Walking in the countryside I imagined myself doing the race this March in Paris, walking eight miles is a nothing in Paris, there is much to admire and gather inspiration from. I went out this morning, direction the blackthorn tree, not as grandoise as Saint Germaine des Pres though enjoyable.
As I walked I heard a dog barking, I remembered what Barbara (a Tongue in Cheek blog reader.) wrote me: Fold your arms, do not look the dog in the eye... that is all I remembered as fear took over when the dog starting coming towards me. I began to pray, "Shit God, I don't want to be eaten alive by a dog!" And then thankfully, I heard the dog owner call his dog back. As it ran towards the owner I noticed it was a big fluffy dog and its tail wagged. Whew.
The other day I noticed this big bush/tree full of fruit that looked like blueberries, but did not grow like blueberries. I tasted one and thought it might be a baby prune... Prunella? After I ate it I thought poison? and panicked for two seconds. I picked a few along with some weeds and herbs, acorns and hazelnuts to take to Annie's. I love watching her pick though my nature collection and declaring, "This is edible, Fennel, dandelion, arugula ... oh this is not, wild mint, acorn.. oh this is good, oh this isn't..."
When Annie saw the fruit I called Prunella, she sat up on the edge of her chair, "Blackthorn!" she continued, "When we were children blackthorn was like a candy to us. We would search for it in the forest, and often were so delighted to find it we would eat it before it was ripe."
Ripe or not Blackthorn fruit is mostly bitter. But Annie loved it and ate plenty. I went back today to pick a bag full for her.
Have you ever had this fruit?
I am back to walking the countryside.
The leaves wave in Autumn shades.
When will I need warmer clothes?
I only own one pair of socks. Bare legged or tights but socks?
I started walking again (five miles a day) because my daughter thinks it would be fun to run a 10 k race this March in Paris. Sometimes I wander if my daughter needs glasses. I can barely run around the block. I told her she could sign me up for the 8k walk.
I will try to walk the 8k faster than I can walk the 5k. I guess I better time myself, and oh buy running shoes... whatever they are called, I haven't owned those kind of shoes since the big bang.
Do you run?
Do you own running shoes?
I don't even have sports clothes.
Sacha, Fabrice (Sacha's friend from childhood, and Chelsea are going to do the 10 k. in Paris. Maybe Mr. Espresso? Yann says he cannot because his back won't support it. And I am going to wallk it, and train I doubt I can run all of it, but walk and run I know I could.
I am glad to think my daughter thinks I am a super hero! To think she asked me to run!
Marseille the many faces it has...
Marseille. Whoever talks about it? It has been the diamond in the rough, the city that few mention to go to. On the same blue Mediterranean as Monaco, Cannes and Nice without the fanfare or glitz. Marseille with its "bad boy" reputation and community that says, "Let everyone think we are not as good. What do we care? Let's keep Marseille to ourselves." And it has.
Marseille the city that is talked about about in shadows. Marseille the melting pot that rarely takes credit for the melting, nor the flavor. Marseille that allows you to be who you are and accepts you without having to have, le, or la, or de or chateau in your name.
But I have to say you are missing something if you do not come and see for yourself what Marseille has to offer.
Marseille snakes long and narrow along the coast with the foothills a stone's throw away. It is a city with space, with green, with blue, with golden sunsets.
Inner courtyards that speak of movie sets, another era, and with so much flavor who needs salt or pastis?
Freedom to explore for hours without having to pay a dime. Beautiful vistas, and history and space... in the second largest city in France.
La Major Cathedral
"Of rare beauty, The Major has an attractive style of Romano-Byzantine inspiration. New Cathedral of St. Mary Major erected on the ruins of the old cathedral of La Major is one of the largest cathedrals in France, its dimensions rival the cathedrals of St. Peter's in Rome: it measures 142 feet long, the dome Central peaks at 70 meters when the nave is 20 meters. It enjoys an exceptional location. At the water's edge, the view of a deep blue stretches to the horizon.Historic monument in 1906, The Major hosts within it, Lazarus of Bethany, the first bishop of Marseille, a saint, a faithful friend of Jesus, who watches over the Cathedral, from atop his throne." text source l'Occitane
Concrete lace structure with ever changing light, the tango between the sea and sun.
A Sunday afternoon in Marseille spent with these two.
Along the century old wall of St Jean's Fort.
An aromatic garden, early stages, yet the perfume was as intoxicating as any Provencal countryside. I couldn't get over how fragrant it was considering we were in the city.
Thyme, basil, lavender, sage, rosemary, oregano, olive, hazelnut, fennel
Following the links below (click on them) to find out more:
Where to go, what to do, What to buy, How to have fun, Where to stay in Marseille:
That is enough to keep you busy for awhile don't you think?
On the Bridge of Avignon (Sur le pont d'Avignon) is a traditional French song about a bridge that originally spanned the Rhône River between Avignon and Villeneuve-lìs-Avignon. The bridge was built beween 1171 and 1185. The song dates from the 15th century.
French Husband took this photo of Chelsea and I dancing on the bridge of Avignon, when Chelsea was three months old.
"Sur le pont d'Avignon,
L'on y danse, l'on y danse.
Sur le pont d'Avignon,
L'on y danse tout en rond."
Le Train Bleu in Paris is one of my most favorite places. You and I could go there, sit down and I could tell you at least 50 stories about experiences I have had there. Okay, sure I talk alot. Share I could weave 50 stories out of a single thread. Well anyway, I have told a few stories of Le Train Bleu on my blog. Le Train Bleu is like a home away from home sort of place for me. I have been going there for the last 27 years: Nearly each and every time I went from Marseille to Paris, or Paris to Marseille... It was the in between heart of two homes. The changing point between two worlds. It reminded me of two different times: Now and then.
Now it has changed.
I have changed.
Change is rarely easy.
Recently, Le Train Bleu went through a renovation. I was worried. More like sad, you know the feeling when you want something to stay the same... but you cannot do anything about it so you cringe inside and wish for the best. I guess you could say I felt like a mother taking her baby in for his first haircut: A haircut makes a baby appear grown up.
The first thing I noticed was that the lace curtains had been removed. I knew they would. It was okay, I could live without the lace curtains, the open windows bring in light and that extraordinary Parisian view. I was worried the old wooden revolving door would have been removed, thankfully it stayed. The horrible blue fluorescent light that stood as the sign for Le Train Bleu has been changed and I was glad for it. The new sign is an improvement.
I appreciate the hardwork, the day and night hours and hours it took the many talented people to do all that they did to restore the things that needed to be done. It was an amazing undertaking (if you would like to see more follow this link and the other ones highlighted in blue.)
Though the design of the "Big Ben Bar Area" is disappointing.
The side rooms on the left side needed help, I must admit. But this? I know I know it is the new hip thing to make modern and old mix, and often it does and looks refreshingly interesting and good. I get that the designers were trying to go with a new kind of Orient Express look...
I don't like it because it looks pale compared to the richness of the other rooms, too plain, too... I-don't-like-it-period.
Maybe in a McDonald's because in France McDonald's look like this new renovation. Don't get me wrong the Macdo (McDonald's) in Europe are pretty amazing, very stylish, like the new rooms in Le Train Bleu but better.
Seriously this is the best you could do?
I could have done that and I am not trained, nor experienced, so my opinion doesn't matter, but really!!
The deep cranberry upholstery, rugs and ottomans were removed.
Cranberry lends to golden, autumn, Belle Epoque, "Crimson".
But since Le Train Bleu has the word Blue in it the designers I suppose went with
As in cold.
As in contrast to warm and golden.
And such an ackward blue it is.
I loved the old cracked worn leather oversized red ottomans that use to be in Le Train Bleu. I feared that they would not be renovated due to cost, or replaced.
Seriously, out of all the beautiful armchairs in the world, these were the ones selected? Whoever picked these armchairs had to do so without EVER seeing the inside of Le Train Bleu, or wanted to make a sick joke of a statement.
And these blue space ship armchairs were added.
There I said it.
My favorite room.
Well not completely... if I look straight up and ignore the freshly painted walls and everything down from the ceiling.
Repainted, with those space ship chairs.
I nearly cried.
At least the glorious textiled ceiling piece remained thank you.
Sure I can go to Le Train Bleu and look up.
At least the ceiling didn't change.
The zinc bar did.
The moldings have been restored.
The floor too.
But why this look?
Anywhere but Le Train Bleu.
I am sorry to offend the person who created/designed this room. It isn't bad if it weren't in Le Train Bleu.
I suppose in the next twenty seven years I might grow use to it.
But I doubt it.
I wish I were dreaming about the renovation. I wish it wasn't a reality.
I wished I had take a million more photos over the years.
The Big Ben Bar
And I won't even mentioned the renovation of the bathrooms.
I knew they would renovate the bathrooms. I knew it.
The new bathrooms are new. And that is all I can say.
And the old bathroom will never be.
The way it is.
All clean, and blue, and new, and well...
I am sorry that I don't like it.
Pear, Roquefort, Walnut and Celery Tart
For the best ice cream in France
New twist to St. Moret, a classic French cheese.
When you open the package it looks like this. "Too pretty to eat!" Is what Ruth our friend said today at lunch.
I thought it looked like a dessert.
I get a kick out of going to the grocery store, finding a new product, or new to me that is, coming home, trying it, falling in love and then thinking to myself, "What else is hiding in the grocery store waiting for me to discover it?" It is like playing hide-n-seek.
What is one of yours?