Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fete du Pain, Fete des Meres

The past week was Fete du Pain all over France.
In Paris a big tent is set up in front of Notre Dame. Very convenient refuge from the pouring rain yesterday. Plus you could stuff your face with goodies fresh out of the oven. When is some smart perfumer going to capture the gorgeous aroma of bread baking in a bottle?
Alsace was the region this year providing all the goodies with regional specialties.
Like kuglehopf. Plenty of sampling going on.
Selfies too with a giant kugelhopf.
Servers wearing dirndls.
I couldn't resist either. Yum
All over town posters announcing today's Fete des Meres (Mother's Day).
Chic mamans.
And kid's hand-written posters.
Lush flower poster from Nom de la Rose
Stunning bouquets in the flower shops for maman.
Plenty of luscious desserts for today
Fruit rouge (red fruits tarte) is the perfect summer solution.
Angelina has 'Rouge Tendress' for maman - biscuit croustillant amande, mousse à la vanille de Madagascar, coeur de compotée de fruits rouge et miel mille fleurs, ganache montée à la vanille, fruits rouges frais. What a mouthful.
Beautiful produce in the shops for maman's dinner today.
A single perfect rose.
Bonne Dimanche!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Vincent at Auvers-sur-Oise and another watercolor print

A new watercolor print in my etsy shop reflecting my visit to the town of Auvers-sur-Oise last Saturday. Friends have been urging me to go for ages. Finally metro posters beckoned. It's just a 38-minute direct train ride (on the weekends upstairs at Gare du Nord from platform 36 with the Transilien line). And what a perfect town to paint. No wonder Pissarro, Corot, Cezanne, Daumier, Daubigny and of course Van Gogh immersed themselves here.
The Iris fete, 'L'amour au Jardin'was going on as well at Chateau d'Avers.
While the others headed off to the local tourist office i took the higher road
Up to the church famously painted by Van Gogh (pronounced Van Gog here by the way). There are no original paintings in Auvers, but 19 posters with captions help you recognize the sites he painted.
No crows flying on Saturday either as in Van gogh's last painting, but the open, waving wheat fields easily make you feel you've stepped into his painting. There was a touching (bi-lingual) letter at the cemetary written by an attendee at Van Gogh's funeral recounting his last days.
I can't honestly say I wasn't the biggest fan of Van Gogh though I've always loved his ink drawings in his letters to his brother, Theo, but visiting Auvers changed my point of view.
The undulating rooftops, green hilly lawns, bushy plane trees make it easier to see what Van Gogh saw and felt.
The town wasn't at all crowded with too many tourists on such a beautiful day.
'watch out for the cat' says it all.
Wonderfully colored iris line the town's curving lanes.
Van Gogh painted bunches of iris in gardens and in a white pitcher. He stayed in Auvers the last 70 days of his life and made a painting every single day.
Auberge Ravoux was his residence at 3,50 fr a day.
It's been carefully preserved.
Absolutely nothing remains of any of Van Gogh's possessions in his room yet it's a poignant experience to visit. You watch a short video of his life before entering his room.
Somehow I resisted the stunning auberge napkins and tablecloth.
But I would have killed for this extraordinary combo egg cup/coffee cup, but not for sale.
Off to the chateau for the garden soiree..
Why didn't I buy this little VG figurine? I missed visiting Dr Gachet's house and the Absinth museum.
The next day i was perfectly prepared to visit the two Van Gogh rooms at the musee d'Orsay(70,71).
And you will be too. Visiting the town of Avuers-sue-Oise
Is the perfect introduction to learning to love van Gogh if you aren't already a fan. 
I have quite a few maps of Auvers to send out with the watercolor print if you're so inclined. 
Don't miss this town either way if you're coming to Paris!! Heaveny.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Le Perigord à Montmartre

Last weekend in France was one of those 'bridge' weekends so the holiday ran over into Monday. It was also four gorgeous days of the annual May tasting the divine products of Perigord à Montmartre.
4 days of eating as many
Strawberries as possible
Even fresh strawberry juice made on the spot.
And the spot is right under Sacre Coeur in the 18th
Please take the funicular when you go up.
You will need every ounce of energy to taste everything on offer.
For the 10th edition there must have been over 40 stands of producteurs. Many have won prizes for their specialties. I bought a can of goose rillettes from this prize winner...note the red metal plaque. One taste and I couldn't say no. Course there isn't much I can say no to...ahem. My downfall.
I somehow resisted the honey
But I tasted plenty
I haven't used up my brew made in the Luxembourg gardens yet.
I did buy a cake of honey soap though...
Temptation again at the chestnut counter. The same Perigord fair takes place in winter. The chestnuts roasted on the spot are heaven.
I did buy a bag of shelled walnuts. Plus cepes, strawberries in the cup and in the box, the rillettes.
There's a very homey feel to the fete. This isn't la Grande Epicerie at all.
Much more fun.
ICE CREAM!
Tasting, tasting. There is so much tasting at this fete. A rarity at Grande Epicerie.
I tasted but just admired the red caps.
No truffle tastes me thinks. Please mark your calendars for next May PBers. This is a don't-miss annual fair, usually 3-4 days long so you can return for more strawberries.
I did fall hook, line and sinker for this poster of Sarlat. Have you been? Do tell. I'm very tempted to go and paint there now that I got my feet wet in the Luberon. Should I go?