Monday, July 19, 2010
Searching for the real France
This morning I arrived at Charles De Gualle airport in Paris; me and 300 sleepy passengers, stumbling off the plane, into the light, and then down a tunnel into the baggage claim area, all tapping our feet, wondering whether we'd ever see that bag we packed 2 days ago. Why is it that baggage claim is your first hint of what the country will be like---I think that's pretty unfair, since France is a lovely country, once you get outside of the cities. Although my friends love Paris, it's not my favorite city --- granted it's got great art, food, and culture, but it's also congested, sprawling, and today it's an oven. I hopped over to St. Germain des Pres on the Metro and stopped in at Simrane a lovely store that sells linens and some women's furnishings; the ride over on the metro was hot, hot, hot, and reeked of BO, sweat, leather and gym socks. I walked back to the hotel, it was worth the sun burn. Tomorrow I will be going to the real France, the one that isn't crowded with tour buses, or Ma and Pa from East Oshkosh complaining about everyone speaking a foreign language, and the pace is slower. When I come to Europe, I want my clock to slow down---I'd stay at home if I wanted to continue at Mach II. A two hour ride on the TGV high speed train to Angouleme, then we will be picked up and whisked another 2 hours away to La Combe en Perigord (www.lacombe-perigord.com) for a week in the Dordogne. I'll have students, and we'll do 3 hands on cooking classes, but the rest of the time we will be going to markets, seeing the incredible sights this part of France has to offer, including the prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux. And the food---if you ask any Frenchman where the best food is in their country, they will say the Dordogne. Foie gras, goat cheese, walnuts, prunes, and Bergerac wines---I'm ready and will be posting this week as time allows with photos and stories, as we savor the joy of the real France.