Memories of PEDAS in Paris
On our return from the PEDAS holiday to Paris we asked our travellers to send in any highlights of the trip so that we could publish them in the Newsletter. Thank you to everyone who took the time to email the following comments:

Anne Hartman:
I loved the atmosphere in Paris and the grandeur of the buildings; for me, the Musée d'Orsay was perhaps the most exciting of the galleries because I loved the building as well as the paintings (the cafe was also very good!). I found the trip to Paris at night delightful - the Eiffel Tower glowing against the dusky sky, the break dancers, the twirling aerotoys of changing colours, the Africans selling lit-up Eiffel Towers and the unexpected sight of people solemnly dancing the tango, all filled me with joy. Sunday was great too; we walked into the centre of Paris along the Seine, perused the second hand book stalls, visited a smart sweet shop and went to the Natural History museum after strolling through the Jardin des Plantes.

John Biggs:
Having visited The Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Bois de Boulogne, John and Irene announce the arrival of "a new star in the cultural firmament of Paris". Here is a quick sketch from John. The spectacular building is by Canadian architect Frank Gehry. The 8 sail shapes are in glass and
steel, surrounding what he calls the "Iceberg", a seemingly haphazard pile of white-clad blocks that enclose the galleries. John says, "The building is a piece of sculpture in itself and even though there are only 11 galleries, some with only one item displayed, we stayed for 7 hours! This is contemporary art at its best, well displayed and even understandable! Thanks to an army of well-informed and helpful gallery staff. To find out more for yourself, visit

Chris Lock:
The highlight of the visit for me was the exhibition in the Musée d'Orsay "Splendour and Misery". Amongst all the other exhibits a wonderful selection of
Toulouse Lautrec pastels which I had never quite appreciated before.

Anne Whittle:
Most challenging: navigating around the Musée des Arts Decoratifs with its signless, frosted glass doors & the zigzag route between floors to get out!
Most friendly: the couple in the takeaway shop near the hotel making really good "bespoke" takeaway veggie lunches with no warning.
Most lateral thinking: breakfast in the hotel using a pudding basin for a cup, a plastic beaker for an eggcup, a fork for a boiled egg. ..........
Most startling building: the Pompidou Centre - and the views from the top floor. Most game: the proprietor of "La Petite Casserole" taking on wave after wave of hungry PEDAS members before calling in his daughter & going down to the kitchen himself.

Caroline Robertson:
I have just witnessed another revolution on the streets of Paris. Last Sunday the inner roads of this magnificent city were reclaimed by the citizens of the Republic. This day was proclaimed a car free day. There was a quiet hush as I approached the area around Le Louvre; I was not aware of the car free day. All of a sudden I was surrounded by masses of people of all ages on bicycles - families out for the day enjoying the freedom of their streets. Young people had organized races down the under-passes and this attracted crowds of on-lookers.
The atmosphere was electric and rekindled many happy memories for me when I rode my bike through Christchurch High Street when only six years old. I do not know how often the Parisians have the opportunity to enjoy their freedom of the streets but long may it continue.

Linda Addison:
Highlights for me: the big museums (Louvre and Musée d'Orsay). Could only manage one floor at the Louvre - best things were the Dutch artists, especially Rembrandt and the other Dutch painters, also Poussin. At Orsay it was the Impressionists - an amazing collection! - and excellent salads for lunch.
Then, the Cluny museum (Musée National du Moyen Âge) which seems to grow bigger every time I visit it, but never gets crowded or noisy.
The boat trip and the riotous meal at the Bistrot de la Montagne were great too, and, of course, the meals at La Petite Casserole.

