Sunday, October 28, 2007

Let them eat cake, or, duck lollipops, as the case may be

This last weekend, Smith organized a trip to Versailles, which is only a 30 minute RER ride away. On the way there, we had a thoughtful discussion about why a person would shave off their eyebrows only to tatoo them back on. You know? Well, Versailles was pretty fantastic, for many reasons. One of the things that I like best about France is that everything has an impressive history. Not only that, but Versailles makes its way into almost every art history class. So it was humbling to be somewhere that played an important part in French history but also in artistic movements. The Chateau was a little overwhelming, but I very much enjoyed Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon and little farm. The farm was darling as well as her little getaway. Which wasn't really little, but actually could have housed at least two families and had very lush decoration. We also really enjoyed imitating the funny statues that were scattered everywhere.

While Versailles was fun, the best part of my week was the party I went to last night. Mami, the mother of my host father, turned 90 yesterday and there was a big partay. My host mother insisted that I come by so that I could witness a real french party. Also, Mami lives in a FANTASTIC apartment right near the Charles de Gualle étoile. Fantastic. Molding on the ceilings, stained glass window, magnificent marble fireplace, all the works. My host father was born in this house, as well as his three other siblings. Now, Mami has 12 great-granchildren and she still looks great. Also impressive was the entire Lebelle family which had assembled for the party. Nicole (my host mother, also known as Ninou by her grandchildren) insisted that I come to witness the whole family and also eat food. The party was catered and the food was pretty fantastic. I started off with a glass of champagne and was then offered a little duck lollipop. It kind of tasted like the inside of a wonton, but with duck. I couldn't really tell you what was in it, I can just tell you that it was fabulous. Then little scallops came out in tiny monkey dishes and then there was cheese/lobster ravioli. There was also a giant cake for Mami that involved exotic fruits and ganache. Then the children discovered the ice cubes and started to put them in people's shirts. But I think the kids liked me because one of them sat on my lap for awhile and I read her a story. Then a 7 year old corrected my French, another humbling experience.

So now we're off to the Gallery Opening for Guillome, the son of Nicole and François at the Bateau Lavoir. A good weekend, no?

1 comment:

Ali and Shaz said...

Fascinating! We were always regretful that we never got to see how the real French live. Most of our friends were ex-pats like us. And most of our French friends here have really adopted our American ways.