Day 1: Check in and Musee d’orsay

Arrived at Hotel de la Comete in the 18th Arrondissement, of Paris at 3 pm. There are 20 Arrondissements in Paris, (translation: Administrative Districts), and the 4th is the most prominent/visited as this is the area surrounding Notre Dame. That said, my hotel was not the 4th, but, an ideal location as when I stepped off the curb from the Metro station I crossed the street and was at the hotel. Entry to the hotel had many stairs which I found challenging throughout my stay. In the subways it is rare to find elevators, therefore travel light for this visit. So many stairs in Paris, Oh Mon Dieu!

I digress.. whenever I arrive at a hotel or hostel I get the directions for the remainder of my hotel stay. The hotel staff gave amazing directions for the following 2 days.. What a relief. I find the hotel staff is most attentive then, and receptive to questions as they want positive reviews. Reviews can make or break any vendor.

After receiving directions, written ones, I made my way to the room. It was clean with a bathroom, and a balcony. While the furnishings were older for the price $166./2 days, including tax, it was a deal. Once again Expedia came through, and I receive nothing for this endorsement. Shucks!

View from the hotel room balcony later that evening.

Musee d’orsay

This is the only museum I visited in Paris as in reading reviews it provides a cross section of everything in the art world. The building in and of itself is a work of art. On the left bank of the Seine, it was a former train station built between 1898 and 1900, then in 1986 it became an art gallery. Lines were long for entry as I did not realize reservations were still needed, however, a woman my age was selling tickets so took the risk and entered in 5 minutes for a 4 hour stay. And did I say the tickets were at a bargain price? 3.2 million visited in 2022 and can understand why. So much to see! What a delight.

Let’s check out the building architecture first and tomorrow, some of the art.

Not your typical train station. Replica of the Statute of Liberty in front of the clock.

The long hall awaits as you enter.

Bust of Victor Hugo by Rodin with the ceiling of Musee behind the bronze.

A Bronze Warrior among the Museum’s Beaux-Art structure.

Another exterior shot of the Museum.

The brooding Seine from the windows of the Museum. Luckily, I had cold but sunny weather my entire stay with rain in the evening, but always bring that umbrella- a small fold down one.. HA!HA!

More views from the Musee windows..

The red crane in this picture is associated with the Notre Dame repair with reopening expected in 2024.

Loved this shot as I exited the Musee..

One more final note – the sexiest man alive in my opinion, President Macron. He has a 70 year old wife and is 45. Something all us old dames can strive for. He went to school with his stepdaughter who is a cardiologist in France.

Arrival In France -Gare du Nord, Metro and Train Cues…

Once off the plane picked up luggage, traversed customs easily through a machine process, and was on my way to the hotel. There are several options to travel to Paris from Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport. A taxi is about 100 euros, so I selected the train – about $15. Once through customs Air France staff were present to assist and direct customers with this transition from Airport to Paris, as CDG is a bit of a jaunt from Paris.

As directed by Air France staff, I followed the signage to Gare du Nord to obtain tickets for this train journey into Paris. There is also a tourism office along this route, so stop for information. They are a great source and speak English. Here I found the museum I wished to visit had hours till 1 a.m. that night. It gave me time to take a quick nap after making my way from the airport to the hotel.

The “Brain” which lists train comings and goings.

At the ticket machine look for the gal with this hat as she assists tourists in their purchases. Also, keep these tickets away from your cell phone. The magnetic stripe is quite sensitive and I lost 2 tickets because of this, about 4.5 Euros.

As I was getting on to the train at Gare du Nord a young couple befriended me taking me through the train station passages. I don’t know if it was the time of the year, my increased age, or the effects from the Pandemic, but French folk were extremely helpful, and pleasant in guiding me throughout my entire visit. People would simply come up to me and say, “Can I help you?” It was like the stars were in alignment as Prince Harry said when he met Meghan, I digress. Actually, I think it was Di looking out for him, but for another time.. I recall she sent the weather on their wedding day, wow I really am disgressing..

The Gare du Nord Train

Upon reaching the Gare du Nord Station another ticket needs purchasing to use the Metro. These tickets are about 2 euros.

The Metro Map

The French Metro is reasonable, clean, well signed, and easy to use. Ask fellow patrons for directions, and they will inform you, and if they don’t know, they will tell you that as well.

