Saturday, May 10, 2008

Letter 6: Hotel Central, Dijon

[Letter 6]
Hotel Central

Dijon, France

October 27, 1932
Dear Folks,
After a four-hour trip from Paris in a comfortable railroad coach (second-class) we arrived here at 4:30 P.M. We have two lovely, large rooms with bath. The lavatory is directly across from our rooms. They wanted $3.20 total, but accepted $2.60. Isn't that a bargain? Of course, prices may not always be so low, but I give them so that you may be informed, when you discuss travel etc. with friends.

My last letter mentioned Chartres. The special purpose of our trip was to see the famous Cathedral. We visited it twice and were lost in admiration of the marvellous stained glass windows perhaps the finest to be seen anywhere. The weather was fine and the excursion was thus a very pleasant one.

This past week in Paris was not quite so busy, as there was some rain, but nevertheless we managed to get in some interesting trips. One afternoon we sat in the Tuilleries and Marcus met an American boy. Well, they shook hands like long-lost brothers and promptly went off to engage sailboats to sail on the pool. That was one of the pleasantest afternoons. I have moving pictures of it. Another time Dora went to make train arrangements while Marcus and I went to the gardens of the Palais Royal, just around the corner from our hotel. Marcus went shopping for stamps and picked up some bargains. I took more movies of the beautiful views.

This week's "headliner", however, was our trip to Versailles, Fontainebleau and Barbizon. The price was to be 300 fr. ($12) but the agent managed to pick up two young men from the East Indies and so our price was 240 francs. This was an all-day trip, that is, it was about 38 miles to Barbizon and a French lunch takes about two hours. We left at ten and returned at six. The car was a very fine limousine, soft and roomy. There was a chauffeur and a lecturer -- a Russian Jew who spoke English well.

Luck was with us again. It had rained hard at night, but soon after we left, the sun came out. The Castle at Versailles is full of historic significance. It was greatly improved by Louis XIV. He spent tens of millions of dollars on it. Many kings and princes lived there. The artificial pools and fountains in them make a picture too beautiful to describe. The rooms are splendid, of course and the palace is vast. It was a feast for the eyes to look out of the King's bed-chamber and see those wonderfully tinted trees, arranged in perfect order. We saw the room (the Hall of Mirrors) in which the peace treaty was signed and the table on which it was signed.

We drove on a perfect road through the vast forest of Fontainebleau. We had lunch at Barbizon at the Golden Key, a most charming restaurant with a beautiful arbor. It was a wonderful meal with many courses. Then we drove on a bit and stopped to go through Millet's cottage where we saw many of the master's smaller paintings and sketches -- also his studio, exactly as he left it. I have not more paper with me so I conclude with our best wishes to all. We go to Lyons and Avignon stopping one night in each town. Then Cannes, for a long stay.



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