Celebrating All Saints’ Day in France

All Saints is “La Toussaint” in France. All Saints is an opportunity to strengthen the family on a beautiful day spent together or the expression of a bereavement support. In France, it is also a popular period for a short autumn vacations; school children have two-week holiday around this time.

All Saints’ Day is an opportunity for many French people to spend time with family members and close friends. They can also participate in special masses organized for the occasion and visit cemeteries and place flowers on the graves of deceased family members and close friends. It is customary to leave chrysanthemums or wreaths of artificial flowers close to the graves.

The Chrysanthemum, this beautiful perennial Golden Flower, (its original color) the only flower that resists frost and blooms late October early November. In the Language of Flowers the chrysanthemum is the symbol of Peace and Resurrection. The tradition of putting chrysanthemums on the graves is deeply ingrained in the catholic culture, this act symbolizes the Resurrection of the Dead.

Père-Lachaise, is the most famous cemetery in France. Located in Paris, is well worth a visit during La Toussaint, or at other times. Established by Napoleon I in 1804 and located in Paris’ 20th arrondissement, the Père-Lachaise is one of the most visited cemeteries in the world, and the final resting place of many famous people, including the Polish composer, Frederic Chopin; Jim Morrison,Oscar Wilde.

This day is generally very quiet; Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. Outside of tourist areas, restaurants and cafes may also be closed for one or more days. However, some stores in Paris, as well as at airports and railway stations and along major highways, are open.

Pictures from Pinterest + L’internaute.com

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French Haute Couture

There is a name in « The Haute Couture” history that should not be omitted is that of Charles Frederick Worth. Indeed, this man came to Paris in 1845 and is the founder of Haute Couture.

In 1858, he opened his Couture house at 7 rue de la Paix where the elegant women from Paris came to dress; he attracted customer as the wife of the Australian ambassador and the Princess Metternich, who introduced him to the Empress Eugenie Bonaparte. She admiring his work and that is what allows him to become famous. Worth was also a good friends with the Empress Sissi, which encouraged its social progress.

He had a great sense of business, which allowed to transform the Culture in a luxury industry. Work around a dress was very important; it allowed him to sell his designs at very high prices.

Its original and innovative glow makes his designs as a works of art and display them in salons. Finally, he began to present a new collection once a year on real models parading, thus introducing a constant promotion of his sales. In fact, before Worth, the cloths were displayed on iron mannequins and customers walked around like a sculpture exhibition. He is the first one to work with models. But he didn’t call them models at the time; he called them “doubles”.

“French Haute Couture” entered formally triumphantly at the Universal Exhibition of 1900 in Paris.

Wishing distinguish the originality of its luxurious couture fashion, Worth protects the concept of Haute Couture in 1868 and founded an association of fashion houses to regulate and protect the creations of Parisian couturiers. Later, his son Gaston transforms the fashion house into “Chambre Syndicale of Parisien Couture” which nowadays still controls the Contemporary Haute Couture.

Chamber requires some rules particularly strict, everyone cannot use the label Haute Couture which is a legally protected appellation. Among this rules, there is an obligation to present two collections a year, 50 new and original street-wear and evening wear creations by collection, a team of minimum 20 full-time employees in the workshop home.

Yves Saint-Laurent, Chanel, Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Lanvin, Hermès…the prestigious names in fashion display their elegant and refined showcases in Montaigne avenue, Champs Elysées avenue, Rue Saint Honoré, in Paris department store on Boulevard Haussmann, in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés…

Twice a year, the capital is in sync with “Fashion weeks“; much to the delight of people who loves to be in style and who eagerly await the new designs of these famous fashion houses.

Emblem of French luxury, Haute Couture is a Parisian icon.

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Picture from Pinterest flipzoe.fr, indulgy.com and bcr8tive.com.

The good practices in the Restaurant

Nowadays, the restaurant is a perfect place to close business.  Dinner in the restaurant became a nice place to dinner with friends in the pleasant atmosphere. In many countries, the invitation to a restaurant means a great mark of consideration. So, refuse such an invitation would be a major insult.

The one who invites must come first to the restaurant; ten minutes earlier are perfect to greet your guests which are on time. Keep in mind that the bench or the most comfortable seats are reserved for women or the most important guests.

A la carte or a Menu?

The one who invites discreetly indicates the choice to follow. If he plans “à la carte”, the host with the help of the waiter will suggest certain dishes that match the quality and budget he has planned. The choice time, remain within limits of reasonable time.

The host is on charge to tell “bon appétit”!. During the meal you must maintain a pleasant conversation avoiding political and religious subjects. It will also be careful not to ask questions too personal.

Keep in mind a few rules for using the cutlery. Let the napkin on your lap, folded in half. When you leave, it is advised to leave the napkin on the chair.