Having internet on your phone is a must, as merely searching in Google will give the correct line, time of train, as well as the amount of time to walk to the train stop. If you follow me on my blogs you are aware I am a computer nincompoop. I purchased $75 of international time from Mint, and used that in 18 hours. Data usage/Data Roaming can be turned on and off, so do so, or you’ll loose $75 a day as well. The first day I was unaware of this, so only spent another $25 the rest of the stay. Also, in some parts of the City there is free internet and look for that. And then there is always a paper map, valuable Metro signs, and as I said earlier friendly Parisians.

Don’t you just love subway billboards.

Typical Metro Opening. How French..

Air France

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Was very impressed with the staff, plane, and overall operation of Air France on this 9 hour trip across the pond. Had a situation where I was to sit next to a grossly obese individual, and this was quickly handled with another seat found for me. Also, had this situation occur on my return flight from Detroit to Syracuse. I have nothing against obese people, but when they can’t fit in the seat and their body is laying on yours it triggers anyone’s PTSD. Think the airlines are going to need to make more plans for these situations as our population increases in its girth.

Photo by Andres Ayrton on

All that said let’s take a look at the Air France accommodations.

First class had the usual overnight berth with plenty of room and many technologies.

Tried not to get passenger faces in these shots, but didn’t succeed. Here is the second layer of accommodations on the plane. Nice.

Still a fairly comfortable ride.

And lastly, economy. Why they say economy when the flight is $1300. , I’ll never know.

The food on Air France was tasty with dinner having two selections – pasta and chicken. Wine was divine, and served with the meal if you choose. A cart of juices, soda, and water was available the entire flight – self serve which I deemed a nice touch and snagged 2 quart bottles to maintain hydration. The entertainment selection was mainly French with subtitles, but there were some outdated English flicks, and a terrible recent Jennifer Lopez rom-com about pirates capturing a wedding party.

Let’s end with another shot inside the plane.

Never able to sleep on the flight over – if anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

Maybe a little research and another blog??

Miami Airport

Don’t recall ever being here, but, Miami Airport definitely has an international feel. Maybe it’s because few people speak English, and the designer shops?

Photo by Guilherme Rossi on Pexel

Liked the wide windows looking out on enormous airplanes. Makes you wonder what keeps them from crashing through the windows? Gotta love and appreciate the staff guiding these giants.

Photo by David Brown on

Flew Air France from Miami and was impressed, but still angry at Delta for charging me $75. for suitcase transport from Orlando to Miami. They keep talking economy flight but gee I paid $1300. Is that economy? Bottom line gotta read the fine print. Guess I need to get glasses 🤓? Two months ago when I flew Delta was shocked to have a free bag but in the last 2 months the policy changed.

Gotta love those policy changes and maybe Delta stock will increase???? Let’s hope so.

Photo by on

Caveat: Writing this from Charles de Gaulle Airport on my I phone as I leave France. Trip was grand, and stay tuned. Hope to push out a few blogs before I return to work on the 25th.

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Florida Return

Returned to Florida only to find my condo burglarized. I should have had a clue when my garden ornaments were in disarray.

As I have nothing of value in the condo but nicknacks, silly things were done like rearranging dishes in the china closet, and the dishwasher emptied. Guess these are hiding spots for cash and keys are hidden under garden ornaments??…

Photo by Ingo Joseph on

Spoke with the man who was watching my house, and he told me on two separate occasions lights were on when he didn’t leave them on. So,  this reinforces my concerns.  

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Prior to my departure a neighbor’s teenage son did  damage to the golf course behind my condo while on a midnight joy ride with friends. While terrifying me, and damaging the golf course, doubt he is the culprit.

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But, after this midnight adventure decided to enlist the support of my carpenter to watch the condo upon my departure.

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on

So now am considering the culprit to be a former neighbor who threatened me on several occasions. He thought I called the police when neighbors stated he beat his girlfriend. Actually I heard nothing, but was targeted, and lived in fear with his actions. Couldn’t live safely in the condo for over 2 years.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

Neighbors also relayed stories of drug concerns, felony convictions, and guns in their condo. Well, it is Florida and you have to accept what Floridian’s do.

NASA Spots the Frigid Thunderstorm Cloud-tops on That Brought Severe Southeastern U.S. Weather by NASA Goddard Photo and Video is licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Had the Sherriff visit and she took a report. The locks have been changed, windows locked, and covers placed over the windows. Now if he visits again he’ll have to break a window to get in. I’ve placed a rod at the base and a pin in the top of the sliding glass door for added protection.

