Naoshima
FranceSays
by MELewis
1w ago
The next leg of our trip offered some of what were, for me, the most memorable moments of our time in Japan – some of which were unexpected. We took the bullet train from Kyoto to Okayama, where we stopped for lunch at a little Italian place by the station. Full disclosure: at that point, as much as I love fish, I was ready to sell my soul for anything but. I don’t remember what we ate exactly, but it was delightfully fish-free! Our plan was to get a bus from the train station to Uno Port, where we would catch the ferry to Naoshima. The complexity came in finding where to get the right bus. A ..read more
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Arashiyama
FranceSays
by MELewis
2w ago
I’ve been revisiting some of my most memorable moments from our trip to Japan. Of all the shrines and temples, perhaps the one that most captured my imagination was Otagi-Nembutsuji and the nearby bamboo forests. Like most places in this land of contrasts, getting there is half the fun – that is, if you like solving puzzles! Travelling in Japan made me realize just how heavily we have to come to rely on technology to get around. Whether due to the the complexity of the geography, the dense urban nature of the country or perhaps the language, Google maps was not to be relied upon. In many ins ..read more
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Finding my feet in Japan
FranceSays
by MELewis
1M ago
Imagine you have a month to travel anywhere in the world. Amazing, right? When the opportunity landed in our lap thanks to my husband’s job, part of me was thrilled. But in truth, I’ve never been much of a world traveller. Don’t get me wrong: I like to experience new places. What I enjoy a lot less is getting there. Since I met Stefan in Toronto all those years ago and ended up moving to France, seeing family and friends means crossing an ocean, or at least the English Channel with our daughter in the UK. But November? We would have to go much further afield for decent weather. Not to mention ..read more
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Du piment dans la vie
FranceSays
by MELewis
3M ago
Variety may be the spice of life but I am a creature of habit. While I enjoy many different flavours, I am addicted to one particular spice: freshly ground pepper. Defying all rules of gastronomy, I cannot begin a meal without a few turns of the mill over my plate. Recently I added salt to the grind, a far more unhealthy habit. But how I love those little salt bombs! I am also cursed with bad luck when it comes to pepper grinders. Over my lifetime I have gone through half a dozen of the things. All start well enough but end in the same way: spewing chunks of pepper rather than producing finel ..read more
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Folle-Dingue
FranceSays
by MELewis
3M ago
There have always been crazies in my life and, as much as I dislike the stereotype, they are almost always female. When we moved to our first apartment in Lyon years ago there was a folle-dingue on the top floor who took an instant dislike to us. Was it the dogs (our first two Frenchies, the dynamic duo Edouard and Dorothée) or the fact that I was foreign? We never knew and it didn’t matter. She sprewed insults whenever she got the chance, and once when we left our groceries by the elevator for a few minutes, we found the top of a baguette ripped off. Other than that, she was harmless enough ..read more
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The Proust Questionnaire
FranceSays
by MELewis
6M ago
For years I was an avid reader of Vanity Fair magazine. As is/was my habit with print magazines, those near-dinosaurs of modern publishing, I would flip to the last page. And the reward was worth it: the Proust questionnaire. In which a celeb of some ilk would answer the 35 questions immortalized by the French novelist and critic in 1890. What fun to read about Ricky Gervais’ idea of perfect happiness! Or to know what Joan Didion regarded as the lowest depth of misery. The answers to these questions give you a glimpse inside a famous head that I always find fascinating. Why Proust? I found th ..read more
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Faits divers
FranceSays
by MELewis
6M ago
Summer is in full swing here in Central Switzerland. It feels like our first real summer since moving here two years ago. People are back to pre-pandemic life and the lake is buzzing with tourists and locals. Compared to last summer, the weather is heiss. Hot, hot, hot! We are fortunate to enjoy a bit of cooler air in the evenings with temperatures that are generally a couple of degrees lower than many of our neighbouring cities and countries. My father-in-law in Lyon, France, reports temps topping 39 degrees Celsius, while we are sweltering at only 30-32. Fortunately Raymond has air conditio ..read more
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Il est né
FranceSays
by MELewis
7M ago
If I were to continue this post in French, the title would be followed by ‘le divin enfant’. I won’t go that far but our newborn grandson has made a much-anticipated entrance. Vincent Raymond Philippe was born on June 10th, just sneaking in (our rather, out) a couple of minutes before midnight. Not sure whether this was thanks to a Herculean effort on his mother’s part to avoid having two family birthdays on the same date or my advice that Friday’s child was possibly more advantaged than Saturday’s. Or perhaps it was his own choosing. Anne, Vincent’s maman, fully gave herself up to the proces ..read more
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Les dents de la mer
FranceSays
by MELewis
8M ago
It was a standing joke. ‘Les dents de la mer’ (literally: ‘The teeth of the sea’) was the French title of the 1975 Spielberg movie, ‘Jaws’. If you’re old enough to remember it, and you’re anything like me, you can still never swim in any open water without imagining the terror lurking below. Some years ago, when my late Belle-Mère needed to have several teeth replaced and the whole thing turned into a bit of a drama – not just the pain and suffering but the expense of implants – my husband had fun with it. “Les dents de la mère,” he would say, whenever the topic came up. Mother’s teeth. Now t ..read more
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La grande famille
FranceSays
by MELewis
9M ago
There is something about family that brings out the best – and possibly the worst – in me. Rather like these oddly decorated post boxes recently spotted in Wales. We laugh at the same things, tease each other, argue and basically drive each other crazy after a few days. But I wouldn’t trade time with my family for the world. After my Greek island adventures, travelling to the UK for Easter seemed pretty tame. We did have the joy of arriving at (and later, departing from) Manchester Airport at a time when the frequently changing rules around the pandemic were exacerbated by staff shortages. Bu ..read more
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