The restaurant bill must be paid as discreet as possible. Leave your credit card to the waiter at your arrival. If you are a regular client, take the habit to ask to the restaurant to send the invoice to your office. The most common method of payment is to slip away after coffee under the pretext to wash your hands and make a detour to the front desk where you will pay the bill. If the waiter bring the addition, it has to be folded and you should to verify it by a brief glance. It is advised to pay by a credit card instead of handle the money in front of your guests.

Share the restaurant bill respond to different uses in different countries: in Western countries, the bill is shared easily, including women; In Greece and Turkey, guests and foreign never pay. In Brazil, eldest or the foreign has to pay de bill. The business lunch is paid by the company.

As a general rule, you never have to leave the table before the end of the dessert. As a working meeting the telephone has to be switched off during the business lunch. If the call is urgent, consider to get up and leave the table to talk.

restaurant-affaire-300x173Photo from Pinterest

White wine

Sweet or sparkling wine … White wine is often seen as a feminine wine, particularly popular with the ladies. But it is also a wine of character, whose wealth is undeniable.

To choose a white wine, one should be interested in the area of production and type of grape wine, which give the wine its characteristics, and the dishes to accompany the white wine.

One of the first reflexes in terms of matching food – white wine is combined with fish and shell fish. It is true that this is an effective alliance which brings out the flavors of the dishes. A dry white wine is favored with raw seafood; a dry wine a little more full-bodied goes well with cooked seafood. Fish in sauce perfectly match with semi-dry white wine or sweet white wine.

White wine is also used during cocktail hour; your guests will enjoy a dry white wine, like Sauvignon or a sweet wine like Coteaux du Layon or Muscat. We can also make a cocktail with a white wine from a simple kir to sophisticated marquisette or tsarine.

If you want to keep a certain etiquette of rules of wine service; avoid white wine with strong flavors which may lull the taste buds for the rest of the meal.

Temperature of the white wine.

Dry white wine, expressive, sour, like the Gros Plant, Sancerre, or Muscat, or from the Sauvignon grape variety (white wines of northern regions, in short), support a relatively cool temperature, between 9 and 11 degrees.
You can place the wine in the refrigerator 1 hour before you serve, in order to have it at 8 degrees. Rise it in temperature slowly in case you propose to have it as an appetizer.

Bold and opulent wines such the ones from Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Roussanne, one recommends to serve it between 11° and 14 ° degrees.

There are many varieties of vines and grapes that make up the production of white wine in France. Each of the major growing regions are characterized by the use of different varieties:

Alsace region produces excellent white wines, the grapes used are only found in that region and nowhere else in France ( These are the types of wines made: Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Sylvaner).

Loire Valley: about 75% of the Loire production is made of white wine from Chenin Blanc grapes, Sauvignon, Melon de Bourgogne.

Languedoc-Roussillon: one makes sweet and sparkling white wines from the white grapes in the region, Clairette, Roussanne, Marsanne, Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc.

Côtes du Rhône region produces a variety of white wine grapes, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc.

Burgundy: the white grape used in this rich region is Chardonnay.

Bordeaux region of the Entre Deux Mers dry white or sweet wine Sauternes, it highlights white varieties Semillon and Sauvignon.

Pictures from Pinterest, Gimme Some Oven and jsprat.wordpress

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The Lifestyle in the French house

The art of the French lifestyle mixes the love of the family home, comfort and aesthetics. The French house must be the homestead to become the place of the term welfare home and artistic beauty. In France, everyone aspires to have his own place.

Somewhere  to  get together and to allow them to have a place to rest and to have a good chat. An ideal to build according to individual aspirations. This individuality is expressed through many levels.

The architecture of the house

The choice of the architect of the house often depends on the chosen location and numbers of occupants. To keep the art of the French Lifestyle will seek to respect a local architectural style with historical characteristics.

There is a certain attraction in France in a story that a house can have, when someone is to search for a home.  This way, they feel, they personalize their home.

The decoration

This is the aesthetic of the house where everyone expresses their personality in their room or the house.  The decoration, floors, walls, surfaces, upholstery, curtains, blinds, curtains, floor chairs, sofas, mirrors, chairs etc  will be chosen to customize every room in the house. Particular care is given to the bathroom which has become since the 90s a place of well-being at home. Nowadays, the decoration and the lights are more and more personalized.

The kitchen

The centerpiece of the family meeting room  now a days needs to be large enough and one would like it  also equipped for outdoor dining. It is often decorated with a color theme,  or a country, a region,  this according to the taste of the occupant. This is the place of the individual expression of the love of family. The attention is paid to selection of utensils to promote the success to the culinary preparations for the family.

The garden

This is not always present in a house but when present, it  gives more “life”  to  the house. It is the connection with nature that permits a certain union and one can fulfil   their artistic expression.

