Dining my way through France

France = Fabulous Food.

A photo journey from the Jules Verne restaurant in the Tour Eiffel to the La Calife Seine dinner cruise to very best culinary experiences in Annecy and other French Alps locations to traditional French dishes prepared by daughter–my fabulous tour guide, translator, and personal chef–who was spending the summer in France with my granddaughters. The little ones enjoyed their own three course hot meals at the day-long French summer camps they attended throughout their stay. Lots of foie gras energy for those gondola trips to the top of the Alps, the museum visits in Geneva, and the usual smattering of forts, castles, historic and scenic sites in both Paris and Annecy.

IMG_3719IMG_3720IMG_3730IMG_3842IMG_3843IMG_3872IMG_3894IMG_3938IMG_4025IMG_4026IMG_4286IMG_4287IMG_4288IMG_4291IMG_4378IMG_4385IMG_4386IMG_4417IMG_4418IMG_4419IMG_4519IMG_4520IMG_4530the summer in Annecy with my granddaughters.

Chateaux of the Loire – Day Two: Chateau Sully-sur-Loire

Gallery

This gallery contains 17 photos.

Now THIS is what a castle is supposed to be! Visit the Chateau’s website and be sure to play the Presentation Clip and you too can experience what we did, traipsing up and down endless spiral stone staircases (hanging on … Continue reading

Looking forward to my journey to France

I will be joining my family in Orléans France two weeks from today. Here are some photos of the neighborhood of our Airbnb accommodations at the Place du General de Gaulle in the center of the city. 25526067 Pl de Gaulle - 5.2009 Pl de Gaulle - 9.2013And here is our lovely apartment with a very un-French American style kitchen, a delightful room for the granddaughters with a play area, and a couch for me should I still be sleeping sitting up for my broken shoulder. It’s got to hurt less in France! And all at an extremely reasonable price. Weekend trips to Paris, the Loire, and other destinations are very easy. And Drivy is our source for car rental (the European Airbnb for cars!). A nice elderly woman is renting us her car for the entire stay.

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My sleeping accommodation if I’m still sleeping sitting up

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Master BR

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BR for Grandmas and Grandkids

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Asking for prayers

  • Last night up in Oregon to see grandson’s musical tripped and fell on gym floor and broke my right shoulder. All night in ED for X-rays and sling. Back to son’s at 4 am then passed out from trauma meds etc and 911 again. But checked out okay by son’s firefighter buddies. Today dealing with pain and not sure how I’ll get back to California. Or how this will affect my planned move in 2 weeks or summer travel to France. But one day at a time. If God led me to it, He’ll lead me thru it. And, yes, it was Friday the 13th!

Weekday get-away to Carmel, Monterey, and Big Sur

IMG_1461I’m just back from my best ever mini-trip to Carmel, Monterey, and Big Sur. Taking off on a rainy morning under dark skies, the sun breaking through in the distance promised stunning views, delicious meals, and a relaxing break. Enjoy.

Lunch was first on the agenda with a stunning table-side view of Anton & Michel's flower-bedecked fountain courtyard in Carmel

Lunch was first on the agenda with a stunning table-side view of Anton & Michel’s flower-bedecked fountain courtyard in Carmel

A glass of Saint Hilaire French Brut brushed aside memories of a longer than usual trip down

A glass of Saint Hilaire French Brut brushed aside memories of a longer than usual trip down

...and a hearty bowl of lentil beef vegetable soup felt so welcoming

…and a hearty bowl of lentil beef vegetable soup felt so welcoming

The smile of a charming waitperson added to the charm

The smile of a charming waitperson added to the charm

An entree of blackened swordfish on a spinach salad did the trick

An entree of blackened swordfish on a spinach salad did the trick

And as every woman knows, a well appointed restroom is an added bonus

And as every woman knows, a well appointed restroom is an added bonus

After a bit of shopping, it was on to Monterey and checking into the Merritt House Inn with its fun room themes, mine Hawaiian

After a bit of shopping, it was on to Monterey and checking into the Merritt House Inn with its fun room themes, mine Hawaiian

And admiring my shopping finds, a fringed suede shawl and an adult coloring book and colored pencils

