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NewsletterJune 2006

Up Coming French Events:

Fête de la musique June 21st 2006 - Yearly music festival that takes place throughout France, when I say throughout I mean throughout. Just about every city, town and village will have some type of concert.

Da Vinci Code Paris

As I’m sure most of you know the beginning of The Da Vinci Code takes place in Paris, visiting some of Paris' most famous and visited attractions, notably the Louvre Museum. The Da Vinci Code visits other less famous Paris attractions: Saint-Sulpice Church, Arago Rose Line, Pont du Carrousel and the Comédie-Française. Each of these attractions can be found on my Da Vinci Code Paris web site.
Here is a little more information about the lesser know attractions from The Da Vinci Code:

Saint-Sulpice Church, the supposed home to the Priory of Sion is in fact Paris’ biggest church. Saint-Sulpice is larger than Notre Dame! The present church, built in the middle of the 16th century replaced a previous Romanesque church built in the 13th.
Yes, Saint-Sulpice has a brass line on its floor and an Obelisk as The Da Vinci Code states. But it’s not the Paris Meridian (that’s about 100 yards away), what the The Da Vinci Code calls the Rose Line. In fact the line inside Saint-Sulpice is used to determine the winter solstice and Easter. At one end of the brass line is the Obelisk and the other end a marble plate. When the sun, passing through a Saint-Sulpice window with a lens in it, touches the Obelisk it is the winter solstice. When the sun touches the marble plate it is the summer solstice. When the sun shines on the metal plate in the middle between the Obelisk and the marble plate it is Easter.
To see photos - Saint-Sulpice Church

The Arago Rose Line, simply called the Rose Line in The da Vinci Code is the once 0 longitude line, better known as the Paris Meridian. The world used the Paris Meridian to calculate 0 longitude until 1888, then Greenwich England became the first prime meridian. In the 1990’s 135 bronze disks were placed in its honor. The Arago Rose Line is named after French astronomer Francois Arago who recalculated the Paris Meridian in the early 19th and thus gave it greater accuracy. The Arago Rose Line runs north south through Paris for a distance of about 6 miles. Finding the Arago Rose Line can be a bit difficult but a lot of fun. I would try the Comédie-Française near the Palais Royal, also close to the Louvre. It might take time but you will find them!
To see photos - Arago Rose Line

Built in 1833, the Pont du Carrousel is within a stone's throw of the Louvre Museum. It is also one of the many bridges in Paris that passes over the Seine River. In the case of the Pont du Carrousel this offers not only a good view of the Seine River but also a nice look at the Eiffel Tower. The Pont du Carrousel of today is not the one built in 1833. That bridge was demolished and rebuilt in 1936 because it was to low for boats to pass. To see photos - Pont du Carrousel

The Comédie-Française is the only theater in France run by the state. This beautiful theater is very close to the near the Louvre Museum and the Arago Rose Line or Paris Meridian runs nearby. The Comédie-Française is also next to the Palais Royal (another location from The Da Vinci Code) and its gardens. The gardens are worth a visit and walk or better yet a nice place to have a picnic. To see photos - Comédie-Française

Down on the (French) farm

In honor of this year’s sheep shearing, taking place at my in-laws farm on the weekend of June 10th here is a repeat from June 2004.

Farms have their own rhythm, certain things at certain times of the year. In May it’s La Tonte, or sheep shearing. This, my friends is very, very difficult work. It’s like trying to give a hair cut to a 100-pound child, who is constantly moving. I didn’t do any shearing; two sheep shearers were hired to do that, called tondeurs in French. No, I along with many of my in-laws was the one who brought the sheep to the shearers. Believe me it’s not easy to grab a 150-pound, sheep turn it over on its back and then drag to get its ‘hair cut’. In total over two hundred sheep were sheared. We started at seven in the morning and finished around four in the afternoon.

To give you an idea of how economics are not in the farmer’s favor, fifty years ago the wool a sheep produced paid the shearing costs and the sheep’s food for a year. Now the wool produced will not even pay for the shearing.

La Tonte photos.

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