All blogs are property of authors and copying is not permitted.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Guest Blog: Jane Leopold Quinn: Paris to Normandy: Inspiration for a Story!

My husband and I just got back from a trip to France with the worst souvenir ever—severe colds. Five days later and I’m still just barely moving. This doesn’t diminish the beauty we found in France. Honestly, I love England and Italy and never had a big hankering to go to France. Nutty, yes I know but my dh wanted to see the Normandy Beaches and US Cemetery. I said I’d like to see Versailles.

We went on one of those Seine River tours. You’ve probably seen Viking advertised on TV. I thought they were interesting. The cruise company we ended up taking was Avalon Waterways. I didn’t know it but there are at least four river cruise companies in Europe. Avalon also runs Mississippi and Columbia riverboat tours here in the States. And sailing slowly and smoothly along the Seine was amazingly relaxing and lovely. I can highly recommend Avalon Waterways.

What does this have to do with writing? I haven’t a clue. But I’m sitting here, drugged up to the hilt with cold medications and nodding off in a doze every few minutes while watching NCIS reruns and writing romance is the last thing on my mind.

This won’t be a travelogue or anything as comprehensive as what Rick Steves writes. It’s just some musings and photos.

We stopped in Vernon, accent on the ‘non’. The weather was cooler than than we expected but not abnormal for that area of northern France. Cool temperatures made for gorgeous flowers in flower beds and hanging baskets. But I also loved the half-timbered houses.

Rouen is pronounced “rwr” or something like that. There’s no way a gal from Dubuque in Iowa could support a decent French accent. “Rwr” has many ancient buildings and the requisite cathedral. It’s also the town where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. The church built and dedicated to her is a very controversial modern construction. At least the architect thought to put ancient stained glass windows in the church. They’d been removed from another church before WW II to protect them.

Omaha Beach on the Normandy coast was so much larger than I’d ever imagined. It stretched for what seemed like miles. The chaos on that beach on June 6, 1944 must have been unimaginable to all the young men there. This is a photo of a sculpture, called Les Braves, in their honor.

Of course the US Cemetery is a peaceful and moving overwhelming expanse of green grass and white marble crosses. Avalon arranged for a short service, the playing of the National Anthem on a carillon and taps, then gave each of us a rose to place on any grave we would care to. Our plan was to find the grave of a friend’s great uncle and take photos of it. Luckily we had the section and plot number. That was nice to be able to make the visit more personal.

Les Andelys is another small town along the Seine, picturesque with more flowers and more ancient buildings. In their church, a wedding was being set up. I loved the rustic simplicity of the aisle chair decorations. I wish we’d been able to see the bride and groom. I would have liked to see her gown.

The Eiffel Tower is humongous, much larger than I thought it would be even after seeing photos. One of our guides said it had originally been painted red. I always thought it was black but it’s really a taupe/gray. See how just one leg of it dwarfs the people?

We toured Versailles and, wouldn’t you know it, my camera stopped working but Versailles was overwhelming and I wouldn’t have known what to focus on anyway. Same with The Louvre. Between the crowds at both places and everything there was to see, you just have to put the the camera down and gawk. I thought I’d been charging it up every night on the ship but apparently it didn’t work. I was afraid I’d have to take it to Best Buy for help but thought I’d charge it at home and YAY, it came back on line. Whew! I quickly transferred the photos to my laptop.

Besides the humongous cold, the flights are the worst part of trips. We had heavy turbulence both ways but at least the person behind me didn’t have a “Knee Defender.”

I don’t quite have a plot yet, but I would definitely have my characters strolling around the Île de la Cité, the island that’s the original heart of Paris, or sitting in a café on the Champs Elysées. Meet a painter in that little café. Turn that around so it’s a female painter with a male subject. How about a diamond necklace is stolen from a rich American woman, she hires a PI to find it, which eventually leads them both to the romantic narrow streets and wide boulevards of Paris.

I hope you enjoyed my little tour and photos. I write highly sensual stories that can be found here: Amazon Author Page
Jane Leopold Quinn
My Romance: Love With a Scorching Sensuality


Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Thanks to Marianne and RB4U for hosting me today. Several weeks later, I'm still coughing but still enamored with the beauties of France.

Rose Anderson said...

How fun that must have been...and the cemetery how intense with all that loss stretching across acres. I enjoyed seeing it all through your eyes and pictures, Jane. Thanks for sharing. :)

J.D. Faver said...

What a lovely time you had, Jane. Thanks for sharing it with us. Hope you're feeling better now.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Thanks, Rose and J.D. I thought I'd be tearful at the cemetery but it was so peaceful and well tended. It made me feel proud that our soldiers were so respected. The National Anthem on a carillon was very unique and beautiful.

Michele Zurlo said...

It's a trip of a lifetime!

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

It sure is, Michele. And being down low on the surface of the Seine made everything on either side of the ship so personal. The Seine isn't really very wide.

Barbara Mikula said...

Whoo Hoo! Jane does Paris! Looks like you had a great time.
Barbara/Skye Michaels

jean hart stewart said...

Love your pictures..I love
France and England equally and know you had a wonderful time.....

E. Ayers said...

Lovely pictures, and memories that will never leave you. So many things to do in Paris and so little time.

I have a friend leaving this week to go there. When her son died she want to escape the heartache so she went to Paris to learn to speak French. Actually took French classes and found a little apartment where she could stay during the duration of her classes. But she missed all the tourist places. Now she's going back and this time for fun. She's hoping she remembers her French that she tried so hard to learn that one year.

I'm so sorry about your camera. But I'm sure the images are embedded in your mind. Can't wait to read another one of your books! So smooth and sexy, they are always like taking a vacation for the reader.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Thank you, ladies, for your comments. Maybe I'll post more photos on my own blog. I took almost 250 of them.

Cara Marsi said...

Jane, I loved your post and your pictures. I'm so envious. I really want to go on one of the river cruises through France. I was in France in 1965 and remember Versailles. I want to go back so badly. Thanks for your trip through France. Sorry about your cold but glad you enjoyed the trip.

Paris said...

What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing. Hope you're feeling better:)

Sandy said...

Jane, I loved your pictures. It makes me want to see France, and it's one of the countries I've missed.

Hope you get well soon. The virus going around hitting all the kids is horrible.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Sandy, Paris, Cara, yes France and Paris were a nice surprise to me. I can highly recommend the river cruises. They say once you do them, you don't want to take one of the gigantic cruise ships. They both have their positives and negatives, but lying in bed in the stateroom and watching the shoreline go by is kind of like heaven. Also saw lots of swans.

Melissa Keir said...

Such beautiful photos! I can see what an inspiration!

Share buttons