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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Royale French History Lesson

 

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The Royale French  History Lesson goes down every year. All over France.  Usually just for one day.  Sometimes two. And, happily, it’s (mostly) free. While it’s not a holiday in the strict sense of the word, it’s equally, not a day of work.

It’s offical title is : “Le Journee Du Patrimoine.” which, loosely translated(and isn’t that the best way?) is:” The day of History appreciation. ” This is the day  that  private Chateau you’ve always wanted to visit but couldn’t is obliged to open it’s doors to “le grand public.” (if it is classed as one of the Historical Treasures of France.)

And that World class museum, usually too pricey to even consider? – Today – not a problem. (Note:  “attractions” with an entry fee will reduce it, if it’s not eliminated altogether.)

This particular “Journee du Patrimoine” happened to fall on a weekend. So – Historical goodies both days!  Since DA BG happened to be in the Loire, and being especially attracted to French Churches/Abbeys/Cathedrals, et al, the destination was clear. The monstrous Abbey (complex!) of Fontevraud.

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Like every Monstrous Religious edifice in France Le Abbaye Royale du Fontevraud has a history worthy of several Hollywood movies. (“Abbey Wars – The Sequel!” ) It was founded in 1100 as a “double” monastery -ie – Monks and Nuns side by side.  A rarity in any era. A variety of King’s, Queens, and assorted Royalty are also associated with it. Particularly the  English Plantegenet line.

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Eleanor of Acquitane, the Widow of Henry 2 become a nun at Fontevraud. Henry was buried there, along with their son, Richard “The Lionheart” (who spent most of his short  life in France) as well as their daughter Joan, their grandson Raymon VII of Toulouse, and Isabella of Angouleme, wife of Henry and Eleanor’s son King John.

The French Revolution, bringing bad news to almost everyone, didn’t spare Fontevraud. It ordered all monasteries closed.

Eventually, in 1804, the former Abbey became a prison. Reputed to be one of the harshest in France. During World World Two, scores of French Resistance fighters were executed there by the Vichy Government.

After a major restoration, Fontevraud was opened to the public in 1985.

It’s now open to you in THIS VIDEO .(Tip : Best enjoyed(by music lovers) without the robot piano soundtrack)

THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!

What are ya thinkin’?

 

My French Travel Secret

 

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My French Travel Secret is where I reveal the down side of being DA BG.  Yes, Virginia, there IS  a negative smiley face in my otherwise blissful existence. A subtle frown that creases the face of carefree revelry.

Like a wine that is almost perfect, My French Life has a touch of tannin. The bitter flavor of (ugh) responsibility. Which means that the French Cycling Gourmet is NEVER on a carefree holiday. Because dear reader, he’s always thinking of you.  Thinking of how much you would enjoy what he is enjoying. And is therefore obliged to hip you to whatever trip he happens to be on.

bicyclegourmetThis one is to a region of la Belle France that doesn’t get a lot of press. And for me, and the folks who dwell herein, that’s jus’ fine.

It is above the too famed Provence, and borders the Haute Alps and the Alps Maritime. Folks, meet la Drome Provencal. The southernmost part of la Drome proper. (my non altzheimer readers may recall THIS POST)

Like it’s southern neighbour, la Drome Provencal has an equally agreeable climate. Allowing it to produce wine, fruits and herbs in massive quantities. Sharing a big slice of Mt. Ventoux, means that it’s some serious sport candy for cyclists of the lyra clad “speed thrills” variety. (my cycling opposites, as you are no doubt well aware.)

Other than the ubiquitous tourism, Lavender and herbs are La Drome Provencal’s main exports.

What rattles my cage about this region is that it’s “the road less travelled”, (with virtually the same climate as the road too often travelled) there’s NO industry, (so, no pollution) and, with more villages than cities, plus mountains all around, you can get lost here.

With your camera, bien sur.

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THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!

What are ya thinkin’?

French Wine Tasting – Part Two

Authors note : Reading Part One first would be a good idea

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Regardless of whether you’re”into’ wine,or just grabbed a bottle out of desperation because “booze-be-us” was outa beer – there are French wine treasures to be found in every region and at every price point.

Kinda like deciding which car to buy, innit? Too many options! That’s why I, your ever helpful, faithful pal and freakin’ fountain o’ froggie info am gonna – as usual – give ya the straight skinny.

The French Wine treasures that really rock my boat,aren’t in the wine guides.  They haven’t been reviewed by the “gurus of taste.”

Like the best Scots’ Whiskey, they’re not exported. And for the same reason.The locals drink it all up!

They’re the wines of(usually)small,independant producers and local wine co-ops. I find them in the usual way. I TRAVEL! And when I see a “wine sign”, I glide in for petite degustation.”( a little taste)And you, dear reader, can do the same.

The “Ma n’Pa” winos, you can,(and should!)discover on yer own. To get ya started with the other possibility, here be three BG recommended co-ops.

Dontcha be forgettin’ that wine co-ops are not bound by the restrictions of A.O.C.Which means that grapes can be blended for maximum flavor without regard to origin/location.

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Alllllrighty then………Here we go! (You do know how to use Google maps…..right?)1.Cave Cooperative du CONDOM -Gers region – SouthWest. (foie gras country.) 2.Cave Cooperative du LUMIERE –Provence region – South. In the Luberon National park between Cavaillon and Apt.  3.Cave cooperative du NOVES –Provence region – South. Last village before Avignon on the South(left)side of the Durance river.

At all of these spots,you’ll find wine advertised “en vrac”and/or “en detail” – meaning – “In bulk.” Bring your own 3,5,or 10 litre container and fill up.(Some co-ops will sell you just a litre, but 3 is usually the minimum.)

Expect to fork out anywhere from 1.25 to 1.75 per litre. Depending on the variety/strength.

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Anything else I can help with?

THROW  ME  A  BONE  HERE, PEOPLE!

What are ya thinkin’?