Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter weekend à Paris

For Easter weekend I took advantage of a nice four day weekend thanks to some students on vacation and took it easy and relaxed here in Paris.

Lionel's parents came and stayed with us for the weekend and we spent our time relaxing in the garden, barbecuing, going for walks and relaxing. 

going for a relaxing walk along La Marne on Sunday

I know for some people that a long weekend with the in-laws at your house would be stressful and miserable, but I am VERY lucky and get along great with my in-laws, so the weekend was wonderful and relaxing.

The only thing that destroyed the weekend was the fact that I kept thinking about and stressing about work.  Such a shame to think about work the entire weekend, but for some reason I couldn't stop and it kept popping into my mind and making me feel sick and miserable.  So, needless to say, I was not at all thrilled to head back to work today and I'm just praying to make it thru the rest of this week and next week because then I'll be off to the US for vacation for two wonderful, work-free weeks!

Hope everyone else had a great Easter weekend as well!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mon mari is getting old...

On Wednesday Lionel celebrated his 35th birthday.  He's getting old!  But being the wonderful wife I am, I made him the birthday dinner that he's been dreaming about.  For years I've been listening to him talking about how he wants to eat la lotte (monkfish).  His mother apparently used to make a wonderful dish with la lotte and he's been dying to eat something like it again.  So, I scoured the internet and finally found a recipe with la lotte that sounded good and like something I would eat.

Since my last lesson was cancelled on Wednesday I was able to get home early, run to the store and then head back to the apartment to make his surprise birthday dinner.  En entrée we had scallops, en plat we had la lotte exotique au curry and en dessert we had key lime pie from another recipe I found on the internet.  He was quite happy with the meal and said it was even better than his mom's lotte so I was happy too.

Overall, I think he had a great birthday (even if he's ancient now!), better than mine where he was nice enough to offer to order sushi for delivery cause he couldn't be bothered to make me something or take me out to a restaurant... And for his birthday present he got a cooking lesson with l'Atelier des Chefs, something I just tried out this week and loved, and he was so jealous that I thought I would give him a cooking lesson with them for his gift.  So next Wednesday after work we are going to a cooking lesson called La bière s'invite en cuisine:  But more about that later!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

An American weekend

We had a pretty nice weekend this weekend.  It was pretty relaxing, and we didn't do much but it was very nice and very American.  Last night we took advantage of the nice weather and had our first barbeque of the season...American style bbq ribs with coleslaw, vegetable skewers, good Belgian beers and strawberries for dessert.  We were hoping to have a few friends over for a nice, quiet Saturday night in our garden with the new tiki torches I managed to find at Carrefour a few weekends ago, but no one wanted to come or was available, so it was just the two of us.  And in the end, it was pretty nice...just our little family - me, Lionel, and Rasteau (who was very happy to have his masters in the garden with him the entire evening!).  The ribs recipe was delicious and it was wonderful to cook together and spend the evening together, relaxing out in the garden and playing with the cat.

Then this morning I got up early and made a big American breakfast - scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese (because my Auchan started  selling cheddar at the cheese counter!!!), buttermilk pancakes and bacon.  It was delicious as well and I ALMOST felt like I was back at home in the US.  Plus, I didn't have to feel too guilty about using some of my American supplies since I will be back in the US in 3 weeks!

An overall great, calm weekend full of delicious American food!  It's making me really impatient to get back to the States in May!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Weekend à Grenoble en photos

Lionel and I spent the past weekend in Grenoble visiting friends, and it was an amazing weekend.  The weather was beautiful and we had a great time relaxing outside, visiting the city and exploring some of the nearby area.  A beautiful city and a wonderful location, surrounded by mountains!  It was our first visit, and we are already hoping to go back again soon!
Along the Isere River in Grenoble

the Isere

view of |Grenoble from la Bastille, a fort overlooking the city

Lionel and I up at the fort

the Grenoble area from the hike down from the fort

Grenoble and the beautiful mountains in the background!

so nice to see the mountains!

Grenoble from the park just below the fort

Lionel and I visiting the fort

Uriage-les-Bains, a small town we visited about 15 mins from Grenoble

Uriage-les-Bains

the hike up to visit the chateau in Uriage

Monday, April 4, 2011

Good times with another ami

Sorry for my absence, but I had another friend visiting from the US so I haven't really had the chance to post.  My friend Russ came to visit and we had a nice time in Paris and we spent a nice weekend in Tours.  Russ and I met in Tours, when we both went there to study for the first year of our Masters program.  This was his first trip back to France since we left Tours in May 2006 and he had a great time visiting Paris again and going back to Tours to visit some of our favorite places and to see some new things as well.  Lionel and I were also very happy to see him and overall it was another great visit from an American friend.

As you know, Tours is probably my favorite city in France and I have a lot of great memories there.  I was thrilled to go back again, and especially with a friend who I had originally met there.  It was great to go back and see some of our favorite places, check out the Quartier des 2 Lions, the area where we used to live, and see how it has changed in the past 5 years, and to just enjoy Russ' company.  We also were able to find the time to visit a new chateau while we were there - the Chateau d'Ussé (the castle that inspired Perrault to write Sleeping Beauty) - and do some wine tasting in Vouvray, my favorite appellation for white wines in France.  Lionel drove us down, and my friend Amy also came to check out the city I love so much.

Chateau d'Ussé

Lionel and I at the Chateau d'Ussé

Amy, Russ and I at the Chateau d'Ussé

view from the Chateau d'Ussé

Russ in the wine caves of the Chateau d'Ussé

the chateau had rooms showing different scenes from Sleeping Beauty.  Here is the prince (with the ugliest shoes I've ever seen) waking the princess Aurora.

Chateau de Villandry which we stopped at on the drive from Ussé to Tours.  Villandry is famous for its amazing gardens.

Russ and I enjoying a drink at one of our favorite bars in Tours - The Pale.

The brand new, super fancy, indoor/outdoor shopping center in the Quartier des 2 Lions in Tours.  If only this had been here when we lived here.  We drove all around it and there are tons of great stores and lots of little restaurants and cafes.  |Back when we lived here (right across the street from this shopping center) there was only a cinema, a bowling alley and a McDonalds in the quartier and we had to go into the city to do anything!

This is where we used to live, the building in the back, on the top floor.

Russ and I enjoying a coffee in the best square in Europe...Place Plumereau!

Amy and Russ wine tasting at the Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray.