Thursday, June 30, 2016

Balade Nautique a Etretat

Saturday morning I was feeling adventurous. I took the 8 am bus to the fishing town of Fecamp. A short ride and a long walk to the beautiful boat basin for a 2-hour boat ride around the cliffs (les Falaises) offered by BALADE NAUTIQUE A ETRETAT (29.50€).You must reserve ahead btw.
Beautiful weather too
Our speed boat. There were 8 of us plus guide Stephane.
The 2-hour lecture is in French with translation blow-by-blow provided.
Initially the ride to Etretat was Very choppy. I would have swum to shore if it wasn't for my iPad and paintbox. I don't ride ferris wheels either.
Fortunately things calmed down and I decided to hang in there.
The views are even more spectacular from the boat than from the beach. The associated stories are endless - pirates, black market dealings, Marie-Antoinette required oysters regularly from the fresh water rivulets that stream down the cliffs(no longer available), ship-wrecked sailors survived in its natural caves, their use during the WW II occupation.The cliffs go back as far as B.C.
George Washington? Some cliffs have the profile of elephants.
Every promontory has a name and stories attached. Altogether a terrific experience, especially if you have good sea legs and like ferris wheels.
By our return we were all starving for plates of fruit de mer. Chez Nounout was recommended (32€).
A wander around Fecamp led me up to the Benedictine Palais..closed till 2 or I would have checked out the brandy tour. Still you could picnic in its parks if you hadn't already stuffed yourself with seafood.
Every morning I ate this eggy flan plus hot chocolate for breakfast from the patisserie open at 6:30. Delish except I naively took it down to the beach to look at the cliffs, something one feels compelled to do at all times of the day. Just me and my flan at 7 am. And the gulls (golands). They spotted me, grabbed my flan and ate it for their own breakfast in seconds. Back to the patisserie for another.
Also tempting is the chapel on the opposite cliff.
Take the little train up and down for 6€
Or better yet walk down the well-defined path for more delightful views.
Lunch Of another fruit de mer in a cafe/restaurant along the beach (19.50). Don't get the over-priced trifle but rather an ice cream from the hut further along the beach. I learned to love bulots (welks or sea snails) in the upper left of my plate next to the fab mayo. They taste like clams and are chewy.
Back in my hotel room. I seem to be able to set up a studio in a wink of an eye.
Etretat...
Beginnings.
My 14th century hotel, La Residence Salamandre. 54€ a night. I never found the showers, just ran to the pool soon as I returned to Paris..ahem.
The Normande architecture is stunning. Walking around town is great fun.
Definitely wear something stripped no matter your size. Etretat isn't a fancy place. Lots of families and dogs. I plan to return. You should too!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Etretat

What better way to enjoy sun, beach and breeze than with a menth chocolat ice cream.
I learn too late 'Do Not FEED THE GULLS' or they will become pesky and forget to forage.
Perfect day in Etretat on the Alabaster coast of Normandy.
I left overcast rainy skies in Paris 2 hours and a bit this morning.
Thursday night was the annual 'June White Dinner'. I was just an observer.
Back to the beach.
You must eat moules et frits for lunch
At any number of cafes along the beach
Even the 35 minute bus ride from train station Breate to Etretat is entrancing. Full of Normandy cows and green hills.
Eugene Boudin painted these cows like mad.
I came up 2 weeks ago to see the Boudin retrospective in Le Havre. This is his wall of cow studies.
He painted at Etretat, as did Monet many times
So did Matisse and Dufy and Delicroix. Everyone came here to paint n the glorious beach.
Big posters of Monet's paintings are on the beach.
As are old photographs of the 1800s and also occupied Etretat during World War II.
The town is charming
Wonderful classic Normandy summer homes.
You keep returning to the beach at all times of day.
Its irresistable.
End the day at Creperie Le Lann-Bihoué with a smoked salmon crepe.
Etretat is maybe the most beautiful (and relaxing place I've been). That includes the Taj Mahal and Rio!).

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June Fruits Rouges Paris Sketch Letter

I'm late cluing you in on what to eat in June (juin). Quatres fruits rouges (4 red fruits) may be a strictly French thing. Correct me if I'm wrong. I remember first time I ordered a mysterious dessert called '4 red fruits'. I've been addicted ever since.
On a visit to Le Bonbon au Palais I spotted this little advert card for pates de fruits. Instant love. I begged Georges if I could borrow it. Then I raced to the copy shop. Picasso said "Good artists copy; great artists steal".
I would have happily stolen Georges' little card. What does that make me?
My first doodle sketch..
You may wonder exactly which red fruits are included. Guess what? Any summer red fruit will do. No apples please. Plus fruits bleu are allowed.
Fraise, framboise, cerises, cassis, myrtille, mure, groseille to name a few.
Off to the marché
For some very much in season June red fruits.
FYI these sweet little boats filled with fruit are called 'barquettes'.
Early days on my Paris jaunts I would race through marches intimidated and clueless.
Thanks to Marjorie William's informative MARKETS OF PARIS all that's changed. Marchęs are an integral part of daily Parisian life. DO NOT MISS OUT please. How else to know what's in season and what to order when you eat out? Plus the colors, aromas and friendly sellers insisting you taste a bite is instantly cheering. When I first moved here I lived at Metro Duplex 75015. I had to walk through marché Grenelle 2 times a week. It was a better spirit-lifter than any shrink.
You could take your red fruits back to your apartment and easily put together a tarte au fruits. Just bake a giant sable cookie base. Throw on some crème patisserie for glue so your fruits don't roll onto the floor.
Check out Jill Colonna's recipe for sablé on Mad About Macarons.
If you're like me, you can't be trusted around raw dough. Then go to the nearest patisserie. Two sizes on offer - family size and 'individual' for that afternoon peche mignon.
More guilty pleasures (peche mignon) to admire.
An exquisite slice of sablé topped with strawbs from haute couture patisseries Hugo and Victor. I lay the blame at your feet dear PB readers for teaching me to enjoy fab crust. In the old days I'd just eat the fruit. Tisk tisk
Yesterday was the first time I spotted fruits rouges ice cream at Maison Gosselin near the Orsay. I will have to return to taste.
Of course there is tons of red fruits jam in France and even red fruits teas. But red fruits biere! Who knew?
à table everyone and eat your red fruits with or without a cookie base.
Or head over to my Etsy shop for a calorie-free version svp.