Yearly Archives: 2010

Is That The Eiffel Tower I See Below Me?

Franck should just be flying over Paris right about now. He left Victoria at 5:00 last night. 

It’s 12:30pm in Victoria now (the next day) and he’s not even close to La Maison des Chaumes yet.

Once he lands at Charles de Gaulle he still has to survive a ride down Roissy’s notorious Jetson tubes, take the RER C to the Gare de Lyon, then hop on the TGV down to Dijon where his parents will pick him up and drive him back to our Burgundian crash pad.  

And this is all going on the assumption that everything is on time *snort* and that he hasn’t been held up by any strikes *double snort*.    

When I am actually the one travelling I go into a secondary state where I lose all sense of what time it is, or even what day it is.  It’s really when I am the one sitting at home, tracking someone else’s progress acros the Atlantic that I realize no matter which way you cut it, Victoria to Villers-la-Faye is a long haul.

“D” , or Rather “B”, Minus 1 hour

Franck is upstairs packing the last few items in his suitcase as I type this. We’re leaving for the airport in about an hour where I will send him off to Burgundy.

I’m not sure what these next two and a half  weeks are going to bring each of us on almost opposite sides of the globe.

Stay tuned…

Winemaker’s Dinner

Exciting News!  Marjorie Taylor (of The Cook’s Atelier in Beaune) is organising a special “Winemaker’s Dinner” on November 18th in honour of the upcoming  Vente des Vins.  If I was in Burgundy I sure wouldn’t be missing it and if you are lucky enough to be there, you shouldn’t either!   Four spots have already been taken so there are only six more left. 

Here is the succulent menu .  There is a “click to make a reservation” link at the bottom of the menu;

The wonderful dinner just costs 95.00 Euros a person.  It is a truly fantastique way to kick off the Vente des Vins weekend.

That Time of year

Yes, it is that time of the year again – we’re coming up on the rollicking good time that is Beaune’s annual Vente des Vins (Wine Auction) that takes place the third weekend every November.   It is a weekend of eating, partying, and above all WINETASTING throughout the lovely streets of Beaune. 

Here are some photos that Franck took last November.

Here is the actual wine auction that takes place in the market hall and is run by Christie’s auction house.  Hard to get a seat in here, as it is one of the most important events on the year from French wine.  The auction prices at any given year are said to predict the market for red and white French wines. 

And then here is the party going on in the street outside the auction.


And the winetasting…

And more winetasting…

No winetasting for me back here in Canada, however…to me the third weekend in November means that Franck is leaving on his annual solo trip to France and I will be fending for myself with The Bevy for almost three weeks. Last year we were all just coming of H1N1 and tachycardia (moi).  It was not jolie.  This year, we have all had the flu already so I am praying sure that everything will go smoothly. 

Anyway, if you are lucky enough to be in Burgundy on the weekend on November 19, 20, &21st just click here to find out more about this oh-so-Burgundian celebration.  You can also email me for more info.(about the Vente des Vins or how to handle kids sick with the flu!) at any time.

The Unfortunately Named Phoque-y

When Clem was in the hospital with the flu the pediatrician suggested that I take her for a dental check-up to see if any little sneaky cavities were causing the humongous-ness of her tonsils. 

Ah yes…a dental appointment with a two and a half year old who had very recently seen more than enough people in white coats with needles, thermometers, and other pointy instruments…this was something I was really looking forward to.

Still, it had to be done.   As I expected, Clem was having none of it, and wouldn’t open her mouth a crack for the poor dentist, even when she was yelling blue murder through her clenched teeth.    He couldn’t quite get over this fact. 

“They all open their mouth eventually when they yell,” he said.  “Except her.”  It’s nice to know that my girls distinguish themselves so early on in life.  

Despite his post-traumatic stress disorder the dentist told Clem she could pick two treats from the magic present basket on the way out.   She was very keen on this part of the visit  and picked a plastic finger puppet, a plastic fishy for the bath, and a small white stuffed seal.  I was about to point out that this was three things and make her put one back but the hygienist said, with a rather desperate gleam to her eyes, “It’s fine, it’s fine.  She can take them all!  BYE CLEMENTINE!!!”

