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Armchair Uzès

la Vie Quotidienne

le 4 janvier 2001
Uzès, France

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A beautiful table, also our classroom...
La Raclette...Quelle fête!
The holidays have come and gone but we were regaled with all sorts of exciting events, starting with a holiday celebration entre amis here in Uzès. Our prof de français, Anne-Marie LeQueux, hosted an evening feast, une raclette, that combined the holidays and the 50th birthday of a friend. Starting with champagne and an array of amuse-bouche, we quickly warmed to the company and the food. The dinner, La Raclette, included an assortment of charcuterie, breads, baked red potatoes, and a special cheese, called raclette, which is heated and then served over the goods. Yum! Délicieux! Divin! La Raclette is a traditional French meal; shepherds around a fire would carve their sausages and ham, bake up some potatoes, shave off large hunks of cheese to melt over the fire...et voilà!  For a gallery of more photos of La Raclette, click here.

 

Christmas in Paris...Noël à Paris
Paris at Christmas is a lovely sight. At any time it's a lovely sight -- but the lights, the crowds, the stores, the windows...quelle inspiration! We had a chance to visit several spots that were brimming with holiday spirit. Place de la Vendôme, site of the Ritz hotel and Napoleon's obélisque, was all decked out with furs, feathers and finery in the windows. We rode the festive Ferris Wheel, la Grande Roue, which is scheduled to be taken down in the next several months. (This monstrosity was set up only for the Millennium celebration, and has been controversial because it blocks the long view from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower...and now there is a move afoot to keep it up for at least another year and perhaps forever.) Rue St. Honoré, Fauchon, Hédiard, etc. were all decked out for the season; the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) set up a patinoire (skating rink) à la Rockefeller Center as well as two Carrousels -- free rides for children and adults alike! Notre Dame's crèche didn't in the least overshadow the Rose Windows...and we were lucky enough to have Sarah Meagher with us to point out the architectural details that make this monument so very special. At the recently renovated Opéra, (aka the Palais Garnier), we were able to sneak in (thanks to some sweet-talking on someone's part) for a peek at the Chagall-painted interior dome, such a contrast to the baroccoco design of this opulent building. Click here for more pictures in Paris.

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April in Paris is good, but Christmas in Paris takes the cake!

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Rue St. Honoré was all lit up for the holidays...

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and Notre Dame was ready for us as well!

 

 

 

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Karen, Stephan, Joe & Sarah in the back row...Luke & Jill up front, as we wandered the streets of Paris.

Holiday with Family and Friends
Amis et famille pour Noël

We could have lamented not being home for Christmas, not being with family and friends. But no need! Family and friends came to us for the holidays. Sarah, Joe's niece from California (senior at Berkeley) dropped in after a quick run to Scotland to see friends at St. Andrew's University. We put ourselves on the TGV (tay-zhay-vay) (très grande vitesse) train for a whirlwind visit to meet up with the Spiro/Morse clan, fresh in from Vermont, dodging snow, ice storms and stomach flu. After gorging ourselves on the lights, the sights, and the cuisine, we all rounded back to Uzès to get ready for Christmas. Sarah had to fly back to San Diego to be home for the big day...we almost didn't let her go! Tristesse pour nous! But we managed to continue the festivities, mourning her absence on one hand, but delighting in the beauty of Noël in Uzès. We missed midnight Mass at the Cathedral because of a violent thunderstorm... however we were treated to the bells calling everyone to church accompanied by a lightning show that all agreed was better than fireworks!
     Post-Christmas touring took the crew all over the south of France, from Roman ruins near St-Rémy-de- Provence; to the vineyards at Châteauneuf-du-Pape; to the Mediterranean at Saintes-Maries-de- la-Mer; to the near top of Mont Ventoux where the crowds were sledding, hang-gliding, and such, with a view of the southern Alps off in the distance. Final excursion was to the Pont du Gard to have a picnic lunch on the aqueduct. And there was plenty of local shopping in between activities as well. A holiday that we'll never forget, and we're so happy to have had good company! More photos ... click here.

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Masters of all they survey, Stephan and Joe look over the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of our wines of choice for Christmas dinner.

 
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