Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vote for Look

I began growing my hair last year for Locks of Love. Now, that I am planning a trip to Paris, I thought it would be the perfect place to get a "New Do".

I created the looks below on iVillage and need your Votes! Which look will best suit me and give me a Parisian flare? I promise the winning look will be the one I hand the hairdresser.......

Hope you had as much fun choosing, as I did making these :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

French Stuff II

This Easter will be spent in Salt Lake City with my husband's family. I was besides myself when I saw a clip of Les Madeleines Patisserie on Food Network located........where else? Salt Lake City! They were featured for their Kouing Aman (pictured below) which is "a rich buttery pastry from Brittany. Try it once and you'll find yourself craving it again and again."

(photo from the Les Madeleines website)

Doesn't it look so flaky and crunchy and airy and beautiful! I can barely contain myself.

In addition, they sell Madeleines (hence the name) and macaroons. I have been drooling over macaroons on the Paris Breakfasts blog for months now....this will be an opportunity of a lifetime for me....well at least until I get to Paris.

I am also reading a book by Patricia Wells and her husband Walter called We've Always Had Paris....And Provence. I am three chapters into it at the moment. They met at the New York Times in NYC and moved to Paris on a whim for Walter's job. My favorite chapter thus far is called Rules, Rules and More Rules. It's referring to all the rules that the French live and breath by. Here are a few from the book:

1) The Orange Juice Trick: when the large crystal and silver pitcher filled with chilled orange juice would appear, it was time to go home. The host and hostess did not have to say a word.

As a side note, the Vitamin C helps counteract the alcohol and may even prevent hangovers, for it speeds up the metabolism of alcohol by the liver.

2) Parisian women do not wear bleu marine or Armani.

3) Do not have second servings of the cheese platter, because you are insulting the host's cooking. You may only have seconds of the first course and main course.

4) Women never pour their own wine.

5) And who gets served first? In this order: the women, then the guests of honor, the hostess, the men in order of descending age, the host, and finally, the children.

6) A woman's rank at the table: widows first, followed by a married woman, a divorced woman, a single woman. And single hostesses must never seat a man, either married or single, directly across from her. Single hosts must never sit across from a married woman if her husband is absent.

There it is folks. I gazed at my husband and asked him if it was even remotely possible to remember so many rules along with the language before our trip. He confidently assured me that we can........but......he cannot even aim him dirty clothes in the laundry basket, so I have my doubts.

(picture of Patricia Wells' cooking class in Paris...from the Patricia Wells site)

If I had $5000 to take a cooking class with Patricia Wells, I would in a heartbeat. She is booked solid a year in advance. Life turned out pretty sweet in Paris after all.

I have taken the next step into my "Francophilia" and subscribed to France the magazine. They claim it's the next best thing to living there....we'll have to see about that. All the research is tempting my husband and I into retiring somewhere in Europe........

Apres Vous is about Antoine saving Louis from committing suicide and ends up "adopting" him. Antoine gives him shelter, a job, and the spirit to go on even though Louis has been dumped by the love of his life, Blanche. In the process, Antoine falls in love with Blanche, while trying to convince her to go back to Louis.

A cheesy (no punt intended) romantic comedy that made me giggle at times. My favorite part was getting glimpses of Paris and the French countryside, along with the scrumptious dishes served in between scenes.

I wish you all a Bon Weekend!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

French Transportation

Today, we visited the Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver. It got me thinking about putting together a plan for when we visit France. What type of transportation will we use in Paris, Alsace, Burgundy, Provence, Monaco?

My first choice in Paris will be walking. Raised in NYC, I am used to walking from the Village to Midtown, across the bridge into Queens, an not even break a sweat. Why? When there is visual stimulation, the walk seems to go by in a flash.

In Denver....I drive my car to the mailbox! Why? There is nothing to look at on suburban streets. I envision Paris to be a lot like NYC.

My second choice, well, this Quad Bicycle would be a great start for a big family. According to my travel books (Great Sleeps Paris, Rick Steve's France, and Fodor's France) Fat Tire Bike Tours is highly recommended for a tour around Paris....and it comes with an English speaking guide to boot. They even offer day trips to Normandy and Monet's Giverny, which are both on my itinerary.

My third plan, Taxi Cabs. I never quite acquired my NY whistle, but I can hustle for one. I have no fear of running down a cab driving 80 mph on busy streets. Apparently, in Paris, cabs have to stop for you if their "taxi Parisien" light is on....similar to the Big Apple. A glowing orange light means go catch the bus.