Anyway, the favorite of these three gifties is undoubtedly the white seal, which Clem calls by it’s French name, “Phoque.”

Just  take a moment to sound that out phonetically in English.

Phoque-y has to come with us everywhere and as he is small and gets lost quite often, Clem is often heard yelling, “Where is phoque-y?  Phoque-yyyyyyyyyyy, phoque-yyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.”

And the last few days have brought a few interpretations on phoque-y’s name.  She (Clem has decreed that it is a girl) also goes by “Phoque-y, phoque, phoque”, “Phoque-ity,” and my personal favorite, “Phoque-ette” (a little bit like “Josette”, I suppose).   

Bilingualism in toddler is more of a minefield than I ever imagined.

New Colours for a Favorite Boulangerie

When I left Burgundy this July I noticed that they had closed one of our favorite Boulangerie‘s in Beaune (the one that is right around the corner from Le Relais du Vieux Beaune – so close that you can shuffle out in pyjamas for your hot morning pain au chocolat if you fancy) for renovations.

I was alarmed.  I love this boulangerie and didn’t want anything about it to change.  Luckily Michele Thompson sent me the link to this and many other wonderful photos she took while staying at Le Relais du Vieux Beaune to put my mind at ease.

Beautiful new pale yellow stucco, pistachio awnings, and even the French man on his bike and a local grandmère that we pay to act as local flavour in the neighbourhood have gone to buy their morning baguettes.

Merci Michele!

La Crise

While we are just emerging from the most recent crise in the Germain household (in the form of 3 weeks of the bevy sick with the flu) France is going through a major crise of its own.  The latest series of strikes was triggered by Sarkozy’s proposal to reform the current retirement age, and they are hum-dingers.

I say this tongue in cheek but I know that for our guests in Burgundy it is no laughing matter.  Strikes are a fact of life in France, but they are – especially widespread ones like this – a real drag.  One of the most pressing issues right now is a gas shortage.  Just click here to see a map of the current gas shortages in France .  

We have one set of guests who have decided to stick around in Burgundy rather than head down South and get stuck there.  I think I would probably do the same in their shoes.

We have some of our family and friends in France that are whole-heartedly (with banners) in the street supporting the strikes, whereas other are at home seething that the strike is self-indulgent and unjustified.  Travelers to France beware! – it is a hugely divisive issue.

October 23, 24th – Festival of Theatre, Music, and Wine in Pernand Vergelesses

Just a head’s up for those of you who will be in Burgundy on October 23 & 24th.  The festival “Les Treteaux d’Automne” will be happening soon. 

Pernand is one of my very favorite villages in Burgundy.  It is stunningly beautiful and I drive up to Magny and Villers that way whenever I can – add in musical concerts in the church, around the village, and in the vineyards combined with wine-tasting some of Charlemagne’s favorite wines and what do you get?  Le Paradis

Just click here for more information (in French – if you need me to translate just let me know!). 

Ouf! Belated Thanksgiving

“Ouf” is what the French say instead of “whew!” and I am one big visceral “OUF” after our non-Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving weekend.

Things I was NOT thankful for this weekend;

1. The fact that Clem was running fevers as high as 42 Celsius
2. Her laboured breathing
3. The total of 14 hours we spent in the ER spread over three separate visits
4. The overnight hospital stay
5. Watching my child as she got an IV put in her tiny little hand
6. Ditto for blood tests

Things I AM thankful for;

1. Living in a country where I don’t have to worry about going bankrupt when my child gets sick
2. The amazing nurses and doctors in the pediatric ward
3. All you can eat Popsicles in pediatric ward
4. The fact that they leant us a portable DVD player for Clem to watch Dora videos when she was feeling better
5. My husband who has admirably sturdy nerves when dealing with crisis situations
6. My sister who drove me out to the ER (fast) so that I could sit in the back with Clem
7. My parents who looked after Charlotte and Camille
8. My brother-in-law who made me his homemade Dhal to come home to
9. BBC’s Pride & Prejudice (with Colin Firth, of course) – which, when combined with aforementioned Dhal, made me feel almost human again
10. The fact that Clem has finally turned a corner and is on the mend

In the balance I guess I should be saying “merci” as well as “ouf”.