Archive for France

snapshot from Amiens [#2]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2016 by xi'an

main entrance to the cathedral of Amiens, France, March 27, 2016

church comics

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2016 by xi'an

During Easter break, a last minute airbnb reservation led us to visit the cathedral of Amiens (in North-East France, near the Battle of the Somme front) with its (42m) soaring ceilings and its immense nave. The central choir is surrounded by an ambulatory with niches of intricate polychrome sculptures of stories of saints that look like 3D-comics. Similar to those Jim and I already spotted in the cathedral of Chartres! In Amiens, there were several of them, including a vivid representation of the life and afterlife of Saint Fermin. (With an exhumation of his body (below) worth the visit by itself: the priest using the spade is so much into it!) As well as a life of John the Baptist, whose head was supposed to have ended up in the cathedral…

Calais, a negation of the most basic human rights!

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , on February 23, 2016 by xi'an

On Friday night, while cooking dinner, I was listening to François Hollande on the French national public radio (France Inter) and I got shocked at how serenely he could made a generic declaration of principles about Calais, after years and years of intentional inaction as a deterrent policy…

“A Calais, nous devons accueillir les personnes dignement” François Hollande, Feb. 19, 2016

“UNHCR remains concerned at the dire living and reception conditions in the makeshift sites around Calais.” Aug. 7, 2015

snapshot from the Rodin museum [#0]

Posted in pictures with tags , , , , on February 14, 2016 by xi'an


exceptional measures for exceptional circumstances, not as a new normality

Posted in Kids with tags , , , , , , on February 7, 2016 by xi'an

Since the mass assassinations of November 13 in Paris, France is in a “legal” state of emergency (état d’urgence). Which has been once again re-conducted a few days by the Parliament and which could even become part of the Constitution if the planned vote succeeds in a few days! Emergency state that gives more and more emergency powers to the executive branch of the French State and thus to the police, with lesser controls from the judiciary and the parliamentary branches of the State. Beyond this arbitrary reduction of civil liberties and rights, from the prohibition of demonstrations to extra-judiciary house arrests, recently denounced by Amnesty International and the UN and many local organisations, the government is pushing for another change in the Constitution that would deprive binationals terrorists of their French nationality. Quite absurd (as if those terrorists cared!), discriminatory (what of Égalité?!), schizophrenic  (“de-naturalising” someone  does not turn him or her into an alien, nor erases the fact that she or he was born and raised in France), and anti-republican… Even though I remain sceptic of their real impact, there are several petitions around calling for the end of the emergency state and the dismissal of the de-naturalisation.

total respect: “parfois résister, c’est partir”

Posted in pictures with tags , , , on January 27, 2016 by xi'an

Norman restaurants [Ivan’s star]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2016 by xi'an

Visiting relatives for the New Year break, I had two wonderful opportunities to sample chef’s restaurants in Normandy. One was Ivan Vautier’s IV in Caen, who had recently lost one Michelin star out of two, but seems to deserve two from the quality of the food and service we received for lunch. For instance, this poached egg… (Definitely above the X I tested twice in 2015.) Plus a great touch of connecting with the local producers, whose pictures were posted in the entrance to the restaurant. The second restaurant was Pavillon de Gouffern, located in a forest near Argentan (and almost on the path of my traditional half-marathon). Worth recommending if only for the setting, in a former hunting lodge, superbly quiet with great views. Plus a well-made scampi risotto, ultimately creamy. And a wide collection of local pear-ciders.


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