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Found 29 results

  1. Just heard that Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room in France of an apparent suicide
  2. Percebes are extremely expensive - you can also find them in Bordeaux, where they're called "Pouce-Pieds." Also, you may not want to hear this, but they're farming them now in Oregon, and you can buy them by mail.
  3. crazeegirl


    I am planning a foodie vacation in Paris in January. I have never been...I would appreciate recommendations!
  4. A bit of historical trivia: The first-ever recorded auto-da-fé occurred in Paris in the year 1242, under the reign of King Louis IX - better known as Saint Louis. This is all found in Wikipedia: To his credit: Louis IX banned trials by ordeal, introduced the presumption of innocence in criminal procedure, and created provosts and bailiffs in order to enforce its application. To his detriment: Louis IX severely punished blasphemy (the punishment being mutilation of the tongue and lips), gambling, interest-bearing loans, and prostitution. He expanded the scope of the Inquisition, and ordered the burning of Talmuds and other Jewish books. All of this raises two interesting (and inter-related) philosophical and sociological issues: * At what point does a person's positive qualities outweigh their negative ones? * How much time must pass before glossing over a person's atrocities? For example, in Seat Pleasant, MD, there used to be a Roger B. Taney Middle School - this is all documented right here. People had the common sense to rename Roger B. Taney Middle School as Thurgood G. Marshall Middle School in 1993; yet, one of the most important cities in the United States remains named St. Louis, MO. The conflict is obvious, but where does it begin, and where does it end?
  5. DonRocks

    Lyon, France

    "Paul Bocuse, le <<Cuisinier du Siècle>>, Est Mort" on lemonde.fr Bocuse passed away in his sleep from Parkinson's complications at age 91 on Saturday. His eponymous restaurant had been given Michelin's prestigious <<3-macarons>> award every year since 1965 (he got his first Michelin star in 1958!). The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, saluted "the inventor of French cuisine," adding that he was a "mythical figure." Gault and Millau elected Bocuse "Cuisinier of the Century" in 1989.
  6. Jul 24, 2017 - "The Mysterious Origins of Europe's Oldest Language" by Anna Bitong on bbc.com --- Basque Country (Al Dente)
  7. DonRocks

    Laguiole, France

    "French Chef Sebastian Bras Asks To Drop Michelin Stars" on bbc.com
  8. DonRocks


    We already have several more-specific threads for France: Regions: Alsace // Lot // Provence Cities: Aix-en-Provence // Cannes // Marseille // Nice // Paris // Toulouse (I hate Toulouse.) And now, presenting: The ultimate thread for well-heeled, Francophilic, cartographical gourmets: The Complete List of 2016 Michelin 3-Star Restaurants by Department Enjoy! Cool, look!
  9. Here is a video of seven-year-old Yo-Yo Ma playing with his sister, Yeou-Cheng Ma (*), at the Benefit for the National Cultural Center (**), on Nov 29, 1962, in front of President John Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and former President Eisenhower - all of whom you can get a glimpse of after the performance is over. The master of ceremonies is the great Leonard Bernstein. (*) "This Is New York: The Untold Story of Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma, Violin Prodigy and Medical Doctor" by Amelia Pang on theepochtimes.com (**) Ominously, just two years later, the National Cultural Center was renamed the John F. Kennedy Center in honor of the fallen President.
  10. Can someone please help me identify the artist who is the brain behind this piece? A colleague told me it may be Mr Brainwash? In learning about Art, I wish there was Shazam app for Art identification. Art novice, kat
  11. Hi everyone, One of our favorite wines is the Jean-Louis Chave "Mon Coeur". We can get it from Chelsea Wine Vault in NYC, but have struck out around here. Does anyone know of any wine shops that happen to stock it (or any JL Chave wine, for that matter) in the area? Thanks in advance!
  12. If anyone wants to argue that Impressionism is the most overplayed, hackneyed art movement in all of history, you'll get no argument from me. If anyone wants to argue that, with the possible exception of Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir is the most overplayed, hackneyed Impressionist in history, you'll also get no argument from me. But to my view, no painter in history can produce more beautiful *eyes* than Renoir - his eyes are so captivating that I'm able to see through all the dilettantes (of which I'm often one), crowding around the Impressionist galleries. You can often tell an Impressionist painting is a Renoir from the eyes alone. La Rêverie, 1877 - Puschkin Museum, Moscow, Russia Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881 - The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC Two Sisters (On The Terrace), 1881 - The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL Some masterworks in life lend themselves to close scrutiny; a small minority can be appreciated at face value - this falls into that latter category. They are just beautiful - the pictorial version of Bel Canto Opera. Any serious student of art here just lowered their opinion of me several rungs, and I understand why, but I don't care: Tawdry entertainment or not, these are gorgeous paintings.
  13. Jean René Désiré Françaix is not a well-known 20th-century composer in the United States, but is the composer of one of the more difficult pieces in the clarinet repertoire: "Tema con Variazioni." I'm proud to say that my son, Matt, will be performing this as the opening piece in his solo recital early next year in Bloomington, Indiana, most likely Feb 27, 2017 (if anyone is interested in seeing it live on podcast, let me know, and I'll confirm the date, which, for now, is tentative). If anyone is interested in attending the recital, I'll be going out to Bloomington and can give you a ride. The great neo-Impressionist Maurice Ravel, wrote this to Francaix' parents: "Among the child's gifts I observe above all the most fruitful an artist can possess, that of curiosity: you must not stifle these precious gifts now or ever, or risk letting this young sensibility wither." There aren't many great recordings of this online, but this will at least give you an idea for the piece.
