Tag: american living in france

Back to France

Back to France … Home Again in Uzès

Sometimes it seems that I’m being unappreciative to my family I visit in the US. But when I return back to France again, I can’t believe how happy I feel. I’m at home. But at the same time, I’m on a great adventure. 

The last two months I’ve revelled in spending time with my adorable grandchildren in Georgia. We played together, like I always imagined I’d enjoy three and five year old grandchildren. Tea parties, visits to a dinosaur museum, lunch on a red caboose and birthday parties. We did them all.

Then it was time to say “goodbye.” At least now they’re recognizing that “Grandma will come back.” Perhaps it gives us all a chance to rewind.

Back to France

The journey back to France this time was complicated slightly by the fact that I’m haven’t totally recuperated from my September accident. Knowing that I had to spend part of the trip on a train, I had to pack light. Back to FranceThat doesn’t mean that my suitcase wasn’t overloaded with goodies to take back to France. This time I was transporting jewelry making materials to an American friend who lives near Uzés. A good half of my 38 pounds of luggage was devoted to clasps, findings and other jewelry components that are hard to find near here. For my efforts, my friend is bartering her talent painting furniture. She’s already transformed my office desk from a boring brown to a stylish French Provençal white. Perfect for my new apartment!

Along the way … Dordogne

Living in the south of France gives me a chance to stop along the way back from the US. This trip I visited some of the Plus Beaux Villages of France. Remember, it’s now my new obsession: to see as many Plus Beaux Villages as possible. So for four days I spent part of every day exploring a different spot in the Dordogne. In the next posts I will share some of the sights and my thoughts about Monpazier, St. Jean de Cole, Beynac-et-Cazenac and Castlenaud-la-Chappelle.

Stay tuned …

 

Back to France

 

 

 

 

 

Bread Pudding and French Connections

Today I was enjoying the last of my Thanksgiving Dinner leftovers —  for breakfast — bread pudding. After I woofed it down, I stopped for a moment to think that I should be thankful for every bite, for everything about my simple bread pudding meal.

Take for example, the bread. I made a special effort to choose that specific bread at Mr. Gaffier’s corner grocery store. There were many choices, but this loaf of sliced white bread was specially recommended by the young woman behind the counter.

Gaiffier Green Grocer in Uzes

Gaiffier Green Grocer in Uzes

“It will be perfect for croutons for your soup” she said in her perfect French.

The raisins in the bread pudding were given to me by my dear friends, Paula and Rich, when they left Uzes for the States. White raisins. Just right for bread pudding.

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The eggs in the pudding came from the young man at the Saturday Market in Uzes. He picked out the perfect fresh eggs and delicately placed them into a small box for me.

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The sugar was left over in the sugar “pot” from Thanksgiving dinner. I purchased the sugar and creamer in the tiny village of Najac on my trip back from the Dordogne.

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The milk came from Carrefour, the large supermarket I visited a few weeks ago to stock up on basic essentials.

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Walnuts and pecans were in my freezer, leftover from aperos I’d made for friends when my son was visiting in October.

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The baking dish was from IKEA, reminding me of the day I was lost trying to find the store in Avignon.

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Along with the bread pudding, I had tea in a “proper” teapot that I purchased on my way from France to the US last year on a stopover in the British Cotswolds.

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The tea cup was from my favorite potter in St. Siffret. I bought it in the summer at a “pottery marche” in Collias.

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When was the last time you looked at your meal and took into consideration every item on the table. Where did it come from? How much effort went into putting it in front of you?

It was a small lesson in humility for me. Just a simple bowl of bread pudding.

So much to be thankful for. 

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French folklore

French Folklore: Saintes-Maries-De-La-Mer


What I love about living in France is the opportunity to re-learn history. I never expected French folklore from the Bible.

Who knew, for example, that Lazarus and Mary Magdalene ended up in France? According to Provencal tales, which I learned upon my recent day trip to Saintes-Maries-De-La-Mer, Jesus’s friend Lazarus; his sister, Martha; Mary Magdalene; Mary of James, sister of the Virgin; and a servant girl, Sarah the Egyptian, all arrived in the south of France around 40 A.D. Albeit under less than desirable circumstances.

Legend has it that after the Crucifixion, while Jews continued to be persecuted in Jerusalem, the extended “family” of Christ was cast into the sea in a small boat equipped with neither oars nor food. Miraculously they landed safely here, now Saintes-Maries-De-La-Mer, where they erected a small chapel and dedicated it to the Virgin. The two Marys and Sarah remained at the church while Mary Magdalene and Martha went on throughout Provence preaching. Catholic tradition says that Lazarus was the first Bishop of Marseilles. In the 11th century the chapel became a church and was reconstructed as a fortress.  

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Miracles attributed to the Saints are shown in paintings displayed inside the Church at Saintes-Maries-De-La-Mer.

French folklore

Sainte Maria dela Mer

Sarah the Egyptian: Revered by Gypsies

St. Sarah is highly venerated by gypsies. Around the 15th century the nomadic groups from Spain and other regions began annual pilgrimages to the church. In a colorful procession, the gypsies would carry the statue of St. Sarah and immerse it in sea. Modern day pilgrimages honoring St. Sarah take place in May and October. The events are celebrated with horse races, parades of costumed ladies from Arles, and “the running of bulls”, staged by herders from the nearby Camargue. Gypsies march the statue of St. Sarah to the sea.

Gypsy Blessings  

While visiting the Church, I was sighted and stopped by a gypsy woman who pinned a religious symbol on my shirt. Looking straight into my eyes, she placed a finger on my forehead and gave me a blessing. As I thanked her and started to walk away, she stuck out her hand… for an “offering”. When I kept walking, she quickly removed the pin from my shirt. Oh well… guess “blessings” come at a price.

 

More about the Camargue

7 Reasons You Should Go To The Camargue

 

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