Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nightlife in Paris

Sometimes Life seems so absurd and then rays of hope shine through the darkened skies.

Yesterday my faith in humanity was restored when I heard the news that the opening weekend box office gross for Paris Hilton's new movie was a whopping $28,000.

Another good sign was that there were only 111 screens who chose to show this tripe. Believe me, the word tripe seems appropriate to describe the infantile plot line of The Hottie and the Nottie. Here's a link to the trailer for that movie should anyone wish to waste a few minutes of their life watching a promotion for a movie that I think has the inside track to next year's Razzie awards.

To think that Paris Hilton actually went to the Sundance Film Festival to try and drum up interest for that waste of time and celluloid.

I hope this signals the end to Paris Hilton's film career and possibly the end of the media's obsession with her and whatever she does.

I was appalled when I was at a supermarket in France last September and saw a magazine at the checkout stand bearing Paris Hilton and Britney Spears on the cover.

I was horrified. It is bad enough that I am constantly assaulted by their imagery in the United States, I could not understand why the French would be interested in those intellectually challenged floozies. Does France not have their own celebrities with love lives they can follow?

Speaking of France, I shall now take this time to finish detailing my last full day in Paris. It was Friday, September 7th and we left the chateau at Chantilly in time to make our train back to Gare du Nord. We stood outside on the platform waiting for our train to come and had to stand far away from the tracks when the high speed trains passed the station by without stopping. The force of the wind current was powerful and would have knocked small children over by its blast.

Once arriving back at Gare du Nord it had a carnival atmosphere. There was a live band playing and people gathered around to enjoy the music. That night marked the opening match of the Rugby World Cup being hosted by the country of France and at Stade de France in Saint Denis and France would be playing against Argentina.

You could feel the excitement of the crowd in anticipation of the sporting event due to commence in a few hours time.

After taking another train we made it our hotel and rested a bit before changing for dinner.

We had such a wonderful lunch that we did not need a fine gourmet dinner. Instead Scott decided once again to try and find an Italian restaurant in Paris. I think he really just wanted to prove that our friend Jacques was wrong.

There was one Italian restaurant on the left bank whose marquis we could read clearly across the Seine. I thought we could at least walk there and check out their menu before deciding whether or not to eat there.

A funny thing happened on our way there. Scott noticed a narrow alleyway and wanted to "check it out."

Two days earlier on our walking tour of Paris, Yita Hillyard had shown us streets with narrow alleyways such as this one.

The alleyway that we walked down was not guarded by a door, but it was quite narrow. We found ourselves in a hidden community just one block off from the banks of the Seine river and rows of bars and restaurants.

Several restaurant owners were at the front of their stores and barking for customers. One woman accosted us in French and then quickly changed to English. She showed her shish-ka-bobs and made an offer to buy our wine if we ate dinner there. It was a tempting offer, but we were not in the mood for Greek food.

Many of the restaurants had large portable signs displaying their menus for people strolling by to read their specials. It was ethnic food heaven for there were restaurants representing food from every continent. We even saw a Mexican restaurant, but I could not bring myself to even consider going there. Possibly if I lived in Europe for months on end and longed for something reminding me of home, I might eat at a Mexican restaurant in Paris. However, I can eat Mexican food anytime I want to in California and I simply saw no need to torture myself with trying something that might be a Frenchified version of Mexican food. So we walked on past that store without even looking at their menu.

We settled on an Italian restaurant with outdoor seating. It was a beautiful warm summer evening and the nightlife was just starting to gather.

The restaurant owner directed customers to the tables he wanted them seated at. I think there was an attempt at window dressing for I saw him shoo four people away from some tables near the street and seat them instead further inside the restaurant.

After seeing that happen, I felt honored that he had seated us right next to the sidewalk near the menu. It made me feel like we were his chosen marquee couple.

Here is a picture I took from my vantage point. You can see the roaming flower vendor as well as a rugby bar that was across the way.

