Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bonne fin d'année!

Et bon réveillon! Or at least that's what I've been hearing today...wishes for a good celebration of Réveillon de Saint Sylvestre - otherwise known as New Year's Eve. 

Sending you all good wishes for a gentle ending of 2011.  I'll be reflecting on all the things for which I'm grateful; all the things I've experienced this year that have brought me to this moment at year's end; all of the people I love and cherish (including my sweet bodhi!...yes, it's come to me actually mentioning my dog linked in with such sentiments); all of the challenges overcome along with the abundance and beauty that has unfolded throughout this year...even amidst trials and losses. 

A new year always holds so much hope and promise of things yet to come.  I love this last evening of each year to reflect - in both directions.

Tomorrow's post will be published later than usual as I'm leaving early in the morning by train to visit with some of those aforementioned cherished friends.  Look for a celebratory post tomorrow evening to ring in the brand new baby year.  (Card selection for January will go up Monday.)

My very best wishes to you all for this final day of 2011.

leslie

Friday, December 30, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights

A bonus for today!  A view of my little rue as we wind down the year.

Watch for a new selection of cards coming out for January...and if you don't have your 2012 calendars yet, La Fourchette is offering a choice of three...details later today...

à bientôt,
leslie

Thursday, December 29, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights

I'm so pleased that so many of my gentle readers have enjoyed the 2011 Festival of Lights.  It was great fun to compose.  What's more, it was a nice transition into more of the black and white images you'll likely see here - a return to my original creative passion.  Let's see if I can tell a story with light and shadow each day.

This is the final image in our festival series...enjoy!

Ciao,
leslie

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights

A splash of color for your day. 

(And just a note:  yesterday when I mentioned warming up over a cup of tea due to cold temps - apparently I need to get out more because those cold temps were noted when I took Bodhi out for his morning 'business' in the early hours.  Later in the day, we hit the high 50's!  When a California girl refers to temperatures like that as 'balmy', you know she's well into the transition of living a seasonal life.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights

Let's wind down this year gently...and enjoy just a little more sparkle!
Place Richelme morphs from the little marché each day to a main hang out for locals to meet and greet under the lighted trees.



 Ciao,
leslie

Sunday, December 25, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights - Joyeux Nöel...

...à tous!
If you look straight down this beautifully dressed cours Mirabeau, you'll see the light display at La Rotonde.

Wishing you blessings of joy and peace...and light.

leslie

Saturday, December 24, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights

Sending you all my very best wishes on this Christmas Eve for dreams of sugar plum fairies...or cats(!) as the case may be...
This little shop's name, Chat Rêveur, translates to "Cat Dreamer".
...or guardian angels wandering around nearby. (Yes, they were back in the 'hood last evening.)


Je vous souhaite les bonnes fêtes* - in whatever fashion you may be celebrating!

leslie


* I wish you good holidays

Thursday, December 22, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights - Back in the Day

Cours Mirabeau, our main drag through town, was under a carpet of lights in the first few holiday seasons after my arrival.  Lovely, non?

I prefer it to the current style but all things are impermanent.  All things change.  Always a good idea to enjoy each moment...and I really enjoyed walking under this light canopy each time I made a trek down the street. 

Ciao,
leslie

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights

I must walk through here ten times a day.  The Place Richelme, where the little market bustles each day, sparkles in full winter wonderland-ness once night falls.


In the season of short days and gut-gripping cold, it's good to have a little magic shining through.

Ciao,
leslie

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights - And "Light Ups"

Perhaps I should take up smoking, because bbbrrrrrrrr.... is it ever cooooooold outside!.  This fellow doesn't even seem to need a sweater!  In today's rain, his petite cigarette break would be snuffed right out. 

What's cookin' in your 'hood weather-wise on this fine Tuesday?

Only two more weeks to order the current selection of cards!  Those puppies are gone at the end of this December then January will ring in a new selection of the month.  Order now for anyone on your list during 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights

I waited until dusk for our walk-about last night to see what new lights might be sparkling to share.  The temperature has dropped into the silly category (at least for this California girl - and perhaps for her little fluffly dog, too.)  

So there we were. walking along minding our own oignons, braving the cold for our little daily tour of the ville when what to my wondering eyes should appear...


