⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

July 28, 2010

Entarter.


Site/illustration here.

Défenestrer: Jeter une personne par une fenêtre.
To throw a person out of the window.

Entarter: Jeter une tarte à la crème à la tête de quelqu'un.
To throw a cream pie at someone's head.

These verbs do not exist in English. It brings me so much joy and laughter that they do in French.

One of my friends in St. Tropez had me rolling with laughter as he told me about the "entarteur" (because it is a noun too) - the gentleman named Noël Godin, who goes by "Georges Le Gloupier," whose aim in life is to hit as many puffed up, self-important, humorless people with cream pies as possible. Sarkozy made the list (want to see?). My favorite is the quasi-French philosopher named Bernard-Henri Lévy (known simply in France as "BHL"), who has been entarté as many as 12 times for being a fake philsopher. Ask any French person about this and they will know. For that reason, I love the French. Apparently, Georges le Gloupier will even make radio announcements revealing his next target.

The entarteur describes his occupation with phrases like "tempêtes patissières" (pastry storms). After hitting a prominent and annoying person with a pie, he lays on the ground and pleads that they please not hit him.

Absolutely hilarious. French social resistance = pieing.

July 25, 2010

Xavier & Marguerite.


...went exploring.




...found un oursin.


...and a sea snail.


...wore my hat with more panache than I do.


...interred me in the sand.


...and watched a peacock sunset.



July 24, 2010

Making St. Tropez even brighter...



These two...who showed up for the weekend (Xavier pulling a classic Xavier, drove from Paris to the south of France [~900 km] in a convertible with his four-year-old daughter. I found Marguerite in her car seat with her Yankee's baseball cap on her head. Her dad had fastened a string to the back of the cap and the car seat, preventing it from whirling away off her head and out of the car. I'm just glad that it is really warm and balmy at the moment. There have been too many Xavier trips with the top down, heedless of the fact that it was raining and 50° outside. He is fun and crazy like that).







Lucky me.

July 23, 2010

les Français.

So, I am back again. The beginning of my first three-year stint in France was slightly besmirched by my resistance to loving the French outright. Why? Well, if you go back to October, 2007, for me, it came down to bum-cheek clenching. The omnipresent sensation that there is only one way to do things. When I peeled potatoes, or mounted my bike, or ate a piece of chocolate - in each circumstance I was instructed (more often corrected) on the exact way to execute. And everyone around me seemed to concur. By the end, I went on doing things my way, smiling when people would tutor, but still doing things as I liked.

Well, this round I think I've had a real breakthrough. It is always a matter of understanding (or not). And, apparently, I did not understand.

This breakthrough came with a tarte tropézienne. (I am not uncouth, I swear, just probably pretty casual). The tarte was there in front of me. It is made with two layers of cake (de brioche) divorced by a layer of cream (crème pâtissière). And it is rather large (meaning tall) for a tart. So, my strategy was pragmatic, just eat the two halves separately - each with a bit of the cream that forms the middle. Here is where the breakthrough made its appearance.

"Emilie, you musn't eat the tart that way!" My response: laughter. Here we go again.

But no. This French person (by now I have good friends here in St. Tropez and I am surrounded by a staff of French people at work, who are really lovely), for the first time in my mingling with the French, offered a real, valid reason why there is only one method to eat a tarte tropézienne. He explained that the way to eat the tart (plunging the fork vertical style, through the two layers and the cream, all at the same time - never separating them), as a rule, was not created to bother me. Rather, rules like this were made to increase pleasure. The thing itself (the tart) was conceived of in this way. In fact, to eat a tarte tropézienne differently is to no longer eat a tarte tropézienne.

So, while I was bum-cheek clenching in Paris, I was missing the point. If you ask people: Qu'est-ce que la France? (What is la France?), like my friend, a lot of them will answer: La douceur de vivre. (The sweet life). But approaching the sweet life is an art form, which requires knowledge of how that thing functions and how it is best appreciated, how it was conceived - or, more precisely, what the thing is (because, like the tarte tropézienne, without the savoir faire, it is no longer the thing itself).

It is for this reason that at another dinner in St. Tropez, a lovely French woman proclaimed, as she disparagingly spoke about Americans, "There are many things they haven't understood. They are capable of serving their wine in a plastic glass! 50% of the appreciation is in the glass."

July 21, 2010

+ + +


A dog and a door.


Lunch.


Sitting on a rooftop in St. Tropez.




The other direction.

July 19, 2010

July 17, 2010

Saturation.



St. Tropez saturation. A town like this makes a girl like me rosy pink happy. Look at these colors.





























Entry.



Entry point. Swimming the other night and a fish - a beast 3 feet long - sauntered past...cool, sedate, whispering to me under the water. He was made of shadows because the sun had just crossed the horizon line.



Otherwise, this rock is better than a beach. There is no one around, just that big fish and a hat I am very proud of.

July 15, 2010

July 12, 2010

St. Tropez in beautiful batches.



Ahhh...St. Tropez. Makes my chest rise and fall differently - in gasps.




Here, patisseries come packaged like gifts, because, honestly, they are - madeleines from this place are in a different league entirely.


The fish sit like this at the market.


And the flowers, like this.


Here, markets are commonplace and you see girls with market baskets all the time. I want to be one of these girls.





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