Sammas

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2009, 04:42:20 PM »



I love France. I am deeply jealous. Do try and learn a little French. At least the basics. A little goes a long way... the key is sincerity. Genuinely smile, be polite... even if you can only muster a stumbled "Bonjour, parlay vou anglais?".


When in Paris... head to Rue Mouffetard and eat like a Parisian. It's a street market with the most divine food. Grab some bread, a bottle of red, some cheese at least. Dried sausage, sundried tomatoes... they know how to eat.

Piere Lachais cemetery also has some very famous people buried in it. It's antiquity is also eeriely beautiful/bordering on haunting depending which time of year you go.

Along with it's centuries of history, the 20th century scarred France with war. There are some very moving, and very saddening sights. Towards the north is mostly from WW1. The most stunning country side littered patches of regimented gravestones, perfectly kept and respected. I've never been to a place like it... I was there in early spring, I have a great great uncle buried there. Clear blue sky, crisp morning air, a light mist through the trees, birds chirping... Possibly the most peaceful place on Earth.


Some pic's I snapped when I was there













As far as train tickets go... look into a Eurail pass. It might be handy.

...and as far as heading to the UK. Let me know if you are in London and keen for a drink. I'm 25, originally from Sydney but have been here for about 18months. There is a lot of see in London, and a very large alternative lifestyle based on street art and great music. Head east if you get the chance.


rob_gould

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2009, 04:58:19 PM »
a baguette and a bottle or two of red, and that starts the holiday nicely for me ;D

What are we gonna do with ALL that bread ????

Ahahahahahahahaaaaa

erm  :-[ I don't get it

lofi

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2009, 05:02:17 PM »
i think the french get bigger loaves,
Are you professionally stupid, or just a gifted amateur.

Iain Westland (UK)


SSLtech

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2009, 05:25:13 PM »
I'm reading it as being like that now infamous cocktail, the "Motörhead Screwdriver".

-Basically the 'Motörhead screwdriver' is the same as any other 'screwdriver'; Vodka and orange juice...

...but in the Motörhead version, you half-fill a tall glass with Vodka, and then briefly show it a picture of an orange.

-Hence; red wine and bread. -Loverly! (but a WHOLE loaf???)

 ;D

Keith
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.

lofi

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2009, 05:33:29 PM »
its better if you whisper 'orange' from a different room ... ah, now I remember why I am tea total :-[
Are you professionally stupid, or just a gifted amateur.

Iain Westland (UK)


RedNoise

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2009, 01:38:37 PM »
Just meant "drink drink drink redwine , no need of bread" , sorry for my bad english... :P
If your neighbour is hunger : don't give him fish , teach him how to fish ...
if you don't like it don't buy it ;-)  [Wolker Texas Ranger] ( ;-) )

SSLtech

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2009, 12:34:57 PM »
Yesterday I had a day off work, taking care of my (5-yr. old) son for the afternoon. I had him assemble a couple of rack cases for me, install standoffs, mount circuit boards... generally got him 'involved' in a couple of projects. -He enjoyed it immensely.

Prompted entirely by this thread, I decided to make dinner for the family for when my wife got home... and since I had a few hours to make something potentially marvelous, I decided to make 'coq au vin'.

Coq au vin is an outstanding example of what I think of when I think of French food... and it's such a shame that (around these parts at least) it seems to have become an example of 'exclusive' or 'upmarket' French culture... -which is asbolutely contrary to its roots. -It's a peasant dish, grown from the French countryside. Significant is the name: "Coq" (meaning "rooster") and NOT 'Poulet' (chicken).

On the farm, you only ever have ONE rooster... (unless of course you're organizing a cockfight!) and so when the rooster becomes a little long in the tooth to be able to 'service' your hens, you must get a new one. -The OLD one however, is not 'wasted', and provides a meal; only the meat is generally a little 'tougher' than fresh young chicken, so it simply wouldn't work at all well in many chicken dishes. -The best way to cook it is therefore in a slow stew, where it will tenderize and soften over time. -The Red wine provides a 'boldness' to the flavour, as well as 'honouring' the bird.