...but a few little French guardian angels out for their own little stroll through the jolie rues.  (Yes, the image is a tad soft but I posted it anyway for kicks.  'Soft' is what you get when an angel on stilts turns and heads right at you!)

We saw them just before they dismantled their 'angel on high' apparatus.


Keep an eye out for your local guardian angels...and have a great start to your week!

Ciao,
leslie

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Bodhi Bonus

A note to share a day in the little French life of Bodhi...

...as he enjoyed his day at "l'institute de beauté" at Prince de Sud.  Bruno is his "stylist" and he had to call in another from the team for the cut yesterday as Bodhi is extra fluffy in the winter temps.

Too cute not to share...as I'm sure you'll agree!

Ciao,
leslie

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights

Sending you into the weekend...

...in light(s).

Ciao,
leslie

ps:  watch for a 'bonus bodhi' post!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights-A Place for Everything


Multiple sources of light in todays image of my favorite little place.  I'm racing today, so I'll just let you enjoy this little spot until tomorrow.

Ciao,
leslie

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights Meets Wednesday Window on Provence

...and speaking of windows, check out this sweet little fenêtre (window):  La Fourchette's version of two turtle doves.



Woohoo! Mid-week.  Is your holiday shopping finished?  Have you included something handmade in your gifts and stockings?  If not, there may still be time (if you hurry!) to include a set of cards.  A new selection arrives in January so get these first selections while they last.

Ciao,
leslie

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights - Light at the End of the Tunnel

...or at least a light at the other side of this tunnel.


As to our Mardi Meteo, we are still enjoying mild temps in these parts.  Ever-so-lovely, this long transition.  I've hardly had to don my mittens and the trees at the local plaza down the street, usually bare by now, are still boasting a full complement of leaves - golden though they may be.  I suspect *this* is how people envision winter in the south of France.  Ahhh...if only...

And you?

Ciao,
leslie

Monday, December 12, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights - A Side Step


A bit of a variation on a theme for our series, this image is a bit of an homage to one of the coolest shops in our little ville...which, I am sad to say, is closing its doors.  Home furnishings with an elegant flair were always displayed beautifully and I would often dip in simply for inspiration. 

Au revoir au Faubourg.

Hope everyone's week is off to a brilliant start!

leslie

Sunday, December 11, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights - The Merry Mairie



The front of our mairie, or town hall...or hôtel de ville*,
is draped in lights again this year. 
I think she looks absolutely stunning in her holiday finery.

Bon dimanche à tous!

leslie

*thanks to gentle reader, Paul, I followed the inner prompting to check out my spelling of hôtel as I tapped it out in this entryIf you missed his very informative comment on Thursday's post, the circumflex accent indicates an omitted "s".  Somewhere in the journey from Latin to French, the occasional "s" was dropped and the preceding letter was topped with a cap - a bit of a hat tip, if you will, to its former neighbor.  If you were to slip that "s" back in, you would see the neighborly rapport between hotel and hostel.  Thanks again, Paul.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights - A Little Bit of Bling

This is where my watch is in the hospital under observation:


There I was, walking along, minding my own business when I turned a corner and ... bam!  The heel of one of my very cute and very fashionable little bottines slipped on an errant leaf and just like that I was down.  Of course, I caught my fall by sticking my hand out in a typically instinctive move...and as effective as that little reflex was in softening my fall, *that* hand happened to also be the hand upon which I wear my watch...worn rather loosely like a bracelet.  

That's right...instead of *my* face being mashed into the stone walkway, it was the face of my watch that took the grit in its teeth.  Yup, one of those fancy-schmancy watches that lasts a life time. ouch.  Now it's on life-support in the Hospital For Fine Watches Worn By Clumsy Women.  

Fingers crossed. 

I'm at an art fair today.  Send your good thoughts that the cards are a hit!  Of course, I've no idea how long I'll be there...uhhhh, no watch!

Enjoy the weekend.

leslie

Friday, December 09, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights - A Fourchette in the Road

Two roads diverged in a little French town...


...I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a little French town, and I--


I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

(With gratitude - or apologies - to Robert Frost)

Happy Friday!

Ciao,
leslie

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Little World Views - Festival of Lights

Les Deux Garçons café puts a little twinkle in our eyes!


