Monday, January 31, 2022

La cathédrale

After the Eiffel Tower, the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris could be the most recognized of Paris' monuments. I took this photo down on the berge (river bank) between the île de la Cité on the left and the rive gauche (left bank) on the right. That might sound a little funny, but the left bank is on the right when you're looking upstream.

I'm standing on the lower level of the quai St.-Michel. The building hidden by scaffolding is the Paris police headquarters. The bridge is le petit pont (The Little Bridge).

Today is the day that Tasha goes to the vet to get her stitches out. If all goes well, she shouldn't have to wear the cone of shame any more. The scar looks good, dry and not swollen, so I'm hopeful that all is well. She's been very good about the cone, but I know she'll be glad not to have to wear it. She'll still be confined to the corrals while in the house, with short walks on leash, probably into March.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Le muséum

Building (pun intended) on yesterday's post, this is la grande galerie d l'Evolution (The Great Gallery of Evolution) at the muséum national d'histoire naturelle (National Natural History Museum) in Paris. It was completed in 1889, around the same time as the Eiffel Tower. I think it's the largest of the museum's buildings. The grounds include a large formal garden, big greenhouses with tropical and desert plants, an alpine garden, a mineralogy and geology building, a small zoo, a botanical building, a paleontology and comparative anatomy building, a library, and several other attractions.

The northeast façade of the grande galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, April 2009.

The grande galerie de l'Evolution was completely renovated in the early 1990s. I visited it for the first time in 2009 and took this photo from the formal garden that stretches to the place Valhubert on the Seine. The majority of the flower beds were filled with colorful poppies. I took a lot of photos inside, too, but most of those didn't work too well.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Le plan

The photo of this scale model, un plan-relief, of a section of Paris is difficult to make out. I apologize for that, but I still think it's cool. It's part of a small collection of models that depict the area at different points in time, from before Paris was settled to the modern day. It is or was, I don't know if it's still there, a cool exhibit at the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (The National Natural History Museum). The model is focused on the area of Paris surrounding the museum.

Bad photo of a really cool model, Museum of Natural History, Paris, April 2009.

I can pick out several well-known monuments. Among them, the cathedral of Notre Dame, City Hall, the Place des Vosges, the Bastille Opera House, the Bercy Sports Center, and the Lyon train station on the islands and right bank. On the left bank I can see the Luxembourg Gardens, the Pantheon, the Jussieu campus (the subject of yesterday's post), the Arab World Institute, the Austerlitz train station, the Mitterand National Library and, of course, the Natural History Musem itself in the Jardin des Plantes.

Curious language tidbit: in French, a museum is called un musée (one of the few masculine nouns that end with a double "e"). A natural history museum is called un muséum. All muséums are musées, but not all musées are muséums. Go figure.

Friday, January 28, 2022

La fac

The 28 story tour Zamansky is a focal point on the campus of la faculté des sciences et ingénierie de Sorbonne Université (the school of science and engineering of Sorbonne University). The campus was known as l'université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie and Paris VI until 2017. Before the construction of the campus in 1964, the site was home to the old Halle aux vins de Paris (Paris Wine Market). The fifth arrondissement neighborhood is known as Jussieu and Parisians refer to the campus simply as Jussieu.

A view in black and white, faculté des sciences et ingénierie seen from the rue des Ecoles.

Between 2006 and 2009, the tower and the surrounding campus were renovated to remove the asbestos used in its original construction. The tower is named for Marc Zamansky, a noted mathematician and dean of the school of science from 1961 to 1970. All of this information comes from Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Le lifting

Is this an Uber getting a Lyft? This car was either illegally parked (it's a metered spot) or broken down. Either way, this is one way to get towed in Paris. I was staying in a hotel on this street in 2009 and got to see someone's car being taken away. I blurred the license plate to protect the innocent. Or the not-so-innocent in the case of a parking violation. By the way, un lifting is a "facelift" in French.

Uber was founded in 2009, Lyft in 2012. This was neither.

