juin 27, 2004


Marthur got into some serious fight: you can see his nascent scar. Despite everything, he remains a relaxed and friendly fellow.



K-cat, on the other hand, is not a happy camper with Marthur getting all the attention because of his war wounds...


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juin 25, 2004


Every once in a while I feel nostalgic for the old country, especially the landscape.




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juin 23, 2004

Last Picture

Babette took this last picture of Paris during our walk looking for out of print books along the Quais.


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Early Birthday Gift

Carl and Wanda sent me one of the best (early) birthday gifts ever: the new Sony SRS-T57 Folding Travel Speakers. They are indeed slim and light and the sound quality is outstanding. Thank You! I am in Nerd Heaven already.




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juin 20, 2004

Cool Afternoon

Babette enjoying a rare cool afternoon in Charm City.


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juin 17, 2004

Lingerie In An Abbey

During his Parisian trip, our friend Bill was thrilled with a lingerie ad campaign. We found a picture of it at FontFroide!!!


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Our trip to Cathar Country in the South of France

Most of these pictures were taken by Miladus, as I was filming with my new digicam, Milad's Valentine's gift to me. A few embarrassingly amateurish videos will soon follow, too…
First stop, Foix, the birthplace of Bayle
and the site of Gaston Phoebus' castle

Gaston Phoebus' castle looms over the town of Foix from up on its granite hill.

Poor Dou: I left my purse in the car, and he went all the way back down the hill and got it for me.

Just inside the castle gate, a feral kitten waited for handouts.

Inside: looking up at one of the square towers.

Another staircase! I climbed every one I could find until Miladus put a stop to it.

But I got to the top! The Anderson gene in action!

Looking out over the crenellated walls, the town of Foix's red tile roofs with the Pyrénées in the distance.

After Foix, we went to the Col des Marrous, a mountain pass above the town where a little inn, l'Auberge des Myrtilles, has this view.

We loved the inn, tiny but spotless and with delightfully original rooms. This is our "front door", with flowers and herbs outside the door. Unlike most "Logis de France," the food was prepared by the owner and she can cook!

The room was panelled, floored and ceilinged in pine, tiny but intelligently organized. Milad found the most important thing: his zapper.
We drove the "Route Verte" through the mountains (climbing to the top of the Sommet de Portel) then arrived mid-afternoon at Montségur, the site of the last and tragic siege (1242-44) of the Cathars of the Albigensian Crusades. We climbed the very steep hill to the ruins of this famous Cathar stronghold. It took us over an hour and it was hot all the way.

The ruin from down below. It looks close. It's not. The five-sided enceinte is on the right and the chapel on the left.

The wall of the enceinte with the entrance door midway down. The walls reminded me of Peruvian Incan ruins we saw in 1986: beautifully cut and placed grey granite stones.

Going around the outside of the enceinte one finds a steep metal staircase that leads into the chapel perched on the peak of Montségur's pog. Here I am contemplating the ruins.

The view down back over the valley 'way below the pog. It's a sheer drop from here.

Back inside the enceinte looking at the wall of the chapel: the castle is built into and on the rock.

Little inhabitant: a salamander.

Miladus just outside the main door ready to go back down.

We stayed in the town of Montségur (well below the castle), and this is its typically ariégeois belltower: pierced and with three bells.
The next morning we drove through the rest of the dramatic hills and passes, down to the floor of the plain and over to the next and even more hair-raising set of hairpin turns up to the ruins of another of the "five sons of Carcassonne": the castle of Peyrepertuse. Less important historically than Montségur as it fell to the Catholics much earlier, it is nonetheless much better restored, partly because Saint Louis rebuilt a lot of it for his own use. It was astoundingly beautiful and the site was even more vertiginous than Montségur's.

From below (again, a long, hot and hard climb up to the ruins—no handicapped access here!).

View to the east from the lower edge of the ruins.

Taking a break from videoing everything in sight.