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On my return from Europe will have to call the sheriff to escort me into the condo.

Where do you go to be safe?

Highland Park and Lamberton Conservatory

Greetings From Highland Park and bringing you some pre-festival lilac pictures. While these lovely bushes were not totally open which precluded their enticing scent – still able to enjoy. Here is what I caught in pics on the way to Lamberton Conservatory.

The bees were busily at work on the lilac buds.

What color this flowering bush holds.

The Lamberton Conservatory

The name sake for the Conservatory was a businessman and the first advocate for conservation in New York State.

What a treasure trove of plants, and the visit only a mere $2. Here’s the tour.

This hideaway was a great place to relax.

And the turtles were much fun to watch..

And what fun birdhouses..

This one reminded me of my Girl Scout summers at Camp Ishoda in Troy, N.Y. The house is wrapped in birch bark with forest droppings as the roof.

These would be great fund raising items for the Conservatory.

More flowers with magnificent colors..

More turtles, then the Cactus Room.. The turtles steal the show in each room fascinating children and adults. Little plates of lettuce for their feeding are in each area.

What a great cactus room – haven’t seen anything this good since my Arizona garden visits.

Wonder how they keep these plants during the winter? For another blog..

A Flowering Cactus

And I can’t miss this date, will be just back from Europe but will squeeze it in…

One final picture – the day of this visit was perfect. There were many brides and grooms – let’s end this blog with a pic of one of the happy couples.


This will be my last blog for a bit.

Am having motherboard problems, and at the time of this posting will be on a Givenchy Tour, God willing..

Stay tuned.

I shall return.

George Eastman Museum: Celebrating Jodie

This year the George Eastman Award recipient is Jodie Foster. A gala is planned May 25th, where she will be honored, and present to accept the award. If only I could attend…, so tonight am viewing Taxi Driver. Throughout the month weekly films of Miss Foster’s work will be screened. My favorite was Panic Room. What was yours?

Did not realize she has 2 Oscars with 4 nominations, winning for Silence of the Lambs, and The Accused, and nominations for Taxi Driver, (at 13 years of age), and Nell. She has been working since she was a child, and is a Yale graduate – in good company with Meryl Streep.

The Eastman Museum has a 500 seat theater – The Dryden, and at $11. a seat is a bargain. There also are musical and community events at the Museum with a Mother’s Day Brunch, musical performances by notables, and also students from the Eastman School of Music. Will be checking out these events and keep readers updated in future blogs.

And as a Mother’s Day tribute, (belated), wish to write a few words about George Eastman’s mother, Maria Kilbourn Eastman. She loved flowers, music, and was frugal. Her husband passed early, and she raised George and 2 sisters alone, with George’s sisters also dying prematurely. George loved to lavish gifts on his mum, and named Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music for her.

What a dutiful son.

Sonnenberg Gardens – Sunny Hill

This Mansion was the home of Frederick Ferris and Mary Clark Thompson. Frederick was the founder/director of First National Bank in the City of New York, which later became Citibank. Their home in Canandaigua was one of many they owned worldwide, however, it was their favorite, and they spent many summers at the property. While the home is vast it truly has a homey feel. The home on the property was originally a farmhouse, however, the Thompson’s replaced that structure with the Queen Anne mansion of 40 rooms, which was built from 1885-1887.

One of the Mansion’s Parlors

The Dining Room

Mr. Thompson’s Office is of Chinese and Japanese decor.

While there a docent played the Thompson’s Steinway Piano which is unique as it has 84, rather than the usual 88 keys.

What a treat.

Mary Clark Thompson..

Her Bedroom

Some of her clothes

Mrs. Thompson was originally from Onondaga County. Her father was the Onondaga County Sheriff and later served 2 years as New York’s Governor. She met her husband at a party while her father was Governor. They were married within 6 months of meeting. Their marriage was a happy one, however, the couple had no children. Upon their deaths the home was willed to a nephew, but this was during the depression, so the nephew sold it to the federal government for $100,000. The actual value of the home and property was several million yet during the depression money was tight, and this was a fair sale according to one of the many well versed docents at the Mansion.