Firewood update: the guy showed up on time and with the wood he promised. Even a little more. Each log was a meter long, meaning they had to be cut into thirds to fit our stove. He had brought his chainsaw and sawhorse for the task, but he asked if we could help by moving and stacking the logs as he cut them. No problem. It surprised me to see him put for or five logs on the sawhorse and cut through them all at once. I would never have dared that, but the job went pretty quickly that way.

Did I mention that the guy, whose name is Guy, is 84 years old? He made me feel like a wimp. He's stopping the wood supply business now and this was the last of his supply for sale. He told us that he heats his house and water with wood and burns about 20 stères (20 cubic meters, about 5.5 cords) of wood a year, if I understood correctly. Phew!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Le millefeuille

Ken brought home a couple of these tasty pastries from his shopping trip yesterday. It's a millefeuille (a thousand layers), made of flaky pastry and pastry cream. When I lived in Paris, the millefeuille quickly became my favorite pastry. I don't eat many of them these days, but once in a while it hits the spot.

Artfully blurred (oops) photo of one of yesterday's millefeuilles. We call them Napoleons in English.

We're expecting a delivery of fire wood this morning, en principe. Ken ran into one of our neighbors and asked if he knew someone who would deliver wood. And he did. The guy we had been buying from said it wasn't worth it to him to deliver the quantity we wanted (about half what we usually buy) so far from his place. Great. I can't deal with stacking four stères (four cubic meters) of wood right now, given the dog situation and the fact that we're trying to keep things clear for the deck contractor's work.

The guy who's coming today said he had 1.5 stères available and we said okay. That could last us almost through the rest of the season, depending on the weather. I've burned all of the birch that I cut up in the fall. It wasn't that much to begin with. There's still a lot to cut up, so I need to get it together to do it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Le Bazar

The building with the dome in the center of this photo is the main building of a big department store called Le Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville (the City Hall Bazaar). It has eight levels of shopping, from hardware and housewares to fashions and perfumes, to books and art supplies, and to cookware and appliances. I've spent many an hour and not a few euros in that store over the years.

The main entrance to the BHV, as it's called by Parisians, April 2009.

The department store was founded in 1856. The current building dates from the early 1900s. The bazar takes its name from the building on the right in the photo. It's the Hôtel de Ville (Paris city hall). It sits between the river and the rue de Rivoli on the Right Bank (4th arrondissement). The open plaza where I'm standing is la Place de l'Hôtel de Ville (City Hall Plaza).

Monday, January 24, 2022

Le funiculaire

While it's still called a funicular (a type of incline railway) for historical reasons, the Funiculaire de Montmartre in Pairs is not one. A true funicular moves people up and down steep inclines using its two cars as counterbalances, connected to each other by a single cable. As one car ascends, the other descends at equal speed. The cars often share a single track (two rails), with a passing double track in the center of the line. Full double-track, or four rail, funiculars are common these days.

The upper station of the Montmartre "funicular" with the basilica of Sacré-Cœur in the background, April 2009.

The funicular in Montmartre was replaced by what's called an inclined elevator in 1991. It still looks like a four rail funicular, but Wikipedia tells me that the two cars operate independently of one another. Before that, it was a true counterbalanced funicular, but no more. I remember riding the funicular from my time in Paris in 1981-82. I've also ridden the new inclined elevator since it was installed. Before, as now, a métro ticket was required for the ride. I've even climbed up the 222 steps a time or two, but that was a long time ago.

The lower station of the Montmartre "funicular" beside the stairs (for those with strong legs), April 2009.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

La basilique

Here's a view of la basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Montmartre) in Paris. It was built between 1875 and 1923 on the highest point in the city, the Butte Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement. While wandering in the neighborhoods below the butte, you can catch a glimpse of the basilica here and there.

The domes and campanile of the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur in Paris, April 2006.

