Getting into the holiday spirit

11 December 2009

I have worked hard at getting into it.  I started off last Friday when I went to the Paul Bocuse Institute, as announced in an earlier post, with other mothers from the anglophone section at school. This was easily the most stylish Christmas do I have ever been to in my life. The institute is a place were chefs from all over the world train to become as accomplished as Paul Bocuse himself. It is situated in a park and the premises are a wonderful château. Quite breathtaking (and a bit intimidating) – they are SO professional there. But I found them also very friendly. When I hadn’t eaten the pâté that was for starters, the waiter was very worried and asked me whether I hadn’t liked the food. I told him that I don’t eat meat, he offered to find me something else in the kitchen. I found that really sweet, I don’t think they are always that accommodating at posh restaurants. I had actually enjoyed the little  salad that came with the starter very much. It contained amongst other vegetables peeled (!) and seeded grapes.  The rest of the dinner was all fine for me. The main course was  dos de saumon, which had first been slightly smoked, then lightly poached and afterwards every so lightly grilled. I had never had salmon like that before. It tasted very special.  You see, I can only do the fully fried or grilled version myself and I just don’t have the same talent (or patience) to decorate the food as elaboratly as they do there. To sum up the experience, this was a major improvement to last year’s free NHS  dinner in the hospital cantine 🙂 –  and all that for 33 Euros per head. So, if any of you come to Lyon and fancy that experience, give us a shout in good time and we can book a table. We are most happy to accompany anyone to diner.

To ensure I did not slip back into my pre Christmas mood, I went to the Cité Internationale in the afternoon  with a bunch of  mums and kids from school to have  tea and biscuits at a friend’s place there,  and afterwards we all went to another celebration: The Swedish embassy had organised a celebration to light the Christmas tree, along with free mulled wine, a Christmas carol choir and an ice rink. Lucy and I went skating to warm ourselves up, it was really cold, but ah, what a lovely day.

And at the weekend the festival of lights was on in Lyon, so I was out three nights to see as many installations as possible. Although I have spoken to some people who weren’t that impressed, I LOVED IT. The town was busy and bustling and some of the installations were really  magical. The public transport system was obviously disrupted by strike action over the 4 days of the festival, which made me all the more grateful for being able to get around on my bike. According to people who have lived here longer than us, strikes of bus or tram drivers or the good old metro drivers are a regular occurrence over those three days were there are about 4 millions tourists in Lyon. Fab, isn’t it?

Lucy had her half trimester report today and it is so good. She got a big ‘Bravo’ from her FLE teacher in her comments her class teacher and her English teacher are also praising her attitude and performance. I am doubly  pleased as this comes at a time where I have my struggles with the French school system and some teacher’s attitude and is thus somehow uplifting.

I might write about that some time later, my man has come I home from the hunt and he is hungry, so I am off to the kitchen to prepare some wild boar for him.

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