And admiring my shopping finds, a fringed suede shawl and an adult coloring book and colored pencils

Before dinner a two mile walk along Monterey bay over to Cannery Row

Before dinner a two mile walk along Monterey bay over to…

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…Cannery Row

Ending with a delightful shot of a dolphin sculpture outside the Monterey Plaza Hotel with a early evening moon above

Ending with a delightful shot of a dolphin sculpture outside the Monterey Plaza Hotel with a early evening moon above

Then back to Carmel. I had made a reservation earlier in the day at Andre's Bouchee Restaurant and Wine Bar, knowing that their foie gras would be on the menu but disappointed to hear that the duck confit was "out"

Then back to Carmel. I had made a dinner reservation earlier in the day for Andre’s Bouchee Restaurant and Wine Bar, knowing that their mouth-watering seared Foie Gras a la Orange Sanguine would be on the menu but disappointed to hear that the duck confit was “out”, gobbled up by greedy tourists the day before.

But much to my delight, the waitress announced that the chef, hearing of my desire, had found a way to make the duck confit just for me. On it's bed of gnocchi

But much to my delight when I arrived, the waitress announced that the chef, hearing of my desire, had found a way to make the Confit de Carnard just for me on a bed of skillet browned gnocchi with mini root veges swimming in garlic parsley butter. YUM!

And could I resist the Crème Brûlée wiht Espresso and Frangelico...of course not!

And could I resist the Crème Brûlée
with Espresso and Frangelico…of course not!

The next morning called for a walk on the Carmel beach

The next morning called for a walk on the Carmel beach

Then as a last treat, a trip down Hwy 1 to Big Sur

Then as a last treat, a trip down Hwy 1 to Big Sur

And lunch at the Nepenthe restaurant...

And lunch at the Nepenthe restaurant…

...with its spectacular view

…with its spectacular view

...and a cup of delicious tomato bisque soup

…and a cup of delicious tomato bisque soup. Even the dreaded trip home in Friday afternoon rush hour and holiday traffic couldn’t erase the memories, the tastes, the views of my relaxing get-away.

How not to think about packing…

Where’s Scotty when I need him? As the days count down and I’m surrounded by packing boxes, I desperately want to be beamed up to my new home. The best way to distract myself while I’m resting on the couch with various sore muscles being chilled under ice packs is to think back to some of my lovely trips to France. And look forward to another journey to my favorite French destinations next summer.

And, you MUST scroll to the bottom of the photos to see my the abode which I will share with my daughter and her husband and my two delightful granddaughters, ages 3 and 5. I know I’ll enjoy the fabulous view of the entire San Francisco bay from my little private patio. And what better than having two little people prying your eyelids open in the morning, whispering, “Are you awake, Mimi?”

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Paris in winter

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Eze during the Christmas holiday

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Spectacular Bonifacio where my love of Corsica and my novel MOTHER TONGUE began

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The gargoyles of Notre Dame in sight of our apartment a block away

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Honfleur–the harbor master’s where my great-grandfather did business on his clipper ship the Llewellyn J Morse

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The cottage at Chenonceau at the height of the wisteria season

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The harbor at Cassis–gateway to the Calanques

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Opera Garnier for the ballet–red velvet heaven

Dinner on the beach

Dinner on the beach at L’Ile Rousse in Corsica

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The fabulous Chagall museum

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Visiting 113 rooms at Chambord

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The Paris Opera costume exhibit at Chambord

Serenity Bonifacio

Serenity…the harbor at Bonifacio

Hameau Stair House Oil

The Petite Hameau of Marie Antoinette at Verseilles

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A stunning view of Mont Saint Michel

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A cozy view of my new home at night. That’s my special space on the bottom right behind the wrought iron fencing.

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The back patios.

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The double terraced yard.

