Sunday, October 31, 2010

How Much is That Doggie...

What French clothing shop would be complete without its customer magnet?

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Head's Not in the Sand

Some days I have to face the truth that my kids' tastes are nothing like my own. They are half French, after all... On this day, we visited Autruches de la Saudraye, a farm in Guidel, on the Atlantic coast. We sat glued as this adorable baby ostrich hatched, then all the kids were allowed to hold it or pet it. So, when we went a few minutes later to the gift shop, were they horrified at my husband's offer to try ostrich paté?  Non-- no problem. They didn't bat an eyelash before we heard a resounding "oui" from each of them...

Incidentally, ostrich in French, is autruche, not to be confused with Autriche, that big country about eight hours' drive from here.... Austria...

Not Always Bigger in Texas

I've never seen leaves so big, not in Texas nor in Massachusetts, where I spent most of my childhood... Despite their awesome size, I never see kids piling them up here, running and jumping in them like we used to... I think we'd easily have enough for gigantic piles, but we don't have any like this in our yard, and we might draw a bit of attention collecting piles on the downtown village green...

If You Build It...

...they will come to watch!

This is from Guedelon, a castle under construction in the Puisaye Forest in the Burgundy Region using only medieval materials and techniques. Builders' fictional start of construction date for reference is 1226; the real start date was in 1997. Visitors can see actual construction underway (beware horse-drawn carriages toting logs) and about 300 people per year even participate in the work. Their website has a nice video in English... Go before 2025... when it's expected to be finished...

Cluck, Cluck, Cluck

We get all the best of American imports here. This was for sale in a major chain gift shop near all the rest of the kiddie stuffed animals... TV imports are sometimes the worst though... The cheesiest of soap operas, oldie moldies like The Love Boat and Dallas... I've even seen Jerry Springer, in English, complete with French subtitles. You can sure learn a lot of very specific vocabulary that way....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No Cat-astrophe Here

A little Feline Friend for the fine dining room in an itty, bitty village outside Orléans. He seemed to have free run of the place. We're used to seeing dogs in restaurants, but not cats. The food was good, and I didn't detect anything extra <pfth, pfth> in my dishes...

Where's the Good Stuff?

I'm always disappointed when French vending machines contain almost no French candy or goodies.... I mean, if there's gonna be this much American stuff, at least offer me some Reece's Peanut Butter cups!

Look Before You Leap

Here's reason #356 to read the packaging first. I so totally thought these were onion rings and was looking forward to sinking my teeth into some, having been away from the US for several months by this point. Imagine the rubbery tasting surprise when I discovered they were made with squid. Thankfully, my kids loved them, so they didn't go to waste.

Who's Feeling Stupid?

While school shopping last year, I found this tee-shirt in a major chain grocery store near Orléans and got a good chuckle. Some poor, unsuspecting French people were going to be touting their good English. I forgot about this until months later when I looked closely at the long sleeves of one of the tee-shirts I'd bought that same day for my son. In tiny, scrawly writing it read....... Not So Smart.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's All About Aesthetics

When a Frenchman wants to do something special for the 40th birthday of one of his best buddies, this is the result... My husband spent all afternoon on this display... We took much, much, much less time to devour it. He says French people, "eat with their eyes first." If something is not aesthetically pleasing, it won't pass muster here...

Heaven Scented

I'd like to be sitting on that bench right now, looking out into the gardens again at Chateau de Chamerolles. Besides its fabulous gardens, it's got a perfume museum inside, representing the industry from the 16th century to present day. Located in Chilliers aux Bois, outside Orléans. Such a peaceful place.

Go Back Where You Belong

I tried to go in here, but they shooed me out... This is a real pharmacy in Bordeaux... I've checked the French phone book ( and found many other pharmacies normales. So what does this say for all the rest of those medicine-dispensing shops?

Friday, October 22, 2010


Let me introduce myself...

My name is Kelly, and I'm an American from Massachusetts and Texas. These are my two children, making their way toward the Chateau de La Ferté Saint Aubin in Central France. In this blog, my goal is to share a bit of the French culture I've learned in my six years of living here. I'll offer a bit of history, show you a variety of food, provide some humor (ya gotta have humor to live in a foreign country) and display whatever else I can share to help you understand what it's really like here in La Belle France.

I expect to post once per day, but will begin with numerous posts over the next several days, to give everyone an idea of what I've got in store for you... Enjoy!