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A mysterious find – Or, I wonder what’s in there…

January 29, 2012

Found today, these two old beauties.


Complete with exposed film rolls inside of them! Am I going to try and get them developed?

Hell yeah.

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L’Absinthe – Or, the perfect Parisian cafe.

January 22, 2012
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I always make sure to stop by L’Absinthe for lunch when I’m near Republique. It’s the perfect place for no-frills, wholesome, uncomplicated food. It has delicious salads, all kinds of meats, cheese, nice desserts and good wine. What else does lunch really need? Sure, there are lots of bistros like this in Paris – Plan B on Rue Daguerre is my Rive Gauche go-to – and I’m not saying this is the best one. It’s simply my favorite spot when I feel like eating traditional French cuisine without spending a fortune, and it’s always good. I have good memories there.

My sister and I have this habit to always share our meals when we eat out. Somehow we’re always both undecided between the same two things the other also wants. Can you say codependency? That day we both wanted the goat cheese salad and the boeuf Bourguignon and that’s what we got. L’Absinthe, once again, did not disappoint: simple, classic, delicious. Perfect.

L’Absinthe Cafe

54 Rue de Turbigo

75003 Paris

Paris – Or, an introduction.

January 16, 2012
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Oh boy. I’ve been back in Brooklyn for over a week now but I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t gotten a chance to write about Paris. I’m so tired right now that I think I’ll just post a few pictures and not say much for now. I do have a lot to say about Paris, and I will, but not tonight.

Tonight these will have to do.

More to come soon.

Marseille – Or, the city by the sea.

January 3, 2012

I went to Marseille for a quick visit to a dear friend who just had a little girl. To sum up my visit, the baby was adorable, my friend was adorable and Marseille was adorable. How can you not love Marseille? It’s almost always sunny, it’s by the Mediterranean Sea, it’s old and beautiful, alive with people, some very poor, some very rich, but all as warm and buoyant as their southern accent. Marseille is a city of contrast, built around its old harbor and up its hills, made up of tiny villages with very distinct identities. People in Marseille live outside – playing petanque, soccer, hanging out in front of their building, hanging laundry from their windows, drinking pastis on a terrasse near the vieux port

You’ll also find hidden alleys and secret gardens that will make you dream of summer in the middle of December.

Of course in Marseille one must make some purchases. Four things you cannot leave the city by the sea without (thankfully all are very inexpensive):

Lavender and herbes de Provence. These are the two most characteristic smells of the South of France. Lavande grows wildly in the many hills of Provence and is used around the house either in bouquets or sewn into little pouches to put in your closets to perfume linens and underwear. Herbes de Provence is a mix of the wild aromatic herbs that also grow in the Provence hills: romarin (rosemary), basilic (basil), thym (thyme), sarriette (savory) and marjolaine (marjoram). Indispensable when making ratatouille, delicious on any meat (just rub the mix on chicken or steak before roasting or grilling), or when making tomato sauce, or even just sprinkled on pizza or tomato tarte.

Olive trees of course abound around the Mediterranean. I picked up these boards and utensils made from centuries-old olive wood from a local artisan who was also selling small baby olive trees. Wish I could have smuggled one home to Brooklyn…

And last but not least, the legendary savon de Marseille. Made from olive oil and local natural scents (yes, lavender, but also orange blossom and jasmine, to name a few favorites), this soap has been around at least since the 12th century. It is good for your skin, non-allergenic and organic. It is used not only as a hand or body soap, but also as a laundry detergent (very efficient!) or even a cleaning product. In short, it’s awesome. Like Marseille.

Les Bauges – Or, a walk through the woods

January 1, 2012


Dent du Chat.

Mail boxes.

Lichen and chestnut burr.

My dad.

We didn’t climb up the Dent du Chat, but we did take a walk through the woods behind my uncle’s house on Christmas Day. Under our feet, wet leaves and prickly chestnut burrs. Above our heads, a cloudless sky. Around us, the Massif des Bauges.

Aix-les-Bains – Or, the town by the lake.

December 31, 2011

We spent Christmas at my uncle’s in Aix-les-Bains, about an hour and a half east of Lyon. Aix-les-Bains is in Savoie, nestled between the lac du Bourget and the Massif des Bauges, just at the foot of the French Alps.

On Christmas Eve my sister and I took a walk through the silent town to see the lake.

 

It was freezing and quite windy and we were the only ones around.

This peak is called la Dent du Chat, the Cat’s Tooth.

On our way back we ran into my parents and my brother coming down to meet us. We walked back to the house all together and just like that Christmas started.

Lyon! – Or, the city with two rivers, two hills and one park.

December 30, 2011
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Lyon has two rivers, the Rhone and the Saone. It also has two hills, Fourviere and la Croix-Rousse. Take a walk down its tree-lined banks (les quais) and you’ll come across spectacular views of the city and its many bridges, all the more magnificent at sunset.

The Parc de la Tete d’Or was created in 1857, the same year as Central Park. It is one of the largest parks in France. Designed a l’anglaise, it was created in order to “bring Nature to those who don’t have access to it”.

It has a lake, a botanical garden, bike racing tracks and a zoo. On Sundays my parents would sometimes take us there and we’d walk around the lake, through the zoo to see les biches, les lions, les elephants and les crocodiles. Sometimes we’d bring our roller skates or our bikes. We’d always beg for a gauffre or a barbe a papa (cotton candy) and sometimes we’d get lucky.

Parc de la Tete d’Or:

Boulevard des Belges

69006 Lyon