Thursday, July 27, 2006

And the answer is....

I received a few guesses about my last intriguing old ad. But I didn't really expect anyone to come up with the right answer: the ad is for the old aperitif St. Raphael -- which I had never even heard of! Apparently it is still around and even becoming increasingly popular in Canada and perhaps elsewhere. Have you ever tasted it?

The site Cigar Aficionado tells us:

One of the oldest names in aperitifs is St. Raphaël, which dates from 1830. It was invented by a French physician named Jupet, who, legend has it, was concocting a quinine-flavored aperitif wine when he suddenly lost his sight. He prayed to the patron saint of the blind, Archangel Raphaël, and his sight was restored. Grateful for the miracle, Jupet named the potion St. Raphaël Quinquina, and it became immensely successful. St. Raphaël is based on mistelle, a mixture of grape brandy and grape juice, which is flavored with quinine, bitter orange peel, vanilla and cocoa. It is sweet in style and is made in gold and red versions.

Much as I hate to promote any form of smoking, this cigar site presented a great article about old French aperitifs.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Washington State in Le Monde

I get a daily newsletter from Le Monde, and sometimes it is worth it to scan down to the very last line. Today the French daily presents an article about Washington State , where Olympia is, where I am at this moment.

If you speak French, take a look -- but don't delay, their articles only stay available a few days.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Intriguing Old Ad

I count on my husband for some of my photos of Aveyron, because his job as a financial consultant for farmers gets him out in the country a few days a week. He just sent me this intriguing trace of an advertisement from the past -- but does anyone know what this bottle represents?

This isn't a guessing game! I don't know the answer myself -- but maybe you do.

Update: Okay, now I do know the answer because my hubby- photographer told me! But I still would like to make you guess...

(Photo courtesy of Thierry Jouanneteau)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

What I Miss About Summer in Aveyron -- and Don't


For six years, I have been spending most of the summer in my home town -- Olympia, Washington.
So my two-month teacher's vacation happens away from "home" -- or "back home" , in another sense.

I miss the summer activity in Rodez. It's the only time we see many tourists around, and they add a festive note. I don't get to go to the summer music festivals, like Estivada, a fun weekend of music and other performing arts which focuses on Occitan and other traditional languages and culture.

There are also great classical music festivals in Conques and Sylvanes which I would love to go to someday -- and if you're in Aveyron this summer, think about getting tickets!

I don't miss, though, the increasingly searing heat Aveyron experiences in July and August. Although Rodez and my village are at an elevation of about 2,000 feet and don't get as horribly hot as Albi and Toulouse, residents still suffer. This summer is looking especially dry, although we may not be in for the canicule of 2003 -- which I fortunately didn't experience as I was in the cool Pacific Northwest!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gastronomy in Aveyron

When I talk about Averyron with my friends, be they French or English-speaking, one theme recurs: "On mange bien ici!" It seems to me that people eat well all over France, but Aveyron is especially well-known for its gastronomical pleasures.

If you want to take a look at -- or even buy -- some of the area's specialties, click to Made in Aveyron. Since my husband works in agricultural finance and management, we personally know or know of a lot of the producers represented on the site, and the products are of very high quality.

I'm wondering if all of my expat readers also feel that they live in an area with great food. Is every part of France as proud of its culinary heritage as Aveyron?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Meeting with Anntoinette (Trapped in Trappes)

I've been in Olympia since Thursday after a grueling Madrid-Chicago-Seattle flight. After a slow start, I definitely plan to get back to blogging, although that involves getting used to a QWERTY typewriter and my parents' hopelessly slow Mac. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "I'm doing the best I can."

But now to the real news. In my last blog, I alluded to a meeting I would be having with a fellow blogger -- actually an ex-Blogger blogger -- and it was Antoinette of Trapped in Trappes! I know a lot of you in our little expat blogging community read her hilarious but sad take on French life, which disappeared suddenly a few months ago. A lot of you were, like me, worried about her.

So imagine my surprise when I got an email telling me she and her family were spending their holidays in Aveyron -- mainly because of my blog -- and that she would like to meet me! Despite my crazy pre-departure schedule, I managed to have lunch with her, her charming husband and darling three-year-old son. The blogosphere is an amazing place.

It's not up to me to tell you how she's doing or to give you any update, but maybe she will leave a comment on this post when she gets back from vacation. Here's to you Anntoinette!

Monday, July 03, 2006

A Little Personal News

Usually I don't use this blog for personal news, but a few interesting things are happening that I wanted to share.

First, today I am having lunch with a fellow blogger who chose to spend her vacation in Aveyron because of my blog! What a treat! I will tell you more about it after the lunch if she wants me to share the information.

Second, Saturday evening I was able to enjoy a "double fête" -- we were invited to celebrate a friend's 50th birthday AND that evening, France upset Brazil in the World Cup quarter-finals. So the local paper's predictions of gloom and despair were wrong. I don't know if my friends want to appear on my blog, so I'm providing an almost dark photo of the birthday party! It will give you an idea of the atmosphere though -- it's been so hot that at midnight, we were still eating outside.

Finally, I am leaving for the States on Wednesday and will be there with my daughters until August 17th. I do plan to keep up on this blog, although I'm not sure exactly what form my summer posts will take. Keep on clicking by...