Friday, 1 July 2011

French Seduction

I read with interest the article by Julien Russell Brunet in today's Globe & Mail on "Lessons in seduction", an interview with Elaine Sciolino, New York Times Paris correspondent on her new book "La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life"

I couldn't agree more with one comment in the article "The French seem to take pleasure in life more than we North Americans do with our puritanical, work-driven culture.  They have created and perfected pleasurable ways to pass the time: perfumes to sniff, gardens to wander in, wines to drink, objects of beauty to observe, conversations to carry on and it's almost as if they give themselves permission to fill this need for pleasure..."

I have to confess that our three visits to France have been among the most pleasurable of our annual trips.  And I think it has a lot to do with this French enjoyment of life, less consideration for the "bottomline" but more for the quality of the experience.  We went into a bakery in Gordes just as they were about to close.  Our meagre purchase of 3 pieces of dessert must have amounted to less than 5 Euros.  The purchase was patiently boxed and beribboned as if it were a precious gift.  What a pleasant surprise!  It no doubt also made the dessert taste better!

The apartments we have stayed in have always been well-stocked with all the "essentials" for French cooking - olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper and other spices, tea, coffee.   Not something we would ever expect in North America or even the rest of Europe (for the price we pay).  There was a stark contrast when the last time we spent a week in Prague after a week in Paris.  The Prague apartment kitchen was stocked with a large bottle of salt, and nothing else.

Fresh flowers awaited us in our Ansouis apartment

A young lady enjoying mussels for lunch in Marseilles - yep, we watched her finish the contents of the entire pot


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