My Winter Adventure in France – Part 4

Bon Soir!

I write this late at night looking out at the star filled sky with the bright moon winking at me! I love to write at night and am a night owl, but today I would like to share my continued adventure in France this past January 2018. I traveled to experience my writers and artist dream; to see the master’s artwork and write where the famous authors like Hemingway and F.Scott Fitgerald wrote. This was a trip of a lifetime for me and one I waited five years to take.

In my journey Part 4, I am in Antibes, South of France, right on the Mediterranean Sea. I begin my first two days there on a wrong bus and a trip to the Picasso Musee. (Catch up on my story on my previous blogs.)

January 16
“J’suis perdu.” (I am lost.) I told myself as I sat on the deserted plage (beach) on the cap du Antibes. I had gotten on the #2 bus at the bus station, a 10 minute walk from my hotel, and told the driver as the receptionist taught me:”I want to go to square Albert 1 and the beach.”

“En Antibes?”

“Oui”.

Well, I rode for awhile getting nervous and he finally dropped me at this little hotel and said “le mer is tout droit.” (straight that way.) So I begin walking through these huge homes with gates, and the fear starts to come.”Lord, I do not know where I am.” Some workers point me further down and voila, there is the plage Keller. I encounter a closed snack bar being renovated and the man there gives me some more water, to which I am grateful. I have two pieces of fruit in my bag, a kiwi and tangerine, so I know I am ok for awhile, as I am a diabetic.

I start to walk along the path of the sea and find a nice place to admire my fist look at the snow covered Alps, and a sea filled with azure and turquoise waters.I start to relax knowing I am not lost, Jesus is with me and I put my head on his shoulder.”Alright, Lord, send Francois to rescue me!”

People walk by on their hike and when every man passed by I asked the Lord, “Est ce lui?” (Is this him?) Finally, the sea having done its magic and refreshed me, I say, “Lord, I just want to enjoy the sea and have fun. I am not going to look for Francois or worry about him anymore.” Let me know how long I should stay in Antibes and when to book my return ticket.”

As I am waling back up the hill, I come to a fork, not knowing which way.”Lord, help me.” I look up and see a police car.The officer stops. “Escuzi moi Monsuier, je sues pedru.” (I am lost) He directs me up to the street to catch the bus and when I arrive it is there, so I hop on. I enjoy the view as we drive along the cap back to Antibes. I had wanted to walk along the cap to the Eden Roc Hotel but it is too far and closed. Most hotels and restaurants are closed up here for winter until mid April.

On the walk back to hotel, I stop at the bakery and get a slice of pizza for 2.45 euros and at the grocery for lemonade, Diet Coke, chips, yogurt, cambert cheese and Little Boy chocolate cookies, which are better in France. I am surprised how cheap the food is here in Antibes, compared to Paris.I paid 1.15 euros for a large container of yogurt, .89 cents for limonaid, 1.50 for a large round of cambert. My hotel does not come with breakfast here, so I will save money filling my small refrigerator with food.

It is windy, with 60 degree weather and sunshine all the way to Monaco. Tomorrow I am going to the Picasso museum in the castle he lived here in Antibes.For now a nap. Enjoy the pictures!

January 17

Hello from Antibes,it’s 54 degrees and sunshine on this beautiful winter day. I journeyed into the Old City today to see Picasso’s museum in an old castle overlooking the city walls.I walked without getting lost, as Aurelie, the night receptionist here at the Best Western Inn, drew me a hand map.Picasso worked here between 1946- 1948 after the war and created ceramics, and linocuts, new mediums for him.

The man who owned the ceramic factory in nearby Vallerius taught him. I met his nieces, two French/British ladies the other night outside the gelato shop and they told me their story. One lady, Lynette, shared she held one of Picasso’s sketchbooks wearing white gloves.The family sold the factory and she just bought a home in the new development.This pricked my interest as I believe the Lord has a home for me here too, and one day I will be a home owner.

