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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Les Aventures de Madame Beaubien: What's for Dinner?

The sisters organized a good-bye party for Sunday. We went to the top of Fourvière Hill and at at Fourvière Restaurant, a very fancy but simple place. Every dish was not only beautiful, it was cooked with delicious with sauces, local produce, tender meat and fish.

 Here is a special appetizer with a mixture of vegetables put into a paté and served cold on ground tomato and pesto with olive oil.

Fresh bread, sans butter, but extra tasty. Look at the color!

Each dish has its own silverware. (left to right) The larger fork is for meat and the smaller one is for fish. The scooped knife is for fish, the next knife is for pork and the last knife is for lamb.

Here's Marie Phillippe's pork dish with pea pods, polenta, squash.

Here's Marie T's dish: fish, pea pods, squash with a smear of chocolate.

 Rose and I had the same dish: lamb, pea pods, au gratin potatoes, squash. MMMMmmmm good!

Our dessert was rum cake with rum raisin ice cream and strawberries--and whipped cream.
Here is Marie Phillippe and Marie T's dessert: mango ice cream with pistachio, strawberry macaroon, a little cake thing with espresso.

Needless to say, we each ate every bite. In fact, this meal held me for the entire day!! I only had two ladles of soup at 7:30, our dinner time. I have embraced the French diet of eating less--mostly vegetables--and walking everywhere (probably 3-5 miles a day). Even the morning's petite dejeuner of fresh French baguette with sweet butter and a small container of yogurt contributes to a healthy diet. I think I've lost nearly 10 pounds over the past 4 weeks! 

If you are ever in Lyon, go up to Fourvière Hill, face the Basilica go to on the street to the right all the way to the end. You will find Fourvière Restaurant....and, here's the view from our table:

Here is Rose and Marie Phillippe outside at the overlook of the beautiful city of Lyon. (Marie T has to leave early.)

J'adore Lyon!!   J'adore la France!!! 

Les Aventures de Madame Beaubien: Spring Time in Lyon, France

Friday, March 24, 2017

Les Aventures de Madame Beaubien: Crêpe Night

Marie T eats the "nose" of France from her cut-out crêpe

 The "nose" of France is Brittany (western province in fusia), according to a Frenchwoman I'm acquainted with who comes from there.

The sisters had a big surprise for the evening meal--at least I was surprised. We had crêpes!!

They were not like the ones we made in language school where we put jam or nutella inside and rolled them up. These we ate as a flat "pancake" with a choice of four toppings: apricot jam, lemon jam, honey, or sugar. Delicious!


The delicious crêpes we had for dessert today were plate-size.

Marie T paints her crêpe with apricot jam and sugar.

Marie Phillippe paints her crêpe with lemon jam and honey. 

I painted mine with apricot jam and lemon jam for the first one. My second one was plain--and I was happy.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Les Aventures de Madame Beaubien: Place Bellecour

Patty and I went to Place Bellecour earlier this week. She had to go to Decitre, a tremendous bookstore on the southwest side of the square, so I accompanied her. So glad I went because Place Bellecour is unbelievable.

Place Bellecour is a large square in the center of Lyon about 30 minutes on foot from our school.

The square is huge!! It measures 62,000 square meters (15 acres) and is one of the largest open squares in Europe and the third largest in France next to Place de la Concorde in Paris (86,400 square meters) and Place des Quinconces in Bordeaux (126,000 square meters). It has no greenery and is the typical slightly gravelly reddish hard surface you find in French cities.

In the middle of the square is an equestrian statue of king Louis XIV, the "Sun King" by François-Frédéric Lemot (1825). Interesting that Louis is dressed like a Roman emperor.

The square is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Romans used Bellcour for military and commercial activities. In the late 12th century, the archbishop of Lyon put in a vineyard called Bella curtis (Beau jardin in French). In 1604 Henry IV forced the Lyon City Council to transform what was a pasture into a public square, but complications with his hiers didn't allow this to happen. In 1708, Louis XIV became the owner of the square and in 1715 it became known as the Place Royale. Later it was name Place Louis-le-Grand and a bronze statue of the king was erected. Buildings around the square were built. During the French Revolution, a altar was erected on the square on July 14, 1790. The square then became known as the Place de la Fédération. A guillotine was installed in 1792 and the royal statue of Louis destroyed in 1793. The square acquired another new name, Place de l'Égalité. On June 21, 1800, Napoleon I laid the foundation stone for new buildings and the square was again renamed Place Bonaparte and later, Place Napoléon. In 1825 a new statue of Louis XIV was erected. The square was named Place Bellecour during the French Third Republic (1870-1940).     

The architecture surrounding the square is very beautiful. It looks like this one section that I captured in the photo. 

Lyon is an excellent example of urban planning. In the old city, its grid-style streets and  buildings are old, some going back to the Renaissance (like in La Croix Rousse), but there is also a lot of restoration and retrofitting going on for modern things like the Internet as well as new construction.


