Meanders in Fontainebleau

Yesterday was le 15 août – Assumption Day, and my family’s one year, two day anniversary in France. I cannot believe that it has been a year already. Last year I was told, tongue-in-cheek that the day was meant as a rest day, to prepare people for the rentrée after the summer vacances. No, it’s a religious holiday.  We decided to honour our anniversary with a trip to Fontainebleau.

The dotty collaboration of Yayoi Kusama and LV

“The much-anticipated collaboration between Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and Marc Jacobs by Louis Vuitton…” reads the Wall Street Journal article on what’s trending between art and design. Dotty? Absolutely.
I saw the window display last night, and Kusama’s polka dots have taken over the windows of LV’s flagship store. I enjoyed her  exhibition at the Pompidou a while back – I hadn’t realised I’d be treated to a freebie so soon. Even last night, without the winding queues that are synonymous with LV, the display still drew quite the crowd. There were murmurings of “crazy”, “interesting”, “weird”, “bizarre”, “wonderful” abound as I made my way around the crowds to snap a few shots with my iPhone . If anything, the display is eliciting reactions – is that not what art is meant to do after all? Brand watching has just become more interesting.

Books: THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeannette Walls

Title: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeannette Walls
Published: 2005
Genre: Memoir

I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out of the window and saw Mom rooting through the Dumspter. It was just after dark. A blustery March wind whipped the steam coming out of the manholes, and people hurried along the sidewalks with their collars turned up. I was stuck in traffic two blocks away from the party where I was heading.
Mom stood fifteen feet away. She had tied rags around her shoulders to keep out the spring chill and was picking through the trash while her dog, a black-and-white terrier mix, played at her feet.

Simple indulgences at the smoking truck

After the past week’s gastronomic hedonism,  I am running every morning to let my body know that we’re home now – holiday’s over. Halfway through my run today, my thoughts turned to how great a burger would taste after. Yes, I am a hopeless case – the thought of food always creeps into my thoughts somehow. So I got everyone out of the apartment and we scooted off to the food truck that’s been getting rave reviews in Paris – Le Camion Qui Fume.

Sights and tastes of Dijon

We walked around the city, taking in the festive atmosphere at the Place de Ducs de Bourgoyne. Ahh summer…something about the good weather that turns the French into overly friendly and positive people. Savouring every moment of this rare bonhomie. After all the wandering, we settled for a late dinner at Le Petit Roi de la Lune. No disappointment there either. Ended the gastronomic tour with yet another great meal.

Sampling the Burgundy region at Le Bistrot, Beaune

With Milan behind us we made our way to Dijon. From Chamonix to Milan, then Milan to Dijon I alternated between being the driver and passenger, so there are some interesting images taken on the way. The steppes on the hills with vineyards in Italy; the beautiful Mont Blanc mountains again; and then the rolling vineyards as we entered to Burgundy region. Although we were staying in Dijon for just two days, we decided on a day trip to Beaune after being regaled with tales of the tastes of Beaune – by the locals, yet again.

Delicious heaven at Cantina della Vetra, Milan

Faced with restaurant menus for four days, my kids zoned right in for the simplest Italian fare; pizza and pasta, and each time it was the best pizza or pasta ever! One restaurant that came recommended by friends, who had lived in Milan for four years, was Cantina della Vetra. Again that old adage that local knowledge trumps all. Cantina della Vetra is slightly off the tourist trail. We’d made reservations for a late dinner and were greeted by the friendly owner and given a very well-appointed table. From then on we were plied with everything from the cold meats platter, cheeses, fried gnocchi – then a spaghetti with cheese, ham and black pepper, tortellini with ham, perfectly grilled pork with apple and ginger sauce and creamy pea risotto. Verdict: We did not put a foot wrong when it came to food choices in Milan. Glad to be leaving, while I can still fit into my clothes – just barely.

Delighting the senses at Armani/Nobu, Milan

Housed in the Armani Hotel, it’s all minimalistic chic, lounge music and beautiful people. Tripadvisor ranks it at around 300 out of 2300 restaurants reviewed in Milan. So went with relatively-managed expectations. It is Nobu though, so that raises expectations somewhat. It was our night out without the kids, and we wanted to try something other than Italian cuisine. Started our evening with drinks in their lounge bar then moved upstairs to the restaurant.