Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books—-her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!
When I was a student in Paris our class took an overnight trip to Normandy. We visited Omaha Beach, explored the German bunkers and paid our respects to the many brave soldiers buried in the American cemetery.
Vaux-le-Vicomte is another stunning château not far from Paris. Nicolas Fouquet, a powerful court financier to Louis XIV, challenged architect Le Vau and decorator Le Brun to create the most luxurious palace of the day, and the result is one of the greatest châteux of the 17th century. It was perhaps a little too luxurious, because when King Louis XIV saw it he was furious that anyone dare surpass him in this fashion. He ruined Fouquet by arresting him and confiscating all his assets. Fouquet never recovered. Louis XIV took charge of Fouquet’s gardener, André Le Nôtre, who went on to design the gardens of the château de Versailles, his greatest triumph.
Fontainebleau is a beautiful château located near Paris. It is a cluster of styles from different periods. Louis VII built an abbey here that was consecrated by Thomas Beckett in 1169. A medieval tower survives, but the present château dates to François I.
Why did I go to France? For most of my life I have wanted to be able to speak French. I studied French in high school and I majored in French at the University of Iowa but even after all that study, I could not speak French, at least, not very well. I enrolled in the American Institute for Foreign Study and on September 14, 1997, I arrived in Cannes, France to begin a two week orientation before my trip to Paris and the beginning of my great adventure. Here are some views from my room at the International College of Cannes and across the street on the beach of the French Riviera.