Fay Anderson:
What was the highlight of the visit to Paris? The company, of course. And just being there, in such a vibrant city, once more. I enjoyed every aspect.
Mandy, our coach driver, was excellent, not only her driving but also her knowledge of Paris, where to go, what to do, places to visit. The hotel was adequate but the room provided for breakfast was too small and cramped for our party, let alone other clients! However, easy access to the RER and Metro made up for the hotel's shortcomings.
On our first full day Pat, Barbara and I set off on the RER and Metro for the Musée Picasso, which I found a little disappointing as many of the floors were closed due to a forthcoming exhibition at the Grand Palais next month. But my favourite room showed Picasso's depiction of Manet's 'Dejeuner sur l'Herbe'. Here were many paintings of the subject, each abstracted more and more till the last in the series was hardly recognisable.
On the second day, Pat, Barbara and I were joined by Roy and Carole. We were concerned that there may be trouble on the RER and we would have to take the slower Metro to the Musée d'Orsay but we were lucky. I love this museum, it holds all my favourite works! First we visited the 5th floor which houses the Impressionists. Next I decided to go to the exhibition on the ground floor – 'Splendeurs et Misères', which was about prostitution. Many Toulouse-Lautrecs, Ferdinand Pots, some Walter Sickert and one Alphonse Mucha of Sarah Bernhardt were featured. You could also go behind a curtain to view some very risqué scenes!
From Musée d'Orsay, we walked to the Rodin Museum, on the way stopping at a patisserie for coffee and tarte aux fraises. Sadly the house was closed for renovation but the garden was open so we could see Rodin's Gates of Hell, The Burghers of Calais, The Thinker and Orpheus as well as some lesser known pieces.
Paris at night with the Twinkling Lights on the Eiffel Tower with the almost full moon to one side was a magnificent sight. Mandy also arranged a trip by boat on the Seine. It was interesting to have a different view of the city. That evening culminated in the Pantheon district where we had dinner, again arranged by Mandy.
On our last day in Paris, the coach took us to Versailles which I had not been to for over 40 years. It was so different, not the building or the gardens, but the throngs of people and the number of coaches! But here, my trusty stick proved a bonus. Not only did it mean that Pat and I escaped the lengthy queue to gain entrance to the house but also a ride in a spacious, teak lined lift took us up to the next floor in state!
The most impressive room was, of course, the 'Galerie des Glaces'. This vast room with its twinkling lights and mirrors was magnificent. No wonder the French Revolution took place in 1789 – the extravagance of the French Court compared to the abject poverty of the peasants was a tremendous contrast! We decided to reserve judgment on the Anish Kapoor sculptures and I was disappointed in the Musical Fountains, for which we had to pay 9 euros extra. I have seen better fountain displays elsewhere.
It was a most enjoyable Autumn break. A big 'Thank You' to Val and John for making it such a success.
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Paris (2015)
Poole & East Dorset Art Society
THE PARIS POEMS.....Despite all the groaning I was overwhelmed with the response this year...I have had to edit them down as I started with 13 pages so I apologise if your epic poem appears in a shortened version or I have arranged them a bit differently. Liz

An aerosol spray of memories, painting a Paris wall,
A Kaleidoscope of images, to treasure and recall.
A coach of friendly faces and an early morning wait,
(For people with an anxious heart who worry about being late!)

Across the sea's translucent blue, leaving chalky cliffs behind, And on to new horizons, to broaden and enrich the mind.
A cultured city – Paris, an artist's Paradise
A place to look and listen, to beckon and entice...

Picasso's poignant paintings, his creative, humorous view, Monumental buildings, there's so much to see and do -
Funny, flirty musicians and too much rough, red wine
A careful, helpful driver – so relax and have a good time.

A magic, little holiday, filled with colour and delight
A grafitti mural on the wall, gleaming in the night.
So thank you to the people, who organized this time,
I'm sure we're all most grateful and will tell you so in rhyme.
(Anne Hartman)