This famous hangout for authors and artists alike is the jewel in the crown of cafés that line the sunny side of cours Mirabeau.  Just imagine Paul Cezanne, Emile Zola and Ernest Hemingway gathering at this terrace café, breaking out the cigars, swapping tales and warming their insides with a chocolat chaud absinthe.

I have my favorite 'cantines' and don't go into this place very often but when I happen to slip in for a schweppes to take the edge off of summer temps,  or to warm my face over a crème or chocolat chaud to fend off a winter chill, I think of all the interesting characters that have passed through the same doors, climbed the same staircase, looked out the same windows to the street below.  Makes me want to break out a cigar to feel like one of the gang!

Ciao,
leslie

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Wednesday Window on Provence - Festival of Lights



This old-fashioned carousel is a charming addition to the light festival in our little ville.  But I've always found the carnival atmosphere at the other end of the cours Mirabeau - complete with whacky rides, a bungee cord rig and multiple cotton candy kiosks - to be a bit odd for the season.  Then I remember:  *I* am the guest here and this makes sense to the rest of these fine people.  So party on, my friends.  'Tis the season where we pull out all the stops!

(By the way, this image is one found in the holiday selection of cards available at La Fourchette.  You still have just enough time to get your cards ordered for gifts!)

Ciao,
leslie

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights - A Work In Progress


Some in our fine ville are still in process.  This duo was putting the final touches constructing their design that appears to involve greens, spray paint and drapes of cascading lights at the entrance of a new boutique hotel just around the corner from Les Deux Garçons...which you can see is already adorned in lighted finery.


The entire place is taking on the air of a major wonderland.

Although, truth be told, when I walked past our graceful old Palais de Justice last night to find it smeared with lipstick-red light, I thought it more like a bordello around here...but that's become a pet peeve of mine since the mayor has been putting her...may I say?..."tasteless" touches all around town.  Unfortunately, she's hit some of my favorite corners.  Take, for example, the trio of spotlights she's had mounted over my beloved fountain in the place down the rue with ... wait for it ... unbelievably harsh-looking lights that change from blue...to green...to red!  OMD! (Oh.Mon.Dieu!)  Will someone please talk to this woman?!?  Or vote her out of office before she squeezes every last ounce of charm out of this place!

But I digress from our purpose.  Back to our festival!  More lights tomorrow...

and a petite note:  these images are being posted a bit larger than usual and to see them in their fullest state, you need to click directly on the image to load it into a lightbox for viewing.  Otherwise, the right side is sliced off by the margin and I've just not figured out where to go into the html to adjust it.  In the meantime, click and enjoy!

à demain,
leslie

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Monday, December 05, 2011

La Fourchette's Festival of Lights

With a grateful curtsy to gentle reader donna
we begin 
La Fourchette's Festival of Lights.

Lights!  Camera!  Celebrate!


Enjoy the lights through the month!
Ciao,
leslie

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Lighting Up the Night...

...or at least dusk as night falls.

Bon dimanche...or what's left of it!

Ciao,
leslie

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Reflections on London

Though there are many more images to remind me of what a lovely time I had, this will be the last in our London week series. 


Looking altogether like a moat around the building, this 'pool' is actually the skylight 'rooftop' of the little basement café at the National Gallery.  Clever, non?

Just in case you're reading this:  I had a wonderful time (though I missed seeing Peter...next time!) and as always, you made me feel like a spoiled princess with your generous hospitality and attention to detail in helping me navigate your lovely city.  Many thanks, John.  As I said before, I heart you...big!

Ciao...to London...at least until next time...
leslie

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Is It December Already?!

Yes...yes it is.  Happy first of December!

Along Regents Street in London.


Ciao,
leslie

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday Window on Provence...errrr...London!

I left you at the end of the Millennium Bridge yesterday...hope the night temps didn't get to you!

You would probably be able to count the steps from the end of the bridge to St. Paul's Cathedral, the Church of England's mother ship, built in the late 17th century - on the same site of an original church built in 604 A.D. and named in honor of the apostle, Paul.  You can see the bones of its English Baroque style (built to a design by Sir Christopher Wren, highly regarded architect in his time - but not without some controversy...true of many artists - after the great fire of London)...
St. Paul's Cathedral, London - Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married here.


What's with the crowd you ask?  Busy tourist day in London town?

