Save Your Holidays – Visit Krakow !

Paris has the Mona Lisa but the Louvre Museum is evacuated at least once a week. Miami is like sweet candy, but a coconut can fall on your head during an innocent walk. Where to simply enjoy your vacation? As an experienced traveler who saw the crocodiles (not only one but with adequate distance), delighted in all the wonders of Old Florida and with great respect to the Hunchback of Notre Dame Cathedral – I advise you to visit Krakow in Poland.

Krakow has an atmosphere that you will not find anywhere else in the world. Have you heard of a town with a friendly dragon, a spectacular castle, historic churches on every street corner, and where you can get royal treatment in a taxi cab? In brief, this is Krakow.

In the Center of Europe
There are many reasons to discover and love Krakow. One of them is the location. The city is in the exact middle of Europe. This means Krakow is easy to reach by EasyJet. Just two hours flight from Paris, Amsterdam or London and you are landing at the quiet airport named after the famous Pope John Paul II (who loved Krakow, too). If you live in USA there is a non-stop Dreamliner flight from Chicago. In just nine hours you are in Krakow. There are also direct flights from New York, Seattle and Boston to Krakow.
Krakow is Safe
If you are still not sure where Krakow is, look at the map of the safest cities in the world. The Foreign Office, a department of the Government of the United Kingdom (FCO) has recently updated its categories of terror threats in its travel advice for world travelers. According to their statistics, Poland is the safest country to visit for holidays.
Krakow inhabitants know this already. Recently in the Main Market Square of Krakow there was a ceremony for a men’s brotherhood organization. The participants wore beautiful costumes with fur hats, and many colors. As part of the ceremony they shot off a small but very loud cannon. At a nearby cafe, some people dove to the ground. Nobody else in the entire square moved, not even the kids. “We are from Paris, ” the people lying on the ground explained. So, if you do not want to develop a similar habit, forget about Paris and come to Krakow.

City of Legends
The Cracovians are calm and safe because they are guarded by their dragon. Wawel Dragon (called “Smok Wawelski”) had a monument in his honour unveiled in 1972. Is extremely popular – and not only with the kids you’ll find climbing all over it. It was once possible to send Smok an SMS message which would send him into fits of fire-breathing bliss. Now he does it without checking his phone first, so just be patient and don’t look down his throat. And yes, it is very real fire.
Kraków comes steeped in legend and myth, and evokes the most fanciful of images, from dragons under the catacombs of Wawel Castle, to Tartar hordes repelled at the gates and pigeon-knights waiting for their king to return. The centre of Krakow is acknowledged as one of Europe’s greatest surviving examples of a medieval city. The medieval Old Town, the Renaissance Royal Wawel Castle and the enchanting district of Kazimierz with its ancient synagogues were added to the original UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.
Adults admire the history and buildings in Krakow and children love the legends and stories of the dragon and pigeons. A common sight in the city is a happy family walking through the main square, with the kids each clutching a colorful plush toy dragon in their arms.


Enchanted Horse Taxis, Magic Trumpet
There are more reasons for you to visit Krakow:, including You do not need a car. The medieval city center of Krakow is very well laid out and all you need are good legs to walk around. However, if your feet refuse to obey you, have a horse drawn carriage ride! The enchanted horse taxis are parked on the Main Market Square, just beneath the tower of St. Mary’s Basilica.
Before or after jumping aboard a magic taxi, you will hear the Hejnal. This short, melodious bugle call is played every hour from the east, west, north and south sides of St. Mary Basilica’s left tower. This tradition comes from another historic story/legend of Krakow. The trumpet’s “All’s Well” can be heard all over the Old Town section of Krakow.
It’s not logical, but every time you come back to Krakow from somewhere and hear the Hejnal you feel like you are coming back home. It doesn’t matter if you were born here or have adopted Krakow as your new home as a student at one of the numerous universities. You will quickly fall in love with this trumpet call.
You can even hear the Hejnal on the Planty; three kilometres of public gardens filled with trees, flowers, benches and historic monuments. This charming walking space that rings the Old Town is one more “only in Krakow” location you will love. They are incredibly clean and you can walk around at all hours of the day and night while in other cities most parks are closed at night.