Last night's meal was not an absolutely authentic French recipe, but definitely in the spirit of the dish, albeit my own variation. -Should anyone want to try this at home, here's a brief rundown:

3 slices of smoked bacon, chopped reasonably finely and rendered in a large pan. (medium heat)
Once the bacon begins to brown, add 2tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. turn the heat up to medium-high and add:
One large sliced onion, three medium-chopped carrots and a couple of slices of celery. 'Stir-fry' until the onion begins to soften and sweeten a little. Ground black pepper and a little salt to season.
Add 1½ lbs of trimmed chicken breast, cut into approx 4-5 oz or larger. pieces (2-inch or larger sized pieces for example) and coated in poultry seasoning.
Turn the heat up and brown the chicken to 'seal' in the juices. Towards the end of the 'sealing' process, add 3 cloves of garlic, either chopped finely or pressed. -Stir fry four a couple of minutes.
Once the garlic has lost its 'raw edge', reduce the heat to medium and deglaze the pan a little with some red wine. (1½ cups maybe). -A plain table Cabernet type wine works well, a table bourgogne type wine is another idea.
As the wine warms up a little, add 2 cups of warm chicken stock with two Bay leaves and about 8oz. of quartered mushrooms, then simmer for 30-40 minutes (for chicken... it would have to be LONGER if it really was a 'coq' in the pot! -Occasionally, splash some more red wine in. It's important NOT to put it all in at the start, because the alcohol and some of the other components will cook out (although you DO want the chicken to take on the flavour and the color from the wine) nor all at the end, (although you do want to have a little of the 'freshness' of the wine flavour) so adding a half-cup at one or two stages during the stewing process.

Last night's sides were steamed broccoli and 'Pommes Duchesse'.

For the Pommes Duchesse, make mashed potatoes in your usual way (butter salt and cream/milk to taste), and let them cool a little. Load the potatoes into an icing/piping/forcing bag with a large fluted nozzle (or arrange into ceramic cups/ramekins and 'style' the tops in 'swirls' with a fork) then pop them into a 400°F preheated oven. The tops should brown evenly over 15-20 minutes. -If you like, you can also do what I did last night, and further 'pick out' the swirls from the fluted tip, by quickly playing a butane torch over them when they come out... (I used one which I keep for crème brulée). This gives the edges on the top crust a lovely 'toasted' consistency and only takes a minute to do.

Of course, the rest of the red wine goes with the meal, and it's hard not to worship the dish. -I've heard of all sorts of decadent variations, including brandy at the 'bacon and onions' stage, but for me it's all about robust flavour and farmhouse ingredients, so I've not gone that route.

More traditionally this would be stewed in a pot IN the oven, but mine is a 'stovetop' adaptation. -Miniature, pearl onions are a common version to use, but not so readily available round here at the moment...

The chicken should have a deep, walnut-brown color by the time it's served. -IN fact, my wife wondered if I was cooking BEEF by the time she got home last night!

Bon Appetit!

-Keith
« Last Edit: June 18, 2009, 12:37:43 PM by SSLtech »
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.

guy_4

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2009, 04:10:50 PM »
   Bonjour Keith,

You are absolutely the best "non-french-but-lovingly-speaking-of-France" person that I have ever heard from !

However many french don't realise the luck they have to live in this country...
I am always surprised to see in Paris ( especially while visiting museums ) so many foreign people there, with many travelling from the other side of the world to visit "my" country.
It means a lot at how France is so highly regarded as a place to visit... ( more than 82 millions of tourists in 2007 )
 " Bon séjour en France ! "
Best,
Guy

"If you think it is expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur ! "   Red ADAIR

SSLtech

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2009, 09:58:54 AM »
Harry,

I'm sending a PM to B2... -I believe that he's near 'Tours' (if I recall correctly) and has some connection with being able to advise you in a slightly more professional capacity regarding the region. -Indre-et-Loire (where B2 is based) is where you'll find 'Chateau de Chenonceau';


The next département over from is Loir-et-Cher, which is where you'll find Chateau de Chambord;


By no means the only beautiful chateaux in the region, but two of the most notable. -Cheverny (I'm pretty sure I'm remembering correctly) has a unique 'double-helix' (sort of like a giand DNA strand!) stone staircase (and I do mean enormous!) which was designed and installed by Leonardo da Vinci, who briefly lived nearby... -(please correct me if I'm in error on any points here, since this is all from memory!)

