Category Archives: Uncategorized

summer’s over

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i know i haven’t been very good about keeping up on this blog.  august was hectic because that’s the month that the entire country of france goes on holiday.  we went to the south of france and the cote d’azur.  we started off by going to see family in the Alps in a little town the size of belvidere, ne called rossillon.  from there, we went to Mont Blanc in the alps which is also called Chamonix, like the youth hostel my mom works at.  after that we camped for three long weeks with my fiance’s parents.  we saw the palais des papes in avignon which sounded like the tower of babel because everyone was talking so loud in the sanctum.  we went for a drive in Marseilles where i finally got to see the Mediterranean sea, which was as blue as i dreamed it would be.  we spent an afternoon in Cannes which is totally overrated.  everyone there looks like they are posing for a fashion shoot.  Aix en Provence was very cute and luckily had an english bookstore where i got a student’s discount because the girl thought i was one.  i guess i look young!  camping was a huge trial for me, but i got a reprieve when we went to stay in Grasse for a couple of days.  that’s the city that makes the perfume.  we took the opportunity to drive through the country side, and on Napoleon’s road which he took when he was coming back from his exile on Elbe.  my favorite city was Nice.  i think i like it because it’s laid out like an american city with grand avenues.  we went to the flower market and walked along the promenade d’anglais so named because in the 19th century the english would come to Nice during the summers and walk by the sea.  our last day we spent in Monaco where we saw the changing of the guards, and i bought a silly sailor’s hat.  we also drove along the grand prix route.  when we returned to camping, we spent an evening at the symphony for a debussy recital which was pleasant.  by the time our month was up, i was so ready to return to berck.  it was like 90° the whole time we were down south, and coming back to the english channel seaside was something of a relief.  now it’s back to wedding planning and my newly discovered hobby, cross stitch.  next month, i will have been here a year.  my blogs may get fewer and farther between, but i’ll try to write from time to time if anything exciting happens.  i’ve seen more of france in 11 months than most frenchmen see in their lifetime.  a bientot and bisous!

the southwest of france

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hello my three readers one of whom is my grandma!  i know i haven’t been on the ball about this blog, but unless you want a blog about an inept 30 year old trying to figure out how to use a french washing machine, you have to wait until i do something cool to get a post.  gui had another of his many holidays the last two weeks.  we drove my american friend to the airport so that she could go home and start her supercool new job at opentable.com, and leave me without an english speaking friend in berck.  then we went to paris where we went to the modern art museum to see an exhibit on Robert Crumb.  that was awesome, but the rest of the museum was pretty dull except for a couple of Matisses.  the next day we went to musee d’orsay which houses all of the impressionist and post-impressionist art that france is famous for. it is the converted paris-orleans train station. i got to see all of the waterlilies and japanese bridges.  i saw the Caillebotte of men scraping floors that has hung in my grandmother’s living room for as long as i can remember.  then i turned a corner and saw hanging side by side starry night and bedroom at arles by van Gogh.  guigui had to restrain me from dropping on my knees and worshipping them.  i never thought i’d get to see those two favorite pieces of mine, especially on one wall.  we visited with all of our parisian friends for the next few days, then were treated to a surprise holiday to bordeaux with the parents.  the southwest is beautiful and warm.  we were next to the atlantic in a quaint inn that served a cute breakfast.  i stared across the wide expanse of the atlantic ocean and tried to imagine new york on the other side.  we took a ferry to acachon which sherlock loved.  we ate a lot.  i discovered cafe gourmand which is a dessert that consists of an espresso and 4 little desserts.  one day we went into the city of bordeaux, and walked around a flea market in a dusty square near a beautiful fountain.  i bought some books in english for very cheap.  i was not happy when it was time to come back north.  it was 25°c there and here it is 8°c.  it is election day here.  we are rooting for francoise hollande because sarkozy is an idiot.  wish us luck that we get a socialist president in power, and get this country away from the nationalist rhetoric it’s been leaning toward.  au revoir!

girl, abroad

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well, it’s spring! almost.  a couple of days, i guess.  so fall turned to winter, now winter to spring.  i should change the name of the blog.  we got a puppy.  he’s a parson terrier which is a cousin of the jack russell.  he and i go on long walks on the beach, and generally just explore.  we named him sherlock, and he is quite the curious one.  we got a package from mom, and now i have a new spring wardrobe and an old school pentax with which i am going to start taking pretentious arty photographs in black and white.  i figure it fits in with the american bohemian abroad theme i have going on.  guillaume’s birthday is in about a week, and we are having his family in from paris.  i bought some tulips the other day.  i have also been decorating the bedroom with a cities theme, which is a la mode right now.  we have a tableau of paris, philly, and a postcard of london.  guigui also has pinned up all the love letters i wrote him while i was still in the states.  it’s true they are a romantic people.  i spend a lot of time playing my guitar.  maybe i’ll go play in the metro stations in paris because that also sounds like something an american girl with a nose ring and tattoos should be doing in france.  the kite festival is here next month, and i hear it is quite the spectacle.  maybe i’ll take doisneauesque pictures of it.

the american and french revisit the turning point of WWII

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since my boyfriend has a lot of vacation time, we took his latest one to go to normandy.  we started in caen where we saw the WWII museum.  it is very nicely done, and covers the time WWI ended through the d-day landings until the end of the war.  there is a seperate part of the museum that covers the implications focusing mostly on the cold war and the berlin wall.  that night we stayed in a creepy hotel above a cafe, and had crepes for dinner which is the traditional food of that region.  the next day we went to the american military cemetary which was covered in fog giving it a supernatural ambiance.  it overlooks omaha beach where the american deembarkment happened.  even my usually cynical facade was changed seeing that graveyard.  after that we went to see the bayeux tapestry, which my mom tells me is one of the first instances of a woman artist, though they don’t mention that at the museum.  it is the story of william the conqueror, and how he got the throne from harold.  bayeux is a very quaint town, but all around the area you can still see the scars from the shellings during the war.  that night we went to see the artist in this strange town.  it had an old school theatre with leather seats.  the movie was awesome, and it really deserved all the oscars it got.  it was also nice to see a fench movie with a happy ending because usually they are all exsistential and depressing.  when we left the theatre, a drunk old man asked us for a euro.  we said we didn’t have any, and he asked gui if he was american.  gui said no, and the old man said something like, i speak english but the french don’t speak it as well as the germans.  i think he was still living in 1941.  we went to mont saint-michel the next day, which is an abbaye sitting on top of an island.  we climbed all the way to the top, but the abbaye was closed, so we just stood and made fun of the people climbing the stairs with obvious difficulty.  we had lunch in st. malo, which is in the bretagne region, and walked along the ramparts.  eveidently, 75 million tourists visit france every year.  there are only 65 million residents, so at any given time when you see two people, one of them is a tourist.  we spent the last day in brest, which is a port town that looks kind of like philadelphia.  i do suggest that if you ever book a hotel in france you be sure to specify that you want a bathroom in your room, or you will be forced to use the community toilets and showers.  for us americans, that can be a little daunting, especially if you wake up late like me, and they have already started cleaning!  i had to drive to mcdonald’s to pee.  we are again back in lovely berck redecorating the bedroom.  it looks like a season is turning into two.  it was fall when i arrived, and it will soon be spring!  i guess that’s what happens when you’re in love!

a hike that was meant to be a walk

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yesterday gui asked if i wanted to go for a walk because it was a beautiful, sunny day.  we drove about an hour to cap blanc nez, which is on the coast.  from the top of it you can see great britain, and that was pretty cool.  we decided to take the grand escalade down the side of the point to get to the beach, and then walk back up the beach.  there are huge rocks covered in algae, and i commented that my grandma would probably like it here.  there are old nazi watchtowers and the remains of where they had the huge cannons pointed at britain.  they aren’t marked though as historic sites, you just have to figure it out for yourself.  after an hour or so,we finally made it to a spot we could walk back up, and realized we were like 2 miles from the car.  we took a back trail that led us around a mountain, and eventually to the car.  i was tired and cranky because i thought we were just going to stroll on the beach.  we drove to the town of wissant to have a beer in a cafe.  it was a blanc biere with hints of lemon, and there was a sweet old golden retriever that sat in the cafe.  i slept well and i’m really sore today, but it was a beautiful view.