  14. Alain Llorca isn't known in the United States, but he's very well known in the Provence-Alpes-Côtes-d'Azur region. When I was last there, he was Chef de Cuisine at Chanticleer, a perennial Michelin 2-star restaurant in the luxurious Hotel Negresco - surely the most well-known hotel in Nice. But much has changed in the past five years, and Llorca has thrown his hat into the hotel business, now operating (perhaps having an equity stake in) several hotels in the region, one of which was the beguiling Hostellerie des Messugues. Llorca's least-expensive hotel, our room was a total bargain at 98€ (Euros), and even though this is technically a "modest" hotel, it punched so far above its weight that it was like Michael Spinks winning the heavyweight championship. This hostellerie is located outside the city's ramparts, at the end of a quiet street in a pine grove. There's a heated, torus-shaped pool outside, and a help-yourself "honor bar" in the lobby where you take what you wish, and simply sign your name on a piece of paper. It should be no surprise that I nabbed a half-bottle of Alain Llorca Champagne (24€), which was lovingly nursed before dinner. Immediately after checking in, three of us (including magdalena, who made the 30-minute drive from her house in Nice), left for some museum-hopping, beginning with the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence - a chapel designed and overseen by Henri Matisse in the 1950s. If you're in the area, it's well-worth the 5km drive to get here, particularly for the stained glass, and the wall-painting of the 14 Stations of the Cross. Still, this chapel is absolutely dwarfed in stature by the extremely important Fondation Maecht which is, without question, the finest outdoor sculpture garden I've ever seen (one visitor in your group should absolutely pay the 5€ supplement for the rights to take photographs there). Even though the outdoor sculpture is unparalleled, the indoor portion of the museum is also magnificent, and it's going to be adding an extension as well. This is a non-negotiable "must visit" if you're anywhere in the vicinity, and it's less than a 5-minute drive from the hotel (you can also walk there using a footpath in about 15 minutes). This was right at the end of the tourist season, and this hotel is small enough where they can get by with only one employee (cleaning service not included) - thus, the almost ridiculously inexpensive pricing. This hotel gushes charm despite its simplicity, and was of my fondest memories of my entire 2-week trip in France despite it being the least-expensive place where I stayed. Of note: the doors and shutters to the rooms were recycled from an 18th-century prison! An added bonus, which made the hotel even less expensive, was that you could get a half-pension, which included dinner, several miles down the road, at Restaurant Llorca, a Michelin one-star restaurant in the more upscale, more expensive Hotel Llorca, which was having some sort of car convention when we visited. Although technically in the village of La Colle-sur-Loup, it's no more than a five-minute drive. Amazingly, because we were staying at a Llorca hotel, and because its restaurant had closed for the season, we were able to dine on a terrase overlooking the beautiful, walled town of St. Paul de Vence, at this lovely Michelin one-star restaurant, for only 30€ each for food (I, of course, ruined the economy of the situation by ordering a 50€ bottle of wine, but one must do what one must do). We had a set, prix-fixe, three-course meal that wasn't indicative of what the restaurant was capable of, but nevertheless a *ridiculous* bargain at Restaurant Week pricing - I'll write a separate note about our meal in another thread. Unless you want to stay inside the ramparts of St. Paul de Vence (and there's surely nothing at all wrong with that), this is a *wonderful* place to stay, and even though the government only assigns it 3 stars (France's government ratings are from 1-5 stars), it's a 4-star experience due to its charms. Simple, almost humble, but absolutely charming and unforgettable. For this reason, I rate the hotel 4 stars instead of 3 - and I recommend it highly to people staying in this area. The Matisse Chapel in Vence (including the wall-sized "14 Stations of the Cross"): Fondation Maeght (including a temporary exhibit by Cristo): Hostellerie des Messugues (including the exceptional view from our window (with 18th-century prison door) and our little Fiat 500):
  15. The plan was originally to have a Bouillabaisse in Marseille (*), then drive up to Aix-en-Provence, home to numerous important Universities, and more importantly, the Calisson. However, at this particular point in our travels, we needed (or, I needed) a vacation from our vacation - a down day - so, we drove straight to Aix-en-Provence (or simply, Aix) from St. Paul de Vence, and checked into what I thought would be a charming, relaxing hotel: Hotel Cézanne - which is pictured in "red" in the Michelin Red Guide, which means that the hotel is one of "our most delightful places" - in all of Aix, only four hotels are pictured in red. I'm sorry to say that, as nice as this hotel was, Michelin got this one wrong. While conveniently located in the Southwestern section of Aix, this was not a hotel that I would call "delightful." A nice hotel? Yes. Well-staffed and run by polite, caring employees? Yes! Worth a stay if you're in the area? Yes, although I suspect you could do better. Our room was designed in what I would call "Orange Ikea Modern" - made to look playful, but in reality coming across as somewhat plasticized. I have no doubt that the room was expensive to design - little details showed that - but it just came across as cold, almost like a larger version of a modern Japanese Capsule Hotel in terms of decor. Nah, I don't really mean that, but it did feel like plaster-board, even though it was the type of plaster-board you might see at a museum of modern art. This decor was not cheap - I guarantee someone spent a lot of money on a designer to make this room look like it did, and that aspect shows up in the pictures more than in reality. The pictures look like modern-chic; the feel was modern-cheap - understand also that we just came from Hostellerie des Messugues, which was 1/3 less expensive, and 1/3 more charming (how could it not be, given its setting?) *That* said, I cannot over-emphasize how *nice* the staff was. An example: Upon arrival, we were fumbling trying to get to the elevator with our suitcases, and knocked a glass off a display and broke it. We were extremely apologetic, and insisted on paying for the glass, but the staff would have none of it - accidents happen, and they made us feel perfectly comfortable about