Adventures and misadventures in France.

Archive for July, 2013

Let’s hit the road!

I can’t tell who is more excited to drive today…

Jojo car

From Dingy to Dramatic

Following the design process for our company’s new building has been fascinating. Today, Max created a 3D model of how the building will look post-renovation.

Here is the original building, on the day the company purchased it :

Here is how the building looks now, after the exterior power-wash and interior demolition :

And here’s Max’s design of the finished project :


Update : BZar offered that the building may be inspired by the iconic Centre Pompidou museum of contemporary art in Paris, known for it’s exposed beams, utilities piping, and structural elements. I’m curious to hear other thoughts about this!

My last visit to the Centre Pompidou was way back in 2010 during my semester abroad, but I’d love to go back!

La Politesse

There are plenty of awful stereotypes about people from different countries. According to Max, Americans are all overweight, the British are uptight and can’t cook, and Germans have too many rules. When I asked him if he was aware of stereotypes of the French, he simply replied, “We’re too awesome?”

No, I informed him, people think that the French are rude and snobbish.

“What!” he responded, “but la politesse (politeness) is so important to us!”

I’d like to believe that most stereotypes of French people is based on tourist experiences in Paris. True, Parisians don’t go out of their way to speak English or welcome foreigners into their city. But a similar distinction would be if all foreigners believed that every American acted like a New Yorker.


My experiences living in rural and southern France have only shown how friendly, welcoming, and polite they can be. The people who work in our local library, boulangerie, hair salon, restaurant, and convenience store all go out of their way to say hello, ask about recent vacations, and mention that they know your landlord. In my opinion, you haven’t seen the true French politesse until, as I experienced today, a 4-year-old neighbor on a tricycle takes their pacifier out to say “Bonjour!”

Expat Women

Expat Women is an online resource center and blog for women living and working abroad. I’ve been happy to read about the experiences of other women in similar situations, both in France and other parts of the world, as they manage to balance their home culture with their newly adoped one.

Expat Women - Inspiring Your Success Abroad

Tina and Jojo

These two are puppy soul mates.

“Toss the Hay Bale” and Other Traditions

Another day, another local French tradition. We had the opportunity to visit Max’s hometown for La Fete du Roy, or the King’s Festival to celebrate France’s medieval heritage. Every year, the village gathers together and chooses a roi and a renne, who they then dress in traditional costumes and parade through the town. In the afternoon, we enjoyed crepes and a traditional beverage made with red wine, honey, and ginger, while people participated in a variety of games. One involved tossing a bale of hay with a pitchfork, a bowling-like game called quilles, and a  bocce-like game called palets played with small metal disks. Later in the evening, a theatre troupe called the Campagnie Patrick Cosnet gave a bizarre and lively musical homage to the comedy singer Pierre Perret.

Bienvenue, Kate!

We received a visit from Kate all the way from MA! We spent a lovely couple of days catching up and eating regional cuisine. We visited a lovely restaurant in Nantes, Kate and I woke up early to buy breakfast pastries at the boulangerie, and Max made delicious galettes and crepes.

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