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My last photo in Austin on the way to the airport on a foggy morning.

I am back in Paris after almost four months of visiting the States and I have to say it feels like home. It’s so great to be in my own place with all of my things, my bed, my kitchen. When I planned to go to the States I was thinking of actually finding a place to buy over there, a home to stay in when we visited. In fact, I wanted to be there 1/3 of every year. Then I got there. We looked around Austin for something suitable and I came to the conclusion that we couldn’t afford a third place. We might have swung the monthly mortgage but the taxes were unbelievably high. We looked at condos but there is the home owners fee, not to mentions that most were for lease, not for sale. Plus, I don’t like leaving a place empty for most of the year. And we weren’t sure we even wanted to live in Austin even though we have good memories from when we did. In fact, we aren’t sure about living in the States at all. The groceries there are really high, a shock after France where I can get a good bottle of wine for four Euros, not $12. The time spent sitting in heavy traffic at unending red lights really got to me and you have to drive everywhere as there isn’t a good public transportation system. Austin is almost as bad as los Angeles when it comes to traffic but it doesn’t have the wide freeways to handle it. There are still narrow winding roads in central Austin. We had a medical issue which I may write about at some point and I will never travel without travel insurance again. The cost of medical treatment and medicines was just shocking and I don’t know how people without a lot of money can do it. There are things I don’t like in the States now-the guns, the crime, the religious right putting themselves into politics, the politics itself, just the ways of thinking that I encountered there. I know we had some terrorist shootings here in Paris and they probably aren’t over but you can just as easily get shot in America at a movie or on the highway as everyone seems to have a gun. So I’ve decided to be happy where I am and try to enjoy each day and, as long as we can, visit friends and relatives hopefully twice a year, until we are forced to do different. Life can always surprise you so I will be open to change.

Monet’s Home

I love Monet’s home there in Giverny. It’s not huge or sophisticated, but warm and inviting.

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The house as seen from the garden.

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This room was new to me from my last visit. The walls were covered with replicas of his paintings and I believe he painted in here.

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Here was the window giving great light for painting.

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A photo of Monet himself.

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A view from upstairs overlooking the garden.

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The fireplace in the dining room. Lots of blue and yellow in the house and many Japanese prints and etchings.

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The kitchen.

Victor Hugo

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In the beautiful Place des Vosges found in the Marais…

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you will find the Victor Hugo Museum which is where the famous French author once actually lived.

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He’s probably one of France’s most famous authors and wrote Hunchback of Notre Dame which became so popular that it shamed the government into renovated the badly damaged Notre Dame.

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This room in full out oriental style was brought back from his home in Guernsey where he lived in exile for almost twenty years being against Napoleon III. Guernsey was, and still is, an English island right off the coast of France. He also designed a lot of the furniture and even made some of it.

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A corner of a sort of desk which Hugo designed with signed letters from him and three other authors. Very unusual. He had it made to raise money for a school and ended up buying it himself.

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A famous painting of him. When he died his coffin was set up under the Arc de Triomphe and two million people were in the funeral procession. He was, and is, probably the most famous French author ever to live, especially in France.

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His bedroom done in opulent red. The ceilings in the apartment were wall papered as well and the bedroom had a tapestry on the ceiling.

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He had quite an incredible view from his apartment of the park in the center of Place des Vosges. In the spring and summer you don’t get as good a view because the trees block it. When he lived here, there were only flower beds.