Spring                      2016
VOL. 20                   NO.  2


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  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

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                     " . . . There are flowers everywhere for those who want to see them.."       - Henri Matisse   1869-1954                                                                                                      


Changing the Map of France

Arthur Gillette . . . adieu cher ami

Paris' Public Fountains
Part III in the series
    by Arthur Gillette

Twisted Tongues
      ~  Challenging French phrases

Ici et Là

Music Now -
    Lagrasse Piano Festival En Blanc et Noir

by Robert Turnbull with Anita Rieu-Sicart

La Normandie Réunie
Bidding Adieu to 'La Haute' Normandie
by Rob Silverstone

Featuring the Limousin - Part 1 of 2
       ~  Mainland France's least populous Region, but
           not to be ignored!

Ville Fleuri sign, Montrol-Sénard  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.
Village Fleuri sign at Montrol-Sénard, Haute-Vienne, Limousin

Novel Ideas ~
Enthralling Mysteries set in France

Changing the map of France . . .

2016 New Regional boundaries.January 1st of this year was the date that the regional map of France was officially  altered ~ a move by the Assemblée Nationale reducing the number of regions from 22 to 13.  There were months of debate, objections, and a lot of redrawing of the lines on the map of France, all for the purpose of simplifying bureaucracy and to save money.  Each administrative region is divided into départements as before, which, for the time being, will not change.  However, as time passes, there may be départemental officials who want to join a neighboring region.  Only time will tell if that ever comes to pass..

The changes to the map will in no way alter historical or cultural areas of France, each preserving their own traditions, cuisine, architecture and character.  But, it remains to be seen if this territorial decentralization will, as the French state hopes, deliver functions more efficiently.  The regions have to abide by laws of the French state, but they continue to have discretionary control over spending, infrastructure, transit, education and tourism among other things.

This map shows the changes, blending together 16 to create 7 new regions, and 6, including Corsica, shown in gray that were left as they were.  The white dotted lines show the former borders, the red dots represent the new or retained regional capitals, with the pink dots representing the former capital cities.  There are several mayors of the former capital cities who are not at all pleased with these changes.

Newly assigned regional capitals are Rouen (Normandy), Strasbourg (Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine), Bordeaux (Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes, Limousin), Lyon (Auvergne, Rhône-Alpes), Dijon (Burgundy, Franche-Comté), Toulouse (Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées), Lille (Picardie, Nord-Pas-de-Calais), Rennes (Brittany), Marseille (Provence-Alpes, Côte d'Azur), Nantes (Pays-de-la-Loire), Orléans (Centre, Val de Loire), Paris (Île-de-France) and Ajaccio (Corsica).  None of these changes should have any impact on tourism.

Be sure to read Rob Silverstone's contribution in this issue with regard to his views as his little corner of France, Normandy, sheds the designations of Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie to become one region. 

Arthur Gillette ~ adieu cher ami

It is with profound sadness that we mourn the passing on May 26th of Arthur Gillette, 78, our dear personal friend and colleague.   Arthur left the U.S. for France in 1958 to complete his university studies at the Sorbonne after getting his degree in French literature and language at Harvard.  He later earned his Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  Arthur was a conscientious objector volunteer with the Coordination Committee International Voluntary Services (CCVIS) under the auspices of UNESCO and lived through the historic student demonstrations of 1968 in France.  That same year his comprehensive history about youth voluntary service entitled One Million Volunteers - The Story of Volunteer Youth Service, was published by Penguin Books.  His choice to live in France resulted in a successful 30-year career with UNESCO in Paris as Director of its Youth & Sports Division, and he also served as the editor of the scientific and cultural magazine at UNESCO.

Arthur worked tirelessly for the poor everywhere and to provide education and other opportunities to children in developing countries.  To quote him, "I strove to continuously favor deeds more than words, i.e., innovative practical results more than time-worn declarations of good intentions."  Arthur was always learning and was not only fluent in English, French and Spanish, but fairly fluent in Russian and Italian with basic skills in German and Portuguese.  His most recent linguistic goal was to learn Chinese.  Arthur always had a strong attraction to the sea having sailed the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic in a small sailboat.  He was very interested in history and politics, had a passion for classical music and, as you all know, he loved Paris.

His contributions to FRANCE On Your Own in the past 15 years have been immeasurable.  There are no words to express our deep appreciation and thanks for what he has done for our newsletter and for the wonderful friend and reliable expert on all things French that he has been to us.  Our heartfelt condolences to Madeleine, his children and grandchildren and all who loved him.  We will publish the last few articles Arthur provided in upcoming newsletters ~ we hope it is what he would have wanted.

LOOK INSIDE     . .  with a click  

>  for an interesting glimpse into the Lagrasse Piano Festival ~ EN BLANC & NOIR ~ the creation of Robert Turnbull.  He tells us how it all began and what can be expected this year.  Don't miss it!


>  to read more about Rob Silverstone's experiences in his much-loved Haute Normandie ~ now blended into Basse Normandie to form a new administrative region.  He clings to the charm and wonders that this part of Normandy offers (and offered) him over the years in La Normandie Réunie.

>  for our Feature on the Limousin, the most sparsely populated region of France offering tourists a rich history, beautiful landscapes, unique villages and the possibility of total absorption into French country life.

>  and, although we don't review novels about France, we would like to suggest some that you might find enjoyable on that next flight to France or to take along on a summer vacation.  Visit Novel Ideas to learn more.

  Coming in our Summer issue. . .

Featuring the Limousin Part 2 of 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                              by Arthur Gillette

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

Answer from our Winter issue:  "Avoir du blé" Does it mean "have some wheat?" Literally, yes.  But, in slang blé is money - it means to have some "dough".

Phrase:    "Un baveux" -   Is that describing someone who drools?  You could assume that, but what is the slang interpretation?

Look for the correct translation in our Summer 2016 newsletter.  Have fun!

 Arthur Gillette was well known for his amazing knowledge of Paris
  ~ many have enjoyed one or more of his Paris Through the Ages Strolls. 

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