Our Annual trip has come around again, full of anticipation, excitement and joy
Off to Paris we travel along, over the channel to Calais and beyond
The skies become darker, down comes the rain, but when we arrive the sun shines again!
Morning comes and Picasso is beckoning, cubism appearing in front of our eyes!
Over to Pompidou we go, go, go -amazing views of Paris at the top – what a show!
A Boat Trip is planned on the River Seine and a Dinner altogether with music and song
Everyone happy and having fun.
What wonderful memories we have along the way
Hoping yet another trip will come our way
A big thank you to Val and John for all they have done
And we really do hope that this super trip will not be the last one!
Take me home Mandy take me home
I have walked and walked the streets of Paris Looked at Manet, Monet, Gauguin and Picasso
(Anita Cheeseman)

Walked in the steps of Kings and Emporers.
Consumed glasses of wine and tarte tartin
Now my soul is full of the joys of Paris
So take me home Mandy, take me home.
Springtime in Paris, ah yes
Take me back to Paris
Take me back.
(Jane Collins)

This hotel room's no good at all
The shower's too high and the toilet's too small
But the management came back with a sharp retort
Your arse is too large and your legs are too short
But stay a while and do not bemoan
You can call your saviour on the mobile phone
(Basil Faraway)

Returning Home
All along the motorway, I can see the patterns form,
See the shades of nature, green and gold as is the 'norm'
But with the influence of Picasso, perhaps Matisse and also Braque,
A trip to Paris galleries has truly left its mark;
I find instead of fields and barns and trees, they seem to be
Now, blocks of colour, forming shapes 'Cubism'? (It must be!)
(Chris Lock)

How would you like to be
In Paris with PEDAS and me
Oh what I'd give for a moment or two
Down by the Louvre and the D'Orsay with you
Darling we'll see the sight
Of the twinkling tower at night
Then back for a meal and a Vin Rouge or two
We'll make our dreams come true

In the gardens of Versailles
We'll watch the world go by
Oh what I'd give for an hour or two
In the queue for the view or the queue for the loo
Then back to the bridges of Paris with you
We'll see our dreams come true
(Gill Farawy)

PARIS THEN AND NOW (at the Musée de Cluny)
The fumes of Gauloises everywhere you go,
The urgent nee-naw wail of police and ambulance,
Accordion music or Piaf on the radio
And uneven-surfaced pavements urge your feet to dance.

White tiled tunnels of the metro lead to your destination
(At Châtelet the walk was much too long)
Threading crowds on St Michel needed concentration
But the unicorn at Cluny offered solace half way along.

The light on trees and river sparkled then
And made Impressionists of us all:
Today the smoke is banned, our feet no longer dance
(But Châtelet, now a building site, is still the gate of hell).

The light, the crowds, the unicorn still remain:
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
(Linda Addison)

I was asked to write a poem.
Who me? a mere musician !
To lyrical verse and rhyme
I never had ambition.

But Paris wove it's magic spell
And captured my heart once more. Its beauty and it's romance
Inspired me to the core.

The desire to tell you how I felt
Just wouldn't come in verse.
I love it - that's all I'll say
Before I get any worse.
(Tricia Taylor)

Places of interest are in abundance
Astonishing views are all around
Relax and enjoy the French cuisine
Include a boat trip on the River Seine
See the amazing views of the city from the Arc de Triomphe
(Cathlene White)

We arrived at Dover and thought it all over
On the ferry to Calais what adventures in a day
Arriving at the hotel we knew all would be well
To Paris on the Metro tried - not you they cried
So all the delights of Bercy unfolded at our mercy
A meal with wine and friends so we were fine
The Seine on a boat but you needed a coat
The tour at night a pure delight
Versailles the servant quarters we spied with our private porter
The cobbles really were a pain but the awesome gardens our gain
Now it's homeward bound
No more Euros only Pounds
(Jenny Glendenning)

The twinkling Eiffel Tower at night
Sparkled and dazzled
White and bright
But best of all to hear and see
The dancing fountains in Versailles
Twinkled in a bright blue sky
(Gill B)

To the Orsay we went one fine day with Barbara, Pat, Roy and Fay
On each floor were fine works or art but one exhhibition stood apart
Prostitution in France. Ooh La La! It opened your eyes very far
Dare we venture behind the red curtain – Oh my!
We were very uncertain
We've seen it all before, so we headed back to the door!
(Carole Gadsby)

