News for the week of April 8


Une soirée de conversation - part deux! Fluent or beginner - like to talk or just listen - everyone is welcome.  Come for conversation, wine and light hors d'oeuvre on Wednesday April 25 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.

Chez la Porte Rouge
1825 Weymouth Drive SE
Grand Rapids  49508

Please RSVP by Mon. April 23  to Linda FitzGerald at or 827-7214

Letter from Paris

One more night in the environs of Paris: Dan and I are stopping overnight near the Charles De Gaulle‎ airport on our way home from Crete. 

Once, years ago, I did the same, but my hotel was on the other side of the airport. Then, I was delighted to find myself near an old village, half-decayed, half alive, in which to walk and look at small, ancient houses of stone next to barns with collapsing roofs, old hay still in them, as well as spruce, newer houses with geraniums in the window, and around it fields being plowed. There was a restaurant there, too, that looked good. I believe I've finally recovered the name of the village: Le Mesnil-‎Amelot, and I hope to stay there next go-around to see how things are now.

This time, though,  we stayed very near the "Centre Ville"of Roissy-en-France, at the Marriott. I love finding a village or town within walking distance to explore ‎while staying near the airport. We crossed the street next to the hotel and entered a  park where trees were in pink bloom, a thrush was singing, and then came upon several streets with interesting houses and gardens, even a remaining ancient wall of the now-destroyed chateau Roissy's stable, to admire. We spied a few bistros, too, and wished we'd known of them before we dined at the hotel. Not that we were displeased with our dinner at the airport Marriott-it didn't offer the "Pigeon Rouennais" we marvelled over at the restaurant Gill in Rouen- but a delicately piquant boeuf tartare with crisp, hot pommes frites and lightly dressed salad was to be had. We felt very fortunate.

Now we're on the plane home. Nine cooped-up hours to experience. The excellent French bread didn't make it on to the flight.‎ Alors, we have home to look forward to.

~ Ellen VanderMey

How well do you know Paris? Today we look at the 15th arrondissement.

1. Like all of Paris’s arrondissements, the 15th consists of four quarters, which are: Necker, Grenelle, Javel and. . . 

A. Saint-Lambert.
B. Sainte-Marguerite.
C. Saint-Victor.

2. The sculptor Bourdelle has his museum on the rue Antoine-Bourdelle. He had people call him Antoine rather than his given name Émile. Why?

A. Out of admiration for Antoine Rodin, who he considered his teacher.
B. Because he hated the nickname Mimile.
C. Because his wife’s name was Cléopâtre.

3. At 91 rue Lecourbe a minuscule Russian church is hidden at the rear of a backyard. What natural wonder is found inside this place of worship?

A. A tree trunk, planted in the ground, that shoots through the roof of the church.
B. A trodden-earth floor, to “elevate the soul while keeping the feet on the ground.”
C. Interior walls covered in ivy.


4. What contemporary artist is the creator of l’Oiseau lunaire, a 2m—high bronze sculpture placed in the center of the square Blomet?

A. Paul Landowski
B. Joan Miró
C. François Pompan.

5. Where does the name of the Bir-Hakeim metro station come from?

A. From an Arabic form of address.
B. From the headgear worn by French colonial troops.
C. From an oasis in the middle of the Libyan desert.

Answers can be found at the end of the newsletter.

Travel in France: Montpellier

Answers: 1. A, Saint-Lambert quarter; 2. because of his wife’s name Cleopatra; he was the assistant of Auguste (not Antoine) Rodin; 3. A, two trees are in the church, one is thriving, the other is a trunk; 4. Joan Miró; 5. C, named in memory of a battle fought at this oasis in the Libyan desert in 1942.