Wednesday, October 29, 2014

France Book Tours -- 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go

Do you think every woman has a natural connection to France? There's just something about it that draws people, especially women. And author Marcia DeSanctis taps into that attraction with her book 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go. 
This is the kind of book that should be savored slowly, enjoying each chapter as an individual visit, like one delicate piece from a whole box of French chocolates.
I'm already enamored of France, and I've visited nearly a dozen times, but the author found places that I had never discovered and now I can't wait to see them.
The book begins in Paris, and the author could probably have come up with all 100 places within Paris, but she does make herself limit the sites in Paris so that she could venture to the rest of France.
Some of the stories describe the sights and sounds of places. Others include personal stories that help bring the places to life.
Here's an excerpt from Chapter 31, La Croisette, Cannes.
When I was eighteen, I spent the summer in a flat on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. One day my sister and I took the train up the coast to try the beach at Cannes. While she went to stake a spot on one of the public beaches, I decided to wander La Croisette, the fabled avenue of movie-star struts. There was not much money in my crocheted purse, but I was sporting a deep Cote d'Azur tan and help myself high as one must do to blend into the luxury. I had already learned that lesson in France: whatever you do, act like you belong there. Walk tall and whisper. 
So what all does she include? I can hear you asking. You wonder if the places you love in France were also chosen by the author. I can't list 100 places in France, must less explain the importance of each. I will tell you that she begins with the Parc de Bagatelle then moves onto the Rodin Museum, and who even knew there was a Museum of Edith Piaf? Markets, swimming pools, churches, restaurants, and lingerie stores help round out the Paris list before the author ventures throughout the rest of France.
If you're ready for a journey to France for real, or just on the page, go ahead and pick up this book and to accompany Marcia De Sanctis. She'll help you find some amazing places.

 Here's a synopsis from the author:
Told in a series of stylish, original essays, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go is for the serious Francophile, for the woman dreaming of a trip to Paris, and for those who love crisp stories well-told. Like all great travel writing, this volume goes beyond the guidebook and offers insight not
only about where to go but why to go there. Combining advice, memoir and meditations on the glories of traveling through France, this book is the must-have in your carry-on when flying to Paris.

Award-winning writer Marcia DeSanctis draws on years of travels and living in France to lead you through vineyards, architectural treasures, fabled gardens and contemplative hikes from Biarritz to Deauville, Antibes to the French Alps. These 100 entries capture art, history, food, fresh air and style and along the way, she tells the stories of fascinating women who changed the country’s destiny. Ride a white horse in the Camargue, find Paris’ hidden museums, try thalassotherapy in St. Malo, and buy raspberries at Nice’s Cour Saleya market. From sexy to literary, spiritual to simply gorgeous, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go is an indispensable companion for the smart and curious traveler to France.

About the author:
Marcia DeSanctis is a former television news producer for Barbara Walters, NBC and CBS News.
She has written essays and articles for numerous publications including Vogue, Marie Claire, Town & Country, O the Oprah Magazine, Departures, and The New York Times Magazine.
Her essays have been widely anthologized and she is the recipient of three Lowell Thomas Awards for excellence in travel journalism,
as well as a Solas Award for best travel writing.
She holds a degree from Princeton University in Slavic Languages and Literature and a Masters in Foreign Policy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, and Twitter and
Buy the book: Amazon, upcoming on Travelers’ Tales.
Residents of the U.S. can enter to win a paperback copy of the book.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday Intros -- The Divorce Papers

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
Here's the intro from Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger. I'm just starting it but it looks like it is told in the form of various letters from lawyers and others. It begins with this one from a child.
1999 Happy New Year
Daniel Maria & Jane Durkheim
Dear Poppa,
I wish you were here. Mommy and Daddy are very cranky. Is 1999 going to be a good year? What's a millennium? And what's Montezuma's revenge? Daddy has it. Mommy says I have an iron stomach.
I'm not sure about this new form, but I suppose I should give it a try.
I look forward to seeing what everyone else is reading.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dreaming of France -- Must-See Spots in France

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
I've read a lot of good books set in France this year. Memoirs and fiction and history, but I haven't read any books that recommend places that I must visit. Until now with 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go by Marcia DeSanctis. I'll be reviewing this book for France Book Tours on Thursday, with a giveaway too, so please check back to see what I thought about the book. 
Meanwhile, I'll tell you that the author has done the leg work for you and come up with some amazing things to see in France, starting with Paris. 
The book focuses on well-known public places as well as some off the beaten track destinations for people who know France intimately. 
And one of those places every woman should go is a French lingerie store. Imagine the pampering. I might just give it a try. 

I'm interested to see what  you are dreaming about today. Thanks for playing along and please stop by other bloggers' Dreaming of France posts.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Comfort Food & Cake Recipe

My life continues to have too much drama in it, but it's nice to be able to fall back into traditions and things that comfort.
That's what I thought today as I pulled out a well-worn recipe for Buttercup Cake.

It's a recipe that my Aunt Ruby makes. Aunt Ruby is well into her 80s. She has lost her husband and she doesn't remember things the way she used to, but she still makes a delicious cake. We call it red cake rather than the official title of Buttercup Cake.
At the last family reunion, she said she wished she had kept track of the number of red cakes she has baked throughout the years. In addition to family reunions, she makes them for birthdays and funerals and church functions.
I made a red cake today to celebrate Spencer's 21st birthday. Since the recipe is so stained and faded, I figured I should make a copy. I'm sharing it here on my blog, so I'll always be able to find it.
Buttercup Cake
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of shortening (I used butter)
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup of buttermilk (I use milk with a tsp. of vinegar)
1 tsp. vanilla
red food coloring

Cream the shortening and the sugar until fluffy. Blend in well-beaten eggs. Sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Then stir into the batter in parts with the buttermilk. Add vanilla and food coloring. Bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes. Makes 2 layers

Fluffy Icing
1/4 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
1 stick of soft butter
1/2 cup of shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
I used butter in place of the shortening, so one cup of butter replaced the butter and shortening steps.
Mix and cook the flour and milk until thick, stirring constantly. Let cool. Then beat with a mixer for one minute. Add remaining ingredients. Whip until the texture of whipped cream. Spread on cake.

I consider myself a pretty good baker, but I'm not good at layer cakes. They might taste good, but they never look good.

Aunt Ruby's recipe calls for shortening. I use butter instead, which worked fine for the cake. In keeping with the name, it requires red food coloring. I didn't have a lot, so my cake ended up being a little more pink than red.

Spencer was getting ready to go to a friend's house, so I rushed the icing, not waiting long enough for it to cool. It kind of dripped off the cake.
I wouldn't have taken it to a family reunion, but it did taste good as we all ate slices to celebrate Spencer's final step into adulthood.