it - I will always remember this, and will always appreciate it: They handled this like true hospitality professionals, and that's a huge check in the plus column. More importantly, Hotel Cézanne is literally right across the street from Léonard Parli, a confiserie that has been there since the beginning of time (more accurately, they've been making artisan calissons since 1874), and specializes in luxurious, upscale confections - nougat, macerated fruit, chocolates, and let's be honest: unless you're a college student here, calissons are the main reason to come to Aix-en-Provence - this is a spectacular, elegant, luxurious candy-maker who fabricates the confections right in back of their beautiful shop. It is a "must" for anyone staying at Hotel Cézanne. One other thing I didn't realize until writing this note - and this is *hugely important* - the hotel states that every single room has a unique decor, so our room may have been the only one in the hotel having this orange-plasticized feel. That greatly elevates my opinion of Hotel Cézanne, and pretty much affirms my impression that the decor - though appearing a little chintzy - was most likely quite expensive. Given that every single room has a different design, that forces me to reassess my claim that the hotel shouldn't be rated in "red." And it leaves me torn about whether I should rate it 3 stars or 4 stars ... hmm, I'm going to reluctantly go with 3, mainly because it's somewhat expensive ($150+ a night plus about $20 for parking). But, I hope this is balanced out by any other guests rating it 4 stars, giving it an average rating of 3.5. It was clearly our least-favorite hotel of the entire trip (which is really not saying much, because we splurged, and traveled quite well). No, you know what? I'm going with 4 stars - 20% of all hotels get 4 stars according to our scale (5% get 5 stars), and this is absolutely, without question, in the top 25% of all hotels - to rate it otherwise would be unfair and wrong ... ... especially with the calissons being so close by. I can see brian having scanned these pictures, saying, "Yeah, I can see how you might have thought it looked cheap, but that also shows you don't know much about design." (*) To emphasize just how important it is that you cancel your reservations on a timely basis, I tried, and tried, and tried to cancel our reservation, and was unable to reach the owner of the restaurant until the last minute - and I could tell he wasn't happy. It was weighing on me the entire trip, and when I got home, I was finally able to reach him via a long, very apologetic email, indirectly sent by a mutual acquaintance, and offered to pay something for our missed reservation; he wouldn't accept my offer, but his response validates just how important it is to restaurateurs that customers cancel on a timely basis, and show the owners and staff the respect they deserve: Mon cher MonsieurJe vous remercie pour vos compliments.Vous avez en effet annuler uneRéservationCela peut arriverVous avez eu la gentillesse de me proposer de l argentMais je ne peux pas l accepterJ apprécié néanmoins votre courtoisie et notre éducationC est rareJe vous remercie pour votre mailQui me toucheCordialementMr Visciano
  16. DIShGo

    Avignon France

    Christian Etienne I enjoyed an unforgettable meal recently at Christian Etienne, a beautiful restaurant next to the Papal Palace of Avignon. The restaurant, perched atop a steep set of stairs, was built between 1190 ad 1220 AD, before the papal residence was built in 1335. The house became the first town hall of the city of Avignon in 1791, when the papal properties became a part of the French territory. Stone walls and archways in the lovely dining room evoke a rich feeling of history, while contemporary artwork and lighting create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. It was a wonderful place to spend three hours savoring a delicious menu based around tomatoes. I must admit, I wasn't all that enthused about a tomato tasting menu. I enjoy a nice, ripe tomato in summer, but the idea of an entire menu based around the fruit didn't excite me. I couldn't have been more wrong. The meal was fabulous, and while the tomato was the star, each dish was outstanding it its own right, and, had I not known it, I might not have noticed until dessert that everything was tomato themed. Now owned and run by Guilhem and Corinne Sevin, this restaurant is a must-do for anyone visiting this manificent city. Our first course was a smoked mackerel ceviche with corn and Noire de Crimee tomato. This dish was heavenly and the flavors were perfectly balanced. This was followed by a trio of tomato tartar with basil. Green Zebra, Beefsteak and Pineapple tomatoes were the stars of this beautful molded dish. Left mostly in their natural state, we were able to enjoy the three very different flavors of these heirloom varieties. The third course was my favorite: red mullet and brandade (a salty paste commonly made with cod), plum and cherry tomatoes, tomato water and garlic cream. I couldn't get enough of this delicious dish. It had the pefect balance of salt, acid from the tomatoes, garlic and cream. If you get a chance to try this dish, you should. Next we enjoyed a tomato falafel with Greek sauce, fresh mint, tomato quarters and multicolored cherry tomatoes. While I enjoyed this dish, I at this point I was still obsessing over the red mullet. I was starting to feel full when they brought out a duo of lamb from Provence in its own juice, with smashed tomatoes, eggplant caviar and a rosemary crumble. The lamb was braised to perfection, and enhanced by the tomatoes, vegetables and herbs. I must pause here to mention the bread. Several types were offered to us, all made in house and quite delicious. I absolutely loved the tomato bread. One might think tomato bread with a tomato menu would be overkill, but this was not the case. This bread was wonderful, and went extremely well with each dish. Course number six featured Cornue des Andes crackers and fresh Drome goat cheese with chives. This dish was tasty, and despite feeling quite full at this point, I ate every bite. We capped off a perfect meal with a tomato-based dessert: Love Apples, pistachio mousse and crispy rice, Marmande Tomato sorbet, topped with broken pieces of caramelized pistachio. It might not sound like it, but tomato sorbet and caramelized pistachios are a match made in heaven. This lovely meal lasted three hours, but it certainly didn't feel long. The service was impeccable, the ambiance was lovely and the pace of the meal was just right. The wine pairings were extremely well done, with each wine enhancing the flavors of the food. My wonderful evening at Christian Etienne is one I will never forget.
