Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Connecting France

I had never considered myself a Francophile. Yet, after reading an e-mail from Chef Agnes Devereaux about her plans for celebrating Bastille Day in New Paltz (more about that later), I started to think about all the things French that I enjoy.

Although it's not one of the languages in which I am most fluent, I do speak French. Some of my favorite wines are Rieslings from Alsace in France. I own a Hermès scarf and dream of buying another, someday. Years ago I found a vintage Chanel jacket at a consignment sale in Rhinebeck that I still adore, and will fit into again, someday. ;-) One of my favorite actors, Daniel Auteuil, is French. (And I was named for the French actress Leslie Caron.)

And let's not forget Champagne...Yup, French things are good. Because this Saturday, July 14, is Bastille Day, it could be fun to celebrate and here are some ways to do that in the region.

My fun French day would start with shopping. Basic French is a boutique in the village of Red Hook that specializes in French imports. Hudson Valley Connoisseur magazine spotlighted its adorable polka-dot tableware in our April issue. I like that they have La Compagnie de Provence olive oil soap that I am sooo addicted to ... and I have been thinking hard about buying their colorful multistripe espadrilles made in a Basque village in the Pyrenées.

For several months now I've been yearning for the La Rochere "bee" glassware made by the oldest glass factory in France and sold at Arcadia in Saugerties. As my everyday glasses at home keep cracking, I am getting closer to being able to rationalize the purchase.

My favorite film is Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, a sweet, amusing and thought-provoking film that is also worth watching just for the wonderful scenes of Montmartre (the hill of Paris) and the garden gnome.

So I definitely am not missing this at Upstate Films: Paris Je t'aime:
This omnibus tribute to the City of Light features shorts from a veritable who’s who of international filmmakers...including Joel and Ethan Coen, Alfonso Cuarón, Bruno Podalydès, Gurinder Chadha, Gus Van Sant, Walter Salles, Daniela Thomas, Christopher Doyle, Isabel Coixet, Nobuhiro Suwa, Sylvain Chomet, Olivier Assayas, Oliver Schmitz, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Wes Craven, Tom Tykwer, Frédéric Auburtin, Gérard Depardieu, and Alexander Payne. With eighteen Paris neighborhoods as its milieu and love as its raison d’etre, the sum total is an experience that acknowledges the idealized Paris people carry in their heads. Mostly in French with subtitles.
It starts Friday and runs through July 19. Check the Web site for showtimes

Back to the e-mail from Agnes, chef-owner at the Village Tea Room, Restaurant & Bake Shop in New Paltz, which is celebrating Bastille Day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with a special menu that celebrates French food such as Salad Niçoise, Puy Lentil Soup, Coq au Vin, & Bouillabaisse. Desserts will include Choux a la Crème (their legendary Cream Puffs) as well as Clafoutis aux Cerise (Cherry Clafoutis) made with Tantillo Farm cherries.

Bon Appétit -- and Vive la France!

No comments: