Monday, July 14, 2014

Paris When It Sizzles On Happy Bastille Day~

The Fête de la Bastille is celebrated all over the U.S....and around the globe. As a symbol of freedom and hope for all people. And as a lovely excuse to throw a party, or to lunch at a French bistro ;)

Today, on her 17th birthday, the UN has declared that it's also Malala Day. For standing-up to the Taliban to defend education for girls she was shot in the head. With her recovery, she became a crusader for education. She leaves Jon Stewart speechless: (HERE). 

As a teenager, Audrey Hepburn also lived through four years of brutal occupation and deprivation during WWII in the Netherlands. 

Her uncles were taken out and shot, her father fled the country, her brothers went underground. She was on a line to be bussed to a concentration camp. When the armed guard looked away--she ran and hid in a wet basement full of rats for nearly a week until she felt it was safe to sneak back to her mother and grandfather.

Shortly after the war ended, she was an Oscar winning mega-star living her line from Paris When It Sizzles~ "When I wake up and I see there's a whole new other day, I just go absolutely ape!"

Billions today around the world are imprisoned. In hunger, fear, by doubts, wars and poverty, and by orchestrated circumstances of a rapidly changing world...including the dumbing-down of societies.

This short video is about how your power is in the now: (HERE).

And, an amusing 2-minute story archetype: "How To Write a Screenplay" from Paris When It Sizzles: (HERE).

Thank you so much for stopping by~

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Les-Baux-de-Provence A.O.C. Wines~

The locals who built Les-Baux-de-Provence's new jewel of resort--
Domaine de Manville--ensured that even the website
music is beyond sublime...(HERE).
Domaine de Manville 
The medieval village of Les-Baux-de-Provence~ 
The road up to Domaine de Manville resembles the many walking,
hiking, biking trails and roads in the area...
The picturesque hilltop village of Les-Baux-de-Provence
one of the top visited sites in France and
among the most beautiful villages in the world~
Van Gogh arrived in nearby Arles in 1888 where he lived for 2-years 
traveling throughout Provence to create over 400-paintings including
of Les-Baux. Impoverished while alive, his work today
commands the highest prices for individual paintings in world history...
Saint-Paul-de-Mausole in neighboring Saint-Rémy where Van Gogh
 painted his famous Starry Night and Self-Portrait.

Corks from the member vintners of the small, proud A.O.C.
Wines are organic or bio-dynamically produced...
Here we are in the furthest west A.O.C. along the Provence Wine Trail
represented in brown on the top-left side of the map...
                                                                           ~ ~ ~
“I longed for the pine trees and olive groves…Everything here speaks of families and eternity. The countryside reveals all that we have which is great, all that is real; it turns this inner greatness into a vocation…In Les Baux, grandeur has charm and charm is filled with a sense of grandeur.’ 
~André Suarez
~ ~ ~

On the western edge of the Provence Wine Route, an hour’s drive east from Aix-en-Provence, is the medieval village of Les-Baux-de-Provence that Van Gogh feverishly re-painted again and again...

One of the most beautiful villages in the world, it’s among the most visited villages in France, and at the epicenter of A.O.C. Les-Baux-des-Provence wines...

From the top of Les Baux’s rocky perch your eyes sweep over spectacular vistas of the Arles, the Alpilles Range, the Mediterranean, La Camargue—land of wild white horses. The few narrow cobblestone streets are jammed in summer—so arrive early AM or late PM, or visit in the fall or spring when they are empty. 

For a base from which to explore this paradise: Domaine de Manville is set on 100+ acres of an old farming estate and within the pine forests of the Alpilles Regional Park between the Rhône and Durance rivers...

Provence was inhabited by the Greeks from 600 BC, with their sensibility as homogeneous to the land as the vineyards and olive groves they planted... 

When owner-builders Edith and Patrick Saut designed thei30-room country resort around a courtyard dominated by ancient plane trees--they recognized that those trees so associated with Plato and Aristotle symbolize the search for knowledge, and care of body and soul...

