Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The McBaguette

Two all-beef patties, special sauce, cheese, lettuce, pickles, no onions, mustard, and certainly NOT on a sesame seed bun!* This is the McBaguette, McDonald's newest burger creation in France.

McDo (mic-doh') as they call it here, has combined an all-American tradition with its classic bread. We brought an American friend to McDo for a taste test on his recent visit. After all, where else do you bring an American to try out the latest gastronomie française?

Anddddddd? ...he actually liked it.

*If you're too young to remember this, it was from an ad in the 80's that challenged Big Mac fans to cite all the ingredients in the classic burger... To watch a sing-songy British version of the same, click here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bears or Bulls?

Translation: Wall(s) Street...

Located in Longueville, France, Seine et Marne department...

Street of Choice?

I'd especially go for living here if it intersected with Rue de Glace (Ice Cream Street). One can dream.

Actually, a pie is a magpie. It is also slang for chatterbox, so maybe I really should be living here...

This was from Provins, France. It's a lovely, well-preserved medieval city in the Seine et Marne department about 40 minutes from us...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Math Majors

The Nine Days!

From May 2nd to 13th.


The French pride themselves on being great at math. Actually, upon closer investigation here, they are perfectly correct. If you count only weekdays and Saturdays (closed Sundays) and account for the May 8th holiday, there are nine days for this sale.

And, so why didn't they write that it ends May 12th, since the 13th is a Sunday?

Don't ask me. It took me awhile to figure this much out.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Who Won Where?

This is a really cool site if you are interested in the results of tomorrow's French election. It's from Liberation, a national newspaper here. It tells us not only who won, but who won where...

And it's interesting above here to see the closeup of Paris... The blue was for Sarkozy and the red for Holland... (Light blue is where I last clicked and was Sarko.) Talk about being split down the middle.

You can find this site here. Scroll way down to see the map of France, and keep clicking for more and more detail. You can also see results from the 2002 and 2007 elections...

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Cat-chy Expression

In French, they have a saying, "La nuit tous les chats sont gris." All cats are grey in the dark.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cat on a Cold Brick Wall

This guy looked like he thought we had no business walking on his street. I should have explained in my best French that it's also mine... But that would have been being catty, non? LOL.

In French, they say, "Il n'y a pas de quoi fouetter un chat," which literally means, "There is nothing (to use) to whip a cat."

But the expression means, "It's nothing to make a fuss about."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Countdown to Sunday...

Apparently, someone in Provins was not a fan...

The second and final round of the election will be held on Sunday, and results are expected that night. In the first round, I found it amusing that when the evening news came on, it began with a ten-second countdown, and then the results, as they had been counted thus far, were posted with Francois Holland's and Nicolas Sarkozy's faces totally covering the screen. No waiting into the night to see what a swing state had decided.

There will be a debate tonight and I wonder how this will affect the outcome... At this point, Holland is expected to unseat incumbent Sarkozy...

Someone in Provins would likely be happy...


After I set this up for posting the night before, I went for a walk up the street where I saw this poster...

So now I have a balanced and fair posting!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

You're Living Where?

Translation: Hell Street!

Note the church steeple down the way... I don't get it... Why, oh why, would you name a street this?

I think if I lived here, I'd be on a mission to change the name... How about Avenue du Ciel? Avenue of Heaven...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Eglise Saint Armand

There is some fabulous stained glass at our church. This is Eglise (church) Saint Armand in Thomery, from the 13th century....

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Closed Crêperie...

This crêperie looks too adorable, friends have raved about it and online reviews give it a five of five.

The pigeons seem to be the only occupants for the moment, though... I've passed by twice recently, and even the menu is behind closed shutters.

If only the pigeons could talk.

That's not an optical illusion, by the way... The roof is buckling a bit, but surely not for the weight of all those bird feathers!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Yet Another...

...American-style food makes its way into France.

Now, why can't we find traditional pepperoni pizzas in the frozen section or at all the pizza joints? Chorizo-style sausage is not the same for me...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rose Colored Glasses?

I don't really get this campaign... It says, "Before, I was bald."

The ad is for sunglasses.

There is another with a sideshot of a naked woman that says, "Before, I was an exhibitionist."