Obwarzanek and Delicious Food
Another important reason to love Krakow is obwarzanek. Kraków’s streets are packed with vendors selling this round, twisted baked bread roll. They are a culinary symbol of Krakow. This bit of pure happiness and the fastest way to have breakfast costs only 1, 5 Polish Zloty or 0, 24 Euro. It’s a round, yeast bread with a hole in the middle, made from twisted dough. Before baking the dough is briefly dropped in seasoned boiling water. It is similar to a pretzel, but better.
The first mention of obwarzanki dates back to the 14th century in accounts from the royal court of King Vladislaus Jagiełło and Queen Jadwiga. They have been protected from the Middle Ages: bakers had to obtain a named, royal permission to make them. Later a concession to make them was only given to Kraków’s bakers’ guild, which maintained strict control over not just consistency of recipes but who was allowed to bake obwarzanki until the 19th century.
In 2010 Cracovian obwarzanki has been awarded Protected Destination of Origin by the EU. Obwarzanki share the same roots as the more world famous bagels. This Jewish bread, baked in Kraków since the 17th century, joined Jewish emigrants on their cross-Atlantic trip to Manhattan in the early 20th century – and they made a name for themselves over there.
Krakow’s cuisine has more secrets than obwarzanek. There is a prądnicki bread ( with caraway seeds), and delicious lisiecka or krakowska sausage. Fans of culinary history will find something interesting in the cuisine of the old Polish nobility, combining the flavours of the Orient, local tradition, and… old French cooking. Dishes featuring game, wild mushrooms and groats are especially worth seeking out.
If you’re looking for distinctive regional flavours, try the famous Cracovian duck or maczanka krakowska – a sliced bread roll with pork loin or neck, and caraway sauce. It’s also worth trying Jewish delicacies – ideally in the Kazimierz district – including Jewish “caviar” (starter made with liver and onions) or herring dishes.
A leader among local desserts is Cracovian cheesecake with raisins and candied orange peel, topped with a characteristic criss-cross pattern of pastry. In small patisseries you’ll be able to get pischingers – originally from Austria, although now popular in Kraków, a cake made with wafers, milk, butter, sugar and cocoa. Krakow also has famous Wadowice kremówka (a cream and custard slice), owing its popularity to the late Pope, John Paul II.
South of Krakow are the large and impressive Tatra mountains. If you head to this area look out for Highlander oscypek – a distinctive, smoked ewe’s milk cheese (apparently without equivalents in Europe). It’s an excellent starter, especially grilled and served with cranberries. It’s also worth asking for mineral water from Muszyna or Wysowa, while lovers of fruit should try apples from Raciechowice and smoke-dried prunes from Sechna.
An old Polish proverb says, “Through the stomach to the heart”. In the most common translation it means that for Polish people, serving divine food is a sign of love.


Vodka and Traditions
Poland is famous for vodka, and with good reason. The first Polish vodka dates back almost 1,000 years! It was first used as a medicine, but now comes in many different flavors – including favorites of cherry and honey. Whatever flavor you choose, you will cure all your ailments or anesthetize any pain, perhaps even existential.
You will see vodka at every café and restaurant in Krakow. You can also buy it in the grocery stores and convenience stores. And it is not expensive – a small bottle (250ml) can be had for just 280 Polish Zloty, or about 0.60 euros.

City of Festivals
Another reason to visit Krakow and not Paris – or anywhere else, for that matter – is all of the festivals and events the city holds. Krakow boasts over 650 artistic and cultural events each year. With some of the best performers in the world, Krakow has something for everyone, and something is always happening. Yearly events include a dragon parade (featuring Smok, of course) a dog parade (featuring the “weiner dog” parade), multiple music festivals, an incredible Jewish Culture festival, a magic street theater festival, and even a soup festival. Of course, if all else fails you can sit in a comfortable chair in the main market square, order a glass of your favorite flavored vodka, and watch the magic horse taxis go by. Because in Krakow everything is simple.People are naturally nice and polite, and you can meet a famous writer on the market as if nothing ever happened.


Come to Krakow!
Krakow is in the safest European country, has a vast array of cultural events, and has fantastic food. So if you are looking for a safe place that is rich in beauty, culture, history and good food in which to take your vacation, come to Krakow! Smok, the dragon is waiting , and he has some vodka and obwarzanek for you.


By Joanna Werynska


The smell of love

There are places in Paris that are real treasures.These places you can discover only by accident. Or if you know someone who knows someone. They are outside exposure. Despite being located in the most popular areas of the city. Because the real Paris is a hidden Paris.

Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. A stone’s throw from the Palais de l’Elysée. Here was born the scent created because of love.

Arriving in the elegant courtyard. Kind of universe of luxury, calm and voluptuousness that makes You forget the noises  on the other side of the street. Nice woman inviting gesture encourages You to look inside. This is Patricia Meyer, daughter of Rose Desgranges. She welcomes You in this beautiful case of bricks and satin,  where is proposed a single perfume and begins the recount incredible story.

“It was my mother’s.She arrived to Paris in 1940 at the age of 16 and became a” small hand “at the Figaro Club, a renowned hairdressing salon, right here at 70 rue du Faubourg St Honoré. That’s when she met my father.I grew up in the apartments just above,, -says Madame Meyer.

The owner Mr Albert falls in love with Rose. He is 29 years old and their age gap worries Rose’s mother.  Rose is in love too. However, Mr Albert remains a man very courted by women and it annoys so prodigiously Rose so she resigns. Mr Albert understands that she is the only woman of his life. He goes in search of her and the request for marriage. Rose’s mother doesn’t agree, but Rose is in love and endowed with a sacred character. We are in 1945.  The end of the war. They marry in July.

For the 35 years of his lover, Albert decides to compose a perfume. Former chemist, he elaborates a juice of rose, iris and jasmine, at the same time tender and full of character. At the hairdressing salon, customers rush to know this mysterious scent. But Rose doesnt want to share it. It’s so personal and unique! Finally, the customers claim it so  Rose and Albert decide to market it in 1961. Provided that it’s never sold in another place. Rose installs a perfume fountain in the courtyard and places a drop of her elixir on ladies’ handkerchiefs. The entire Faubourg St Honore street is filled with the scent of “Rose Desgranges”!
Her small shop becomes the showcase for the “French-style fragrance”.

In 2013, a time when inventiveness in the olfactory world was everything, the descendants of Rose Desgranges (daughters and granddaughter) nurtured the idea of rekindling the flame of a perfume that encapsulated their childhood years. They thus decided to retrace half a century of French perfume-making and pay tribute to this exceptional creation.

Now everybody can come here to listen to this story and to know that smell.




Today in Paris : The Eiffel Tower strike

Matthew and Nathan are two little boys from Indonesia fascinated by science and architecture. Their big dream was to see Paris from the Eiffel Tower just before Xmas. Excited we went to the Eiffel Tower to fulfill this dream. We walked through the security checks  and…  unpleasant surprise. The guy from the security staff informs us that the Eiffel Tower is closed due to a strike of its employees. I asked two employees Eiffel Tower how long the strike will last. They don’t know. As the Eiffel Tower workers  strike every year for various reasons I ask them what is the reason their strike this time.  They don’t know and advise me to ask this question their boss.

As finaly I found out Unions CGT and FO representing the 300-person staff of the tower announced a strike in protest against the “sterility of social dialogue” in the company and “the lack of transparency of strategic decision” made by SETE, Society for the Exploitation of the Eiffel Tower.

This is the third time in six months when the tower is closed. On the Eiffel Tower webside there is no clear information about how long the strike will last. The information about the strike is  dimly visible.

Usually,  in winter The Eiffel Tower receives around 6,000 visitors daily.Many of them reserved a luxurious dinner or breakfast at the Eiffel Tower several months in advance. Representatives of the Eiffel Tower make sure that money will be returned.The only question is who will reward them  disappointment ?

Undaunted defeat at the Eiffel Tower small tourists from Indonesia admired the art of the Louvre. They wanted to see the former royal gardens and the oldest park in Paris Tuileries…which was closed because of another strike. Fortunately the team of Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre workers don’t strike at the moment so the two little boys from Indonesia were happy in Paris. In spite of the strike on the Eiffel Tower.





