Spring                     2014
VOL. 18                   NO. 2


  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

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              " Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships."
                                                                                                                       -  Charles Simic,  Serbian-American Poet


The Lighthouse: A fading tradition?

The Fresnel Lens - Photo Wikipedia
The Fresnel Lighthouse Lamp

Twisted Tongues
      ~  Challenging French phrases 

Ici et Là 

2014:  Thirteenth Paris Beaches
    Summer - Paris Plages
     by  Arthur Gillette

The Bookshelf
    Solitary Desire by Kim Defforge 

Operation Dragoon
   ~ The Forgotten Campaign 
   by Anita Rieu-Sicart

Napoleon's Joséphine 
   by  Arthur Gillette


THE LIGHTHOUSE:  A fading tradition?

Ten years ago, our feature article was about the myriad inventions by the French from hot air balloons and photography to the aqua lung and a computer memory chip in a plastic card.  After that article was published even more inventions by the French came to light.  But, did you know that a French physicist, Augustin-Jean Fresnel (1788-1827), invented the crystal lens for lighthouses, and another Frenchman, engineer Leon Bourdelles (1838-1899), put those turning lamps on a mercury flotation system that would move with the earth as well as eliminate friction?  The combined system was first used in 1893.

France has over 2000 miles of coastline on the Channel, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and lighthouses are an integral part of these rocky shores and must be visible for up to thirty miles out to sea.  Some lighthouses are popular tourist attractions, while others are unreachable and unmanned, except for the occasional visit by a maintenance technician.

I don't know about you, but I adore lighthouses.  Having grown up on Long Island, New York, they were a common sight as the Island is home to twenty-four lighthouses.  Vacations in New England and north brought us to more lighthouses - the Nobska lighthouse at Wood's Hole or the Nauset lighthouse, both on Cape Cod, and the Rose Island lighthouse at Jamestown, Rhode Island. And, one mustn't fail to mention the 28 essential beacons on Prince Edward Island in the Canadian Maritimes - standing watch on windswept knolls at the very edge of the sea.

Lighthouse Tajer on Croatian coast.  Photo credit A J de Graaf.My interest in lighthouses may be inbred, as my grandfather, when just a teenager, became a merchant seaman sailing from his home on the Adriatic.  I'm sure lighthouses played an important role in his life as he traveled the world by sea - those shining beacons warning sailors of reefs, shoals and a rocky coastline.  I can no longer ask him about them, but I'll wager that he liked, and most certainly appreciated, lighthouses as much, if not more, than I.  Perhaps as he set sail this is the lighthouse he last saw along the coast of his homeland - which brings us back to France, as it was made in France in 1876  - the only iron tower on the Adriatic Sea.  Workers on site had to bolt and weld it together before its beacon could be lit.

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Look inside. . .

     with a click 

>  to find out how to cool down  this summer on Paris Plages  


>  if your dream is to live in France then you'll enjoy reading Solitary Desire by Kim Defforge whose childhood dream finally did come true - it's on The Bookshelf.


>  to learn about Operation Dragoon - the forgotten campaign that liberated Provence.  Anita Rieu-Sicart tells us about that important historical day in French history.


>  for a glimpse into the life of Napoleon Bonaparte's Empress Joséphine on the 200th anniversary of her death.

Coming soon:

 L' Hermione - sailing to America 2015


                                                                                                                                                     by Arthur Gillette

Welcome to Twisted Tongues, a French word game everyone can play.  See if you can come up with the correct translation of the phrase in question.  You may be quite surprised by how it differs from what you first thought it meant.

Answer from our Winter issue:  Être un ours mal léché. Does it mean "to be a badly licked bear?"  No! Dating from the 18th century, the expression refers to a mother bear licking her offspring to 'educate' them, but today it means to be a 'rude and boisterous person'.

Phrase: "Tirer ses grègues" = "Pull up one's socks?" No.  See the translation in our next issue.

Look for the correct translation in our Summer newsletter.  Have fun!

Contact Arthur Gillette to take advantage of his amazing knowledge of Paris
by enjoying one or more of his Paris Through the Ages Strolls. 
Visit our Marketplace page for a complete list of strolls and information about Arthur.
Email: pouchkine38@gmail.com


View of Nice.  Photo by Kim Defforge.  All rights reserved.

Come share life on the French Riviera via "24/7 in France" - 
a blog featuring current events, news, amusing stories, 
articles about French cuisine, & savoir-faire!

The book, "Solitary Desire - One Woman's Journey to France,"  by Kim Defforge
is reviewed in this issue on page three.  An engaging & inspirational story 
full of love, sweat, and tears to show how dreams can come true!

Click on photo to visit her blog!

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