Sorry, photo not available.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Perfection from Le Patton

An awesome lunch last week at Le Patton in Avon. This was the lunch special, filet de julienne avec pomme de terre.... I am not sure what type of fish was served with the mashed potatoes, and I've never had a butterfly made from vegetables, but what art! And tasty, too. I failed to photograph the salad, even though I skipped the wine, but here is the dessert: a cream concoction with chopped pineapple at the bottom.

The topping was a light crumble, and the wafer thin cookie was as delicious as it was elegant....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wisteria Lane...

All right, Desperate Housewives fanatics... Who lived at number 7?

This is just across the famous bridge painted by Alfred Sisley in Moret-sur-Loing...

Wisteria, known as glycine here, is making its way out everywhere. Long live pretty purple flowers!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Field of Dreams

Surely there is room for another steel replica here?

This canvas sits at the entrance to Barbizon, a town known as a "village of painters," that attracted such artists as Henri Rousseau and Jean-Francois Millet in the 19th century. 

The real Eiffel Tower was constructed about 60 kilometers to the north of this farmland....


Moret-sur-Loing, about ten minutes from us, is picturesque even when it's cold and drizzling...

This 12th century medieval town was a great source of inspiration for the British impressionist painter Alfred Sisley, who lived here in the late 1800s. His painting, The Bridge at Moret-sur-Loing, hangs in Musée D'Orsay...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Somewhere... ♪♫♪

We had a torrential rainstorm yesterday, and this was the view from our balcony afterwards.... It was so vibrant!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

And it's in FRENCH!

I liked this little store in Moret-sur-Loing... Didn't buy anything, but I appreciated that there were many things that were actually written in French. There is nothing like looking for a truly French gift only to find words like breakfast, lunch, and dinner all over them.

I am always amused when I see the words, "Vitrine en Cours" in a shop window. It means they have not finished creating the display. Looked good enough to me.

Friday, April 20, 2012

So, now what?

Packaging here, like in so many countries, has become ridiculous. This stuff would definitely rip my hands up if I tried to get into these scissors with anything other than scissors...

I understand the problem with unsalable goods, but let me just add my sheeshes and grrrrs here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Forced Flowers

I love how they cut out the sidewalk to plant these tulips...

Nature wins...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Another Gas Price Update

Here are the prices at the grocery store around the corner from my house; they're as competitive as anywhere else in the area, and... yowza! They've been creeping up for awhile.

I buy the middle one. At 1.67€ a liter, that's 6.32€ a gallon. According to that converts today to $8.28. That compares with $7.57 in January. Quite a hike.

Bernard buys the gazole (diesel) for his van, so at 1.43€ a liter, that's 5.41€, which is $7.08. You know, the cheap one.

Thankfully, we don't need the really high level stuff. That checks in at $8.58 right now!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

School Delivery


This was parked outside the cafeteria yesterday... I'm sure there's a good explanation. And not just that Heineken's new slogan is "Open Your World" and ours is an international school...

Not a fan of Heineken (no beer at all, ick) but this ad is cool... Gotta love a tux-wearing, basketball-playing flutist, even if his gymnastics skills are lacking.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Year...

This translates to: 45 years old: a good year for the brain. We'll see. Age 45 begins today for me! Good timing.

This is this month's edition of Science and the Future...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Office Cafeteria...

This is what my husband was served up one day last week at lunch: feuillette de filet de sol aux langoustines...

Pas mal, non? Not bad, huh?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Exactly What You'd Expect... see off a side street in Fontainebleau, France?

If you can zoom in, check out the names of the bands... The top one is "Drunken Papoose" followed by one called "What."


tag: Glasgow bar

Monday, March 26, 2012

Preparing for Our Next Guest's easy for this particular person. She and I were supposed to go a vineyard in the Saint-Émilion wine-growing area near Bordeaux when she visited in 2005, except that our TGV was a half an hour late and we had just a ten-minute window to catch a bus. The SNCF (train company) gave us back a percentage of our ticket price, but we've never (sigh) in all these years (another sigh) gotten back to Bordeaux. 

So we'll just have to improvise until our schedules allow...

Meanwhile, here is what Wikipedia has to say about Saint-Émilion...