The view from the terraces in front of the church are pretty amazing. On a nice day you can see most of the city from up there. The next time I'm in Paris I should make a point of heading up there for some photos. It's been a while. I read that the church is the second most visited site in Paris after the Notre Dame cathedral. That's probably all changed now since the cathedral closed after the fire in 2019.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Le cône de la honte

The cone of shame. Poor Tasha. As soon as she got home from having her bandage removed, she started licking at her stitches. I assumed this would happen because she pulled her stitches out after she was spayed (just over four years ago). So I asked the vet for a cone. I wanted an inflatable, but all he had were the traditional "Elizabethan" variety. She was not happy when I put it on her.

Poor, poor, pitiful me. I wonder if she can communicate with space aliens.

After some whining, a refusal to sit down, and her pulling it off with her paws, she finally calmed down and accepted the thing. Except for about thirty minutes of whining and crying in the middle of the night, she was okay. I expect her wound either hurt or itched and she was uncomfortable. But it passed.

This morning she was happy to get the cursed thing off to go outside to faire pipi, but then she started licking her wound again. We're afraid she will use her teeth to rip out the stitches like she did four years ago, so the cone is back on. She has an appointment to get her stitches removed on the 31st.

I hope we make it.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Tasha's home!

I don't think it could have gone smoother. Ken and I were stressed, and a bit nervous, but everything went as planned. Tasha was good in the car on the 1-hour drive from the clinic where the surgery happened. As soon as we got home we took a little walk in the yard so she could faire pipi (as they say in French). After that, she went right into her corral without a problem, as if she's been doing it all her life. Then she drank a lot of water.

Tasha relaxes in her corral after returning home. The red bandage is on her paw and the white part (that looks like a turkey drumstick) is covering her knee where the incision was made.

It took her a while to find a comfy position in the corral, but she did and then snoozed for most of the afternoon and evening. I think she was de-stressing, glad to be in familiar surroundings and with her daddies. I gave her a small piece of cheese with her antibiotic pill hidden inside. I'll be doing that twice a day for five days. We went out for another short walk in the yard after sunset, then I carried her up to the loft to the other corral and she walked right in. The night was quiet and without incident.

This afternoon I'll take her to our local vet to have the bandage removed from her leg. The doctor wants the leg exposed to the air for quicker healing. He said it's not good to keep the wound covered because we might not notice if there's excess swelling or signs of infection. I may have to get her one of those inflatable neck collars to keep her from licking the wound -- I don't want the "cone of shame" because it might too encumbering when she's confined in the corral.

So, we're on the road to recovery!

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Don't fence me in

Tasha comes home from the doggy hospital this afternoon after having surgery on one of her rear legs to replace a torn ligament. We need to keep her from over-exerting herself, but the doctor said she should start taking short, leashed walks right away. That's good news. The issue for us is how to keep her relatively confined while she's in the house.

One of the corrals on the main floor. I put it in front of the deck doors so she can sit and watch the birds feed, as she likes to do.

To that end, our very generous friends in a nearby town offered to lend us these "corrals" that they used for their own dogs (two of whom had to have similar surgeries). I assembled them yesterday, one on the main floor in the living/dining area and another up in the loft where we sleep. Tasha will be in familiar surroundings, not separated from us, and prevented from galloping around the house when a car goes by, the mail comes, or when someone walks down the road. We're very grateful to K and J for their kindness.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Le café brasserie

I previously posted some detail of this place, so here is the big picture, as they say. Most people are familiar with what a café is, but do you know what a brasserie is? A brasserie is a restaurant that serves basic French cuisine. It is more informal than a restaurant and will frequently be open later (or not close at all), catering to the "after theater/night club" crowd. The word brasserie means "brewery" and, while most urban brasseries don't brew their own beer these days, they always have several brands on tap and others available in bottles. There's nothing like a cold beer on a hot day in Paris. Except maybe a crisp glass of chablis.

I don't remember the name of this place, but it's in the 15th Arrondissement. Paris, September 2006.