That mass of bodies milling around in the front of the cathedral is the US Occupy Wall Street Movement's baby sister in the UK.  A very civilized crowd they were.  (But of course there were!  They're British...stay calm and carry on...)  These folks were listening to speakers and volleying questions...although honestly, it appeared that some were there just to enjoy lunch in the sun around the premises. 

A quick turn to your left and you'll see this...


 
...the temporary housing for the current occupiers who are making peaceful statements against the current status quo.  Not quite in the English Baroque style but functional, non?  And do you see that sign in the background?  It pretty much sums up the movement's mission statement...


All in all, a very peaceful group comprised of a mix of people you wouldn't necessarily see sitting on steps or sharing tents together.  St. Paul's Cathedral has seen its share of controversy around the encampment of this recent movement, but continues to host the group in the spirit of generosity and service to all.

Regardless of your political persuasion, you gotta give a little shout out to peaceful calls for "Power to the People"!
Ciao,
leslie

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mardi Meteo

I teased my friend in London while I was there about the weather.  "What are you Londoners always complaining about with the weather??!  It's lovely here!"

Of course, I know well that this city can look pretty grey and dreary day after day but she sparkles when the sun is out and the skies are brilliant blue.  I was lucky.  Each day was beautiful!

A walk along the River Thames path took me to the Tate Modern museum.  (I love the feel under my feet of their soft wooden plank floors.  That's not the only thing I like about the Tate Modern but it deserves mention.)  In front of the museum, a pedestrian bridge spans the river. Commonly known as the Millennium Bridge, its proper name is the London Millennium Footbridge - which says it all.

I stepped on in front of the Tate Modern....
The Millennium Bridge in front of the Tate Modern
...and stepped off on the other side, just a hop, skip and a jump from St. Paul's Cathedral.  (More about the cathedral tomorrow...)

The Millennium Bridge view toward St. Paul's Cathedral

The weather back in my own 'hood is a bit cooler (but not much - we're not donning mittens yet!) with hazy sunshine.   Lovely, really.

And you?

Ciao,
leslie

Monday, November 28, 2011

Little World Views...London

St. Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church, Trafalgar Square, London

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Lots of catching up happening chez La Fourchette.

Ciao,
leslie

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Heart London...

Trafalgar Square

...and I heart my friends even more! 

{Ever so lovely to see you and hang out with the fab London peeps.  I had a wonderful, wonderful time.  I'm already looking forward to next time!  I could even sing say:  You're just too good to be tru - ue...   ;}

We'll be celebrating London all week so drop back in for a little tour of this grand city.

Ciao!
leslie

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Brrrrrrring, Brrrrrrring!

London calling!


I'll be back at it on Sunday.

To all of my American gentle readers, have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday.  Even in the midst of the current struggles, there is much for which to be thankful, non?

un petit mot:  Bodhi thanks you all for the lovely birthday wishes!  eurrrfff, eurrrfff.

à dimanche!
leslie

Heading out for the Friday shopping?  
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mardi Meteo


Looks a little hazy out there but the temps are surprisingly mild for November in these parts. 

Did I mention "Il est arrivée!"?  The beaujolais, that is. 

Yes, that's right.  Just after 'strike season' in early November comes the arrival of the new beaujolais, a Gamay wine that is released just 6-8 weeks after its harvest.  One wine critic refers to it as being 'like eating cookie dough'...which is to say, not one of the region's finer products and certainly not up to the standards of long-in-the-barrel, artfully made wines.   

The glass I had the other evening to accompany a couple of slices of gooey mozzarella-topped pizza - tasted very good.  Okay...it was a bit fruity, but there was enough ummph to balance the unctuous cheese-topped pie.  That aforementioned wine critic is right, as often the beaujolais is, what we might call in the 'hood, 'plonk' - but this wine was enjoyable enough. 

Perhaps it's just a very good year for beaujolais.

Ciao,
leslie

PS:  Today is Bodhi's birthday!  He's a rompin' five-year old now.


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Monday, November 21, 2011

We're Not In Kansas Anymore...Or Even In California! (la deuxième partie)

...continued from yesterday...

We left Sébastien yesterday singing into his headset: 

"Californieeeeeee!" he sang.  "Take me with you!"

I laughed but he went on with his inquiry. "Do you go back often?  How often?  What do you do here for work?"

