December 24, 2011

Noël Blanc

FBF played for me this French remake of the American classic, White Christmas, and I can't get enough.

Coeur de Priate - Noël Blanc

He said, "I think it sounds really American with all the trumpets."

I had no idea that trumpets were America, but there you have it.

I think it sounds really French as she is singing in français. Plus she's managed to make Christmas a lot sexier. I love how the French language can do that with just about anything.

Regardless of whether it's more French or more American, it's a great little tune to put you in the holiday spirit.

Joyeaux Noël!

December 20, 2011

Statue: Lille A Ses Fusilles

During La Grande Guerre (the “Great” War, aka the WWI), Lille was under German occupation. Some Lillois stayed loyal to the French Republic and started a resistance movement.

Unfortunately for the individuals who made up the resistance group called comité Jacquet, the German soldiers discovered them and had them executed. The same was true for Léon Trulin, an 18-year-old student, who was caught while attempting to pass on intelligence to England.

In order to honor these brave men who died for their country, France dedicated the monument entitled Lille À Ses Fusilles to them in 1929.

Lille à ses Fusilles. The five men represented are (from right to left): George Maertens, Eugène Deconynck, Sylvère Verhulst, Eugène Jacquet, and Léon Trulin.

The four men who are awaiting execution are the members of comité Jacquet. None of them are looking at the executioner, denying the German authority until the very end.

The man who is already shot and lying on the floor is Léon Trulin. All five were sculpted after numerous discussions with their friends and family in order to get their faces right.

But the story of this statue does not end there.

During La Seconde Guerre Mondiale (WWII), the Germans once again occupied Lille. Upon seeing the monument to those who defied them the first time around, they took at it with pickaxes until it was destroyed.

France didn’t let the statue die with the German occupation, however, and set about rebuilding it. In 1960, the new, identical monument was reinstalled and is still around today.

Check it out:
Square Daubenton
Lille 59800

December 13, 2011


My introduction to the cheese the North is famous for, Maroilles, was at the very beginning of my relationship with FBF. Because he’s French, I met pretty much his entire family (mom, sister, sister’s boyfriend, and aunt) within two weeks of meeting him.

It was a big family dinner, and as such I was served an appero (cocktail), an entré (appetizer), a plat (main dish), fromage (cheese), and then a dessert.

Wanting to impress, I made sure to taste everything that was served (as long as it was vegetarian).

When it came time to the cheese course, La Soeur asked me, “as-tu déjà gouté du maroilles?” (Have you already tried maroilles?)

I had not. After admitting to not having heard of it before, she raced off to the kitchen to find one of the smelliest cheeses I have still ever smelt. The rest of the family refused to try it, but hoping to make a good impression, I cut off a small slice.

I felt very much as Kad Merad’s character in Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis does after his first taste of the stuff when he says, “oh c’est aussi fort une fois que c’est dans l’interior?” (Oh, it’s still this strong once in the mouth?)

It was terrible. I said I didn’t like it more with my facial expression than with my words, and everybody had a good laugh. As it turned out, there was a reason no one in the family wanted a slice of the stuff.

What they had neglected to tell me is that to really enjoy maroilles, you’re supposed to cook it first. Melted maroilles is super delicious and tastes completely different from fresh-from-the-refrigerator maroilles.

I'm pretty sure La Soeur took advantage of my lack of Nordist knowledge to get me to eat cold maroilles in order to see how I took a joke. I think I took it pretty well.

A tarte au maroilles, complete with frites and a salad.
This one's from Les Compagnons de la Grappe, and it was heavenly.

I haven't let eating cold maroilles ruin this delicious cheese for me forever. I’ve now had many tartes au maroilles (a regional specialty of melted maroilles, pastry, and various other ingredients such as milk, eggs, cream, etc) with each one being a delight for my taste buds.

December 8, 2011

Bruges Christmas Market

After reading Lonely Planet’s article about 5 great cities for Christmas markets and seeing Bruges listed as #3, FBF and I decided to pay the city a visit in December.

Wrapped in scarves and warm winter coats, we spent a lovely evening in the medieval city turned Christmas village.

The actual marché (market) part was a bit disappointing. There was only one small square with cabins selling objects, where there were also carnival type rides (bumper cars for Christmas?), and then there was the central square where most of the cabins were selling only food and drink.

The central square also hosted an ice skating rink with a beautiful view of the city’s bell tower. FBF doesn’t like ice-skating, so instead we spent our evening wandering the city’s many charming streets.

All the already beautiful buildings became a winter wonderland transformed by garlands, lights, and Christmas trees. It was magical.

A Christmas tree at la place Burg.

Some buildings with Christmas decorations at La Grand Place.

View of the canal and the bell tower, plus lovely Christmas lights.

To top it all off, we found a small hidden courtyard decorated with giant light up swans, Bruges' symbol.

Me kissing the light-up swan.

We had a lovely dinner in the city, and after a last look at all the Christmas splendor we headed back to Lille.

I don't think that it should be #3 for the market, but instead for a romantic place to soak up the spirit of Christmas, as I was swept off my feet by the magical decorations of an already beautiful city.

December 1, 2011

Un Souvenir Du Grand Roue

It's december, which means that the Marché de Nöel is in full swing, the city is sparkling in beautiful lights, les sapins de nöel (Christmas trees) are abundant, and I'm drinking christmas-flavored Belgian beer.

While I have already visited the Marché de Nöel to stuff my face with delicious vanilla gauffres (waffles), drink vin chaud (hot spiced wine), and look at all the goods for sale in the cabins, I am not tempted by the Ferris wheel. I learned my lesson last year.

(originally posted December 22, 2010 here)

FBF and I thought it would be ever so romantic for us to ride le grand roue (the giant Ferris wheel) at the Marché de Nöel. La Soeur told us that the view from the top is beautiful, but extremely cold. We dressed accordingly.

Le Grand Roue

We had the choice between four little carriages, which were unlike any Ferris wheel seating area I have ever seen. Instead of being for two people, it could've held 6 adults, and instead of facing forward, it was a circle with a pole in the middle holding it up to the wheel.

Because this was supposed to be a romantic date, FBF and I sat on the same side.

This was a mistake. As soon as we were sky-bound, the carriage started leaning dangerously due to our combined weight on just one side.

This was doubly dangerous as there was not any protective fencing. It would not have been hard to tumble out. To make matters worse, there was no safety restraint of any kind. We were not buckled in.

FBF and I, while enjoying the view, were not enjoying a romantic, quiet moment alone in the sky, because j'avais peur (I was scared). Instead of holding on to my boyfriend, I had my arms wrapped around the middle pole, trying desperately not to fall off.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...