By the time you read this, our little Tasha will be in surgery or in recovery. She's having an artificial ligament implanted in her knee to replace the one she tore last week. Ouch. We will pick her up from the vet's office on Thursday. Recovery will take a while (two or more months) and will probably be a challenge for us all. We'll know more about it after we speak to the doctor.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

La carotte

Familiar to anyone who's traveled in France, this sign, in various forms, is affixed to any shop that sells cigarettes and other tobacco products. The sale of tobacco is authorized by the state, which grants licenses to buralistes (authorized tobacco sellers), whose shops are often coupled with a bar, café, or newsstand. The "carrot" is the standard, but often stylized, sign of this license and is displayed outside each establishment that sells tobacco.

A very stylized neon version of "la carotte." Most "buralistes" also sell lottery tickets.

What I didn't know is that the shape of the "carrot" is meant to represent a bundle of dried and tied tobacco leaves. When we first moved here, we noticed a field of tobacco growing not far from our town. Ken, having grown up in the American south, recognized it immediately. It is long since gone.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Another tart

I used some left-over whole wheat flour blended with all-purpose flour to make the crust this time. It's a little darker and a little tougher than usual. It also stuck a little to the pan and I had some trouble getting it onto the cake plate, as evidenced by the visible breaks. But it tasted pretty good, nonetheless.

I glazed the tart with quince jelly mixed with calvados (apple brandy).

On Sunday I cut up the last of the old grape vine trunks. They are nearly all burned now, literally consigned to the ash heap of history. Now I'm going to have to order some firewood for the rest of the season.

Sunday, January 16, 2022


This won't impress anyone with snow on the ground. Saturday was our coldest day of the season, so far. Temperatures stayed below freezing all day and we were under an inversion layer. That means fog, and when it's that cold, freezing fog. The photo doesn't do it justice, but it was pretty.

The neighbors' property across the road, seen from our deck.

Our routines are different now, and for a while to come. Tasha can't climb stairs, so we have baby gates up to keep her from attempting either of our two flights of stairs. She surprised us yesterday when she actually scampered up the main stair on three legs. Oops. Otherwise, I carry her up and down the stairs. Since she sleeps up in the loft with us, I carry her up at night. Then back down in the morning, and down the main stairs when she needs to go outside (about three times a day) and back up. The main stairs are less steep and easier to deal with, but the stairs to the loft are narrow and steep and I have to be very careful with a thirty-five pound dog in my arms. And daily walks are suspended. Surgery happens on Wednesday next.

Bert's routine has not changed. As if.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Achy breaky

I got my booster shot on Friday afternoon and, boy, am I feeling it this morning. It's not anywhere near bad, just that my arm, hip, and neck muscles feel quite sore. It's a stronger reaction than I had with my two previous shots. They were Astra Zeneca, this one's Moderna. Maybe that has something to do with it. From Ken's experience last week, I expect the achy-ness to subside in twelve to twenty-four hours.

Abtract lighting in a Parisian café, September 2006.

So, anyway, I'm boosted and now have an updated (and therefore valid) pass vaccinal or, as they say in English, an EU Covid Certificate. Not that I need it for anything. The important thing is that I'm caught up, more protected, and less dangerous to others. We also got a supply of new KN95 masks yesterday. I understand that they're the latest in pandemic fashion. La-dee-da.

In other news, our deck contractor (actually his employees) came by yesterday morning, unannounced, and cleaned out our roof valleys and the gutters around the house. That was part of the work we contracted for. Then the boss showed up and took the measurements of the garden shed for the stuff he needs in order to close a huge (and by huge, I mean you could pass your fingers through it) crack that formed in the side of the little masonry building. That's also part of the work order. And they all acknowledged that deck work has certainly not been forgotten. Progress!

Friday, January 14, 2022

Les bateaux

The Seine is a working river with commercial ports along its banks. The biggest ports for freight are downriver from Paris, I think. A large, maybe the largest, commercial port in the Paris region is located in Gennevilliers just outside the city limits. Ocean-going container ships (of a certain size) can dock there. Inside the city limits, boats and barges are tied up along both banks of the Seine. Some are working commercial cargo carriers, others are private pleasure craft (and houseboats), still others are tour boats providing a unique view of the city to visitors. The most well-known tour operator is probably les Bateaux Mouches, but there are others.

