January 2014—I’ve temporarily left behind the streets of Paris and the routes and rails of France in favor of the highways and byways of the East Coast of the U.S. for a 6-week lecture tour from New York City to Miami. At 16 venues in NY, NJ, PA, DC, NC, SC and FL I’ll be speaking to various audiences on an array of subjects relative to war touring, wine touring, heritage sites and the rewards of traveling beyond the clichés.
1. Since 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landing in Normandy and the Liberation of France by the Allied Forces as well as the 100th anniversary of the outset of the First World War, my most frequently requested lecture on this trip is on the theme of War Touring: Exploring Normandy and Other American War Memories in France.
In this lecture, I’ll explain how the American battle sites in France—from Utah and Omaha Beaches (WWII) to Belleau Wood and and the Somme (WWI)—and their surrounding areas can captivate Americans of all ages. I’ll describe how war tourism has evolved over time and speak of some of the fascinating Americans, French and others that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing in and around the battle sites.
2.My second major lecture is entitled Understanding Patrimoine: The Key to Extraordinary Travels in France. In this lecture I’ll examine the notion of patrimoine, often translated as heritage, which is so deeply engrained in the consciousness of the French that it is applied to everything from cathedrals, chateaux, old mills and gardens to cuisine, wine culture, craftsmanship and horseback riding.
I’ll explain through history, anecdotes and examples from my own travels throughout France how understanding the pervasive concept of patrimoine, along with its sidekick preservation, is a major key to enjoying enriching, insightful and extraordinary travels in France.
3. I’ll also be speaking to several groups about wine tourism in France, particularly Burgundy and Champagne, regions that I know well from researching and writing about them and from organizing wine tours there.
The winter 2014 lecture tour schedule
Jan. 18, Yardley-Makefield Public Library (PA), 2pm. Subject: War touring.
Jan. 22, Alliance Francaise de Doylestown (PA), 10am. Subject: War touring. I’ll be delivering this lecture in French.
Jan. 22, Newtown Square Library (PA), 7pm. Subject: War touring.
Jan. 24, Princeton (NJ) Elks Lodge #2129, 7pm. Subject: War touring.
Jan. 27, Vorhees (NJ), private event with a local wine club. Subject: Wine touring.
Jan. 28, The College of New Jersey. , 7pm in the college library auditorium. Open to the public. Subject: War touring.
Jan. 30, Jake’s American Grille, 5018 Conn Ave NW, Washington DC, 6:30-8:30pm. My friend Janet Hulstrand, a writer and teacher who has contributed to France Revisited, organizes a Francophile/Bibliophile evenings in the DC area and has invited me to make informal presentation about travel and travel writing in France during this evening’s gathering, followed by Q&A time. If interested in attending contact Janet directly at janet.hulstrand[at]gmail.com.
Jan. 31, Alliance Française de Washington DC, 2142 Wyoming Avenue, NW, Washington DC, 7:30pm. Subject: Understanding Patrimoine.
Feb. 4, Rotary Club of Medford (NJ). Subject: Wine touring.
Feb. 5, Mid-Manhattan Library (6th floor), 455 Fifth Avenue, NYC, 6:30pm. Subject: Travel and Travel Writing Beyond the Clichés: In Search of the Perfect Travel Moment. See the library’s events calendar for details.
Feb. 6, Lawrence Library (NJ), 7pm. Subject: War touring.
Feb. 7. Princeton Library (NJ), 7pm, followed by a Burgundy wine tasting at CoolVines, a wonderful wine shop near the library. Subject: Wine touring in Burgundy and Champagne.
Feb. 16, Alliance Française de Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill (NC), 4pm. Subject: Understanding patrimoine.
Feb. 18, Alliance Française de Charleston (SC), held jointly with the College of Charleston, on campus. Subject: War touring.
Feb. 21, Alliance Française d’Orlando (FL), 7pm. Subject: Understanding Patrimoine.
Feb. 25. Pinecrest Library (Miami-Dade, FL), 11am. Subject: War touring.