Sunday, March 26, 2017
Thursday, March 16, 2017
This week I'm celebrating a trip my husband and I took to San Francisco for three days, during which we stayed two nights at a charming hotel, The Cornell Hotel de France, which bills itself (justifiably) as a "French boutique hotel". (This is a day early for the Friday "Celebrate the Small Things", but sometimes it just works out that way. ☺️) You could say I'm celebrating the hotel, because it looks as if it has been whisked out of the 19th century, even the 18th, with it's beautiful paintings and decor — lots of gilt everywhere.
I like anything remotely historical, and especially anything that smacks of Paris, so this hotel was a find for sure. All the hallways sported prints of famous French Impressionists (my favorite artists), with a particular artist assigned to each floor. Our floor was the Stage Gauguin; the one below was Talous Lautrec. Other floors Van Gogh, etc. In the rooms are different artists. We had a couple of Klimt. Here is a close-up of "The Kiss", and someone had done a gilt painting around the wall switch! There were lamps on delicate furniture, and the overhead light sported an upside-down Tiffany style shade.
|Klimt's "The Kiss"|
|Stature of Jeanne D'Arc|
The hotel serves breakfast in a basement cafe (included in the overall bill), and it isn't the run-of-the-mill croissants, coffee, cereal and fruit. No, you get a choice of waffles or pancakes, omelette, or eggs served in any style. Or you can have cereal. Or fruit. Each breakfast comes with toast, hash browns, and fresh orange juice. And some of the best coffee anywhere! I wish I had thought to take my camera to breakfast, because the cafe was awesome in its decor, painted to look like stone columns and plaster walls, all of which were decorated with lovely hand-painted art work following scenes from Ste. Jeanne's life and story. You must go there yourself if you can and enjoy it.
Meanwhile, I did think on leaving to take a picture of the staircase going down to the cafe. And a little sitting lounge where you could read the newspapers and enjoy a cup of coffee, if you so wished. And the outside plaques that give you some idea of the hotel's standing as a tourist spot.
How about you? Are you enamored of French culture and themes? Have you been fascinated by the history of Jeanne D'Arc? Do you like French food?
Celebrate the Small Things is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain, L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog. (You can go to any of these sites to add your name to
Saturday, March 4, 2017
(But first: Celebrate the Small Things is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain, L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog. (You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate. )
So, why am I so drawn to this series? To begin with, I've always been fascinated by Victorian London and the era itself, when inventions we take for granted were just beginning: Electricity, the railroad, the telephone, etc. These were the big things people talked about, while they traveled by stage coach and hansom cab. From stories I read growing up, there always seemed a magical element to the clip-clop of horse hooves against cobblestones and buildings swirling in fog and the gas street lamps and the lamp lighters in the earlier part of the era.
Then, of course, there was the world of Sherlock Holmes, that uncannily brilliant detective who solved cases by observation and thought. (I'm not big on today's mystery/suspense novels that are solved by forensics and all forms of technology. They don't seem half as interesting.)
Of course, I was unaware of all the faults of the era: the London of misery rather than the London of mystique and the English inheritance laws that could leave a woman anywhere destitute, the starving and wretched in crime infested warrens, rather than the elegant neighbor hoods where women enjoyed theater and endless parties. All of my awareness of London's social stratification came later. (Commendably, under Victoria and her husband, Albert, many social reforms took place. )
But especially interesting in this series is how it brings to life the difficulties of a strong-willed teenager who suddenly found herself Queen of England and who had the determination and savvy to navigate quite a number of plots against her even after her marriage to Albert. From the get-go, she was both assaulted by political rivals and sustained by her own intelligence. And the love affair between her and Albert is so heartwarming for an era where marriage was usually a political alliance first and foremost. They literally fell in love with each other and never got over it. (This season only brings a viewer up to Victoria's first pregnancy, but since they had many children and achieved many social reforms, there really is material to look forward to.)
And then there is the acting: Jenna Coleman is perfect as the young Victoria. Rufus Sewell shines as Lord Melbourne, her mentor, friend, and political advisor. Tom Hughes is endearing as the besotted Albert, who still must earn respect from Parliament and forge his own role as more than an echo of the queen. This is a stellar cast, with those in supporting roles holding their own, and together they bring Victoria's world convincingly to life.
If you've missed episodes of Victoria, you can probably find reruns of it on other evenings on PBS.
Do you have a favorite series? If so, is it contemporary? Or historical? Are you a devoted fan? Do you set aside time each week to watch it?