Boats on the Seine in Paris, September 2006.

Tasha hurt herself on Wednesday evening. During our afternoon walk, she began to limp. We were close to home, but by the time we got there she wasn't using one of her back legs at all. She's sprained legs before, so we were hoping that was all it was. Ken took her to vet's office on Thursday morning (I didn't go because the vet only allows one person in the office per animal. Covid.). After an exam and an x-ray, it turns out that she had torn a knee ligament, most likely from stepping into a hole.

The doctor said it's a common thing and is normally easily corrected with surgery. So, the procedure is scheduled for Wednesday next week. In the mean time, I'm carrying her up and down stairs so she can go outside to do her business and sleep on the bed with us. Yesterday she grabbed a stick and wanted to play, so we played "in place" for a minute or two. She can hop around the house on three legs for now, but probably won't be able to while she recovers from the operation. The doctor told Ken that these procedures are common and usually very successful. The prognosis is good.

Just like Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, "It's always something. If it's not one thing, it's another."

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Le petit déjeuner

Here's a typical breakfast served in French cafés and hotels. A croissant, a pain aux raisins or other pastry, a piece of baguette, butter, jam or jelly, honey, fruit juice or water, and coffee or tea. We Americans call this a "continental breakfast." I expect we got that name from the English, who traditionally eat much more hearty breakfasts.

A café table set up for le petit déjeuner, waiting for customers.

It was years before I realized the literal meanings of petit déjeuner (breakfast) and déjeuner (lunch). The verb jeûner means "to fast." The "fast" is the time between the last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day. When we have blood work done at the lab, they ask us to come in à jeun, meaning that we've fasted since the evening before the test. So, déjeuner means to de-fast or break your fast, hence "breakfast."

I've heard that, in the days before agriculture was modernized, farmers and other laborers would be up before dawn doing what they did. They'd come in at mid-morning for the first meal of the day: le déjeuner. It was probably more of a hearty meal, savory, and with wine or beer. As people left the farms and fields for work in the cities, a lighter meal was taken at the beginning of the day: le petit déjeuner (the little lunch). The more substantial déjeuner became the mid-day lunch. I don't know how much of that is true, but it sounds plausible.

And now I read (on Wikipedia) that in time of King François I (16th century), the members of his court attended mass at eight o'clock in the morning, and would take their first meal, le déjeuner, around ten a.m. With the rise of the aristocracy and bourgeoisie, by the 19th century it became fashionable to eat a light meal as soon as one rose in the morning. This petit déjeuner pushed le déjeuner to mid-day, followed later of course by le dîner (dinner) and even later by le souper (supper).

Now I'm hungry.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Les gelées

Et de la confiture. Here are three pots (jars) of... what exactly? Two jars contain gelée (jelly) and one contains confiture (jam). Gelées are clear with no pieces of fruit in them. Confitures are made with chopped or crushed fruit. Then there are preserves, which are made like jams, but with bigger or even whole pieces of fruit in them. I'm not sure if they have a name for that in French or if they're in the same category as confiture.

Left to right: Ken's home-made plum jelly, Paquito brand apricot jam from Intermarché, and Bonne Maman quince jelly.

While we don't eat an awful lot of jellies or jams, we always have several varieties in the house. Ken has made batches of jelly over the years, mostly prune (plum), but also coing (quince) and pomme (apple). We also buy jellies and jams from commercial producers. Bonne Maman is a familiar brand to many Americans, but there are others, including store brands. They're all very good. In addition to eating jellies and jams with peanut butter, or spread on toast, I use them as glazes for home-made fruit tarts. And the sturdy jars come in handy for all kinds of things (including home-made jellies and jams), so we save some for re-use.

PS - All of my information comes from very painstaking quick and dirty internet research. Take it for what it's worth.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Le musée

The Centre Pompidou (Pompidou Center) is home to Paris' museum of modern art. First opened in 1977, the museum's architecture was bold and controversial. The building's structure, accesses, water and HVAC systems are apparent on the exterior, allowing for wide-open and flexible exhibit space on the interior. Critics of the day complained that the building looked to them like an oil refinery in the middle of the city.

