AUGUST 30, 1956
PARIS—We left Copenhagen by air for Paris the past Friday. I consider that, on the whole, we have had good luck, for most people tell us they have had much rain and very chilly weather. I have found it cold enough to wear my wool suit all the time, but at least we have had some sunshine and rather little steady rain.
We came into Paris successfully, but our luck with the weather deserted us here. We had rain on arrival and it has continued to rain at intervals.
Dr. Gurewitsch brought his daughter, Grania, to join us and, in the late afternoon, he also joined us for a trip to Versailles where we saw the small apartments of Queen Marie Antoinette and those of various kings, as well as Madame du Barry's.
We also saw the Hall of Mirrors where the Treaty of Versailles was signed after World War I. Then we went to dinner in the Trianon Palace Restaurant, which was deserted. Though representatives of the mayor came to tell us that they hoped the fountains would be illuminated and the evening show would go on, the rain came down in such torrents that we came back to the hotel at 9 p.m. We will go back another night, if it is possible, but I am afraid I may have to wait for a later visit.
The blue sky appeared Saturday morning, but dark clouds would be driven over the sun every now and then. In a clear moment we dashed down to the St. Chapelle, but as we went in a cloud came and we had only occasional moments of sunshine. There was enough, however, to give the young people an idea of what the beauty of the little Gothic chapel can be when the sun shines through its marvelous colored windows.
The blue is known as the Blue of Chartres, since it was made there, and Chartres still is the place for the manufacture of glass of this type. The restorations since the war seem to me really remarkable. The rose window, which is of a later date than the others has been completely restored.
We also went to the Cathedral de Notre Dame and I particularly enjoyed the fact that it happened to be at a time when the service in commemoration of the liberation in World War II was going on. I had not heard organ music in Notre Dame for a long time and it was most beautiful.
Just after we came in, the bugles seemed to ring out in triumph, which is something I had never heard at a service, and towards the end we heard "Taps" being played and the notes echoed and echoed through the cathedral.
It seemed strange to me to hear our American "Taps" being played in Paris, but I am told that General Lafayette brought us many French military customs and perhaps "Taps" as played in America may have come from here. Or perhaps it was played here in homage and commemoration of the Americans who died in the liberation of France.
So much of early U. S. history is connected with France that you are constantly coming across ties between the two countries. Without France's military help and her financial backing, the U. S. might never have existed.
In the afternoon we turned real tourists and took an American Express tour. Many of the people were Americans, with a few others thrown in. This is not the way I like to sightsee, but it did give the young people a very good background. We all agreed, however, to go off on our own in the future and are now prepared to choose what we want to see most and will visit these places in the next few days.