Pas d’Information, SVP

August 31, 2009

With complete honesty I can say that never in my life have I been bombarded with so much in so few days. Jane and I decided yesterday that every other event in our lives (starting high school, going away to college etc) has been an unconcious preparation for the information overload that is living abroad. Yet even though I feel constantly exhausted and frequently overwhelmed, the infinite pleasures of France constantly make up for negative feelings. The two pleasures in the forefront of my mind are the food and the chateaux! As promised I have photos, and while “les photos ne rendent aussi bien le realite” (those of you who speak french forgive the myriad faults) they can express better than words the most important parts of my days in France so far.

The food, as expected, has been consistently wonderful-though dare I say that I am starting to tire of fresh bread with cheese after every lunch and dinner? As wonderful as Camembert and goat cheese (and all the others) are, for an American aquiring a taste for stinky cheeses, twice a day is too much practice! But I cannot really complain about the fresh cantaloupes (half the size of American varieties with double the flavor), or the veal we ate for Jane’s birthday-the only red meat I’ve eaten here-or the pasta with jus du poulet and gruyere cheese…

But I digress. More than anything however, I was absolutely thrilled when one night, we had fish, in the French style, with the bones, tail, and the head-including the eyes!-intact. And although Madame said not to eat the head or the eyes (though you can) we did eat the cheeks of our trout-though they were only the size of my pinkie fingernail!

Poisson

Poisson

Friends in front of M-M: Raj is in the white on the right!

Friends in front of M-M: Raj is in the white on the right!

Jane, Caroline, and Lauren with the infamous nan!

Jane, Caroline, and Lauren with the infamous nan!

My other personal cullinary favorite is a kebab place called literally, “Eat Me”. Mangez-Moi is tiny, I’ve never been there in the daylight, and they have the BEST nan au fromage in the world (granted I’ve only tried it there but it couldn’t possibly be better!). To the best of my knowledge, nan is a type of Indian bread, similar to pita, which they make at M-M to order right in front of you. They take a small ball of dough, and put brie cheese in the middle. Then they spin it and pull it until it is a perfect circle with cheese on the inside. It is then dropped into a vat of boiling oil, and it comes out as a somewhat crunchy but still soft and steaming hot crescent which oozes warm brie when you bite into it. I am becoming friends with Raj, who works there, because I always show up with a huge group of friends when we go out at night!

Lastly, I have visited two chateaux in the past few days, and the last home and final resting place of Leonard da Vinci, as the French call him. Amboise is a royal chateau, which is now open to the public. While the building itself was beautiful, there was a lack of furniture, and there were no gardens to speak of, so the ambiance was not quite there. However, Madame took Jane and I out to see the gardens of the chateau at Villandry yesterday, which were so beautiful they were almost surreal. The chateau is owned privately, and the gardens have been restored to what they would have been like in the Renaissance. They are traditional French in that they are very structured and very well manicured-hardly a branch or petal is out of place, but they are easily the most fantastic gardens I have ever seen.  I want to return there throughout my life because they change the plants every four years to keep the soil healthy. Oh, and they also are unique because they are full of fruits and vegetables!

Amboise Encore

Amboise

Amboise

Amboise from across the river (town included)

Villandry

Villandry

Another section of the gardens

Another section of the gardens

Jane with our host mother, Madame Mercier

Jane with our host mother, Madame Mercier

My host mother is even more wonderful than she seems in the photo-and as you can all tell from the frequency of her name in the post, Jane and I are becoming good friends. I have to end now though, lest I get locked in l’Institut! A Bientot!

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3 Responses to “Pas d’Information, SVP”

  1. Laura Trudeau said

    Lovely Victoria, I am sooo happy for you Sweetie! I want you to promise to take me to the beautiful gardens some day. I love you, Mom

  2. Victoria said

    I promise!!!

  3. Aunt Terri said

    me too!

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