Today in Paris :l’ Oriental

Paris has many places which surprise you. A l’ Oriental is one of them. In the elegant galleries of the Palais Royal Garden, just five minutes from the Louvre there is a surprising little shop, unusual for more than one reason.

First, it has been here since 1818,so it’s one of the oldest establishments in the french capital. Then, it has a very small space and very full: it’s a real bric-a-brac,  filled with pipes of all kinds. Inside, there are not only pipes, but also a lot of tobacco-related objects, as well as antique jewelry. A small museum in short, which exhibits paintings, engravings, cigarette-holders and tobacco pots.

Since 1999, the house is run by Rakel van Kotte.  She was originally a non-smoker but  has finally set about it, for the customers and by taste.  She is friendly and always has for you good advice. I looked in here once intrigued by the photograph of John Paul II in the shop window. I don’t regret.

Rakel van Kotte told me about the Pope’s visit to this shop thirty years ago. Also Luciano Pavarotti was  a customer of this store. If you want to have the original souvenir from Paris  take a look here !

19, galerie de Chartres (Palais-Royal)
75001 Paris



A few facts about the Louvre

A lot of people thought that the Louvre as a big museum  where it’s impossible to not get lost, the home of the Mona Lisa and that would be enough.The Louvre can be tame. Here are some not commonly known facts about the Louvre :

  1. You can glimpse remnants of the original medieval moat

    Though the 13th-century fortress built by King Philippe Augustus was destroyed. Nobody didn’t know about until the eighties when archeologists excavated the original moat 23 feet below the Cour Carré during construction of the glass pyramid. Today you can peek at it in the medieval part of the Sully wing.

  2. The museum’s largest painting is in the same room as the Mona Lisa

    The Mona Lisa may be the Louvre’s most famous painting, but many people don’t realize that the museum’s largest painting is actually in the same room. The Wedding Feast at Cana by Venetian Renaissance master Veronese  depicts Christ’s first miracle of transforming water to wine.

  3. The Louvre is still acquiring additional works

    Even though the museum’s collection only includes art made until the 19th century, it’s still acquiring works as two portraits by Rembrandt—the master painter’s only full-length portraits.

    4.The museum employs 2,290 staff members, including 65 curators and 145 conservationists. ( 1,200 of those staff members are security guards). The Louvre even has its own squad of 48 firefighters on call 24 hours a day.

     This monumental museum contains many secrets inside its hallowed halls, just waiting to be discovered so don’t  go straight to  the Mona Lisa.



American election in French

Full of positive energy and with a bit of adrenaline we went with my American friend who living in Paris watch on live stream American race on armchair in the White House . In a beautiful building of the French radio in Paris. My friend dressed for this special occasion cap which provides for whom he voted. As a native Polish, in addition journalist I was in the position of an observer of events.Our first surprise at the entrance to the beautiful building of the French radio sparked  fact that in this American historical night event are participating almost only French. The second shocking annotation was  that they treat  American  presidential election as a football match. Beer pours streams and you can hear discussions about weekend more than political. In one of the rooms Dj mixes electronic pieces (Considering that we are in a beautiful building of the French radio he could play better ) In the course of beer discover that all they cheer completely the opposite player than the one whose name is on the cap of my friend. In the course of the beer situation is getting dangerous. Girl demonstratively turns butts raises cap on the forehead of my friend. Another asks stupid questions because she is totally drunk. We decide to evacuate this democracy.



Born to run :How Mr. Springsteen proved that he is a great writer


13626382_10210409140891293_289495251153045309_nThere are artists who shine briefly and fade away. Only a few people in the world are made of stainless. Bruce Springsteen is one of them. When you see him on stage with a guitar,   You know one thing for sure: This  guy is created by God to play and sing.  Thanks to him one plain Monday became the most unusual day’s  of life for me and 18.000 other people.

When friend invited me to the Bruce Springsteen concert at Paris Bercy Arena  I supposed that it will be a great event but didn’t know what exactly awaits me. Concert was suddenly interrupted by a huge power outage.  Alarms went off. Then announcements in five languages  informed to evacuate. Nobody from 18.000 fans left. The band kept playing without amps.While the technicians try behind the scene to resolve the problem, The Boss whole wet with sweat began to sign autographs and waving the sign on the back “5 minutes” in order to wait in the crowd delirium. With the power re-set and amps restored, he played “Dancing in the Dark”. Total show time was 3hrs 45 minutes. I saw a few good concerts in my life but something like this never before. Since this time I was wondered how he  is able literally give everything as if this concert was to be his last? And repeat the same thing the next day.

