Feb 24, 2017

The Highest Heights: Laïous


After going down, down, down to the deepest moat in Europe, now I take you up to the tallest castle in France: the Château de Brissac. It also happens to be Gigi's favorite castle in Europe, and that's really saying something, because she's generally claims to suffer from a serious case of castle burn-out. In this case, it's not actually the height that impresses her, it's the history.

Feb 17, 2017

Deep Moat: Le P'tit Azay


Château de Brézé could be just another castle except for one profound difference, literally profound. It's a medieval castle with what is purported to be the deepest dry moat in Europe. And the moat is not just a channel dug around the castle; it's its own labyrinthine fortress with caverns, tunnels, staircases, bridges, ovens, wine presses, horse stables, and living quarters. It has at one time been a wine cellar, silk work farm, bakery, and military barracks.  Its tagline: Château de Brézé, A Château under a Château.

Feb 10, 2017

Can't Beat That Sweet Treat: Kaïkou


Fluffy sugary things. You can't beat that. Or, rather, not only can you beat that, you must beat that, because that's how sugar gets so fluffy in the first place. The French make their sugar go further, stretching it (sometimes literally) with egg whites and other ingredients to come up with three very French, very sweet treats: guimauves (like marshmallows), nougat, and meringue. Just so you know, I don't love any of them.

Feb 3, 2017

Libraries vs. Librairies: Bouca


The rest of the world can go on their Kindles and iPhones, but the French still like good, old-fashioned books. Sometimes old-fashioned to the point of antique.

The French celebrate books and writers and poets and philosopher-poets and philosopher-writers like Americans honor athletes and war heroes. As somebody who loves a good book, it just makes me love the French more. A chicken in every pot? More like a bookstore on every corner.

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