An outdoor terrace on one of the upper floors of the museum. If you look closely, you might see the basilica of Sacré-Cœur in the background.

Critics come and go and, since its opening, the Pompidou Center has brought new life to a previously run down neighborhood. The city had classified the site as an îlot insalubre (a slum) and it was partially razed in the 1930s and subsequently became a parking lot. Now, the area has been largely pedestrianized and bustles with no lack of restaurants, cafés, shops, and street artists.

Monday, January 10, 2022

L'autre tour

The second tallest structure in Paris is the Tour Montparnasse. It's the tallest building in the city and was the tallest building in France from its completion in 1973 until 2011 when it was surpassed by another office building at La Défense in the Paris suburbs. The tower is 59 stories tall with both indoor and outdoor observation decks at the top. The building sits at the southern end of the rue de Rennes just in front of the Gare Montparnasse, one of the city's major train terminals.

The Tour Montparnasse seen from the Centre Pompidou, September 2011.

I've been up there several times over the years (decades) and took many photos. Most of them are color slides that are packed away. One day I'd like to digitize some of those. I have the scanner and the software, it's just a matter of doing it. Inertia is a powerful force.

Sunday, January 09, 2022

La tour

Well, here it is again. That enduring symbol of Paris and, of course, of France: la tour Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower). It's difficult, if not impossible, to be in Paris and not catch a glimpse. I don't know how many photos I've taken of it over the decades. This one is from somewhere* in the 15th Arrondissement, just south and a little west of the tower, not far from the river. I took it while walking in that neighborhood in the summer of 2006.

The Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure in Paris.
That café/brasserie may be what's now called le Comptoir Principal on the rue Saint-Saëns. It doesn't look like that any more.

The tower was built for the Exposition Universelle (World's Fair) of 1889, the one-hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution. It was intended to be temporary, to be demolished after twenty years. But its value as a communications tower saved it. The tower and the city were later spared by one of Hitler's generals when he defied the German leader's orders to destroy them both as the Second World War came to an end.

* I figured out where. It's on the rue Saint-Saëns where it intersects with the Boulevard de Grenelle.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Le métro

If you've visited Paris, you've most certainly ridden on the métro (subway). It's often called one of the best systems in the world. It certainly is a great system for getting around in, and increasingly outside, the city. I believe that this station is called La Motte-Picquet - Grenelle at the intersection of the Boulevard de Grenelle and the Avenue de la Motte-Picquet in the 15th Arrondissement. Three lines intersect at this station which is on one of the system's several elevated segments.

Paris métro, elevated line, La Motte-Picquet - Grenelle station, August 2006.

When I lived in Paris (1981-1982), the métro and bus system was the best way to get around, other than walking. I certainly didn't have access to a car then, nor did I need one. I'm trying to think of all the rail transit systems I've experienced in my life. Let's see... New York City, Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco (Muni, BART, and CalTrain), San José, Los Angeles, Portland OR,  Paris (RATP and RER), Rome, Munich, London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Montréal, Vancouver BC and, if we're counting monorail, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Disney World!

Muni - San Francisco Municipal Railway
BART - Bay Area Rapid Transit
RATP - Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens
RER - Réseau Express Régional

Friday, January 07, 2022

La fève

Hey, there's a dump truck in my cake! This is the fève that I put into our galette des rois this week. It's a little ceramic truck that came in a kings' cake many years ago when we were still buying them. I saved about a dozen ceramic fèves back then. Now I use them again in my own cakes.

Slightly blurry photo of the fève baked inside our kings' cake.

Neither one of us got the fève because it was revealed when Ken cut the first slice. I've heard that the tradition for cutting the galette is that a kid sits under the table and decides who gets each piece as it's cut. That way nobody can know where the fève is, even if the person cutting the cake sees it. Well, with just the two of us we have to do the slicing on the honor system. Ken and I share the crown this year.

