I went to lunch with a friend in the Left Bank and took a few photos as we wandered around.

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This was in an art gallery on Rue Jacob. I don’t know if the little boy is taking a star down from the sky or putting one up but I liked it.

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An arched entrance into a courtyard. Always magic.

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Art for sale on the sidewalk.

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Another courtyard.

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I took this photo from across the street. I really liked the frame.

A few photos taken in the last couple of days in Paris:

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Lovely theater by the Palais Royal.

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Over the top architecture in the 9th. Used to be a house of ill repute if you know what I mean.

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Went to dinner and had some very good “bio” wine which is wine where no insecticides were used on the vines.

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My wine glass with a candle beneath it.

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Delicious gazpacho.

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Saw this on the way to the metro stop, the Rex movie theater at 1 Boulevard Poissonnière. Very dramatic at night. It’s in the 9th which we noticed was full of young people, many new places to eat and lots of activity.

Here are some photos of our last days at our beach place before heading back to Paris. Usually we stay until October but this year we are heading to the States. I always miss our apartment when we leave, especially the light and the view of the ocean.

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A bride and groom on the path which leads to a fishing house. I was wondering why the photographer had them show their feet. I see photographers and couples all of the time around the beach. The other day there was a very pregnant bride and she was wearing a bikini of sorts. Some of the photos had her in a veil, others just the bikini. It was a chilly day and I bet her teeth were chattering. I wanted to get down to the beach for a photo but didn’t make it in time.

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The lovely Cafe de la Paix in la Rochelle. So cool and restful, a feeling of times gone by.

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A door knocker on what appeared to be an empty apartment. You can see that the mail slot is stuffed with advertisements. There was grafitti on the door too.

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I spotted these mushrooms for sale at a market. Always a sign that Autumn is around the corner.

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Another door knocker, more unusual than most.

I’m so glad we live near beautiful la Rochelle. It’s always a pleasure to go there for any reason and walk the narrow streets, marvel at the architecture, or gaze at the unique harbor, the entrance having a tower on either side. Sometimes we go by car which is a 20 minute drive, sometimes the little local train taking 10 minutes or there is a bus which makes many stops and winds around here and there before finally arriving in the heart of la Rochelle. The last time I took the bus I was seated with a few other people just enjoying the view when two classes of children boarded. There were probably 40 of them. They sat in the available seats and some sat on the floor on the side in the standing area. They were so noisy and full of energy and happiness at their excursion and fun to watch but, oh how nice when they got off. After a day in la Rochelle I boarded the bus again to go home and would you believe that the very same group of kids got on the bus again? What are the chances?

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Buildings like this are on just about every corner.

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Here’s the entrance to the lovely harbor.

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I went into a church to find the sun shining through the stained glass window. Now that summer is just about gone, the sun has come out after days of clouds and the temperatures are rising. This often happens in France in September.

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There was a little niche in the church with a small statue of Saint Rita and it was surrounded by little folded pieces of paper with prayers written on them. I’ve seen books laid out before for prayers and requests to Saints or Mary, but never this. I thought it was sweet.

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There’s a really great market in la Rochelle too. This building is part of the covered section. There were all sorts of little cafés and bars in the area too. I think I’ll go there for a change next time we need to shop.

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I met up with family for lunch and liked the umbrellas reflected in my friend’s sunglasses.

There is a city not far from us called Saintes. It doesn’t have anything to do with actual saints but is from a Roman name, Xaintes. Yes, another section of France where the Romans did their thing. On my way back from Cognac, I decided to make a little detour.

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As you would expect, the Romans had an arch. This one was actually moved to the other side of the river that divides Saintes. There were ancient ruins and stones everywhere and even a small arena.

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I went into a church while there and was surprised by this rather modern rendition of Mary looking rather stylish.

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The old section of Saintes was full of fabulous architecture and there was a huge pedestrian area. It was really nice to stroll around without worrying about traffic.

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A lovely lamp post in a garden there.

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In a courtyard I saw a sign saying “small garden” where tables were set up for tea. It was very pretty and I walked in to take a few photos and this silly man said, “Take my photo!” so I did. His name was Xavier. I didn’t stick around to join him for a drink. I thought maybe he had had a bit much to drink but I noticed tea cups on the table so maybe he was just being funny.

After my exploration of Cognac I was headed in the direction of home when I saw signs for a Pineau des Charentes makers. The whole area is full of independent makers of Pineau, just as you can find independent wineries in wine country. I was going around a round about when I saw a sign for such a place and took off in the direction of the sign. Sometimes I would think about turning around but then I would see another one of their signs and kept going, first through vineyard after vineyard, the source of cognac and pineau. Pineau, in case you missed it, is a rather sweet aperitif of wine mixed with cognac which is really nice before a meal. Then I entered a really beautiful forest, all the while going up and down gentle hills and around curves. I finally reached my destination.

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The sign on their entrance. I walked through the gate and got scared to death when a German Shepherd starting wildly barking. Thank goodness it was behind a fence. The dog served as a kind of door bell as a lady came out of the house. here is a link to their website: Grateaud

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This house to be exact. A lady came out. I think I may have interrupted her lunch as it was 1:30 but she was polite enough. She told me that her husband and his family had been in this business for six generations.

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I tasted a couple of types of pineau and ended up buying two, one made with white wine, the other with rose. I bought two glasses too with the name of the company on them.

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I also tried the cognac with Napoleon’s name on it-I guess he was a fan-but it is just too strong for me.

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I like this poster advertising Pineau as an aperitif.

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Next to the property was a field of sunflowers, most of them brown and dead. I don’t know if they just die early around here or if there was a virus or if it wasn’t hot enough or too much rain, but every field I passed was brown.

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Big heavy sunflower head.

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