Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dreaming of France -- Arriving in Paris

Thank you for joining 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.

A week ago Friday, we made our way from Southwestern France to Paris. We wanted to end our trip with a few days in the magical city.
When I'm buying plane tickets, I usually include a hotel room in Paris either as we are arriving or leaving. I find that the hotel room doesn't really increase the price of the plane tickets, so it's like getting a hotel room for free. So our flights from Ohio to Paris with two nights in a hotel in Paris were about $800 each.
This time we stayed in Trianon Rive Gauche, which was in the 5th arrondisement. The rooms are always small in Paris, so don't expect anything like an American hotel room, but the bed was firm and the bathroom remodeled, plus we didn't spend that much time in the room.
Since we took the train to Paris, we arrived at the Gare de Lyon in the 12th arrondisement. I had checked ahead of time and walking from the train station to our hotel was about 2 miles. Even though we were wheeling suitcases along, I wanted to walk and enjoy the city.
When we first got off the train, the sky looked like this!

How glorious!
So we started walking, following some vague directions I had downloaded from Google maps.
Soon the sky ahead looked like this.

We kept walking as the wind picked up, wheeling our suitcases behind us. And then the rain began to fall and suddenly in front of us, a bistro appeared with a broad red awning. I pulled my suitcase next to an empty terrace table and Earl joined me.

We had shared a sandwich on the train, but after walking for a while, we were definitely ready to eat again. Paris is used to tourists who eat at all hours of the day, so they didn't look askance when we ordered a charcuterie and cheese planche (board) along with a Kir au vin blanc, which is kir mixed with white wine. 

This is the huge board that arrived with ham, salami, three kinds of cheese, butter, pickles and bread. We sat there watching the rain for quite a bit, until it had passed and we were definitely sated.
After checking our directions again, we moved on to arrive at our hotel with slightly damp suitcases.
Two nights in Paris is never enough, but I know that we'll be back to explore more.
Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave your link below and visit each other's blogs to share your love for France.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Online Book Tour & Free on Kindle

So in between traveling and teaching and keeping strong relationships with my family, I haven't been very good at promoting my books.
That's why I ventured into another online book promotion tour for Paris Runaway.

I've already received two new reviews of Paris Runaway, and I always love hearing what readers enjoy in my novels. It isn't so great when they don't like things, but I guess that's part of the learning process too.
Denise gave Paris Runaway a 5-star review on Goodreads. She said, "This highly entertaining novel is the perfect summer read." And it's officially summer here once Memorial Day arrives. And, maybe she knows this from her own life experience: "If you have ever fallen in love with a Frenchman, you will recognize how special it can be, as epitomized in Auguste."

Amy at Locks, Hooks, and Books blog also reviewed Paris Runaway and gave it 5 stars. She wrote, "It has a perfect combination I love in a story, some laughs, mystery, suspense, adventure, action, and romance. I highly recommend it!"

You can visit the tour at the link to see other upcoming stops.
And you can enter to win Kindle or paperback copies. If you don't want to take a chance on not winning, Paris Runaway is free on Kindle Sunday, May 28, through Tuesday, May 30.
So please, visit Amazon and download it. Let your friends know and have them download it. You never know when you're going to need a trip to Paris through the eyes of Sadie.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Catching Up

I've just finished a few intense days, returning from France and all that entails, two grocery store trips, four loads of laundry, cleaning, greeting family, paying bills, etc...
But I also needed to finish a training course for my online teaching. The training began on May 15 and lasted until today, May 24.
Of course, I was traveling in France. I didn't want to spend extra time inside doing a training course. But we had been warned that if we did not complete the training, we would not receive classes to teach in July.
So I did a few of the modules while in France.
This is a wall in the Paris airport made of actual living plants. I thought it was incredibly cool. 

Monday, I thought I would get a bunch done, but with the grocery and the laundry and the general exhaustion, I did not.
That meant that Tuesday was wholly devoted to working on the training, and this morning, just a few minutes ago, I completed the training.
What a relief.
Now I'll have time to visit other people's blogs, read a book -- oh, wait. I still have grading to do for the class I'm currently teaching, plus I have to prepare for the in-person college course that begins next week.
Still, what a relief that I finished the training.
Thanks to everyone who visited and commented while I was traveling in France. I can't wait until I am over there full time, writing leisurely posts about my life in France.
This was the Tuleries Garden with the Eiffel Tower in the background on our last evening in France. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Pont du Gard

Thank you for joining 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.

