Feature Article #1

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Thanks for resting your eyeballs here for a moment.(They are resting, right?) If you rest them a little longer, you may learn some interesting,(hopefully)entertaining, and, yes, ocassionally BIZARRE things about FRENCH COUNTRY LIFE (more…)

| January 27th, 2017 | Continued

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French Revolution – France is Revolting

French Revolution – France is Revolting. And it’ s not the first time. As you are no doubt well aware.

In the first French Revolution, many people lost their heads, in a revolt that started over the shortage of bread. A “selective” one. As there was plently to go around for the Royals. (Suprise, suprise.)

BTW – There’s no evidence to confirm that Marie Antoinette actually responded to the peasant’s bread-less plight by saying: “Let them eat cake.”( Although you have to admit, it’s a great sound bite.)

France Revolting for the second time was much more recent, and, happily this time, the “losing of heads” was emotional and not (mortally) physical. I explained this “revolting” state of affairs,which is still marginally continuing, in THIS POST.

French Revolution No. 3 is now upon us. And it is a Blockbuster. The Mother of all Revolutions French.

Because the entire country is revolting!

Train drivers/conductors. Lawyers. Doctors. Nurses. Office workers. Secretaries. Plumbers. Electricians. Longshoremen.

Bottom line: Everyone not wearing a $200 suit and/or driving a $50,000 car.

Refineries are being blocked. Gas stations low on/and/or out of gas. Ports shut down by “revolters.” Ships can’t unload cargo. Ditto for long haul truckers stuck as revolters barricade highways.

And this time it’s NOT about bread. This Third French Revolution is all about the French Retirement age. Which the Government wants to extend by two years, and institute a “one size fits all” financial rewards system.

Which, as even a high school dropout(me) can understand, is several light years past planet pathetic.(In the galaxy of stupid.)

Here’s why: different occupations have different “game over” ages.

Ballet dancers are “over the hill” at 45. (If not earlier) Office workers can go the distance to 62 with no sweat.

Other occupations, roofer, for example, are more physically demanding and/or more dangerous.

Traditionally, the differences in these occupations was taken into account at cash out time. Now – new ball game – if the elyseè palace has it’s way.

And that – is what has (almost) all the French Panties in a knot.

As you would expect – as tempers rise and tensions come along for the ride – there are “incidents” on both sides of the fence.

Cops stepping “out of line” – revolters smashing shops and burning cars. The “business as usual” aspects of any “demonstration” with unequal participants with (often) different agendas. (ie – the “casseurs” and the “gilet jaunes” – you DID read THIS POST – right?)

One of the cornerstones of the French Constitution is the “right to demonstrate.” (Their word is: “manifestation.”)

And, this Revolution notwithstanding, the French are totally ready to “manifest” at the drop of a hat/and/or privilege denied.

So much so, that many French refer to their country, jokingly, but accurately as “le paye du grevè. (The country of strikes.”)

Where/when will this Revolting French Revolution end?

“God only knows. God makes his plans. The informations not available to the mortal man.”

                                         – Slip Slidin’ Away – Paul Simon –



Bicycle Gourmet’s French Backroads


Bicycle Gourmet’s French Backroads. Don’t own them. But often feel like it. After gliding down them for the past zillion and a half years.

And even after all that time, for Da BG, the Backroads of France never cease to amaze, delight, and provoke no small quantities of wonder and awe.

How could it be otherwise in a country where everything changes every 50 KM. The landscape, the food, the wine, the monuments, the local twist on the language.

One thing that, happily doesn’t change, is the genuine warmth and hospitality of the French People. Particularly along the French Country Backroads of “La France Profunde.”

These are the “Treasures of France” which, while they are on the map, are attracting few to no tourists. Because their only attraction is silence.(the occasional tractor or herd of cows/sheep on the road notwithstanding.)

Yes, “La France Profunde” is mainly agricultural. A place where you will have no trouble finding “miles and miles of miles.” However, finding an ATM will definitely be a challenge.