The answer to this question  you can find in a recently published book  Born to run. Rockman found time between the concerts and has described his life in five hundred pages. It took him seven years. Don’t be afraid of the volume. This is a book which you read in one breath. Springsteen tells here for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work and shows.Also, why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.

Writing about yourself is a funny business, – The Boss notes in his book. But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.

He  managed this attempt superbly. You should read this book. Like songs of Springsteen you have to hear.  To understand something simple about what we forget. If You will work hard You  will realize your dreams. No matter whether you want to be:  a rock star or a writer.  Bruce Springsteen decided that he will take a life of music, when – the age of seven – saw on television Elvis Presley. Since then systematically sought to achieve this dream. Six years later,  mother bought him  first electric guitar, which henceforth Springsteen created his first songs. With this book you will understand also that to be a real star it’s mean to have the courage to admit to depression and a difficult relationship with  father. Don’t pretend to be a tough guy who is made of steel. Springsteen writes like he is playing and singing : frankly.   It’s precisely composed on the phenomenon The Boss as an artist and as a human.

So therefore there are several good reasons to read ,, Born to run,, apart from the most important thing : To find out how simple boy from New Jersey  changed  history of the music and  now, after dozens of years on the stage became a equally good writer as a musician.


Paris : Visit or not to visit

Beautiful late summer  in Paris. Tourist season. But something is not as it should be. Passing the most frequented by tourists paths I don’t see crowds which were there at that time a few years earlier.

One family from California which I show Paris a couple of days ago gave me the answer to the question -Why. The answer  is – the bad press. I was a bit surprised by their febrile questions in e-mails before they arrived to Paris if they will be safe. Totally safe they spent one week enjoying the French food and sights. Before leaving they told  that Paris they saw is quite different from what they see on the news.   Paris is doing well!

The river Seine is not rising up to the front doors of the Louvre. We were there and we had a ball walking the halls and seeing the famous paintings. Yes -we are getting the most rain in 100 years in Paris this year.  But You might want to bring an umbrella, no?
Sure, there is extra, visible security around to remind us that there are bad people in the world and we need to be aware of it. But at least they’re here looking out for us. They will ask to check your bag and maybe run a wand over your body. It might have you standing in line a few minutes longer, but I promise, you’ll get to your destination.
And the strikes. Let’s talk about that. It’s a national past time in France. If we didn’t have strikes, I’d think something was wrong with the French. Is the timing bad? Of course it is. But you are still going to be able to use public transportation and take the TGV to Nice and other parts of the country.In addition, you have a chance to see unusual events as on the picture below. (This was a strike of French women against violence)
So things might be running a little slower, but they’re  running.
So – Come to Paris !  There is still the best cheese, wine and  great art.

How I track Hemingway in Paris

Frozen  I peered into my favorite Shakespeare an Co librairie.  I reached for the book of Ernest Hemingway A Moveable Feast .This is one of my favorite books

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man,

Hemingway once wrote,

then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”


These words of the master give me an idea. I decided to take a stroll trail of the writer.

Hemingway moved to Paris with his first wife, Hadley, in 1921. The young couple lived in an apartment on the rue Cardinale Lemoine in Paris’ 5th arrondissement. The apartment was sparse, with no running water and a bathroom that consisted of little more than a bucket.Is a Paris standard even now. This not prevent the writer to have a cats.



During their time in Paris, the Hemingways became acquainted with other ex-pats living in the city. Composing the famous “Lost Generation,” these artists, including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Picasso and James Joyce, became central to Hemingway’s growth as a writer.

The couple left Paris in 1923, when Hadley discovered she was pregnant with their first child. But their absence was short lived: after giving birth in Toronto, the couple brought their baby back to Paris in January of 1924. This second life in Paris ushered in one of Hemingway’s most prolific creative periods. In 1927, Hadley divorced Hemingway after discovering his affair with Pauline Pfeiffer, a fashion reporter. Hemingway and Pfeiffer married only a few months later and left Paris for Key West the following year.

