The adventures of an American lover of all things French...
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Paris by proxy
Joanie on her pony
Jeanne d’Arc, 1874, Emmanuel Frémiet, 4 rue des Pyramides, Paris 01
Okay, so I am not really sure that I am using “by proxy” properly, even though I looked it up on-line at Urban Dictionary.
by proxy: the ability to do or be something without actually physically doing it. “John was invited to the party, and since I’m his best friend I was invited by proxy” “Sarah lives with a smoker so when they watch tv together she smokes by proxy” -by Ballet Queen June 01, 2005
One of my buddies is in Paris this week. At this very moment, she is eating foie gras and sipping Bordeaux. (I know this because I texted her for an update. I just cannot help myself.) I guess I could have called this post Paris Vicariously, n’est-ce pas? Am I jealous? Envious? Of course I am. I haven’t been there since March. Six long months. But who is counting, right? I am, however, thrilled that she is there. We have been to France together several times and she is an excellent traveling companion… meaning we laugh at the same things, we both love art museums, getting lost, eating in places with great views, and sipping wine and/or champagne and watching people.
She may very well kill me for what I am going to post next, but I have to do it. It is just too funny not to. I will ask forgiveness when she returns. Here is the first text I received, the day she arrived:
First off. On our flight here there was THE MOST GORGEOUS FRENCHMAN!!!!!! sitting in our row. Pleasant with manners and looks that I cannot describe… cut jawline, thick gorgeous hair, leather coat and well he looked good:) you’ll love this… he had a glass of milk and put on the shades for the evening. No meals. I said they are bad, aren’t they and he laughed and said oui!! He is from Lyon. Oh to be young again and free spirited. We can always admire from afar. We went to the Passage St. André des Arts. Saw your Tennessee hangout and ate dinner in one of the restaurants. We are trying to map out as many as we can. Rodin is tomorrow!! We are staying on Rue Saint Sulpice. Pierre is our host… another helpful and friendly skinny good looking Frenchman. So far the most fun was people watching at our café at lunch. Miss you mon amie. I have done a bang up job of using my French:) they always answer in English… does not deter me:) Bisous
The day she sent this, I showed a ZAZ video, Sous le ciel de Paris, to my 7th graders and talked to them about street art which has helped me to appreciate.
I could watch this over and over– oh, wait, I HAVE watched this over and over.
Next text, a bust by Camille Claudel from the Rodin Museum.
What a talented, tragic woman. There was a movie made about her life in 1988. I found this blurb-
When renowned French sculptor Auguste Rodin (Gérard Depardieu) notices the raw sculpting talent of the beautiful and precocious Camille Claudel (Isabelle Adjani), the two artists begin a scandalous love affair. Camille becomes Auguste’s muse and assistant, sacrificing her own work to contribute to his sculptures. However, when her work goes unrecognized and she desires attention of her own, Camille is left alone and gradually spirals into mental illness.
Then two photos from her visit to Les Invalides. The first is of the Cathedral St. Louis des Invalides.
The flags are from Napoléon’s campaigns. From the Musée de l’Armée’s website:
The cornice of the Veteran’s Chapel is decorated with some hundred trophies taken from the enemy, throughout the history of the French armies, from 1805 to the 19th century. Bearing witness to age-old traditions, these trophies were hung on the vault of Notre Dame Cathedral up until the French Revolution. Those which escaped destruction were transferred to the Hôtel des Invalides from 1793. The Hôtel des Invalides was then entrusted with the mission of keeping French emblems and trophies. Nearly 1,500 of these trophies were burnt in the courtyard in 1814 by the Governor of the Hôtel des Invalides to prevent them from failing into enemy hands.
It is one of the only, if not the only, church where the French flag is on display. Separation of Church and State is taken seriously here.