A pedestrian shopping mall abuts the square. It's filled with people and has anything and everything you could want.

In one corner of the square is the Institute of Paul Bocuse, a famous chef's school. Before I left for France I just happened to see a program about Bocuse on Anthony Bourdain's show, "Parts Unknown."

Anthony Bourdain likened Bocuse to Muhammed Ali. Here's a tidbit from the program.

Bocuse (1926-) is a famous French chef based in Lyon who is famous for the high quality of his restaurants and his innovative approaches to cuisine. A student of Eugénie Brazier, he is one of the most prominent chefs associated with the nouvelle cuisine, which is less opulent and calorific than the traditional cuisine classique, and stresses the importance of fresh ingredients of the highest quality. Paul Bocuse claimed that Henri Gault first used the term, nouvelle cuisine, to describe food prepared by Bocuse and other top chefs for the maiden flight of the Concorde airliner in 1969. 

Near Place Bellcour is the Saône-et-Loire river where there are many traditional French-style restaurants.

The Saône-et-Loire is a tributary of the River Rhône that joins it at Lyon (called La Confluence) and thus is connected to the Mediterranean.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Les Aventures de Madame Beaubien: Down Time

After 2 weeks of language school and an additional week of immersion into France, I hit the wall. This photos was taken by a mischievous nun on a Friday night after the evening meal.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Les Aventures de Madame Beaubien: Les Crêpes

We made crêpes in school today as we learned how to talk about the ingredients, utensils, and pronoun referents.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my own camera for photos, so I'm relying on Google images.

I tried my hand at using a ladle to scoop up some batter and then spread it out on the crêperie. Not bad.

The photo at the right has room for four crêpes but ours had room for six crêpes. We had enough crêpes for all 18 of the students and a few professors who were buzzing about to have some, too.
Crêpe-making is a specialized art form. The chef can flip the crêpe in the pan. We did it in an easier way: with two flat, wooden tools because we were amateurs. 

We used Nutella and apricot jam for the inside of the crêpe. Delicious!!

This was a great project and I'd like to get a crêpe-making pan and learn how to make crêpe with many different things like cheese, vegetables, eggs, ham, etc. Then, of course, I'll have to learn how to make various sauces.

Being in France makes me want to do everything French, including learning how to cook French food in the French way.  

J'adore la France!!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Les Aventures de Madame Beaubien: L’École Inflexyon

Front door of the Inflexyon, the language school of not only French but several other languages

Patty and I are taking classes at L’École Inflexyon, which is near the Hôtel de Ville (a central part of the city) on Leynaud Street and near La Croix Rousse. Every day, Monday through Friday, we climb some solid and ancient steps to our second floor classroom.

our classroom with just a few of the students during a break between classes
There are 18-20 students in my class. Most of them come from Asia—Japan, Korea, Taiwan—and most of them speak English. We also have students from Colombia, Italy and then there’s Patty and me who are the only ones from the USA. This surely is an indicator of what the next generation sees as important:  all things global!

We have grammar and speaking classes in two sessions from 10-11:30 and 11:45-12:30 with an hour off for lunch. In the afternoon we have oral practice from 1:30-3. On Tuesdays and Thursdays there is an option for tutoring from 9:15-10. In this session we can ask for help on anything having to do with grammar or pronunciation. The nice thing about it is that we get another opportunity to learn the details of grammar, including some points that we may have misunderstood or forgotten from the past.

Here's the faculty office. Natalie is on the left with Hèléne and David in the back and Alizée in front and behind her not in clear view, the professor from Mozambique.
Our teachers rotate the classes so we get new ones every day. It is interesting to see that we have teachers from France, of course, but also Mozambique, Poland, Brazil. All instruction is conducted in French, so we are forced to listen and learn. The teachers have us explain words in French or they do it. Of course, there is a lot of flipping through dictionaries/cell phones for exact meanings.

some wicked stairs to climb -- keep to the right to avoid falling
Before we came to the school we took a written test of 35 questions to see where we placed A-1 or 2 (elementary), B-1 or 2 (intermediate) or C-1 or 2 (advanced). On the first day of class, Natalie, the coordinator of the teachers talked with us to see how well we could comprehend and speak French. Then she placed us in a class. I tested out at B-1 but was placed in A-2. If I want an extra push, I can go to the B-1 class, which I plan to do in the second week—at least for the speaking and listening part of class because they talk about more advanced subjects. I don’t have as much trouble writing or even speaking as I do comprehending French, so I am comfortable with A-2 AND it will be a little less stressful. One bad thing about moving to the other class, however, is that during the past week our class has developed a nice rapport.

The school also offers various events. During the first week, we had a two-hour tour of La Croix Rousse conducted by the director of the school and a Mardi Gras party where students were to wear costumes. The faculty really promoted the party. I went on the tour—all conducted in French—but skipped the second because I had something else to do that night. 

To get a look at the La Croix Rousse tour, click on this link.
Leynaud Street where Inflexyon resides