Why this blog?

To understand why this blog was created and where it got its name, start here

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving is virtually unknown in Paris. It's just another Thursday. You don't see turkeys in the markets, nor cranberries, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin pie.

This year we decided to host a Thanskgiving dinner for my friends Dominique and Emmanuel and their three kids. Seven people for dinner in our tiny apartment - but that's what Thanksgiving is all about.

The first challenge was finding traditional foods and then finding a way to cook the turkey and several other dishes in my tiny oven. The solution? We have an excellent butcher nearby and were able to order a turkey which they roasted for us. Patrice had never eaten (or carved) a turkey before.

French pastry shops offer dozens of tasty desserts but they've never heard of pumpkin pie, so I decided to make one from scratch. I found a recipe and then had to translate into the metric system: How many grams in a teaspoon of cinnamon? How many milliliters in 12 ounces of cream? You get the idea.

However, everything turned out just fine as you can see in the photos below.
Serving the turkey which my guests had never eaten before

Dominique and daughter Claudia

Melissa and her father Emmanuel
Dominique, Claudia, Paolo and me
 I hope your Thanksgiving was as happy as ours.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Horses on the march

As I've mentioned before, we live near the Place de la Nation which is a frequent site of marches and demonstrations. Yesterday, it was horses and riders who were marching to protest a proposed tax increase on riding lessons.

Will the government back down? I don't know. But the marches provide us with interesting photo opportunities.
Police on horseback awaiting the march

Friday, November 22, 2013


When we couldn't find a small side table with the right dimensions to fit in a tiny space beside our couch, Patrice decided to build one himself. He loves to bricoler (tinker or Do-it-yourself). I've mentioned his building talents before. And even though we have just a small space in the cellar, he's got it all equipped for small projects.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I need a new pair of shoes for winter, and if you've followed this blog before you'll know that I'm not big on fashion or shopping for shoes. However, I just couldn't help stopping to check out the shoes in this shop on the Blvd Saint Germain in a trendy area of Paris.
With a hefty price tag of 750 Euros (~$1000!) and a bad knee, I'm not likely to buy a pair like this any time soon. ;-)  But you can find anything in Paris . . .

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Our bi-weekly outdoor market always offers tasty delicacies - often direct from the farm or from the sea. Last Saturday I discovered a new stand devoted to escargots (snails).

So I brought some home for dinner.  Yumm.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


This week's photo excursion took us to Reims, the capital of the Champagne region of France about 100 miles east of Paris. The city of Reims was heavily damaged during the war of 1914-1918 and doesn't have quite the charm of some of France's older towns. However, it is home to Notre-Dame de Reims - one of the loveliest gothic cathedrals in the country. Rebuilt in the 12th century, it bears a resemblance to Notre-Dame in Paris. The cathedral is best known as the site of the coronation of 30 French kings between 1027 and 1825.

Notre-Dame de Reims was bombed during WWI and lost its roof and many of its stained glass windows. It was rebuilt following the war - largely financed by John D. Rockefeller.

The "smiling angel" adorns one of the main portals

Many of the cathedral's original statues and treasures have been removed to the nearby Palais de Tau.

No visit to Champagne would be complete without a tour of the vineyards in the surrounding countryside.

We didn't do any tasting, but we did pick up couple of boxes of champagne from a producer that we know in Ambonnay. Yumm.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Photo expo - again!

I am honored to participate in another WICE-sponsored art exhibit. The photo below, taken last year during a trip to China with my son Eric, will be on display in the WICE offices here in Paris until January 19th.
Sunset on the Li river in Guilin

Brassaï : Pour l'amour de Paris

A new exposition has just opened at the Hôtel de Ville here in Paris. It features the iconic photos of Brassaï whose real name was Gyula Halász (1899-1984). Brassaï loved Paris and its inhabitants. The bulk of the exposition features photos from the 1930s with numerous photos of Paris at night and in the fog. There is a timelessness to these photos that is extraordinary.

The photos will be on display until March 8, 2014. Entrance is free. If you're not planning a trip to Paris, you can download a free application and read more about the exposition (in French) here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Autumn in the Bois de Vincennes

The Bois de Vincennes is just a short bike ride away from our apartment. And although my big camera is in the shop, I still have my "little" camera.


 The light was lovely on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

La Suisse Normande

La Suisse Normande (Norman Switzerland) is an area of Normandy which is thought to resemble Switzerland because of its cliffs and gorges. We went there recently looking for fall colors. We stopped at the Roche d'Oetre, a cliff with a commanding view of the surrounding countryside.

The colors were a little disappointing, but the real disappointment was when I dropped my camera on the slippery rocks. The photo above is the last photo taken by my big camera before going into the shop. It will cost over 350 euros to repair  :-(

Saturday, November 9, 2013


The visit to La Verdière last weekend included lots of chatting and eating and drinking with my three girlfriends Christine, Isabelle, and Pascale.
Elaine, Isabelle, Pascale and Christine

We finished our weekend in Provence with a short rainy visit to Aix-en-Provence. We couldn't visit much in just an hour and a half, but I thought you might like to see a few photos anyway.
fall colors in a vineyard
Chateau de Vauvenargues - Picasso is buried here
The Cathedral Saint Sauveur d'Aix-en-Provence
Cathedral doors
restoration work

view from the cloister

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

La Verdière

I've just returned from a weekend in La Verdière near Aix-en-Provence. My friend Christine who now lives in Colorado is originally from the area. Her family home is called "Bellevue." Here is the view from the terrace:

And the house itself from different angles

pretty, huh?