Friday, November 27, 2015

Alex's class picture

October 2015
école élémentaire Jules Ferry
CM1 (fourth grade)
9 1/2 years old
Levallois-Perret, France

Friday, November 20, 2015

Armistice Day

Lincoln, Vincent, some good meals, a Chipotle opening in our town, park, some funny France pictures (a very tiny car parked, British granola, sauce L'Americaine), Vincent stacking pancakes.

Warhol exhibit at Museum of Modern Art in Paris, lunch at La Billebaude in the 7e, Vincent helping to make French toast and helping in the kitchen.

Armistice Day
Commemorations of November 11 in our town, then a nice lunch.

"Armistice Day (Armistice de la Première Guerre mondiale) in France remembers those who died or were injured in World War I and other wars."  Alex had a lesson in school on "Les Poilus",

= Poilu is an informal term for a French World War I infantryman, meaning, literally, hairy one. It is still widely used as a term of endearment for the French infantry of World War I. The word carries the sense of the infantryman's typically rustic, agricultural background. Beards and bushy moustaches were often worn. The poilu was particularly known for his love of pinard, his ration of cheap wine.

more Armistice Day pictures

Monday, November 16, 2015

3 days of mourning for les attentats du 13 novembre

Outside Alex's school on Monday, November 16 -

Flag tied with black ribbon for 3 days of mourning, Ville de Levallois-Perret, France -

November 13
Friday, a normal day before the evening...JD and I went into Paris to run some errands, buy Alex's new piano books near the Gare St. Lazare, then some errands by the Grands Magasins which were starting to decorate their windows for Christmas.  We decided to try one of the new BBQ restaurants in Paris, Floyd's Bar and Grill in the 10th arrondissement.  The BBQ was good, but of course not as good or as large of a portion as in the US!  We walked most of the way back home.

Other happenings of the day - Alex lost a tooth and Vincent fell and smashed his face into a tree at recess.

On Saturday, Alex attended a birthday party for his friend Thomas at a Lasergame venue in Courbevoie.

November 22
Eating, Vincent, meal at Cornelius (duck and polenta), and JD's chorus concert.

November 30
Park, school, rain boots, displaying the French flag for the memorial service.

Saturday, November 07, 2015



When we first moved to France 6 years ago, there was little to no Halloween celebration, decorations, or costumes.  The big costume holiday here was Mardi Gras.  Now there's slowly more and more Halloween decorations and celebrations.  The UK based department store Marks and Spencer has several stores in Paris, and English folks celebrate Halloween. No full trick-or-treating in Paris yet, but some people give out candy.  We went to the L'Anjou our corner cafe/bistro/bar to celebrate and Vincent had his face painted.
  • "Halloween, from All Hallows Eve (ie. the day before All Saints Day) – a festival which is seen in France as an ‘Anglo-Saxon’ import but which has been gaining in popularity. It is often said to have been grafted onto a Celtic autumn festival called Samhain. 
  • Toussaint (All Saints Day) is the Catholic Festival honouring all of the saints. It is often associated with Le Jour des Morts (All Souls Day), which is actually the following day (November 2) and commemorates the dead.  It is traditional at this time of year to visit family graves and put flowers on them, especially chrysanthemums.
a few more pictures

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Basel and Alsace wine route

JD, Gabby, Alex, Vincent, Kathleen and Carrie's big adventure
Basel, Switzerland and Alsace Lorraine region of France
October 27 - October 31, 2015
Colmar, France / Barr, France / Mount Saint Odile, France
Strasbourg, France

Vacation to the Alsace Lorraine region of France, which straddles the border of Germany along the Rhine river and Vosges mountains.  Because the region has changed hands 4 times between Germany and France, and runs right next to the border of Germany, it feels and sounds like Germany with a bit of France.

A day in Basel, Switzerland to meet up with Kathleen who was in Basel for work and Carrie who flew over to join us for the adventure.

Lots of foie gras, duck, cured meat, pretzel bread, munster cheese, spätzle (egg noodles), and flammenkuchen (flat bread pizza with creme fraiche, onion, and lardons.  Yum.  Oh, and don't forget the Choucroute Alsatian which is sauerkraut served with sausage and cured meat all piled on top. Carrie dubbed this the "meat tent".

Paris to Basel, Switzerland
TGV Lyria Paris Gare de Lyon to Basel, Switzerland in 3 hours (200 mph).  A picnic on the train.  Carrie met us in Basel and we took the tram to our hotel.  We walked around town a bit while Kathleen finished work.  There was an Octoberfest carnival with lots of rides and food stalls in the Munsterplatz.  Drinks outside on a patio at Kathleen's hotel on the Rhine.  Then we walked to a traditional fondue restaurant for dinner and some kirsch.  Vincent loved the trams in Basel and both Alex and Vincent loved the sparkly apple drink of the region "Apfelsaft".

Basel to Colmar, France and Barr, France
Renting the Mercedes "Vito" van and driving to Colmar, France (birthplace of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi who designed the Statue of Liberty) for lunch before heading to Barr, France and the Hotel Château Landsberg.  Dinner at the hotel, best dinner of the trip!  Main course was potato pancakes topped with munster cheese and ham.

Mount Saint-Odile and Ribeauville, France
5 minute drive to Mont Sainte-Odile, a 760 m peak of the Vosges Mountains.  Saint Odile is the patron saint of the Alsace region. It has a monastery convent at its top called the Hohenburg Abbey for prayer, reflection, and a spiritual retreat.  It helps that you are "above the clouds".  Very old - there is a Celtic wall, and evidence from Roman times.  It was so beautiful with the trees changing color for autum we could not stop taking pictures.

Part 2 - drive down the Alsace wine route.  Stop in quaint little town Itterswiller for lunch.  Onward to Ribeauville, one of the 3 "Grand Cru" villages for some wine tasting.  Dinner, then back to Barr for our last night.  Snacks and wine in the hotel room.

Barr and Strasbourg, France
Last morning at the hotel in Barr, France.  A quick swim before heading north to Strasbourg for the cathedral, astronomical clock, canal boat tour, and mulled wine. Drive back through Germany to Basel to be near airport for Kathleen and Carrie's early flights back to the US the next day.  The Elvis hotel with gold laminate curtains, colored lights, and a casino next door.

Basel to Paris
Carrie and Kathleen headed to the Basel airport to fly back to the US, we returned the rental car and walked into Basel for a few hours before our train to Paris.  A nice walk around town and some pretzel bread and crepes.  Picnic on the train.

Potato chips in foil on the train, fondue restaurant, Colmar, chateau hotel in Barr, breakfast buffet, Mount Saint Odile trees, Strasbourg Cathedral.


choucroute Alsatian (a.k.a. meat tent over sauerkraut):

fondue and kirsch in Basel:

Favorite sayings:
Franks & beans
Dark & stormy
meat tent
Awesome sauce
Your anger is tiresome.
Super bon.
Gout - is that what I have?
3 surprises!
This room is so small I gotta step outside to change my mind.
You can't swing a cat without hitting a church in this country.

sing along:
Springtime for Hitler in Germany.
I can't feel my face when I'm with you.
How deep is your love?

And don't forget to ask Kathleen and the power strip incident in Basel.