National Geographic : 1957 Jun
graphic assignment in Bermuda, didn't link up with the caravan until it had reached Paris. Occasionally I would run into some friend from the States who would inquire: "'And where are you staying, my dear? At the (rillon? The Continental? The Ritz?" "Of course not." I would reply. "In the Bois de Boulogne." ItwasasifIhadtolda New Yorker I was living in Central Park. Yet that is just where our caravan was most pleasantly encamped: the Bois, that beautiful 2.150-acre forest serenely embedded near the heart of a great metropolis. Our trailers clustered near a willow-rimmed duck pond under a grove of horse-chestnut trees in full bloom, pink and white, not far from the exquisite outdoor restaurant, the Cascade, and the sylvan race track of Longchamp. Where to Put Up in Paris-the Woods Here we had at our elbows several lakes, one of the world's chief zoos. a theater, several excellent cafes, a polo field, tennis courts, a dairy farm, even a waterfall. At night we could hear the pulse of the restive city and see the pinkish glow of its lights against the sky. But the moon fell tranquilly upon our campground, and there was bird song at dusk and at dawn. Our greatest luxury was to be ourselves. No need for our children to tremble at a headwaiter's frown: clad in blue jeans and T shirts, in our own home on wheels, they could devour their peanut-butter sandwiches and hamburgers in perfect freedom. We would make our formal, spruced-up sorties into town to savor its urbane delights plays, galleries, studios, churches, museums, the Flea Market*--but when we returned, we could relax, take off our shoes, and let the kids tumble about on the grass, blowing off steam. Like any French housewife, I bought my groceries in the near-by open markets. It seemed odd at first to have to tackle separate shops for meat, vegetables, milk, bread, and fish. "Town Meeting" on the European Trail We rarely assaulted Paris in groups: each family explored the city at its own pace, fol lowing its own bent. Then, about (0o'clock of an evening, we would usually gather, chairs in hand. and form a loose circle under the trees. One member after another would re gale the group with an account of what he or she had seen and done that day. Occasionally these social hours doubled as sessions of our community government. WVally would step outside his trailer armed with a portable loud-speaker and bellow, 'Hurry, hurry, hurry! Meeting time ('ome one, come all!" Sometimes we would decide on the cara * See "Paris Flea Market: Bargain-hunter's Para dise," by Franc Shor. N\ATIONL, G(;I:O c;.\ IC MA\;A zixE, March, 1957.