"Le Bourbon" was the restaurant directly across from us. Since my husband and I have allergies to a great number of shellfish, we avoided restaurants specializing in seafood. Look at the building behind the restaurant and you can see faces over the center of the windows. I loved seeing decorative artistic touches at every turn in France.

Scott took this picture looking further down the street from where we were sitting. You can see that there was a Tunisian restaurant.

The food at our restaurant was unremarkable, but the evening was fun. We enjoyed the nonstop people-watching and we knew when France made their first goal by the blowing of horns by rugby fans out their window above the bar. Later when we did not hear any subsequent celebrating from the above-the-bar denizens, we assumed that things might not be going well for the French national team.

After we finished our dinner we joined the crowds milling about the area and turned a corner and saw this:

At first I was a bit disoriented and thought "Notre Dame?" Then I realized that it was Saint Severin, a church we had seen on our walking tour from the outside. Here is that same church in the light of day.

Here's a view of one of its gargoyles up close.

It was amazing that a street that can look this placid and serene by day...

can have such a different feel by night.

Those might not be the same exact buildings or streets, but it is in the same neighborhood. As we started venturing back to the Isle de la Cité we passed a restaurant right on the main drag that had tables on the sidewalk. There were so many people it was difficult to move. I remember bumping into someone and feeling terrible because they were trying to enjoy having a nice peaceful dinner like I had just had, except they did not discover that only one or two blocks away was the vibrant oasis they had been looking for. Instead they were sitting outside as passersby wound up stepping on their feet unwittingly due to the crowded conditions.

We then walked to Ile Saint Louis in order to try the famous ice cream by Berthillon. Fortunately there was not a long line of customers. The flavors were different than I expected and tried something I knew that I would probably never see as a Ben and Jerry's flavor. I tried the rose flavored glace. It tasted like a sorbet to me and it had a nice, light, fragrant flavor. I think Scott chose caramel.

Afterwards we went back to our hotel room to start packing for the next morning when we would leave to pick up our lease vehicle and start a new adventure.

We turned on the television set and caught the last part of the rugby game. My suspicions were confirmed as we found that Argentina was in the lead. It is interesting to watch a game in which you do not understand the rules and have it be in a language you barely know.

However, rugby is fun to watch even if you do not understand what is transpiring. It is a brutal, full contact sport with no real time outs and no padding.

I had such a nice time that evening, being in the heart of Paris and one that I shall remember for years to come.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pot Pourri for a Sunday: Writing, Hand Cuffs, Paintings, and Petroglyphs

Today the sun was out, nary a cloud in the sky and wild mustard is in bloom among the vineyards. Ahhh, Spring Fever - catch it!

I grew up with blizzards and ice storms in the midwest, so I appreciate living in a Mediterranean climate no longer shoveling snow or suffering from frigid temperatures.

I shall stop rubbing it in for those still enduring the evil grip of Winter.

Here are blog posts from a few of my friends that I think might be of interest to others.

Erika Mailman will be teaching a twelve week course on novel writing through Media Bistro. These classes are open to anyone who has access to the internet. She once had a student from Sweden, so all you have to do is be flexible with your own schedule to work out the once weekly "chat" with other students. She discusses exactly what time of day or night that would be depending on your time zone here.

Erika's bio on the Media Bistro site is not current as of today. Instead she has two published novels rather than two forthcoming novels. They are A Witch's Trinity and A Woman of Ill Fame. The bio mentions a book named Hexe, but the title was changed before publication to A Witch's Trinity.

Here is one testimonial:
As a writer who had struggled for years with an ungainly novel, I approached 'The 12-Week Novelist' with equal parts skepticism and hope. Erika's example, encouragement, acuity and good humor inspired every writer in our class and helped to keep us focused on our goal. At the end of 12 weeks I had a finished draft and a road map for revision. Time and money well spent. -- Bradley Owens

That sounds like the Erika I know. If you have been struggling with a concept for a novel, but are unsure how to make all the disparate pieces work together - this might be what you have been looking for.

