The only cheese I was exposed to growing up in the tropics was cheddar. That was honestly it. Now, imagine my surprise when I found out about 350 to 400 different kinds of cheese in France alone!
You can find soft curd in the west and north, goats milk cheese in Poitou, blue cheese in the central regions, and cooked cheese in the Alps. That’s insane! And the fact that they’re produced by craftsmen and NOT mass-produced in factories only lends to the credibility of it all.
Did you know that in the 19th century, eating cheese was seen as “masculine” and was served to men in the smoking room along with a glass of brandy? Today, it’s part of the meal and served before the dessert (although if there’s dessert, I just ditch the cheese).
Now which wine goes with which cheese again?
Today, a bouquiniste asked me if I was from New York.
Uhh… what? Am I that physically versatile now?
Either way, I guess I’m gonna take it as a compliment.
How was your day?
When I was little, we lived not too far from a horse park. Riding one of the ponies cost money though, and it was only on special occasions that I got to do it.
I like horses a lot. They’re very graceful. I wish I were, too.
When I first came to France, I was dumbstruck at how huge the horses were. Honestly, they’re big! It’s a common sight around the city to see patrol cops on horses galloping along. Über-sexy cops + graceful horses = a winning combo, let me tell you.
I took the photo above at the Champ du Mars because I was envious of the kids. I wish I could ride a horse, too. I really do. I guess I’ll have to add that to my ever-growing bucket list.
I couldn’t be any more boring.
Last night, I went to bed a lot earlier than usual. I woke up at half past three this morning and have been up since. My mind is screaming for more bed time but my body is refusing to cooperate. I’ve just had my first cup of coffee for the day, which obviously won’t help. Also, I’m supposed to tour someone around from Mexico today but I haven’t heard from her yet so I don’t know if/when we’re meeting up at all.
Gah. I need something but I don’t know what. More sleep, probably.
I got this from The Local. I thought I’d share. The pic above is mine, as always.
- “L’ésprit d’escalier” – Ever had an argument and come up with the perfect witty comeback just a few hours too late? Then this expression is for you. L’esprit d’escalier is the feeling of finding the perfect retort too late, but literally translated it means, “staircase wit.” 18th century French philosopher Diderot coined the phrase because he found that it was only by walking away from the argument, literally down the stairs, that he could he think of a suitable riposte.
- “La douleur exquise” – Only the French could come up with such an eloquent expression for the pain of unrequited love. La douleur exquise, “the exquisite pain” perfectly describes the heartache of wanting someone you can’t have. It was even used as the title for a Sex and the City episode!
- Flâner – The most Parisian of all French words; “flâner” was defined in the 19th century by the literary crowd of Paris as the art of leisurely strolling the streets of Paris, without any particular goal or destination, simply for the pleasure of soaking up the beauty of the city. These aimless Paris pedestrians are also known as “flâneurs.” (I think I’m a flâneur myself. – Bon)
- “L’appel du vide” – Literally translated this means “the call of the void,” but it’s a term used to describe the sudden inexplicable impulse to jump when in a high place or standing on a high ledge.
- “Cartonner” – A great word for talking about films, books and bands that have been huge hits, it has a literal meaning of wrapping something in cardboard, but as a slang term “cartonner” is used to mean something that has had huge success, “le film cartonne aux états-unis.”
- “Ras-le-bol” – Impossible to translate literally in English, “ras-le-bol” is perhaps one of the oddest French phrases. Used to express annoyance or frustration, the best English equivalents of “j’en ai ras le bol de…” are “I’ve had it up to here with…” or “I’m sick of/I’ve had enough of…” Equally, it can be used to describe a feeling of despair which perhaps explains why it’s been cropping up a lot in the French press in relation to increased taxes: “ras-le-bol fiscal.” (This term is a fave of mine, and I use it quite often. – Bon)
- “Dépaysement” – This one often crops up in lists of the world’s best untranslatable words. It describes the feeling of disorientation and bewilderment one might feel upon being in a totally foreign environment, for example, how a European might feel in the middle of Japan. It doesn’t only apply to physically moving either, it could also be to used to describe a change of mental state or feelings as a result of any major life event.
- “Retrouvailles” – A particularly sweet French word that encapsulates the feeling of happiness on meeting someone again that you haven’t seen for a very long time.
- “Chanter en yaourt / yaourter” – Literally “to yoghurt,” this expression is used for someone trying to sing in a foreign language and getting the words wrong or filling in the words with tra-la-la sounds and the like. Nice to know that when we sang “soggy semolina” for “sonnez les matines” during Frères Jacques at school, the French had the perfect word for us!
- A l’ouest – If you translate this literally it means “in the west” but no, it’s not a phrase you’ll hear on a TV weather forecast. “A l’ouest” is usually reserved for describing someone a little strange or different, or who thinks outside of the box. It might also be used to describe someone daydreaming. Perhaps the nearest English expression would be “on another planet.”
I saw this guy at the gift shop of the Petit Trianon in Versailles. He was the sole salesman there. I took so many pictures of him and he didn’t even notice me. Photo-stalking at its best, you say? Damn right!
I am currently using The Able Theme. It’s clean and easy to the eyes. However, as much as I like it, I’ve been wanting to use a different theme where pictures in portrait mode are shown in their entirety from the get go, meaning a reader wouldn’t have to scroll down to see the bottom part of the photo. I’ve been looking for a good one among the free themes where white is still the predominant color. Help, anyone? I’d really appreciate it.
And good morning!
I started to take a picture of this guy and his vélo taxi but he obviously saw me and decided to pose for the camera. That he smiled was a welcome bonus.
I have yet to try riding in one of these pedicabs around the city. I know that they’re for tourists to enjoy but why should that keep me from hailing one? After all, this is Paris we’re talking about. Lots to see, lots to do, lots to try, lots to enjoy.
If only they weren’t so damn expensive…