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 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?

THROW  ME  A  BONE  HERE, PEOPLE!

Black Friday in France – Soon Banned?

Black Friday in France – soon banned? A final “au revoir” to France’s Black Friday sales frenzy? The End of Black Friday in France? That’s a Big “Absolutement” if French Politicans get their way.

They’ll be voting soon on an amendment to end Black Friday in France on the grounds that it causes “resource waste” and “overconsumption.”

The amendment essentially equates Black Friday to “aggressive commercial practices” which is punishable by two years imprisonment and a maximum fine of 300,000 euros ($330,000).

Also adding fuel to the ban Black Friday Fire, the French Ecology Minister dumped on France’s Black Friday saleathon for creating “traffic jams, pollution and gas emissions.”

Not suprisingly, the prospect of No more Black Friday in France gets a big thumbs up from enivronmentalists.

In a show of solidiarty with politicans (a once in a blue moon occurence) the “Friends of the Earth” group blocked the entry to an Amazon warehouse in Northern France with a blanket of broken refigerators, microwaves, and hay.

Some stores are already leading their campaign against the commercial event. This month, 600 French brands created an anti-Black Friday collective to “Make Friday Green Again.” The movement Youth For Climate is calling for a “Block Friday” demonstration in major French cities.

On the other side of the fence – as you would expect – France’s commercial union has called the proposal “ridiculous”, saying that it prevents people benefiting from promotions for Christmas shopping.

French Economists fear that the amendment will disproportionately penalize small French businesses since bigger e-commerce companies won’t fall under the law. Some suggest it would be better to educate consumers against waste instead of forbidding the commercial practice of Black Friday.

While there are two(or more) sides to every story – The French Politicans rally to ban Black Friday in France has more than a “soupcon” of hypocrisy.

Owning to the fact that “sales” (soldes) occur (minimum) 8 months of the year. Also creating “resource waste, overconsumption” and contributing to “traffic jams, pollution” and gas emissions.”

See the Anti-Black Friday Protestors in this video.

French Church History Lesson

 

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "basilic de st julien, brioude"

 

French Travel = French Food, French Wine, French Chocolate, French History. And a big – no wait – make that a HUGE part of that History, are the Churches, Cathedrals, and Abbeys that really are “around every corner.”

While the “big names” of French Churchdom are universally known – Notre Dame de Paris, Chartes, etc. the lesser knowns, and they often include French Abbeys in small French Villages, have an equally fascinating story to tell.

One of my favorites of these Historical Treasures of France, is the Basilic de St. Julian in the Haute Loire village of Brouide.

DA BG could prattle on about it’s wonders, but – WHY? when you can immerse yourself in it’s History soaked wonderfulness in these Videos? The first with marvy music throughout. The second, in French. With equally cool ancient sounds.



THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!

What are ya thinkin’?