Bonjour. It's good to be back!

Near Shakespeare and Company bookshop
Last month's sabbatical began in Paris... More in today's letter.

HulstonExclusive French made clothes now available to purchase on-line. Thomas Hulston Collections.

 


We will be back to the regular format of French Word-A-Day soon. Meantime, there's a letter waiting for you, just below, and a few ways to say 'hello.'

You know the word for "hi" in French. Here are some other oft-heard salutations. Have fun changing up your greetings next time you see a friend.

  • salut (hi!)
  • coucou (hey there!)

Bonjour!

When last we spoke I talked about a one month sabbatical. What I didn't tell you was how nervous I was about taking it. There was that risk of never coming back....

For decades (since young adulthood) I've lived with this belief that I am an all or nothing person. That, for example, if I dared keep this gig as a writer, I'd better keep on track--or veer off to The Land of Flake forever. (Flake--flakiness...).

But I have also secretly suspected that, deep down, I'm NOT an all or nothing person. That there is a resilient, flexible, can stop and start again soul at the helm of my personcraft, or being. Sometimes we just have to throw off our life jackets and test the waters. Thank you, dear reader, for waiting there on the raft for me! You promised to be there when I swam back. If you are reading now you can see my outstretched hand. I'm ready to get back on dry ground. Are you still ready?

One, two, three... heave

Before setting off for a new season of writing, I'd like to take a moment to thank those readers who joined me on the one week AmaWaterways Paris to Normandy cruise last month. What a warm-hearted and fascinating group you were.

Thank you Joan and Glenn, Jean-Marie and Mark, Chris and George, Celia and Martha, Julie and Brad, and last but not least, thank you Nan and Tom and Charles and Martha (these two showed up for a surprise visit when we docked outside of Paris!). Thanks also to readers Julie and John (who were on the cruise just before us, and who took the time to leave a message in my room. I was delighted to read it!). 

I would also like to thank my best friend Susan Boehnstedt (aka "Rouge-Bleu") of Critics Choice Vacations. Susan invited Jean-Marc and me to host the cruise, after highly suggesting our candidature to AMAWaterways! (Thank you Denise, at AMA, for making this possible!)

Going on this cruise was the best chance to see a beautiful part of France. And while it is hard to pinpoint a favorite endroit, or place--or a favorite thing about the cruise--I will share a comment by Jean-Marc, one that wonderfully captures the gift of cruising with AMAWaterways:

C'est bien reposant! How restful this is! (This, coming from an overworked winemaker and business man, is the best compliment one could give. So thanks to the hardworkers at AMAWaterways for keeping an impeccably run boat. We enjoyed our chance to travel with you!

I leave you now with a few pictures from our cruise along the river (more photos to come). I hope these images will inspire you to travel the waterways of France. For more information, contact Susan at Critics Choice Vacations: Susan@CriticsChoiceVacations.com  Phone: 480-831-9076


Comments
To respond to this letter, leave a comment here in the comments section (rather than by email). I love reading your notes!

Thanks for visiting our longtime sponsor:

Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet
. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone. Click here for photos.   

  Les andelys

There were so many breathtaking landscapes along the waterways. We stopped in Les Andelys for a view from above.

Joan of arc rouen
In Rouen we stood where crowds witnessed the demise of Joan of Arc (flames once went up where now you see the plaque on a bed of flowers.)

  little boy in Normandy
I didn't get a picture of the irises that grown on these traditional rooftops. But I did get a snapshot of this little Norman boy as our tour bus cruised past.

3-susan honfleur
Taken with Susan's camera (that's her, left, me, right). I think Linda took this photo. Linda is Susan's longtime friend from their days in Douglas, Arizona. It was a pleasure to meet Linda and spend pre-cruise time together in Paris. I especially enjoyed our lunch together in Île Saint-Louis where we chatted about Susan (were your ears burning, Rouge-Bleu?). The picture was taken in Honfleur, where we froze. Thankfully Celia (mentioned in the Thank you section, above) had this handmade bonnet on hand. 

Linda and susan in honfleur
Here's Linda with Susan, in Honfleur.