  17. Restaurant Alain Llorca Having stayed in the Hostellerie de Messugues in St. Paul de Vence (do note the tourist attractions in that thread), with it being end-of-season and the hotel's restaurant shut down, we were able to snag a half-pension at Restaurant Alain Llorca, having a pre-fixe, three-course menu for the ridiculous price of 30€ each. Technically, the restaurant is in the neighboring village of La Colle-sur-Loup, but it was literally a three-minute drive from our hotel on the outskirts of St. Paul de Vence. The catch is that, while Restaurant Alain Llorca is a Michelin one-star, our meal was a set three-course, with no choice as to what we ordered (certainly we could have gotten something else, but not for 30€, and I blew the bill to Kingdom Come by ordering a 50€ bottle of white wine from their large, not particularly well-priced wine list, driving the total bill up to something more like $125 total - such is life. Our wine was a humble Vin de Pays, and not a particularly good one - oh, it was a pleasant table wine I suppose, but it was something you could walk into Nicolas and purchase for 10€, I suspect. It was a wine I didn't recognize, and although I was thinking it would be a Sauvignon Blanc, it turned out to be a blend, mostly of Chardonnay, and was really not what I had hoped; nevertheless, it carried us through the meal, and I could have *always* turned to the sommelier for help, and I chose not to. Our first course was a Terrine de Rouget - a terrine of red snapper, and was bountiful to excess. Served in a sauce reminiscent of a classic ratatouille, there were probably three medium-sized filets in each terrine, and we could have eaten just this. The breads were made in-house, and were excellent - we had our choice of a mini-baguette, olive bread, and pain de campagne, all three of which were first-rate. The second, main course was Ombrine Cuite au Naturel en Croûte d'Herbes, Pappardelles Liées au Pistou de Basilic, an *extremely* fancy way of saying "Drumfish over Pappardelle in Pesto," and it was the one dish cooked to order - it was fabulous, although at this point in the trip, we were craving red meat. At this point, we were positively stuffed, but out came the dessert tray, filled with over a dozen pre-made selections. I ordered Baba au Rhum, which shocked the daylights out of my dining companion because of the straight rum poured on top of the butter biscuit, and my friend ordered a Chocolat Nougatine - a decadently rich heap of dark chocolate. For the price, the meal and atmosphere could not be beat (bear in mind this price *included tax and tip*, and also included amuse-gueule and mignardises - one of which had the "deepest" Pop Rocks I've ever had: It felt as if they were inside our brains going off) - this was a groundling's meal at a legitimate Michelin one-star restaurant, but there was nothing to complain about. We rolled back to the car, packed to the gills, and swearing never to eat again. On the way out the next day, we ran in and took a picture of the patio on which we sat, overlooking the ramparts of St Paul de Vence, which I'll include as soon as I dig it up. There were a lot of really interesting cars outside (it's a hotel also, and there was some type of car convention) - not ultra-expensive like at Monaco, but interesting nonetheless - here's one next to our little Fiat:
  18. DonRocks

    Nice, France

    Do we really not have a thread on Nice? magdelena, aka, Thérèse, aka, my mother-in-law and Tatie, aka, Francine, aka, Thérèse's sister, are born-and-bred Niçoises, and are always eager to help out any of my friends (i.e., our members) who are traveling to Nice. Although I'm going this autumn, I haven't been back in 6-7 years now (they've been coming to visit me), but I'm going to begin extensive French travel again soon, and I'll be keeping everyone <<au courant>>. A couple days ago, Thérèse wrote me and told me about the new La Promenade du Paillon - the following piece is well-worth reading if you're going to Nice: Nov 13, 2013 - "A Walk around Central Nice: the New Promenade du Paillon and the Colline du Château" by kevinhin on french-riviera-blog.com And make sure to watch this (government propaganda) video of the grand opening which is mentioned in the piece above. So as you can see, the Promenade du Paillon really isn't a place to "see" so much as a place to "be." A second "place to be," Place Masséna (the main square in Nice), has also been renovated: "Place Masséna" on expedia.com - Expedia has a couple short guides of Nice's tourist attractions (again, mainly "places to be" and not "places to see"): Vieux Nice (Old Town), Colline du Château (Castle Hill). And, of course, don't forget about Promenade des Anglais - the three main "hangouts" in Nice are 1) Promenade des Anglais, 2) Place Masséna, and 3) Promenade du Paillon. In terms of restaurants, the Michelin 2016 Guide now has four starred restaurants in Nice: three one-stars, none of which I've frequented, as they're all relatively newly starred: L'Aromate, Flaveur, and JAN (South African!). Then, there's the perennial two-star Chantecler at the legendary Hotel Negresco which every single person who has ever been to Nice has seen (it's the large, domed building right on the Promenade des Anglais, with the equally legendary gentleman hailing cabs, wearing a hat with a feather in it, and blowing a whistle - you can't miss it!). Chantecler burns through chefs, and there's even a new one now since the last time I checked (it used to be Alain Llorca; now it's Jean-Denis Rieubland), but you're here more for the atmosphere than the cooking, to be honest - it's almost a caricature of fanciness, but in a lovable way. There are also five "Bib Gourmand" restaurnants in 2016: Bistrot d'Antoine, Comptoir du Marché, La Merenda, Bar des Oiseaux, and Olive et Artichaut. If anyone needs help with Nice, I'll be more than happy to assist you - just ask right here.