On another writing note, Lee Lofland started a blog.

I had been nudging him to do that for the better part of a year now. He has had a website, written columns for the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and periodically made guest posts on others' blogs, but now he has finally entered the blogosphere in his own right.


Lee is a retired police officer with a wide-range of experience in law enforcement. I do not write genre mysteries, but I enjoy his posts because Lee takes our media-induced familiarity with police procedures and shows how they are based on wrong assumptions. He does this with style and humor.

From handcuffs to gunshot wounds to a discussion of how Miranda rights are really given to suspects, Lee's insights are given in an engaging style.

On Friday his post was about what life is like in a holding cell:

Close your eyes and imagine you’re in the filthiest public restroom you’ve ever visited. Take a deep breath while conjuring up a stench that lingers in places only roaches and vermin dare to trod. Combine those odors with the scent of dirty sweat socks, tee-shirts and underwear, cooked popcorn, urine, and steaming chicken-flavored Top Ramen noodles.

Picture living or working where every breath is similar to what I’ve described above. Never a single mouthful of fresh air. Could you drink water from a sink that was used to wash the feet of a man who just finished working on a roadside work gang for eight hours in ninety-degree heat - a sink positioned two feet above a toilet that’s used several times a day by three people, but is only capable of being flushed twice in eight hours?

Mmmmm. Nice huh?

His comment trail is worth watching as well. After I posted my response to that imagery, Lee went on to explain why the toilets are flushed so infrequently. It is because toilets can be used as "telephones" and as delivery devices between cells.

I had no knowledge of such things, but now would like to see it incorporated in some drama somewhere.

Lee was interviewed recently about his years as in law enforcement, his writing, and his ancestor Dr. John Lofland who was a personal friend of Edgar Allen Poe.

From Poe to painting: Ari Siletz highlighted the works by Iranian artist Iman Maleki.

Siletz shows examples of Maleki's paintings that are so rich in detail they appear to be photographs.

Near the bottom of his post is Maleki’s “Achaemenid Soldier” which Siletz describes in this manner:

The diligent research into Achaemenid weaponry and military uniform is admirable. Architectural grandeur is appropriately understated, yet breathtaking. Hollywood should occasionally hire this artist as a set consultant.
Siletz then compares this painting to Jacques-Louis David’s “Oath of the Horati." Stylistically, it is a good comparison.

Now to go from paintings to petroglyphs - Cindy Pavlinac is doing her own travelogue of a cross country road trip she made from Marin County, California to Michigan. Her latest installment depicts petroglyphs in Utah.

Cindy is the photographer who took my author photos that grace this blog as you can see by the credit line. If you have some time, please check out her blog and her website to see incredible photography of petroglyphs, cathedrals, sacred sites, and labyrinths.

I hope to post some more about my travels soon.

Be well everyone. I will be volunteering once again at the San Francisco Writers Conference held this coming weekend. Should you be there, look for me and say "hello."


Monday, February 4, 2008

Why I support Obama

I have not posted about my politics on this blog before. That has been a conscious decision on my part since politics can be divisive. However, this is an important election cycle and if I can put forth an argument which might persuade some undecided voters in the upcoming elections, then it will worth making a temporary break with the normal content of this literary blog. If you are from outside the US and are curious about our presidential race, this might answer some of your questions.

I support Barack Obama for president of the United States of America because I believe he is the only candidate that can heal our national wounds and repair our standing in the global community.

As a nation, the US has been divided for far too long. The "us versus them" mentality is toxic.

Just because I am a Democrat does not mean that I should automatically disagree with someone just because they are a Republican.

I am weary of the venom and hatred that has passed as political discourse in the last two decades. Or the "winner takes all" mentality where you do not have to listen to the party in the minority because they are "out of power." Enough. Everyone elected official is there as a representative people who all deserve respect.

We all want the same things, which is basically Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

We need to overcome the artificial divisions which have separated us and find ways to work together as a people to solve our problems in productive manner.