Even though nearly a century has passed since Hemingway lived and wrote in the streets of Paris, his unique version of the city remains: stroll through the windy avenues of the Left Bank, visit the Jardin Luxembourg or sit down at one of his favorite cafés to make Hemingway’s Paris your own.

Here are the stops :

  1. Hotel d’Angleterre

    Ernest Hemingway and Hadley spent their first night in Paris together,here, in room 14—and Ernest returned to the hotel many times after. The hotel still stands, and still allows guests to stay in room 14


    The hotel is perfectly suitated in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a short walk from the cafés and bars Hemingway loved.

  2. Les Deux Magot

    Located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Les Deux Magot was once the meeting place for Paris’ literary elite, including Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Hemingway also frequented the café, and even used it as a setting for a meeting place in The Sun Also Rises. Nowadays, you’ll find more tourists than literary minds sitting at the café’s tiny tables, but it’s the perfect place to enjoy people watching on the Left Bank over one of Hemingway’s favorite cocktails, a daiquiri or martini.



La Closerie des Lilas

  Like Les Deux Magots, La Closerie became a watering hole for artistic and literary minds in Paris, and Hemingway went there often to write—he wrote most of The Sun Also Rises there. La Closerie des Lilas was also the first place where Hemingway read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s manuscript of The Great Gatsby.

4) Jardin du Luxembourg

There Hemingway would explore to experience nature in the city. When his family was wanting for the money, he would sometimes hunt pigeons in the Jardin du Luxembourg, snapping their necks and hiding their bodies in his son’s pram. You don’t have to stalk pigeons to experience the Jardin du Luxembourg, however. Stroll around the grounds (it’s the second largest public park in Paris) and admire the shaded alleys and fountains, or visit the Luxembourg Palace which is today houses the French Senate.



Shakespeare and Company

Anyone fascinated with Hemingway—or any other early modernist English author—should came here : a historic bookstore near the Seine on Paris’ Left Bank.

Started by American expat Sylvia Beach in 1919, the bookstore served as the center for English speaking writers and publishers in post-WWI Paris. Hemingway mentions the shop in his Paris memoir, He writing, “In those days there was no money to buy books. I borrowed books from the rental library of Shakespeare & Company, which was the library and bookstore of Sylvia Beach. On a cold windswept street, this was a warm, cheerful place with a big stove in winter, tables and shelves of books, new books in the window, and photographs on the wall of famous writers both dead and living.” 

Shakespeare and Company was also the first place to publish James Joyce’s classic  -Ulysses. 

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6) Harry’s New York Bar

It was one of the bars Hemingway frequented, near the Paris Opera. This place served as a meeting place for expatriates in the city. The bar itself came from a Manhattan bar that Harry’s original owner, jockey Tod Sloan, had owned previously.


Snails and the Artist

 Abelino Camacho, my new friend from mexico wanted to try how it tastes  snails. I’m not a big fan of snails because they are usually seasoned with a large amount of garlic that makes your breathe fire through the rest of the day but he wanted to try even though of that.

I took him to my favorite restaurant – Cafe St Regis. I loved this place from the first plate of French cheeses which I ate here.   Since that day I know that the food here is first quality. The waiters  may seem not too friendly but it’s just an impression. They are just professional in French-style. Above all, this place is  It’s a perfect reincarnation a classic brasseries. Subway tile, cool lights and big windows to watch Paris.


Unfortunately all this didn’t help. After two snails Abelino surrendered. He said politely that they are not so bad but he prefers a steak. Even the famous Parisian aperitif- Kir Royal – didn’t help.


Six plump snails has been still on a plate. I ate one. Neighbors from nearby tables didn’t want to try. At some point Abelino noticed thoughtful guy with a hat who stands at the entrance. I came to him.  I offered him our snails. He agreed. He sat down at our table and he was incredibly sympathetic.  We started an interesting conversation about Paris, life and snails . His name was Brian Morris. He is an artist from New York who was showing his works in Paris. At the end of our conversation he invited us to the opening of his exhibition in Paris.


As a result all the snails have been eaten up.  I also looked interesting expo interesting artist from NY in Paris.