Salade de tomates

Nothing says summer like fresh vine-ripened tomatoes. So, when a girlfriend offered some from her garden, I was thrilled to accept. This was the perfect opportunity to try a classic summer salad that I love, but have never prepared: a tomato salad. 

Refreshing, flavorful, and healthy, this quick and easy recipe comes from one of my favorite everyday French cooking websites and is absolutely perfect.

Step 1
  • Wash and quarter four tomatoes and place them in a bowl. 
  • Chop one half of a small red onion and add it to the bowl.
  • Chop ten stems of fresh cilantro, five stems of fresh chives and add them to the bowl. 
  • Carefully blend the ingredients. 
Step 2
  • In a separate bowl, prepare a vinaigrette by mixing one table spoon of olive oil and one table spoon of white vinegar, a dash of salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. 
Step 3
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the tomato, onion, herb mixture. 
  • Blend carefully and serve. 
Bon appetit!


Happy Valentine's Day!

As a former English major, with a focus on medieval literature, I thought I share a bit of history on one of my favorite holidays....

Saint Valentine's Day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards  - known as "valentines". 

In Europe, Saint Valentine's keys are given to lovers as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart, as well as to children, in order to ward off epilepsy (called Saint Valentine's Malady). Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. 

Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.



The Festival of Lights: A Lyonnaise Tradition

The Festival of Lights or le Fête des Lumières, in Lyon, France expresses gratitude toward Mary, mother of Jesus around December 8th of each year. This uniquely Lyonnaise tradition dictates that every house place candles along the outsides of all the windows to produce a spectacular effect throughout the streets. The festival includes other activities based on light and usually lasts four days, with the peak of activity occurring on the 8th.

The origins of the festival date to 1643 when Lyon was struck by plague. On September 8, 1643 the municipal councillors (échevins) promised to pay tribute to Mary if the town was spared. Ever since, a solemn procession makes its way to the Basilica of Fourvière on 8 December (the feast of the Immaculate Conception) to light candles and give offerings in the name of Mary. In part, the event thus commemorates the day Lyon was consecrated to the Virgin Mary.



I never tire of looking at the Louvre. It is incredibly beautiful from every vantage. This photo was take in 2012 from the Pont Royal. 


Easter in Paris

If you're fortunate enough to be in Paris for Easter, plan carefully and celebrate in style. This primarily Catholic city offers everything for a traditional celebration: delicious chocolate confections, some of the most beautiful churches in Europe, and luxurious settings for brunch. Plus, Easter Monday is an official holiday in France. 

Joyeuses Pâques!


La Reine Margot

One of my favorite French films is La Reine Margot Released in 1994 and directed by Patrice Chéreau. It's based on the 1845 historical novel by Alexandre Dumas and stars Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteuil, Virna Lisi and Vincent Pérez. 

La Reine Margot is set in the late 16th century when Protestant Huguenots and Catholics were fighting over political control of France, which is ruled by the neurotic, hypochondriac King Charles IX and his mother, Catherine de' Medici, a scheming power player. Catherine decides to make an overture of goodwill by offering up her daughter Margot (Isabelle Adjani) in marriage to Henri de Bourbon (Daniel Auteuil), a prominent Huguenot and King of Navarre. She also schemes to bring about the notorious St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572, when thousands of Protestants are slaughtered. The marriage goes forward but Margot, who does not love Henri, begins a passionate affair with the soldier La Môle (Vincent Pérez), also a Protestant from a well-to-do family. 

Poisonings, murders, and intrigue ensue...


Brasserie Bofinger

Opened in 1864 and most recently renovated in 1921, Brasserie Bofinger is an absolute must for anyone looking for a pre- or post-Opera dinner. 

Not only is the food delicious, but the art and décor is a cornucopia of Belle Epoque design at its very best. Everything from the revolving door, spiral staircase, black leather bench seats, and bronze wall sconces to the ceramic vases by artisan Jérôme Massier and tulip-shaped lights by Müller Frères evoke the late 19th century style. Architect Legay, interior designer Mitgen and master glass makers Néret and Royé were in charge of the renovation. 

Bofinger is a feast for the eyes and tummy!