Every tart in town: French edition

Across the street from my French abode is the hamlet’s boulagarie-patissarie. It is run by two men, one older, one younger, and they are open six days a week. I am sure the bakers are working 60 hour weeks and I can’t figure out how they are breaking even, let alone turning a profit. Even with lines…

Le pain, rapidement!

France is the most-visited country in the world. We have these impressions of its jaunty parapluie-lined beaches, the castle-lined hilltops and its status as a gastronomic Mecca, overflowing with wine. But what does it mean to be French? It isn’t all about sitting at cafés, reading Le Monde, smoking cigarettes and baffling the Americans with a diet…

Lofty over the Loire

“The… how do you say… sensation? It is ok?” Sebastien asked us in his charming French accent as we cruised lightly over the Loire Valley in his four-seater airplane. We nodded enthusiastically – yes, all good! In the split second that followed the horizon fell away to somewhere behind my back, the clouds shot up in…

Perdu in Fontainebleau

Last Thursday we had a Chevillon-residents outing to the Jazz au Theatre festival in Fontainebleau. We got all gussied up, swung by the theatre to grab tickets, went out for some charming French food (er, wandered around town and finally settled on mediocre pizza since it was the only place open at 6.30 pm –…

In photos: 72 hours in Paris

On Thursday it happened: I melded into my kitchen table, cross-eye’d and atrophying from my lack of activity. I could no longer see the forest for the tree (ferns). Luckily the next day it was off to Paris for a weekend getaway with the girls from work! Most of the girls had never been to Paris before, though…

Dinner with Carl Larsson

Last week I moved to a tiny village in France to focus on drinking wine, eating baguettes and – oh yeah – writing. But I didn’t move to just smalltownville-anywhere in France, I have taken up residence in an artist colony in Grez-sur-Loing, which was once home to Carl Larsson (Midwinter Sacrifice; many paintings depicting life in the…

A scientist in an artist colony

People are LOOKING at me. Like real, actual eye contact!  Many – most even – are greeting me!  Where am I?! Apparently not in Scandinavia anymore, where eye-contact and any verbal communication between strangers is reserved only for people who are crazy, drunk or foreign. Here are some impressions of the first twenty four hours in…