The March 2014 trip to France with the kiddies was just about perfect in every way. Enthusiastic kids, My Favorite Parisien as our guide, IronWoman as my co-chaperone, worry-free arrangements made by ACIS, and incredible weather. Spring was on the way. Flowers blooming and brightening every corner and window box.
The first day in Paris, the day after our departure and overnight flight, is always the toughest one (well, the last day is rough, too, but for different reasons) because everyone is dog tired. I put on a good show, trying to be everyone's cheerleader and absolutely not letting them stop and sit much because they will fall over asleep if I do.
She's not sleeping, she's reading...
8th graders sleep in a plane when they are super excited, surrounded by their friends and there is a movie screen right in front of their faces so that they can watch movies all night? Ha. I must be an 8th grader at heart. I do usually get about four hours of sleep, though. This year, I decided that a trip to the Latin Quarter with a stop at the Panthéon would be a good way to start the trip and keep the group moving. MFP agreed and off we went after dropping the bags at the Hôtel Princesse Caroline. We stopped at a little spot for crêpes for lunch. One of my boys had an extra chocolate crêpe and wanted to find a homeless person to give it to. Endearing, n'est-ce pas? His first attempt was to give it to some students who were sitting on the sidewalk working on a project together. Nice try, but I think they thought him a bit nuts. (When the sun comes out, so do the Parisians.) He finally found a lady sitting on the steps of a church and offered it to her.
While strolling around, we found the remains of Philippe Auguste's wall built in the 12th century. MFP explained why the word enceinte, which also means pregnant, was used, but since I was sleep deprived, I cannot for the life of me remember what he said. (I will Google it later or maybe a reader will help me out here?)
We also found a plaque showing what the wall originally looked like. I love the fact that history is omnipresent in France and that it is explained to us. Around the year 1200. Wow.
We made it to the Panthéon, a place that I actually had never visited until just a couple of years ago. Oh, I had been past it, read all about it and all that, but I just had never bothered to visit. Let me tell you, it is fascinating and full of history. Huge paintings, the Foucault Pendulum, and the final resting place for many illustrious Frenchmen. And at least one woman, Marie Curie. Victor Hugo is there. Someone had recently left flowers for him.
In 8th grade, the kiddies study WWII, the Holocaust and the Resistance. I wanted my students to see the tombs of some of the members of the Resistance, most notably Jean Moulin.
If you want to see the Panthéon brochure for more history, click here.
The kiddies and MFP on the steps--
While wandering around the area, we also found evidence of a more recent famous person who lived in Paris.
I read The Paris Wife a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the story of Hadley, Hemingway's first wife. I've read several of Hemingway's books. The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea, and A Moveable Feast, his memoir set in Paris in the 1920's.
"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."
--Ernest Hemingway, 1950
I love the scenes of Hemingway in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. By all accounts, he was an intense fellow.
So what would Papa Hemingway eat? While checking out recipes this morning, I found one of Hemingway's recipes on the Saveur website. Sorry, Hem, but I might make it as a meatloaf for dinner tonight. Will have to go out searching for India relish (never heard of it but it is a mixture of pickled cucumbers, green tomatoes, cauliflower, white onions, red bell pepper, celery, mustard seed, cinnamon and allspice) and Beau Monde seasoning (black pepper, allspice, bay leaves, salt, cloves, white pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, mace and celery seed).
photo credit: Helen Rosner
Papa Hemingway's Favorite Wild West Hamburger
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 oz. sliced ham, minced
1/3 c. dry red or white wine
1/4 c. grated cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. capers, drained
2 Tbsp. grated tart apple
1 Tbsp. minced parsley
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. ground sage
1 1/2 tsp. India relish
1/2 tsp. Beau Monde seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small scallions, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 plum tomato, cored, peeled, grated
1/2 small carrot, grated
1/2 small yellow onion, grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. canola oil
Buns, lettuce, sliced tomato and onion, ketchup, mustard and mayo for serving
Mix ingredients, except for oil, buns and condiments, in a bowl; form into four patties. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook patties, flipping once, until cooked to desired doneness, 8-10 minutes for medium rare.
Bon appétit to Paris, Hemingway, and history lovers everywhere!