Bon Appétit!

Last week David commented that the fatigue evident in my last two posts was beginning to make it seem like we needed to get on a plane and go home, so new rule: Sleep more. Whine less. Or as Jessica Hagy* says, Less crankiness. More marveling.”                     *See my quotes page for more gems from her.

So I offer my apologies for the grumbling. I assure you, dear readers, we both remain deeply grateful for this journey and all it entails, and especially right now for the chance to live for a short while in beautiful La Rochelle.

La Rochelle from Tour de la Lanterne -- Photo by Chelsea
La Rochelle from Tour de la Lanterne — Photo by Chelsea (Click on any photo to enlarge.)
Atlantic as seen from atop Tour de la Lanterne -- Photo by Chelsea
Atlantic as seen from atop Tour de la Lanterne — Photo by Chelsea

Now that we’re back here after seeing Brittany off, I finally have time to write about some of the previously neglected touring, shopping, and in this post, dining that we experienced while Chelsea and later, Brittany were here. And bonus, Chelsea has sent me some of her photos, like the two above and this one, all taken in La Rochelle. Thanks, Chelsea!

Photo by Chelsea
Photo by Chelsea

Aside from being VERY photogenic, France is of course famous for dining, be it café, brasserie, bistrot or restaurant, and David and I have a few favorite spots in La Rochelle we were anxious to share with our visiting daughters, like Les 4 Sergents. So a few days into her visit, we took Chelsea there for lunch to meet Pascale and Jacky.

Lunch ended up being multilingual, rather than the usual bilingual. It worked like this:

  • David: English, a few words of French (like bonjour, merci)
  • Jacky: French, the occasional word of English
  • Pascale: French, some German,  a few words of English
  • Chelsea: English, German
  • Sunny: English, increasingly solid intermediate-level French
  • Waiter: French (and most likely at least some English as well)

Chelsea sat next to Pascale so they talked together a bit in German. Pascale and Jacky spoke to all of us in French, which I then translated into English for David and Chelsea, who in turn would make comments or ask questions in English that I would translate into French for Pascale and Jacky. Between talking to le serveur in French, all the translating, and trying to eat my lunch, I got so discombobulated, once Pascale said a few words in English and I turned to David and translated them into French, then quickly back into English, when I realized what I had done. He gave me one of his long-suffering looks, and said, “Yeah, got that.” Oops.

Chelsea had this beauty for desert:

Dessert at Les 4 Sergents, La Rochelle -- Photo by Chelsea
Dessert at Les 4 Sergents, La Rochelle — Photo by Chelsea

Absolutely art on a plate. And I loved the silver. Even the backs of the spoons were gorgeous. The food and the company: as wonderful as ever.

When Brittany visited, instead of meeting Pascale and Jacky at a restaurant, they invited us chez eux (to their house) for another of the fun table BBQ’s we had enjoyed so much a few months ago. Here’s Jacky with the amazing wine we had after les apéritif, to accompany the foie gras du Périgord:

Jacky with wine to accompany the foie gras
Jacky with wine to accompany the foie gras

Note the electric grill under the silver tray. After les apéros (during which we had champagne and tiny nibbles) comes l’entrée (or first course — the foie gras and the wine above, in this case), then le plat (main, usually meat course with red wine), which is where the grill comes in. We had raved so much about how much fun it was, like a fondue party except with a grill, they were kind enough to offer a repeat. Merci beaucoup! 

Next, du fromage (cheese), and usually salad, but no one had room for that.

Fromage
Fromage

Then dessert (with cognac), then café, made in a fascinating glass cafetière Hellem, that looks like something from a chemistry lab. All absolutely delightful, as usual.

Chelsea in Paris
Chelsea in Paris

Chelsea’s first dining experience in Paris went very well, but her first dining experience in La Rochelle did not go quite as well. At a port-side café the waiter managed to dump a full dish of bright orange dressing into her lap, and pretty much all over her darling black and white summer dress.  He was of course very apologetic and her meal was free, but she still had to walk through the crowded town looking, as she noted, like an illustration from the children’s book The Big Orange Splot. As they say here, Hou-là-là-là-là-là-là! (Roughly, YIKES!)

Fortunately, the shops were nearby and open. Unfortunately, she was walking with David and Will, who are . . . you know, men . . . so not super patient with shopping. However, she managed to quickly find a dress so cute, I made her take me back to the store the next day so I could buy one.

Which brings me back to gratitude. Thank you, friends and family, for patience when I’m grumpy, for meals shared and memories made, and for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. And thanks to God, for the grace of lessons taught with gentleness.

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ∼Denis Waitley

Even in the most peaceful surroundings, the angry heart finds quarrel. Even in the most quarrelsome surroundings, the grateful heart finds peace. ∼Doe Zantamata

Wishing you grace and peace and a heart full of gratitude.

 

One thought on “Bon Appétit!”

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