Paris has the Louvre Museum. London has the Tower of London. Barcelona has the Familia Sagrada. So what made my visit to Marseille memorable? Two things: the outdoor area at MuCEM and the seafood. [There would be three things but there weren’t any boats heading out to Chateau d’If in January, so I’ll have to go back another time.] Continue reading →
Every time I travel to France I like to try something new. During my recent trip to the south of France, I decided the time had finally come for me to try bouillabaisse. This is a popular Provencal fish soup/stew that originated in Marseille and to my surprise I learned a few things I hadn’t expected…or wanted. Thought maybe you should hear about these….surprises. Continue reading →
It is night time in Paris just off the Champs-Elysée.
You’re sitting in a bistro which is still decorated with some
Christmas decorations even though it’s January.
Your waiter approaches and you order the steak frites.
Waiter: “Quelle cuisson votre viande? Bleu? Saignant? A point?”
You freeze. Continue reading →
In France, on Epiphany, the tradition on January 6 is to share a cake called a “Galette des Rois” (Cake of Kings). Epiphany is when the the Magi (three wise men or three kings) visited the baby Jesus. If you are travelling in France in December and early January, leading up to this date, you will see numerous cakes in boulangerie window displays.
Tradition Of Galette Des Rois
The centuries-old practice was to place a fève (bean) in the centre of the cake. A child would hide under the table and tell the server who should get the next slice. Whoever found the hidden fève could choose who would become king (or queen) for the day.
Today, the cake is part puff pastry filled with frangipane (almond filling comprised of ground almonds, eggs, butter, and sugar) and in the late 1800s, the fève was replaced by a ceramic or plastic figurine or charm. You can buy it by the slice or buy the whole thing! Some patisseries also sell “mini” galettes for those who don’t want to overindulge.
Every year Elysée Palace makes a gigantic Galette des Rois for the President of the Republic. It looks like it is 4 feet in diameter and supposedly it is made to serve 150 people. There is NOT, however, a fève or charm inside. It wouldn’t really be right to have a “King” or “Queen” in the Elysée Palace. [Remember the French Revolution?]
When you think of France, you likely think of wine. And when you’re in France, do what the French do: drink wine. Sure, you could have dinner with wine or visit a wine bar (“Bar à Vins”). But most likely you’d just get your glass of wine and maybe with some nuts on the side. A more interesting thing to do is go to “Un Cave à Manger” or “Cave à Vin”. Think of it as a place to have a little wine plus some small plates of food, charcuterie, and cheese. I went to such a place on the left bank and it is now one of my favourite places in Paris to drink and to eat: 5e Cru. Continue reading →
For those who follow my blog, you probably know that I love to run when I am travelling in France. I also love wine. So, I decided to combine the two when I was recently in Paris. I had heard about a great wine bar called, “Le Baron Rouge”. It is located just east of the Bastille and one Sunday morning I decided I wanted to visit this place. But, I also wanted to get a short run in. What would I do? Have you heard of the movie, “Run, Lola, Run”? This is my version: “Run Drink Eat Run To Le Baron Rouge”. It’s a unique experience I think everyone should try. Let me explain. Continue reading →