Next came Napoléon’s tomb — “he had a rather large ego”
I found this information on the Napoléon.org website:
Visitors enter the crypt via a staircase. This leads to a heavy bronze door (forged from cannons taken at Austerlitz) flanked by two statues. Above the lintel is the following inscription (an extract from Napoleon’s will): “I wish my ashes to rest on the banks of the Seine among the people of France whom I so much loved“. The sarcophagus was put up on a green granite pedestal and contains a nest of six coffins: one made of soft iron, another of mahogany, two others of lead, one of ebony and finally the last one of oak. Napoleon is dressed in his Colonel’s uniform (of the cavalry of the Guard) which bears his sash of the Légion d’Honneur. His hat rests on his legs.
I have paid my respects to the Emperor several times. And heard some interesting stories from some of the guides we’ve had… I will leave it at that. But one is about a missing body part when his body was exhumed to be sent back to France for burial. This part was supposedly bought by an American urologist and has been kept on display. That’s all I know.
One of my friend’s goals on this trip is to visit as many of the beautiful passageways of Paris as possible.
Here is the Galerie Vivienne-
It is located at 4, rue des Petits Champs, Paris 02.
I thanked her for this photo and she came back with:
De rien!! Most of the good ones are on my Canon camera. Will show when home. I have taken some on my phone just for you. Had a wonderful French lesson with a taxi driver… too much fun. We have walked over four miles or so each day. Hubby has a cold, but has hung in there so after walking all over yesterday and walking to the Rodin and Invalides he was ready for a taxi. Lucky me!!! We have met some wonderful people and some Frenchies that are not so tolerant of my attempts at speaking their language. Pas problème:)!! Give me six months and my taxi driver and I would be good to go.
Before she left for Paris, she checked the weather and it looked as if it was going to rain quite a bit. So I asked– Raining much?
No!! We have had a bit of rain off and on. Mostly good weather!!! Just pulled out the umbrellas and kept walking. It is 64 and cloudy and feels great:)
This is from the woman who was THRILLED that it snowed one March while we were in Paris. Of course, we had just read one of Laura Florand’s romance novels about a gorgeous French pastry chef (or was he a chocolatier?) who has a snowball fight with his equally gorgeous American girlfriend on the Ile Saint Louis, but I digress.
Hubby walks 10 feet behind me looking at his google map. He directs and I lead:)!! Crazy, I know, but it works for me:) I love Paris!! Headed to Père Lachaise maybe tomorrow. Mapped out all the folks I want to pay my respects to.
And to go along with this photo of her kir royale, she texted:
You have taught me well, my friend. Where to go, what to drink and how to enjoy it all. Je t’aime.
That is the highest praise I could receive.
Next week, another friend will make his first trip to France, spending time in Normandy and in Paris. I’ve shared my Paris Cheat Sheet with him, but I am sure that he will not be sending me texts. I am not even sure that he has a smartphone! That’s okay.
I have no recipes for foie gras, but I have photos. I eat it as often as possible when I am in France. These are from January 2013.
This particular amie is very fond of mousse au chocolat. In a text responding to my wish that she eat and drink good things for me, she said-
Definitely taking care of that. Rosé twice a day! It’s chocolate that I have neglected. Remedy tomorrow.
In her honor, I will repost my favorite recipe for mousse. For its origins, read this post.
La mousse au chocolat de Fanny
6 eggs 70 g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar 200 g dark chocolate (use the best you can find/afford– the Nestle’s she uses is dark 52% chocolate; European chocolate is just plain better than our stuff unless you go high end; they have higher standards for theirs) pinch of salt
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Do not let it get too hot. Stir it with a metal spoon, not a wooden one. Take it off the heat as soon as it is almost melted and continue stirring until completely melted.
Separate the egg whites and yellows. Beat the whites, with a pinch of salt, until stiff peaks form.
Mix the yellows and the sugar. Then add the melted chocolate.
Delicately add the whites, about 1/4 at a time. Fold them in very gently.
Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before serving.
Bon appétit! Bon voyage! Bonne journée! Bonne soirée! Bon courage! Bonne chance! May my friends continue to travel and enjoy all the sights, sounds, tastes and inevitable adventures that come with traveling.