A Paper Bridge in Provence
Sunday July 29th 2007, 1:41 am
Filed under: art/culture/design,Provence,travel and places

paper bridge in provence france

“Shigeru Ban is familiar to TreeHuggers for his eco-friendly buildings and use of unusual materials; now he has built a bridge out of cardboard tubes. It’s in France, half a mile from the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman bridge; Ban says, ‘It is a very interesting contrast, the Roman stone bridge and the paper bridge. Paper too can be permanent, can be strong and lasting. We need to get rid of these prejudices.’ The bridge can hold up to twenty people at a time; it was load tested with balloons filled with 1.5 tonnes of water. There are 281 four inch diameter tubes, plus steps of recycled paper and foundations made from wooden boxes filled with sand…” [from Treehugger]

Friday France Photo: Ad for Gay Rugby Fans
Friday July 27th 2007, 7:30 am
Filed under: advertising & marketing,cultural differences,sports

gay rugby in paris
Tagline: Enjoy Rugby in the Capital of Love

I don’t think this ad wanted to intentionally alienate straight rugby fans but oh well. It’s a bold ad campaign that’s supposed to be funny, anyway. [in preparation for several World Cup matches around Paris – ads by cestsoparis.com] By the way, Rugby kicks off in September.

August Edible Events in France – Festivals for Food Lovers
Wednesday July 25th 2007, 3:58 am
Filed under: events,food and drinks,travel and places

Summer is here, and during this time of year in France there is no shortage of things to do. So even though I’ve seen practically no signs of summer where I live, here are a few tasty events to enjoy – whilst hoping that everyone will get to see more than 3 hours of sun during the month of August.

pink garlicLa fête de l’Ail Rose (Pink Garlic Festival) in Lautrec – August 3, 2007 – Annual event (Always on the first friday of August) dedicated to the lovely pink garlic. More info – Lautrec also hosts the Fête du Pain et du Moulin (Bread and Mill Festival) on August 15. Read More

La Fête des Amandiers (Almond Fair) in Aregno, Corsica – August 4 – 5, 2007 – This happens just after the almond harvest, where growers show off their stuff. Open market, music, tastings, and cooking workshops. Call +33 (0) 4 95 61 79 42 for more info.

Nuit des Pêcheurs (Fishermen’s Night) in Toulon, August 5, 2007 – 5pm to Midnight – Meet at the tiny port to sample crab, oysters, fish soup and giant grilled sardines. More info

Cheese Festival in Loures-Barousse (Pyreneses) – August 4 – 5, 2007, Saturday: 11am-7pm; Sunday: 9am-7pm – We all know the best cheeses in the world are from France. Celebrate it! Call +33 (0) 5 62 99 21 30 for more info. Also, catch the Livarot Cheese Fest in Normandy, camembert country! Call +33 (0) 2 31 63 47 39 for more info.

La Foire aux Huîtres de Larrostrea (Larrostrea Oyster Festival) in Gujan-Mestras near Arcachon, just a short drive from Bordeaux – August 9 – 12, 2007 – The best oysters I’ve had in France are from this area, and if you’re a fan, you can’t miss this event. For more information: Larrostrea Oyster Festival Note: here are other oyster festivals: Festival des huitres en Bretagne Sud and La Grande fête de l’huître – Le Gua

Fête de la carotte (Carrot Festival) in Créances – August 11, 2007 – Celebrating the favorite food of the character famous for saying, “Quoi de neuf, docteur?More info

La Pourcailhade – La Fête du Cochon à Trie sur Baïse (Pig Festival) – August 12, 2007 – Eat pork, the other white meat – But, the highlight of the festival in Trie sur Baïse, one of the largest pig-raising areas of France, is the national pig imitation competition. This may seem silly, but is in fact deadly serious – the squeals must correspond to a moment in the pig’s life (birth squeal, feeding squeal, reproduction squeal). More info

Nuit de la Mogette (White Bean Night) in Le Moulin à Elise – August 14, 2007, 2pm onward – The time of year to have ham and little white beans with gamay rosé. Ça va peter!  More info

Conversations with Her Pious Self
Monday July 23rd 2007, 8:44 am
Filed under: daily life,people,stories,weird

nun statuePop Quiz. What do talking incessantly and taking a vow of silence have in common? Answer: The nun we met on Saturday.

Standing in line at the train station to buy some tickets for a future trip, we noticed a nun a few people ahead of us and panicking at the ticket window.

Nun (talking to no one in particular): OMG! What am I going to do. (Ok, she didn’t say OMG, but that would have been good.)

No one answered.

Nun (still talking to no one in particular): Why didn’t they tell me I had to transfer to get to Autun? Now what am I going to do? I mean, how was I supposed to know I had to transfer? The person obviously was inexperienced – I mean she was very young and well she probably forgot to tell me – but now I am stuck and have no way of getting to my meeting with the bishop on time – oh dear me – and the soonest a taxi can come is in an hour and a half – too late for my meeting with the BISHOP.

No one responded.

Nun: He will be so disappointed that I couldn’t make the meeting and then maybe it’ll be a long time before I have a chance to meet with him again – so hmmmm I’m not sure what to…

Us: Ma Soeur! (In France, you must always address a nun as “My Sister”) We’ll drive you to Autun. It’s only 30 minutes and you’ll have 15 minutes to spare.

The 30-minute drive might have been the longest 30 minutes I’ve ever experienced and entailed a kooky nun talking the entire time nonstop. I’m not kidding. We didn’t even know when she took a breath. She talked in one LOOOONNNNGGGG sentence, a “Sister’s Monologue.”

She even continued to talk as she exited the car. We left her with some caretakers of the estate and she then thanked us and mentioned that she would surely tell the bishop about how we saved their meeting. My sweetie asked her to ask the bishop not to ring the bells too early in the morning so people near the cathedrale could sleep. She said ok (!) and one last thing.

Nun: “Perhaps we shall meet again if you are ever near my convent. I took my vows and the oath of silence at the Order of Saint Bruno…”

Us: “WHAAAA!?” (We didn’t actually say that out loud. We just thought it.)

She said some other things that we didn’t catch because we were so hung up and shocked by the fact that she’d even admit to us that she took a vow of SILENCE…

Friday France Photo: I Heart French Potatoes
Friday July 20th 2007, 5:01 am
Filed under: daily life,food and drinks,garden,photos,weird

heart shaped potato france

This adorable potato is from our recent harvest. It’s how potatoes grow in the land of love and romance: Heart-shaped. But, of course.