Jun 23, 2017

A Pox On You: Vacher Vendéen


When Pippa erupts with a few itchy bumps on her face, just days before she's supposed to go visit a friend, we worry. Could it be chicken pox? In the US, that may sound unlikely and rare. But in France, it's really rather common. While there is no noticeable rabid, vocal, defiant anti-vaxxer movement here in France (in the same way that it's a traditionally very Catholic country, yet every school teaches evolution -- they simply accept scientific truths), the one thing they don't believe in vaccinating for is the chicken pox.

Jun 16, 2017

Pull up a Chair: Pottok


At the Jardin du Luxembourg, Luxembourg Park, in the heart of Paris, the first thing you generally notice is the Senat building. That's pretty natural, considering the park is the grounds of the former palace of Marie de Medici, King Henry IV's widow, which is now used as the French Senate building. But the more time you spend here, in and out of seasons, the more you discover the park's hidden treasures.

Jun 9, 2017

Crazy, Not Crazy: Le Gratte Paille


This is a story about Puy du Fou, which seems like it would mean "Water Well of the Crazy Person" except that in this case "fou" does not mean "crazy". Puy du Fou, in the old local Vendée dialect, means "Hill of the Beech Tree." It is neither a hill, nor a tree. It's a theme park, with no rides. An amusement park, for education. Many people, especially non-French, might think we're crazy for wanting to go an educational theme park that has no rides. And we are crazy. Crazy for history.

Jun 2, 2017

Wine Not?: Tomme Alsace Affinée aux Fleurs


When you are invited to a French person's house for a dinner party, you should not show up empty handed. I'm here to tell you that there is a reason there are so many gorgeous florists all around France, in cities, in the country, and at markets. It's because flowers are the hostess gift of choice. If you're American, you may want to show up with a bottle of wine in hand: Don't.

May 26, 2017

All My Boozy Cheeses: Petit Pont Cidre


For something new and fun, I'm writing about cheese...and getting paid for it. But there was just one thing about my article in Wine Enthusiast about alcohol-rubbed cheeses that rubbed me the wrong way: I couldn't include all the cheeses I wanted! The French have always been a little inventive with their liquor (and their cheese).

May 19, 2017

Priced Out in Paris: Tomme Caussenarde


In a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, I read that it is more expensive to live in Paris (#5 on the list) than in London (#6), New York (#7), and San Francisco (not even in the top ten, though Los Angeles is tied for #8 with Seoul and Copenhagen).

May 12, 2017

Wild Elephants Couldn't Make Me: Sauvaget Cendré


And now, for part II of the story of Les Machines de L'Ile, I present you the biggest part of the story, in every sense of the word. Three story-high roving mechanical elephants. Did you know such things existed? Could you ever have imagined seeing -- or riding in -- one of these?

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