It was another ‘ahah moment’ as I walked on the squeaky wood floors of his studio, with the little shuttered rectangular windows letting light into his studio. He had started to engrave a mural into the walls of this large studio, but stopped suddenly.You can still see the engravings.I felt his presence so strongly here. His unseen works exhibited here feature things special to his heart here in the Cote d’ Azur: sea urchins, octopus, owls, bulls fighting, to name a few. He also liked doing fauns and of course, nudes. I wasn’t really a Picasso fan until today. If you want to read book about his life here in Antibes, I recommend the book Cooking for Picasso, a fictionalized story of the young girl who cooked and fed him every day while he was here, and came to have his baby.

After the museum, I wandered down the narrow cobbled stone lanes of the Old City and came upon the Holy Spirit church and went inside.They were playing operatic music, which I found strange, but I was able to sit awhile and hear from the Lord more about his plans for my time here. This was good for me, as I was feeling so depleted, spiritually and physically, from all the travel. I came upon the marchee, or daily market, and bought some goodies: baby eggplant tapenade, some truffle cheese (at 12 euros enough to last all week from a pushy marketer), some dried figs and a baguette for.89 cents. I love how the French ensure their people have bread and keep the price so low.

I ate my picnic lunch outside the city entrance overlooking all the big yachts on Millionaire Row.This is the largest and wealthiest harbor in all of Europe. Perhaps Francois owns one, you can all come for a free boat ride! I walked the ramparts out to the giant sculpture of a man made out of letters, overlooking the harbor.

I almost bought the new John Grisham book at an English bookstore but it was 34 euros.($40) It would be nice to have something to read as all the television is in French.

Enjoy the master’s work! (Both God and Picasso)

Stay tuned next month for my continued journeys in Antibes and Nice in part 5 of my winter adventure in France.

A Bientôt (See you soon!)

Miriam


My Winter Adventure in France – Part 3

Bon Jour!

It is now spring and my hope rises to return to Paris to see the flowers and swim in the sea in the South of France. It may still be a little cold, but we shall see!

Continuing on with my adventures this past winter in France, I have included two of my Facebook posts to friends as I traveled to the Riviera. May you enjoy the journey along with me!

January 15 Fifth Day in Paris

My last day in Paris, I visited the neighborhood of Montmartre in the rain, on the famous martyrs hill where St Denis, first bishop of Paris, was decapitated. Legend is he picked up his head and walked down the hill, then up this small hill and died! The church of Sacre Couer is here (sacred heart of Jesus) with domed mural and sacrament of Eucharist on display. Prayed and had some time with Jesus. View from steps is famous to come to see sunrise or set over Paris. My first ariel view since I did not make it up Eiffel.

I wandered to the town square where artists paint, and where famous artists of 1920’s and 30s, like Picasso, Matisse, Renoir, and Chagal, exhibited on this same square and had their studios nearby.

A painter, Miro, offered a portrait of me in a new medium of Japanese markers. I laughed and giggled as we stood in the square in the cold and he painted me as he saw me. He gave me an artist 50% discount and I was pleased! This was the souvenir I was looking for, original art et moi!

Wandering around, a tall good-looking artist, Jonas, approached me and said he wanted to sketch my eyes, they were so beautiful and full of light. For free. I agreed and I told him the light was from Jesus which opened door to talk about our faith and how he says racism and anitsemitism in France is not like media portrays. He does not care that I was Jewish or American, people are people. He admired my all purple outfit. “I am an artist and I dress in color.” Everyone wears black in Paris. He asked to see my art, and I showed him my glass sculptures, which he admired.

Next thing I know, he draws my full face, I felt he got my eyes, nose and mouth, but my face was too wide. I offered him $10 euros which he kindly took and kissed me, a warm, long kiss on my cheek. “You are the first Frenchman to kiss me…but not three times.” “In Paris we kiss four times” so kisses 2, 3 and 4 followed, By now I was swooning. “Miriam, you are a princess”. I thought, perhaps this is my Francois? But alas,no,he is in South of France. We took a picture and I walked away with a big smile.