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Galette des rois, 2022

Today is the Epiphany and the tradition is to eat a "cake" made from flaky (or puff) pastry filled with frangipane (sweetened almond paste). I made our galette yesterday. The dough, while easy to make (it's just flour, salt, water, and butter) takes a while because it must be rolled, folded, and allowed to rest for 30 minutes between each fold. After five or six folds (single folds at first, then double folds), it's ready to use. Store-bought dough is available if you don't want or have time to make your own.

This year's home-made galette des rois.

I had some frozen frangipane left over from a batch I made last year, so that part was easy. I cut the dough into two equal parts, rolled them out, then cut them into circle shapes using a dessert plate as a guide. Next, I spread the filling on the bottom layer and "glued" on the top layer with some beaten egg, but not before I slipped a fève (traditionally a dried fava bean, but these days a small ceramic token) inside. I used a tiny dump truck that came in a bakery-made galette years ago. Whoever gets the fève in his slice is crowned king for the day.

This is what the assembled galette looked like before baking.

Finally, I made some designs on the top layer with a sharp knife and glazed it with the egg wash. After about 30 minutes in a hot oven, it was done.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Le palais

This is the southwest corner of the Palais du Luxembourg. Not a very revealing shot, I admit. The pavilion that you see is the twin of another on the southeast corner, built to "bookend" the Senate library, completed in 1837. The two cylindrical towers in the background are the towers of the Saint-Sulpice church, a short walk away.

The nineteenth century southern façade of the Luxembourg Palace faces the now public palace garden.

I don't remember ever going inside the palace or taking a tour. I wish I had. Ken and I did tour the National Assembly once, located up on the river across town. We recently watched a television show about the Luxembourg Palace, its history, its architecture, and how it's used today. Very impressive.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Le jardin

Longing for summer in the northern hemisphere? Here's a little respite from winter. Le Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Gardens) in central Paris on a hot early September morning back in 2011. When I first lived in Paris (1981), my place was not far from the garden. I used to walk around or through it to get to and from class each day. On nice Sundays I would eat my bag-lunch (a sandwich, a piece of fruit, and a yogurt) there.

Looking west across the garden's central basin and fountain. September 2011.

The gardens were first developed in the early seventeenth century by Marie de Medicis, Queen of France and Regent at that time. She lived in the palace on what would become the northern border of the gardens. Since 1799, the palace has been the seat of the French Senate.

Monday, January 03, 2022

Les dômes

This photo is from September 2011 when one of my cousins visited Paris. I took the train up and spent a couple of nights. The weather was gorgeous, hot even. T-shirt weather. Walking was nice, and I got to do a solo walk or two while my cousin visited some of the monuments on his own. I met him one afternoon and we visited the Rodin museum together then made our way across the river to the Arc de Triomphe. A nice walk, indeed.

The stone tower on the left is the church of Saint-Sulpice.

I don't remember if he went up into the Eiffel Tower on that day, but I know I didn't. I took this photo after we crossed the river to the plaza at the Palais de Chaillot. The two domes are the Panthéon (in the background, before the restoration project) and the church at les Invalides, both back on the left bank. Under that gilded dome is the tomb of Napoléon Bonaparte.

Sunday, January 02, 2022

New Year's Tart

I made the first tarte aux pommes (apple tart) of the year yesterday. I used applesauce that I made from our own apples back in 2020 (and frozen) as the base, with store-bought reine des reinettes (queen of the pippins) on top. It was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.

Tarte aux pommes, New Year's Day 2022.

Now it's time to start thinking about making pâte feuilletée (flaky pastry) for the traditional galette des rois (kings' cake) next week. The cake, more of a pastry than a cake, is traditionally made or bought and eaten around the Epiphany each year. I make my own because the bakery versions are quite pricey.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Bonne année !

Happy New Year 2022!

Celebrating the arrival of 2022 with champagne in a 1994 commemorative flute from California.

We'll be enjoying our traditional black-eyed peas with duck confit in a kind of mock cassoulet today. And I'll be putting away the holiday decorations, too, as is my wont.