Politics is something that we are told we avoid discussing in polite company because it tends to start arguments. Well, you can put forth an argument, but you do not have to be disagreeable in the process.

America was founded on the principle that we do not recognize the divine right of kings. We said we could govern ourselves, and that we would take turns. There would be no permanent head of state and that titles could not be inherited.

Therefore, our ancestors bequeathed to us the responsibility to determine our future by engaging in politics with one another. This can be done in a civil manner.

I would like to share with you examples of conversations I had with two of my Republican relatives. My Uncle Charlie is a man who has been a quiet, but reliable Republican voter his entire adult life.

I remember seeing him a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and we talked at that time about the human disaster being worse than the natural disaster. He did not try to defend the (in)actions of the Bush administration. This past summer we talked again and he said that he was disgusted with his party and would never again vote for a Republican.

I was shocked.

I had never expected that my Uncle Charlie would disavow his political party, but he is a man of integrity and he recognizes that things are desperately wrong in our country and with our government.

I spoke to him about my support of Barack Obama's candidacy, and my uncle was receptive to what I had to say.

He did not share the same receptiveness toward Hillary Clinton. He thought she was smart and tough and other positive adjectives that I have forgotten, but he does not like her and he does not trust her.

He would not vote for her. He would vote for Obama, but not for Hillary.

The other example is my cousin Steve. He and I are twin cousins. We were born on the same day and in the same hospital. If you believe in astrology, then we are almost exactly alike astrologically except for the few hours separating our births. We share many common personality traits, but we are polar opposite politically.

Every year on our birthday we call and wish each other a happy birthday. We have been doing that for about the last twenty years.

In 2000 we started talking politics. Our birthday is at the end of November and that year it was during the prolonged election cycle of Bush v. Gore which finally was ended by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Steve and I talked twice that year. Both calls lasted for over an hour. After hanging up on both occasions, I felt more certain of my position than I had before I spoke with him. I knew he felt the same.

We polarized each other.

If we did not have a strong bond of love for one another, it could have ruined our relationship. We chose to not let that happen.

This past year during our annual birthday call, Steve could not muster up any excitement to discuss politics. His support for Rudy Giuliani from the previous year had evaporated by the myriad of scandals. Steve admitted his disappointment with Bush and the Republican party in general. He told me that he wanted simply to do right by his family and was no longer paying attention to the news.

He did say that he was worried about our national economy. I replied that when the U.S. dollar is trading for less than the Canadian dollar we are in big trouble.

We then talked about Barack Obama and Steve listened. My conservative Republican cousin was receptive to what I had to say. He could not extend such open mindedness toward Hillary Clinton.

That is something I have heard time and again as I talk with people during this election cycle. Republicans and Independents are willing to cross party lines to support Obama's candidacy, but they would not do the same for Hillary Clinton. They may not be excited about any of their candidates, but if she is the Democratic nominee they will be united in voting as a bloc against her.

Barack Obama not only talks eloquently about bringing people together, he has years of experience in doing just that.

His biography impresses me, and since many people are unaware of his extensive lifetime experience, I shall summarize those things that I think are most important.

After graduating from Columbia University, he worked for a short while at a corporate office in New York City making good money. However, that job left him unsatisfied for it did not feed his soul. He felt the need to give back to others, changed his life's path and became a community organizer.

He had no experience in community organizing, but he was an impressive candidate and was hired to work for the Developing Communities Project (DCP) on the south side of Chicago. That community was economically depressed. This was in 1985 and Obama was paid a whopping $13,000 salary and $2,000 for a beat-up used Honda Civic.

That works out to $6.50 an hour (for a 40 hour work week) when minimum wage was $3.35 an hour. That was not a lot of money by any stretch of the imagination. (I remember, because that is about the same time I entered the workforce post-college as well.)

