frites à volonté – all you can eat fries
Thursday September 29th 2005, 10:29 am
Filed under: advertising & marketing,daily life,food and drinks,health,paris,people,weird

following a post at jerome’s inside the usa that was discussing the silly california legislation that is trying to enforce a warning label for french fries (FRIES KILL! or something of the sort like on cigarette packaging) made me think about one of my favorite foods: FRIES.

fries can’t kill; they just can’t – i like them too much. according to jerome, the american studies have shown that when potatoes are fried they release a chemical called acrylamide, which is know to cause cancer in lab rats. i swear, if they want to put a warning label on a food, it should be on OREO COOKIES (no one will convince me that the “cream” in the inside is actually food) and the “tacos” at tacobell. that brown stuff is NOT meat and none of that can be good for anyone. c’mon.

if fries were to cause cancer in humans, don’t you think millions of french (and belgian) people would’ve perished long ago and over many, many, MANY years from fries consumption – AND someone would have figured out the cause? didn’t acrylamide exist since the beginning of the fry (possibly since 1680)?

anyway, the reason for this entry is that i’ve actually noticed a relatively new thing in france: the “all you can eat” phenomenon. sort of like unlimited refills except instead of getting more coke or coffee, you get… all the fries you want! yeah!

of course, this is good and bad. good because people like me who love fries can have as much as we want – bad, because people like me will eat too much and we all know obesity is becoming more and more common in france. admittedly, this all you can eat thing is overall not a very good idea in terms of healthy eating practices. it’s way too tempting to overeat.

while walking past the “leon de bruxelles” restaurant on st. germain in paris, my little nephew saw all the pictures of mussels and asked if we could eat dinner there so we did. it’s actually not horrible and, this is where i first saw the “frites à volonté” (all you can eat fries). we all ate a lot of mussels and fries but there were so many fries in the first batch, no one even finished those, let alone asked for more.

i made another sighting of the all you can eat fries policy at another family restaurant when we took a road trip and stopped for lunch at a road side restaurant found all over france. again, i couldn’t eat even all the fries on the plate so the all you can eat deal was basically moot. however, i’m convinced there are a lot of people who ask for more — simply because it’s free and they can.

this makes me nervous for the kids whose families frequent this kind of restaurant because it will be those kids who will be part of the next generation obesity problem.

i wonder what food will be next in line for “all you can eat” in france?

i hope it’s pastries!!! (ok, no i don’t. well yes i do) ;-)

Comments Off

paris bans same sex kissing ad and i’m confused
Wednesday September 28th 2005, 10:04 am
Filed under: advertising & marketing,daily life,events,news,paris,people,politics,weird

i wasn’t going to write about this since it’s all over the news but it’s bugging me too much. this ad of 2 girls kissing (and also an ad with 2 guys kissing) have been banned from being posted in the metro stations in and around paris. that ban seems so UNFRENCH to me. if this was in the u.s., i wouldn’t be surprised, but we’re in FRANCE.

this makes no sense and i’m confused.

they say it’s “too shocking.” WHAT??! THAT???! IN FRANCE??? me thinks NON. what’s shocking, though, is that, in the land where people run around naked on the beach, and where EVERYWHERE i go i see a guy peeing on his car tire or just out in the public or where i’ve seen at least 10 couples having sex in public over the time i’ve lived in france or seen complete nudity and gay and heterosexual sex on prime time tv … this goes on and on– same sex kissing can be shocking or offensive in any way?

i find it extremely hard to believe that even the most conservative french person in france would be offended by this and i don’t know any french person who’d find kissing offensive, or homosexuality offensive. (of course i don’t know everyone.)

did i mention that the mayor of paris is gay?

so it makes me wonder if it’s just part of a mega PUBLICITY STUNT for the rainbow attitude expo. afterall, they definitely got free, major attention (i saw this news on tv) – even more attention than posters in the metro stations.

Comments Off

amien’s cathedral in color
Wednesday September 28th 2005, 8:15 am
Filed under: events,games/software/tech,travel and places

cathedrals all over france, like notre dame and sacre coeur in paris and the cathedral in chartres (just outside paris) among others, are clearly works of art today, but it’s hard to imagine that 700 years ago, the world was NOT expressed in monochromed shades of just black and white – these cathedrals, in fact, looked entirely different from today. many of the european churches’ exteriors were painted in bright colors.

did that make it more fun to go to church? i doubt it. anyway, the cathedral in amiens, france, another “notre-dame”, located 120 km (about 75 miles) north of paris, and also inscribed as a world heritage site by UNESCO is not only the tallest gothic cathedral in france of its kind but is also particularly remarkable in that it offers a light show that illuminates the sculptures which decorate the façade of the church to show how they would have looked 700 years ago, when their polychrome (multi-color painted surface) would have been visible.

each color symbolized an idea or ideale and careful color placement was meticulously executed, for example, the virgin mary is dressed in blue and red because she represented the queen of heaven (the blue sky) and christ’s passion and the suffering of martyrs (red). more information about the colors and overall detail about the cathedral can be found at the amiens website (in french).

the light show is available from june 15 to september 30 so you have 2 days to see it, or you can catch the lightshow during christmas time, easter and all-saints day.

amiens is not well-known for tourism but it is a beautiful, growing town with winding canals and quaint surroundings, and well worth a quick visit. its claim to fame is tied to the pioneer science fiction writer, jules vernes; he was a member of the city council of Amiens from 1888 to his death in 1905. He is buried in the Madeleine Cemetery.

some amiens trivia: the video game (for nintendo game cube), “eternal darkness: sanity’s requiem” takes place in amiens, france.

Comments Off

French Composer Debussy
Tuesday September 27th 2005, 9:13 am
Filed under: daily life,music,people

“The sound of the sea, the curve of a horizon, wind in leaves, the cry of a bird leave manifold impressions in us. And suddenly, without our wishing it at all, one of these memories spills from us and finds expression in musical language… I want to sing my interior landscape with the simple artlessness of a child.” ~~Claude Debussy

This quote by the french composer, claude debussy, reminds me specifically of his “Images” and also, “Children’s Corner” from 1905-06 (you can sample excerpts at that link) and how, if you listen carefully to it, it can catapult you back in time to childhood when life was simple, playful and carefree. he, incidentally, dedicated this work to his daughter, claude-emma upon her birth.

“reflets dans l’eau” (from “images”) is blissful simplicity in music; it is hypnotizing ear candy and, for the moment you listen to it, clears the complexities of every day life instantly, where “stress” begins to distance itself from you and your memory then becomes non-existent.

though Debussy is only second in line to my all time favorite french impressionistic composer, Maurice Ravel, i still hold infinite gratitude to him for inspiring my unparalleled Ravel, and his consequent (more complex) works, including “Mother Goose Suite” and “Daphnis et Chloé,” some of ravel’s many masterpieces.

NOTE: if this seems like a strange post, it might be because i’m under the influence of flu medicine, FERVEX (it’s sort of like theraflu, tastes as bad but gives you a pretty good druggy buzz). i’m disoriented (oh, and i have the flu).

Comments Off

*Lulu Lundi – Fréjus
Monday September 26th 2005, 5:14 am
Filed under: lulu/dogs/cats,travel and places

this photo was taken in the heart of fréjus’ old town square, during their weekly outdoor market held on fridays (you might notice the vegetable crates in the background). while you’ll be able to find mostly produce sold in this open market, there’s much more too. You are bound to find something at the market you like, whether it’s edible or giftable.

at this market, it’s hard to miss the gobs of spices, herbs, fresh produce, local crafts, lavender, and of course, wine. fréjus is located in the south of france, specifically, in the region of the côte de provence wines, so if you’re not into provence style knickknacks, fruit and veggies, dairy, spices, or olives, wine might be what you’re looking for. if you happen to miss the market, there are several shops in town and many things to do in fréjus like:

visiting the cathedral, cloister, palace and the merovingian baptistery built in the 5th century, take a hike in the nearby malpasset valley, see the chapel of jean cocteau or check out the port then sunbathe on the beach.

fréjus is situated fairly close to st. raphael, st tropez, mandelieu, cannes, the lerins islands and just a bit farther (about a 40 minute drive) to nice, so it would be an excellent and conveniently located base for exploring provence and the riviera.

*lundi (monday) is dedicated to posting photos of my favorite boston terrier in france, lulu

Comments Off