Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ah, April in Paris...It's Over...

Here's what we did in April but didn't have time to tell you about :

1) First Mom and Papa prepared our dossiers (cool French word for application forms) for admittance to two special schools : Lycée Auguste Renoir for Stella and Collège Rognoni for Henry and me - Malcolm that is.

Here are some of the photos of Stella's "artwork" for Renoir. Renoir is a school which specializes in preparing students for the major post-Baccalaureat art schools. Max's friend Naïm goes to Renoir.

Now, here's a glimpse of our dossiers for Rognoni :

The first two pages are the same for both of us - although the text is slightly modified - but then each dossier becomes very different. Mine mostly shows "artwork" though I'll be going to this school for "the children of artists", if I get in, principally as a trumpet student (I'll have to do a trumpet audition to get in anyway). I'll only be going secondarily as a kid who likes to draw.

Henry's dossier shows him doing sports because he'll be going principally as a tennis player (and you can't do a tennis audition now, can you?) and only secondarily as a violinist.

Mom said it was a good thing she'd had almost a year's training as a photo blogger before having to do these dossiers. Now she knows how to tell a good photo story in a flash! Well, flash might be a bit of an exaggeration... Mom learned that copying and pasting text and pictures is a whole other matter on paper than it is via internet!

Once our dossiers were ready and sent off, it was vacation time for Mom and Papa! They went out and had a nice meal in a little neighborhood restaurant they discovered this winter.

(Editor's note : this is where Pontoon Pirates attempts an illegal OPA of the John and Julia project visible here.)

How do you like THAT sauce Bernaise, eh? The spoon stands up in it it's so stiff! Mom said it was really tasty!

They also like the restaurant's decor which somehow reminds them of Twin Peaks...

The place is called Au Bon Coin and if you're ever in the XXth arrondissement of Paris wanting to celebrate something special, give it a try. You can't miss it, it's the place with this...

...cute little fella curled up on the doorstep!

2) We ate a lot more good food, homemade or out and about. Finding traditional French bistrots is not as easy as you might think these days in Paris. So when Mom and Henry got hungry as they were out shopping one day, they could not resist having a little sit down Chez...

Is anyone still wondering why french fries are called French fries? Here in France, they're served with all grilled meat dishes, but we just call them frites or fries.


That whipcream-covered ice-cream sundae is called a Chocolat Liègeois in France! The other dish - it's very yummy too - is Crème Brulée. I'm sure Julia tells how to make that. .

In this spring season, Mother Nature's gifts served straight up or with butter and salt are also delightful :

These radishes were eaten on the terrace behind Isabelle's house in Candes Saint Martin which is where Mom spent last weekend!

(Candes is in Indre et Loire, Monique, not Loire et Cher but you were close, oh so close! Had Mom been able to post a comment after your guess the other day, she'd have told you you were getting toasty warm.)

And this coffee looks good enough to be served at the Bounce-Back Café, does it not?

(Editor's note : actually, it's instant coffee, but with the proper lighting and stage setting, it sure looks like the real McCoy, no?)

This white stuff covered with fines herbes (chives) is delicious if your name is not Brigitte Darnay. That's fromage blanc made from goat's milk. (Fromage blanc is somewhere halfway between sour cream and yogurt.)

Yes, much good food was had in April! We also discovered a new fast food place that even Papa accepts to go to regularly.

...What is this mysterious, new, nature-loving, fast food joint called, you ask? Just zoom in on the balloon you see in the next picture...

...Starbucks! Look out! Here comes Roule Galette! Mom figures they're aiming to rule the world galette market. Maybe they already do, who knows?

(Editor's note : we have no explaination for the tiny witch on a broomstick which is also visible above the Roule Galette logo on the balloon. Some sort of western French voodoo charm maybe? To ward off copycat competitors? The Britons are known throughout France for their superstitious beliefs and their eery, dark forests filled with ancient druidic ruins...) We had a good long think about that...

...while we were waiting. And I almost fell asleep...

...but Mom propped me up on my elbow for a photo. Henry got a good shot of me and Mom before Mom got drunk on...

...Roule Galette's sparkling cider!

We sure loved those crepes when we finally got them!

We also REALLY loved...

...the constant-flow water faucets and...

...the nature-loving, electric hand driers!

Roule Galette was before,

3) We went to a see few good shows.

Papa got us tickets to see Carla B... No not Bruni, Carla Bley a jazz pianist who plays with a really good trumpetist. Mom was not with us so there are no photos but have a look at Carla's website, it's rather original!

Our neighbor from downstairs who is also a dancer invited us to see his show which is where we were headed when we stopped at Roule Galette for a chocolate covered crepe.

Here are some photos :

It was an amazing show! Mom took videos which she'd like to share but won't even dream of trying to upload today otherwise you may not get this post before April 2011!

4) Henry went to tennis camp! And he's still not home yet! These next pictures show him getting ready to go :

New racket... shoes...

... a whole new look!

And here he is trying out his new look on the court:

Gentleman Federer, watch your step!

5) Stella went to handball camp but played zero handball because it was actually tennis camp pretending to be handball camp... Um, Let's explain that. On Thursday the 15th just after Stella's school called to say Stella had not gone to math class...again, Mom and Papa decided Stella needed some Time-Out of Paris doing sports during spring break. So Papa found an incredibly cheap handball camp for Stella that very day.

When Mom and Stella arrived at the train station to send Stella off to handball camp on Saturday the 17th, all the kids had tennis rackets and the name of the camp was L'Univers du Tennis... ... Although Papa had been told there would be LOTS of 14 year-old, handball-playing girls at this camp, there was not a single girl in sight at the station... ... Mom and Stella had to laugh. Yes, Stella actually laughed!

In fact, there was a small group of kids going to camp to do "multisports" meaning lots of different kinds of sports, a sport a day sort of... There was tennis, basketball, tennis, ping-pong, tennis, suntanning, tennis, beach volleyball, tennis, etc. No handball! But Stella was tanned and lovely when she came home a week later with a new boyfriend and a new boy friend who calls five times every morning, noon and night. Still, she played not a minute of handball. Strangely enough, she had not done a minute of math either...

6) Mom went to union training and came back rearing to save widows, orphans and the nouveau poor. How could she resist the inspiring call of the following ?

7) Mom went to Candes and all her union training either got lost in the troglodytes...


...fell into the Vienne without leaving the smallest ripple...

(Editor's note : The above is in fact totally untrue. Some 15 days after her union session, Mom is actually still quite gung-ho about trying to better the position of the cleaning staff at Les Bluets who are getting a "very raw deal" she says when it comes to who must make the most effort at saving the hospital money!)

8) Stella and I actually did a few tags of our own with some borrowed paint...

9) We all said good-bye to the workers and the scaffolding that's been with us since December 11th :

10) Mom watched the birds :

10) And the sunset :

Over the Loire...

...and behind La Défense... last time in April 2010...


  1. Want to say much, but don't know where to start on this ravishing photo chronicle of delicious and delightful events. I'll have to revisit this again and again before I will find my starting point

  2. When will the Ministry of Tourism in France finally discover this site, Malcolm, offer you a high position, and elevate this site (intentionally in English already, to lure those rich capitalists to France)to the rank of a Trésor National?

  3. Wow, I'm quite behind but this was amazing!
    Wow... thanks.
    More comments later.