This is one of my favorite pictures: Miladus shot the northern end of Peyrepertuse showing the top of the extremely steep and slippery staircase one has to climb to get into it, with the valley far, far below beyond it.

A doorway into the donjon…Miladus really liked the donjon.

The bottom of the extremely steep staircase. Miladus wanted to show how the steps are cut out of the rock and have become so slippery from the millions of feet that have trodden them that you have to cling to the rope railing on the left.

Looking back onto the lower ruins from the base of the staircase.

Miladus at the very top of the upper castle. It was cool and windy on top, and so peaceful. We saw why the Cathars always chose to situate their castles on the very top of the steepest peaks.

The formal entrance doorway into the lower castle.

I particularly liked this curved wall of an inner tower.

Everywhere at Peyrepertuse there were alpine flowers growing out of the rocks; everything was in bloom, and the air was filled with the smell of gorse and honeysuckle.

Looking over the gorse from the top of Peyrepertuse to another of the five sons of Carcassonne: the castle of Quéribus, on the steepest pog of all.
After our "reward" night in a delightful inn with a two-star restaurant in Fontjoncouse (reward to ourselves for climbing all those pogs), we made our last stop before taking the train back from Narbonne: the restored Cistercian abbey of Fontfroide, one of the most beautiful domains in the whole area (and from where the Albigensian Crusades were effectively launched).

Fontfroide is justly famous for its gardens, both within and without. Here, just before the entrance, is the garden of simples, which we with our own tiny herb garden were especially interested in. Miladus also loved the opposition of the lowly herbs with the tall cypresses.

The restoration of the abbey was done before very much was known about the Cistercians, so some of it is anachronistic, vide this ornate chandelier just inside the entrance. But it's pretty.

Fontfroide has three courtyards: this, the "desert", has a lawn of blooming lavender.

This, the inner courtyard where only the monks could go, is the cloister, one of the more beautiful ones in France.

From under the cloister arches and through the bull's eye window, a view of the church tower.

We had to duck around actors in period costume and engineers carrying large unwieldy apparatus, as a movie was being shot while we were there (to be released Fall 2005). One positive side effect: the movie crew added decorative elements like this olive jar to make Fontfroide look more lived-in.

Milad caught me inside the doorway of the medieval church musing on the anachronism of the colored stained glass windows.

This is what I wanted Milad to see most of all: the third courtyard of Fontfroide is its walled rose garden. The walls make a microclimate that keep the roses in bloom most of the year. When I first saw Fontfroide with my now-deceased friend Jacqueline Roustang, the roses were in full bloom in December!

Outside, above and surrounding the abbey is a beautiful garrigue garden, with cypresses, many herbs and local flowers, and lovely trees of all sorts. Here, a view from close in on the abbey's tiled roofs.

Here, through a cedar and across the gorse, a view from farther away and up the hill, showing how the abbey is nestled down in its valley. It couldn't be more different, both ideologically, architecturally and geographically, from the Cathar castles.
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juin 05, 2004

Hôtel Bourbon Condé Garden

Well, our digital camera appears to have decided to die. So today, after a beautiful afternoon spent at the L'Hôtel de Bourbon Condé garden (I took over a 100 pictures ), we came home only to discover that the camera is not behaving. Below are some of the few salvaged files.
The weather was perfect and the visit is part of Jardins, jardin: Le rendez-voius jardin au cœur de Paris...



A couple of water fountains that survived the digital fiasco...



My next chair. I always wanted it but had never seen one up close before.

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Paris Hanging Gardens

Some pictures of Paris gardens and our quartier taken from the Eiffel Tower.


One of Babette's favorite hanging Parisian gardens.


And some more rooftop gardens.


Our apartment is on the right hand side of the picture and on the left is the new Museum under construction.


A closeup view that shows some of the inner courtyards with their gardens.

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juin 02, 2004


I am not sure what the event was but we fell upon members of the Falun Gong who were performing on the terrace of the Palais de Chaillot.





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