Sep 24, 2016

Tricking the Eye: Bleu d'Auvergne


Trompe l'oeil is an art technique that, in theory, dates back to the Greeks. Practically speaking, however, it was during the Renaissance, when painters finally understood about perspective, that it really took hold. With a name like "trompe l'oeil", used in just about every language to describe the phenomenon and literally meaning "fooling the eye", it's clear that no matter who invented it, the French named it and claimed it.

Sep 18, 2016

On the Balcony: Lou Pèbre


There's a colorful French expression: "Il y a du monde au balcon" which translates literally as "It's crowded on the balcony." But really it's a euphemism to describe a lady who's well-endowed and showing it off. Check out that full balcony.

Sep 12, 2016

Kebab, But Not Shish: Frais de Troyes


As you surely know, France has a long and troubled relationship -- certainly at a low point right now -- with Muslim/Arabic/North African cultures. But the one thing that is undisputedly welcome in France is the kebab. Not to be confused with the shish kebab, what we Anglophones call our skewered and grilled meats. The French kebab, is more like a Middle Eastern shawarma, and is based on one particular kind of Turkish kebab, the döner kebab.

Sep 2, 2016

Relics of the Past: Saint Denis


In a suburb of Paris called Argenteuil, I see a stand like this outside the train station. I wonder, "What cute T-shirts are they selling?" When I approach, there are no T-shirts for sale, just a notice about the church in town, the Saint-Denys Basilica. When I ask the woman working the stand about what special thing is happening at the church -- are they selling T-shirts? -- she looks at me like I am a first rate, top-shelf idiot: "Madame, it's the tunic worn by Christ during the Passion."

Aug 3, 2016

Water, Water Everywhere: Brique des Sources


You'll hardly be able to find a public bathroom to use in Paris, but you'll need one, because, by contrast, you'll be able to find drinking water everywhere. The prettiest ones are these green, rather 19th century-looking statues, with a steady stream of water pouring down the middle.


Jul 28, 2016

Does Not Rhyme With Fare: Kreuzig


Train season is upon us -- that glorious time of year when Parisians leave Paris in droves -- some of them on crowded roads, the lucky ones on trains. Time in trains means time in stations, which I feel compelled to tell (correct) you are not "gares" (rhymes with "fare"). They are "gares" (rhymes with "bar"). If you rhyme it with "fare" it sounds like you are saying "guerre" (meaning "war"). Nothing is more grating to a French person's ear than "Gayre" de Lyon.

Jul 22, 2016

Royal Boobs and Balls: Jolirond


I present you the Coucougnette, which means "Balls" -- yes, in just the raunchy way your mind has immediately imagined. They are named after the balls of 16th century King Henri IV de France -- also known as Good King Henry. I don't know how good King Henry was, but I do know how good King Henry's balls are. Here they are mixed in with Queen Margot's Tits, making this perhaps the sexiest French candy photo ever.

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