Through His Words: Day Eleven

26 Feb

Reflections From and About My Grandfather
Alexander Capraro, Architect

Day Eleven (no letters written days 9-10)
Hotel Regina

 

Paris, France
July 26, 1938

Darling,

Landed in Paris late last night from Cannes, about a 15 hour ride as Cannes is on the French Riviera while Paris is some 600 miles north. I did not write from Cannes and I was so tired after visiting Monte Carlo, Nice and the Riviera. I left for Paris at 8:35 AM and thought I’d write on the train, but the vibration was so great I could not write at all.

Alex was staying at the Hotel Regina in Paris, which opened in 1900. It sits across the street from the Louvre and is still considered one of the beautiful hotels in Paris. From its website: “Created by art lovers and patrons, the Regina opened in time for the 1900 Universal Exhibition and is still managed by the Bavarez family, which founded it.”

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Well  here goes a little description of this country –  The French Riviera, which includes the coast on the Mediterranean, is simply gorgeous – fine villas amid palm tress, roses, and other flowers along the road, buildings set up on mountain sides, cliffs, and seashore, mostly white and pastel shades of pink, green and blue – all have gabled tile roofs. Hotels of the most pretentious types. Mackinaw Island Grand Hotel is a piker compared to some of them.
I went to church Sunday in Cannes at Notre Dame de Bon Voyage. I realized I was really in the old world, so different were even the services.
After Napoleon escaped from Elba, he is said to have spent the night in Notre-Dame de Bon Voyage.
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In Monte Carlo, I went into the world-famous Casino and saw every room in the place with different gambling devices. 

I played 20 frames (about 60c our money) and got a 5 franc chip to take home as a souvenir. I could not take a picture inside as they take the cameras away from one before he is allowed inside. The place is everything it was cracked up to be, beautiful. 

Interestingly enough, 33 years later, I walked in Alex’s steps not knowing he had visited the French Riviera. And, like Alex, I was equally taken by the magnificent sights, albeit as a student who was definitely not staying at Hotel Regina. What I do recall, however, is that my Rome roommate Jan and I went to Monte Carlo and Monaco for a weekend. At the casino, we dropped a few coins in the slot machines in the foyer, as you had to be 21 to actually gamble inside (not that either of us knew how anyway!) Our highlight was a tour of the casino by two handsome security guards we must have flirted with. Besides the ornate gambling rooms, we actually saw the ballrooms where Princess Grace (Kelly) and Prince Rainier entertained and danced.

The one thing that is so fascinating is the contour of the land and the abundance of flowers of every description, and great palm trees, as well as other trees not seen it home. 

DSWorld© 2014 Created with the assistance of Roman Pashkeev.

DSWorld’s Lands © 2014 Created with the assistance of Roman Pashkeev.

Remember the winding drive in the mountains just before we got into New York along the Hudson river? Well, picture that, and add the flowers, palm trees, etc., and the colorful villas along the slopes, with the blue Mediterranean instead of the Hudson, and you have a good picture.

© 2014 Created with the assistance of Roman Pashkeev.

DS World’s Land © 2014 Created with the assistance of Roman Pashkeev

Reflecting on Alex’s trip made me head to storage and pull out the 40+ year-old boxes that contain the slides of my year in Rome, a true journey back in time. Alex mentioned that he had also gone to Monaco, and these are photos of a few of my slides from the Monaco Palace…

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as well as a photo I took of the vista Alex describes.

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I just got up and haven’t had a chance to see anything in Paris as of yet. I intend to call up this man Azzaroni in a little while and hope I find him because it is a hell of a handicap not knowing the language and trying to make yourself understood.

It is raining out, the first rain since I left home, and it looks dreary but I hope it won’t last long so that I can start out on my sightseeing. Remember, I am expecting to hear from you soon and don’t wait too long after your first letter to write another!

Lovingly as ever,
Al

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x to you and my children

 Ciao,

Judy

6 Responses to “Through His Words: Day Eleven”

  1. IntrovertlyBubbly February 27, 2014 at 10:42 AM #

    What a lovely read….

    Like

  2. Ted Walker February 27, 2014 at 9:26 PM #

    What a beautiful adventure!

    Like

  3. loren larsen March 13, 2014 at 12:51 PM #

    That was so wonderful! I love how you included your own slides, find some with you in them! The last sentence reminded me sooooo much of Papa…”Remember, I am expecting to hear from you soon and don’t wait too long after your first letter to write another!”
    Thank you, Juju. These just make my day. xoxox

    Like

    • blogginginitaly March 14, 2014 at 3:41 PM #

      Loren, thanks for the note…I have many photos with me in them and I’ll try to include some of them in the future. It does sound like Papa, doesn’t it? And now he’d be even more excited to hear from you! xoxox

      Like

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