  19. I was having an interesting conversation with two musician friends today. I've come to the conclusion that - out of all the fine arts - visual art, particularly modern art - is the one field in which I have difficulty discerning mediocrity from greatness. A perfect example is Paul Cézanne. I've been going to museums regularly for thirty years, and have been exposed to a lot of modern art (Cézanne is considered by many to be The Father of Modernism). A couple years ago, I read an entire book on Cézanne, detailing his life, his periods, and his works. I can identify him by sight quite often. Yet, I cannot honestly tell you what makes Cézanne a greater artist than, say, Matisse. And that's just one example: With modern art in general, it would be *very* easy to fool me with something mediocre that an expert told me was profound, and vice-versa. Every other art form I can think of, I'm able to discern hacks from experts, but not with visual art, and especially with post 19th-century art. Can anyone tell me why this is? I'm willing to accept that I have no talent, but why in just this one area? I can tell you a great film from a lousy one, a great piece of literature from a lousy one, a great musical composition from a lousy one; it's just modern art that I am not capable of discerning. I admire, respect, and appreciate Cézanne. But I'd be lying if I told you I could definitively tell you *why* he's essentially considered "the Beethoven of visual arts." I cannot. Opinions sought and welcomed.
  20. I recently groused about a piece of poorly stored Comté, which was a "Les Trois Comtois 5-Month Comté" - here are a couple other interesting tidbits: * Comté is regulated by the A.O.C. system - its name is protected by law, and it cannot be sold unless it meets nine strict guidelines. * Rather than re-listing the guidelines, I'll link to them - these are the nine things that are required for a cheese to be sold as "Comté." * One of these things is that Comté must be aged a minimum of 4 months. * This particular cheese - "Les 3 Comtois" (which means "The 3 From Comté" and is a clever rhyme) - is aged one month over the minimum, and is a perfectly honorable example of Comté - there's nothing "special" about longer-aged cheeses other than that they take on different flavors - it's like drinking a young Beaujolais vs. a Morgon with some bottle age to it: Both have their time and place. * More Comté is produced than any other A.O.C.-regulated French cheese. Surprise! * There are 175 producteurs (producers) and 188 affineurs (agers) of Comté. * Les 3 Comtois ages 20% of all Comté, and they're responsible for 8,500 *tons* of Comté annually. * Les 3 Comtois is a union of two affineurs (not three, which is odd (**)). Click here to read all about them: Les 3 Comtois pdf file * Les 3 Comtois offers "personalized ripening times," which means you can choose how long your cheese is aged. Needless to say, I suspect this is reserved for high-volume and/or high-dollar customers, and it's not like you or I could just pick up the phone and have them age a wheel for us (unless, of course, you have deep pockets). * The Wikipedia link to Comté says, in the second paragraph, that each tomme (wheel) of cheese measures up to 28 inches in diameter and 4 inches in height, and weighs (this is the part that I find unbelievable) 110 pounds! Think about a wheel of cheese, just over 2-feet long, and 4-inches high, and imagine picking it up - do you really think it could weigh 110 pounds? Think of a 45-pound weight in the gym, and how large those are - that's why this statistic just does not compute, unless cheese is a *lot* heavier than I think it is. (**) I only skimmed that document, so it's possible I misread it.
  21. I found a really nice map of the 101 Departments of France. Departments fall within Regions (there are 18 Regions of France), and are the geographical unit where the French self-identify as "being from." Each department has it's own "Prefecture," which is the equivalent of "Capital" in English - these are shown on the map as well. Here's another good resource: "Departments of France" by france-pub.com which lists the departments by number. While driving in France, you can tell where the person in front of you is from, because the first two numbers of each license plate is the department number in which it's registered. And here's the map of all 101 departments along with their 2718 mainland regions, in which you can clearly see which departments fall within which regions. It may be 200 miles as the crow flies between Alpes-Maritimes (in the far southeast) and Pyrenées-Orientales (in the far southeast of the Spanish border), but unless you take the Autoroute, it will be the longest 200 miles you will ever drive. Before Jan 1, 2016: After Jan 1, 2016: The good news for students of geography and cartography is that the regions merely "merged" as of Jan 1, 2016 - they didn't grow, other than by being conglomerated with other regions (if you toggle back-and-forth between the two maps, you can see they fit together like pieces in a puzzle). For example, Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes, and Limousin merged to become Nouvelle-Aquitaine (scroll down and see the third post below).
  22. The Euro 2016 hasn't been all that exciting. In the group stage, teams seemed more focused on defense, as some of the third place teams will make it to the knock-out stage. And there are more shoddy teams this year so the groupings aren't particularly exciting. I'm all for Iceland (and other teams) making the Euro for the first time but they simply don't have much talent. And has any country ever had a significant portion of their population travel to a foreign sporting event (I think entire Iceland has 300,000, and it seems like most of them are in France for Euro 2016). What about all the flares thrown on the pitch and the clash of fans?
  23. Here is the official website of the 2016 French Open (1891). After the first week, the big news in the men's side is that Roger Federer withdrew before the tournament started, and a genuinely devastated Rafael Nadal had to pull out with a wrist injury after his third-round victory. "Rafael Nadal Pulls Out of French Open with Wrist Injury" on bbc.com "This is a tough moment, and the toughest press conference I have ever had to give, but it is not the end," Nadal said. At this point, we're in the Round of 16, and aside from the obvious Djokovic, both Andy Murray and Serena Williams had terrific first weeks. Williams has a chance to tie Steffi Graf's Open-Era Grand-Slam Singles Titles at 22, and Djokovic is gunning for the only major that has eluded his otherwise-illustrious career - this title would mean a *lot* to both of them. Williams, in particular, positively mowed down her opponents in her first two matches, before showing her resiliency in the third round. And let's not forget defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka, who - with several other top-flight players including Murray and Kei Nishikori - hungrily await Novak Djokovic on the other half of the draw, an obvious problem is that they have a much tougher path to the championship: Djokovic will almost surely make it to the finals this year, and fatigue may be a lethal issue for his opponent.