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My little private patio with views of San Francisco bay

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A view of San Francisco bay from the main level

My favorite Southern California outdoor room…

IMG_0559We’re on vacation in the San Diego area where I grew up back in the Fifties and one of my favorite places for a delicious meal amid the relaxed ambiance of Southern California is the outdoor room that my best childhood friend created at the rear of their modest, decades-old home. Not only does it offer al fresco dining for every meal but features cushy sofas and rattan chairs designed for interesting conversations and peaceful naps, all wrapped up in the warmth of Provençal colors and artwork, with every nook and cranny filled with pottery and potpourri. Created by putting a real roof with skylights over a patio enclosed by a half fence, it is both charming and relaxing, drawing family and visitors alike toward a small back yard chock full of fragrant flowers and colorful vines. Just imagine you’re there!.

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Perils of Pauline…

So, being 71 and not up for long car rides, I made a flight reservation at the last minute to fly from Oakland to San Diego for our family vacation. I envisioned a relaxing trip, arriving long before the rest (two parents, two little girls, and one au pair) would arrive in the mini-van after an 8 1/2 hour drive.

IMG_0504Sunday started as expected. Helping pack up the mini-van and getting ready to attend the 5-year old granddaughters annual ballet recital. I’m escorting her out to my car and manage to trip off the edge of the driveway and fall into the open mini-van, whacking my head on something very hard. But off we go. And the recital is spectacular with her group portraying the Lost Boys from Peter Pan.

Then I hurry back to my apartment to pass the family cat on to the other grandmother for the week. Shadow doesn’t take well to being shoved into his carrier and takes a hunk out of my hand. Scrambling through the medicine cabinet, I find a bandaid and the neosporin.

A friend drives me to Oakland airport and as I approach the baggage check, I realize my driver’s license is back on my scanner at home…having been scanned for an application the day before.  Yes, you can fly without ID. The baggage check was simple, but then I went through 15 minutes of a VERY personal body pat down. I didn’t even request a private room. I just wanted to make that flight. The woman announced each time that she was about to touch a “private area”, using the back of her hands for those spots.

So I make it just in time to board along with the rest of the “B” passengers…I’m always a “B” no matter how promptly I retrieve my boarding pass the day before. I settle into my aisle seat and prepare to relax for the hour and 20 minute flight to San Diego.

Thirty minutes into the flight, the plane tilts violently 45 degrees to the left and goes into free fall for several seconds. We all thought for sure it was the end! But the pilot levels it out and calmly announces that we were caught in another plane’s wake, one passing us at a right angle. The woman next to be actually saw this plane zoom across our path…an obvious near miss.

french gourmetHaving arrived alive though shaken, I’m picked up by my best friend from childhood. NOW…I’m safe. She takes me to the VRBO in Pacific Beach and I’m ready to collapse. Not yet! The door code doesn’t work and someone else is occupying “our” garage. The manager doesn’t answer nor does the handyman. But my friend takes me to The French Gourmet for dinner. A pris fixe dinner of 3 pates, duck confit, and a chocolate ganache eclair along with a glass of sauvingnon blanc calms my nerves. By now the handyman has called back and given me the correct door code and garage.

I’m barely settled in when the rest of the family arrives, having made record time and a much more relaxed day. Moral of the story…the skyways are not always the best alternative to the freeways.

Tippi Hedren and Hitchcock’s The Birds

The birds posterI can’t visit Bodega Bay without driving a few miles inland to the hamlet of Bodega, most famous for the filming of Hitchcock’s The Birds.

As usual at this time of year, Tippi Hedren, whose haunting face is shown in the background of the iconic movie poster on the left was at The Tides wharf to sign autographs. 2014-08-31 10.03.05Tippi signing

2014-08-31 10.02.27A mannequin of Tippi stands duty at the Bodega Country Store filled with Hitchcock memorabilia.

The walls of the store are covered with artwork, costume sketches, publicity photos from The Birds and from Marnie. An article in the New Yorker chronicles the hidden story behind Hitchcock’s inappropriate advances and retaliation againstTippi and her long-held silence.

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The Tides

 

The Tides restaurant as it appeared in the film. It has since been completely remodeled.

schoolhouse2014-08-31 09.50.15On the left, the schoolhouse as it appeared in the film, site of the memorable scene of the birds chasing the children. I went there several years back on a solitary winter day when suddenly a flock of a hundred or more blackbirds came swarming out of the sky and settled on the tall pines nearby. For a second, I thought I would have to run for my life! But today the schoolhouse in renovated and occupied by a family.