Posts Tagged With: gravestones

A Paris Return

koala, pink bear, teddy bear, Amiens, FranceThe day for another departure.  This time it is Tutu that is having a bit of an I-don’t-want-to-leave! fit.  Now that he has found a companion, he is not looking forward to the new destination.  But, alas, he has no choice, and in he goes into my suitcase after bidding farewell to his new pink friend. I head to the kitchen.  Look out the window, Amiens, France wash a few dishes and I am ready. We go to the Amiens Station one more time.  At Gare du Nord, still a bit frazzled when I finally find a ticket booth (see my post about that day here) I find myself tired of speaking or attempting to speak French so I ask in English for 2 round-trip tickets to Amiens.  The woman asks me in English if I can make the one leaving in 5 minutes, I say no, next one is in 30 minutes, I say great, she asks how many and I repeat 2 round-trips to Amiens. She gives them to me.  So when we go to the Amiens station we go straight to the train that takes us back to Paris.  On the train the ticket-taker comes, we hand him the tickets and oops, not a return ticket after all.  Oh sorry, so here is our fare.  Not enough? What? We each get charged 25 Euros fine for not having a ticket. Lesson learned to check and recheck tickets… maybe.

Today, instead of using airbnb, we have decided to check into a hotel, Super Hotel, (Super for super tiny rooms perhaps?) next to Pére Lachaise where we will be filming tomorrow. We are staying only one night. The place is miniscule.  Paris, France, hotel, 20th arrondisement Tutu goes into a corner still complaining about being alone. koala, Paris, France But the neighborhood is lively and I like it.  The alisateur (I think in French it has a nicer ring to it than “director”) scouts the neighborhood he is already quite familiar with.  I chill.  We reunite and go to dinner. I just love these very Parisian bistros.  And the bonus was that the food was quite good. P1180747  P1180746  P1180749  The morning of filming starts off in a very laid back way. We have coffee P1180754 at our local café since we can’t make it in the room. Of course, accompanied by the proverbial croissant which is flaky airy and delicious pretty much everywhere.   So much so that all I could photograph was this empty plate. P1180882   Paris, France, 20th arrondissement Today I have no responsibilities but to tag along so while they prepare to film, I laugh at Parisian parking skills.  Seems that they feel that they can park anywhere!  Parking in Paris, France, illegally parked, ticket But on close inspection, he has a ticket or a warning that he will have to contend with!  Parking in Paris, France, illegally parked, ticket  The filming begins. filiming, 20th arrondissement, street scene  My attention goes to windows with flowers.P1180773_2 P1180774_2 And as we walk to the next location, of balconies loaded with figurines I’m partial to: elephants. P1180776   We enter our next location.  P1180789  Gratefully, it does not rain though it does threaten to at times.  P1180797 I walk around.  So sad to see some mausoleums bordering on being neglected. Pére Lachaise, 20th arrondissement, Paris, France, graveyard vP1180843 I continue to roam and come to a moving tribute  P1180799_2 to those who perished P1180800 in concentration camps.

Filming goes on.  P1180837  I am again saddened by a mausoleum of what seems to be a young boy. P1180784_2  P1180834 Looking up, something that seems so out of place.   P1180845 The statues and their poses capture me.  P1180842_2

Before I realize it, it’s a day’s wrap. P1180847 We leave. P1180880  P1180883

It’s been good.  We open our laptops, play a bit on them, and then go off to eat in a neighborhood Indian restaurant which was surprisingly terrific.  Back to the hotel and tomorrow we shall move on to our next location. Where to next…?

Categories: 20th arrondissement, France, Paris, Pere Lachaise | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“N’oublions jamais l’Australie”

We are on the road again…  We are off to Villers-Bretonneux a little town that experienced the first world’s battle (in World War I) between two tank forces (the British and the Germans).  The Germans took the town but the Australian Imperial Force recaptured it a few days later.  1,200 Australians died in the process.  A few miles from the town is an Australian Memorial and a cemetery where 770 are buried.  That is where we are headed.

Initially we were to take a bus to the Amiens train station but it is such a beautiful day that we end up walking.  In front of the Amiens station I spotted the cutest of buses.  I still get a kick out of how little cars are – even traditionally big ones as the Range Rover and Mercedes – in Europe.  Seems that they miniaturize buses too!miniature bus, Amiens, Fance

At the station train station, Amiens, France we buy our aller-rétour (round trip) ticket to Villers-Bretonneux.  We are lucky that the train departs about 15 minutes from when we arrive.  train workers, train, Amiens, France In one hour we will be there. The train is pretty comfortable SNCF, train interior, Amiens, Franceand I settle in with my espresso.  train, SNCF, Amiens, France  To my side, a reminder that I am in France: a baguette a main part of a traveler’s luggage.  Luggage, train, baguette, Amiens, France

