Little Dancer Aged Fourteen


Not long to go to a talk with my daughter, Rachel on the Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. It's for the Cercle français de Belfast and will cover Edgar DEGAS' sculptural masterpiece and Camille LAURENS' book of the same name published by Les Fugitives press.  Oh, and Théophile GAUTIER gets plenty of attention too thanks to his short treatise on Le RAT - the name given to the young dancers at the Paris Opéra.

One of those "little rats" is the subject of the talk, Marie Geneviève van GOETHEM.  She was born in 1865 and grew up to be our Little Dancer and model for Degas. 

Check out the Cercle here and the book at Les Fugitives available here.

It's fascinating and well worth a read. 

Maybe see you there?

Chez Max - Alliance Française Dublin

Now that was a substantial and great value lunch. Moules frites and a Moroccan stew. 

The mussels were enough for two - a huge portion.

Très bon rapport qualité-prix.

Next time you are in Dublin give yourself a treat and visit Chez Max at the Alliance in Kildare Street. It's like being in France for an afternoon.

Check it out here.

Feet up for the Fête Nationale


Marking the occasion of France's National Day - La Fête Nationale - by putting my feet up.

There's all sorts of marching going on along the Champs Elysées and it would be nice to be there but nice too to be at home, shoes off self, showing off socks!

Bonne Fête Nationale ! 

Au revoir France Magazine

An old friend has left the magazine shelves - France - the magazine for Francophiles.  I collected it for very many years, since the 1980s and started becoming a subscriber with Issue 2.  Back then it was published four times a year and was a very collectible publication. You could even get slip cases to hold four issues, the series for a year.

Later it was published monthly and still managed to retain its freshness with new and interesting articles. While sometimes some features would recur they always had a different angle or approach.

Back then the magazine had competitions and I was lucky there on a couple of occasions winning some lovely French-themed books.  But my special win was a return Motorail package with ferry crossings between any two rail stations.  I opted for Calais to Nice return!

Eventually decades of issues built up and I decided on recycling and give aways. I have held on to several significant issues: The 150th offering and the homage to Paris edition following tragic events there.

FranceMag as it was affectionately known has now been absorbed within the France Media group's France Today.  It too is a superb offering and what I particularly like is the online information that forms a key part of the subscription package.  It is published six times a year but so far no sign of slipcases!

Au revoir France ! You were the next best thing to being there!

For more information on the France Today subscription packages, click here.




It was nice to come across an old box of French coins - francs and centimes - in use before the country moved to the Euro in early 2002.  For some reason, call it coincidental, I decided to check on how many francs there were to the Euro back then and I discovered that the conversion rate was €1: 6,55 francs.

I also discovered that the old French coinage ceased to be legal tender on 17 February 2002 when the Euro became the official currency.

A coin-cidental twentieth anniversary.

Stay@home with the Beaujolais Crus

I have been toying for a long time with this idea: 
Taking a stay@home wine tour through the Beaujolais Crus. 

I like Beaujolais and find it an excellent food friendly wine.  It's made with the Gamay grape and there are ten distinct classifications.  Over the next weeks and months I aim to taste each of them. Some have been favourites down the years and some are old friends with whom to get reacquainted.

Above is an acrostic and below a set of clues.  If you would like to join me on this stay@home journey then use the clues to work out the name of the cru and then look out for tasting notes in future posts on this blog.

Here are the clues:

1.   Starting to get foggy in France. (8)

2.   A flower field? (7)

3.   A windmill in France. (6,1,4)

4.   This one on the side. (4,2,8)

5.   Includes a girl's name or a boy's with an extra letter. (8)

6.   Others have left too. (6)

7.  Ends in Russian currency. (11)

8.  Like oak at the beginning. (6)

9.  A French girl's name slightly mixed up. (6)

10. Valentine loves this one. (5,5)

We won't be tasting in this order as much will depend upon availability but in any case I hope you'll join me and share your impressions.