Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Bernard Hinault (born 14 November, 1954) is a French cyclist who won the Tour de France five times. He is also one of only four cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours, the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia, and the Vuelta a España. He is the only cyclist who has won each Grand Tour more than once. He won the Tour de France in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985. He was first in the Giro d'Italia in 1980, 1982 and 1985. He was first in the Vuelta a España in 1978 and 1983. Hinault had the nickname Le Blaireau (the Badger). Hinault says this was a local custom with cyclists when he was young. Professional cyclists used the nickname because badgers do not let go of their prey (animals they want to eat) easily. People know him as a very independent and strong man.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Being an extreme cheese lover (I could be Wallace of "Wallace & Gromit"), I came across this recipe that I will have to try.
A gougère, in French cuisine, is a savory choux pastry with cheese. Grated cheese may be mixed into the batter, cubes of cheese may be pushed into the top, or both. Gougères are sometimes called cheese puffs in English.
Gougères can be made as small, finger-sized pastries, or filled with ingredients such asmushrooms, beef, or ham. In the latter case, the gougère is usually made using a ring or pie tin. Traditionally, gougères are made with Gruyère, but other cheeses are sometimes used. Gougère is a specialty of the Burgundy region.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup water
- 8 tablespoons butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, bring water, butter, and salt to a rapid, rolling boil. Make sure all the butter is melted, and then add flour. Stir the mixture for 20-30 seconds, until a sticky dough ball forms and begins pulling away from the sides of the pan. Reduce heat to low-medium heat and cook, stirring, for 90 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, along with cheeses and seasonings. Place heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets 1 inch apart. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 25-30 minutes. The gougeres are done when they are a deep golden brown and puffed. Serve immediately.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
From what I've been reading this restaurant has a hilarious twist. Apparently Paris charges a tax on wine served in glasses, so this owner came up with the idea of serving his wines in...Baby Bottles! Apparently everyone enjoys it (aside from the excellent fondues) & has a fun time in this place.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Bowl late-night in a glowing, club-like atmosphere, or stop in any time of day for the classic bowling experience. Bowling Montparnasse has 16 lanes, 9 pool tables, a bar, and even arcade games, so you can spend a whole afternoon or evening here - perfect for a winter date.
Open every day from 10am until 2am, Fridays till 4am, and Saturdays & holidays, till 5am.
Specials: 11€ before 6pm, 16€50 after. Prices include 2 games, shoe rental, and a drink (soda or beer). You can also play à la carte, for 4€50 or 6€50/game (plus 2€ for shoe rental) - check the website for exact times and details.
AMF Bowling de Montparnasse 25, Rue du Commandant Mouchotte, 14th arrondissement 01.43.21.61.32
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The Tarot of Marseilles (or Tarot of Marseille), also widely known by the French designation Tarot de Marseille, is one of the standard patterns for the design of tarot cards. It is a pattern from which many subsequent tarot decks derive. The Tarot deck was probably invented in northern Italy in the fifteenth century. It is ascertained that tarot cards were introduced into southern France from northern Italy when the French conquered Milan and thePiedmont in 1499. The name Tarot de Marseille was popularized in the 1930s by the French cartomancer Paul Marteau, who used this collective name to refer to a variety of closely related designs that were being made in the city of Marseille in the south of France, a city that was a centre of playing card manufacture, and were (in earlier, contemporaneous, and later times) also made in other cities in France. The Tarot de Marseille is one of the standards from which many tarot decks of the nineteenth century and later are derived.
The Papess Controversy
The Papess card has sparked controversy because of its portrayal of a female pope. There is no solid historical evidence of a female pope but this card may be based around the mythical Pope Joan, who is sometimes viewed as the Antichrist. Many variants have been used to avoid such controversy, including Juno, The Spanish Captain and The High Priestess.
Jeu de Tarot
The French game of Tarot, also jeu de Tarot, is a trick-taking card game enjoyed throughout France and also known in French-speaking Canada, which uses a traditional 78-card Tarot deck instead of the internationally-known 52-card poker deck. Tarot is the second-most popular card game in France after Belote. The Fédération Française de Tarot publishes official rules for Tarot.