We arrive.  station, sign, Villers Bretonneux, France  train, Villers Bretonneaux, France  Villers Bretonneux, France, train station, gare

We are two of only few that exit here.  No signs guiding us to the memorial so we decide to follow the only person that is on foot. Villers Bretonneux, France  Should we take the path unknown?  dirt road, Villers Bretonneux, France, Australian Memorial  The Franco-Australian Museum  comes up (the first thing that attracts me is the tiles on the floor)  Australian Museum, Villers Bretonneux, Franceso we go in Australian Museum, Villers Bretonneux, France   Australian Museum, Villers Bretonneux, France  Australian Museum, Villers Bretonneux, Francefor info on how to get to the Memorial.

They tell us that the Memorial is a couple of miles out of town and that it’s walkable.  So we continue. I am loving the stone houses. Villers Bretonneux, France. stone house,  Everything in this town has something Australian on it. Villers Bretonneux, France. kangaroo

We are leaving the boundaries of town. See the sign with a diagonal red line on it?  sign, leaving town, Villers Bretonneux

I promise not to go more than 50 km per hour (31 mph) in the construction zone.  In fact I don’t think I can walk that fast. Villers Bretonneux, France, road, road signs, km per hour   Though I may have to because that memorial looks quite far…Villers Bretonneux, France, countryside

The walk is long, the day is hot so I extend my right thumb in good hitch hiking mode and… nothing happens. So we continue on.  It doesn’t seem to be getting any closer yet suddenly we are there. Australian Memorial, Villers Bretonneux, France No one around.  We are alone. I fall silent.  Villers Bretonneux, France  Villers Bretonneux, France

Words of the mayor in 1919: “Soldiers of Australia, whose brothers lie here in French soil, be assured that your memory will always be kept alive, and that the burial places of your dead will always be respected and cared for…”

Villers Bretonneux, France Villers Bretonneux, France Many tombstones engraved with the one date they all died.  All so very young. Fighting someone else’s war. But the people of Villers Bretonneux are grateful, for, according to Wikipedia, on top of every blackboard in the school there is an inscription “N’oublions jamais l’Australie” (Let us never forget Australia.)

P1180639  P1180653  P1180649

There are stairs to go to the top of the memorial and I decide to go up disregarding my fear of heights. Villers Bretonneux, France, memorial  Going up. P1180656 The door to the outside.  P1180660  A few more steps and I’m outside.  The wind assaults me. I am quite high but vertigo does not take over and I am able to enjoy the view. P1180663 P1180665 P1180666  The markers have some names with significance to me. Amiens, London, Berlin, Paris and Villers Bretonneux.

 P1180675 P1180674 P1180673  We are not alone any more and as I climb down Dean remains upstairs and chatting with a fellow Aussie that thankfully gives us a ride back to Amiens where they are also staying.

We walk through town  children playing, fountain, water,  to meet with Lydie for us to have a mini table read.  The pastry shops are going to be the death of me.  This one has the dessert that I so loved: Paris-Brest (I know there is a joke here but please refrain.)P1180697 P1180696 Casa Crepes which kind of joins my culture with theirs, don’t you think? P1180700  But not all is food.  I’m taking my door photos too.  P1180710 P1180708  And windows.  P1180714  And buildings. P1180712 P1180711 Okay, back to the table read. Amiens, France, outdoor café  These are the remains of sorbets that our réalisateur (director) has devoured while we work. P1180717  Think I’m back to the food subject.  We leave.

I am now starving.  I get cranky when I am hungry.  I can’t concentrate when I’m hungry.  I need to eat now!  And when I’m this hungry even a McDonald’s will do.  And this one holds some surprises.  It is manned by smiley, cute people and it’s more in the vein of an upscale café than a McDonald’s, with comfy chairs and cool decor. Amiens, France, chair, McDonald's  And a sauce for the fries that is more on the mayo side which I like. Amiens, France, McDonald's. fast food A chicken wrap with a package that you can stand it up in.  P1180719 Amiens, France, McDonald's. fast food Prices are also a surprise: not cheap at all.

Now that I’ve been fed I have energy and will to have a walk around town.  We find a gem of a square.  Amiens, France, Amiens Square Amiens, France, Amiens Square

I find the building that I would like to own.

 Amiens, France, Amiens Square Amiens, France, Amiens Square Amiens, France, Amiens Square Amiens, France, Amiens Square

The day is done.  We have mentally wept for those gone, honored them, taken a step back in time, taken a step forward to filming, fed our minds and our bodies, and fantasized a bit about what we wanted.  Pretty full day. I smile and sleep once more.

Categories: Amiens, Amiens Square, Australian War Memorial, Franco-Australian Museum, Villers Bretonneux | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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