Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I hid out in my office and started to reflect on the diminishing presence of Halloween in France. Google searches ensued.
Do you know what? Halloween has been around in France for quite a while now. Somehow I still feel like it's vaguely new. But I just happened upon an article from exactly ten years ago commenting on the rather strange arrival of Halloween in France:
"In one of the stranger manifestations of globalization, Halloween fever has abruptly gripped the French, sending pumpkin prices soaring and sorely testing the Gallic ability to pronounce "trick or treat," wrote Roger Cohen on October 31, 1997.
Ten years already! Yet apparently the bewitching party is almost over. Last year on this date, John Stodder reported that "Le Halloween, c'est mort," citing Forbes.com:
"The major dailies Le Monde and Le Parisien reported on Tuesday that following some short-lived popularity, the Halloween holiday has been 'pretty much buried.' The reasons seem to be a mixture of falling sales and anti-Americanism. Perchance a smattering of protectionism too. 'Our Halloween sales have been falling by half every year since 2002,' Le Monde quoted toy retailer La Grande Recre as saying."
Flailing perhaps, but not totally dead -- or why would we have a bevy of teenage French girls dancing around our house tonight, or a group of "treek or treetears" who just knocked at our door?
Friday, October 26, 2007
But I can really deal with this week's prompt, "hospital," only here at La France Profonde. Because I've already done it.
I know it may seem a little lame to write a Sunday Scribble consisting of little more than links to previous posts, but this is just the way it has to be on this subject.
So come with me to my corner of France and discover my definitive Rodez hospital series:
Good-bye, My Hospital
Combarel Hospital, the Old
Combarel Hospital, the Incongruous
Rodez Hospital, the New
(Click here to read more musings on the theme of "hospital.")
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Now it piques my curiosity: what did this house, duly lined up alongside a number of non-descript dwellings, do to merit such intricate features?
And why the blue and yellow, so out of tune with the general color scheme in "le Bassin," or the Decazeville mining area?
Sometimes I'm tempted to just knock on people's doors and ask them these questions -- while there are still residents around who know the answers! But I'm not sure how warm the welcome would be...
Sunday, October 21, 2007
My ears pricked up. And, much to everyone's surprise, I started asking questions. It turns out that Alain Ginesty, who runs an excellent boucherie-charcuterie-traîter in Sébazac near Rodez, had been to the festival -- and had indeed had a great time.
He was kind enough to lend me the brochure about the Marché des Pays de l'Aveyron which took place in Paris the weekend of October 5-7. Over 75 local food producers were plying Parisians with Aveyron's fabulous food specialties, such as aligot, fouace and Marcillac wine.
For those of you -- and from your comments I know you are out there -- who haven't yet experienced aligot, know that you can do so in Paris:
These are just two Aveyronnais restaurants in the City of Light, but I'm sure there are many more. Remember, you really haven't lived until you've tasted aligot!
Many thanks to Mr. Alain Ginesty for lending me the brochure about this event!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
This week the writer of A Juicy Life shared her experience of cycling through part of Averyron:
"The landscape was so different from where we were and we instantly fell in love. It took us about 2 hours to get there and once we did we knew we definitely stepped up in terms of beauty, the landscape is like a dream....
Our original itinerary was to spend 1 week here and then head back to Spain and spend 1 week in Girona. Well, after 3 days here we have decided to extend our trip here and not spend 1 week in Girona. We have found the area we love...we don't want to leave...
We made some great friends on this trip and the Aveyron and around could be the best place we've yet been."
My parents feel the same way. They have visited quite a bit of France: Paris, the Loire Valley, Provence, Normandy, Dordogne, Alsace...but when asked what their favorite place in France is, their answer is always the same. And it starts with an "A."
(Photo courtesy of Thierry Jouanneteau)
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Apparently, some sort of Aveyron festival was held in Paris last weekend. I couldn't find any official information about it...or let's just say that I didn't feel like floating around Internet for THAT long! But a couple of WordPress bloggers living in Paris apparently spent a "Sunday in the provinces" last weekend, visiting this Aveyron festival and discovering the joys of aligot:
"We noticed that everyone was carrying or eating plastic containers of a yellowy substance that looked like it had the consistency of cream cheese or pudding. Upon further investigation, we learned that it was called aligot, and a jolly old French man in traditional garb told me that it was made from potatoes, cheese, butter, creme fraiche, salt, and pepper - and just as much cheese as there is potatoes."
Their observations remind me that there was once a time when I had never even heard of aligot, Aveyron's trademark potato dish. Now it is just part of life, and especially part of festive meals. And I guess it can even be Parisian street food too...pourquoi pas?
(Image courtesty of JeDecouvreLaFrance.com, an information-packed site about France...in French.)
PS: As serendipity would have it, within two hours of writing this post, I was speaking to one of my butchers and it turned out he had been at the event. He lent me the official brochure, so more information about this Aveyronnais market in Paris will be on its way in the next few days.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Not exactly our Saturday evening outing of choice -- but the game got to be so exciting, we just had to stay on till the bitter end.
And what an end it was! Allez les bleus!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
...as well as some vague feminine disorder requiring "brain oxygenisation!"
All of the magazine's one-page advertisements were for medical remedies of some sort; only at the very back could I find a single, tiny ad for a food product.