When the garden is not present, one procures at least to hang the plants on walls or windows. The French garden is structured and organized and obey visual rules that highlight the different shapes of plants and flowers and harmonize color. Often one has a vegetable garden and surely a corner of herbs for the kitchen.

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The Gloves

The use of gloves reaches back to  ancient times.

In the middle Ages, vassal cities were accustomed to offer a glove to the King as an act of submission. During the coronation ceremony, the Archbishop  used to bless a pair of gloves for the sovereign as a sign of crown possession and loyalty.

A gauntlet, could be a glove made of leather or some kind of metal armour,   which was a strategic part of a soldier’s defense throughout the Middle Ages. Later the advent of firearms made hand-to-hand combat. As a result, the need for gauntlets also disappeared.

In the time of chivalry,  to throw a glove was an act of defiance against an opponent and  it signified  his  intention to fight.

Later, the glove was transformed as a clothing garment – it became   a touch of sophistication. They were part of the accessories needed for the elegance of dress. Dark gloves were used in the morning and white or cream color ones in the evenings. They began to be worn by ladies as a fashion ornament. They were made of linen and silk, and sometimes reached the elbow.

Such worldly accoutrements were not for holy women. Sumptuary laws were promulgated to restrain this vanity: against samite gloves in Bologna, 1294 and against perfumed gloves in Rome, 1560.

A Paris corporation or guild of Glovers existed in the thirteenth century.

It was not until the 16th century that gloves reached their greatest elaboration.  Queen Elizabeth I set the fashion for wearing them richly embroidered.  She would for put them on and take them off during audiences to draw attention to her beautiful hands.

Society created new rules to use gloves:

- A woman puts on gloves outside, but she removes them when she is inside of a house.

- She is to  take off the gloves when she shake hands with an older women.

- The man always takes off his gloves to greet a woman.

- If two men use gloves, the youngest man will follow the example of his predecessor to shake hands.

- It is clear to never embrace a gloved hand.

-There are so many kinds of gloves, depending of the ornaments and customs:

Buckskin gloves, chamois, yarn, silk, cotton, wool, fur gloves … and other material drawn through the ages…

Photos from Pinterest: la boît en os, etsy.com, my-ear-trumpet.trumbl.com

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The French garden

In contrast to the English garden, a French garden is a reflex of the art of symmetry. Nature is domesticated according to criteria of order and discipline, in order to draw perfect prospects in the extension of a prestigious house itself.

The French garden is a very ambitious garden aesthetically. Synonymous with perfection and nobility,  the  most famous author is André Le Nôtre, the creator of the park of Versailles under the command of Louis XIV.

The lines and structure of this type of development are perceived as a garden carved by an artist. In  fact, it requires great precision in the drawing. Le Nôtre found his inspiration in the genuine Italian gardens; but French gardens have gone even further in this concept: simple in form, but of increasing complexity which brought them to a new form of landscape art, highly developed.

The design complementary to all French castles from the seventeenth century, could be located in the center of the house, front and back, or  as a terrace, matched with a large park. It can be used in smaller properties but does not lend itself to contemporary architecture.

Volumes make all the originality of the French garden. The diversity of aligned symmetrically forms must however remain in harmony with the lines of the whole, which is in an architectural form codified.

The contrasting textures and colors participate in the decor. In general, the French garden is very green and is also ornamented.  After perspectives and angles are  arranged fountains, basins called “Medici” and stone statues from mythology or hunting. All these factors contribute to the development of French garden in its purest form.

The maintenance of French gardens is much more demanding than that of English gardens, they should be pruned twice a year, in May and September. In addition, it is necessary to empty the massive every fall and winter flowers in a greenhouse or glass frames or to change them.55e7d3e63019e519efa3eb73f33b3c5e

Aisles should be periodically raked to be presentable and prevent the gravel from being dispersed into the lawn or flowerbeds.0404887906c54202e5315d42c69db52079cd977d0077fc08484c9ea2d2adc80f

La Pétanque

« Playaboule  » is originated from the South of France. This game is played on an unprepared field but a flat land is preferably used (unless you really love the challenge) and whose dimensions are between 10 and 13 feet wide and 39 feet long.

The goal is to bring the balls closest to the “goal”.

The first team with 13 points after several tries win the game.

This game is played against 1 or 1 or 2 teams of 2 or 3 players.

  • Head-to-head: one against one with 3 balls each
  • Doubles: 2 against 2 with 3 balls each
  • Triplex 3 against 3 with 2 balls each

There must not be more than 12 balls on the ground.

This game is played with balls 100% steel and a ball hardwood called “goal”; play from a circle of 50 cm in diameter, placed or marked on the ground.

Randomly the team begins playing. Any player of that team chooses the starting point and moves into the circle. When he plays, the player’s feet must not leave the circle before the ball reaches the ground.