Around the corner, I ran into Miro again and showed him the portrait by Jonas. “He made my face too wide”. “That is because he does not have my eye and he did not know that you were not fat!” “The light in my eyes, Milo, comes from Jesus.” “Ah, Jesus.” Another artist, Vasco, with wild long hair and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, starts cutting a silhouette of me. “I have no more money. I need to get some lunch.” He too wanted a picture and got my last 5 euro.

I will remember this day forever, hanging with the warm Parisian artists in the square of such history. God is so good to me, and has planned such surprises. Tomorrow I head to Nice on the train. Please say a quick prayer no one takes my luggage from the communal luggage area. People steal things here in France. Ask for an angel to sit on it for me!

January 15 First night in South of France.

Je suis en Antibes, Sud du France! My luggage and I arrived safely. Thanks for praying. It is like home here, blue skies with fluffy clouds, wind blowing the palm trees, turquoise blue sea, red tiled roofs wth pale light colored houses in coral, pink and beige. So refreshing after dark, gloomy Paris. My room is even decorated in a beach theme! Lord knows how to pick them.
The scenery down was wonderful to see. Castle’s nestled on top of hills, small villages along the river, naked vineyards in burgundy, grey and black. Marie-Claire was a beautiful, older Parisian woman who sat next to me on the train and translated the announcements. I am off to dinner downtown for my first seafood meal and to see millionaires row, all the yachts in the harbor Antibes is famous for.

My first official dinner in France with owner Vincenzi at his French Italian restaurant in Old Town in Antibes. I had the Red Snapper drizzled in oil with veggies and garlic puréed potatoes and fresh rolls. It tasted so French. He and his staff laughed when I asked to take leftovers home for tmw night. I guess the French don’t take leftovers so he presented it wrapped in foil! He threw kisses to me and I caught them and threw them back. What is it with French men? A girl has to economize! Feeling full but happy! Bon Nuit!

Stay tuned for Picasso, the blue sea, and a wrong bus stop that lead to a fun adventure in my next stories.

Ciao and A Bientot!

Miriam


My Winter Adventures in France – Part 2

Bon jour mes amis – (Hello my friends!)

My adventures in Paris continue in today’s blog post of my winter trip to France this past January 2018. It was my dream trip of a month abroad, starting with a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 from New York to England, complete with a hurricane! As an artist and writer, I wanted to see all the famous spots artists and writers of past generations had lived and worked. (Read up on it on my previous post on this blog site.)

January 13 – Third day in Paris

Today my dream came true to visit the Cafe Deux Magot (two chinamen) in German de Pres where Hemingway wrote his early books over a cognac, and write some of my next book. I could not bring my laptop for security reasons so my iPhone had to suffice. I ordered a capuchino (yes, they are better here) from a quirky waiter with sunken cheeks and a twitch, or was it a wink?! who grunted at me. How appropriate for Paris. I had wanted to write Becoming Miriam in Paris, and in a way, I have! You wait and wait on the Lord, then voila, the day arrives. Feeling happy today.

Later that day:

Shabbath Peace! Today on Shabbat I went to the Jewish part of the Marais and had the best falafel ever, with shnitzel (pounded fried chicken) and eggplant. The place, with a star of David over the door, was loud, crowded, with a swarma (lamb) spit, and played Israeli music in Hebrew, which made me cry again, to be celebrating my Jewishness openly in anti-semitic France. I met an Israeli, Allan, who lives in Paris and got to speak some Hebrew. There are only two blocks left of the Jewish quarter, most Jews have made aliyah (immigration) to Israel. There was a Yiddish/Russian place, a deli, a social service place, and a store that sold Menorahs and such. Alas, they were closed because foolish me forgot it was Saturday!

I then stopped at a bakery and tried my first macaroons, one caramel, one pistachio, divine! I also visited Luxembourg Gardens with the naked trees all lined up in precision and the large pond children sail toy boats in.

I had a long and rough day in the Metro getting around, you really go into the bowels of the earth to find your right platform. You must know the color, number and name of the end of the line you are on, and the lines all mix crazily.