In the same area there's also Chateau de Cheverny;


...dear me... as soon as I start singling out some of the beautiful chateaux in the region, my conscience reminds me that I'm ignoring other -no less significant- chateaux at Tours, Azay-le-rideau, Blois, Valencay, and other more 'fortess-like' examples at Cambourg and Angers... (Angers is particularly 'imposing'). -These are only ones which I've visited over the years, I have no doubt whatsoever that among the others chateaux of the Loire valley which I've still never found the time to visit, are other examples which will delight and inspire equally... -It really DOESN'T feel completely fair for me to list places purely because they're places which I know of... there must be so many that I DON'T know anything about!

-Anyhow, wherever you go... I'm almost certain that you should find plenty to delight you. -Make the effort, learn a little French, and discover, discover, discover!

Keith
(Unofficial Ambassadeur Francaise to the brewery!)  :D
« Last Edit: June 19, 2009, 10:00:50 AM by SSLtech »
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.

RedNoise

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2009, 03:04:13 PM »
thumb up Keith !
I think you introduce France best than any of us can do ! Hat off !
Cheers...
If your neighbour is hunger : don't give him fish , teach him how to fish ...
if you don't like it don't buy it ;-)  [Wolker Texas Ranger] ( ;-) )


guy_4

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2009, 05:10:06 PM »
Keith, I'm impressed with your knowledge of Loire Valley castles  :)
( I love Chenonceaux )

But if there is only one " Chateau" to visit in France it MUST be " Le Chateau de Versailles "  !
" Home" of Louis XIV, it is located 20 kms S.O of Paris, and trust me, it will be a "trip" you'll never forget !
Be careful to buy tickets in advance, visit of the Palace is crowded during summer....but gardens are huge   :)

http://en.chateauversailles.fr/homepage

Best,
Guy


"If you think it is expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur ! "   Red ADAIR

SSLtech

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2009, 05:28:35 PM »
Bein sûr!!!

We took our 4 year old last August to Versailles.

Take the train from ...Champs de Mars station (I think it was) -very close to the Eiffel Tower-, and make sure that you buy the COMBINED ticket for train journey AND chateau entrance. -It's rather cheaper that way, as I recall.

Once there get the Audio Tour (I don't recall if it's included or not, but I think it might be... ASK when buying the rail ticket perhaps?) which is available in several languages. From the station at Versailles (approx. 30minutes ± by train) exit to the street and turn RIGHT. About a quarter mile down the main road, you'll arrive at an intersection and the chateau will be on your left, suddenly revealed in its glory.

At the top of this picture is the view as you enter the 'salon des glaces', with the windows to your right, and the mirrors to the left. -This is the famed "hall of mirrors". Behind the walls are hidden doors and false walls , which allowed the various kings to visit their lovers in secret... -Just imagine; you're one of the most powerful men in the world, you own one of the most fantastic palaces ever built, you are sleeping with one of the most idolized (and later reviled) women in the country, and you have to sneak around bidden behind false walls in order to visit her in the evenings... Fantastic!

Keith
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.

SSLtech

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2009, 05:32:53 PM »
Oh... TAKE DRINKING WATER for the Versailles visit, -specially if the weather is warm. You'll easily spend a whole day there, and the gardens are large and include the 'trianons'... LOTS of walking to see everything. If the sun is out and warm (likely in July) then you'll want to drink plenty of water while you're there. -Of course there's bottled water for sale there, but naturally it's rather more expensive than elsewhere, so it's a handy tip to bring some bottled water before you get on the train.

Keith
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2009, 10:39:29 PM »
Wow this is so amazing!

thank you so much for sharing all of this with me! Keith those posts are amazing!

This is so exciting, will be checking out those places - i have the whole month of July to explore France and maybe a week or so in September.

Will be hiring a car (french and diesel of course) to head south and wherever else i may find myself for a couple weeks and also spending a couple weeks in Paris.

So do i generally need to start booking things in well in advance or can i be spontaneous? 

i'm assuming car hire can be done whenever, but accommodation and sight seeing stuff should be booked?






