for most of the day.

I could not help but compare our weather here with the weather in Roseville. But I am in Paris, so I will not complain.

We had bought a few groceries, so we were able to have some yogurt, juice and coffee for breakfast in the apartment before we ventured out. Because of the rain, we did not go sight-seeing today. We went out for lunch, then returned to the apartment and never went out again until this evening.

Once we returned to the apartment, I took a nice long, well-needed nap. By the time I got ready to go out again the rain had stopped, and the temperature outside was actually warmer than it had been this afternoon.

We walked several blocks to one of our favorite restaurants for a light dinner….we ate a light dinner so that we could have desserts.

After dinner, we walked down toward the Eiffel Tower. The tower is so beautiful, with the lights on at night.

We walked some more, down to the Invalides, which is where Napoleon is buried. That dome was lighted, also, and again, it is hard to capture the beauty of these places. However, I have the images burned into my mind.

Eventually we returned back to our neighborhood, our street, Rue Cler. Not a minute too soon, either, as it started raining again when we were a couple blocks from home.

I love that we are here for a month…we do not feel pressured to see everything, do everything this week. We will just take our time, savor the coffees, and the pastry shops.

I will just continue doing what we enjoy here in Paris, and venture further away from our neighborhood as weather permits.

We miss our families and friends, of course, but both Frank and I are happy to be here, in the City of Lights, the City of Love.

Until next time,

Au revoir.

Dolly

Dolly Travels – Bonsoir de Paris

Author: , April 3rd, 2015

Dolly - ParisGood evening, friends and family,

I simply must write to let everyone know that Frank and I arrived safely in Paris this morning. We left Sacramento at noon yesterday, flew to San Francisco, then flew directly to Paris, arriving here at 10:30 this morning. Fortunately, we had first class seats, so our meals and drinks were very good, and plentiful. I loved that I could actually lay flat to sleep, although I didn’t sleep very much. We had a good flight, but what a weather change, coming from California and our lovely 80 degree days, to a very windy and chilly 53 degrees here in Paris this morning.

We took a bus from the airport to the Opera district in Paris, then a taxi to our apartment here on Rue Cler. The owner of the apartment was here to greet us, and even gave us a lovely bottle of wine to enjoy during our stay.

I have told you before, but I must say this again: Rue Cler is our favorite street in all of Paris, because of the shops and the cafes all along this little two block long street. Once the landlord left, Frank and I looked over the apartment and found it to be quite suitable for our month-long stay. The apartment is small, though.

There is one bedroom, with a queen size bed. There is room for a tiny end table next to the bed. Then there is a small bathroom, a rather small living area/dining area combined, a tiny kitchen, with a two-burner stove top, a microwave and an electric oven. Overall, I think it is just a bit larger than the garret Mimi lived in, in “La Boheme”. But we don’t care….we are in the location we wanted, there is an elevator that works, and we are happy.

After we checked everything out, and found the apartment to be very clean and well-stocked, we went for a walk, although the wind was quite chilly and brisk.

We walked down Rue Cler, past the boulangerie, past the wine shops (3 within the first block), past the fromagerie, where there were so many cheeses I had no idea where to start looking. The shop attendant also gave us samples so we could buy what we liked.

The fresh fruits and vegetables in the sidewalk markets were so tempting. White asparagus is in season now, so you can be sure I will be fixing some of that very soon.

Eventually, we returned to our street, picked up the necessary items to go with our wine that our landlord had given us, and spent the evening here at our new little home. (I should have said “tiny” home.). But we are both tired, both in need of a nice warm shower or tub soak, and early to bed.

Tomorrow we will be ready to explore even further afield. So I will say, Adieu, Au revoir, until next time.

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Paris Gay Travel Resources