  24. I try to read at least one novel by each Nobel Prize Winning Author, just for the hell of it - for my own self-improvement, I guess. Having always considered myself fluent (or at least highly conversational) in French, and having read some pretty tough little books in French before, I decided to tackle one of Patrick Modiano's works in his native language, so I had my mother-in-law find and ship me a really nice copy of <<La Place de LÉtoile>>, one of his most important works. I read the preface, and understood the double-entendre. Great! I was going to blitz through this 211-page book in a couple of months. Then I got to the second page, and was staring down things like this list of idiomatic invectives, one right after the other: ... rantanplan ... Vlan! ... cet effréné empaffeur de petites Aryennes! ... Rastaquouère des cocktails infâmes! and so on, and so on. It took me an hour - with a dictionary - to read one page, and I closed the book and said, "To hell with it - this isn't French; this is Martian." So I took the more sensible route - or so I *thought* - and bought a translated book (and there weren't many available): "Missing Person," translated by Daniel Weissbort. One mistake was followed by another, the second being so significant that it stole six months from my life. First of all, "Missing Person" is some editor's *impossibly bad* translation of the novel's real name: <<Rues des Boutiques Obscures>>, which translates much more appropriately - and poetically - to "Streets of Obscure Boutiques." This book is, you see, a mystery novel in which the detective is also the subject - he can't remember who he is, so he spends the entire book chasing down leads as to his real identity, some of which are good, some of which aren't - hence, the beautiful title which was completely ruined in translation, the imagery of some poor man scurrying up-and-down streets with strange, but familiar, looking boutiques a near-perfect allegory of his search for himself. I was hell-bent on giving Modiano the respect of trying to solve this mystery before I got to the end of the book - so much so, that I wrote down, and kept track of, every single name, proper noun, street, etc., in the *entire book*, so when they were referred to again later on, I could go back and find the page on which they were originally referred. That's dedication, right? Yeah, that's dedication. Assuming the book has an ending. When I was 20 pages from the end, after spending about six months reading it, studiously assembling my study guide, an uneasy feeling came over me ... this book wasn't going anywhere. And then I cursed the author when I was 5 pages from the end, because I knew then that this was going to be one of "those" novels - this wasn't a mystery novel; it was a meditation on existence, and all that work I did was for *nothing*. Nada. Zilch. This was going to be a story without an ending. Then I read the final word, closed the book, and said to myself, "That bastard." It was like having read "Waiting for Godot" (for those who don't know: Godot never shows up), diligently writing down every possible clue throughout the entire story, only to have zero payoff at the end, and to have realized you wasted about forty hours of work. If I had only known, I would have read it differently, but I had no way to know. Well, I hope you all enjoy my Study Guide to NOTHING. I even went so far as to separate Rues, from Boulevards, from Avenues, and to think with about 50 pages left, I thought to myself, "You know, I'm going to have to read this a second time and write down all *phone numbers*, because what I'm doing isn't going to be enough. Listen up! Learn from my mistake in attempting to read this as a novel in which you can figure out clues. Had I done this properly, I would have included phone numbers, and also the page numbers for the dates at the very bottom. As it stands, *the entire project was a mistake*, and the novel is best blasted through without worrying about details. Read it in a week; not in six months. Trust me - my loss can be your gain. I will add that I just this moment purchased the hardcover version of this novel in French, and I'm going to "blast through it," <<sans dico>>, both to improve my French, and because I know I'll understand it very well, even though I won't know certain individual words - plus, I now have a brand new hardcover copy for my tiny, personal library, and also a paperback English-language copy to lend to my friends - one thing I am not, is a quitter. Enjoy! I sure as hell didn't. There are no spoilers here, and the page numbers represent the very first time in the book that something was referenced. This is an important note: The reason these lists look so "condensed" is because I often tapped them in on my cell phone, and was trying to keep one note per line. I had no intention of making these public, and they were for my own benefit - but it's obvious to me (now) that someone, at some point in time, might get some use out of them, so here they are in their "raw" format, with my apologies. Don Rockwell's Study Guide to ... NOTHING! Note: This ONLY applies to This Edition of "Missing Person" The sleuth *and* the subject is named Guy Roland - the entire story is about him trying to find out his true identity. Links that Guy Roland uses to get from one lead to the next: Hutte Sonachidze (how?) -> Heurteur Styoppa (funeral of de Rosen) Blunt (photo & funeral of Orlov) Howard (Lutte's directories) Pilgram (Howard's pic + Hutte) Ruddy bartender (Denise born) Mansoure (magazine cover) People mentioned in the story (again, the page cited is the very first time a name or person was referenced in the book - if something "important" shows up later, I'll sometimes write something such as [see 119] which means "see also page 119"): Guy Roland 1 Constantin von Hutte 1 "The dark little man, puffy face" 1 The dark little man's wife 1 Another dark little man 1 Paul Sonachidze 5 Jean Heurteur 7 Styoppa de Dzhagorev 10 Marie de Rosen 13 Georges Sacher 13 Giorgiadze 27 Mara "Gay" Orlov 27 Pedro the South American 27 [identified by Bob 64, lying on bed 115] Bernardy Mac Mahon 32 Kyril Orlov 32 Irene Giorgiadze 32 Waldo Blunt 33 Jean-Pierre Bernardy 33 [see 159] Lucky Luciano 38 Howard de Luz (Jean Simety) 40 (48) John Gilbert 41 Dany Blunt 42 MmeMabel Donahue Simety 48 Claude Howard 49 Freddie [Alfred Jean 158] Howard de Luz 50 Robert "Bob," the Valbreuse caretaker 54 [named 58] French billiard-playing woman 61 Freddy's jockey friend 64 [see 124] Robert Brun 66 (same as Bob 54?) R.L. de Oliveira Cezar, CG 67 Helene Pilgram 68 Policemen standing sentry 71 Mr [Pedro?80] McEvoy 72 [Dominican Republic working at legation 119] Denise [Yvette Coudreuse] 73[79] ["Muth" 119] Leon Van Allen 73 [Dutch 119] Paul Coudreuse 79 Henriette Bogaerts 79 Jimmy Pedro Stern 79 Oleg de Wrede (Paris) 81 [see 137] Ruddy bartender 86 Jean-Michel Mansoure 89 Hoyningen-Huene 95 Alec Scouffi (Greek-Egypt) 97 Blue Rider (Scouffi's killer) 99 Richard Wall 102 10-yr-old girl w/Denise 103 Fat, bald man in pic w/cig 104 Jacques [F 119] dressmaker Denise worked for on Rue la Boetie [#32 119] 107 Sir Basil Zaharoff 108 Pretty dark-haired tropical Latina 112 Man on beach with son 114 King Gustav of Sweden 117 De Swert 118 Mrs. Kahan 118 Georges Stern 120 Giuvia Sarano 120 Cueva 122 Colonel de Basil 122 Andre Wildmer 124 Porfirio Rubirosa 127 [killed in car under?accident 129] Bob Besson 132 Mrs. Jeanschmidt 136 Mrs E. Khan 137 Louis de Wrede, Comte de Montpensier (called Oleg) 138 Duchess rof Uzes 138 Duke of Windsor 138 Mrs. Henri Duvernois 139 Fair-Haired Man at Gare de Lyon 143 [Kyril 146] (Not Gay's father) George (Bar Owner in Megeve) 150 Joseph Simety Howard De Luz 158 Louise Fouquereaux 158 Alex Maguy 162 Japanese actor and his wife 162 Evelyne and a pale young man 162 Jean-Claude the Belgian 162 Fribourg 165 Fat Maori 165 Alain Gerbault 165 Rues (a <<Rue>> is a Street - I left the word "Rue" out of every one except the very first)Rue Vital 1 Anatole-de-la-Forge 5 [see 162] Cambon 7 [Hotel Castille, 8th 119] Claude-Lorrain 13 Charles-Marie-Widor 15 Marie-Widor 15 Boileau 16 Chardon-Lagache 17 [#9 121] Julien-Potin 22 [Pedro McElvoy? 121] [Porfirio Rubirosa 129] Ernest-Deloison 22 du Mont-Thabor 25 du Cirque 33 [21, 23] Rayounard 48 de Bassano 49 [10A] Cambaceres (8th) 68 Jenner (school) 89 [1] Gabrielle (18th) 92 Coustou 93 Lepic 93 des Abbesses 93 Germain-Pilon 93 [97] de Rome 5th floor (17th) 96 [26] de Naples (8th) 105 [11] de Berne (8th) 105 [99] de Rome (17th) 105 [97] de Rome (17th) 105 la Boetie 108 [97] de Rome 4th floor (17th) 110 Molitor (16th) 112 Mirabeau (16th) 112 Royale 114 Saint-Honore 114 Longchamp 117 [24] Bayard (8th) 120 Jouy-en-Josas 123 du Docteur-Kurzenne [22] de Picardie (Nice) 137 Francois-1er 137 [16] Foucault #5 160 Rude 162 de Saigon 162 Chagrin 162 Avenues (for some perverse reason, I thought it might be important to separate out rues, avenues, and boulevards - again, I only used the word <<Avenue>> in the very first one): Avenue Paul-Doumer 1 Niel 3 de la Grande-Armee 7 [see 162] des Champs-Élysées 7 de Versailles 18 Montaigne 33 [25] du Marechal-Lyautey 33 de New-York 40 Hoche 108 Victor-Hugo 109 Boulevards (again, I only used the word <<Boulevard>> in the very first one>>): Boulevard Maurice-Barres 22 Richard-Wallace 22 de Clichy 93 Moulin Rouge 93 Graff's 93 des Batignolles 107 de Courcelles 108 Emile-Augier 113 Places (again, I only mention <<Place>> in the very first one - a <<Place>> is like a Square, i.e., Times Square, Mount Vernon Square, etc.) Place Pereire 3 Blanche 92 des Abbesses 93 Clichy 107 de L'Etoile 108 de Levis 109 de l'Alma 114 de la Concorde 114 Malesherbes 140 des Saussaies 142 All other nouns except for People: Paris 1 Hutte's office and furnishings 1 Nice 2 Hortensias (cafe) 3 Ville d'Avray 6 Saint-Cloud 6 Porte de Saint-Cloud 7 Langer's 7 Hotel Castille 7 C.M. Hutte Agency 9 Tanagra 9 Alaverdi 11 Sainte Genevieve-des-Bois 13 Russian Orthodox Church 13 Le Herisson 18 School of Pages 19 Porte Maillot 22 Pont de Puteaux 