In an article from the Nation Magazine, Obama is quoted as saying:

"I can't say we didn't make mistakes, that I knew what I was doing," Obama recalled three years ago to a boisterous convention of the still-active DCP. "Sometimes I called a meeting, and nobody showed up. Sometimes preachers said, 'Why should I listen to you?' Sometimes we tried to hold politicians accountable, and they didn't show up. I couldn't tell whether I got more out of it than this neighborhood."

But, he continued, "I grew up to be a man, right here, in this area. It's as a consequence of working with this organization and this community that I found my calling. There was something more than making money and getting a fancy degree. The measure of my life would be public service."

Public service. :sigh: I love that. Obama truly seems to have dedicated his life for the betterment of others.

The following is another quote from the Nation Magazine that I feel is important in understanding his approach toward public policy.

Loretta Augustine-Herron, a member of the DCP board that hired him, remembers him as someone who always followed the high road. "You've got to do it right," she recalls him insisting. "Be open with the issues. Include the community instead of going behind the community's back--and he would include people we didn't like sometimes. You've got to bring people together. If you exclude people, you're only weakening yourself. If you meet behind doors and make decisions for them, they'll never take ownership of the issue." (emphasis mine.)

In other words, Obama wanted to make sure that even the cranky people who made things difficult needed to have a seat at the table. Otherwise they wouldn't have any skin in the game and afterwards they would criticize whatever was decided.

In order to build a genuine consensus you need to have a diversity of voices heard and listened to during the process.

You also need to do things in the open and not simply call on someone powerful and ask for strings to be pulled. Because that kind of progress can be undone by another powerful person pulling different strings.

Barack Obama spent three years as a community organizer and realized that there were limits as to how much change he could accomplish for people on that level. He decided to go back to college and become a lawyer.

He went to Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude.

Obama was also elected president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. His election is illustrative of his reputation as someone who works well with people of varying philosophical beliefs.

The election for the Law Review is convoluted and it has many, many rounds of balloting. Barack had not planned on running for the position, but was talked into it by others and threw his name into the mix at the last minute.

The committed liberals and conservatives were quickly eliminated.

It was then that the conservatives campaigned for Barack Obama's candidacy.

Because they felt their legal opinions would be treated with greater respect by Obama than by the other remaining candidates.

That is because Obama viewed the Harvard Law Review as a journal that should reflect the wide diversity of legal opinions in Harvard rather than simply the ones he endorsed.

It seems like the principled and obvious way to go, but that is not always what happens.

Since Obama was the first Black to be elected as president of the Harvard Law Review, he was highly sought after when he graduated. He had employment offers from over 300 law firms, as well as a book contract. (That was why he wrote the memoir Dreams from my Father.) Obama could have clerked for the United States Supreme Court. He could have made buckets of cash on Wall Street.

He chose to go back to Chicago.

He chose a civil rights law firm and took on cases such as voting rights. Those are not money making cases, but it is a continuation of his community organizing. He also headed up an effort to register voters. Under his leadership, the project registered 150,000 new voters.

All those things demonstrate to me his strength of character.

Barack Obama also taught Constitutional law at the University of Chicago. I like the idea of having someone in the Oval Office who has a deep understanding and respect for the Constitution.

Then in 1996 he was elected to the Illinois State Senate. He served with distinction there for eight years and developed a reputation as someone who could work across party lines to craft legislation. During his tenure, the Democrats were in the minority for the first six years and the majority party his last two years.

In his book The Audacity of Hope, Obama describes how he took a bill that was not given any chance of passage and he was able to change the bill's opponents into supporters by building consensus predicated on shared common values.

The bill dealt with the death penalty system which was "ripe for reform." Public confidence in the legal system was low because
"the way capital cases were tried in Illinois at the time was so rife with error, questionable police tactics, racial bias, and shoddy lawyering that thirteen death row inmates had been exonerated and a Republican governor had decided to institute a moratorium on all executions."

