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!

Assumption feast in France

The Feast of the Assumption of Mary celebrates the Catholic belief that the Virgin Mary’s spirit and body was assumed to heaven. It is an important occasion for village and church festivals and is a public holiday in France.

The long weekend of the Assumption, in the middle of the month of August and the summer, has a flavour of summer vacation for working people who go to join their families or vacationing friends. In many villages in France, the month of August coincides with village festivals. They are often organised for the occasion of this long weekend.

Assumption is one of the greatest feast days of Christian life. It celebrates the glory of Mary with God at the end of her earthly life. Mary, after her death, was taken from earthly life to “enter into the life of God”. Assumption Comes from a Latin word which means “to lift” – and should be distinguished from the weekend of Ascension, in the spring.

The feast of the Assumption is celebrated throughout the world by Catholics who gather in many places around 15 August. In France, there are a great many churches dedicated to Mary where you can enjoy the celebration.

In Paris, Catholics organise a river procession on the Seine around the Islands of Saint-Louis and the Cité. The Festival in honour of Mary in Puy-en-Velay and the international procession in Notre-Dame du Puy are also famous. The sanctuary of Lourdes also welcomes thousands of pilgrims for this occasion.

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Traditional Baguette

Traditional Baguette

Crispy on the outside and soft inside, while in France, all foreigners fall in love with it. For the French it is still the bakery’s diva that no one resists.

We know of two different versions about the baguette ́s origin. The first one says that the bread appeared under the Napoleonic regime; the bread was round for better preservation; it is said that the recent form had been invented by Napoleon’s bakers as the easiest way to transport it by the soldiers who carried them in their pants. We still have doubts about the baguette ́s condition after a day of walking!

Another theory suggests that the baguette’s form knows its origin in Vienna. The Viennese bread was imported into France in the nineteenth century and then developed in the 1920s in Paris. A law prohibiting the bakers work before 4am encouraged the development of the baguette because its preparation required less time kneading and baking than the round bread.

The bread is a symbol of France and, perhaps more than ever, bakers are looking for excellent quality in the bread they make and for the greatest delight of the French.

Easy recipe:

For 2 Baguettes

300 g of water

2tbsp of salt

1 tea spoon of sugar

490 g of flour

1 packet of yeast of “Boulanger Briochin”

A bread machine to make the dough and knead

Place all ingredients in the bread machine; once the dough is kneaded, shape the dough on the table; take the form of a baguette, and then put a damp cloth on it.

Bake at 200°c for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden Brown.

Bonne dégustation!

baguette

baguette, photos from Pinterest

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Perfumes in France

The history of perfume has been throughout the history of mankind. From the times of the Neolithic pottery to the today travel spray. Recipes have been found on papyrus of ancient Egypt and have been now used as international industrial patterns in the industry today. And let’s not forget the perfume lovers, Catherine de Medici, Marie-Antoinette and Napoleon: the history of perfume is a story of civilizations.

The first perfume was born in the temples of ancient times, accompanied by the rituals, myths and cultural beliefs. In the Middle Ages it was used for protection against epidemics and a short time after it become a factor of social distinction. In the seventeenth century, the court of France allowed the perfume corporations to officially establish themselves in the country; now the trade developed and the cities of Montpellier and Grasse experienced a considerable growth until the nineteenth century.

With industrialization, the scent became more democratic, benefitting from discoveries in chemistry and allowing big houses to create incomparable products such  as “No. 5”, which mark the now  modern times. For hundreds of years, the perfume experts of Grasse have been innovating and exploring new ways to extract the fragrances from various plants and substances, and visitors in town today can enjoy a multi-sensory experience at its  perfume museum.

Over the centuries, fragrances and their uses have changed significantly and perfumers are more detailed to capture the richness and complexity of fragrances. Nowadays the perfume explores attitudes, science and industry. Perfumes are part of mythology, customs, trade and emotions and they also give voice to the great “nose” of Chanel, Guerlain, Dior, Hermes or Cartier

 

perfumes

Grasse. Image from Pinterest

perfume in France

Office de Tourisme Grasse, Musée du parfum.

Roquefort, the cheese of Kings

Roquefort is a popular French cheese, reported to be a favorite of the  Emperor of Charlemagne. In France, it is called the ‘cheese of kings’. Roquefort is made exclusively from the milk of the red Lacaune ewes that graze on the huge plateau of Rouergue, Causses in the Aveyron. Genuine Roquefort is rich, creamy and has a sharp, tangy, salty flavor.

According to legend, a romantic shepherd… following in the tracks of his shepherdess… forgot some bread and ewe’s cheese in one of the Combalou caves. On his return some time later, he discovered the cheese covered in mould. He tasted it and found it delicious,thus Roquefort cheese was born. Guardian of this savoir-faire, man has kept up this tradition in the depths of the caves and the same miracle occurs time and time again.

For the table service and to enjoy its flavor it should be cut in slices ranging from edge to cheese heart; a cut in the rules of the cheese is more presentable and appetizing. This cheese is served at room temperature, about 16°C. Remember to take out the cheese before serving (1 hour before consummation) and to accompany it with a sweet wine such as Sauterne or Porto.

Taste the Roquefort cheese with other flavors; it goes very well with pear and fig jam.  It is also used a lot in salads and dressings.

Bonne dégusation!

roquefort

roquefort

roquefort

roquefort

Les caves Roquefort Ste. Aveyron

Les caves Roquefort Ste. Aveyron

Four o’clock break, an essential meal!

Set in a key moment of the day, the four o’clock break is beneficial after school and even now during the holiday.

As the afternoon tea, French people love the taste break! 55% of people aged between 15-64 years old have at least 4 times per week a light meal between usual meals. Good healthy dietary habits avoid snacking.

Snacking is to eat something low in vitamins and minerals between meals (pastries, chocolate, soda…), under many excuses like stress, anxiety or just greed and actually participates in nutritional imbalance.

While the 4 o’clock break is handle by hunger and respond to the official recommendations. The perfect four-hour break consists to consume three dairy products a day, five fruits and complex carbohydrates.

Tasted during the afternoon, it also adapts to changing our lifestyles (quick lunch, late dinner …). Thus the balanced of this break offers a time of “petits bonheurs” and allows a real moment of conviviality.

b15368b8247b9f123bdb351c10814131 4 o'clock break

 

 

 

 

Traditional Bastille Day

Fireworks are almost always on the menu in Paris Bastille Day celebrations, and usually light up the skies at around nightfall. Often launched in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower, the Saint Germain des Près district, and around Montparnasse, fireworks displays can be enjoyed from other spots around the city, providing you are high up enough to get a good vantage. Some suggested spots are the viewpoint from the roof of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Montmartre, or Belleville.
The Bal du 14 juillet is a giant dance party traditionally held on the Place de la Bastille (where the stormed prison once stood)on the evening before Bastille Day (July 13th). A different theme is chosen each year, usually providing an opportunity to don elaborate costumes and hear live music.
A traditional military parade on the Champs-Elysées starts near the Arc de Triomphe on the famed Avenue on the afternoon of July 14th and spreads across Paris. A moving tribute, or pomp and circumstance? A matter of taste.
Firemen’s’ Galas: France has a unique– and quirky– tradition of firehouses opening their doors to the general public on July 13th and 14th for the occasion of Bastille day, offering live demonstrations and dancing. Kitschy fun guaranteed. Donations are generally asked for at the door.

14 Juillet

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