Thursday, December 27, 2007

Old reflects against new

What is one of Rodez's oldest food shops selling for the holidays?

Farm-raised capons, boar, ready-made dishes...and ostrich steaks which, contrary to what you might believe, could very well come from Aveyron.

In the shop window opposite, the English word "authentic" reflects a different approach to commerce.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday 6

(Photo courtesy of Thierry Jouanneteau)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Wishes from France

Merry Christmas to all of my family, friends and readers!

Joyeux Noël à toute ma famille, et à tous mes amis et lecteurs!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Joyeux Anniversaire à La France Profonde

Deux ans déjà!

Let's face it, my timing for starting this blog was not that great. It's a little like those kids who have their birthdays around Christmas -- a lot to handle at a very busy time of year.

But here it is, December 22nd, and I am celebrating La France Profonde's second birthday.

La France Profonde has been a labor of love from the beginning. It is by far my favorite of my three blogs, and I only regret that I don't have more time to devote to it.

Of course, I can hear you saying, if I gave up my other two blogs I could have more time for FP. But each of my blogs fulfills a different purpose and a particular need, and each one has developed its own network of readers, acquaintances and, yes, friends. And I can't imagine giving any of them up.

I started my blogs as an outlet for writing and, quite honestly, as a way to get some writing clips up on the Internet. And my blogs have led, directly or indirectly, to a bit of freelance writing work that has been an enjoyable complement to my teaching job.

But by far the richest return from blogging has been my contacts with other bloggers who have become regular readers...and an important part of my life, which is something that non-bloggers can't seem to understand.

There are the fellow expats, especially Ken, Walt, Katie and Meredith, whom I keep up with regularly and who have provided plenty of comments and support over the past two years.

Then there are the American Francophiles, readers I've picked up more recently and with whom I love to compare notes. Marjory, Randal, Belette, Colleen -- thanks for your faithful comments and I hope my occasional reality checks don't discourage you from your unfailing love for France!

And Ali, I've said it before: I really learned what blogging is all about from you.

There are so many others who drop in from time to time, and that I drop in on. How I love your visits, but also clicking into your little corner of cyberspace!

Finally, you may have noticed that some of the blog's best photos, like this one and this one, are marked "courtesy of Thierry Jouanneteau." As you might have suspected, Thierry is my husband, and his job gets him out and about in the aveyronnais countryside -- thus allowing me to share views of la campagne that I wouldn't otherwise have.

Merci à tous et à toutes!

And if you've made it this far, stop by my very favorite post. It didn't elicit that many comments -- no accounting for some people's tastes, especially mine I suppose -- but it gave me shivers.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wordless Wednesday 5

(Photo courtesy of Thierry Jouanneteau)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Aligot Travels Well

After Paris, Toulouse.

Last Saturday, I happened to run into some happy Toulousains lunching on aligot, Aveyron's cheese and potato specialty, as they enjoyed the Christmas market on the Place du Capitole.

At first I wasn't absolutely sure what these Saturday shoppers were savoring, but a quick look around the market stands revealed potatoes and tomme fraîche all dressed up for the holidays:

I had hoped to get a closer look at the aligot operations, but couldn't break through the crowd at the highly popular stand. I guess aligot is a hit wherever it travels.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Big City Vitrines

'Tis the season. And if I were having any trouble getting in an appropriately festive mood, yesterday's day trip to Toulouse solved the problem.

I generally do most of my Christmas shopping in Rodez, but this year I had the chance to spend Saturday in La Ville Rose, and enjoyed soaking up the holiday atmosphere.

I'm pleased to announce that I got a lot of my Christmas shopping done -- which was the main purpose of the trip. But a Christmas shop window trip for blogging purposes would also be a great way to spend the day...

Tempting as the displays in French librairies are, I refrained from buying too many books this year :

And I didn't know candy canes even existed in France! Really, I have to get out a bit more:

A little Southwest sun left me feeling as jaunty as this gal:

Only a little over two weeks until Christmas! Santé!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Going, going...

A little over a year ago, I caught Rodez's historic "Grand Hôtel Broussy" in a good light. I was lucky.

Last week, as I passed by on a damp, grey afternoon, the downtown institution wasn't looking so grand:

In fact, I'm wondering if it will ever be "GRAND" again:

I know. No need to press the panic button. Le Grand Hôtel Broussy is only being remodeled, and I'm sure it needs it.

Yet as I saw traces of its bright red past being tossed unceremoniously out its windows, I felt a wave of personal regret. I would never see it in all its delapidated glory.

Or could I glimpse at the interior, before it was too late?

I walked up toward the dusty lobby entrance, where a narrow door was, miraculously, open.

I dared to step in. The lobby was dirty and dreary, with a few pieces of wooden furniture strewn about. An immense dining or breakfast room lay to my right, bereft of furnishings.

Too quickly, a burly worker stomped down the main staircase. He looked at me. I scurried out.