As this post is published, we're flying home from France.
Le sigh.
But we had a fabulous time and can't complain about an 18-day vacation.
While we were in France, we visited the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct. We had just been in the village Uzes where the water ran across the aqueduct to the more southern town of Nimes.
The sun came out at just the right time.

We have never gone to the top of the aqueduct, but apparently you can take a tour and go to the top level. I did take a picture of these stone steps that lead up to it.
Although the steps look ancient, they were built in the 1800s. You can see where they are worn away in the middle.
 Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave you link below and visit each other's blogs to share your love for France.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Perfect Breakfast

I don't mean to sound like a whiner. I mean who goes to France and complains about things? But this morning I finally got a perfect French breakfast. That is to say a kind of breakfast that I always hope for when I'm in France.
We've been staying in Airbnb's, so we were responsible for our own breakfast. I resorted to using coffee bags like teabags, or, horror of horrors, Nescafé instant coffee. It was not the pitcher of coffee accompanied by a small pitcher of steamed milk that I had dreamed of.
We checked into a hotel in Paris yesterday and they said we could have the breakfast buffet for €16 each or breakfast in our room for €10 each. I ordered the €10 breakfast for each of us and this morning at 8 AM A man knocked at the door with the tray and set it on the bed. Voilà!
There on the tray with the silver pitcher of coffee and a small white ceramic pitcher of steamed milk. Heaven! 
That's not to mention the plate with the little croissant, little chocolate croissant and a little escargot -- which is what they call these little pastries that are circular with raisins in them. We also had part of a baguette and three types of jam to choose from, along with packets of butter just the perfect temperature to spread on bread
Now I feel complete. On to the Musées D'Orsay today. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Church Mystery

We continue our meandering vacation, driving to markets, hiking, eating.
Our Airbnb host is rather appalled at our lack of plans to visit touristy sights. She suggested we visit a famous church/town near here called Rennes-le-chateau.
Her husband even brought by a book that he had bought in French but ended up unable to read -- they're Australian.
The book is about a priest who was assigned to Rennes-le-chateau in the late 1800s. When he got there, the church was a mess, falling apart, and he had no money to fix it. He received a donation from a countess and began to make repairs. Suddenly, he was buying land and having stone masons build gardens and a tour.
The rumor is that he found treasure under the church. Other people have tried to find it, but the real treasure now that they earn is in the tourists coming to visit. I haven't checked out this website, but it claims to have lots of links if you're interested in the mystery.
Apparently, some of these stories were used in the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown.

This is a tile that was found at the church, allegedly face down so  no one knew it was there. I can definitely see a connection to the Crusades here. 
Whether there's a hidden treasure from the Visigoths, Celts, Romans or the Knight Templars, the grounds look pretty amazing now.

This is a tower that the priest built and used as a library. It's a little sketchy that he built all these opulent buildings for himself, in my opinion. Of course, the church wasn't using money that judiciously in the past anyway, so maybe it didn't matter that he didn't share. 

Here's a view of the countryside. 

Me, in front of the tower. 

Here's the inside of the church. I love when churches use that cobalt blue for the sky with stars painted on. The church has a bizarre statue of the devil stooped over with a basin for holy water on his shoulders. Just last month, a Muslim woman is charged with vandalizing it -- she broke the head off. 

Here's how it looked when we saw it Thursday. 

Here's how it looked in a picture about the news story, before it was vandalized. 
Had you heard about this place? I hadn't.
We're off to Paris to spend a few days before heading back home. Thanks for reading and commenting. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Morning

So many things to blog about but I don't want to spend my vacation blogging, so I thought I'd share a few pictures before we continue our exploring.
I'm usually an early riser, but I've been lollygagging a bit -- it is vacation.
We're on a 6-hour time difference from home.
Apparently Grace was still awake at midnight and she texted me, assuming I'd be up at 6. I was awake, planning to get up to see the sunrise this morning -- I've missed it every other morning.
So after her text, I took a few pictures.

And then a few minutes later as the color continued to spread.

It has been confusing to me how the sun can rise in the east behind the mountains and set in the west behind the mountains, but a hike today affirmed that this little village is nestled with mountains all around.

This is a panorama photo on my iPhone. It goes about 180 degrees around the path that we were walking this morning, but I could have continued to take the picture all the way around to show the mountains surround us.
We walked for an hour this morning, about three miles.
And then I ran back to the apartment -- uphill, while Earl went to the boulangerie for our breakfast.
I haven't run much here because I have found flat areas to run. I don't mind running uphill, although I'm not in shape for it, but running downhill is a killer on me.
As we decide where we want to live in the future, I'm torn.
I love walking in the mountains, the views, the feeling of the mountains embracing me to their bosom, swaddling me.
But I wonder if my running years will be limited with so many downhills.
What do you think running friends?
No matter what I did or didn't do to my knees this morning, I got a lovely pastry for breakfast when my husband returned from the bakery.
I usually go for a chocolate croissant or a plain croissant, but he knows that I've been obsessed with cafe eclairs, so he got one for me for breakfast.
Hope you're having a lovely day too.
We're off to another market.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Dreaming of France -- Carcassonne

Thank you for joining 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.
So, I'm in France now -- no longer just dreaming of France, I'm actually living it, although today, I'm exhausted with 27,000 steps on my Fitbit -- that's 11.5 miles.
We started Mother's Day with a hike in the Pyrenèes -- a six-mile walk into the mountains.

Then we had time to grab lunch and take a shower before meeting a blogging friend, Taste of France, and her husband in Carcassonne. They have two gorgeous 17th century apartments in the heart of Carcassonne on Airbnb, so if you're looking for a place to stay, I can highly recommend them.
Now, I had no idea that the city of Carcassonne and the huge fort and castle on the hill were two separate place but within walking distance of each other.
Our GPS wouldn't pick up the square where we planned to meet, so Earl and I just followed the signs to La Cité.

Wow. Doesn't it take your breath away?
Then we walked down into Carcassonne to meet my blogging friend.
The day had threatened rain, but it turned out to be quite warm. We sat in a beautiful square, where apparently the market is held on market days.
Then we checked out some places in the old city. If I got part of the story straight, Carcassonne was partially built by King Louis IX after the Cathars were thrown out of La Cité during the 12th century crusades. The people had no place to go so a city across the river was born.
Next we walked up to the fortress.

It reminded me a lot of Mont St. Michel. The medieval fort and castle is filled with touristy shops but hasn't become Disneyfied. Every step inside reminds you that ancient people lived there and made their home there.
It's all pretty amazing.
And then on the way back to our B&B, we had to stop the car for goats! What? 

Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave you link below and visit each other's blogs to share your love for France.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mountain Microclimate

Yesterday we left our outpost in Mireval, the place from which we had traveled all around Herault, France (that's a region of l'Occitanie) and moved farther southwest.
On the way, we decided to visit a village listed in the "charming village" posts, called Roquebrun.
We thought it was on the way, but truly, we had to drive into the mountains, then back out the same way to get there.
I thought it was charming and would love to live there, but I have to be honest that it was a little isolated.

The village was totally surprising because it is in the mountains, but palm trees and orange trees and cactus grow on the sides of the cliffs.
I read about the microclimate on Wikipedia, and even though the village is in the Massif Central mountains, it is surrounded on three sides by mountains to block the wind, and it also gets heat from the dormant volcano to help the warm-weather plants grow.

Flowering cactus in the mountains! We also saw orange trees.

Apparently, the city is sometimes called "Le Petit Nice" because it overlooks a river and the drive along the mountains is similar to the drive above the Mediterranean Sea.

There's an ancient tower there. We climbed up to see it, but it was closed from 12-2:30 for lunch.
The town was beautiful, but isolated.
There would be plenty of outdoor hiking and biking, but not too many cultural activities.
We visited on a market day, of course. And there was a mobile barber offering haircuts.

Too cute.
The city had a couple of restaurants and we sat outside in the sunshine. Unfortunately, Earl chose a meal that included veal kidneys He ate it like a trooper.

My starter was so delicious. A melon cut artistically into thin strips and shaped into a flower, along with the ubiquitous salad and vinaigrette plus a piece of ham. My main course was duck, which was a bit dry, but it wasn't veal kidney mixed with mushrooms, so there's that!

Here's a selfie of us up high above the river Orb. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

French Eccentricities

This story starts last Saturday, with a trip to the wine tasting room here in Mireval.
We saw the signs as we drove in and knew that the winery sold muscat, a specialty of the region. It's a very sweet white wine that is used as an aperitif here.
We visited the Domaine La Capelle on Saturday and tasted the 2015 bottle of muscat.

Then, the tiny French woman who spoke no English, gave us a sip of the 1995 bottle of this thick golden liquid.
To me, it was a  bit strong, almost musty, but to Earl, it set off something in his taste buds.
We didn't buy it that day, but Earl continued to dream of it.
She told us the bottle was 58 Euros. That seems like a lot, but really, not that much more than gel manicure.

Yesterday, it rained, and I had gone for an early run in the rain along country roads that seemed a little sketchy.
After I got back to the room, the muscle pain along my right shoulder blade had returned, kind of like a stiff neck where you turn using your whole body rather than turning your neck and shoulders. I was also having twinges of pain in my throat and left ear. I decided it was a good day to relax.
So the final full day here, we stayed in the room catching up on some work that I needed to do while Earl worked on his novel.
In the middle of the afternoon, he decided to get his special bottle of wine.
The vintner was within walking distance, so he pulled on his raincoat and headed out.
"You're sure you can do it alone?" I asked. I didn't really want to go with him, but since I spoke French, I might have been helpful.
He waved me off, getting more secure in his ability to communicate with French people. He'd been out to buy breakfast each morning and even began stopping at the bar across the street to bring me coffee -- coffee to go in France is quite a rarity.
He asked whether I thought she would take credit cards since we hadn't replenished the cash we brought over. I figured she would since so few businesses operate in cash only.
I continued to grade papers and respond to email until a loud bang, followed by "Shit!" rang from the hallway.
I thought Earl had tripped coming up the stairs.
We are on the second floor, which the French call the premiere etage, the first floor. They count the ground floor and then the first floor. As I got up to open the door, he came in holding his head.
He had run into the closed door at the end of the hall with full force, banging with the bone just over his eyebrow. It started to bleed and a knot began to form.
"What happened?" I asked.
"I didn't turn the hall light on and I ran into the door," he said.
That's something else to know about France. The hallways are always long and dark with no outside light coming in. There are usually lights at the beginning or ends of hallways, but the lights are on a time. You press it then move as quickly as possible to your door or the stairs.
In this B&B, there was a door on the first floor (ground floor) which gave some light. The light for the upstairs hallway is at the bottom of the stairs. He didn't think he needed the hallway light so he came up in the dark.
 "Sit down," I insisted.
"No, the lady is waiting. I have to go get some cash."
I wanted him to press a tissue against his wound to staunch the blood and then hold something cold against it to prevent a large bump.
He requested a bandage, which I placed over his eyebrow.
Then I looked up whether there were banks in this tiny town. The post office has an ATM. So he headed off again.
When I texted Grace, she was appalled that I let him go out alone after a bump to the head, but he couldn't stand the thought of the old French lady waiting for him to return with his cash.
And, in spite of the difficulties, he returned with his special bottle of muscat in hand.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Four-Hour Lunch

On Tuesday, we made plans to have lunch at the home of a French couple we had never met.
Their granddaughter is a reporter at the newspaper with Earl. When she heard we were coming to France near Montpellier, she insisted we visit them.
Earl and Guy (the grandfather) shared emails and we planned to visit them on Tuesday.
We spent the morning exploring Montpellier

and purchased a sack of roses as a thank you gift, but we needn't have bothered because Monique (the grandmother) has beautiful flowers surrounding her home.
We knew they spoke some English because they living in the U.S. for a few years. He worked for IBM.
They're in their 80s now with a beautiful home in a bedroom community about 20 minutes outside Montpellier.
We took the back roads until we came to the big gate that leads to their driveway. Earl pushed the button and the gates slowly opened so we could drive inside.
Guy came from one direction to energetically shake Earl's hand while Monique came from another to greet me with cheek kisses.
In a mixture of French and English, we spent four hours over a meal.
We began on the terrace, overlooking the pool with the amuse-bouche or amuse-guele and apertifs. Guy supposed that amuse-guele was not quite polite, and guele can be translated to maw or gob, but mostly it just means some tidbits before the meal. Don't get it considered with the entrees, which are the first course of the meal. There were green olives, little tomatoes with the stems still attached, tiny savory crackers, pieces of salami folded like flowers, and cashews,
So what would I have to drink? Guy offered pastis, which is a typical Provencal drink, and one that I hadn't drunk yet this trip, so I said yes. He continued to suggest other drinks though and eventually convinced Earl to have some bourbon. Monique brought out one huge decanter of bourbon and one bottle of Chivas. Guy poured a good three fingers of pastis into my tall thin  glass and added water so the mixture went cloudy. Pastis tastes like licorice. It made me tipsy right away, which was excellent for my French speaking skills.
I didn't take pictures of the meal, because it's rude to pull out a cell phone in the middle of a meal, so we talked and ate and laughed a lot.
Monique was 12 when World War II ended. She said she didn't have it too bad because her father was a butcher. They lived in a small village that wasn't greatly affected. They had sufficient food throughout the war.
But Guy lived outside Paris and was 15 when the was ended. He does not like to talk about it because it is too painful.
We explained that Earl's father fought in World War II but in the Pacific rather than Europe.
After a good hour of talking and drinking, we moved inside to the dining room.
We began the meal with a broccoli tart. Monique explained that she had asked her granddaughter over and over what kind of food we liked but she never responded. Young people! I agreed. They aren't likely to respond to emails.
So the tart had an egg base and the pastry shell had a wavy crust. Delicious.
The men and Monique drank wine with this course. White wine.
I abstained since I needed to drive back to the hotel eventually and I already felt light-headed from the pastis.
The next course, the main course, or the plat, was a veal stew. Veal, carrots, mushrooms and a delicious sauce of cream and mustard. I would never have guessed there was cream in there.
Just when I thought for sure I would burst from the delicious food, Monique brought out a cheese plate with five kinds of cheese.
I asked them which cheeses I should try and they said all of them, so I took a small piece of each cheese, eating them from mildest to strongest.
The goat cheese and the roquefort were the strongest, the brie was in the middle.
I always prefer when French people start the slicing of the cheese so I can tell which direction I should cut it, but I had to begin. They didn't say a word, however, when Earl began to cut it a certain way, Guy jumped in to criticize him.
Then they both laughed. Guy realized quickly that the best way to get at Earl was through joking.
Of course, eating all that cheese required bread as well, and I took a bit of red wine to wash everything down.
Finally, Monique brought in dessert. I thought it was one dessert, but she made three different ones. A brioche, a slightly sweet bread. A creme that was whipped and put in the oven, similar to flan, and finally, pears cooked in sugar and wine. Those were heavenly.
After the meal, we called their granddaughter in the U.S. so they could talk to her. We had to try several times
Finally, we took a tour of the garden, beginning with the pool and the hot tub, then around to the various flowers and trees. Guy has a workshop and a literal cave, not just a man cave, where he keeps his wine.
They say that they will sell their house soon and move to someplace smaller.
Guy has anxiety around crowds now, so they limit their travel and their socializing.
As we finished our visit, Monique kissed me on the cheeks three times. Then I moved toward Guy and he pushed Earl out of the way. "I am going to kiss your wife now," he said in his heavy French accent.
They were both a delight and we'd love to see them again.
We feel bad that they are so isolated. Their only son lives in the U.S. and their two granddaughters live there as well. I suppose, it serves them right for giving their child a love of travel when they took him to the U.S. to live.
Now one of their granddaughters will get married next year and they don't plan to make the trip because it is too hard.
What an adorable couple they are. When we move here, we will consult them before we buy a house, and we'll probably make sure that we aren't more than a couple of hours away so we can visit them, as well.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

So Many Towns to Love

It's an embarrassment of riches for us as we travel from beautiful town to beautiful town. How will we possibly choose?
Today, we traveled to Beziers. I didn't expect to like it. It's a bit bigger than a city I planned on moving to, but holy mackerel, I fell for it.
We parked in a parking garage and when we emerged into the town square, really more like a swatch of park that runs the length of most of the downtown, it was filled with veterans and town dignitaries all walking behind a military band. We followed along for awhile.

Meandering through the town filled with traditional French architecture, we took pictures of roof tops before stopping along the parkway for a coffee.

Earl noted that it's a good town to grow old in because in addition to park benches along the way, it had some glider swings at the coffee shop.
The town has a Galeries Lafayette, which is a French department store, and right next door a Casino grocery store. We grabbed some fruit and some chocolate for dinner since Monday is a holiday and we didn't want to be caught without food.  
We went in search of the cathedral which is made from black lava rock, but we never actually made it there. We came out on such a lovely square

 and since the clock on top of the bell tower had already struck 1, we decided to sit down for lunch.
The best meal I've eaten in France this trip -- pillows of pastry envelooping chicken, mushrooms and em-mental cheese. Then came the pork and fries that tasted like fair fries with just a hint of sweetness to them and slightly limp.

After walking through town, enamored of every wrought iron balcony painted a leaf green or periwinkle blue, we made our way back to the car and drove down to the beach, about 25 kilometers away.

So much to consider, but this location seems nearly ideal.

Monday, May 08, 2017

French Election

So, we were in France for the big election on Sunday. Emmanuel Macron versus Marine Le Pen.
Le Pen was the anti immigrant candidate who wanted to pull France from the EU.
Macron is a young 39-year-old who has never held office before and who started his own party, En Marche! That translates to something like "Forward!"
Since we're here, I should be able to tell you about marches and gatherings, maybe protests.
But France has a media blackout 24 hours before the election and the day of the election, so people didn't even know from the news media that Macron's emails had been hacked by Russia. The media isn't allowed to make predictions or to talk about the turnout or who people are voting for.
We were in Aix en Provence then traveled back to this small town near Montpellier, and we never saw anyone voting, but apparently they did with an 80% turnout. I know that our friends in Nantes said they needed to be home on Sunday to vote.
Apparently, there isn't early voting or absentee voting, but people can sign a paper allowing someone else to cast their ballot. That seems a little sketchy to me.
So throughout the day, no one acted like anything different was happening. I'm thinking, "Aren't you all worried? We thought Hilary was going to win and she didn't."
But the French seemed pragmatic. They said that the margin was very great, and Marine Le Pen wouldn't win, couldn't win. That's what I thought about Hllary!
Since it was a Sunday, many places were closed. Around the time the election results were due, we wandered to a bar across the street to see if they were serving food. The place was crowded, mostly with men tipping back beer and chatting with the bartenders. The men spilled out onto the patio as well. Maybe they always gather there Sunday evening, but maybe they wanted to be with other Frenchman for the election results.
They sent us down the street to the pizza place for food. There, the projection television sent a picture onto the entire wall.
Television counted down to 8 p.m., when the polls would close, as soon as the polls closed, they projected that Macron had won 65.5 percent to 34.5 percent. The rest of the program was just showing people celebrating and Le Pen's concession speech. After about half an hour, the restaurant changed the channel to a French MTV station.
I tried to tell from the look on the chef's face or the waiter's face to see if they were happy or disappointed. No luck.
People came in and gathered four pizzas to go. Maybe they're celebrating Macron's win, I whispered to Earl.
Then another group came in and carried out eight pizza. "No, maybe they're celebrating."
We'll never know. No one gave any outward sign of being happy or being dejected.
We didn't even hear a cheer or a groan erupt from the bar down the street.
Learning that Macron won left us with a sigh of relief. We would hate to move from Trump's America to Le Pen's France.
Luckily for us, Macron is now inviting Americans to France. We might take him up on it.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Dreaming of France -- Old Haunts and Old Friends

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.

Happy, but exhausted.
For the first time since I received my Fitbit for my birthday last year, I had a couple thousand steps in by the time I went to bed last  night. That's because I went to Aix en Provence and went to meet with my old friend Delana.
I met Delana from her blog. She was a 50-year-old woman who had gotten divorced and moved to France. It was supposed to be for a year, but she was hooked and hasn't gone back to Minnesota, eight years later.
Delana has lots of energy and many friends, so it's always fun to connect with her.

We spent the night at her apartment, and this morning, I went for a run in Aix en Provence. This was the first French city that ever felt like home to me. I walked along the Cours Mirabeau and it just felt like I belonged.
This morning, after only about four hours of sleep, I got up and headed out for a run.
Paul Cezanne, the painter, had his studio in Aix.

We always love to visit it. An artist's workshop is called an atelier, so we generally visit Cezanne's atelier.

 Today being Sunday, plus election day, plus early, I knew I couldn't go inside, but I wanted to run up the mountain so I could see Mont Ste. Victoire, one of Cezanne's favorite subjects.

He painted the mountain view over and over again as his eyesight got worse.
Copies of his paintings of Mont Ste Victoire are displayed from a gorgeous viewpoint.

The paintings are displayed here on this bluff, it you turn around, you can see the mountain. 

Here's my attempt at an artsy photo of Mont Sainte Victoire. 
My knees were a bit tender, so it wasn't the best run, but the views were spectacular. 

We visited a city that we liked a lot on Saturday morning, so it's still in the running for the place we could move. It's called Pezenas. Everyone kissed each other as they stopped for coffee. 

Do you think all this sunshine might be luring us like sirens?
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