I booked my train ticket to Nice today, I leave on Tuesday for a 6 hour trip there, then on to Antibes. You have to print your ticket at the station, all this is so new to me, which adds stress because what if it doesn’t print and I spent 92euros? lol Travel days are hard too. Tomorrow I must do laundry at the Lavaganic five minutes walk away. And yes, my shower is working again! Enjoy the pics!

January 14 – Fourth day in Paris

Sunday. A day of rest. Sunshine for first time! I did laundry for 5 euros a wash (!) which was computerized and a nice Parisian helped me. A Saudi Arabian man spoke with me as we waited on our laundry, which you must watch or it is stolen. He told me their new King Mohammad du Suleman is liberating the country: women don’t have to cover or wear burqas, they can now drive, have equality. They now have movie theaters and can steam Netflix. This is good news to hear. But gays are abandoned and thrown out of country. Some things do not change in a Muslim country.

I stumbled upon Sunday Market and boy what a feast. You have to que up to buy. Fish, escargot, chickens with their heads on, free samples of duck pate, nougut with pistachios and figs (yum, I bought), belts, clothes, computer gadgets, and my favorite brie with truffles slathered in middle for 49 euros a pound. I kept asking the man to repeat the price because I wanted some and finally had to say I could not afford that. They laughed when I asked for samples of cheese. A faux pas!

A nice Madame helped me do the ATM machine to get euros for Nice. I keep them locked in my room safe. Now or a nap, these old bones are tired!
I am so grateful to the Lord for this time here as I love traveling internationally and can’t wait to live abroad, him willing. And I love sharing with you, it gives me a chance to write and keep a journal of my trip. A Beintot!

Stay tuned for the next section, with me traveling to the South of France and the Riviera!


My Winter Adventures in France – Part 1

Bon Jour mes amis- (Good day my friends)

Yes, it happened. I finally went to France for three weeks and fell in love with it! God opened the door for me at the last minute to take the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southhampton, England on a transalanttic crossing. It was like Downton Abbey at sea. High tea every day with delicious gluten free scones, canapés and petit fours. Dressing for dinner, royal balls and walks around the deck after our two day hurricane adventure where I was seasick, but recovered nicely. We passed the point where the Titanic went down and it gave new meaning to the tragedy, as I could imagine what they felt, now being on a ship.

I arrived in Southhampton, where I took a shuttle to London, and then the Eurostar to Paris, arriving in early evening. My first look at Paris from the taxi was bigger than I imagined and somehow different. I cried when I saw the Arc du Triumph, the Louve and Seine. My room had a view of the muddy-brown Seine and the very next morning I got up before the sun rose at 8:30am and walked along it, counting the bridges till I reached Notre Dame, an hour later. That was what I wanted to do most, as if you recall, my desire to go to Paris and be like Sabrina in the movie of said name, was to write my book Becoming Miriam there.

Well, six years later, I arrived, and did get to sit in the booth Hemingway wrote his classics at Cafe Duex Magots and write some on my second book which highlights my journey to move to France. God fulfilled my dream and I ended up staying one month with me taking the train down to the South of France, to Antibes, where I fell in love with the blue blue sea and snow covered French Alps. More on that later…

I will be posting my journal I wrote every day and posted to my friends on Facebook for you to enjoy in a part of a series of my travels in France. I hope you enjoy them and my pictures of all the wonderful memories and friends I made along the way.

First day in Paris
Oovercast weather, walked all along Seine counting the bridges doing my Sabrina thing 5 Kilometers to Notre Dame, with stunning sculpture. Visited the Deportation Mermorial where 200,000 resistance fighters and jews were deported to death camps, along with the Memorial du Shoah, that has the 67,000 names of French jews deported engraved on walls. Very moving for me as these were the first authentic sites I have seen. Some nice British ladies helped me on my first harrowing ride on the Metro. The French do like Americans and practicing their English. Fun lunch with my waiters of French meatballs, frites and salad. No one tips here even taxis.