The Domaine embodies pure Provençal as does the cuisine based on freshest natural local-sourced ingredients. Amenities include a magnificent in-house spa, hiking trail, and eco-oriented golf course. Nearby are colorful local Farmers markets, olive mills and vineyards, historic sights and charming villages...

Guided tours are available through vendors like Deluxe Drivers (HERE) and Provence Wine Tours (HERE). 

Enjoy the gorgeous music on the Domaine de Manville website while you read further about this oasis of sustainable quiet luxury: (HERE). 

A.O.C. Les Baux-de-Provence Wines

Care of the soil and environment is central to Les Baux-de-Provence  Wines, with 85%+ of the grapes grown either by organic or biodynamic means. A particularly beautiful domain is Le Château Dalmeran that dates back to 1531, which stages unforgettable music and art events...The Roman road, Via Domitia passed by its door. 
Carrières de Lumière, Les Baux de Provence~

Through January 5, 2015 the underground quarries just outside the village become backdrops for astonishing sound and light art shows. Monet, Renoir, Chagall and other artist works have been projected onto the immense rock walls with images swimming to musical accompaniment: (HERE).

Don McLean's gorgeous, "Starry Starry Night"...Thank you so much for stopping by... 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Come Away With Me Provence Wine Tour~

Rental information: (HERE) 

Photo Credit: John Kernick 
Ride bikes, journey by train, rent a retro camper, sail along the coast, or make it a distance power hike. However you traverse the breathtakingly scenic region--visit the Provence wineries that rooted in Ancient times remain the bedrock of this romantic landscape...

Today, 600 Provence winegrowers and cooperatives produce nearly 175 million bottles of wine annually--90% of it Rosé. The U.S. is their #1 export market with demand increased 400% over the last decade...

The sun-kissed Provence Wine Route stretches from outside of Nice to the Camargue, lavished with natural beauty, Provençal charms, and fascinating wineries that welcome guests with open arms... 

Over the next few days I’ll profile the jewel Provence Wine spots including where to stay, dine, and more. Recently we looked at beautiful Cassis along the Provence Wine Route: (HERE). 

In the meantime, an impressive and delicious summer dessert to serve 8 for the weekend from Gourmet.

Three-Layer Berry and Brown Sugar Pavlova~

Total time including baking, cooling and assembling: 2 1/2 hr.


For meringue:

Confectioners sugar for dusting
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
3/4 cup egg whites (from 5 to 6 large eggs) at room temperature 30 minutes

For berries:

1 1/2 pounds strawberries, trimmed and quartered
1 pound blackberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For cream:

1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/3 cup chilled sour cream


Make meringue:

Preheat oven to 275°F with rack in middle. Lightly butter 3 (8-inch) round cake pans, then dust sides of pans with confectioners sugar, knock out excess. Line bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper.

Pulse superfine sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a food processor until well combined.

Stir together vanilla and vinegar in a small bowl.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Increase speed to medium-high and add sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more. Add vanilla-vinegar mixture, then beat at high speed until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Lightly spoon meringue into pans (about 2 1/2 cups per pan) and smooth tops.

Bake until meringues have a crisp crust and feel dry to the touch, about 1 hour (insides will still be marshmallow-like).

Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool meringues in oven 1 hour. (Meringues may sink slightly and crack while cooling.)

Run knife along sides of cake pans and carefully turn meringues out of pans. Carefully peel off parchment (meringues will be fragile and the crust may crack further). Gently turn right side up.

While meringues cool toss berries with sugar and let stand at room temperature until ready to use (up to 1 hour).

Assemble dessert:

Beat heavy cream with sour cream using an electric mixer until it just holds soft peaks. Put 1 meringue on a serving plate and spread one third of whipped cream over it. Spoon one third of fruit (with juice) over top. Repeat with remaining meringues, cream, and fruit. 

