Happy Valentines Day!

Mmmmm….These valentine’s desserts really did taste as good as they looked (I’m sure that’s hard to believe).  They have Valentines day in France too, though it’s not even 100th of a percent as commercialized as in America.

I had a great time in Paris and as the last days of my visit arrived a couple of things happened:

IT SNOWED!…but not just any snow.  Instead of individually floating flakes they looked like teeny-tiny-eentsy-weentsy snow balls.

WE WENT TO MONMATRE…
Apparently the place to buy fabric (le tissu) is in Monmatre.  There were fabric shops a plenty packed with people a plenty.  My favorite shop was Reine Tissus (Fabric Queen).  I was mightily impressed my the small mannequins with small hand-sewn dresses and coats made proportionately to fit them, like large doll clothes (this might only be impressive to you sewers out there).  AND don’t forget, Monmatre is also where Amelie was set and filmed (though on a warmer day I’m sure).

AND THE SACRE COEUR…
It’s a couple hundred steps up the big ol’ hill to get the the Sacre Coeur, but it’s worth the very nice view of Paris once you get to the top.

AND, OF COURSE, A CUP OF ESPRESSO…
Thom and I were getting pretty frozen by then, so we were excited about a warm something to drink.  We were amazed by our waiter who spoke to us in English, to the table on our left in French and to the table on our right in Italian!


A Walk to Arc de Triomphe

It took about 3 hrs to walk (briskly!) from Ile St. Louis, past the Louvre, up the Champs Elysees and to the Arc de Triumphe and back again.  It was gray and pretty cold, but totally worth it.  I wasn’t the only one out either.  Paris is clearly a constant tourist attraction no matter the season.  In fact, this is probably the perfect time to be here considering.

A French Lesson

I’m fully aware that, like learning to play the fiddle, really learning a language is a life long process.  I don’t expect to master french in the next half year, but since a person has no choice but to start exactly where they are, here goes…(keep in mind my keyboard doesn’t include french accent marks)

UNE BAGUETTE: stick, rod, batton, loaf of French Bread

baguette de tambour: drum sticks
baguette magique: magic wand
baguettes (pl.): chopsticks

LE CANICHE FRANCAIS

These are the two French poodles, Maggie and Mushka, I’ve been living with the last week (and their owners too of course).   They are really fun and a great hit with tourists.   This is the day we picked up Mushka from a six hour grooming session.  I wish I’d taken a before and after picture.  He was amazingly metamorphosized and I’d say quite proud of his new look.

Here’s Thom on the bridge to Notre Dame getting attention from one of the kabillions of tourists that took pictures of him and his cutie-pie dogs. It was like being a celebrity.  Thom handled it so well, he made it fun rather than annoying.  Ok, back to the french lesson…

UNE TRES PETITE VOITURE

I’ve been offered a ride south with my next hosts which is so generous.  I’m a little worried about getting claustrophobic in a small car for an 8-10hr car ride (or tour de voiture, shall we say).  Though if they are going to fit themselves, an accordion, 2 banjos, my bag and myself their car it is surely larger than this one….ah!

LE CYGNE

To be found at the bottom of a ramp to the Seine near my host’s apartment.  They are such a bright white in contrast to the gray February sky.

Ahhh…Paris!

Ok everybody.  Here we go.  Entry #1 of “Oh my gosh, Annie Fain’s actually in France” blog entries.  Though I normally keep blogging mostly art/business related the next succession of entries will have a more personal slant because I’m far, far from home and can’t help myself.  After all, it is a great way for a non-facebooker like myself to “tell stories with pictures” right?

Yes, I’m finally and officially here in France (still getting used to the idea).  I’ll skip the travel details, because clearly I made it here well enough and head straight to one of the most important topics of our lives….FOOD!

Hey! Everybody whose anybody is doing it, especially the French.  Thom, one of my two incredibly sweet and generous hosts, took me out my first night here to exactly the type of little restaurant you are imagining in your head right now.  It was lovely! (Remember, my intention is to share, not to make you jealous.)

We sat at a little table literally squeezed between a railing and the front window (from which to better watch the tall, slender, perfectly dressed, young Parisian men smoke their cigarettes out on the street…this particular stereotype is so completely true).

We started with Fois Gras, of course.  I really liked that it was served with fig jam and a little pile of crunchy seasalt.

…accompanied with a sip of red wine, of course.

After a main course of Coq au Vin, which Julia child went on about in her book My Life in France, we had Creme Brulee, (once again) of course.

Full and pink-cheeked we closed the evening out with a saunter by the Seine on Il St. Louis (which is smack dab in the middle of Paris and where my hosts have an apartment) with Notre Dame in the background.  Wow!

Here’s my first journal entry using the mini-watercolor set that my friend Melissa gave me.  All I could think to draw was that wonderful meal.  I know that are many more such meals in my future, but the first will always be special.