Day 2 in Paris
Today I ventured out on metro to Musee de Orsay, featuring the impressionists and a special exhibit of Degas. Tears have come to me in many unexpected places while here and looking at the beauty of brush stroke and color of Monet was one of them. I have been praying about a new vision for my art, and given I saw a modern impressionist exhibit in the art gallery on Queen Mary, (famous British artist Sheree Valenine-Dianes), I believe I will try leaning this style. Grabbed an apricot crepe and walked through Garden du Tulliniers, past the big Farris wheel, and danced down the Champs Elysess with Jesus to the tune of Ten Minutes Ago I Saw You, from 1960s Cinderella TVspecial. He had promised me we would, and boy did we. Yes, I got a few funny looks from the French, but I didn’t care! At the end is the Arc du Triomphe, such impressive sculpture, it blows my mind! Now a pro, I hopped back on Metro back to hotel for a break, then off to Eiffel Tower at night tour. I am depressed how expensive things are here, it really is ridiculous and a bit dark and gloomy, but hey, it is winter and it is Paris!

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!


Parlez Vous Francais? Simple Online Language Lessons by Mango

Bonjour! (Good day, hello)

Today I would like to share my journey into re-familiarizing myself with the French language as I prepare to visit France. I took French for one semester 35 years ago while at U.C. Berkeley and for the past year, I have been watching movies with French subtitles, but needed more.

My local librarian introduced me to Mango, an online resource free through the library system that teaches online language lessons, including French. It is available also for a fee through the mobile app and at mangolanguages.com

I am thrilled to say I have been able to bring back the language through these simple, easy to understand and speak, interactive lessons. You will find them under Online Resources on your library website.

I am sitting here at Peets Coffee, smelling the freshly ground coffee, on this hot 96 degree summer day, probably annoying my fellow Peetniks by repeating the French phrases outloud!

Do you want to learn some easy French? Here is a sampling:

Bon Soir! (Good evening)
Ca Va? (How are you?)
Bon, ca va très bien, merci (Well, I am very well, thank you.)
Vous parlez anglais? (Do you speak English?)
Moi? Oui, je parle un peu anglais. (Yes, I speak English a little.)
Bien. Je ne comprends pas le français beaucoup (Good, I do not understand French very much.)
Bon, A tout a l’heure. (Well, see you later.)
Au Revoir, and Ciao. (Goodbye and Ciao)

See, I learned all this in the first five lessons, and I trust I will be able to get around Paris and the South of France. After all, the French appreciation it if you try to speak the language first, especially waiters, and then don’t think we are horrible Americans!

Please come back to my blog and learn more about France and my upcoming trip!

Salut and Ciao (goodbye and Ciao)

Read my spiritual journey and my path to moving to France in my new book Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God
available in paperback or ebook at amazon.com


A Walkabout for Art Lovers in Nice, France

This Fall I plan to visit Nice, France, on the Cote d’Azur (blue sea) in the South of France. Also known as the French Riviera, it was a playground for artists – inspiring them to create art in a way that Paris could not, with the sun, sea and ocean breeze as subjects of their modernist paintings.

As an artist, I am looking forward to visiting the Marc Chagall Museum in Nice. Having a Jewish heritage myself, Monsuier Chagall is a favorite. I first saw his genius in the stained glass windows of the chapel in Haddassah Hospital outside Jerusalem, on my first tour of Israel. I was moved by his biblical scenes and my messianic-Jewish tour guide (a Jew who believes in Jesus) gave a delightful commentary as we visited the chapel. My favorite Chagall painting, La Mariee, is of a bride with violin-playing goat.

The Musee Marc Chagall was created with the cooperation of the artist himself, with large paintings illustrating the first two chapters of the Bible, Genesis and Exodus; and Solomon’s Song of Songs or Canticles, which is a biblical meditation on love.

THE LIFE OF CHAGALL

Marc Chagall, born Moishe Zakharovich Shagalov; (1887 –– 1985) was a Russian-French artist of Belarusian Jewish origin. An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in virtually every artistic format, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints.