On the property a VA Hospital was built, and the home was used as a residence for nurses and doctors until 1970.

Mrs. Thompson’s sister was a teacher in the area and had a bedroom at the Mansion.

The Thompson’s had many diverse interests – hiking, music, animals, and travel. Some rare finds are pictured below.

Mary was involved in the community with one of her main concerns the Iroquois Indian population. She donated much of her time and energy to improve their lives. She was so loved in the community upon her death flags in the county were half masted.

Added Bonus – during this month there is an exhibit on the Underground Railroad. There are many interesting placards to read regarding this time in history. One fascinating fact – it was recently discovered that information regarding the location of railroad stops were “stitched” into quilts. As of yet these codes have yet to be deciphered.

Underground Railroad Map


Upon her husband’s death Mary focused her grieving on the development of the gardens at the Mansion. Let’s visit them.

The Japanese Garden – this was the first Japanese Garden in the United States

The Rock Garden – my favorite

The Blue and White Garden – only blue and white flowers with a Diana statute looking on..

More Gardens..

After the visit traveled into the City of Canandaigua which is a beautiful spot. Walked along the lake and took in the mountains and other scenery. While there “young adults” were busily snapping pictures in their Senior Ball attire. What fun to watch these folks and their parents socializing while pictures taken. Also in this area are several high end restaurants and I was even able to locate an EV charger, and while slow it worked and I was able to return to Rochester with some charge left.

Had a wine tasting at New York Kitchen. For $13 received 4 ample samples – is that a rhyme or what? Also had their seasoned french fries – yum for $8. and have enough for 5 future servings. This restaurant is an interesting concept as it gives cooking lessons, as well as the usual music.

What a phenomenal visit!

Would love to summer here.

View from the porch of the Sonnenberg Mansion.

There are many comfortable chairs on the porch to relax in.

Take a moment and enjoy.

I did.

Susan B. Anthony House

What a whirlwind day… The Market, Highland Park, Mount Hope Cemetery, and the Susan B. Anthony House tour. Amazing. While the tour was to last 45 minutes my docent, Martha, and I spent 90 minutes touring, and talking of the life of this astonishing woman. Susan B. Anthony was born a Quaker into a large family. While she had minimal formal education she used her talents to light the world in her mission for equality of women, in voting, in marriage, and in the financial arena. She began her career teaching in Canajoharie, N.Y., where here she acquired her love for fashion after assisting with her family needs. She made $100 annually.

Her father was a businessman but when he lost all in a depression of this era he moved the family to Rochester buying a farm. Susan worked on the farm, and later the family moved to the City where he began an insurance company. It was at that time the family acquired the home. The adjacent home was acquired decades later for a Visitor Center through the efforts of Hillary Clinton.

Her alligator bag which accompanied her on all her travels.

In the City of Rochester Susan became an activist working on many initiatives. She worked with Clara Barton to begin nursing schools, abolitionists to ensure rights for slaves working closely with Frederick Douglass, and lecturing throughout the country and world to promote these initiatives. She was known to write over 100 letters per week to influence these causes.

Susan B. Anthony Square is not far from the home. Here is this statute of she and Frederick Douglass discussing issues.

At 5’6″ and 140 pounds she was known to be a health nut taking cold sponge baths daily as well as exercising daily. Dying at 86 in this time period these items seemed to work.. Susan befriended, and worked with many throughout the world and was the motivation of the 1920 amendment giving women the vote, which occurred 14 years after her death.


The Home

Susan’s Bedroom – A dress she wore given to her by Mormon women. When the dress was found in disrepair Mormon women of recent date took the garment and had it repaired for inclusion at the home.

The third floor of the home was the “offices” of the suffragist movement for over 40 years. Here the work of the organization was conducted. Susan was a great fundraiser, and much of her support came from Vanderbilt women.

A Parlor in the Home

A picture of a friend who was part of the Underground Railroad, and one of Susan’s traveling trunks. This trunk was returned by family and housed a treasure trove of papers Susan had written.

A chair given to her on her 80th birthday by a furniture designer friend.

Wonder if she ever took the time to sit in it??

Susan was an avid gardener, and gardens are maintained in the back of her home by the conservators.

This woman spurred a revolution without weapons, or anarchy. Perhaps a paraphrase of her last comments given publicly says it all,

Failure is impossible. When women gather good things happen.

A simple headstone for a woman of greatness.