Obama wanted to mandate videotaping of interrogations and confessions of suspects in all capital cases. The police organizations and state prosecutors were against it because they thought it would be expensive, cumbersome and might make it difficult for them to close cases. Death penalty opponents were against the bill because they wanted the death penalty overturned completely and did not want anything that might ameliorate the situation. Legislators were "skittish" about supporting something that might be construed as being "soft on crime." And the incoming governor had been asked on the campaign trail about such a proposed bill and he came out against it.

It seems like it would have been a waste of time pursuing such legislation as there was universal opposition and no support. He did not give up.
"(W)e convened sometimes daily meeting between prosecutors, public defenders, police organizations, and death penalty opponents, keeping our negotiations as much as possible out of the press.

Instead of focusing on the serious disagreements around the table, I talked about the common value that I believed everyone shared, regardless of how each of us might feel about the death penatly: that is, the basic principle that no innocent person should end up on death row, and that no person guilty of a capital offense should go free. When police representatives presented concrete problems with the bill's design that would have impeded their investigations, we modified the bill. When police representatives offered to videotape only the confessions, we held firm, pointing out that the whole purpose of the bill was to give the public cofidence that confessions were obtained free of coercion. At the end of the process, the bill had the support of all the parties involved. It passed unanimously in the Illinois Senate and was signed into law."
Excerpted from pages 57-59.

I would like to see that kind of leadership applied to our broken health care system. Bring all the principles together, make them sit down together at the table and using our shared principles find the uniquely American solution to our problems. I understand enough about how legislation is created that you cannot put a pristine bill into the legislative grinder and expect it to look the same coming out. That is why I do not study the various candidates 'perfect ten point plans." It is more important to understand how they approach the legislative process in bringing out consensus, and that is why I mentioned the above anecdote.

We must stop pointing fingers at one another and declare that "they" are the problem. We must all work together.

There are tremendous problems facing us, but I believe that Barack Obama is up to the challenge. He will lead us, but ultimately it is up to us to make our representatives represent our interests and not those of their political party.

Obama has implored people to not just vote in an election, but to become engaged in the political process. Collectively, we have a lot of power.

Rev. Alvin Love from Chicago's DCP, looks at Obama's candidacy and says,
"Everything I see reflects that community organizing experience. I see the consensus-building, his connection to people and listening to their needs and trying to find common ground. I think at his heart Barack is a community organizer. I think what he's doing now is that. It's just a larger community to be organized."


Tomorrow is "Super Tuesday" where elections are being held in 24 states. If you live in California and are registered as a "Decline To State" voter, you can vote in the Democratic Primary, however you must ask for a Democratic ballot. It will not be handed to you if you do not ask.

Voting is the life blood of our democracy. Too many people have struggled, fought and died for us to have the right to cast a ballot. Be sure to honor their legacy and sacrifice by voting.

If you like my words on this subject, please feel free to forward or link to them.

Thank you,

Linda McCabe

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Chantilly, France: Two palaces - one for people and one for horses

Once again I am continuing my travelogue about my trip to France from last September. The last full day we were in Paris, I wanted to visit a palace. Most Americans I know would have suggested visiting Versailles for that purpose, but I chose Chantilly instead.

Chantilly is an hour north of Paris and to get there without a car, you must use the train system. That meant we had to plan our day carefully by studying the various schedules. We took the RER and traveled to Gare du Nord, there we had to find the Grande Ligne level (upstairs) and purchase tickets to the RER Line D to Chantilly/Gouvieux station.

After wandering aimlessly around the station for a little bit, we found where we needed to be in time to make our connection without having to wait too long. Once we arrived in the train station in Gouvieux we walked to the grounds at Chantilly. It took us about half an hour to get to the park, but we timed ourselves to know how much time we should allot for our return walk to the train station later that day.

One of the reasons I chose Chantilly over Versailles, was not only the idea of not having to fight enormous crowds of tourists, but this palace is also a premier tourist attraction for equestrians.

There are horses throughout my story, so I liked the idea of visiting the Musée Vivant du Cheval.

