Through His Words: Day Twelve

25 Mar

Reflections From and About My Grandfather
Alexander Capraro, Architect

Day Twelve
Hotel Regina

Paris, France
Wednesday July 27th, 1938

Sweetheart,

It rained most of the day yesterday, the first bad day of weather. I tried to get in touch with my friends here, but found they are away for 10 days. That is a tough break because of the fact it is so difficult to get around not knowing the language. However, my friend has two brothers and one of them volunteered to take me around as he speaks Italian and French. I speak Italian to him, and he interprets it to the French here.

On account of the rain, I did a little window shopping and limited sightseeing. I had to buy a felt hat, as no one here seems to wear straws; they wear either felts, berets, or go bareheaded; and also, there are very few white shoes. 

IMG_0004

Photo of Alex years later, still with his straw hat and white shoes.

Tonight we had dinner at the Café DeLa Paix, a well-known place in Paris.

From the Cafe’s website: Ever since their inauguration on May 5th, 1862, the Hotel de la Paix (now Le Grand Hotel) and Café de la Paix are genuine institutions enjoying worldwide fame. Café de la Paix is a restaurant bar exuding Second Empire elegance and proudly displaying its listed frescoes and sumptuous gilding.

from website

from website

880-so-uneinstitution-photolieuhistorique3-fr2.jpg

880-so-uneinstitution-photolieuhistorique3-fr2.jpg

Later, we went to the famous Follies Bergère. The show started at 8:45 and lasted until midnight.

That was all Alex wrote about the famous burlesque theatre. I wondered, however, what the show would have been like in 1938, and found this listing on eBay:

FOLIES BERGERE 36 PAGE SOUVENIR PROGRAM W TOPLESS PHOTOS 

THIS IS AN EXCEPTIONALLY LOVELY ORIGINAL FOLIES BERGERE 1938 FOLIE EN FLEURS PARIS FRANCE SOUVENIR PROGRAM. MANY TOPLESS PHOTOS. 36 PAGES. SILVER COVERS WITH DIE-CUT FRONT AND GOLD GLASSINE COVER.

IMG_1740

IMG_1741

Whoa! No wonder he didn’t write anything!

As it had stopped raining after the show, I walked back to the hotel about 1.5 miles, and then to bed and slumberland. One good thing has happened here– I sleep soundly all night and it is of great help because I need the rest for the energy required for the next day. 

Today looks fairly nice and I plan to go to Versailles, the place where the peace treaty of the world war was signed. This is an all day trip and I won’t get back until this evening.

Alex was referring to the Treaty of Peace, signed 28 June 1919, at the end of WWI:

393px-Treaty_of_Versailles,_English_version

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Versailles twice, never realizing that Alex had been there before me. And just this month, his great-granddaughter (our daughter Benita) visited the immense and incredible Palace of Versailles, just 15 miles from Paris.

Aerial view of the Palace of Versailles

Aerial view of the Palace of Versailles (Wiki)

Tonight we plan to go to the Montparnasse, the artists’ quarter in Paris. 

Cafés rented tables to poor artists for hours at a stretch. Several, including La Closerie des Lilas, remain in business today.

Cafés rented tables to poor artists for hours at a stretch. Several, including La Closerie des Lilas, remain in business today. (Wiki)

I haven’t seen much so far, but the city promises to show me more than I had expected to see, so I may stay here a day longer and take it out of some other town… “Pietrabbondante” or “Ricigliano” etc.???

This, of course, was in jest as Alex was referring to the southern Italian towns where his and Maude’s ancestors were from. If nothing else was accomplished on this trip, Alex had promised Maude that he’d get to those two towns.

I wonder how everything is going at home. I am anxiously waiting to hear from you and get some news. Your letters will be so welcome on this trip.

Well, darling, I’ll write you again after my visit to Versailles. So goodbye for the moment and millions of hugs and kisses to you and ours.

Lovingly, Al

 

 

Ciao,

Judy

 

2 Responses to “Through His Words: Day Twelve”

  1. Lucy Santelli-Parma March 25, 2014 at 3:46 PM #

    What a gentleman!!!! His words take me to that place!! He truly was a lovely Man!

    Like

  2. Florence C. Connelly March 26, 2014 at 9:50 PM #

    ooooo lala !!!

    Florence C. Connelly faclarsen@aol.com

    Like

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