That player then throws the goal at a distance of between 6 and 10 m and it should be at least 1 meter from any obstacle (wall, tree…).

There are two ways to throw the ball, “point” or “shoot”. They are diametrically opposite. That is why some champions have chosen one or another specialty.

“Pointer” is throw the ball with skill to try to get as close as possible to the cap and thus to “score a goal”

He then launched his first ball, trying to place it as close as possible to the “goal”.

A player from the second team then enters into the circle and tries to be pointing to place his ball closer to the “goal” that the ball from his opponent or to chase it by pulling. The bowl closer to the “goal” leads the play. If the player succeed, this is a player to the first team to play again. If it fails, the players on his team play their balls until they return the item or they have more balls to play.

When one team has more balls in their hands, the players of the other team play those that remain, trying to place their balls as close as possible to the goal.

When both teams have no more balls, the time has come to count the points. A team scores with good points as many as their boules are closer to the “goal” than the opponents. It’s the end of the game.

One of the players of the winning team then launches the “goal” of where it is located and the game continues until a team scores 13 points but you can also play until 11 or 15 points.

La Petanque visualpetanque.com

Photos from Pinterest,

Benjamin Lallement

Rendez-vous en France

French Marriages, traditions and symbols

What are the customs and traditions of your wedding? The day of the marriage, the bride and the groom can respect specific traditions:

The engagement is a first step towards marriage, a moment of reflection and the promise of a permanent commitment. If they have not already, it’s also an opportunity to present families with each other.

The civil ceremony, which precedes the religious ceremony is a public ceremony and the only one recognized under the French Republic. For the religious ceremony, it is customary for family and guests to arrive before the couple. The groom gets in the place with his mother and the bride with her father, walking with the sound of the wedding march. At the end of the Mass, the couple and their witnesses sign the register. The end of the ceremony is a great moment: the photos and the traditional throwing of rice. Now, rice is often replaced by confetti, petals, paper or a rain of lavender. Now married, they go to the “vin d’honneur” and dining. In general, the caravan horns sound to announce the good news.

For a marriage to have success, four items of clothing and accessories such should be worn by the bride on her wedding day. Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue; this tradition comes from England since the 19th century.

The old element is often an ancient family jewel and it is chosen by the bride.

The new element characterizes the achievement and success for the future life.

The element borrowed represents the luck and happiness for one of the newlyweds.

The blue element is often a discreet accessory that symbolizes fidelity and purity in marriage.

The bachelor party

Traditionally, the bachelorette party is the last party that the girl goes to without her future husband, and the young man without his future wife. This event is an opportunity to spend some quality time with his friends. It can take place during a dinner or even a full day or weekend. Organized by friends of the bride and groom, the bachelor party can be soft and classic or completely crazy. Several activities can be done, such as sports, disguises, wages among others.

The veil

Today the tradition is to wear the veil until the couple is pronounced husband and wife – though the veil is often removed when the bride arrives at the altar.

The garter

Tradition dictates that the bride puts her garter to auction on the night of the wedding. The winner (always a man) then receiving the privilege to take it off from the thigh of the bride with his teeth! This was because the guests, well before the onset of wedding lists, had to contribute financially to help start the new life of newlyweds, but this tradition has gradually been lost.

The bouquet

The tradition of the bride’s bouquet was born in France in fifteenth century. Then the bride did not throw the bouquet, instead male guests ran behind the bride until they reached it.

Over the years, the tradition has changed, and now the bride throws the bouquet for the single girls to catch.

Carrying the bride before across the threshold of their house

The groom must carry his wife when passing through the door of their house for the first time as newlyweds. This act should bring happiness to married life.

Photos from, Le secret d’Audrey. Pinterest364a0e83d540485e68c4cd76a8f64dc1 61a17700f7e0f0a10d3d22406580c55c wedding

Five Know-how rules about wine

Remove the capsule under the ring of the bottle .If the lead has been replaced by less hazardous synthetic materials for health and the environment, it is always considered to maintain this tradition.

Open the wine bottle

When you take your cap from the bottle, make sure it stays straight and does not break. This will prevent the cork of the old wines to fall into the bottle. To do this, pull your corkscrew, and made ​the quarter-turns from right to left.

Would you love to make noise by opening your bottle? This subtle noise “pop” fun! No, discretion is required under the rules of etiquette!

Wine service

Small details; serve the wine on retaining the label of the bottle on top, the little string that may leak when pouring will mess the back of your bottle!

Which serve first

Serve a few drops of wine into the glass in order to test it. With this delicate gesture, your guest will see how you make sure that the wine is of good quality. If this is the case continue to serve your guests.

The host should always take care that no one lacks wine during the meal. Women should never serve wine herself so, Madam, if you want to drink wine, ask for water! If your host is polite, he will offer vin 6bb33588c6379c61b49436aa7550875cyou wine!

Bonne dégustation!

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