Jan 16, 2019

Those Roamin' Romans: Lingot de Gâtine


And speaking of megalithic stones (having recently written about them in a post about our trip to Malta)... One day while visiting my friend's house in the tiny town of Apremont, I leave the house with my camera to see what I find. What I find is a very well-educated history buff of a French gardener who takes it upon himself to send me on a  walk to a local Roman megalith.

Jan 2, 2019

The Rainbowfication of the Marais: Tomme au Génépy


You may know of the Jewish history of the Marais, especially prevalent on the Rue des Rosiers (end 19th, beginning 20th century). You may know of the history of the Marais as a place for nobility (13th-16th century, and especially 17th century) or artists (latter 20th century). And while you still have people who are rich, artsy, and Jewish living in the Marais (and sometimes all three), there's no mistaking one of the newest and biggest identity markers in the Marais nowadays, thanks to the quick and complete rainbowfication of the neighborhood: it's been the gay neighborhood of Paris -- the LGBQT center since the 1980s.

Dec 19, 2018

Tanks for Nothing: Gabiétou


I'm not going to tell you the news any better than the major news outlets can, but I can just tell you  the stories from my friends in France. The mood is, as you can imagine, bleak. It's not been helped by the fact that the weather the past couple weeks in Paris (and France in general) has also been bleak -- dark, cloudy, rainy, cold. Add to that cars burning in the streets, protesters building barricades, riots, injuries, looting, graffiti, a center-city lockdown, and now a terrorist shooting in Strasbourg on top of it all, and you'll understand my Parisian friends' gloominess. The photos of tanks on Paris city streets are, simply, surreal.

Nov 28, 2018

Maltese Days & Knights: Pecura Corsa


"Napoleon Bonaparte slept here" may not be the most unique thing a Mediterranean port of call could claim, but at least it's a small claim to French heritage. Such is the case for Malta, the tiny nation of three islands (Malta, Gozo, and Comino) at a very strategic spot in the Mediterranean -- between the northern tip of Africa and Italy, basically standing guard at the narrowest point between the eastern and western halves of the sea. Napoleon's forces occupied the small nation for two years, and since then it's mostly been under British rule/protection or, more recently, independent, but some of the effects of that two-year occupation can still be seen.

Nov 13, 2018

Angélique -- Lover and Fighter: Saint Angel


My French friend is about as shocked to learn that I've never heard of Angélique, Marquise des Anges, as I would be if she told me she'd never heard of The Sound of Music (which she has) or The Brady Bunch (which she hasn't). You grow up thinking certain cultural references are universal, then realize that's only true within your own, limited universe. But if you were alive in the '60s and '70s (and pretty much since then, too) in France, then you're part of the universe that knows about this classic TV movie-series.

photo from: https://actu.orange.fr/societe/people/article-5-secrets-sur-la-saga-angelique-marquise-des-anges-CNT000000zPpje.html

Oct 31, 2018

Good Things Come to an End (But Not This Blog): Tomme de Corrèze


Is it true that all good things must eventually go the way of the bidet, the beret, and the street-corner mime? Not everything, but certainly, there seem to be a lot of sad endings in France recently.

Oct 16, 2018

Embracing the Fog: Tome du Ségala


Having tasted somewhere around 700-800 French cheeses by this point, it's tempting to be snarky about attending the annual San Francisco Cheesefest. It's not France, after all. And at this point, I'm pretty hard to impress. But I have to admit that I am impressed by a couple of the cheeses and, even more, by the sincerity and passion evident everywhere.

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