Les Vacances

Back to boring real life in the south of France after vacationing in Lille, Ghent and Reims.  Ah, la vie est dure.

Since I know you all missed my updates terribly, let me make you feel better by

1) Showing you some closeups of yumtacular foods, picnics, markets, goodies etc (I learned the words for sweets this week in french class, friandises! )

2) Posting some ridiculously cute dog pictures, cause I know you all wanted it.

Let’s do this chronologically, because I don’t want to confuse you guys.

First we have a bit of the giant market at Place des Precheurs which happens every Saturday.  David dragged me there at 7 am because he had 10 hours of stupid jetlag.  These madeleines cheered me up however, served by none other than Christophe himself.


Here are some pears which were quite beautiful.  My host dad  Patrick told me (or learned me, as my host sister Chloe would say) that their stems are sealed with red wax to prevent oxygen from entering, therefore keeping them fresh longer.  HUH!

Next was our day trip to Marseille, where we had tea, corsican beer, almost got assaulted by a youth (damn them!) and had questionably the best meal of the trip: this steak

It’s even more impressive than it looks.  It was perfectly seared to medium on top of roasted carrots, parsnips, potatoes and green beans, smothered in a carmelized shallot cream sauce with a balsalmic vinaegar reduction and chives.  I wasn’t even mad it didn’t come with fries.  Oh yeah, I was “not hungry” at this stage so I didn’t order anything, but upon seeing the magnificent creature appear in front of David I didn’t hesitate to eat more than my fare share.  God I hate when people do that, don’t you? (Cough, father dearest)

Here is our super duper classy picnic in front of Mont Saint-Victoire.  We didn’t hike up it, but we did an ok job hiking near it.  Then of course we had to stop and eat stinky cheese and bread.  And champagne.

A day trip to Avignon resulted in some top-notch palace touring, a good amount of getting lost, and some yummy tartines with CORNICHONS!  My favorite thing in the world.  Also we found this adorable beat roaming the streets, obviously I stealthily approached it and patted it.  Because french people generally get freaked out when you touch their dogs, maybe because in french you ask if you can “caresse le chien.”

On to Lille!  Which is in the north of France, basically Belgium.  We decided it seemed like a mixture of rural England and Germany where everyone just happened to speak french.

Obviously my first stop was Meert, first shown to me by my idol David Lebovitz, for some high-class pastry gazing, especially the lillois gauffres.  Unlike typical waffles (and there are two types: yeast-based belgian waffles and the more rectangular batter-based ones you see more commonly) these are more like thinly grilled biscuits sandwiching some sort of delicious sugarly caramelly substance that can only be described as crack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortuantely I got distracted by a croissant here, but the waffles we tried from the Wazemmes market were also quite delish. Especially microwaved.

We also partook in the local specialties of flemish fries, carbonnade (beef stew), and lots of good beer.  And stayed in a haunted bed and breakfast!  Good times.

Next was Reims, the capital of the Champagne region of France.  Legally champagne can only be called champagne if it comes from Champagne, meaning it’s a preeeetty big deal in the world of bubbly wines.  We also checked out the Saturday market there, and I met a very nice apple man who sold us some delicious juice and a black lab!  Look at it it wanted a belly rub!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also had our second picnic of the trip.  Similarities: champagne.  Differences: this one had a roasted chicken!  Did we have utensils?  No!  Did we care?  A little bit, but that’s ok we were really hungry.  And it was yum yum yummy.

So now I’m back in Aix where I belong.  In the immortal words of Biggie: “It’s Still All Good.”

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