Chagall was born into Russian poverty (his father was a herring merchant) and he went on to live a life encompassing nearly 100 years. He lived the Russian revolution, arrived in Paris not speaking a word of French, returned to his village to marry his fiancé and was then trapped in Russia during WWI. He returned to Paris to become one of the Modernist masters, but even this couldn’t save him as a Jew during WWII and his family had to be smuggled out of France to America. During this time his Jewish hometown was decimated from a population of over 200,000 to just 118 survivors.

Despite this, his work is infused with joy and optimism, whimsical dreamlike symbols, and always evoking his humble childhood and faith.

CHAGALL ON THE RIVIERA

Chagall lived his final years in Saint Paul de Vence from 1966-1985, where he was constantly in motion on new projects, even up to the day he died at age 97 (his tomb can be found in the Saint Paul de Vence cemetery). His works can be found up and down the coast – and sometimes crop up in surprising places, like at the winery Sainte Roseline where a Chagall mosaic covers a wall in the chapel, or in the back of L’Ane Rouge restaurant in the Nice Port, where you can find a red ceramic donkey, a gift to his stubborn red-haired mistress, Anne, who he nicknamed L’Ane Rouge, and who then gave the name to her restaurant.

How to Get There:

Take bus Bus #15 Rimiez/St-George, which you can catch behind the Nice Etoile Shopping Center, behind Galeries Lafayette, or on rue Geoffredo. Once the bus is well up the hill and you have a great city view to your left, you know your stop is getting close. After you pass the ‘Rolland Garros’ stop, push the red button and get off at the ‘Musee Chagall’ stop. The museum is via the road on your left. The museum is on Avenue Docteur Menard, which is just off Boulevard de Cimiez.*

Voyages heureux à Nice – Miriam

Check out my memoirs available on Amazon.com in ebook or paperback
Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God.

*adapted from Allison Coe – Best of Nice, Blog.


Paris Here I Come: The Best Falafel in Paris Review

Yes, I am excited to say my long planned trip to Paris is finally coming to pass. I have been waiting for the Lord to provide the money to go, and voila, I have received a nice settlement from a car accident which will allow me to travel to France.

One of my desired things to do when I get to Paris is visit the Jewish Quarter, the Marais, and have a falafel at what I have been told is the best falafel restaurant. I hear they are out of this world, and having spent much time in Israel, I love to eat them. If you are going to Jerusalem anytime soon, the best place to get one is in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City. They put French fries in them, which I love.

In the Marais district of Paris, long lines form in front of a tiny, dark green storefront, where tourists and locals alike await what just may be the best falafel sandwich in all of Europe. At least according to Lenny Kravitz, whose picture adorns this always crowded kosher eatery. Yes, while the City of Lights is renowned for its Michelin-starred restaurants and gourmet cuisine, one may not always feel up for a multi-course meal.

If you’re looking for something delicious and budget friendly, (a classic falafel pita cost 5 euro and will satisfy your appetite for hours and hours), head straight for the Marais district and don’t stop walking until you get to 34, rue des Rosiers.

The neighbourhood, the traditional Jewish quarter of Paris, is full of falafel joints, but L’As du Falafel is widely-known to be the best (Paris resident and professional food writer and blogger, David Lebovitz, puts L’As du falafel at number 2 on his list of 10 Insanely Delicious Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Paris). Give your money to the Israeli guys standing outside, and get in line to pick up your order from the take-away window.

What you’ll get is a pita stuffed to the brim (you’ll need a fork and lots of napkins) with super-crisp, garlicky chickpea fritters, creamy hummus, lightly pickled red cabbage, salted cucumbers, fried eggplant and just-hot-enough harissa (ask for extra sauce piquant).

One word of advice: don’t save this meal for your last day on a Paris visit. Once you have one of these falafel sandwiches, you’ll want to come back again for another.

L’As du Falafel
34 rue des Rosiers (Métro Saint Paul), Paris
+33 (1) 48 87 63 60
Closed Saturdays

Bon Appetit! Wish me luck in my travels! – Miriam

Check out my book/memoirs: Becoming Miriam: A life transformed by God – click above or for sale at Amazon.com


Do you love a great Zoo?