However, being a family of five, we will be in need of the grand taxi. Our hotel will make those arrangements.

We will of course ride the Metro, on a daily basis, I am certain. "With 370 stations, the Paris metro system is one of the most efficient in the world." (Great Sleeps Paris)

(Forgive the flash in this photo.)

Once we part with Paris and head for the countryside, we are boarding the train. One can purchase a France Rail Pass which allows three days of unlimited train travel in one month.
Upon arrival in Alsace or Bordeaux, we need a savvy little French car to explore the hidden villages and countryside. Hmmmm, this one might be a tad small, but it's electric!

Car rentals can get quite spendy and the gas even spendier. However, it is unavoidable, since we desire the full experience of France. I want to drive on the wrong side of the car going at high speeds. I need to practice my French road rage. I haven't learned any "potty words" yet...I wonder if they offer a one day class just for that?

If the weather permits, and we want to show off our lovely locks flowing in the wind along the Nice boardwalk, I think this Harley Davidson would do....don't you?

Having a plan will give us a sense of stability and a good grasp on our budget, prior to arrival. I don't know what I would do without invaluable travel guides and my generous Parisian blogger friends who are so willing to help.

Other pertinent info:
Airport Taxis

Les Taxis Bleus 08-91-70-10-10

SNCF (French national train system)

The Paris Gare de l’Est station
now provides transportation to major cities in Central Europe such as Zurich, Switzerland; Munich, Germany and Vienna, Austria.
Address: Place du 11 novembre 1918 75010 Paris

Gare de Lyon:
Trains to/from the southeast of France, The Alps, Provence, and Italy
Address: 20 boulevard Diderot, 75012 Paris

RATP for bus routes and info. click on the link or you can call 08-92-69-32-46 for information in English

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Paris Can You Handle Them?

Finances are just one of the challenges of going to Paris.
The second challenge? Entertaining three toddlers in a pristine city.

Paris, can you handle them?

My 1 1/2 year old.
I can definitely keep her entertained with food and sugar.
Biggest Concern: Everything else.

My 4 1/2 year old.
He will have a sweet eye for the French girls. He is my Casanova. I also know that Paris has enough fromage to go with his whine.
Biggest Concern: Throwing spit balls at the Mona Lisa
or taking a dive into the Seine during our boat ride.

My 6 1/2 year old.
Is there golfing in Paris? How about orca whales? Non?
Oh, I know, chocolat....oui, that will buy me some time.
Biggest Concern: He will wrestle his brother
inside the Notre-Dame or hop on the Metro without us.

I love my kids and for the most part they are well behaved, but not to French standards by any means. I could really relate to a passage in the book Paris Times Eight, by Deirdre Kelly, where she takes a moment to make the comparison between the Parisian children at the Jardin du Luxembourg with the children she was babysitting.

"That was where the other children of Paris were-never scattered in the street but enclosed in leafy green spaces where you could admire them, as you did the outdoor sculpture ringing the periphery. I stood by, watching the little girls in starched white dresses, patent shoes, and ribbons in their neatly plaited hair, little boys in seer sucker shorts, knee socks, and handsome cotton vests worn over their linen short-sleeved shirts."

"...I let the children run wild. I forbade them to read out of the doors. I dressed them in T-shirts and shorts. We looked like vagabonds, loitering around the large fountain pools, making smacking noises at the large gold carp swimming brightly beneath the surface. Christopher once threw a handful of sand into the pool, eliciting stares and hissing sounds."

My children's pediatrician got wind of the fact that we are planning to go to France and her suggestion....stay in Paris a couple of days and then take your kids to the beach in Nice or the Provence countryside. Fodor's France 2009 also recommends only 2 days of Paris with the rascals. I'm sorry but I will not be saving for 2 years to go visit Paris for 2 days.

Should I enlist my kids in an etiquette academy?

Should I send them to school in starched shirts and trousers?

Should I start sending them to bed during daytime so the time difference doesn't make them impossible?

Should I teach them to play an acoustic guitar and recite poetry simultaneously, so they feel at home in the artistic Parisian cafes?

Should I sign them up for oil painting classes in order for them to appreciate the works of Monet?

If I can conjure up the perfect balance and come back from Paris feeling successful, I will definitely write my own book called

Mini-Paris: A Child's Point Of View.