Omaha beach France

The most touching moment of the trip was our visit to Omaha beach. I leave you with this image (more to come). This is Janet, whom I met on the cruise. I found her all alone. Lowering her umbrella, she spoke to the lost heros. Her gesture puts words to the gratitude in all our hearts. To comment, click here.

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French christmas music
Everyone loves this holiday CD! Listen to A French Christmas and "Mon Beau Sapin", "Saint Nuit", "La Marche des Rois", "Petite Ville Bethléem", "Il est né Le Divin Enfant". Order CD here. 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline


Join Kristin & Jean-Marc on a Seine/Normandy River Cruise!

Join us in Paris for the next AMA river cruise!

Remember that river cruise that my best friend Susan (a.k.a. "Rouge-Bleu") and I went on last month? I have some very good news to share with you: Jean-Marc and I will be hosting the next one along the Seine—and we would be happy if could join us!

I'm going to let Susan tell you all about it here. Susan writes:

Since coming back from France a few weeks ago and experiencing AMA Waterways first hand, I have worked with AMA Waterways (my most favorite river cruise line) about the idea of becoming an onboard host on one of their sailings along with Domaine Rouge-Bleu & French Word-A-Day,  and this request was recently approved!

The best part for any of those joining us is that the guest hosts and those who will be doing the special lectures onboard are author of French-Word-A-Day, Kristin Espinasse (my best friend for 30+ years from high school) and her husband Jean Marc (famous wine maker and former owner of Domaine Rouge-Bleu, where he remains a partner).

The cruise departs and returns to Paris 8-15 NOV 2013 with a focus on Normandy and charming towns along the Seine. There is an optional 2 day land portion in Paris following the sailing. For complete details on the day/day itinerary, please click this link:https://www.amawaterways.com/paris-&-normandy-wine-themed-2013.

The reason I love AMA so much (over many of the other cruise lines) is because of all that is included with their river cruise:

  • 7 nights deluxe cruise accommodation in an outside stateroom - 82% of the staterooms with French balconies
  • Life enriching tours and excursions daily with personal headset included
  • Culinary Delights – Bites & Sights excursions
  • State-of-the-art Infotainment System in all staterooms featuring free high-speed Internet access, hit Hollywood movies, extensive music library & English language TV stations
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access on board
  • Terry bathrobes and white-on-white plush bedding in all staterooms
  • Gourmet dining with all meals included during your cruise
  • Free-flowing red & white wines from Europe's great wine regions, beer & soft drinks with every dinner on board
  • Bottled water in every stateroom replenished daily
  • Cocktail Reception, Welcome Dinner & Captain's Gala Dinner
  • Transfer from the ship to the hotel in Paris if opting for the land portion
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Paris, including daily buffet breakfast with land portion booked
  • Special highlights including lectures, theme dinners, cooking demonstration, onboard music performances and afternoon/evening piano music
  • Bicycles to explore on your own & guided bicycle tours
  • Services of professional Cruise Manager
  • All English language on board in a non-smoking environment (smoking permitted only on the Sun Deck)
  • All transfers are included if one opts to purchase the complete cruise, land & air package
  • All local taxes. Port fees and taxes are not included in the quote on the flyers.

 

Very few cabins left - please don't delay in reserving your place
There are a limited amount of cabins left on this sailing and the special promo of $500 off per cabin and $100 per person onboard ship credit runs only through Jan 31, 2013. Cabins must have deposit on them by 31JAN 2013 in order to qualify. In order to qualify for this promo, all sailings must be booked with Critics Choice Vacations.

Look over the flyer, below, and if you would like a quote on a cabin, I would be delighted to offer you one!

Click to view page 1 of the flyer or Click to view page 2 of this flyer

Warm regards,

Susan Boehnstedt, ACC, DS 
President,  Critics Choice Vacations

https://CriticsChoiceVacations.com/
mailto:Susan@CriticsChoiceVacations.com 

Phone/Fax: 480-831-9076 

 

Click to view page 1, the full version of the flyer:

Capture plein écran 15122012 181942

Capture plein écran 15122012 181704

Click to view page 2 (above), the full version of this flyer

 

Best Friends (c) Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline