September 23, 2018
Paris, France

After graduation class this is how we celebrated! It is finished...tomorrow we fly home. We thank God for his blessings on this trip.

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”

Bon appétit, see you in the airport!
Nola and Shirley


Graduation certificates presented by Chef Eric Verger.

We got to keep our apron, dish towel. They gave us a box to put our Macaroons in and a large blue bag to carry them .


Now with the meringue cookie made, it is time to apply the filling, again using a pipe bag. Below, Chef is demonstrating how the technique is applied. The end product is Victory!


After the fillings are made for the macaroons, the next step is the meringue. This is the cookie which the filling will go in between. We boiled the sugar and water till it came to an exact temperature of 115 centigrade. I kept stirring the sugar/water and Shirley began whisking egg whites. When the sugar/water reached 115 centigrade, I immediately pulled it off the stove and very carefully poured it into the egg whites as Shirley continued to stir. It is important not to get burned as this would be a 3rd degree burn!

Once the mixture was combined, Shirley put it on the big mixer to continue to blend together. When the mixture had cooled, it was ready to be blended with the dry ingredients. Chef came by to make sure the consistency was perfect. Then it was ready to be piped to make the cookie. You can also put on sesame seeds or crumbled up cookies. We then put them on the rack for 15 minutes to get a sink on the meringue. Then it was time to go into the oven.


Chef started out with basic information on making a macaroon. From this class, I gained appreciation and respect of the detail and precision of the pastry chef who makes the macaroons. The following pictures are demonstrating making of the filling. Chef demonstrated and then we went to our stations to duplicate his instructions.

Today we made 2 fillings: apricot with rosemary, white chocolate and gelatin, and strawberry with black pepper corn and white chocolate (no gelatin). After the filling was made we covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator.

The name Le Cordon Bleu has been used in relation to culinary excellence since the 16th century when King Henry III created one of the most important orders in France, “L’Ordre du Saint-Esprit.” Symbolizing this order was the cross of the Holy Spirit which hung on a blue ribbon or un cordon bleu. Due to the prestigious nature of this Order and the decadent feasts accompanying their ceremonies, the name Le Cordon Bleu became well recognized and celebrated.

Le Cordon Bleu, as a culinary arts school, was founded in Paris in 1895 by the journalist and publisher of La Cuisinière Cordon Bleu magazine, Marthe Distel. On October 15, 1895 the first cooking demonstration ever to be held on an electric stove was staged at Le Cordon Bleu in an effort to promote the magazine and launch the Paris cooking school.



September 22, 2018
Paris, France

We have been walking on cobble streets for over 2 hours.

During the last leg of our walking tour of Paris, we were at the Memorial de la Shoah. On September 23, 2012, 50 years after the deportation of Jews in France towards Nazi extermination camps, the former French President François Hollande inaugurated the Shoah Memorial located in Drancy, a Northeastern Paris suburb in France. The Memorial building on the internment camp faces the social housing complex Cité de la Muette. The complex was initially destined to be one of the first social housing buildings in France. During WWII, the Cité de la Muette was requisitioned as an internment camp to be used as a transit detention camp by the Nazis to keep French, Polish and German Jewish victims of the massive arrest before their deportation. Please read the English translation.

We made our way toward Notre Dame. There was a very large techno parade going on in Paris, with at least a million of people involved. It was interrupting bus schedules, and they were not able to run on time. We finally got to Notre Dame, but there were long lines so we did not go in. The map of Paris outlined in Pink is where we have been today. Since the buses were not able to run on schedule, we caught a taxi back to our hotel.

We conquered the Left Bank of Paris by bus, by foot and by taxi. It was time to say good bye to our guide Ms. Genevieve. She got on the bus for a hour ride to her home. Having a guide in a city which you are not familiar with is the best way to go when you are traveling. We would not have had the history or the personal memories of Paris without Ms. Genevieve!

Good night from Paris!
Nola and Shirley

Ms. Genevieve took us down a side street to a Moroccan Spa. Had time permitted, we would have had a spa treatment there!

Back on our walking experience, we were in front of Paris’s oldest chocolate shop, dating to 1730.

We continued walking towards St Paul Church, viewing additional street scenes. St Paul Church was established by the Jesuit Priests.

Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis is a church on rue Saint-Antoine in the Marais quarter of Paris. The present building was constructed from 1627 to 1641. There was a baptism being held while we were there.

The Paris Opera House. 5th January 1875. Inauguration of the new opera house. Charles Garnier's Palais became the centerpiece of Paris, recently rebuilt by Georges Eugène Haussmann. Napoleon III, who had died two years previously, never saw the magnificent palace he had commissioned. Napoleon had a side door entrance made for him to drive his carriage through, as he had an attempt on his life.

The street Rue Montorgueil in Paris we walked on is a popular street Claude Monet painted often. In the mid-1800s, it was the street where the fisherman would sell their goods. Notice on the photo the remnants of the old street. The community also has used space for a green space.


Below are pictures of the many treasures we experienced at The Gallery Department Store in Paris. Shirley said her ice cream experience was the best she has ever had! She saw her ice cream bar prepared before her!


Today we are leaving the Avalon. We had our picture taken with Captain Laurent of The Tapestry II. We took a taxi to our hotel. A few hours later we met our tour guide, Ms. Genevieve. First of all, I must give you details about Paris. There are 20 districts in Paris. It is divided between the Left Bank and the Right Bank. Where we were staying is in the 15th district, the largest in Paris.

We began on the bus #42, in front of our hotel. Genevieve took us to The Gallery Lafayette, which is a Parisian department store which we had never experienced! There are 6 floors for women and home which includes the finest brands of artisan makers of pastry, chocolates, and spices! Four floors for the men. The terrace is open to the views of Paris!

Below are pictures of the Church of the Sacré-Cœur (Sacred Heart).



September 20, 2018
Paris, France

We arrived in Paris around 6:00 PM. We had our farewell dinner of wine, beef tenderloin, lobster, salad, and dessert. All of the staff was honored and they have been great, working hard to make our vacation spectacular! At 9:30 PM, we did a bus tour of Paris by night. We got off twice to take photos, of course at the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre. So many other sights we saw: presidents palace, military training place, parliament, Supreme Court, several Napoleon monuments, and the tomb of an unknown soldier.

Friday September 21 will be our last night on board the ship. We will disembark by 9:00 AM on Saturday morning, September 22, 2018. We will stay in Paris for three more nights, leaving on Tuesday morning for Dallas.

Shirley and I agree that the main highlight of this cruise has been being able to see the sights along the river and the small number of people on board. This cruise was only 125 people. Of course everything else we were blessed to have experienced!

Good night from Paris!

Nola and Shirley!



September 20, 2018

Leaving Conflans returning to Paris, enjoying sights of life along the Seine. It is so peaceful to sit back and watch life go by, living in the moment. I have included pictures of the boat going through one of many “river locks” along the way. It is amazing to see how powerful water can be. When you are in the lock, it will flood and raise the boat up to go through the passage way.

High Tea was served at 3:15 as we were going through the lock! Again God has provided us with an abundance of His blessings today. Enjoy the pictures.

Nola and Shirley



September 20, 2018

Following Van Gogh Path Promenade through the village of some of the sights Van Gogh painted: town hall, portrait of Adeline Ravoux, wheat fields! Van Gogh never thought he was good enough. He tried to be a pastor like his dad and as a painter. He was a trouble soul. He was never recognized as a painter during his life . He committed sucicide at 27. One of the pictures has his story. FYI.

The song Stary Stary Night written by Don McLean is about The life of Vincent Van Gogh.

Because there was a problem docking the boat at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine when we arrived, we did not have time to explore the river front of the town . As soon as the Van Gogh tour came back we left . Enjoy the pictures.

Nola and Shirley


September 19, 2018
Cruising on the Seine River to Conflans

We did the wheel house tour with our captain. The technology is awesome. The captains work 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off, 12-hour shift split up into 6 hours on. The home picture is an example of what we’re seeing along the river.



September 19, 2018
Rouen, France

Rouen, capital of the northern French region of Normandy, is a port city on the river Seine. Important in the Roman era and Middle Ages, it has Gothic churches, such as Saint-Maclou and Saint-Ouen, and a cobblestoned pedestrian center with medieval half-timbered houses. The skyline is dominated by the spires of Cathédrale Notre-Dame, much-painted by Impressionist Claude Monet. The picture of the church is of Cathedral Norte-Dame.

Today is an off day to do as we like. The weather is fine. We will tour the wheel house with the captain today. Nice to relax today. Thank you God for blessing us again for a wonderful day. Enjoy the pictures.

Nola and Shirley



September 18, 2018
Caudebec, France on the Seine River

Our morning drive started out early leaving Caudebec for The Taste of Normandy. This was approximately 150 miles round-trip passing through a picturesque agricultural region of dairy, apples and grain. Camembert cheese is a specialty as is Calvados (strong apple brandy). Our first stop was Bayeux. There we saw the famous Flanders Bayeux Tapestry. It is over 1000 years old. It is a Medieval tapestry containing the 69m long story of William the Conqueror's English invasion. It is on linen and embroidered with dyed wool colors. Not able to take any pictures inside. It is very well preserved under glass and temperature controlled.

From there we drove to Caen Beauron, Enauge and Lebreuil Enauge. We stopped off for a tasting of Calvandos at Château LeBreuil and toured the inside of how the apple brandy is made. Afterward we had a delicious apple tart with Calvandos!

The black and white picture shows what the town looked like before the Germans burned it.

At the end of the day, the only thing I can say is: we are blessed and thank you God for blessing us! Enjoy the pictures.

Nola and Shirley



September 17, 2018
Caudebec-en-Caux, on Seine River

A fact of history: during WWII the Germans bombed this area along the Seine River. All the villages on the frontage of the banks were destroyed. A bomb dropped through the roof of the Abbey killing one of the youngest monks. All the bridges were bombed to separate the French and also prevent them from traveling.

Today we traveled down the Normandy Abby Road where more than 100 medieval Benedictine and Augustine abbeys and churches were built along the Seine.

The pictures below are of an active / working Benedictine Abbey. Monk Lu is the head of the Abbey. It dates to the 1800s and Saint Wandrille. It is presently under restoration of the cloisters. There are also pictures are of the Jumièges Abbey ruins. This Abbey dates back to the 700s.

Nola and Shirley



September 16, 2018
Vernon, France

Today we docked and boarded the bus at 8:30 AM to Giverny, the home of Claude Monet. We were able to visit the famous Water Lilly Pond, his home, and gardens. Our guide, Natalie was very warm, funny, and informative of the history of Monet. This was 4 hours of absolute wonderment of Monet's genius of placing his gardens in the order of color and light. His Japanese Gardens are beautiful. Where you visit, it is seeing his paintings live. Monet lived to be 86. It took him half of his life to be able to make a living from his paintings. I encourage all who have not been to visit to go. You will not be disappointed.

This quaint village is the home to the Parish Church of Le Petit Andely and the imposing Chateau Gallard, built by England's King Richard the Lionheart in 1196. It was constructed in 1 year. It is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture. If you are ambitious and want to do the 30 minute hike up the hill, Chateau Gallard will provide you with marvelous views of the Seine River and countryside. Or perhaps a walkabout in the village. We visited the village and the church, completed in 1202. It is amazing. The church sits in the center of the village. The established businesses surround the church.

It has been a long and exciting day. We have made new acquaintances. On board our cruise there are people from American, Scotland, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. Please enjoy the pictures.

Good night from somewhere on the Seine River...heading North!
Nola and Shirley


September 15, 2018
Paris, France

We are up and ready to go this morning. Amazing what a good night sleep can do. We walked around our neighborhood. This is an ideal location. All the amenities you would need. Laundry, saloon, food, Starbucks, Eiffel Tower, and the hotel is wonderful. 52 rooms. She has taken good care of us. Building is approximately 1930s. Ms. Isabella is our receptionist. We are located in an older part of Paris. Across the street are beautiful apartments. We will take a taxi to the Avalon Dock to board the Tapestry II. It is only a few miles from here.

Salut from Paris!
Nola and Shirley

Shirley and I boarded The Tapestry II at 2:15pm Paris time. We were not even in the taxi 5 minutes from the hotel to Port Grenelle. In case I have not mentioned before, Shirley Hudson, Shirley won this trip. She was attending the Nexion Travel Agent Conference in New Orleans in September 2017. She put her business card in at the Avalon River Cruise Exhibit. Her card was drawn. I am grateful to have this opportunity to share this travel experience with my friend. Enjoy the journey with us.

Nola and Shirley

Shirley and I have walked down the Port Grenelle bank and took some pictures of the surrounding scenery. The motor cycle with side car is a member of a sight seeing tour of Paris. Thinking about it! A group of 10 of these pulled up as we were taking our walk. People were happy to have had the experience. It is a 1.5 hour tour. Returning from our walk we were escorted to our room. So far, based upon a full bathroom, this is the way to cruise for me!

A bientot
See you soon



September 14, 2018
Paris, France

What started out as a normal departure date from DFW on Thursday, September 13, ended up with a three hour flight delay. Our flight was supposed to leave DFW at 5:15 PM, a direct flight to Paris. Apparently a big bird flew into the engine of the plane and the mechanics could not repair the damage. So, all luggage and food had to be unloaded and reloaded onto a new plane. Then, because the plane was going over water, it had to undergo another 45 minutes of testing. American Airlines did bring out a nice snack set up with everything on it for free. Finally, at 8:30 PM we were on the plane taxing down the runway. It was a 9 hour and 15 minute flight. We flew in Premium Economy. Not bad, but we missed our Business Class seats.

It is easy to navigate the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. We got our luggage and hopped on Super Shuttle. The Van was full, meaning there were additional passengers to be dropped off at hotels. We rode for about 2 hours around Paris. A funny, a truck driver waved at us, with the motion of do we have a cigarette lighter, as he had a cigarette in his mouth. Our driver, said "Do I look like I smoke?" The truck driver was laughing and we caught up ;with him again, still with the cigarette in his mouth, and still no lighter.

Our hotel, Beaugrenelle St Charles, is a wonderful boutique hotel located close to the bus route, the Eiffel Tower and sight-seeing attractions. Our first meal in Paris was just around the corner from the hotel. It came highly recommended. The locals were eating there. I ordered and omelet with tea and Shirley had the free range chicken dinner. It was delicious. There was a Starbucks across the street. I would consider our location to be upper middle social economy district.

Below are pictures from our hotel and our first Parisian meal. Tomorrw we will take a taxi to board Tapestry II, Avalon River Boat Cruise. Au revoir from Paris.


Avalon Waterways/Paris, France
Saturday, August 25, 2018

The journey not the arrival matters. - T.S. Eliott

Shirley and I are traveling to Paris, France. This will be our first time to experience a river cruise. Our cruise will begin and return Paris, France. Our ship’s name is Tapestry II. I will be sending in her daily reports to Ron too post here on my website. You are welcome to follow along with us on our daily adventures.