Bon Jour! Zoos are some of my favorite things, visiting them wherever I travel. How about you? Today, I will take you on a tour of famous zoos, including one in Paris!

I remember as a teenager visiting my older sister Kathy in San Diego and spending the day wandering the huge San Diego Zoo, happy to see the animals in natural habitats. My favorite animal is the seal or otter, and I love to see them swimming around while barking. And of course, I often travelled to the San Francisco Zoo, taking my students when I was teaching elementary school.

Then one day while staying in Jerusalem during my missionary days there, I took the bus to the The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo to explore. It was November, and warm with a cool breeze, like the Fall gets there. Colorful leaves blew around my feet as I debarked the bus. I paid my 10 shekels to enter and was so surprised to see the native animals of the Bible, one after another. Each habitat had a sign posted with the Scripture from the Jewish Bible that mentions the animal, and where it came from, which was fascinating to see! God’s Word at the Zoo! King Solomon brought many of the animals on his great ships into the port at the tip of the Red Sea, now know as Eilat.

The zoo sees its primary goal as the conservation of endangered species. These include animals mentioned in the Bible which are now extinct in Israel, such as the Asian lion, the Syrian brown bear, the Asiatic cheetah, the Nile crocodile, and the Persian fallow deer.

Finally, I reached a large open reserve where animals roamed freely together. I rested on a bench overlooking the reserve nearby an Orthodox woman, in her long sleeves and skirt and wig, nursing her baby. I was shocked as I had never seen an Orthodox woman breastfeeding. She smiled at me, and I smiled back. Such peace and tranquility until an Israeli fighter jet flew overhead, breaking the silence and scattering the animals. A spark of fear settled in my heart, wondering if an attack was imminent. Just a typical day in Israel, I reminded myself.

And in the spirit of keeping everything French and highlighting some fun things to do if you get to Paris, may I recommend the Melagerie du Jardin des Plantes (Zoo & Gardens), the oldest zoo in France, right in the heart of Paris. In 1793 the Jardin des Plantes, which was originally a botanical garden, became the first public zoo in France. The compact 16 acre area, with formal 18th-century landscaping, was retained when the Jardin was renovated between 1918 and 1939. It holds some 1,100 specimens, including the rare Przewalski’s horse. It was the personal zoo of the aristocracy, who selected many animals to reside there from all of Europe and beyond.

I plan on visiting when I take my trip to Paris in the near future while enjoying the beautiful botanical gardens. I hope to paint some of the flowers there with my pastels and include them in my art greeting card collection. I wonder what animal and flower will be my favorite? Restez à l’écoute – stay turned! Au revoir mes amis. – Goodbye my friends!

Check out my book/memoirs: Becoming Miriam: A life transformed by God – click above
or for sale at Amazon.com.

To see my art greeting cards, click here


Escape to the South of France – A Book Review: Cooking for Picasso

Do you ever have a book you just can’t put down, that you feel was placed in your hands for such a time as this? This was the case for me, as I discovered a new author named Camille Aubray who lives in the South of France and wrote a wonderful mystery/romance novel called Cooking for Picasso.

As you might know, I hope to move to the Cote de Azur (blue sea) in France to start a new life serving the Lord as an artist and writer. My heart is already there, so I was thrilled to be brought right into the pages, through the author’s descriptive, colorful paintings of the area and its food and Provence cooking. I also loved how she brought into the story the famous artists who painted the area, including Picasso and Matisse, from the 1930s onward. The reader gets a peek into this little known time of Picasso’s life: his women and his art, following him to his last years living in Paris.

Cooking for Picasso, tells the story of three generations of French women, starting with Ondine, a young French girl living in the town of Juan Les Pins, nearby Antibes, whose family runs a popular cafe in the 1930s. One day she is sent to cook for a secret Patron who turns out to be Picasso. The story line jumps back and forth to modern day 1980s, where her daughter Julie and granddaughter Celine set out to solve the puzzle of the missing Picasso painting done of Ondine called Woman at the Window.

