Photo by Chris Card Fuller
The best travel video you may ever see in your life might be the one you’ll only see at a friend’s home. Of course, you don’t believe me.
Some Paris Logue readers might opt for a root canal over an evening screening of their friends striking the same pose in front of various monuments, the highlight being those most beautiful, hallowed words: THE END.
But, what if your friend happened to be Warren Doremus, former news reporter for WHEC TV in Rochester, NY? And what if the subject happened to be Cruising the Seine – Honfleur to Paris: On the Trail of the Great Masters of Paint, Brush and Canvas?
Beginning in Honfleur, Warren and his wife Jean, board Le Bizet, an upscale riverboat which wends its way through Normandy with stops at Rouen where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, St. Wandrille monastery, the ruins of Jumieges monastery, Monet’s garden at Giverny. They pay a visit to Van Gogh’s final resting place in Auvers-sur-Oise and arrive triumphantly in Paris. Doremus admits that although he’s been to Normandy and Paris on a number of trips, this is the first time that they’ve arrived in Paris via the Seine River. Thanks to his excellent film footage, we lucky viewers get to share the experience of watching the gently rolling landscape from the bridge of Le Bizet.
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Being the professional documentary maker that he is, Doremus has mastered the art of pulling together all the essential ingredients that capture a sense of place – in this case the Seine River. Some of Europe’s greatest artists including Van Gogh, Daubigny, Monet, Manet, and Corot gleaned their inspiration from its waters and the surrounding rural landscapes to create some of the most admired paintings of all times.
Not only is Doremus a talented writer – he writes his narrative script long before he sets an iota of film footage on his editing screen – he is a tried and true photo/film journalist – who never shies away from the ‘touchy’ questions. At the Wandrille monastery in Normandy, he didn’t hesitate to ask the monk in residence about the then current plethora of Roman Catholic priests’ alleged abuse of minors (2003). He also tried to elicit French reactions to the war on Iraq, getting responses which he described as obfuscatory.
And did I mention the music score? Not a frame of footage slips by without careful consideration for the music that would be most likely to bring tears to the viewers’ eyes. As if the shots of moonlight on the Seine couldn’t do that – even without a sound score.
We saw Cruising the Seine the night preceding the Academy Awards. I told Warren that the Oscars would be an anticlimax. His neighbor Harold must have felt bad for us – he broke out a 1969 Burgundy to accompany the pheasant dinner following the screening . . Did someone forget to turn off the Eiffel Tower’s strobe lights tonight – or am I just in a cozy little corner of heaven? Mix a little bit of Burgundy – and moonlight on the Seine – and what else could you possibly come up with, but heaven?
Although Cruising the Seine is sadly not available for viewing, you CAN take the trip.
And create your own great videos – if you’d like advice from a pro . . . maybe Warren can be enticed into making a guest appearance on Parislogue for questions and answers.
We’ll cross our fingers.