Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


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Monet’s garden, Part I

A long time ago I recommended going to Giverny, the town where Monet settled to live and work. I hadn’t been since I was 7 and a half but had fond memories. I went again and those memories were justified as it’s a totally easy train ride and the grounds do not disappoint.

Here are a bunch of lily pads, descendants of the ones Monet painted, in his back garden.

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Barcelona primer

My top recommendation to people going to Barcelona is to visit the Palau de la Música Català since it doesn’t get enough love. Antoni Gaudí was great, but after living in BCN for a while, I actually grew to like the work of his Modernisme contemporary Lluís Domènech i Montaner better and the Palau is his most impressive work.

The downside is that it’s owned by a private foundation so the only way to see inside it is to take their tour. Despite what the website says, there isn’t an English tour guide available for all the advertised times, so I stress that you need to get there early and sign up for whatever English slot they have. If you’re a brave soul, sign up for whatever time is available as just looking at all the details (like blown glass on the bannisters) will be enough.

My favorite part, the stained glass sun ceiling.

My favorite part, the stained glass sun ceiling.

You also can’t take photos inside since the foundation owns the copyright on all images, but Rob Whitworth somehow managed to get in and included many shots in this great Barcelona video. The Palau part starts at 48 seconds in.

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Barcelona GO! from Rob Whitworth on Vimeo.


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This French limonade is

…the Pschitt!

Pschitt soda

Learn something

This limonade was enjoyed in the Place des Vosges, a lovely little park that’s part of the 3rd and 4th districts here in Paris.

Fun French Facts about this Place include:

  • it’s the oldest square in the city
  • it’s the first planned square-shaped square in Europe
  • it has been home to Victor Hugo, Colette and Dominique Strauss-Kahn
  • it has beautiful arcades running along it
  • rumor has it that Napoleon may have conquered his first woman there as it used to be a spot where young officers engaged “ladies of the night”


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Versailles like you’ve never seen it

Up until recently, I’d been to Versailles at least three times and maybe as many as five. The chateau is impressive in its extravagance but the manicured garden was always my favorite part. Here’s a shot I took in October 2006.

View with back to the chateau

View with back to the chateau.

Marring the pristine beauty of the space is all the other people and the earth-movers used to swap out the plants.

Now here’s a little triptych I took just the other day.

Versailles Canal 2 Versailles Canal 3 Versailles Canal 1

I’d never seen this side of the property, the so-called English gardens, because they’re quite a ways away from the main chateau and aren’t an easy walking distance… but if you ride your bike, you can enjoy Versailles away from the crowds and pretend that you’re a European princess and that all that you see before you is yours.

Or, you know, you can just eat a really good sandwich that you picked up at Boulangerie Julien, located at 60 rue de la Paroisse in Versailles (the town) just off the market square and enjoy the unimpeded view.

Go somewhere

The visitor’s site for Versailles has an interactive map (I’m a sucker for these things) that’s pretty good.

If you have a bike, it’s an easy ride to Versailles from Paris. You can also take a bike on the RER (lock it to the center pole at the end of the car) during off-peak hours and on weekends. There are also bike tour companies that’ll lead you around the area.


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While you were away

fox_force_fiveWordPress stats told me that many of you were gone mid-month, presumably Easter-ing or Spring Break-ing or maybe going on Rumspringa. I was still (virtually) around and here’s the stuff I wrote that you might have missed.

Just for fun

A Parisian tourist in New York mistakes Richard Gere for a homeless man and gives him her leftover pizza. The thing I love about this (besides everything) is that a French woman was walking around New York with leftover pizza. What was she planning on doing with it? Most hotel rooms don’t have a way to reheat slices. Maybe they’re staying at an Airbnb place, causing all kinds of consternation for New York’s hotel companies.