We were chatting away, Sébastian et moi, and the EDF refund somehow faded into the background.  Can you believe it?  Me...chatting away in French.  And him...understanding every word.  I can't even begin to count the days when I thought this would be impossible - and yet here I am these days, navigating this lovely language almost adequately.

Then he swiftly made a U-turn and headed in his original direction:  "Next time you go to California, take me with you!  I could carry your bags!"

I laughed - again - and said, "You'd be carrying my dog...he can be a bit of a load on a long flight."

We both laughed and the conversation then slowed to a stop at its logical end-point with all of the details about the refund and when it would likely show up on my bill.

I thanked him.  He wished me a good day.  I returned the pleasantry.  The call ended.  I went on ticking things off my 'to do' list.

Less than a minute later, my portable phone chimed, indicating that a text message had been received.  I looked at the screen to find a text from a number I didn't recognize: "Mme. Ray?"

"Oui," I sent back.  (Sometimes new clients call/text this number so this was not all that unusual.)

The immediate response: "Emmenez moi en Californieeeee!!!! Sébastien"   Take me to Californieeeeeeee!

All I could do was LOL!

This would never happen in the US!  I thought as I typed back my response (and neither would that!), which was simply:    ;}

Another chime rang in his response:  "Vous n'avez pas dit non, c'est bon signe, j'ai bon espoir! :[)?"  You have not said no, that's a good sign, I'm hopeful.

"Pas de chance" I tapped in, "c'est mon petit chien qui a dit 'non'!  (Il est jaloux.) Mais vous avez me fait rire. It is my dog who said 'no'. (He is jealous.) But you made me laugh.   And I sent it off into the ethers.

A few minutes later I received the final message in the exchange:  Je vous souhaite une très bonne journée."   I wish you a very nice day!

The entire experience made me smile...'when in Rome', as they say. 

I think this place is rubbin' off on me.   The evidence of that?  The fact that I found Sébastien's behavior charming - because flirting here is an art form which many French women appreciate... and what's more,  that I could actually participate in the entire exchange in French...and apparently with a "jolie accent"!

For all the difficult days when I'm swept away by the thought:

What was I thinking by moving to France?!? 

But days like this feel more like:   

Perhaps the eagle has landed.  

You saw this lovely old dear dressed in springtime green here.
Hope you're week is off to a great start...wherever you are...
leslie

Sunday, November 20, 2011

We're Not In Kansas Anymore...Or Even In California!

A random wall in Paris
Was the past week of iPhone mania too much?  Perhaps but oh.my.goodness!  What a rush that's been.

There must be a middle path in here somewhere.  We'll start today and see where we go...

...and speaking of things getting out of control...

Last week I called EDF (the French electric company) to request a refund for a fee they charged in error (another long story.)

After punching all of the appropriate numbers and symbols on my telephone, I landed in the headset of a fellow named 'Sébastian'.  I explained the situation and my request for the refund, which was met with a pause on his end.  I usually fill this quiet space by rattling off something like, "Est-ce que vous comprenez?  Je suis desolée.  Je ne parle pas bien français."*

Do you understand?  I'm sorry.  I don't speak French well.

His quick response of "Si, si! Vous parlez très bien.  J'ai compris tout ce que vous avez dit,"** was very encouraging but it got better.

** No, no!  You speak very well.  I've understood all that you've said."

He continued (in French but for the sake of speed here...), "In fact, you have a very pretty accent.  What country are you from?" and before I could squeeze an answer into the small space he'd provided, he added, "Are you English?"  (I get this a lot.  I don't have that American 'r' that ends up sounding like a car grinding gears.  The French 'r' can be a little tricky for American tongues to manage.)

"No, I'm American," I replied.

"Ooooh!  American," he cooed.  "Why are you in France?  Are you being punished?"

I laughed, but it's not uncommon for people to ask in an incredulous tone why I left the US to move to France.

"No, no.  I'm not being punished," I said, "in fact, I made the choice to live here."

"C'est pas vrai!" He continued in this vein - like a miner sifting for gold. "From what region?"

"California," I said.

Voilà!  He'd struck it rich.  There was gold in them thar words! 

"Californieeeeeee!" he sang.  "Take me with you!"


To be continued...


Bon dimanche à tous!
leslie

Friday, November 18, 2011

Little World Views

The wall on the left is the back of what is now the Court of Appeals.  Back in the day, it was the prison.
Bonne fin de la semaine tout le monde!

leslie

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