22 Seine 22 The Emigration 23 Georgian Consulate 27 Yalta 28 Quai du General-Koenig 29 Bar-Restaurant de l'Ile 29 3 Addresses for Gay Orlov 33 Hotel Chateaubriand 33 Hilton Hotel Bar 33 Sur les quais du Vieux Paris 34 Sag Warum 35 Que reste-t-il de nos amours 35 Quai Branly 37 Pont Bir-Hakeim 37 Palm Island Casino 38 Arkansas 38 Quai de Passy 39 Trocadero Gardens 40 [see 161] Pont d'Iena 40 Hollywood 41 Pont d'Alma 41 Museum of Modern Art 41 Eiffel Tower 44 Auteuil Race Course 46 Military Cross 48 Club du Grand Pavois 48 Motor Yacht Club of the Cote d'Azur 48 Valbreuse, Orne (61,Alencon) 48 Square Henri Pate 16th 49 Golden Tripe Competition 49 Mauritius 49 [Port Louis 158] Chateau Saint-Lazare 54 [named 67] Biarritz 59 The billiard table in the summer dining-room 62 LU Biscuit box 63 Photographs in biscuit box 65 La Baule 65 Port of New York 66 French Argentine Consulate 66 DominicanRepublic passport67 ANJou15-28 67 Ph#s - 10A RueCambaceres68 Lists of embassies/legations 69 Dressmakers workshop 73 Paramaribo, DutchGuyana 74 Dominican Embassy 74 Megeve 74 Gilt box - English cigarettes 75 Dominican Legation 75 "Charlie Chan" 79 "Anonymous Letters" 79 Department du Seine 79 (13th) 9A Quai d'Austerlitz 79 AUTeuil54-73 81 "History of the Restoration" (L. de Viel-Castel) 85 A La Marine (cafe) 85 "Men Spreekt Vlaamsch" 85 Photo of Antwerp 86 Gare d'Austerlitz 87 Belgian cigarettes (Laurens) 87 Quai d'Austerlitz 88 [#9, 13th 119] Belgium 88 Botanical Gardens 91 Wine Market 91 Montmartre 94 Sacre Coeur 94 Vogue 95 Wehrmacht musicians 96 Marie Brizard 97 Alexandria, Egypt 98 "Ship at Anchor" (Scouffi) 98 Skeletal phone conversation 99 Montmartre funicular 100 Sacre Coeur gardens 100 Seine-et Oise (was 78) 103 Seine-et-Marne (77,Melun) 103 Versailles 103 Hotel de Chicago 105 "At The Golden Fish Residential Hotel" (Scouffi) 105 Salle Playel (Brussels) 105 Theatre de la Monnaie (Brussels) 105 Cafe at corner of Rue de Rome and Boulevard de Batignolles 108 Parc Monceau 108 Basque restaurant w/ Gascony fresco 109 The Royal-Villiers, Place de Levis 109 South American legation (Hutte's townhouse) 112 16th arrondissement 112 Cafe at intersection of Rue Mirabeau and Avenue de Versailles 113 Auteuil 113 Chausee de la Muette 113 Russian restaurant with zither player 113 Cours-la-Reine 114 Queen Astrid's 115 Faubourg Saint-Honore 115 Portugal via Switzerland 116 #6 Square de l'Opera 9th 119 Megeve, Haute-Savoie 119 Annemasse, Haute-Savoie 119 Hotel Lincoln 8th 120 Via delle Botteghe Oscure 2 Rome, Italy 120 Valparaiso 122 Plaza Echauren 122 Cerro Alegre District 122 Avenida Errazuriz 123 Protestant church 123 Robin Hood Inn 123 Jouy-en-Josas 123 Wine bar / grocery store on Ave Niel 124 Giverny, Oise 125 Alsace-Lorraine Gardens 127 Eden Roc 127 Square des Aliscamps 128 Neuilly 129 "El Reloj" and "Tu me acostumbraste" (guitar tunes) [129] Luiza School - Pedro's father would pick up him and Freddie [130] [Luiza and Albany School 135] Vincennes 132 Vichy 133 Parc des Sources 133 Hotel de la Paix 133 Cafe de la Restauration 133 Border at Hendaye (closed) 135 Chez Arkady (Russian restaurant) sometime around 1937 137 Siberia 138 Courcelles Metro Station 140 Square Edouard-VII 141 The Cintra 141 Côte d'Azure 141 "Collection du Masque" novels 142 Gare de Lyon 142 Sallanches 143 "Invisible" Mentioned 146 "The Southern Cross" Chalet 147 Rochebrune 147 Paris-Sport Magazine 147 Hotel du Mont-Blanc 149 L'Equipe (Adult Chalet) 150 Comet Garage 153 [see 160] Valda Lozenge 157 Port Louis, Mauritius 158 5 Addresses for Alfred Jean Howard de Luz 158 Island of Padipi 159 Papeete, French Polynesia 164 Bora Bora 165 Salle Pleyel 165 Tuamotu Archipelago 165 Marquesas 165 Moluccan Blackbirds 166 Seaside Resort in Southern Russia 167 Dates (Often given in the form of letters written to Guy Roland from people he asked questions to in his quest to find out about his life - I should have written down the page numbers also, but I didn't): 1872?Marie Rosen born 1885-04-28 Scouffi born 1910-09-30 Waldo Blunt born 1912-07-30 Alfred Jean Howard De Luz born, Port Louis, Mauritius 1912-09-30 Jimmy Pedro Stern born, Salonica Greece 1914 Mara Orlov born 1914 Photo of "black and white" dinner party 1914/1918SalonicaArchivesFire 1917-12-21 Denise born 1920 Scouffi to Feance 1936 Mara Orlov USA->France ????-02-14 Denise and Pedro 1939-04-03 Pedro weds Denise town hall (17th) 1939-04-03 Certified Abstract 1940 Jimmy Stern disappears 1940-12 Pedro McElvoy resides at #9 Rue Julien-Potin, Neuilly, Seine 1941-04 Van Allen opens fashion house #6 Square de l'Opera 9th 1941-07-15 Consulado letter 1945-01 Van Allen's fashion house closes 1943-02 Denise disappears crossing French-Swiss border 1947 C.M. Hutte formed 1950 Mara Orlov dies 1950 Jean Alfred Howard de Luz leaves France for the Island of Padipi, Polynesia, near Bora Bora (Society Isles) 159 1952 Waldo Blunt in Paris 1965-10-23 Gay Orlov memo 1965-11-07 Scouffi memo 1965-11-27 Letter to Pedro from Mrs E. Khan (representing Hutte) telling Pedro all she knows about Oleg de Wrede