"Come Away With Me" Norah Jones: (HERE). Thank you for stopping by~

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Alchemists of Art And Creativity~

Restaurant L'Orangerie

When Jacqueline Kennedy was a college girl traveling throughout Europe, she visited the famed art historian Bernard Berenson at his estate I Tatti in Florence. He advised her that everything has the power to enrich or diminish, and to choose wisely. "Why be with diminishing people?" 

Jackie was in love with creative expression for life. And like centuries of intellectuals, artists and students before her, Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore in Saint-Germain-des-Prés was a creative Mecca and wellspring where artists, thinkers and writers gathered. As a Sorbonne student she'd wrap herself in scarves to brave the post-WWII Paris cold and go there for the chance of a glance at Albert Camus...

Once while staying nearby for two weeks on Rue du Bac I made myself a morning regular, too. I thought about this last week after meeting a woman who as a child was horrifically abused...

She was so beaten-down and isolated that she wrote letters to colors...literally Dear a means of expression and to focus on something other than the horrors she was experiencing. Eventually after fighting her way back-up from long-term trauma, she became a prolific professional artist...

With her obvious innate talent one wishes it could have been nurtured from early childhood in a Montessori school, or equivalent. 

For what Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.  Sergey Brin and Larry Page, co-founders of Google. Julia Child, “The French Chef”. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Laureate in Literature, and Roger Federer, tennis star—share in common, is that they were enrolled as Montessori students from pre-school.

This week, I asked a former Montessori professional about what summer activities she recommends for children to help give them a strong start...

As a young woman in Holland she was astonished by the freedom within the Montessori structure, which in turn drew-forth the individual child's own innate creativity...

She won a scholarship and became a Montessori teacher herself, including in the U.S., providing the tools, materials and affirmative atmosphere to allow students to flourish. Including by taking her students on beach hikes to experience stimulating primal sights, scents, textures; the wonders and miraculously cohesive color combinations of nature...

Within that supportive environment children would naturally blossom. She suggests that for summer...most children benefit from the same nature hikes and drawing. If that sounds almost too simple, recall that French educators for many decades taught children graceful overall physical movement before calligraphy instruction. It's all connected...

We each are allocated the same 86,400 seconds in a day. And the same 31,536,000 seconds in a year. And are here to express our gifts. If thwarted the spirit and soul are deadened, and the results of that are visibly and spiritually apparent in society. Yet the reverse is also true...

We are our own alchemists of transformation when we listen to our heart, and evolve the inner creative spirit that lives in eternity, which inspires others to more creativity too...

To find a muse in The City of Lights: The Paris Muse: (HERE). Amazing school lunch program in Paris: (HERE). Thank you for stopping by~

Monday, July 7, 2014

Magical Le Presbytere In The Mythical Périgord Noir~

The above ideal French manor awaits you. Just 45-minutes from the astounding 15,000 B.C. cave paintings of Lascaux, in the rich Périgord Noir countryside near the Dordogne River, in the tiny village of Saint-Julien-de-Lampon...

Le Presbytere is situated in orchards alongside a 15th century church where you'll throw open the casement windows, lounge by the pool, or pick sun-ripened cherries and the only sounds you'll hear are birdsong and occasional church bells... 

This bucolic setting is under 40-minutes to the historic market town of Sarlat, along with many other outstanding venues that make this an exceptional getaway spot. Scroll (HERE) for nearby venues to visit...with excellent recipes included...

The ultra charming 16th century home with its high ceilings, stone walls, chef’s kitchen, and quality finishes throughout...includes fine linens in the 4-bedrooms, each with its own bathroom.

Near the pool is a shaded terrace adjacent to the pool house with a sitting area around a outdoor fireplace/ barbecue. Imagine you and your friends there sipping wine in the golden autumn...

Available extras: Private French cooking classes with a professional chef, Baby-sitting, hairdresser, and massage services by appointment.

Multimedia equipment includes: a micro Hi-Fi in every room, satellite TV, DVD players, fax, telephone, and WiFi.

Owner, Philippe's website: (HERE) and his overview: (HERE). I love his ideal of simplicity. To your Happy Week. Thank you for stopping by~