According to Chantilly's website:

The architect Jean Aubert was commissioned by Louis-Henri de Bourbon, 7th Prince of Condé, to build the grand stables. Legend has it that the prince thought he would be reincarnated as a horse, so he wanted stables that would reflect the majesty of his rank. Thanks to him, France boasts an architectural masterpiece of the 18th century.

That means there was also palace built for horses, and it is impressive. Here you can see the distance between the two palaces, separated by a dense clump of trees and a pond. It may have been constructed that way to avoid the smell of hundreds of horses nearby (and the accompanying amount of manure.)

Here is the horse "barn" itself. The picture was taken from a distance in order for its magnitude to be comprehended. To the left you can see the white plumes of tents where a riding competition was taking place that day.

To see the layout of the horse museum, you can find that here.

The courtyard rivaled the one we saw at the Louvre.

Inside is a staging area where the horses are brought out and shown to the public. Our timing was bad that day and we did not catch one of the demonstrations, but it still was incredible to see where they performed.

Overlooking the round, you can see the grand dedication to the man who had this edifice created, Louis Henri de Bourbon, the seventh prince of Condé.

Given the amount of material wealth concentrated not only in the palatial estate, but the horse compound, it is understandable why this was attacked by the peasants during the French Revolution. If I had been struggling to survive, I would feel offended by the opulence displayed at the Chateau de Chantilly.

In the horse museum you not only see stalls filled with beautiful animals, but art exhibits dedicated to all things related to horses. There are rooms filled with horses from carousels, saddles and spurs, as well as paintings and drawings of horses.

I even found examples of Bayardo, the legendary horse in the Matters of France owned by Rinaldo.

These paintings are by Robert Ladou. Here you can see a bay colored horse nudging four warriors. That in and of itself does not conclusively say that it must be Bayardo, but ...

This painting shows all four brothers on the horse's back. That is part of the mythology of Bayardo in the story Quarte Fils d'Aymon (the Four Sons of Aymon.)

Bayardo would magically expand in order to accommodate all four brothers: Rinaldo, Alardo, Guicciardo and Ricciardo (AKA Ricciardetto).

I was thrilled to find this painting and it happened to be the one of the few representations I found during my trip to France depicting showing the legends of Charlemagne. I saw books on the legends of Arthur, but precious little about the legends of Charlemagne. I found that curious and disappointing.

The museum also had some models of warriors on horseback. Here is their Charlemagne.

And here is Clovis. (I apologize for the fuzziness, but the lighting was not as optimal as I would have liked.)

In the same room was a drawing of Joan of Arc. (One again, I apologize for the light but this was the best I could capture.)

After we finished our tour of the , we were famished. There are a few restaurants to choose from at Chantilly and after looking at the various menus, we settled on La Table des Lions which is a bit of a walk outside the park proper.

The food was wonderful. The best meal we had in Paris, even though technically we were not in Paris.

Scott remembers having French onion soup and trout. I had beef with a wine reduction sauce.

Then I remember splurging on dessert. Knowing my preferences, it was probably something chocolate. It was also the first time that I succumbed to temptation and had wine with lunch, even though my husband had done that since the first day we arrived in France. This food deserved having the accompaniment of wine for its flavors to be fully appreciated.

After a grand lunch, we set out to see the chateau itself.

The day was cool and overcast, which is something we had become accustomed to in Paris. I was glad I had worn a sweater and brought my jacket for we were walking outdoors for most of the day. Here you can an equestrian statue prominently displayed between the chateau and its extensive gardens.

Here is another view of the chateau.

Here are the manicured gardens behind the chateau.

Inside the chateau is an art gallery which has an extensive collection including three paintings by Raphael.

After touring the parts of the chateau that were open to the public, we were soon checking our watches to determine when should head back to town and catch our train. It had been a long wonderful day.

Here I am next to a sphinx, feeling a bit tired, and squinting into the hazy sunlight. That leg of our journey was almost over and the next day we would be headed towards the sunny south of France.