Monday, October 31, 2011

Boo! French style...

Actually, this is not a Halloween sign, but rather one that is warning of upcoming mud.

If you're out and about tonight, be sure to land your broomstick safely...

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Getting into the Spirit

The best kinds of ghosts, goblins and witches, in my humble opinion, are those made of chocolate! This shop in Moret sur Loing was my kind of place.

They were also getting ready for more holidays with these chocolate balls dipped in red sugar...

And there were edible bowls to pack chocolates in a festive way...

It's a bit early for my Christmas shopping but as Schwarzenegger so famously said, "I'll be back!"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm Looking Over...

So I guess this place should be extra super duper lucky? Trèfle à 5 Feuilles translates to five-leaf clover... They sell lottery and Rapido tickets here. The latter is a game where you choose numbers and watch to see if enough of yours are chosen for you to win lots of €€€s... A Keno-type game with fewer numbers...

You're probably better off hunting for five-leaf clovers...

Friday, October 28, 2011


In case you were thinking of doing anything unpleasant along this street, the sign here warns that it's illegal to urinate or leave garbage... You can be fined.

And if you spell amendes as amandes by accident, your penalty becomes almonds instead with my free translation program...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful for a Non-American Style Kitchen

If you've ever cooked up beef kidneys, you know that non-fans will be throwing open every possible window. Rognons are very, shall we say, aromatic. In France, an American-style kitchen is one that is open into the dining room, perhaps also into a combination living room. The key is that there's no door. That's what we used to have in our old house. But now, we've got a kitchen that closes off.

You can bet I had that door firmly shut today! Fortunately, this dish was well enjoyed by Alex, Bernard and our guest from the states... It was served up with an aubergine (eggplant) mixture and a side of rice...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

En Fin, Tintin!

Finally, Tintin has been made into a movie...

This film is coming out today across France, as all new movies (from what I've seen here) are released on Wednesdays... We are big fans and are looking forward to going!

Contrary to popular belief, Tintin was created by a Belgian comic book artist, not a Frenchman. Georges Rémi went under the pen name Hervé... According to Wikipedia, his books have been translated into 80 languages and more than 350 million copies have been sold...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ah, a Paris Patisserie

Nothing like dessert with a friend along a side street in Paris on an October afternoon. We chose from two important food groups (fruit and chocolate) after much belabored consideration. Then we moved to the cashier, where I politely asked for forks.

"We don't have any forks," the cashier replied. She started at me as if I'd asked for her gold, and I actually said to her, "But you look surprised that I would ask for a fork to eat this." And then I confirmed with her what I knew: that the outside seating next to the shop did belong to them.

So how were we supposed to eat this?

Thankfully, my friend who'd flown here all the way from Seatlle was actually equipped with two complete sets of plasticware.

Good thing, 'cuz these were messy and they called for being devoured quite quickly....

Monday, October 24, 2011

A New Speed Deterrent

This one not only tells you your speed, but also lets you know how much you'd pay if you're caught at that particular vitesse. The minus one below the 135 indicates how many points you would lose off your license as well. (We start with 12 points.)

I've also seen speed warning signs like this around...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Château de Fontainebleau

Here is another of those places where I'm not sure you can ever take a bad shot... This is from the back side of Fontainebleau castle...

An interesting note about this site from Wikipedia: the château houses the Écoles d'Art Américaines, which was founded by General Pershing when his men were stationed there during World War I. The school offers art, architecture, and music for students from the United States. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In Ship Shape

This river boat is called La Sans Souci... Basically, "No Worry." It cruises along the Seine and you can hop on and off at convenient places... We didn't do it on this last trip, but maybe next time!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Today's Seine-rise

We don't usually get spectacular sunrises here, so I was surprised to wake up to this one...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jour de Chasse

As if driving in a foreign country isn't sometimes tricky enough, I came across this sign the other day... In front of it was this flashing deer sign below, so there was no way you could miss that something was going on!

Never saw any beasts large or small while this was out... Whew.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Yes, the holiday chocolates have arrived.... And it's not even Halloween! Not that there are many Halloween candies out here... We'll see if we celebrate it much this year. There are more Americans and Brits in the area where we live now, and it sounds like many do at least something for Halloween...