Il est une heure (ill eht oon uhr) - It is 1:00
Il est une heure cinq (ill eht oon uhr sank) - It is 1:05
Il est une heure et quart (ill eht oon uhr kahr) - It is 1:15
Il est une heure et demie (ill eht oon heure ay deh mee) - It is 1:30
Il est deux heure moins le quart (ill ay duhz uhr mwahn leh kahr) - It is 1:45 or a quarter to two (literally 2:00 less 15)
Il est deux heure moins dix (ill ay duhz uhr mwahn deece) - It is 1:50 or 10 to 2 (literally 2:00 less 10)
moins (mwahn) - less
heure (uhr) - hour
demie (deh mee) - half
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Kate McGarrigle and Anna McGarrigle are sisters who write and perform together. They were born of Canadian and Irish parents in Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, northwest of Montreal, and educated at a Roman Catholic convent school. Their careers in music began with the 1960s folk combo Mountain City Four, in conjunction with Jack Nissenson and Peter Weldon. Probably their best known song is "Heart Like A Wheel" made famous by Linda Ronstadt.
I was lucky to have seen them perform in mid 70's at the now defunct "The Bottom Line" nightclub in NYC. One of the really great folk performances I have ever seen.
Their songs have also been covered by a variety of other artists, including Maria Muldaur, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Billy Bragg,Chloé Sainte-Marie and Anne Sofie von Otter. Although associated with Quebec's anglophone community, the McGarrigles have also recorded and performed many songs in French. Two of their albums, Entre Lajeunesse et la sagesse (also known as French Record) andLa vache qui pleure, are entirely in French, but many of their other records include one or two French songs as well. Most of their French songs have been co-written by Philippe Tatartcheff, with occasional input from Kate McGarrigle's son, Canadian-American solo artistRufus Wainwright. Rufus and his sister Martha Wainwright, also a singer, are the children of Kate and her former husband, singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Fred is the diminutive of her given name, Frédérique, while Vargas derives from the Ava Gardner character in The Barefoot Contessa and is the pseudonym adopted by her twin sister, Joëlle Jo Vargas, a painter.
She mostly writes police thrillers (policiers). They take place in Paris and feature the adventures of Chief Inspector Adamsberg and his team. Her interest in the Middle Ages is manifest in many of her novels, especially through the person of Marc Vandoosler, a young specialist in the period. Seeking Whom He May Devour was shortlisted by the British Crime Writers' Association for the last Gold Dagger award for best crime novel of the year, and the following year The Three Evangelists won the inaugural Duncan Lawrie International Dagger. She also won the award for the second year-running with Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The first time a marathon was run in Paris was as early as 1896 over the at that time official distance of 40 km. Why 40km? Because that's the distance from Marathon to Athens, Greece. The Paris Marathon is limited to 35,000 entrants and the maximum is reached almost every year. Before your entrance is submitted you need a medical certificate affirming your physical fitness. Throughout the marathon runners get a good view of the magnificent city and some of its famous sights.
The course starts out right in front of the Triumphal Arch and continues down the broad Champs Elysées. The route passes through two Parisian woods and past fabulous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and Place de la Bastille. A large part of the course runs along the banks of the calmly flowing Seine River providing pleasing scenery and ensuring flat streets at the same time. The wide avenues at the start prevents overcrowding and the overall flatness of the course makes it fairly fast. PB setting is definitely an option.
If the historic city, the world famous sites and the peaceful, shady parks don’t do it for you, you can count on the 250,000 onlookers and the 70 music scenes to keep you going. If a 42 km jog on the Parisian asphalt doesn’t sound like your favourite pastime but you still want a chance to run this beautiful city and experience the intense atmosphere of a marathon, you can do the 5.2 km Breakfast Race on race day. Or – if you’re really tough – use the race as a warm-up for the marathon. The Breakfast Race course will take you past the Eiffel Tower, the imposing Trocadéro and almost up to the Triumphal Arch. There is also the possibility of a half marathon, if you plan your trip to Paris in March. The 1/2 marathon shares most of its course with the full marathon.
vous ouvrez à quelle heure? (vooze ooh vray ah kell uhr) - What time do you open?
vous fermez à quelle heure? (voo fehr may ah kell uhr) - What time do you close?