Avalon Waterways Paris to Normandy
Tapestry II
Day 1, Saturday September 15, 2018
Arrive in Paris, France (Embarkation) Welcome to Paris, France’s capital on the Seine River, the “City of Light,” where romance fills the air. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. Before dinner, your ship glides out of Paris. (Dinner) NOTE: Flights into Paris must arrive by 2:30 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Day 2, Sunday September 16, 2018
Vernon–Les Andelys
This morning in Vernon, choose between a guided visit of Giverny and a visit to Bizy Castle. Claude Monet lived at GIVERNY for almost 43 years (1883-1926), and viewed his flower and water gardens as works of art—just like his paintings. See his collection of Japanese prints, his charming house, and his biggest sources of inspiration. Or, visit BIZY CASTLE, built in 1740 and nicknamed “Normandy’s Versailles.” It is known for its famous stables—inspired by those at Versailles—and its magnificent courtyard and water garden. This afternoon, arrive in Les Andelys, situated on a bend of the Seine and one of the most beautiful places in France. Join a Local Guide for a GUIDED WALK of the town, visiting the PARISH CHURCH OF LE PETIT ANDELY. Alternatively, you may wish to join your guide on a hike up to the ruins of imposing Château Gaillard, built by England’s King Richard the Lionheart as a fortress in 1196. Constructed in only a year, it is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 3, Monday September 17, 2018
Today, join a guided excursion along the “NORMANDY ABBEYS ROUTE,” a short drive from Caudebec. More than 100 abbeys once covered this region, which has a microclimate suited to growing fruit such as apples, pears, plums, and cherries. The afternoon is free to explore on your own or to join an optional excursion to the pretty coastal town of Honfleur. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4, Tuesday September 18, 2018
Make your choice today between an included full-day excursion to the historic NORMANDY LANDING BEACHES—with poignant sites such as Omaha Beach, the Pointe du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery—or a “TASTE OF NORMANDY” for an in-depth look at this picturesque, mainly agricultural region. The most important products are dairy, apples, and grain. Camembert Paris to Normandy Cruise Code - WPP 80915 Pj Graham, Agent Gvi Invited Guests (303) 222-2222 . 5 of 7 cheese is a specialty, as is CALVADOS, a strong apple brandy you’ll have the chance to taste at a local distillery. And for a touch of history, visit the famous BAYEUX TAPESTRY. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5, Wednesday September 19, 2018
Rouen, capital of Upper Normandy, is an important commercial city perhaps best known for its connection to Joan of Arc, who lived, was imprisoned, and burned at the stake in the marketplace of this town in 1431. Enjoy the included GUIDED WALK through the medieval quarter with its half-timbered, glazed-tile houses, and take photos of the intricate Gros Horloge astronomical clock, dating back to the 16th century. Visit the gothic CATHEDRAL, which was once the tallest building in the world and the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet. The afternoon is free to explore on your own. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6, Thursday September 20, 2018
After breakfast, you may either join our included guided excursion to AUVERS-SUR-OISE, the quaint little town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, or to Napoleon and Josephine’s CHÂTEAU DE MALMAISON just outside Paris. Requiring extensive renovations, this large country estate was purchased by Josephine Bonaparte in 1799 while Napoleon was fighting in Egypt. It was her aim to make it “the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation.” (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7, Friday September 21, 2018
Known as one of the world’s most romantic and lively cities, Paris delights the senses. Join a GUIDED WALK through historic Île St. Louis with its narrow one-way streets and Île de la Cité, the center of Paris where the medieval city was founded and home to NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL. In your free time, stroll down the Champs-Elysées with its lavish cafés, or perhaps visit the world-famous Louvre or Montmartre with its gleaming white Sacré Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8, Saturday September 22, 2018
Paris (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Saturday, September 22: Upon returning from our river cruise, we have arranged for a tour guide . Our guide will be our friend for 8 hrs to show us Paris off the grid. We will meet up with her around 1 PM .

Sunday, September 23 : We will freelance in Paris

Monday, September 24: We will be experiencing a culinary workshopat Le Cordon Bleu Paris: The Secrets of Macarons. This is a 3 hour culinary workshop. I have already purchased our chef hats!

Tuesday, September 25: We leave Paris, France for home. Our flight is direct to DFW.


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