BTW, the Pyreneens are really melt-in-your-mouth chocs...

Sorry I have been offline the past week. We had a catastrophic computer failure. Thank God for backups, and for tech support, a.k.a. my husband Bernard. What a way for the poor guy to begin vacation, buried in front of the screen... Thanks to him, I am back to making regular updates...

PS... FFDJ turned one on Saturday! Here's to the next 365 posts! If you enjoy my site, please pass it along to a friend...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Only in France

I thought this was a bit daring, or osé (oh'-zay) as it's pronounced here. 

Translation: Our organic <products> have nothing to hide.

Monday, October 17, 2011

La Seine ♫♪♫

The 3-D animated movie, A Monster in Paris just came out October 12 this year and the lead song from it, "La Seine" is all over the radio... Here is a link. It's dubbed in English...

Vanessa Paradis, the singer, is well-known in France, but less known in the US. She's more likely to be known there perhaps as Mrs. Johnny Depp....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Homage to Steve Jobs

This was set up in our local FNAC, a chain store for books, CDs, computer games, etc. The open book on the table is where passersby are expressing their thanks and appreciation for him and all that he contributed to the computer world...

key words: Apple founder, dedication

Saturday, October 15, 2011

La Vérité Est Dans le Vin

The truth is in the wine...

We'll be wining a little more than usual starting next week when our first real house guest comes since we've moved. We had a family of three come for just one night in August, but that was more like camping for them at that stage!

Hopefully, my office will be converted to a presentable guest room by the time she arrives. I need to go set up some IKEA furniture now to be able to unpack the boxes that are still on the floor in her way.

Wish I still had this bottle of wine. I am not good at assembling furniture! On second thought, the wine would just bring out that truth even more. I'm supposed to be making bookshelves, not triangles...

Friday, October 14, 2011

The More You Have...

The French have an expression, "L'appétit vient en mangeant." 

Literally, it means, "Appetite comes while eating." 

But figuratively, it means "The more you have, the more you want."

We have guests coming next week and the following week to our new place, so Chef Bernard will be hard at work soon... This is an example of one of his previous plates. Note the color variety and careful placement because he also says, "We eat with our eyes first." 

Our photo album folders are full of foodie shots!

tags: French expressions, French culinary photo, food photo

Thursday, October 13, 2011

With My Luck...

I'll end up with plates that spell something in English when we go to change them for our move...

We've seen EEL, EAT, EWE, DVD, all kinds of non-bothersome words. But we also saw this letter combo not once, but twice, while vacationing in the south...

There are normally two or three digits in front of the letters too, but I erased the first car's for someone's privacy. The software won't work for the second (baffled here), but I hope they've got new plates by now since this photo is five years old!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hog Wild


Even if I did think these were the most darling little animaux on Earth, I'm not sure I'd select a photo of one to decorate my car. But this is probably the least damaging way to have a wild boar on your hood. Since they weigh a ton (okay, in reality up to 200 lbs.) your car could be worse off than the piggy would be if you hit one!

They call them sanglier (sahng' lee ay) here and they are a well-loved dish for the men in my family. Ellie and I are not such fans, but she'll at least still try it when it's served. Too gamey for me....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rue de L'Erable

As a kid, I lived on Maple Street in Spencer, MA for a few years.

Now I pass by Maple Street on my trek home from the kids' school... It's just expressed a little differently...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Square Patton

This small floral park called Square Patton, along a main stretch in Fontainebleau, honors the legendary Général Georges Patton, Jr. This plaque below is on the back side of the wall with the brown sign, above.

A brief translation: Patton was named an honorary citizen on February 10, 1945 along with General Valton <Walton> H. Walker, the commander of the 20th Corps. Fontainebleau was liberated on August 23, 1944 by the 5th Batallion of the Red Diamond Division under General S. Leroy Irwin, which belonged to the 20th Corps.

Sidenote: if you continue down the road to the left of the park toward Avon leaving Fontainebleau, the road eventually becomes Franklin Roosevelt Avenue...

Happy Columbus Day, everyone!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Le Patton Restaurant


Okay, so Bernard if you're reading this, here's where I'd like to go for our next anniversary dinner... Hint, hint...