SSLtech

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2009, 11:15:42 AM »
Most individual things (castles, museums etc) you can do right there at the gate or a day or two in advance. -Certainly in the Loire valley, all of the fabulous chateaux you can just 'pick your own path' through the valley, and make plans as they suit you. Also, within Paris the museums are pretty much 'turn up and buy a ticket'. You will queue at the Louvre, so getting there before the heat builds (early morning is best... by noon the outside queuing is pretty unpleasant) is plainly better. Once inside, it's pleasant in terms of temperature, although the various "obvious" attractions  such as  la joconde (the 'mona lisa') there is ALWAYS a tightly packed crowd which makes it a bit clammy... but other than that it's generally agreeable, and the works of art are innumerable.

Don't just think of the Louvre as being the principal museum of Paris either... If your tastes or interests lie in any particular field, then you may find that other museums such as the Musée d'Orsay (in particular for impressionism; Whistler and Monet I recall are particularly well represented there) -If more recent sculpture is your bag, then the Rodin museum is not to be missed. The Hôtel Salé is where you'll find an enormous collection of Picasso... there are SO many that you'll probably have to search online and decide what sounds most suited to your interests.

Perhaps try to make sure that the time in Paris is in a 'block' and make sure you DON'T have a rental car for that block. Find out what the roadsigns mean BEFORE you set off on a driving adventure. There are some confusing signs such as a yellow 'square-diamond' with a white border, (which indicates right of way at the upcoming intersection by the way) and several are non-instinctive. -I just ran a quick internet search for an example or two, and stumbled upon this page,  which looks like it's on a site which might be a great resource in general... See if it helps you!

Keith
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 10:46:06 PM by SSLtech »
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.

guy_4

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2009, 07:55:56 PM »
Hello,
Here is a link I've just discovered :
http://www.americansinfrance.net/
Think it can also work for people outside of America   :)
Guy
"If you think it is expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur ! "   Red ADAIR

SSLtech

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2009, 09:00:29 PM »
Hey guy,

That's the same site which I posted in my preceding post...

reading the site a little, I find myself in such complete agreement that I think I could have even written some of it in another life...

...and other parts, I'm drawing valuable insight and inspiration from!

Lord, I wish so much to be visiting again this year! (I'm heading to England probably twice... once to visit an ailing relative and once for my mother's 70th Birthday, so no funds left for a trip to La belle France!)

Keith
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.

SSLtech

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2009, 09:42:53 PM »
One more thought about Paris...

The church on the hill overlooking Paris (with a superb view,  being -as it is- perched upon the single dominating high point, overlooking a largely flat city) is 'Le Sacré Coeur' (the Sacred Heart). -It features at the very end of Claude LeLouche's film (without a single splice, edit or speed-up trick) from the mid 1970's; "C'etait un rendez-vous a Paris".

Watch a compressed version here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gWpjvAyDZo

It starts out at daybreak in the streets of paris near the pont d'Alma -which is where Princess Diana met her fate... and unless I'm a little turned around, the first frame of action may even be right about the spot where she crashed... (I'd need a Parisian to confirm or correct me on that). There's no dialog (other than the moaning of a hard-whipped engine and the squealing of tires!) -From 45 seconds to 1:20, you see the Arc De Triomphe go from a dot on the horizon to an enormous monument, during a dash down Avenue Montaigne  you get a sense of the sheer breadth of the Parisian Boulevards, the number of trees which densely line every one. Again, from 1:35 to 2:35, you see the tall needle-like obelisk do the same thing that the Arc De Triomphe just did, during the long charge down the champs elysees, and a tire-squealing trip through place de la concorde. Down Voie Pompidou alongside the Seine river, with the Tuileries gardens on the left, then at 3:15 you see the Louvre museum on the left, and at 3:25 you make a sharp left turn into the courtyard of the Louvre itself. (this is before the building of the glass 'pyramid' in the courtyard) and BLAST through the courtyard (round what is now the 'carrousel' roundabout) before exiting the courtyard at 3:45 and making a 45° turn to head  northwest down Avenue de l'Opera. -Again, you see the majestic Opera building on the horizon, suddenly shooting towards you, and you charge past it and down Rue Haievy...  ...and right about then I get a little lost to be honest...

