My apologies for the longish gap in posting. It seemed to just slip away from me lately.
The period between the last posting and our departure for Pomport, on August 26, had the usual mix of social and cultural activities.
On the cultural side, we made our final effort to visit museums with stops at Musee d’eroticism, Musee du vin, Maison Balzac, and Musee du fumeur. We also attended two more concerts at Parc floral.
Musee d’eroticism is a collection of art, history, videos, and artifacts filling seven floors all devoted to the erotic art collections of antique dealer Alain Plumey and French teacher Jo Khalifa. Founded in 1997 it has items of interest for everyone.
Musee du vin has a really interesting audioguide and an extensive collection of items associated with creation of wine all displayed in the 15th century vaulted cellars. We made the tour twice, once with the audio and then a return to look more carefully at the items on display. Tom had a sample at the end of the visit. Seminars and wine tastings can be reserved here and there is a small restaurant, quite pricey, but we watched what was being served and it looked and smelled delicious.
Maison Balzac, a short walk away from the Musee du vin, had a fantastic audioguide. This was a visit well worth making. I will be lazy here and copy from the website….
“Tucked into the hills of Passy, the Balzac's House is the last of the novelist’s Parisian residences to remain standing today. It's in this house that from 1840 to 1847, Balzac worked on The Human Comedy and wrote some of his masterpieces. The museum displays Balzac’s personal mementos, pictures, engravings and objects related to his loved ones and contemporaries, as well as a large number of original publications, manuscripts and illustrations. In 2012, Balzac's House was renovated in order to meet current standards and now has a more modern appearance.”
Musee du fumeur just happened to be located on our way somewhere and had a very small entry price. It is a tiny three room exhibition which you access by going behind the sales counter of the smoking shop which houses it. The shopkeeper spoke English and was very engaging. The museum contains a collection of smoking objects including European pipes, 17th century clay pipes, Native American ceremonial pipes, hookahs, Chinese opium pipes, Egyptian sheeshas, and snuffboxes, as well as cigars, tobacco samples, hemp-fiber clothing, and etchings, portraits, photographs, videos, and scientific drawings of tobacco plants. They have every inch utilized, including the walls of the toilette! Our favorite part was the mural decorating the lounge area. For 2€ entry, this was a really fun stop.
Our final two Parc floral concerts continued the tradition of excellence. On Saturday we were thrilled with the performance of Vassilis Varvaresos on piano. Sunday, Claire joined us for a wonderful performance by Quatuor Michalakakos. We will really miss these free, wonderful concerts!
We had our rendezvous at the prefecture for the annual renewal of our visas. This was a big deal involving an effort to anticipate every possible request that might be made for underlying documentation. We spent 60€ at the copy store, had extra certified copies of our marriage and birth certificate translations in French. I totally stressed over this process.
We arrived at our designated time and the fun began. We were called to the initial intake counter together and did a good job of having originals and copies of everything requested for each of us, whether it had been on the list of required documents, or not. Yes, I had over anticipated the financial documentation needed, but I am certain that if I had not brought it, they would have required it.
Twice in the intake we were asked for items not on the list and the woman was visibly surprised (okay, visibly disappointed) that I was able to provide each item.
We returned to our seats and waited to be called for the review.
Our reviews were individually conducted, but there was enough English for questions to be understood. Try as they might, they could not find anything missing and much to our delight, and relief the printing and stamping of our paperwork began. We still must return for actual titre de sejour cards at a date in the future, but no matter what happens with the cards we are legal in the EU until we head back to the USA.
There was so much extra paper left over we bought a small shredder the next day.
Handyman Tom had lots of fun fixing the items on Hedwig’s home repair list while she was out of town.
We had a lovely picnic with Patricia and Mhairi at the Paris plage on the Seine before our rendezvous at the prefecture. It was a huge help calming my nerves!
We returned to the grand train with Annie for dinner preceded by apero at her flat; met up with Claire a few times for dinner in the neighborhood; met Duncan for lunch and the passing of the keys for Hedwig’s flat; and enjoyed a well fed afternoon lunch at Mona’s house, joined by some of her English speaking fellow artists.
We are so fortunate to have such delightful companions with whom to share good food and good hours on our adventure. Bisous to all of you!
So, next I must work on writing about the glorious weeks we spent gardening in pomport.
Thanks for your patience, sorry about the lack of photography. Bisous from us both.