La visite guidée est à quelle heure? (lah veez eet geed ay eht ah kell uhr) The guided tour begins when?
Est'ce qu'il y a une visite guidée en anglais? (ess keel eeh yah oon veez eet geed ay ahn ahng lay) Is there a guided tour in English?
Est-ce qu'on peut prendre des photos? (ess kahn puh prahn druh day foh toh) Can one take photos?
à quelle heure (ah kell uhr) - at what time
l'entrée (lahn tray) - entrance ticket
l'entrée gratuite- (lahn tray grah tweet) - free admission
We will skip the numbers this lesson as I gave us a lot to learn in this one.
Lesson #12 will be on 9/18
Sunday, September 14, 2008
For people who like the odd & the surreal:
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (French: Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie) is a1972 surrealist film written and directed by Luis Buñuel, a Spanish filmmaker associated with the Surrealist movement. The film was made in France and is in French, although some dialogue is in Spanish.
The film is about a group of upper middle-class people attempting — despite continual interruptions — to dine together.
The film is several thematically connected scenes: five gatherings of a group of bourgeoisfriends, and four dreams dreamt by different characters. The beginning of the film focuses on the gatherings, while the latter part focuses on the dreams, but both types of scenes are intermixed. The film's world is not logical: the bizarre events are accepted by the characters, even if they are impossible or contradictory.
This film appeals to the abstract artist, that I am.
"Clair de Lune" performed by John Williams & Julien Bream
Saturday, September 13, 2008
In the early 19th century, on the orders of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, all the cemeteries in Paris were replaced by several large new ones outside the precincts of the capital. The Montmartre Cemetery was built in the north, the Père-Lachaise Cemetery in the east, and the Montparnasse Cemetery in the south. The Passy cemetery was a later addition, but has its origins in the same edict.
Opened in 1820 in the expensive residential and commercial districts of the Right Bank near the Champs-Élysées, by 1874 the small Passy Cemetery had become the aristocratic necropolis of Paris. It is the only cemetery in Paris to have a heated waiting-room.
The retaining wall of the cemetery is adorned with a bas relief commemorating the soldiers who fell in the Great War. Sheltered by a bower of chestnut trees, this beautiful cemetery sits in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Ben Franklin lived in France for nine years and became a beloved resident of Passy, a town just outside of Paris. When Franklin went home to America in 1785, America's new ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson, wrote, "When he left Passy, it seemed as if the village had lost its patriarch." Five years later Franklin died, and it was France, not the United States, that mourned Franklin with the pomp and ceremony befitting a hero. To the French, Franklin is still a major figure and, according to Claude-Anne Lopez: "Many French think he was president of the United States. They say, 'he was the best president you ever had!'"
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
In 1973 just before her fortieth birthday, Bardot announced her retirement. After appearing in more than fifty motion pictures and recording several music albums, most notably with Serge Gainsbourg, she chose to use her fame to promote animal rights.
In 1986 she established the Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals. She became a vegetarian and raised three million French francs to fund the foundation by auctioning off jewelry and many personal belongings. Today she is a strong animal rights activist.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
To Catch a Thief is a 1955 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis and John Williams. The movie is set on the French Riviera, and was based on the 1952 novel of the same name by David Dodge. The screenplay was written by John Michael Hayes. The film is a blend of intrigue, romance, and humor.
The American expatriate hero John Robie (Cary Grant), living in France, is a former cat burglar who is falsely accuse of a string of robberies on the French Riviera, and has to find out who is committing the thefts before he is caught himself. Grace Kelly is the heroine who is on a quest to 'catch' him - first as the burglar, and then as a husband. The infamous MacGuffin in this Hitchcock film is the identity of the thief.
I am a great fan of Hitchcock, and this film is one his more entertaining outings, taking place on the French Rivera. A lot of fun to watch.