Saint-Émilion is an Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) for wine in the Bordeaux wine region of France, where it is situated in the Libourne subregion on the right bank of the Dordogne. Saint-Émilion is registered as a world heritage by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Its 5,400 hectares (13,000 acres) represent 67.5% of the total area of wine-producing communes (Saint-Émilion, Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes, Saint-Hippolyte, Saint-Étienne-de-Lisse, Saint-Laurent-des-Combes, Saint-Pey-d’Armens, Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens, Vignonet, and a part of the Libourne commune) and 6% of the total Bordeaux vineyard.

The wines of Saint-Émilion are typically blended from different grape varieties, the three main ones being Merlot (60% of the blend), Cabernet Franc (nearly 30%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (around 10%).

I'll drink to all that.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

On Duty...

...along with all of his (and her) buddies...

In French, these are called gendarmes (policemen), and they're everywhere right now! You can't walk without finding them...

To my regular readers: an apology for my weeklong absence! I've started a new job teaching in a high school, and got a bit behind on things. Plus a spring cold got the best of me! I'm back to making regular postings now...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

No Matter How Convenient...

... you'd never get me to eat this microwavable beef tongue TV dinner, even if it were the last thing on my shelf.

Two minutes in the microwave! Just 376 calories! No refrigeration needed!

I've become more French over the years, but I haven't come this far...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Some Days Are Like This...

...the dog's nipping at my heels (I don't have a dog) and I feel like I've lost my head...

But hey, at least it's sunny!

These are in a park near the mayor's office in Thomery...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Wonderful Birthday?

This translates to "birthday from hell" literally, but the true meaning is that it's "a cool birthday." I like Cuisinella's ads... Here's another one...

They've got a TV ad that is a bit osé (daring)... I hadn't seen it until I was hunting for some other print ads like these... Not sure that would get played in the US! Wait, no, I am sure it would not get played!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Get Up Earlier?

These were the shelves at one of our local grocery stores this weekend. Don't sleep in on Sunday???

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Got a little something egg-straneous this time...

Note the red writing on the egg. What I like about their expiration info system here is that not only do you see the dates on the box, but also they print them right on the egg, so if you take them out of the box and store them elsewhere, all info is not lost...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Good Mom That I Am...

I let my kids pick out a sugary cereal this week (albeit with a lower sugar content than others). I am a sucker for Star Wars stuff, as are they....

But let me tell you, there is nothing more appetizing than starting your day with cereal called, "Cracks."

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Rockin' Promotion

In the latest game at one of our supermarkets, you gain packets of Rolling Stones cards based on how many and what type of purchases you make. My kids were all excited because we won a downloadable song last night. Wait 'til I tell them I won another today at lunchtime.

So will we get Maroon Five's "Moves Like Jagger?" or perhaps  Kesha's "Tik Tok," ♪♫♪ But we kick 'em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger...

These guys turned my little hometown of North Brookfield, Massachusetts upside down in the early 80s when they came and stayed at a recording studio in town before going on a world tour. I didn't get to go to their concert in Hartford, CT, but I did see Mick one day standing near his red sports car, which was parked near one of the cemeteries. No idea why he'd stopped...

And I've still got my teeshirt, somewhere in a box here. I think everyone in town at least knew someone going to the concert, "so didn't go there, haven't been there, but got the teeshirt" you could say...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gateau Beauharnais

This cake has a chocolate biscuit on the bottom, and layers of chocolate mousse, praliné feuilleté, and dacquoise amande. Scrumptious! There's no better way to translate!

You've probably heard about Madame Rose de Beauharnais in history class, but perhaps you know her better as Josephine Bonaparte or Empress of the First Empire. 

Napoleon was Josephine's second husband; her first was Alexandre de Beauharnais. He affectionately decided to rename her Rose.

Like Napoleon, he was also quite reknowned: de Beauharnais was among the French politicians who were guillotined at the Place de la Révolution (today's Place de la Concorde) in Paris.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Frozen Delight (??)

Since I bought these a few weeks ago, each time I've opend the freezer, I've thought, "Oooh, a yummy chocolate cake," until more of the package is exposed or I remember that I bought these awhile back as a treat, and had not yet served them to the meat lovers in the house.

Sorry the photo is not quite clear. For some reason, I just couldn't hold my hand steady; these are also referred to as blood sausages.

Boudins noirs are so totally NOT for me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Doorway to Multilingualism

Here's a Monday morning challenge for ya...

How many languages can you identify here? This is a doormat from a local crêperie...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Put Your Money...

..."where your mouth is" definitely applies here. 