But it's a riveting watch!!! -One day I'll memorize the route and re-perform it... -I swear! (I just need my wife to be waiting on the steps of Sacré Coeur! ;)

Keith
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 12:08:48 PM by SSLtech »
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.

b2

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2009, 03:44:39 AM »
Hi All, :)

Keith, When I see all of your post about my country,I just want to say...."...One day you're going to live in France...  ;)It's a pleasure to see ,that's you're stay in "love" with the French cuisine and......the Wine.As you know,I live in Tours which is 250Km from Paris by TGV(Very Rapid Train)it's take 55mn to get in my town ;D,I'm in very nice state with have nice "French cuisine"NOT STAY ON THE High and expensive restaurant,go on "the oldie one and popular one.for wine it's the same here we got some nice one from red to white as Loire Valley wine "Chinon,Saumur Champigny,Vouvray and St nicolas de Bourgueil...."me i prefer the red my favorite one is the Chinon which came from a small producer from the very small village name"Cravant les coteaux"...this one is outstanding  it take 10 euros to 20 euros to take"a nice pleasure" ;).For me I always stay in love with cooking (as many French who live in other state in France),it's a"Kind of way of life",it would be difficult for me to live without...From Paris to Tours there's  Orleans, Some friends  and me we have build "record place,a studio for record see the website "studionyima"..my friends are record enginers not me,I'm just staying as a electronic one :'imaging the " explosives discussions around a glass of wine... ;D ;D and they get the same way it's important for us !!I know that there another place"Black box studio" in a small town "Noyant la Gravolliere (it's near Angers),Peter Deimel  stay and work here,may be it's for this kind of way of life... ;)(I know he is a Wine French Lover.... ;D ;D As many states and town in France,there's many "things" to see from Castles to  ;D ;D women...Sincerelly if you want to appreciate your trip take time,sure take time ;) I'm stay in!

 "a bientot"

Bruno.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 04:26:21 AM by b2 »

SSLtech

Re: Things to do in France?
« Reply #39 on: June 24, 2009, 11:57:25 AM »
I just want to say...."...One day you're going to live in France...  ;)

Ha! My wife and I have thought many times of retiring to "la Province"! -Usually we think of a place in a smaller town, but a few years ago we were in Cannes on our wedding anniversary, and were stunned to discover that an apartment in a condo overlooking "la croisette" was not unimaginably expensive... -who knows? (But my wife loves Chenonceau... and especially feeding the shaggy donkeys!)

imaging the " explosives discussions around a glass of wine... ;D ;D and they get the same way it's important for us !!

That was one thing which I noticed and fell in love with on my very first visit in the early 1970's... At the farm, Lunchtime was a VERY special event. After a long morning and at the height of the sun's heat, all of the farm workers would come to the table for lunch. -Instead of a 'sandwich and a coke' the meal was often the most important of the day. It would ALWAYS start with an enormous bowl of soup and a basket of wonderful bread, then a freshly-picked salad followed by a meat course and several dishes of vegetables. Afterwards there would be a tarte or similar light dessert, but ALWAYS there would be wine. -Red table wine. Grown, pressed, made and bottled locally, it would be consumed with the meal, occasionally with 'hand-torn' bread, in-between courses. The wine would form the 'lubrication' for the daily political arguments across and around the table.

The Arguments would involve wild hand gestures, mocking comments, expansive claims and outrageous statements. -Afterward however, everyone would laugh, slap each other on the back, usually jokingly insult each other, and then go back for the afternoon's labours. They'd frequently cover the President and his policy/outlook towards agriculture ("Pompidou... -Lui, Il nous a Pompé!!!") and the 'alliances' would vary from day to day... but with good food, great wine, and good friends... -it's amazing how these 'heated discussions' (which frequently involved one person denouncing another as a complete fool!) never seemed to damage long friendships. -They always seemed to me to be a natural part of social interaction, and I loved that. -At any moment, the farmhand who had just called his fellow farmhand across the table an insufferable idiot, would LEAP to the same man's defence, if anyone were to in any way belittle him... -Hard to explain, but the depth of the bond always seemed to greatly transcend the 'vigor' of the arguments. -'Spirit'...  that's it; -real SPIRIT!

-C'est tres bien a te 'revoir', Bruno!

 ;D

-Keith
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 12:00:34 PM by SSLtech »
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.


 

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