A mesmerizing story of love, heartbreak, and the search for our true passion and purpose, I highly recommend Cooking for Picasso. Anyone with a heart for French cooking, art and the joie de vie that the South of France can bring will find it delightful. Available at Amazon.com or your local bookstore or library.


A Virtual Trip to Paris on Christmas Day

is-1Joyeux Noel! Merry Christmas in French. It’s Christmas Day here outside San Francisco and I am writing my first blog post for my new theme C’est La Vie! (This is life!) I hope you are somewhere warm celebrating the birth of our dear Savior Jesus, who came to bring light to our darkness and freedom and hope for eternal life to each one of us.

Now that my first book, Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God is published and available for sale on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle/ebook img_1397formats, I can go forth with my plans of going to Paris and fulfilling my dream of being a writer and artist there. I plan on taking a long trip to write in the cafe where famous authors wrote during the Romance-age of Paris and paint where famous artists painted..

I plan to go to Cafe Les Deux Magots in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of Paris, which was the rendezvous of the literary and is-2intellectual society. I know the booth where Hemingway wrote and desire to sit with my laptop and work on my second book, which is a continuation of my first, how God is leading me to France to live and minister there. Think what inspiration this will be. Sipping on a Cafe Creme, letting a buttery croissant melt in my mouth. Watching all the people, hearing French spoken and using my limited French with the waiter.

After a day writing, I hope to take my pastels down to the river Seine, the main large river that runs through Paris in a snake shape, and paint the famous bridges. I will take a coffee and walk till I find that perfect one, perhaps with Notre Dame Cathedral in the background, Think what inspiration that will be, to imagine is-3how Picasso, Monet, and Chagall painted the same spot, and to be surrounded by other artists hoping to make their mark in the art world. I’ll capture how the sunlight dances on the dark green water, and the clouds floating by. Perhaps there will be a small child with a colorful balloon.

My heart will soar as my dream comes true, as God is a giver of good dreams. It has been a hard, long wait, with the passing of my father this summer, and recovery from a car accident of 14 months, along with a bout with melanoma cancer.

But our God promises to bring good out of evil and sickness, to give us the hope of life with a loving God who adopts us as His child, even when we are alone and abandoned by our own families. He will never leave us or abandon us, and will come live in our heart when we ask him to forgive our sins and give us a clear, new beginning.

You can learn how to have this personal relationship with God by reading my book, which shares how I found this same relationship is-4after a life that left me with a broken heart and damaged life. Jesus was faithful to restore me and can for you too, no matter how wounded you are.

Back to France…I have some resources to share with you if you would like to come along and dream with me about going to Paris. Read the book: The Paris Wife: The First Mrs. Hemingway, by Paula McLain.The Paris Wife takes place in the hopelessly romantic 1920s, as Hadley, a 28-year-old virgin, and Hemingway, a terribly ambitious 21-year-old wounded in the First World War, start their lives together in France.

is-5McLain smartly explores Hadley’s ambivalence about her role as supportive wife to a budding genius, and the novel is at its most powerful and devastating in its portrayal of two key moments in the marriage: when Hadley leaves a valise with her husband’s manuscripts on a train, only to see them stolen, and later, when she realizes he has left her out of his first novel,The Sun Also Rises.

It is a great read, and allows the reader to step into the romance of 1920s Paris. For a movie that does the same thing, I recommend the movie Midnight in Paris (2011), directed by Woody Allen, starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams set in modern day Paris. While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée’s family, Gil, a writer, 220px-Midnight_in_Paris_Posterwalks the streets of Paris at midnight only to be offered a ride in a car that has him time traveling back to the romance of the 1920s. There he meets the greats: Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and Picasso.

I hope you have enjoyed our little trip to Paris today, and will follow along on my blog to enjoy more! I also plan to go to the South of France and visit Nice, where Chagall and Picasso both have museums.

Blessings to you, dear reader on this Christmas Day.
Un joyeux Noël à tous nos lecteurs.

Au Revoir!

To read a synopsis of my book, click above or go to Amazon.com

To view my greeting cards that feature my art, click above or go to miriamsarzotti.com