Okay, so you should probably not buy items like this in a pharmacy where they are naturally more expensive, but sometimes duty calls.

I just had to know how much this would have cost in the US, and I guess I shouldn't have looked. Seven euros and eighty-five cents is the equivalent of $10.36! I found this online (actually, a more costly version with the teeth whitener built in) for $4.29 on sale at Walgreens.

Sometimes, it's just better not to look.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Candy These Days...

When I was a kid, I would go to the Brookfield Orchards in North Brookfield, Massachusetts to buy penny candies like Jolly Ranchers and striped plastic straws filled with sour powdered candy. Or I'd go to the local five and dime and buy baseball cards... I had all the Boston Red Sox one year, except for Don Aase, a pitcher. And that was in the days before they sold the whole set in a box.

This is what my daughter came home with yesterday after a walk to the local bakery....

I'm still waiting for baseball cards to make their way here, but I think I'm going to have to be patient. Very patient.

Friday, March 2, 2012

To have tokens...

I love idiomatic expressions...

In French, "avoir les jetons" means literally, "to have tokens" and translates to "to have the willies, to have the heebeejeebees," or "to be scared," etc.

This is really good to know, because how do you describe this feeling if people don't know these words in English? Acting this out isn't hard though...

The yellow one is for a grocery store cart (you can't detach them without one or without a money coin) and the elephant ones are for a car wash. Irritation: I bought a bunch from this chain, only to learn that they don't work in all of their affiliates. Grrrr.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Only in France...

...would you find goat cheese flavored potato chips...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Licensed to Mean Two Things

Finally, we got our license plate numbers and got the plates made. And the first thing I thought when I saw them, I thought, California and Virginia! Two of the six states I've lived in. What irony!

But then some of the French members of the family looked and them and saw what I hadn't: ça va. This can be both the question, "How's it going?" and the response, "It's going" or "It's okay."

So, double irony.

I was worried that the plates would spell something stupid in English, as I have seen many, many, but alas, ça va...

Note that I erased three digits from the middle for our privacy. Another note, you can choose what department you want to be shown as being from. Seventy-seven is our current department, but some people choose where they were born or where they grew up...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Surprise, Surprise?

I think there was no question about what would be on the cover of French newspapers today! The headline reads, "The Artist conquers the world."

The Oscars were too late at night on Sunday for Monday's editions, so here we have 39-year-old Jean Dujardin, a well-known French actor. He's beaming after winning Best Actor for his portrayal of George Valentin, an older silent film star working with an up-and-coming female star.

Dujardin is the first French actor to earn the Academy Award for Best Actor; he won the same award at the Golden Globe Awards earlier this year and at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011.

His next film, Les Infidèles, is set for release tomorrow across France.

Monday, February 27, 2012


This was the estimated wait time for Crush's Coaster at Disney Studios. Yep, ninety minutes. So we promptly passed it by. Again. (Fifth visit in a row?) We passed on instead to the Parachutes, only to find the line there said 65 minutes.

Then we wisely headed to RC Racer, and found ourselves in front of a sign that said a mere 70 minutes. We'd never done the ride, and didn't actually see zillions of people waiting anywhere. We made the zig zaggedy walk along a rubber race track only to see a gabillion people in a snakey line that seemed to end nowhere.

So after brilliantly avoiding the 90-minute Crush's Coaster wait, we ended up hanging around for 105 minutes (yes 1-0-5) to ride RC Racer. You're kind of trapped up to a point to have to pass back through all the people...

Call me a sucker, but the ride was worth it.

I'll be looking to go again on our next visit. And will be bringing a small table and deck of cards.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Come As You Are

I'm rather nonplussed by this latest McDonald's campaign. I really don't get it. 

The translation of "Venez come vous êtes" is "come as you are."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Girls' Night

As we had three girl cousins visit the other night, this seemed appropriate... They are little cheese cubes made by the same company that makes "Laughing Cow" products, a.k.a. "La Vache Qui Rit." These are for a "Soirée Filles" so they say.

Girls' Night...

I especially liked the blue ones... scallop flavor. The green were goat cheese (I can take 'em or leave 'em) and the pink were sun-ripened vegetables. Inside each wrapper there are little trivia questions. I didn't happen to note if they were geared to women or not...

Don't tell the guys I served them these. Shhhhh.