This restaurant's name has always caught my attention so I stopped to investigate further while wating for the kids to get out of school in Fontainebleau one day... The bourgeoise building is attached to one where Picasso lived in 1921, according to Le Patton's web site, Their menu looks dreamy. I'm curious about their shrimp salad with Patton cocktail sauce... And filet de cabillaud sauce romanesco (a white fish) with red peppers, almonds and garlic sounds scrumptious...

The restaurant is named of course for General George Patton, Jr. I'll explain his connection to Fontainbleau in tomorrow's post...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Money, Money, Money

These bring a whole new meaning to "put your money where your mouth is."

You're looking at supposedly edible bills. That is, if you consider strawberry-flavored meltable paper a food item. While these are not high along the French gastronomic food chain, they were a big hit with my daughter who'll be sharing them at her birthday party today...

And for those who aren't familiar with euros, a twenty-euro bill would be light blue with other muted colors... I've just spent a fortune on her party, so I don't have one to add a photo here!

Friday, October 7, 2011

French Lunch Delivery

Or rather, he might make it to my doorstep by dinnertime....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Charm of the Seine

I was captivated by the fantastic setting of this old house until a friend pointed out that those are train tracks running directly behind it.

Still, they've got a fantastic view. This was taken from a park standing on the banks of the Seine in St. Mammes.

I took this last week when we had some gorgeous weather. Tomorrow, you'll see that it's quickly turned to Snail Season here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

This Little Piggy... made from marzipan and a chocolate ganache. See his insides below...

Honestly, he was just too sweet for me... But he sure was cute! And the other things we got from this bakery (in Fontainebleau) were awesome. More on those soon...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tomber dans les Pommes

In French, "Tomber dans les pommes" or literally "to fall in the apples," means to faint.

I wanted to faint when I saw how many apples had fallen in our yard in just a few days that had become too disgusting for use! I am struggling to keep up with my regular collection/distribution to friends who want some. If you live nearby and can make applesauce, drop me an email! I've got apples to give away... Not these below, of course...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Expensive Street

At first I thought, well at least you know what you're getting into when you go down this route! It can translate to "route of the too expensive."

But apparently, it can also mean "route of the dear ones," and I imagine that was the sense that was intended here... ;-)

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Not sure I want to know how these figures get fabricated... But I'm sure the answer lies somewhere in China.

We got in to Disney without trouble after Friday's fiasco. We even found more time to shop, which delighted our little birthday girl to no end.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another Disney Disappointment

 We should have known.

We were elated when we approached the parking lot at Disney on Friday night. Apparently, no one goes on a Friday night at the end of the fourth week of school in September! This was the perfect time! And it was Ellie's birthday. No waiting in the lines!

We'd parked so close, we didn't even need the first group of people movers. We'd be in by 6 p.m. and have a good four hours of rides, plus time for a nice dinner. We had it all mapped out.

Then we noticed the people leaving. The word throngs sprung to mind. At the gate, a young man said those magical words you never want to hear at "The Happiest Place on Earth": "Nous sommes fermés."

We're closed.

Others approaching were in the same boat. The man stopping us was sympathetic; we asked questions. "Since when?" They'd changed the hours the previous week. There was nothing written on our mini brochures about closing times. He called his supervisor for us and the others.

"You need to check before you come," the first woman said. I explained that at one of the biggest attractions in the world, you don't expect them to close at such an early hour. She said it was like winter season for them now. "Summer's over!" It had been a high of 35C/95F. If you change closing times as you go (as we seemed to gather from them), would this be the time to do it? I asked how I was supposed to know they would close so early, and she said I could look on their web site. That threw me because since we've had the passes, I've had a huge beef with their web site. It's slower than molasses, and some things simply never open. The look on her face said she knew this.

A second woman came, and was more understanding. By now, Ellie was crying, "But it's my birthday." They wrote our names on an envelope (refusing to give us something in writing) and said we could come tomorrow, though it's a restriction day for us.

I'll let you know if we actually get in without complications.

We got out of the park just to hit all the evening traffic of the area, plus the Disney departures. The word throngs came back to mind.