This past Saturday, we strolled a bit in the garden of the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, which is always lovely, but especially when the sun breaks through the clouds . . .
But even better than that, on Sunday, around noon, Pascale picked us up here . . . →
. . . since living right in the center of town makes getting to us a bit more challenging. She was bringing us back to Pascale and Jacky’s house to celebrate Jacky’s 70th birthday with family and some of their closest friends. What a treat to be included in the celebration.
I was a little intimidated at first, wondering how my language skills would hold up. And certainly a great deal of French went right by me, but it didn’t matter. A LOT was very fast and multiple conversations were going on all the time, as you would expect, and jokes were frequently of the jeu de mots variety (play on words–absolutely no idea how to pluralize that correctly in either language — jeux de mots and “plays on words” maybe, but it sounds weird in English, so who knows).
Anyway, I did manage to understand quite a bit and even converse with a few people. It helped that everyone was so very welcoming and friendly.
And it was just plain fun in any language. Antoine, who was sitting next to me at the table, was helpful and hilarious. ↓
We had no idea what was in store for us. We knew we would be wined and dined, but had no idea this party would last TEN hours. And it flew by. We started with champagne, ended (the first meal) with cognac and had amazing wines in between, not to mention the courses that just kept coming. Here’s Jean, who is working toward being a chef, assembling the entrée (which is the first course after the apero and amuse geules) . . . . ↓
Then of course le plat principal, then salade et fromage, then . . .
. . . le dessert, in this case a birthday gateau carrelet. A carrelet is a type of fishing hut on stilts from which one lowers a net into the sea and some time later brings it back up, preferably with fish in it. The “boulders” below were little eclairs, and the small white “rocks” were candy-covered almonds. Super creative.
So after several hours of eating and drinking, a number of the women took the dog for a walk and all the men, plus Anne-Marie and I, got in a couple of cars to go play pétanque. The first thing we learned is that you can play ANYWHERE.
Fortunately, both David and I acquitted ourselves reasonably well, and our team, Jacky’s team, won all three games. Nice for Jacky to win on his birthday, but there was a fair amount of chance and mischance involved, since we were playing in a random industrial construction zone, so the ball would hit a rock and go jetting off in a completely unexpected direction. Still, super fun. And don’t you love how great David is looking?
Then back to the house, where the aperitifs came back out and another smaller meal, but still with le plat principal, la salade, du fromage, et dessert. Pretty soon it was after 10:00 at night and time for Pascale, who had been slaving away all day, rather than drinking like the rest of us, to take us home.
We felt so very privileged to be included in this special day.
We had found a card to accompany our gift to Jacky which really says it all:
Être avec des gens qu’on aime, cela suffit . . . . ∼Jean de La Bruyère
(To be with people one loves, that is enough.)
Wishing you beautiful places, whenever possible, but more than that, beloved friends and family with whom to share special times, even if that means playing games among the rocks.