Twinkling autumn leaves in the Paris sunshine
Here, as in London, the plane trees flourish.
Fountains at Versailles,
Notre Dame at sunset
And trying to express my memories in rhyme.
(Pam Philip)

...I love Paris in the fall, but queueing on the Peripherique least of all.
Paris is for artists and lovers - but aren't the two the same?
Picasso loved both pink and blue, then left them both in a moment of abstraction. Meandering through queues of muses. (Ce que m'amuse!)
Love of words, in the Company of Shakespeare - a haven of English in the midst of Latin.
Bringing the dead to life in the Pantheon, where Nature is set in stone.

Paris is for lovers of the night, where the heart is sacred,
and there are red lights in a windmill.
Putting on the Ritz and putting the Cartier before the whores,
the night climaxes in an Eiffel of twinkles.

Up with the sun – the King in all his splendour.
A pantheon of ancient gods, where Apollo can catch his reflection
in a roomful of mirrors, on his way to Chapel.
Vive la revolution! Aux armes citoyens!

A little chaos, as water and sound cascade in the ballroom.
Dance with me, my love!
At least we'll always have Paris!
(Martin Price)

From Casablanca to Chaos
"We will always have Paris"
He whispers, with a twinkle in his eye.
My mind flashes images of a tower
Sparkling under the full moon.
And my heart begins to sigh.

Shared moments – many moments
The artist we both admire – delights.
Après Picasso, we feast contented
Cocooned by grafitti walls
Inspired... I too must write.

Versailles, tarnished with gold
Reflections, fountains, the garden ballroom.
Little chaos brings to life scenes long gone.
Music embraces, we dance...
"Paris" he whispers – I swoon.
(Marilyn Cropley)

There were 4 old ladies and Roy who set out for Paris to enjoy
Musee d'Orsay was a delight and Musee Rodin - such a sight!
They walked and they talked and they laughed out loud
At least their passes avoided the crowd!
They wined and they dined at the end of the day
"We'll come back again" they all did say. Hooray!
(Barbara Woods)

Paris 2015 – Deconstructed
We started with Picasso and a guided tour
And, as Wilde so truly wrote,
Life imitates art
So Paris then unfolded as painted by Picasso.

Brutalist buildings in monumental blocks -
La Defense, The Arc de Triomphe, a Pharaoh's tomb.
Vast structures and collections of inhuman scale.
The Louvre, Versailles, The Musée d'Orsay.
The Borghese Gladiator was no buffer than 'Self-Portrait'
Michaelangelo's slaves less tortured than his break up with Olga.

Multiple images juxtaposed themselves
Like variations on Dejeuner sur l'Herbe.
Concorde's obelisk, up close, was twinned with the Eiffel Tower.
Perched perilously on a traffic island.
My sight line passed through Arc and Chalgrin's Arch alike.

The flower beds round Notre Dame
Glowed crimson like the highest windows inside
And the perspex animals of the Jardin des Plantes
were jubilantly and childishly gaudy
As the master's final period.
(Sally Hawksworth)

How to see seven highlights of Paris in a day!
Start with Musée D'Orsay
View the exhibition of prostitution
Look briefly at the sculptures of Rodin
Sorry couldn't include all seven!
Exit and cross the bridge of the Seine.
Enter the Orangerie to see the paintings of Monet
Soak up the peaceful atmosphere for a brief moment.

Take the metro to the Arc de Triomphe
Go under the road via the underpass
Jump the queue with our museum pass
Clamber up the steps of circular staircase to the roof
Have photo taken as proof!

Head for the Louvre
Armed with my article entitled "Pick of the Louvre's Treasures"
It's hardly viewing at your leisure!

Join the queue for Sans Chapelle
(Get to know the design of the railings quite well!)
Suddenly the dynamics change
There's an air of expectancy
people surge forward and two queues merge.
We spill into the entrance
The stained glass windows soar to a majestic height
and we stay to the end transfixed by the sight!
(Annie Chaplin)

Colours of Paris
We followed the mauve line of the metro which changed to Emerald green to Montmartre,
where Parisians are plastered with Paris and the Basilisque du Sacre Coeur gleams white against the azure sky.

The little white train swerves to avoid the white trains of asian brides posing in the narrow streets and swarthy firemen tread the purple grapes to present red wine to their mayor.
The mauve and yellow metro lines take us to the Pompidou to paintings of startling hues in a building colour coded green for water, blue for air and yellow for electricity.
And the Eiffel Tower glows a golden yellow against a black night sky.
(Maureen Franklyn)

Paris in the Fall
Oh to be in sunny Paris in the fall, our many trips here I can recall.
To the Musee Picasso and the D'Orsay, the Musee Rodin and Versailles
We'd decided to go, with all the wonderful art on show.
It was at Versailles, with queues so long, so many Japanese making up the throng,
It was to the musical fountain display, Barbara, Pat and I first made our way.
The sculptures of famous Anish Kapoor, his "Sunshine" and much, much more.
With mixed feelings we studied the three, what did we make of them? Hard to see!
To the palace we wended our way, pondering the queues, Pat and I, in dismay.
"To the end of the line", a steward cried, until my trusty stick she espied.
"Ah", elle dit, "Suivez-moi" through the barrier we walked,
Amazed we laughed, we talked, till up the stairs we must climb, oh dear!
A lovely steward who was sitting quite near
Revealed "un ascenseur", so up we rose
My trusty stick to the rescue once more.
The highlight of this next floor"Le Galerie des Glaces"
Most assuredly showed a deal of class.
(Fay Anderson)

We went to Versailles for the day,
Disabled don't worry, okay
Behind secret doors there are lifts between floors
We see treasure and frescos galore.

The tourists had cameras on sticks taking selfies and more
Took the train, did the rounds of the beautiful grounds:
Light shimmering bright was an artist's delight.

The tour of Paris at night, an exciting sight
Eiffel Tower twinkled bright to everyone's delight
John Biggs led the tour, with information galore
Making the evening special and we all wanted more.
(Rosemary Bastick)

Impressions of Paris
Night ride on the metro
Allotments in the Bercy Park
My brother cooking Osso Bucco
Dining outside after dark
Roses of Picardy
On squeezebox and guitar
Louvre's Wingéd Victory
Twinkle Twinkle Eiffel Tower
(Liz Magee)

Poole to Paris:
A lady driver – now that's new.
The passengers, a motley crew.
Bedrooms big. Bathrooms small.
Did we complain? No not at all.

Le Bistro de la Montagne:
The troubadours were so much fun
with cheeky smiles for everyone.
O we English aren't we the nerds!
We knew the tunes but not the words!

Mona Hatoum at the Pompidou:
Hatoum learnt at The Byam Shaw.
I did too but for her there's more.
Her Paris show allayed all fears.
Mona brought us close to tears.

Paris by night:
"The Red Light District's there" we cried.
"No, just more stop lights" they replied!
Paris by night. The 'Twinkling Tower'
and moonlight. What a magic hour.

The Versailles queues were serpentine
but chats with Aussies made it fine.
Bright gilded fountains and parterres
and still more people everywhere!
But think, when all is said and done
the Sun King shone on everyone.
(John Bowen)

Tout le monde visite à Versailles
The crowds were so thick, no visit was quick
Just stand in the queue and take in the view.
So off to Versailles, a palace so grand
Once more in a queue to stand and to stand.
Mon ami had a stick, a true work of art
The official took pity- a woman with heart!
Through the fence in a tick, was she taking the mick?
To the head of the queue, we were in at once-Phew!
Admiring the grandeur and a great flight of stairs
Fay's stick at the ready- did she look unsteady?
The steward said swift 'You like take the lift?'
With a colourful stick we were there in a tick
Folks were really quite sick we got there so quick!
(Pat Burnham)