Fréjus, France

Fréjus, France
Aqueduc Romain

Monday, April 13, 2009

Le Pâques Weekend

What a wonderful weekend! Friday, as was written about in the last post, we played Loto (bingo) in the packed school gymnasium and even had a little luck.

Saturday, we had our friends Edouard, Marielle and their très jolie daughter Serena (who turned 1 today!) over for dinner. Edouard and I play basketball, one-on-one, almost once/week and it's always a rout. He is, after all, probably 6'4" and this is his sport! A guard v. a center is hardly a fair contest, but it's really about exercise and a chance for both of us to speak the other's language. Anyway, as is custom in France, one shows up to another's house with some kind of cadeau in hand, usually a bottle of wine, flowers, or dessert. In this case, not only did they bring a bottle of Rosé, but he brought me a brand-new basketball! Not only that but he personalized it with little french sayings from our games: "prêt?" (ready?); "dommage" (too bad - and always said with a bit of sarcasm after a missed shot), and "à bientôt" (see you soon). I love it! Bonus: Irie is now interested in the game so we have been going outside for dribbling and passing practice (no hoop here at the apt.). For dinner, I went out on a limb and dared make magret (duck breast) which is a distinctly french dish. Turns out Edouard's mom makes a magret that he has wonderful memories of, so the pressure was on. We also made fresh green beans with mushrooms and onions and baked potatoes, and Lisa made parfaits for dessert. We were a bit surprised that they didn't know what a "parfait" was as it is a french word (parfait means "perfect"), but now they know! Lisa made them with granola, yogurt, maple syrup and fresh strawberries, and the joke the rest of the night was that the parfaits were parfait. They also kept complimenting the duck so hopefully they weren't just being nice :) It was a very à l'aise (relaxed) evening and Irie got to practice her future baby-sitting skills with Serena.

Sunday was Pâques (Easter) and on Friday we got an invitation to dinner at Laly's grandparents at noon. Laly is one of Irie's classmates who has spent the night here once and had multiple playdates here and Irie there. This, however, would be our first time hanging out with the parents and grandparents. Their apt. is only about 5-6 blocks away with a nice view of the beach and sea. The complex has a small garden area and they hid a bunch of chocolate eggs that the two girls hunted. It was yet again, a very relaxed atmosphere with the grand père sharing some homemade wines - one a vin du noix (sweet and nutty), and one a vin d'orange amer (bitter orange) - they went well together. Grand mère had the cooking flowing like a professional. Perfectly arranged individual appetizer plates that included our first taste of blood sausage. Like foie gras, this was not something I anticipated liking, but was delicious! Just don't tell me what's in it (though I have a pretty good idea). The dinner was also très bon with a starter course of asparagus and fava? beans, a tasty meat though we still aren't sure whether it was veal or lamb, au gratin potatoes, a cheese plate, and an apricot/meringue/custard dessert that melted in my mouth. Laly's mère and père appear to be our age and were easy-going and convivial. At 4 pm we rolled out of there content and full, and walked home along the beach. As with any of these get-togethers I was a bit spent from the energy of listening and parlez -ing en français.

Today we awoke to bright sunshine and warmth, one of the nicest days of spring. Considering it was a national holiday, the timing couldn't have been better. We noticed over the past week that our apt. complex and the whole Fréjus Plage area has been steadily filling up with people and cars. Not only was it Easter weekend, but we understand that the Paris-area schools are already on their spring vacation (Irie's starts next week), so people are heading south in droves. The grocery store lines were huge all weekend and the cars along the plage were moving at a snail's pace, everyone looking for parking. It makes us all the more happy about the location of our apt, and not owning a car. It is also a marked contrast with the quiet we have experienced all winter. Today, the beaches were packed! I went for my first swim in the Mediterranean since last fall, and we all enjoyed a real beach day like we haven't since last October. It was a weekend that seemed to typify how we have become Fréjusians.

Now Irie has 3 days of school, a morning of sailing lessons, Lisa goes to Nice on Weds. to get her mom and Terri, and Friday we are on our way to Paris.


William said...

You are a lucky dog. You guys sre are fitting in to the French life style and too soon you must leave.

We had high today of about 42 with NE winds of 20mpg, so with wind chill about 30. Has not been warm enough to do yard work, let alone go to the beach.

Just wish we were there

Ken said...

Rick - if its of an consolation, I usually get smoked at basketball as well..

Sounds as if Easter was a wonderful day for you. I continue to have thoughts of the sausage we had in Sisteron. I really don't want to know what was in that either.

The beach looked nice. I continue to be amazed that the three girls went into the med at the beginning of March. Youth and the pleasure of water.

Have a good time with Brenda and her friend.