Likewise bread. Yes, a shocker I know. As we folks from “over there” fantasize there is a boulangerie in every French Village.

Au contraire mon frerè. In “Hamlets” – settlements smaller than a village – bread is delivered to/sold at the local tobacconists. Or whatever other store most locals use.

This – for me – is the beauty of “France in the slow lane.” It’s never going to change. Because in addition to never being a tourist “attraction” – French law regards virtually every empty field as a “cultural heritage.”

Meaning that any enterprising froggie dreaming of turning that acreage into a boutique and swingin’ hot spot is definitely S.O.L.

While every region of France has it’s own variation of “senic beauty” – that wonderfulness, obviously changes with the seasons.

Plus – in “La France Profunde” – given it’s miles and miles of miles – there is not much variation. And virtually no color.

Alors – what better destination on the French Country Backroads for Black and White photography?

And – it just so happens that Da Bg has some. (The Infa-Red Variety)*
Voila! – a little visual taste of the French Country Backroads.







FYI – photo buffs, and/or those who photograph in the buff, these images shot with a Samsung WB500/Schneider 24mm ultra wide lens, converted to IR. No photoshop. All images here directly from the camera.

More of my photo madness at:


*infa-red photography – Google it!

Throw Me  Bone Here People!

What are ya Thinkin’?

French Christmas Confidental

The French Christmas Fiesta Confidental..


Like most of us, the French don’t like to be cold. So, when vines become grapeless skeletons,  terrace lunches are only for polar bear club members, and it’s dark by four thirty; those that can afford it head to the sun.  Typically, Morroco, Tunisia, or the French isles of Guadeloupe and Reunion.

The ones who can’t – The ones in those hilltop villages with no multiplex – No twenty-four seven supermarket – No videos-r-us; They eat. They drink. And they tell stories. Used to be,  in simpler times, they did that in the excited states.  The travelling storyteller was a respected and welcome guest. An “Oral Historian” who kept traditions,  heritage, and regional humor, alive and vibrant.

They still got ‘em here folks. Here’s how it works:  The regional cultural council sets up a series of “Contes” (story evenings) in villages throughout the area. These nights of food, wine and tall tales are hosted in the local community center. (Salle de Fete) For ten to twelve Euro, you get : A choice of two aperitifs; as the storyteller launches into round one.  As my “got the froggie tee-shirt” readers know – The French are not renowned for vegetarianism. Alors, Quelle surprise round two of “stories-be-us”,  is accompanied by a plate of cold cuts (“charcuterie”) along with wine number one. When this action winds down,  it’s time to circulate, commiserate, and appreciate an exhibition of local art.

The main course(usually chicken or lamb) arrives chaperoned by wine number two. Accompanied by – you guessed it – more stories!  Naturally, by this time, after one or more aperitifs, at least two glasses of wine and the grub, the assembled multitude are feeling no pain. And the story teller is feeling his oats. (And you thought this was a family evening. Silly you!) The story teller is now definitely on a roll. And tho’ his humor is past borderline risqué,  his double-entendres, register only on the adults. Then, just when you think these folks could’nt possibly be any happier, guess what? You’re right. Wine number three!

At this point, the locals are seriously inter-acting with the man-o-many-words. Exuberantly investing themselves in the narrative and the spirit of the evening. Something that’s difficult to do with the slasher movie from videos-r-us. Aware of the French passion for chocolate, cream, and all things diet-busting, I know your taste buds are spewing rivers of saliva as you imagine – what’s for dessert!? Black Forest Cake? Kirsch- soaked. Studded with cherries? An orange extravaganza with alternate layers of hazelnut crème and pear puree?

The classic Profiteroles? Dark chocolate rounds stuffed with lightly sweetened heavy cream? Hard cheese for you, dear reader. Tonight’s “piece de la resistance”, although a French dessert classic, contains no chocolate. No cream. No exotic puree. No candied fruit.  And – glorly gee to besus – no calories!

It’s a seasonal favourite. Served in a cone. Of warm newspaper. Does the phrase, “Chestnuts roasting on a open fire” ring any bells?