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French Life

Everyday Hygge French Life

My Family Tree (& tips for yours)

I remember this photo of my father’s mother’s family from my childhood tucked away in my father’s boxes of old photos. I always loved it even though I never met one single person in it. And, aside from my grandmother (back row, second from right), I didn’t know their names. But for years I obsessed over it and eventually my father made me a copy as a Christmas gift. Knowing that this was a photo that I’d always love, I took it and had my first professional framing experience to make sure it was displayed in the best way possible. I’m glad I did that because in every home I move into, it’s the first photo that goes up. However, despite having a copy on proud display in my home, I still didn’t know the names of the people. Growing up I had heard bits and pieces of my family history from my father but there was never anyone around to really solidify his stories; most of his immediate family had passed or were scattered all over the world. And it seems like, unlike most French people – my ancestors like to move. Their restless or opportunistic natures had them…

French Life

le 14 juillet (or Bastille Day)

Clotilde has a great little explanation of le 14 juillet so I would direct you there to find out more. My experience with this day is very similar to hers – no food celebrations but fireworks, fun, and a lot of reminiscing of the past (both of the country and our own). As for me this year, it’s a quiet celebration. I was hoping to have gone to Santa Barbara to celebrate but couldn’t make it – next year perhaps. Instead I’ll crack a Crème Brûlée, watch Marie Antoinette and spend the entire day speaking French. But should you wish to celebrate, here are some ideas: The Los Angeles Times has a list of celebrations going on. Apartment Therapy LA has a great list of French Films or films having to do with France. I have my own list along with French books and sites I adore. Susan Serra, the fabulous Kitchen Designer, has a great post of French Country Kitchens!…

French Life Wanderlust

Paris

I’ll be heading to Paris shortly, a city I have mixed feelings about. I understand the greatness, the beauty, the history but I’m not exactly all that fond of it (although one of my favourite hotels ever, The Four Seasons Hotel George V, is there)and actually try to pass it over each time I return to France. But this time, I will find myself there for several days and will try to see it in a different light. Yes, I think perhaps I might have been a little harsh on Paris in my previous post; it’s not that I really dislike Paris it’s just that there are so many other places I’d rather go because my interests are a little different than what most go to Paris for. But I will play local for a few days and so I have been trying to discover things to do that haven’t been done before. Here’s a list of things I’ve come up with thus far (and welcome any suggestions): Velib Bike Hire: Very excited about this as I do adore riding and this is a handy and inexpensive way to get around town. it’s self catering so you can just pick…

Chenonceau-Castle-Loire-Valley-France-19
French Life

French Inspiration

Although I’m only half-French, France is the only place I feel whole; I adore it, I understand it, I feel it. I go as often as I can with plans to move permanently in about 7 years so that I can have a view like this. But for now it’s just yearly trips which always seem to take place in the winter, which perhaps not the prettiest, is the most intimate. The Loire Valley holds my heart the closest I think. The first time I was there I felt instantly at home; I knew the back roads, I knew the buildings, I knew the people. I can’t explain how, it’s just one of those things, you know? It was a very cold, dark, and windy day when I decided to forge out to Chenonceau (pictured above). I had never seen a picture of it, nor had I heard anyone ever talk about yet I knew the name and knew to go back. And on the day I went there was not another soul on site except for a handful of people working there. I literally had the place to myself. Of all the things I saw that day, the moment…

Cookery French Life

French Yoghurt Cake

There are days when there’s a certain feeling in the air that reminds me of France. Perhaps it’s the brisk air outside, the neighbours wood burning fireplace that’s going or the fact that Amelie has been playing in the background all morning. Whatever it is, there’s a little joie de vivre happening today which has lead me to crave something baked right out of the oven and a little bit French. Since packing up and boarding a plane aren’t viable options today, I settled instead on baking a traditional French yoghurt cake whilst playing some Carla Bruni to keep me in tune. Let it be noted that I am not a baker; nine times out of ten I somehow fumble through a recipe and chalk the outcome to “experience” rather than a gastronomic treat. I keep returning to baking because there’s something about the basic process that soothes me. I do not own a blender, a processor, fancy knives or dishware, so every recipe I own must be basic and simple. The ingredient lists always come from the local grocer rather than an exotic food mart and the names of the recipes themselves are always pronounceable. I’ll never be a…